Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy,
I hope this New Year finds you well and safe.
Today we heard in our gospel that after the baptism of Jesus, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove and he heard a voice from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22).
We might suppose that was a one-of-a-kind experience reserved for Jesus. However, it is not just to Jesus that those words are addressed. Through Jesus, each and every one of us has become a beloved son and daughter of God and God is well pleased to receive each of us into His circle of love.
That is a part of what happens at baptism. The Holy Spirit descends upon us, not in the physical form of a dove, but in the spiritual form of a seal upon our hearts, a seal that says, “God dwells here, God is living here inside me and God is living there inside you!” Because of that, “do not fear, here is your God,” as the Prophet Isaiah says in the first reading. (Isaiah 40:9).
That spirit of hope and fearlessness brought you all here to church. And I thank you for that. I can see that you are doing your part in taking extra care of yourselves, following all recommended precautionary measures against Covid, especially by wearing masks and checking yourselves for possible infections. Keep doing that because you are not only saving yourselves but others also.
In the name of our parish staff, I thank you for supporting your parish with your regular Sunday donations, Christmas gifts, prayers, and good and kind words. Also, I thank you for your generosity to our giving tree, including the Libas toy-giving donations for the Philippines. You made the less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ very happy at Christmas. You have no idea of the joy they all felt because of your love and concern for them.
Due to the spike of Covid infections in our area, Café OLM is postponed to next month. I believe you understand the situation. Next weekend we ask you to bring your Santo Niño statues to the church. There will be a blessing of the statues at the end of every Mass in honor of the feast of Santo Niño.
As I announced last weekend, there will be Covid testing on January 10 – 14, from 9 am until 5 pm. The testing will be done in our church parking lot. There will be another Covid test the following week, January 17 – 21, Monday to Friday, from 9 am until 5 pm in the Maria Room.
My brothers and sisters, I encourage you not only to avail yourselves of these tests but to be extra careful. Be responsible. Protect yourselves, your loved ones, and other people.
May you all have a blessed and safe year ahead!
God bless you all!
IS YOUR MARRIAGE VALID?
If you were not married in the Church before a priest or deacon, your marriage might not be valid in the eyes of the Church. (There are limited interfaith exceptions with proper permission.) We invite you to speak with Father Marty if you have any questions or if you wish to validate your marriage. The process can be simple, and your marriage will now be blessed and recognized by the Church. You will also benefit spiritually by receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony.