December 3, 2023 – From the Pastor ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE, SATURDAY (DECEMBER 9) / 2PM CHILDREN / 3PM ADULTS Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy, Welcome Advent Season! Yes, we are now in the first week of Advent. This is the time when we begin to prepare to celebrate the coming of the Son of God in flesh. A few weeks from now, we will celebrate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is as good a time as any to start thinking about what precious gift we can give to Jesus this Christmas. So, I urge you to really ask yourself what that gift might be. One of the preparations for Christmas that our parish offers is the Advent reflection series being given by Father Anton Sarento called “Journeying to Bethlehem.” This series allows us to let our minds and hearts be transported to that time when Mary was carrying Jesus in her womb and then gave birth in Bethlehem. It was an exciting time for Mary and Joseph. God chose them to be his instruments so that the Son of God could be born and live with us in human form. Can you imagine their joy and excitement? I believe that those who are parents can imagine and feel what Mary and Joseph did much better than us, non-parents. You know how it feels to expect a child on the way to its birth. So, brothers and sisters, try to re-live how Jesus broke into our world by reading the scriptures and meditating on the life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This will give you a better appreciation of Jesus’ coming, of His “Advent,” and your journey towards Christmas day will be more meaningful and filled with gratitude and joy. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come! Saying that, I would like to encourage you to check our upcoming parish events. One of them is the parish Christmas party on Sunday afternoon, December 17. Let us celebrate together joyfully as one parish community. Tickets are on sale after every Mass on the weekend, and every day in the parish office. Last Sunday, through the Sacrament of Baptism, we welcomed Theo Ethan and Samantha to our Christian community. In the name of our parish, I congratulate Theo’s parents, Jude and Trisha Fernandez, and Samantha’s parents, Marc and Cecilia Sonza on the baptism of their children. I also congratulate the godparents of these children. The whole community prays that these parents and godparents will be fully equipped with wisdom and love so that they will be able to help these children grow in the knowledge and love of God and their neighbors. I would like to end this column by asking you to prepare a Christmas gift to Our Lady of Mercy, your parish, of $200 per household. This amount was approved by our Parish Finance Council. The members also said that if you are more financially blessed, you might give more than $200. They believe, based on their personal experience, that the “more you give, the more you will be blessed!” So, please do so, because the parish is in dire need of your support. In my previous bulletin column, I mentioned some of the repairs needed in our parish building. As your pastor, I beg for your support and prayers. Thank you so much and God bless you all! Love, Father Marty (Previous Week) 2024 Mass Intentions Our 2024 Mass Book opens for your Mass intentions starting tomorrow, Monday, November 27. Masses may be scheduled on weekdays during regular office hours, 8 am to 3 pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays, between 9 am to 1 pm. Please note that during the first month the Mass Book is open, we request that parishioners book no more than 5 Masses. In addition to Mass intentions, you may also make donations for the sanctuary lamp and for the bread and wine used at our Masses. The suggested offering for weekday Masses is $15, and the suggested offering for Sunday Masses is $25. The suggested offering for the sanctuary lamp that burn by the tabernacle, or the bread, or the wine to be used at our Masses is $25. Introducing Our New Parish Trustee: Henry Racelis Henry Racelis is a registered nurse with critical care, transplant, and pharmaceutical sales experience. He is also a licensed real estate broker for Racelis Realty, a family business serving the communities of Jersey City and Northern New Jersey for over 40 years. Like his father, Greg, Henry is very involved in the Jersey City community as a board member of the business improvement district of West Side Ave, called the West Side Partnership. He has served on our parish Wellness Ministry for four years, and currently is a member of our Parish Pastoral Council. Henry also serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee for Rutgers School of Nursing. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and MBA degree at Rutgers University. He also attained a Masters in Public Administration from Seton Hall University. Henry and his wife, Vina, love to travel and they enjoy spending time with relatives who live in New Jersey, Virginia, California, Canada, and the Caribbean. The Role of The Parish Trustee The following information is from the Pastor’s Administrative Manual published by the Archdiocese of Newark The two lay trustees serve on the civil governing body of the parish corporation. They assist with ordinary business and exercise their powers as necessary and proper for attaining the corporation’s purposes…Lay trustees should be members in good standing of the parish, be active participants in the parish community, have relevant business experience or ability, and have the commitment needed for the position. The two lay trustees can be male or female. Lay trustees are appointed at the annual meeting of the parish corporation and serve a term of one year. There is no limit on the number of terms one individual may serve.