December 10, 2023 – From the Pastor Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy, Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! We are now in the Second Sunday of Advent and our gospel passage is calling us to “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” If we are attentive to the voice of God, we are happy that He keeps calling us and guiding us along the path that leads to Him and to our eternal happiness in heaven. This is good news. God is with us all the time. We are getting nearer to the celebration of Christmas day. We might say it is a thanksgiving celebration since at Christmas, we thank God for giving us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Yes, Christmas celebrates the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Messiah. That is why God, through His Church, keeps reminding us to prepare for this celebration by cleansing our souls. We do that by reflecting on God’s Word and by going to confession. This is the best preparation we can make as children of God. This is what really matters. If we can do this, our Christmas will be a joyous celebration. On that note, I invite you to be involved and participate in our parish activities and events. A few of them are published in this bulletin. I remind you that this Friday, December 15, we will begin our Simbang Gabi Novena of Masses that will end on Saturday, December 23. I invite you to attend this devotion and also to be sponsors or donors of non-perishable food for a local food pantry. This work of mercy is highly appreciated by those who are less fortunate. With your generosity, you will make more people happy, especially in this Christmas season. Next Sunday, December 17, from 2 pm until 7 pm, we will have our parish Christmas party. I invite you to come and celebrate as one parish family. Tickets are available in the parish office and in the church vestibule after Masses this weekend. This is the last weekend for you to purchase those tickets. We are also in need of more liturgical ministers, like altar servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, choir members, music ministers, and hospitality ministers or ushers. Please volunteer. Your reward in heaven will be waiting for you. My prayer is that we all make an effort to love and serve God with all our heart, mind and soul. Advent is a good time to renew our good intentions, put them into practice, and thereby secure a place in eternal life. Let us do it. It is never too late to start anew. I would like to end this column by thanking Father Anton and Jeng Villa for a nice kickoff of our three-week Advent reflection series. It was well attended. And thank you also to those who facilitated last Sunday’s Seniors Café by working on set up and clean up and by bringing food and beverages. Kudos to all of you. 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.