"The tragedy of the passion brings to fulfilment our own life and the whole of human history. We can't let Holy Week be just a kind of commemoration. It means contemplating the mystery of Jesus Christ as something which continues to work in our souls. The Christian is obliged to be alter Christus, ipse Christus: another Christ, Christ himself. "

St. Josemaria Escriva

Entering into the Mysteries of Our Faith, Celebrating Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Dear Parishioners:

Last Saturday morning we had a grand celebration for Mrs. Claire Sharpe on her 107th birthday.  Bishop Evans celebrated the Mass and her family joined Claire.  All she wanted for her birthday was to receive the Eucharist at Our Lady of Mercy Church! Her words of faith and wisdom at the reception that followed the Mass were truly inspirational.  God Bless her!

Also last week our OLM Middle School Students attended the RI Science Olympiad and did very well.  There is a complete list of winners in the bulletin.  We congratulate the entire team  on their hard work and success. We thank the many parents and volunteers who helped prepare the students for the event.  Also thanks to their Olympiad Coach, our outstanding OLM Middle School Science Teacher, Dr. Deborah Husak!  Great job by one and all, you made us proud!

We must also congratulate the OLM Girls Basketball Team who won the RI State Championship and last weekend made their way to the New England Tournament in Bridgeport. They went as far as the semi-finals.  The OLM Girls had a great season finishing 11-1.  We congratulate them on their hard work and success this season.  We thank their coaches Brenda Verdi and Dr. Steve Basler for their commitment to the team.

I bring warm greetings from our former OLM Associate Pastor Father  Shemek. He is doing very well in Tiverton where he serves as Pastor of both St. Theresa  and St. Christopher Parishes. I am grateful for his kind invitation to lead the parishes on a Lenten Mission last week. They are a vibrant community of faith and I truly enjoyed  my time there.

It’s hard to believe that our forty-days of Lenten prayer, fasting and alms-giving are coming to an end already.  We begin Holy Week by recalling  Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish the Paschal Mystery.  At the heart of our faith is the Paschal Mystery: the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ. All of salvation history leads up to and goes forth from these saving events. We call  this  week, “Holy Week” as Jesus’ public ministry culminates with his suffering, death and resurrection.

Our celebration of Holy Week begins this Sunday as we remember in faith  the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to begin his final week and initiate his Passion. The  Gospels recount this triumphant entry that Sunday Morning so long ago. Today as we receive the  palm branches, perhaps  we might consider ourselves as part of that vast crowd. How will we journey with Jesus this week? Let the palm remind us to praise Christ  with our prayerful presence during the Sacred Triduum.

Holy Thursday marks the beginning of the Sacred Triduum. We celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00pm with the foot washing of parishioners. At this Mass we recall the institution of the Eucharist and the Sacred Priesthood by Jesus Christ.  The Church is to remain open until Midnight for private prayer and devotion before the Eucharistic Lord at the Altar of Repose.

Good Friday  we recall the Lord’s Passion and Crucifixion.  It is a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence. Whenever possible,  we are urged to keep Good Friday free of work and social activities, as well as unnecessary  distractions like TV, radio, internet and movies. Rather we should devote ourselves to both private and communal prayer and worship. Join us on Good Friday at 3:00pm for the Stations of the Cross and at 7:00pm for the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion where we  venerate the Cross and receive Holy Communion.

On Holy Saturday we recall Jesus in the tomb as we pray and prepare for the Easter Vigil.  The Easter Vigil Mass is at 8:00pm and is the only Mass that day.  We begin in the darkness as we recall the death of Christ and then the Church comes alive with light as we recall his glorious Resurrection. We rejoice as the tomb is empty!

At the Easter Vigil Mass we will also receive five people fully into the Catholic Faith. Pray for them  as they join our Church. On Easter Sunday the tomb is empty and so we rejoice in the glory of the Lord’s Resurrection  with Masses at 7:30am, 9:00am and 10:30am.  There is no 5:00pm Sunday evening Mass on Easter.

Join us this Holy Week and truly enter into the Sacred Mysteries of our faith. Know of our prayers for those who are traveling for Easter. Be well. Do good. God Bless!