July 5 – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This weekend we welcome our new Parochial Vicar, Fr. James Gaurascio.  Just ordained a priest for our Diocese on June 20, 2020, Fr. James succeeds Fr. Mark Bernhard who served as Parochial Vicar at OLM for three years and is now at St. Mary Parish in Mokena. Fr. Mark was a newly ordained priest when he began at OLM.   I think is says a lot about our parish community when the bishop feels confident in assigning a newly ordained priest to OLM.  The first assignment of a newly ordained priest is critical in transitioning him from the academic seminary life to parish ministerial life of a priest.  Trust me, after 38 years as a priest, they do not and cannot teach you everything you need to know about being a parish priest in the seminary!  It is through the lived experience of being embraced by a community (parish) that is willing to forgive your faults, challenge you where you need to grow, and love you that forms you into the priest you become. That certainly describes Our Lady of Mercy parish! Parishioners have a lot to do in forming their priests to be good and holy priests.

As we welcome Fr. James (and that is how he prefers to be called), I am pleased to inform you he is bi-lingual and will be offering a weekly Mass in Spanish, as well as being able to hear confessions and counsel in Spanish.

Fr. James and three other priests of our Diocese are founding members in our Diocese of an association of Diocesan priests called “Companions of Christ.”  Please see the article in today’s bulletin regarding the “Companions of Christ.”  One thing to be aware of is that Fr. James and the other three priests will not be living at the rectories of their respective parish assignments.  They live at a rented home in Lisle.  They pay the rent out of their salary; there is no additional cost to the parish.

I look forward to mentoring and ministering with Fr. James.  Please warmly welcome him to Our Lady of Mercy parish!

As we celebrate this weekend the founding of our nation 244 years ago, let us pray for our citizens, our political leaders and our nation.  Founded as one nation under God, we need to turn to that God, and ask his help in embracing, once again, the vision that our founding ancestors enumerated….that all people are created equal, and ours is a nation of liberty and justice for all.  May God bless our work of uniting all people in peace.

Have a blessed holiday weekend!

Father Don