2017 Easter Message - Fr. Gagne

Dear Parishioners,

The follower of Jesus is a person who carries within himself the death and resurrection of the one who was led as a lamb to the slaughter.

In a world that is filled with so much cruelty, personal illness, suffering and death, it is a challenge to look up from our tears and see Jesus, as did Mary in the garden.

Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we too are so overcome with grief and disappointment that we fail to recognize Jesus. It was only in the breaking of the bread that their eyes were opened.

It is so hard to bridge the gap, to cross over into the Easter mystery. We try to cross over, and some how end up back in Lent. It is easier to fall back into what we know, and see, and hear, and experience, and believe that’s all there is; as the disciples to Emmaus said to Jesus, “we were hoping that he would be the one who would set us free,” but alas it has all gone so terribly wrong.

If Lent is the time when we give up things, then maybe the Easter Season is a time when we look for the presence of Jesus in our lives. Like nature that is coming back to life, in what has been a cold bleak winter, we slowly see signs of life within us. Perhaps the reason we live and keep living are summed up in these words, taken from a devotional book, “The way of sorrows, if walked with Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, is a path kept sacred and secret for his nearest and dearest, those whose one desire is to do all for him, to sacrifice all for him, to count, as his servant St. Paul did, all things as loss so that they might gain Christ.”

In every Eucharist we are present to the mystery of death and dying, and rising. It is in the breaking of the bread that we too recognize Jesus, and believe that he lives, and that we live because of him. May Christ, that morning star now rising, that never sets, move us from merely attending Eucharist, to giving ourselves over to be transformed in Eucharist.

May the risen Jesus break open our graves of despair, roll back the rocks of revenge and bitterness, that the light of Resurrection may free our bodies and spirits to rise again and again and again. A blessed Easter Season to all of you.

Rev. Roger C. Gagne
Pastor

A Warm Welcome to Members of St. William Parish

Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord,

On October 3, 1933, Bishop Hickey established St. Peter and St. William parishes. As sister parishes we have shared the mission of the church, which is to proclaim the gospel, celebrate the sacraments, provide for needs of the poor, celebrate the rites of Christian burial, and be the presence of Christ in our time and place.

After eighty-four years of faithful service the people of St. Williams will celebrate their last Mass Easter Sunday. During this painful time of change and transition I want to extend a warm welcome to the members of St. William parish who have chosen, or will choose to become part of our parish family. Your faith and presence enriches all of us.

As pastor of St. Peter parish, I want to assure you of my prayers and support, and my pledge to do whatever our parish can to make you feel at home.

Easter reminds us that after death comes the resurrection and new life. May Christ rising in glory fill our hearts with new hope, as together we continue to grow and live the Christian faith, that has been handed down to us, in our time and in our place.

A blessed Easter Season to all of you. Sincerely Yours in the Risen Lord,
 

Rev. Roger C. Gagne
Pastor

2017 Holy Week Message from Fr. Gagne

Dear Parishioners,

As we prepare to celebrate, through liturgical rites, the last days of the life of Jesus, I invite you join us for the special liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, The Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.

Like the crowds that followed Jesus during his lifetime on earth, we must decide for ourselves, what his message, and the meaning of his life, has to do with our lives.

Like Peter, and the other disciples, will we run away, deny him, stand with him, call for his crucifixion, or just walk away and hide? The answer to these questions has already been answered by what has been happening in our lives since last we celebrated Holy Week.

Although we, like Peter, our fearless leader, might have cause to weep bitterly, we know that we are still loved and forgiven. To this end, priests bishops, deacons, and all of God holy people will celebrate the Lord’s Passover with minds and hearts renewed.

The world has great need of our witness to Christ Crucified, and the glory of his resurrection. Because he has conferred on us The Father’s Kingdom, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to go forth everywhere to proclaim through the manner of our lives, that we belong to Christ and his kingdom, a kingdom of peace and justice, and of holiness and truth, so that all people may be raised up to a new hope.

I look forward to celebrating this Holy Week with you. Let us keep each other in our prayers, as together we make a stand for Christ and his church, in our time, and in this portion of God’s kingdom.

“We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.”

Rev. Roger C. Gagné,

Warwick Parish Meeting Update - Feb. 10

Dear Parishioners,

I would like to thank the parishioners who attended the Warwick Parish Meeting this past Wednesday at Hendricken. Your presence at that meeting indicates your support and understanding of the process of pastoral planning that is necessary for the future viability of our Warwick Catholic communities.

