From the Pastor’s Desk

Now Known as Chardonnay W(h)ines!

October 13th | Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is MercyFest weekend! A time to gather family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy the company of each other and thank God for the gift of our parish, friendship and camaraderie while enjoying food, fun, games and rides provided by Alpine Amusement of Naperville. In the early years of MercyFest, the goal was to raise money for paying down the debt on the church and PLC. We still owe slightly under one million on the PLC, but now the primary goal of MercyFest is building community and bringing parishioners and neighbors together – and just having fun! We even see MercyFest as an evangelization tool! Saturday evening from 7:00pm to 10:00pm is “Light the Night” in church with Eucharistic Adoration and prayer teams. We are out on the grounds with an ALPHA booth and invites!

If we do make some money, that is great! We will donate half to Hesed House and use the rest for purchasing energy efficient lighting for the gym. With profits from the last two years, we were able to purchase new sound equipment for the church and new padding for the kneelers in church.

If you have not been to MercyFest yet, it is not too late. Saturday MercyFest is open from Noon to 10:00pm. Sunday, MercyFest opens following the 10:45am Mass celebrated by our former and retired pastor, Fr. Hugh Fullmer, and closes around 8:00/8:30pm. Do not miss the “All U Can Eat Spaghetti & Meatballs Dinner” on Sunday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm!

We extend our special thanks to all our sponsors this year. Event Sponsor: Napleton’s Valley Hyundai; Platinum Sponsor: Builders Commercial Asphalt Plants; Premiere Sponsors: Klein Construction, Valley View Dental, and Lisa Byrne of Baird & Warner. Your support is deeply appreciated!

I will recognize the MercyFest chair and committee chairs in a future article when I give a report on our success of this year’s MercyFest. In the meantime, come out if you have not, and thanks to all our parishioners and guests who have supported this year’s MercyFest by your presence, volunteering and donations.

Have a blessed week!

Fr Don

October 6th | Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The month of October is Respect Life Month. I want to thank all those who participated the 40 Days for Life 24 hour prayer vigil held outside Planned Parenthood. The prayer vigil is from September 25 through November 3. Our Lady of Mercy Parish committed to having parishioners pray at the Planned Parenthood facility on Friday, October 4 for a 24-hour period, praying for aborted children and the end to abortion. So thanks again to everyone who participated, especially in those late night and early morning hours! Thanks to our OLM Pro-Life Committee for organizing our day of prayer.

During respect life month, our bishops call us to understand, value, and help cultivate respect for human life in its entire dimension – from the womb to the tomb. Bishop Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, who is chair of the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities writes to all Catholics: “As Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you do to build a culture of life on a daily basis. Your efforts on behalf of the unborn, the dying, the elderly, the imprisoned, the poor and so many others have a profound impact, both now and in the life to come…While there may be opportunities for decisive political action, we know that to build a true culture of life, we must seek to change hearts and minds. And your witness is essential.”

In addition, the month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. According to an account by fifteenth-century Dominican, Alan de la Roch, Mary appeared to St. Dominic in 1206 after he had been praying and doing severe penances because of his lack of success in combating the Albigensian heresy. Mary praised him for his valiant fight against the heretics and then gave him the Rosary as a mighty weapon, explained its uses and efficacy, and told him to preach it to others. The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is October 7.

Fr. Mark and I request your prayers for us, and all the priests of our diocese, as we will be gone from the afternoon of October 7 to the afternoon of October 10 attending the Joliet Priest Convocation in St. Charles.

Have a blessed week!

Fr Don

September 29th | Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church throughout the United States celebrates “Priesthood Sunday” as a special day to set aside to honor priesthood. It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church as a central one. This observance, sponsored by the organization Sera International, specifically honors priests, without whom the Mass could not be offered and Sacraments could not be celebrated.

As the 38th anniversary of my ordination approaches (October 10th), I would like to share with you some reflections on my 38 years of being a priest. From my earliest memories, I always wanted to be a priest. As a child, I would play priest. My altar was a long dresser in my bedroom; tabernacle a spray-painted gold old breadbox; chalice a gold spraypainted jar that my mom’s face cream came in; hosts were either squished mini marshmallows or Nicole candy wafers. Growing up and attending a Catholic grammar school in the 1950/60’s I was enamored with the priests and nuns and the mystery of it all. I enjoyed altar serving and helping around church.

The real call to priesthood came when I was 23. My first response was no way! I had a job and was happy with my life, but God kept nagging. I finally met with a priest about a possible vocation. Remembering past sins and pranks of college days, I told him I did not feel worthy to be a priest. He looked me in straight in the eye and said, “None of us are worthy!” With that, I felt my resistance depart. Accepted for the Diocese of Joliet, I did my seminary studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, and was ordained a priest on October 10, 1981.

