November 19, 2023 – From the Pastor Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy, hope this finds you all well. For this issue of the bulletin I would like to reflect with you on our readings. This Sunday is the last Sunday in Ordinary Time before next Sunday’s celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, which marks the end of the church year. We are just a few weeks away from the First Sunday of Advent and the liturgical year of 2024. The readings during these last Sundays of the Church’s year continue to remind us that our earthly life will come to an end and there will be an accounting of the way we have lived. Our lives are short, but they are significant. They determine our final judgement. This Sunday we must consider whether or not we have invested the gifts we have been given to serve God and to contribute to the building up of God’s kingdom here on earth. St Paul admonishes us to stay alert and sober, vigilant for the time of the Lord’s return. He says that as people of faith, we are absolutely certain that the Lord will return. But none of us can be sure when that will happen. His return will come unexpectedly. That is why we always need to be ready and to live as children of the light. All of us have been given the opportunity in this life to do good rather than evil. All of us have been given the gifts that we need to live a good life, namely, time, physical health, and mental and spiritual strengths. We have what we need to prosper as individuals and to show a return on the investment that God has made in us. We may not all have been equally blessed in that regard. Some of us have been given more. Some people are smarter than others. Some individuals are more gifted in terms of physical health. Some people may have been blessed by being raised in the lap of wealth and luxury. We need to remember that from those to whom much has been given, much more will be expected. But no matter how gifted we are, or how little we may have, we are all equally expected to put whatever we have at God’s service and to work for the good of our brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters, as this liturgical year draws near to its conclusion, let us not be like the fearful servant of the Gospel who refused to take the risk with what little he had been given. Rather, to the best of our ability, let us use everything that we have been given to serve God. Let us do our part to build up God’s kingdom so that on the day of the Lord’s return, we may be found sober and alert as befits God’s children of the light. Happy Thanksgiving Day! God bless us all! Love, Father Marty (Previous Week) 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. 2024 Mass Intentions / Our Mass Book Opens Monday, November 27 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. The Giving Tree at Our Parish The Giving Tree involves people donating to those in need during the coming Advent Season in preparation for Christmas. Many families cannot afford rent or food, and certainly not Christmas gifts. The Giving Tree will be part of the Advent Season here at OLM. The beautiful tradition about the Giving Tree is that the giver does not know the receiver, and the recipient does not know the giver, but both are touched by the love of Christ who calls us to love our neighbor. The stars that are on the trees in the church describe gifts requested by various charities. Note that if you choose a star listing multiple gifts, the choice of gift is yours We ask you to please return your gifts unwrapped. . Lastly, all checks are to be made out to the particular charity not to OLM. Return your gifts by Sunday, December 17. Place them under the trees or bring the gifts to the parish office. Thank you for bringing the light of Christ to the lives of our less fortunate brothers and sisters.