From the Pastor
Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy,
I hope this finds you well and safe.
We are in the first week of Lent. This is the time when we are asked to do more introspection so we may discover where we stand in our relationship with God and with the people around us.
We need to ask ourselves if we are doing the right and good thing, if we are following God’s commandments or not. The more we try to live as we should, the more we may feel we are tempted to do wrong and to make bad choices.
Let us briefly meditate on temptation. Our Sunday’s gospel tells us that Jesus himself was subjected to temptation by the devil. Yet we know from other gospel accounts that he did not fall into sin on account of those temptations. Angels ministered to him. Jesus did not allow temptation to draw him away from the source of his spiritual strength. That should be a lesson for all of us. When we are tempted, we need to turn to God for the strength not to give in.
Temptation is a strange thing. It seems to be a force that begins outside of us, yet there are deep aspects of our character that cause us to surrender to temptation. Our desires need to be controlled and put in their proper spiritual order. We need to examine our priorities according to what we really need in life, and not let our neediness control us. And we need the grace of humility so that we can be honest and open with God about what we truly deserve in life.
Jesus himself passed through all of the temptations of life without falling into sin. When we are in danger of falling, we need to turn to God. We need to turn to Jesus for help. He is our savior, our refuge and fortress, who will be with us in times of distress to deliver us from evil.
Folks, let us use this Lenten season well by trying to turn away from sins and to grow closer to God. Check our bulletin for more information on what is going on in our parish during this Lenten Season.
Also, please pray and consider supporting the 2021 Annual Appeal.
Thank you and God bless you all.
Baptism at Our Parish
Last Sunday, February 14, Ezra Jace Fernandez was baptized at our parish. Father Marty, our pastor, presided at the liturgy, assisted by Deacon Meynard.
Online Stations of the Cross During the Season of Lent
The Holy Name Society of our parish will sponsor Stations of the Cross on the Fridays of Lent at 7 pm. Because of the current pandemic these services will be online. To participate, go to our parish website (olmnj.org) and click on FACEBOOK|LIVESTREAM. The Stations will take place on the following Fridays of Lent at 7 pm
February 26, 2021 – 7:00pm EST
March 5, 2021 – 7:00pm EST
March 12, 2021 – 7:00pm EST
March 19, 2021 – 7:00pm EST
March 26, 2021 – 7:00pm EST
Let us journey with Jesus Christ this Lenten season. Praying the Stations of the Cross brings us closer to Jesus as we meditate on the great love he showed us in his suffering and death!
2021 LENTEN REGULATIONS
Lent is a time for prayer, fasting, and charity as we prepare to renew our baptismal promises at Easter. The practice of penance forms a necessary part of this preparation. The Church gives us the following regulations to help us make good use of the season of Lent.
All the Fridays of Lent are days of Abstinence. On a Day of Abstinence, no meat may be eaten. Those 14 years of age and older are obliged to abstain from meat. For a serious reason, Church Law allows the pastor to dispense an individual from refraining from meat on a Friday during the Lenten Season.
Good Friday (April 2) is a day of Fast and Abstinence. A Day of Fast means that only one full meal is permitted. Two smaller meals may be eaten. There is no food taken between meals. Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast, though others are encouraged to fast. The days of fast are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
The obligation to observe the laws of Fast and Abstinence “substantially” or as a whole, is a serious obligation.
Catholics should go to Holy Communion at least once between the First Sunday of Lent (February 21) and Trinity Sunday (May 30). If necessary, they should celebrate the Sacrament of Penance. Individual confessions are heard here at OLM Monday through Friday from 9 am to 9:30 am and Saturday from 4 pm to 4:30 pm in the former daily Mass chapel.
Sign Up To Be Part of Our Online Lenten Scripture Program
Appreciate the Word, Live the Word
Good things are worth repeating, and that certainly is the case with Appreciate the Word, Live the Word. This small group program, which has taken place at OLM during the past three years, has helped participants to grow in their understanding of God’s word. It has helped them to see how that word might be applied to their daily lives. In the process they have made new friends and have grown in their faith.
This coming Lenten season, which begins this week, we are going to have a four-session program focused on the Gospel Readings for the Sundays of March.
(March 7, 14, 21, 28) Because of the ongoing pandemic, these sessions of Appreciate the Word, Live the Word will take place online, using ZOOM. No previous knowledge of the Bible is required, only a desire to listen to what the Lord may be saying to us in the scripture readings.
Pick the time that works best for you from the schedule below and then register today by sending an email with your name, email, phone number and preferred time slot to (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can also register online at https://forms.gle/1yb5Hnrze21d3cbX8
Sundays at 6 pm (Feb. 28, March 7, 14, 21) Facilitators: Alex & Rose Duque
Mondays at 4 pm (March 1, 8, 15, 22) Facilitator: Fr. Tom Iwanowski
Mondays at 7 pm (March 1, 8, 15, 22) Facilitators: Jed & Anne Bacay
Tuesdays at 10 am (March 2, 9, 16, 23) Facilitator: Grace Teves
Wednesdays at 7 pm (March 3, 10, 17, 24) Facilitator: Evelyn Apelizan
Thursdays at 7 pm (March 4, 11, 18, 25) Facilitator: Deacon Meynard Espeleta