July 19 – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today I want to give you an update on a few things…..you may not remember, but in the structure of parish administration I have a small Pastoral Leadership Team that meets with me weekly to talk about and address any parish/staff concerns that need immediate attention.  At one longer meeting each month, we do strategic planning.  With the transfer of Fr. Mark and parishioner Phil Britton moving out of the area, I have appointed our new Parochial Vicar, Fr. James Guarascio, and parishioners Kim Harris and Bob Maxwell to serve on the Pastoral Leadership Team.  Including the new members and myself, Zara Tan and Mary Jo Trapani also serve on the Team.  I thank all members for their generosity of time and to the new members for accepting my invitation to serve.

I mentioned that Phil Britton is or has already moved out of the area.  Phil and his wife JoAnn has been long time active and dedicated members of Our Lady of Mercy.  When Fr. Mark and I arrived three years ago, Phil was one of the first volunteers we met with.  Phil was the volunteer director of adult education and formation.  He provided much helpful insight for Fr. Mark and myself as we began getting a sense of OLM.  We wish them all the best in their new home and parish in Tinley Park where they are now closer to their daughter, family and grandchildren.  Thanks Phil and JoAnn for all you did for OLM.

We are in the final stages of preparing to inform parents with details about our Religious Education Program for the coming year.  Due to budget challenges, I am not replacing this year Candy Rice, who retired and served as Director of Jr. High Youth Ministry (EDGE).  I am most grateful to Dave Miserendino who offered to coordinate EDGE with the adult leaders currently serving in the EDGE Program.  The COVID-19 protocols issued by the Diocese, State, and CDC present quite a challenge to offering classes in the building.  Before we can open the building for in-person children and teen classes or activities we much first be approved by the Diocese of Joliet.  This certification process is much like what we went through to open the church. Like the challenges the public schools and all public gatherings face, we must maintain 6 feet between tables and chairs and people.  The facilities manager of the Diocese has already been out and set the occupancy limits for all the rooms in the PLC and they are significantly reduced.  Additionally there must be the compliance of children wearing facemasks, hand sanitizing, having temperatures taken and keeping 6 feet apart when moving in the building.  It’s pretty daunting!! So, I ask for your prayers, your patience, and your understanding.

Have a Blessed Week!

Father Don