From the Pastor’s Desk

Now Known as Chardonnay W(h)ines!

October 7, 2018 – Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Now Known as Chardonnay W(h)ines!

How many of you after going through that difficult decision to euthanize a pet say “I’ll never get another one!” And then a month or so later end up getting another one!  I fall into that category of the heart ruling over the head!! After Heidi was euthanized on August 23rd I told myself that I wouldn’t get another dog – at least until I figure out where I would be living and what I would be doing in retirement in 2022.  But a few weeks after Heidi was gone, I found myself visiting the website of the shelter where I got her, as well as other dog rescue and shelter websites.  And apparently some of the staff at OLM, in particular Diane Reiter, felt I just wasn’t the same after Heidi was gone and I needed to get another dog.  Diane and her husband Tim offered that if I get a dog now and can’t have it wherever I end up living in retirement, they would take the dog.  So, as they say, that sealed the deal!  Besides, Fr. Mark wasn’t taking very well to pats on the head and scratches behind the ears!  And for all his emphasis on exercise, he didn’t really like chasing tennis balls.  So, meet Chardonnay. She is a 2 year old beagle-mix and weights 27 pounds.  I adopted her on September 22nd from Magnificent Mutts rescue in Hillside, IL.  She has been with a foster family here since being rescued in Arkansas.  She was found with three female puppies (all have been adopted) and her rescue team gave her the name was Sophia.  And the three pups were named Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose.  Those of you old enough will remember those names of the “Golden Girls,” a sitcom that aired on NBC from 1985 – 1992.  Very cute! Sophia is also a nice biblical name meaning wise.  And it certainly is appropriate for a priest’s dog to have a biblical name.  Another priest I know had a Weimaraner named Abraham. But I decided to change Sophia’s name to Chardonnay. Besides my affinity for wine, there is another connection…….  Heidi was so attached to me and had separation anxiety. Every time I would leave without her, she would start whining.  I would tell her to stop it!  And joking tell her that I was going to change her name to Chardonnay because she whines so much!  (Get it?)  So whatever personality my new dog will have, the name Chardonnay will always remind me of Heidi.  And yes, my weekly bulletin article “From the Pastor’s Desk”, instead of also being known as “Heidi Howls” will now be known as “Chardonnay W(h)ines”!  Pretty clever on my part! Huh? I cracked myself up over it!!

Well, we are in the full swing of MercyFest!  Thank you to all have supported MercyFest is some way with your presence and/or donations.  Thanks to all the volunteers that enable us to put on such a large community event.  Without you, MercyFest wouldn’t happen!  And thank you to Tony & Jennifer Leazzo chairs, and Tom Martin, vice-chair.  Space in my article doesn’t allow me to acknowledge all those who have taken on leadership roles, but know of my deep appreciation.  When we have the final results of MercyFest, we will print a flier in the bulletin listing the names of all who chaired the various aspects of MercyFest 2018.  May God bless you all for your dedication, time and efforts on behalf of Our Lady of Mercy parish!

Have a Blessed Week!

Father Don

September 30, 2018 Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we welcome our Bishop, R. Daniel Conlon to Our Lady of Mercy parish as he will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation upon 56 of our parish teens during Mass at 3:00PM.  Of course, those being confirmed today have already received the Holy Spirit at their baptism.  But they, like most of us were baptized as infants, and that awareness of having received the Holy Spirit with its gifts and power needs to be roused.  So I like to refer to the Sacrament of Confirmation as a “wake-up call.”  Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation.  So today we welcome our newly confirmed teens as fully initiated members of the Church.  And with that now comes the responsibility to be ACTIVE members of the Church and growing in a personal relationship (friendship) with Jesus.  Congratulations to our newly confirmed and may the Holy Spirit guide them throughout their lives!

