A Note from Fr. Michael
As you have already heard, this year is a special Jubilee Year for the Order of Mercy throughout the world. Our Mercedarian Order was founded in 1218, exactly 800 years ago in Barcelona, Spain. As we make our way through this Mercedarian Jubilee Year, there will be a number of special events. Each Mercedarian house and parish throughout the world is having a special celebration to commemorate the founding of the Order. Here, at Our Lady of Mercy-St. Brigid we will have two events to commemorate our Order’s founding.
The first celebration will take place in conjunction with the Solemnity of our founder, St. Peter Nolasco on Sunday, May 6th. Beginning on Sunday, May 6th, we will have a parish mission that will last for three evenings. Our special guest preacher for the three nights of the Mission is Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The topics that Fr. Chris will be presenting are very Mercedarian indeed. Fr. Chris will speak to us of God’s mercy, the importance of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, why God allows suffering, and, how to live as a faithful Catholic so we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. These topics are very dear to the Mercedarian Order. It was God who in His tender mercy heard the cry of the suffering Christian captives enslaved by their persecutors. Though the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Mercy, on the evening of August 2nd, 1218, God called St. Peter Nolasco to found a new religious family in the Church for the redemption of Christian captives from the hands of their enemies. These Christians were in danger of losing their Catholic Faith during the time that they were being held in captivity. The Mercedarians in rescuing these slaves performed a twofold act of mercy; freeing them from the sufferings of slavery and releasing them from the conditions that put their Catholic Faith in jeopardy. Fr. Chris will preach at all
the Sunday Masses at Our Lady of Mercy and then begin the Mission on Sunday evening at 7:00pm. The Mission will continue on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 7:00pm. I hope everyone will do everything it takes to be present for the Mission. It is an awesome opportunity to for us to grow in knowledge of God’s Mercy, in knowledge of our Catholic Faith, and in our devotion to our Mother of Mercy.
The second celebration we will have to commemorate the founding of the Order will take place in September in conjunction with the solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy on September 24. On Sunday, September 23rd, the day before Our Lady’s Feast the 10:30am Mass will be a solemn Mass, hopefully with the bishop presiding. Following the Mass we will have an outdoor picnic with games inside the gym for our children.
In recognition of our eight hundredth anniversary year, Pope Francis has granted permission for all of the churches in the care of the Mercedarian friars to have a Jubilee Year Door. This means that the faithful may gain a plenary indulgence from the 17th of January 2018 to the 17th of January 2019 each day when visiting Our Lady of Mercy Church. To gain the special grace of the plenary indulgence one simply needs to pass through the Jubilee Doors and fulfill the usual conditions for a plenary indulgence. Those conditions are: sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, prayer for the intentions of our Holy Father, all done in a spirit of complete detachment from any sin. The front inner doors at Our Lady of Mercy have been designated as the Jubilee Door.
Finally, this year is a “Chapter” year for the Mercedarians. This means that a number of friars in roles of leadership get together to map out their plans for the next three years and to elect their new Provincial and his Counsel. These chapter meetings will take place in Nemi, Italy beginning on Saturday, June 2nd. I will be attending these meetings along with Fr. James who has been chosen as a delegate to the Chapter. Please keep in your prayers the Mercedarian Order during this very important time. Also please continue to pray for the happy repose of the soul of Fr. Jerome Laubacher who spent many years of priestly service in Le Roy.
May the Blessed Virgin of Mercy and St. Peter Nolasco help us to truly experience
God’s mercy during this Jubilee Year.