Dear Friends in Christ,

During the month of May we honor the Blessed Mother in a special way. Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus but also our spiritual mother. She is watching over us from her place as Queen of Heaven and wraps her mantle of protection around us as a mother embraces her children.

This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Mother to the shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. As a parish we will honor this milestone with special prayer opportunities in the coming months. On our parish pilgrimage in October 2015 we visited Fatima. I am especially fond of the apparition that took place there as it was in our modern times. How is it that of all the places Mary could appear in the world she would choose the obscure countryside in Portugal? The town of Fatima is relatively simple now so I can only imagine its rural beauty when Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta (the latter two who are moving closer to canonization) were walking in the pasture and the sky showed an intense light. Our Lady appeared to these simple children (pictured on this page) and they had the opportunity to ask questions of her about heaven. Mary especially indicated that they would one day be in heaven but in particular that Francisco would be there after praying many rosaries. As a Priest I have always had a great love for the Blessed Mother but since that pilgrimage my desire to pray the Rosary and share this desire with others has been much more prevalent. I am grateful for the apparition at Fatima for helping me grow closer to Jesus through Mary. I hope that in these coming months, as we honor the subsequent apparitions at Fatima, together we will fall in love more deeply with Mary, Mother of God and Mother of Mercy. Our Lady of Fatima…. pray for us!

April 12, 1997 – Ordination as a Deacon

On the second Sunday of May we honor our earthly mothers. My mother, Joan, passed away in February 2000. On Mother’s Day I remember her in a special way, especially the love that she had for me and for our family. She always enjoyed the opportunity to visit Annunciation Catholic Church as this was my first assignment after Ordination. I often think of her (and my Dad) as I celebrate Mass and feel a special closeness to them during the Eucharistic Prayer. I like to think that they have the best seat in the house for every Mass and I take comfort in knowing that in their absence they have a whole new presence.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, please take a moment to pray for your mother, living or deceased. Through the intercession of the Blessed Mother may the Lord help our families to be truly holy families! When you come before the Lord this month, please also remember the Priests and Religious Sisters of our parish. Know that we will pray for you, your intentions and your loved ones. We may not see each other every day but may we meet each day in our prayers!

In Christ,

Very Rev. Stephen D. Parkes, V.F.