Now Known as Chardonnay W(h)ines!
ALLELUIA!! It is with great delight and joy that we priests, deacons, seminarian intern, and staff at Our Lady of Mercy parish welcome you today to celebrate Easter Mass!! No matter if you worship here weekly or occasionally, are from out of town, are not Catholic or Christian, have been away from the Church, weak or doubting in faith, have been hurt by the Church, have not been living the best moral life, have been searching – you ALL are made to feel WELCOME! And not just today, but always! We are here for you! And, we want to help you experience a life changing encounter with the Risen Lord. Please feel free to reach out to me or Fr. Mark by phone or e-mail –we would love do whatever we can to facilitate your encountering the Risen Lord.
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and our faith that through baptism we too will live beyond our death. But have we ever considered that, because of the resurrection, new life a reality now – that we have already begun to participate in our eternal life. For three days (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter) we have been immersed in the Pascal Mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus – not just recalling historical events of 2,000 years ago, but entering the mystery of what is now happening among us as an Easter people called to conversion. Easter celebrates not history, but mystery. So what is happening among us now that are signs of resurrection and new life? Three people have been so moved by their experience of welcome and community at OLM, that after a period of prayer, discernment and instruction, last night at the Easter Vigil they became members of our Catholic Christian community through baptism, confirmation and sharing in the Eucharist. Five already baptized Christians became Catholic by a profession of faith, confirmation and Eucharist and five Catholics were confirmed at the Easter Vigil. We welcome them with great joy! The Spirit moved 38 men and 54 women to participate in recent CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) retreat weekends at OLM – the largest number of participants ever! Over 1,600 families are using the parish App and the online platform FORMED to grow in their faith and spiritual life. While all of these are some signs of new life at OLM, ultimately Easter calls us to a personal encounter with the Risen Lord – an encounter that stops us dead in our tracks and changes our life forever! And while that encounter is different for each individual – the effects are similar….a burning desire to bring others to meet Jesus – the one who loves us unconditionally, accepts us, forgives us, and gives us new life now – you don’t even have to wait until you die! So this Easter, roll away the rock and let your risen self out of the tomb!
On behalf of Fr. Mark, Deacon Art, Deacon Bob, Deacon Mike, Deacon Phil, Deacon Tim, Deacon Tony, our seminarian intern Senovio, and all the staff at Our Lady of Mercy, I wish you many blessings, not only on this Easter Day, but throughout the 50 days of the Easter Season!
Today begins the most solemn week in the Christian world. This should not be just another same ole week like all the rest. This week should be lived as if your life depended on it!! And it fact, it does! The life giving events of our salvation are remembered and celebrated in three days called the Sacred Paschal Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil). Many understand these three days to be a re-enactment of the historical events – that Holy Thursday commemorates the day Jesus instituted the Eucharist; Friday, commemorates the day he was executed on the cross; and the vigil commemorates his emergence from the tomb. But to make these sacred three days truly meaningful, we need to see them in a different light. Precisely because these faith-anchoring events are historical, they cannot be repeated or “re-enacted.” That is why the church’s long tradition insists that what happened once in history passes over into the mystery of our liturgical and sacramental celebrations. What the Sacred Paschal Triduum actually celebrates is mystery, not history. The liturgies of these days do not “take us back” to the upper room or the path to Calvary. Their ultimate purpose is not to retrace or relive the last hours of Jesus’ life, nor catch sight of him emerging from the tomb at Easter’s dawning. They celebrate not what once happened to Jesus but what is now happening among us as a people called to conversion, gathered in faith, and gifted with the Spirit of holiness. They celebrate God’s taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us as a new human community broken like bread for the world’s life – a community, rich in compassion, steadfast in hope, and fearless in the search for justice and peace. And so, with this perspective, Fr. Mark and I cordially invite you and yearn for your joining us in celebrating three days of sacred mystery!
The Sacred paschal Triduum
Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper – March 29th at 7:00PM
Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion – March 30th at 7:00PM
The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night – March 31st at 8:00PM
If you can’t make the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening, we look forward to seeing you at one of our Easter Sunday Masses. Please note that our Easter Sunday schedule is different from our regular Sunday schedule. Masses on Easter Sunday are at 7:00AM; 9:00AM in church and activity center; 11:00AM in church and activity center; and the last Mass on Easter is at 12:30PM. There will be no 5:30PM Mass on Easter Sunday.
Have a Blessed Holy Week!
The parents with children in our Religious Education program and our Catechists were informed on December 27, 2017 that our Director of Religious Education, Mrs. Karen Boyle resigned from the position for personal health reasons. I share this information with you today to keep the entire parish community in the loop. We thank Karen for her short time with us. To finish out the RE semester, Fr. Mark, myself, and our seminarian Senovio are working closely with our catechists, students and Religious Ed Staff to provide instruction and direction. Your prayers are appreciated as we will begin our search for a new Director soon.
One of the things that Fr. Mark and I have noticed since our arrival this past June is that there are a lot of you out there looking for spiritual nourishment. There are several spiritual renewal opportunities coming up for adult members of the parish. This weekend you have heard about the “Christ Renews His Parish” retreat weekends. The men’s weekend will be March 3 & 4 and the women’s weekend will be March 17 & 18. I encourage anyone, young adult to senior citizen who hasn’t experienced a CRHP retreat to consider this opportunity. During Lent, there will be the opportunity for small group faith sharing through the “Be My Witness” program offered through Renew International. These groups will meet for 6 weeks in Lent and then meet again in the fall. Information about this and sign-up will be the weekend of January 27/28.
And, speaking of on-going faith formation on YOUR schedule, in the convenience of YOUR home, on topics of YOUR interest, have you signed up for “Formed” yet? Since we announced the gift of Formed to the parish in November close to 400 parish families have taken advantage of the gift. Thus far over 15,000 minutes of content have been viewed by OLM Parishioners. It’s never too late to subscribe and have instant access on the web to the best of Catholic programs and information. There is something for everyone…..families, children, teens, young adults, life-long Catholics. And it’s absolutely FREE – it’s a service to you provided by Our Lady of Mercy parish. Simply go to www.formed.org and create your own account using access code:
I mention all these opportunities to help you to keep that New Year’s resolution of getting closer to God and growing in your faith!
Have a Blessed Week!