Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy:
Happy Second Advent Sunday!
As the song says: “Soon and very soon we are going to see The King,” we are really getting closer to that great event in our salvation history, that is, the birthday of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you look around, houses and churches are already decked for this joyful event. It goes to show you that people are responding to what our gospel passage tells us this weekend: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Mark 1: 1-8). But that is on the external or outside preparations only. On the spiritual side, it is really calling all of us to prepare our souls. We may ask: prepare our souls for what? Prepare for Christmas? And the answer is yes, and more importantly for eternal life. That is, the life after this earthly life. That is why we have these seasons of Advent and Christmas to remind us of how our salvation broke into our world with the coming of The Messiah, The Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ. It is of great joy we celebrate it year after year because had He not come into our world, we would have not been saved.
Saying that, I want to remind you of our upcoming events in preparation for the celebration of Jesus’s birthday. The Advent Parish Mission will start this Monday and ends on Wednesday. I want bring it for the last time in this letter what have been posted in past few weeks. A parish mission is a special time to nourish our spirit and our relationship with God. Our parish mission will consist of a three-evening series of inspirational talks given within a service of prayer, scripture readings and song. The theme of the Mission will be “Easter Peace: Reflections on the Peace Prayer.” We are having it in order to renew our faith, to contribute to the spiritual life of our parish, to respond to God’s invitation or call to draw ever closer to Him, to grow in our appreciation of God’s marvelous love and to learn how to be better instruments of God’s kingdom of love, justice, and peace in our troubled world. The Missionary who will be giving this mission and leading us is the Franciscan Friar Johnpaul Cafiero, a native of New York/New Jersey. Father Johnpaul has doctorates in theology and psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling. He is a teacher and retreat director, international preacher, counselor and teacher on both the high school and university levels, and the former Vocation Director for his Order. He currently is a Chaplain of the Illinois State Police. Father Johnpaul led our community in a parish mission a few years ago with the spirituality of the Wizard of Oz. For those of you who attended it will definitely remember him.
Another celebration we have in preparation for Christmas is the Simbang Gabi or Novena of Masses that will start on the 15th. You see sign up boards located in both entrances of the Church. Please sign up being sponsors for each night. It is with unlimited spots. You can bring as your offerings non-perishable goods, listed on the board, for Our Lady of Sorrows Church food pantry. It is one of the many ways of thinking those who are less fortunate to have what you have.
At the end the Simbang Gabi Novena, on the 23rd we have our parish Christmas party following the 5pm mass in the Maria Room. Every one of you is invited. There are forms to sign up with a $10 contribution per person. I strongly encourage each and every one of you to come and join in these celebrations.
I want to end up this short letter by thanking the wellness ministry for a successful event this past weekend under the leadership of Kathleen Pormento and Father Tom as the moderator. Thank you members of this ministry for helping out to make the affair well done. Vendors and attendees thank you so much for being there. Truly, our souls and bodies are in need to be educated on how to live wholly to further God’s mission entrusted to us.
Another shout out to John Flora (Pastoral Council president), thanking him in leading the meeting for various parish ministries leaders in preparation for the upcoming ministry fair in springtime.
And a gentle reminder to all: as you generously give gifts this Christmas to your loved ones, kindly do the same to your second home, The OLM Church.
Thank you and God bless you all!
Please pray for the sick:
Paul Calefati, Elaine Staltari, Othelia G. Laurena, Jean Karycinski, Dorothy Darcy, Erlinda Jacinto, Presentacion Sorio, Leonora Loyola, Eric Bautista, Lilian Kryczkowski, Ellen Iorio, Jessica Pavone, Ian Malesiewski, Ruben Catipon, Angela Salvador, Clarita Salvador, Teresita Cordon , Vincent Mastria, Maria Svaligma, Bill Macchi, Craig Rutkowski, James Seaman, Makenzie Cadmus, Manuel J.Juson, MD, Gina Marquez, Maurita Reyes, Daniel Tamayo Santos, Marie Ronzitti, Lucia Vanderburg, Betty Scerbo, Philip Scerbo, Alejandra Ancheta, Cindy Popolo, Mario Banaag, Oscar Alladin, Antonio Roldan, Esperanza Galarza, Carmen Tuazon, Susan Ranola Rivera, Conrado “Boy” Tanada, John Broderick, Joanne Diaz, Ligaya Tan, Leonarda DeCarlo, Dolores Steinhauser, Eugenio Cacananta, Austin Macalintal, Eduviges Ledesma, Carolyn Taliaferro, Nonong Dava, John Gaito, Elsa Concepcion, Ricardo Vales, Virginia T. Mercurio, James Leung, Tran Phouc, Sophia Gonzalez, Father Tom Roberst, Jocelyn Tuazon, Florentino Chanco, Edgardo Cruz, Luchie Vivas.
Is Your Marriage Valid?
If you were married civilly, that is, not in the Catholic Church before a priest or deacon, it might not be a valid marriage. Some couples believe that a marriage before a Justice of the Peace or a non-Catholic minister is valid. For a marriage to be valid in the Catholic Church, the marriage must be in a Catholic Church or Chapel and officiated by an authorized Catholic priest or deacon along with 2 witnesses. (There are limited interfaith exceptions with proper permission.)
We invite you to speak with one of our priests if there are any questions or if indeed you wish to validate your marriage. The process can be very simple and your marriage will now be blessed by the Church.