From the Pastor’s Desk

September 20 – Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today, September 20, back in 1997 was a monumental day for Our Lady of Mercy Parish.  It was on this day that the Church building in which we presently worship was dedicated.  It was an eventful day for the pastor Fr. Tivy and those parishioners who first founded OLM in June of 1988 and those who joined during the nine years it took to fundraise and build the church.  Let us be grateful today for all those who made the financial and gifts in kind sacrifices to build the beautiful church in which we worship today.  The feast day of our parish patron, Our Lady of Mercy is on Thursday, September 24.  We have received permission from the Bishop to transfer the celebration to the weekend of September 26/27.  Let us celebrate our dedication anniversary and feast day with joy!

In parishes throughout the country this weekend, we celebrate Catechetical Sunday.  The theme being “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you.”  COVID-19 sure affected the manner in which we are doing religious education for our youth this year.  Religious education for K – 5 is a family based program being done at home with parents as leaders, supported by our RE staff and catechists.  Prior to COVID-19 we had already planned to offer the at home family catechesis program as an option for families instead of classroom instruction in the building.  After COVID-19 hit, we decided that it was not feasible to offer classroom instruction due to the many protocols that were required to be in place.  Additionally we did not feel it safe to bring together children from different school communities, and put them through more protocols.  In addition, there likely would have been a shortage of catechists as several of our catechists fit the “at risk” category and would not be able to teach.  However, there is a “silver lining” to the situation.  The at home parent led catechesis program allows families to explore stories of our faith together at a schedule that is convenient for each family.  And, no one has to wear masks or socially distance! More importantly, this program gives back to the parents what is their original responsibility that parents agreed to when they had their child baptized, namely of raising their child in the faith.  Throughout the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is stated: parents are the primary educators of their children in the faith, and that parents are gifted to do that.  Unfortunately over the years, the Church has been enablers of taking that responsibility away from parents.  Dropping off children for a Religious Education class with no further involvement of parents in the faith formation of their children has been a disaster in forming children as Disciples of Jesus.  The Church and religious education programs are intended to support, not substitute for the parent’s role in raising their children in the practice of the faith!  I strongly encourage our families who have not registered yet to give this program a try.  We are here to guide and provide all you parents need to implement family catechesis in your home.

Have a blessed week!

Father Don