Christ is Risen!
Our Paschal joy this year is tempered by news out of Sri Lanka. There our Christian brothers and sisters were mercilessly attacked as they announced the good news of the resurrection. It is an unfortunate reminder of the presence of terrorism in our lives, even in our churches and holiest places. We pray for all persecuted persons that God will change the hearts of their persecutors and that they may live in the peace we believe all deserve. May those who died rest in peace and those who were injured recover from their injuries. This year may our focus be on our persecuted brethren and their plight.
Sincerely in Christ,
Dear Members and Supporters:
2018 was a momentous year for our Society. Over 17,000 people learned about our mission through the internet and social media. We also grew to 6 members through the ordinations of Fr. George and Fr. Hyacinth. Also, our first honorary member of the College of Consultors was appointed.
We had 3 candidates request entry by submission of application with a further 3 awaiting review. We also added 3 priest companions who are members of other religious groups.
Hopefully, 2019 will bring even greater success and more opportunities to preach the message of the Mercy of God. May Our Lady of Mercy bless our Society and its members and supporters, as well as intercede for us to Her Holy Son.
On this sacred day we celebrate Our Lord’s birth. For on this day “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). We are profoundly grateful that over 2,000 years ago God came to us to dwell with us and to show us the way. Like the star followed by the shepherds the message of Our Lord must guide us. It must guide our thoughts, inspire our hearts, and inform our actions so that we can live in Him.
This is the true meaning of this feast. St. Paul of the Cross gave us a superb admonition about this day when he said: “Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the heavenly Father, where you will be reborn each moment in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.”
May you be renewed by this holy day and may we all celebrate Our Lord’s birth in our thoughts, hearts, and actions. And may God bless you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Fr. Russo has an active ministry at an assisted living ministry in Saratoga Springs, NY. He celebrates the Holy Mass every week for the spiritual benefit of the residents. Recently, members of the community donated new statues to enhance the altar.
Our Superior General met with Archbishop Douglas Lewins, SSM in Toronto on June 23, 2018 for discussions regarding the growth of the Society and how to better serve the people of God.
As a Priestly Society committed to mercy, we cannot ignore the plight of immigrant families who are being separated at the border. Christians in good conscience may disagree about the methods of immigration reform, but our arguments and actions must reflect the dignity and value of every human life. Separating families denies the sanctity of life and is an unconscionable act.
As Christians, our faith compels us to show hospitality to strangers. This is a core tenet of our faith, and is especially pertinent because we worship a Savior who fled His own homeland. I urge the Administration to rescind the government’s policy of zero tolerance and offer my prayers for the families and children impacted by this policy.
On the feast of Saint Venantius, the Priestly Society of Mercy celebrated the ordination of Father George Ontko, SSM! Family and friends came from as far as South Carolina to witness the joyful celebration in Cleveland. Also in attendance were Roman Catholic and Episcopal clergy to celebrate the special day. Following the ordination there was a festive meal. Father George's first Mass was held on Saturday. Please continue to pray for him and his ministry.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
Today we echo the words of the hymn that “the strife is o’er, the battle done; the victory of life is won.” We ended our Lenten observance and enter into the joys of the Pascal season. We often think of Lent as the time when we do our most difficult spiritual work. However, we know that because of the resurrection our work has just begun. Like the women in the tomb and the holy apostles we are now compelled to share the good news of salvation with others, “lest even the stones cry out” (Luke 19:40). We are all responsible now of proclaiming the message of hope, of mercy, of love, and forgiveness. We are also compelled to invite others to a full life in Christ through the reception of the Holy Sacraments, which strengthen us on the journey. This message cannot come from the clergy alone. At our baptisms we entered the faith with the expectation we would live it ourselves as well as share it with others. May God give us the strength to live out this call and the wisdom to do it well.
On January 13, 2018 the Rev. Dr. Hyacinth, SSM was ordained for the Society. Father Hyacinth is the first Byzantine Rite priest of the Society and will serve St. Mary of Egypt Chapel in Katoomba, Australia.
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