MercyFest begins this week on Thursday, October 4th and runs through Sunday, October 7th.  I encourage everyone to support MercyFest in some way as part of the celebration of our parish 30th anniversary.  The 10:45AM Mass on Sunday, October 7th will be celebrated outdoors under the big tent on MercyFest grounds.  Our 2nd pastor (now retired) Fr. Hugh Fullmer will be the presider for that Mass.  Fr. Hugh started MercyFest 17 years ago as a way to bring the parish and neighboring community together in fun and fellowship, as well as a fund raiser to pay off the debt on the church.  MercyFest continues to provide funds for various needed repairs.  Last year’s profit provided for the replacement and installation of new padding on the kneelers in church.  Last year a new spiritual dimension was added to MercyFest that will continue this year. People were invited into church for prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This year (like previous years) a percentage of the profits will be donated to Hesed House, a shelter for the homeless in Aurora.  I have designated the remaining profits to be used for the upgrading of the sound system in church.  But MercyFest is so much more than about raising funds.  It is a way to bring our parish together.  Though many, we are one!  (Our theme for our parish 30th anniversary this year).  Over 700 parishioners are needed volunteering in some capacity to make MercyFest successful.  The experience of knowing you are part of something bigger than yourself can be inspiring. We as a parish owe a debt of gratitude to the many parishioners who have put their heart and soul into making MercyFest such a great success over the years.  And I have no doubt that through the efforts of the chairs and volunteers for this year’s MercyFest, we will have great success again!

Your part now is to attend!  Bring family, neighbors and friends to enjoy carnival rides and games, food and entertainment, raffles and even prayer and the opportunity for reconciliation.  Please visit our parish website ( and click on the MercyFest tab to see a listing of events and musical groups for each day.  And one more thing I ask of you….please PRAY for good weather!!

Have a blessed week!  And see you at MercyFest!!

Father Don

September 23, 2018 Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This weekend we are celebrating the feast of our parish patroness, Our Lady of Mercy. (The actual feast day is on September 24th).  As we continue the celebration of our parish 30th anniversary through the end of this year, the celebration of our parish patroness reminds us that “together we are one!”  Please stop by the Parish Life Center for fellowship and refreshments following Masses today.

This weekend we welcome back seminarian Senovio Sarabia for his teaching parish assignment.  He was with us last year on weekends for the fall semester and full-time during the spring semester for his internship.  He lived here this past summer while doing a student chaplain assignment at Northwestern Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.  He will be with us this fall semester on most weekends.  The spring semester ’19 he will be studying in the Holy Land.  Senovio is in his third year of theology at Mundelein. He is on track to be ordained a transitional deacon in March ’19 and a priest in May 2020.

We have been blessed to have another one of our Diocesan seminarians assigned to Our Lady of Mercy for his teaching parish assignment.  Joining Senovio this fall semester is Luis Miguel Garcia.  Luis is in his first year of theology at Mundelein.  We welcome Senovio and Luis Miguel!

Well, our Religious Education program is in full swing with classes for K – 5 beginning last week, EDGE for Junior High and LIGHT for High School have all begun as well.  I want to thank all who have volunteered as catechists, aids and for various other positions supporting our Religious Education program.  We can’t do it without you!  Also I want to thank our new DRE, Mary Jo Trapani as well as Candy Rice and Dave Miserendino for their leadership.  And a special word of thanks goes to Cheryl Lohse and Jean Rehmer for all their hard work in the RE office and the support they give to our RE staff and families.  We are looking forward to a great year!

Finally, MercyFest is only two weekends away!!  If you haven’t signed-up to help yet, you can do so online or at the table in the lobby of the Parish Life Center.  There are new music groups this year, and, the Sunday 10:45AM Mass will be celebrated outdoors under the big tent with Fr. Hugh Fullmer coming back to preside.  Fr. Hugh started Mercyfest 17 years ago and it is only fitting that he come out of retirement to celebrate Mass during our parish 30th anniversary year.

This year we will again donate a portion of the profits from MercyFest to Hesed House.  I have also designated profits to upgrade/replace the sound system in our church.  Last year’s profits were used to install new pads on the kneelers in church.

Come out and support MercyFest with your presence….bring family, friends, and neighbors too!!

Have a blessed week!

Father Don


September 16, 2018 – Twenty-Fourth Sunday Ordinary Time

Last weekend I shared with you the annual financial report for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2017 and ended on June 30, 2018.  If you weren’t here and didn’t get a copy, you can review the report on our website or stop by the office for a copy.  Also, if you do have any questions about the financial report, please feel free to contact our business manager, Bob Gancarz either by phone (630.851.3444 x 223) or by email

Today is our annual “Commitment Sunday” for your weekly/monthly financial gift to the parish through the Sunday collection.  Your support of the vision for our parish that I shared with you last weekend in my homily will be deeply appreciated. If you didn’t hear my homily last weekend you can hear it on our parish APP.  Thanks for your support!  Also, I encourage you to consider secure electronic giving.   We always see a drop in the Sunday collection during the summer when many are away on vacation. Through electronic giving you can keep your financial support of the parish consistent during the year.  If you aren’t currently giving electronically, sign up between now and October 31st and your name will be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gas card.  For information contact our business manager.

