To the Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy,
I have come to learn during my journey towards the priesthood that when I leave a place, I am not really saying “goodbye.” I am only saying “so long for now and I will see you again soon.” My experience so far in life is that the Lord continues to surprise me on how I reconnect with people and parishes I have encountered along the way. I am positive that I will be returning numerous times before I am ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, May 30, 2015.
These last four and half months have been truly amazing for me here at Our Lady of Mercy. Everyone here has been so welcoming, encouraging, and supportive of my vocation. I can say from the very beginning I was very nervous about giving homilies and how I would adapt to such a very active and vibrant parish. From the moment I arrived you have made me feel not just as a member of a team, but truly a member of the parish.
Our Lady of Mercy Parish has given me numerous opportunities that have affirmed that this is my true vocational calling. As Fr. Cleo mentioned during my introduction to the parish back in May, “the Bishop has sent Matthew here to get a good work out and we are going to give him a good one.” I can say I have been given a great workout which has included visiting various ministries, being present at the school, directing traffic for carpool, planning our Mercy Day celebration, teaching some RCIA classes, helping with Vacation Bible School, and assisting with the liturgy in a more intimate way. I have also been blessed to experience the joy of celebrating Baptism with families, to walking with families at the death of a loved one and assisting at the funeral and burial. I am thankful to the Lord for giving me such a wonderful parish to truly integrate and put into practice all that I have been learning and practicing.
Please know of my prayers and support as you continue your daily journey with the Lord. I look forward to the times that I will return for a visit. I look forward to the day that I will be able to return as a priest to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with you. Then all of you can call me “Father” as some of you are ready to do! May God’s blessing be upon you! May Our Lady wrap her mantle around each of you, protect you, and lead you ever closer to her Son!
Deacon Matthew J Graham