A Note from Fr. Michael:
You might recall in the last week’s bulletin insert, I presented five points that make for a growing and vibrant parish. I would like for us to stay focused on these points throughout the summer months. Ensuring that our parish is growing and vibrant should be the heartfelt concern of every parishioner. Here, once again, are the five points that characterize a growing and vibrant parish:
1) The Gospel is preached and received in all its fullness
2) The sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is being frequently celebrated by the members of the parish
3) Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar is frequently visited and adored by the parishioners
4) Loving devotion to the Blessed Mother of God is present in the parish, and,
5) The needy in the area are being looked after by the parish.
These are the tried and true signs of a vibrant parish. This Sunday I would like to introduce one way that we can fulfill point number five: The needy in the area are being looked after by the parish. The Pastoral Council of Our Lady of Mercy, in collaboration with the St. Brigid’s Pastoral Council, has drawn up a plan to reach out to the LeRoy/Bergen Communities by providing assistance with non-food/essential items. This joint-parish outreach program to the needy is called Mother Teresa Outreach.
As you might know there are a number of already existing programs to aid the needy in our area with food. The Pastoral Council wanted to devise a program that meets the needs of the needy in a way that is not being provided by any existing program. The Mother Teresa Outreach will be our uniquely our way as a parish family to reach out to the needy. As you know, paper and hygiene products can be items that a needy family/person will do without because they use the little money that they have for food items.
We have installed in the Our Lady of Mercy Parish Center shelving to store the paper products and hygienic items. Donated items can be dropped off to the Our Lady of Mercy Parish Center on Hospitality Sundays (Coffee and Donuts) between 8:00am to 12:30pm. Hospitality Sundays are scheduled for June 25, July 23, and August 20. The first distribution of the donated items will be Saturday, September 10th from 12:00pm – 2:00pm at Our Lady of Mercy Parish Center.
There is already a group of parishioners from both parishes who are committed to help grow this ministry. The Pastoral Councils and I truly hope that the Mother Teresa Outreach will become a parish-wide ministry. What will be the result for our parishes if this ministry is successful? First, the blessing of Almighty God upon our parish will be a result from looking after the needy. Remember what Jesus said in the Gospel: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,” (Matthew 25: 40). Jesus sees as done to Himself what we do for others. Our Lord also says, “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me,” (Matthew 25: 45). Another result of this parish ministry will be spreading the Gospel. By humbly and quietly doing good deeds for the needy we will manifest the love of God. Remember what St. Francis said? He said: “Preach, and if necessary use words.” In other words, our actions are the best way to spread the Gospel. As we do this good work we don’t have to toot our own horn, because Jesus said: “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Matthew 6: 3 – 4).
Finally, please mark your calendar for two very important events in June. The first event is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi next Sunday, June 18. Following the 10:30am Mass there will be an outdoor procession with the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Church asks all Catholics on this day to do our best to give a public witness to our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. It is also an opportunity for us to give public adoration to our Eucharistic Savior. Jesus told us in the Gospel just as He was returning to the Father: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20) Jesus keeps this promise in a most wonderful way in his abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist. The other important date is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday, June 23. There will be an evening Mass celebrated on this day at Our Lady of Mercy at 7:00pm. Please consider attending this evening Mass in honor of and thanksgiving for the love of God found in the Sacred Heart of His Son.
Have a safe and enjoyable summer season.
God Bless, Fr. Michael