Another reason to consider an increase in your financial support of OLM is that our parish has been asked to receive another seminarian from our Diocese to assist in his formation to become a priest.  So we now have two seminarians assigned to Our Lady of Mercy for their teaching parish assignment.  You all know Senovio Sarabia.  He has begun 3rd theology at Mundelein and will be with us again on most weekend this fall, winter, and spring.  Our new seminarian is Luis Miguel Garcia who is in 1st theology at Mundelein. He will be with us most weekends as well.  Both Senovio and Luis will start their assignment here beginning the weekend of September 22/23.  We look forward to seeing Senovio again, and welcoming Luis.

MercyFest is now 3 weeks away!  Over 700 volunteers are needed in various capacities.  Please off your help by signing up online or after Masses in the lobby of the PLC.  This year the Sunday 10:45AM Mass will be celebrated outdoors under the big tent and Fr. Hugh Fullmer will be coming to celebrate that Mass.  Your support of MercyFest will be deeply appreciated, as I have designated the profit this year to go towards a new sound system in church.  I don’t know about you, but I have trouble hearing in the back of church, and when I sit in the presider’s chair I often can’t hear the readings being proclaimed or if someone is giving words of remembrance at a funeral.  We had an analysis of the sound system done, and several of the in ceiling speakers don’t work anymore, and there is so many technological advances in sound systems since ours was first installed 20 some years ago.  Last year’s profit went to the re-padding of the kneelers in church.  So please support MercyFest and bring your family, friends and neighbors.

Have a Blessed Week!

Father Don


September 9, 2018 Twenty-Third Sunday Ordinary Time

Kind of a boring picture of me without Heidi isn’t it! I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all who have reached out to me in various ways offering support and prayers at the death of my 15-year old dog Heidi.  On August 23rd, due to her failing health and quality of life, I had her euthanized.  Your kind hugs, words, cards, flowers, cookies and sweets have all made the grief journey more bearable.  Many have asked am I going to get another dog?  I don’t plan to at this time.  Seven years passed after I put my dog prior to Heidi down before getting Heidi.  I need some time to grieve and with retirement on the horizon in 2022 and not yet having decided where I will be living upon retirement, I wouldn’t want to get a dog now and later find out I couldn’t keep it.  I am tempted however, next time I visit Fr. Mark’s farm so sneak a piglet home – they have 15,000 of them….surely they wouldn’t miss one! Would they?

Included in today’s bulletin is the annual financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018.  The Diocese requires pastors to provide a yearly report to parishioners so that they are aware of the financial state of their parish. The report shows a robust increase of 10% in the Sunday collection over the previous fiscal year.  Your overwhelming response to my request last year for an increase in the Sunday collection put our parish at the top parish in our Diocese to increase their Sunday collection.  Thank you for your incredible generosity!  And because of your generosity much has been accomplished this past fiscal year. I’ve been concerned about the safety and security of children attending RE classes, as well as all who use the Parish Life Center.  There has been no way to communicate throughout the building an emergency situation such as a tornado or other life threatening situation.  We have now installed a public address system in the hallways that can be heard in the classrooms and throughout the center.  We have also install a security camera system throughout the building.  WI-FI is now available throughout the PLC enabling access to internet programming for RE classes and adult formation programs.  Our phone system, computers and monitors have been updated.  Video screens have been installed in the lobby on the PLC and narthex of the church which display information about upcoming programs and activities as well as funeral information for parishioners who have died.  So a lot has been done to enhance our communications efforts.  Some new ministries were started.  Moms & Tots enable young mothers to come together in support and prayer.  Fit Shepherds, a men’s exercise group enable guys to bond in friendship and masculine spirituality.  Mary’s Squad is the women’s version of the men’s exercise group.  But most of all, the increase in the collection has allowed us to hire a full-time Director of Evangelization and Communications.  Evangelization is the next area that we are going to focus on in the coming months.

So, I am asking for your continued financial support of OLM.  Next weekend, September 15/16 is our annual “Commitment Sunday” for your weekly/monthly support of our parish through the Sunday collection.  You will receive your commitment card in the mail this week.  Please pray about your financial support and the parish and fill out the card and bring it to Mass next Sunday.

Again, I thank you so much for your support!

Have a Blessed Week!

Father Don