Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy:
I can’t believe we are in the last weekend of July already! “Time flies so fast when you are having fun,” right? And while almost everybody is having fun with vacations, “staycations,” “daycations,” or whatever and however you call your spending time off, there are a few works-in-progress at church in preparation of this year’s church events. To mention a few, I want you to mark your calendar and save the dates for the following: there will be a celebration of the Eucharist with Archbishop Cardinal Joseph Tobin on the 28th of September at Saint Aloysius Church on Westside Avenue, Jersey City at 7:30pm. All of you are invited to participate. This is his visit to all churches in the Archdiocese of Newark but he does it by deanery. You will have a chance to interact with him because after mass light refreshments will be served in the parish hall and the Archbishop will be open to answer your questions and concerns. So please show up. Some time in the Fall there will be another Health Fair in the Maria Room. The last Health Fair event was of great success that we are again excited to have another one. Stay tuned for the exact date to be announced. And, in December 11th and 12th we are having an advent parish mission. The Parish Advent Mission theme will be “Preparing for the Prince of Peace: Reflections on the Peace Prayer” and will be given by Father JohnPaul Cafiero, OFM. You may recall Father JohnPaul had been with us for a parish mission a few years ago and did “Reflections on the Wizard of Oz.” There will be more information regarding the said events as we come closer to the dates.
For those of you who go to the 8:45am mass on weekdays, after getting the consent of everybody, the mass is going to be changed to 8:30am starting September 1st of this year. So please wake up fifteen minutes before your usual wake up time to be at church ON TIME for the mass. We will put up a new signage, as soon as it is done, on the Sullivan Drive church wall outside with the new schedule of masses. Hopefully, that will be our permanent schedule without changing it from Fall to Summer schedules. It will help remove your confusions as to what time is “11:30 mass” or the like. (“11:30” mass didn’t exist anyway! That one came from a joke of one of our parishioners.) But really and hopefully, you will not be calling the parish office for mass schedule (although, I doubt it!).
This past Monday, our altar servers (even though not all of them went to) had a great time at Six Flags Great Adventure with Father Nol, four parents, Deacon Meynard and me. To our altar servers: the trip was just one of the many ways we want to express in thanking you. Because, truth be told, we cannot thank you enough for your service. Spiritually God knows how we appreciate your effort to come to mass and serve the altar. But sometimes we, human beings, need a pat in the back for what we do. So, please know that your service in secret is well known in heaven. And the next time we offer trips or events for you, please join us.
Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Lorenzo De Guzman on their 50th wedding anniversary. They have renewed their wedding vows last weekend surrounded by their family and loved ones and the entire congregation at mass. The world today really needs that kind of living testimony on how the Sacrament of Matrimony is a Sacrament of life and love and it confers abundant grace on the couple and the family. It is a quiet way of delivering sermons on love and on how to be faithful to each other. Everybody knows how to love one anther but faithful love to a spouse is even deeper and amazing if we stop and think of it. And I want to take this as another opportunity to call on those who are not married canonically (church wedding) to please come and have your wedding blessed in church. The process is not that difficult. All the church wants to know is you are free to marry and that you only need two witnesses to be there. It doesn’t have to be a lavish preparation. Please I beg you to approach the sacrament of matrimony and you will find out how the grace of God, so abundant, works on your life. We, priests are here to assist and help you.
Congratulations also to our newly baptized babies: Everleigh S. Andales and Raizo Kenneth T. Ignacio! May they grow in the love and wisdom of God. Our prayers go also for their parents, godparents and family that they may be filled with wisdom so they can impart that knowledge to these, their children, as they grow up.
This is already a lengthy letter therefore I want to end this by saying that we are beginning to be a more vibrant community. I can tell the difference and so I encourage each and every one of you to continue being faithful people of God. Come to church Sunday after Sunday. Bring friends and/or family members who don’t’ come to church yet. Be evangelizers of God’s word by the way you live as good Christians. Tell others how our God longs to be with them and have them share the banquet prepared for them in the Eucharist. That is one of the many ways to respond to God’s call to be a good seed, a good tree, yielding good fruits or (as our Gospel passage this weekends says) to be a “merchant searching for fine pearls” or to be a “net thrown into the sea and collects fish of every kind.”
God bless you all!
Summer or Winter Makes No Difference!
As you know, we are now following our summer Mass schedule, Saturday 5 pm, Sunday 8 am, 10 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm. That schedule would normally change in September and we would then follow our winter Mass schedule. However, this will no longer happen. We have decided to keep our current Mass schedule throughout the entire year. Our Mass schedule will continue as it is, Saturday 5 pm, Sunday 8 am, 10 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm. Summer or winter will make no difference, the Mass times will remain the same!
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 Svaligmac, Bill Macchi, Craig Rutkowski, James Seaman, Makenzie Cadmus, Manuel J.Juson, MD, Gina Marquez, Rose Maschucci, Maurita Reyes, Daniel Tamayo Santos, Marie Ronzitti, Lucia Vanderburg, Betty Scerbo, Philip Scerbo, Alejandra Ancheta, Cindy Popolo, Mario Banaag, Oscar Alladin, Antonio Roldan, Ricardo Valdez, Erma Chidichimo, Esperanza Galarza, Carmen Tuazon, Nick DeBello, Susan Ranola Rivera, Conrado “Boy” Tanada, John Broderick, John Hnath, Joanne Diaz, Ligaya Tan, Concepcion Del Rosario, Eduviges Ledesma, Leonarda DeCarlo
“Planted in the House of God”
From July 10th until July 14th, Fr. Marty, Liam, Krystelle, and I attended the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a yearly conference in which Music Directors, cantors, organists, instrumentalists, composers and clergy from all over the country and several nations come together to learn about new and exciting ways to enhance in our roles as pastoral musicians. If you have ever been to a conference before, it had its usual breakdown: there were keynote plenum speakers each talking about a different topic surrounding this year’s theme for the convention (Formed as One: Union of Voices, Unity of Hearts), breakout sessions ranging in different areas in music and liturgy, and showcases from publishing companies where they showcased music of various styles, backgrounds, and languages.
We were able to experience Mass with over 2,000 convention attendees, all breaking out in four-part harmony and filling our voices inside the grand ballroom. We witnessed awe-inspiring performances from different artists and musicians, a living testament of their work in this important ministry. On site was an exhibit hall filled with music and books ranging from different topics (I had to restrain myself from buying everything!) Everywhere we walked we noticed different artists, musicians, and speakers, few of which we were lucky enough to meet and talk with. Others we simply admired from a far.
This conference gives me the chance to be renewed in spirit, refresh my mind, and learn something new that I can take back to our parish. All four of us are inspired and fueled by the reminder one of the speakers had said in her plenum talk: “I am an olive tree growing in the house of God” (Psalm 52:8). We have been nourished and watered by the message that was brought forth to us at NPM and now we return to OLM renewed in mind and spirit. As pastoral musicians, our role is being able to serve our community through song and we are blessed to serve all of you here. We look forward in taking our NPM experience- the ‘olive tree’- and planting it here at OLM. (Michael Rivera)