In 38 years, I have served eight different parishes in our Diocese. While each of them have their unique identity and special memories for me, each also have had the same incredible love and support that have nourished me in my priesthood. Despite my faults, failings, weaknesses, personality and idiosyncrasies, I have felt so loved and accepted by many. That has been a special joy for me. Bringing even more joy has been the privilege to celebrate the Mass and nourish you with the word of God in my homilies, and the Body and Blood of Jesus who gave his life for us. Being trusted with the darkest secrets and brokenness of those who have come to me for confession has been a most humbling experience. My prayer is that I have always responded with the compassion and mercy of God. Sharing in the happy moments of a baptism, wedding, confirmation, graduation, job promotion, and just families parties has been a blessing. So too, walking the times of sadness and sorrow in parishioners lives has been an honor. So, thanks to everyone who have made these past 38 years ones of great happiness and fulfillment. I still do not know why God called me to be a priest, but I have tried to fulfill that call the best I can.

God Bless All of You!

Fr Don

September 22nd | Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Last week during the homily, we presented to you our new Vision, Core Values, and Aspirational Values for Our Lady of Mercy Parish. To help us implement these, we need to add a few new members to our Parish Pastoral Council.

The role of the Pastoral Council is to help bring forth the vision of the parish. The focus of the Pastoral Council is to develop broad, visionary strategy for the whole parish over a longer-term period. The council prayerfully discerns how God is calling the parish to fulfill its vision and provides direction on how the parish can best achieve this in a continual process. The Pastoral Council meetings will be every two months for a strategic, workshop style session with the Parish Leadership Team. The Parish Leadership Team is Fr. Don, Fr. Mark, Phil Britton, Zara Tan, and Mary Jo Trapani. These meetings will be on a Saturday morning or afternoon, or Sunday afternoon.

We need people on the Pastoral Council who have the gifts, interest and availability to do big-picture parish strategy work. The ideal Pastoral Council member:

  • Has a daily prayer life and is a participating member of Our Lady of Mercy, with an eagerness to carry out the parish vision, and is 16 years old or older.
  • Is a passionate visionary thinker and planner. Has skills to address the driving question, “Where are we going and how will we get there?”
  • Is committed to the importance of welcoming and inviting parishioners and people in our community to know Jesus, be formed in an ongoing was as a disciple, and sent out on His mission.
  • Is excited about what the parish has been doing the past couple of years and the direction in which we are moving.
  • Has an availability of time and energy and easily works with groups.

If you fit this description, please consider submitting your name and contact information to as a possible candidate for our Pastoral Council by October 25th. If you know someone else who fits this description, please encourage them to submit their name as well. A discernment meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 12th at 7:00PM. Please prayerfully consider whether joining the Pastoral Council may be the way you are being called to help bring forth the vision of our parish!

Have a blessed week!

Fr Don

September 15th | Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church throughout the United States celebrates Catechetical Sunday. The words of the disciples on the road to Emmaus when encountering the risen Jesus but not recognizing him, “Stay with us” is the theme for Catechetical Sunday. Catechetical Sunday also gives us the opportunity to say “thank you” to the men, women, and teens who volunteer in our faith formation programs at Our Lady of Mercy. Fr. Mark and I truly appreciate your desire and commitment to sharing our Catholic faith with our children. Guided by our Directors of Religious Education, Mary Jo Trapani, Candy Rice, and Dave Miserendino, our catechists and volunteers receive the support they need to help our children experience Jesus and become missionary disciples. Fr. Mark and I are deeply grateful for the expertize and passion Mary Jo, Candy, and Dave, along with Jean Rehmer and Jean Palasz bring to the Religious Education Program at Our Lady of Mercy.

Stay with us! That is the message I would like to get out to all our parents concerning religious education for their children. We have 1,186 children in our parish between the ages of 5 and 13 – the formative years of faith development. As I write this article, we currently have 475 children of this age group registered to attend our religious education program this fall. Where are the other 711 children??? I know that some are attending Catholic schools, but that still leaves us with a huge number of children not receiving the Good News and coming to know Jesus. We are deeply concerned!!

Parents who have not registered your children in our program, how can we help? Maybe God and church are not a priority in your life at this time. No matter the reason, we want to invite and help you to reconnect. Call me, Fr. Mark or any of the RE staff if you would like to talk. We pray that you feel God tugging at your heart. We want nothing to stand in the way of your children and you experiencing Jesus’ love and mercy. Parents, if you’ve been away from God and/or the Church, we would love to welcome you to try ALPHA. Find out more at Help your children discover the goodness of God and the joy of being a part of the family of Our Lady of Mercy. RE classes begin the week of September 23rd. Registration is still open – call the RE office. If you have something holding you back, Fr. Mark and I are more than willing to meet with you to address any issues or concerns you may have. We are here to help!! Call us! Be a part of us! Stay with us!!

Have a Blessed Week!

Fr Don

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