If anyone would like to be part of this process please call Rebecca Perez, the diocesan director of pastoral planning, at 278-4610. Each parish has been asked to invite parishioners to be part of this important process.

Pursuant to this on-going process, St. Williams Parish will celebrate its last Mass on Easter Sunday, April 16 th. Parishioners of St. Williams have been invited to visit others parishes in the mean time. At some point, the territory of St. Williams will most likely be divided up between St. Timothy’s and St. Peter’s Parish. Please pray for the parishioners of St. William’s; that they will feel welcomed and comfortable in whatever parish they choose to join.

The top priority for St. Peter’s Parish is the future of our Tri-Parish School and how our parish can share our resources; Mass schedules, Faith Formation programs, scouting, and whatever other needs that may surface, with other neighboring parishes.

Let us continue to pray that God will bless our efforts to plan for the future of our parishes in the City of Warwick. I will keep you updated as we move forward. Thank you for you continued support and understanding.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Roger C. Gagne

St. Peter Parish - Open Meeting as we Look to the Future

Dear Parishioners,

During the past several weeks, the pastors of Warwick have been meeting with persons from the Office of Pastoral Planning of the diocese of Providence. Declining Mass attendance, finances, and the declining number of priests, has motivated the need for these meetings.

As we look to the future, the following questions have formed the basis for our discussions; How many parishes are needed to best serve the Catholics of the city of Warwick, and how many priests will be available to provide these services?

In the near future, an open meeting will be planned, where all concerned persons will be invited to give their input to this ongoing discussion. While St. Peter’s Parish remains viable, it is important for everyone to be part of the conversation.

Through prayer, discussion, and mutual cooperation, we will continue to provide for the future needs of the Catholic faithful who live in the city of Warwick.

Thank you for your support and understanding, Please be assured of a remembrance in all my prayers.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Roger C. Gagne
Pastor

Fr. Gagne's Christmas Message - 2016

Dear Parishioners,

During the season of Advent we have been treated by the Prophet Isaiah’s dream about what God is going to bring about among his people. Isaiah dares to dream about a world where there will be no more training for war, and where a child will lead mankind into a world where the lion and the lamb will be friends, and where no one will go astray, or experience any harm on God’s holy mountain. He writes of a great sign that will be given, “the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel. A name that means that God is with us.”

lion-and-lamb.jpg

Bishop Robert Barron speaks about Emmanuel when he writes: "But the Bible alone indicates that God’s truest name and most distinctive quality is that he will be with us. In good times and bad, during periods of light and darkness, when we are rejoicing and grieving, God is stubbornly with us. Emmanuel.”

It is the stubbornly quality of God’s love that we celebrate at Christmas. His love breaks through all the obstacles of politics and government, all the obstacles of human pride and pomp, all the displays of ego and power, as well as our indifference to the obstacles of wont, poverty, and ignorance, that threatens to hurl man down into the abyss of quiet desperation and hopelessness.

E.E. Cummings, the great American poet writes, “A baby is God’s opinion that life should continue.” A baby brings life, hope and the possibility of new beginnings. It was for this reason that Jesus, Emmanuel, humbled himself to share our humanity, so that we could share in his divinity. This coming of the Son of God, in the flesh, is what has made the human race great again, and not the machinations of men.

The New Year, 2017, will be a very challenging year for us as Americans, and as followers of Jesus. May the birth of Jesus, who is Emmanuel, fill our hearts with wonder and praise, and give us the grace to proclaim Emmanuel, God with us, to a lonely and suffering world.

My prayer for all of us is that Jesus, God with us, will fill us with his joy and peace this Christmas, and give us renewed hope in the coming New Year. A Blessed Christmas and New Year to you and your families.

Rev. Roger C. Gagné,

Steadfast in Faith / Prayer in Response to Terrorism - Letter from Fr. Gagne

Dear Parishioners,

Once again, we mourn the loss of people who were targets of hatred and
terrorism. Our hearts, and prayers, and thoughts are with those who are mourning and grieving. There are no words that can adequately express what we all feel at this time.

I have heard people say that we need more than just prayer to respond to such violence and senseless tragedy. I respectfully disagree. I believe prayer is the only power that can save us against such evil. Jesus tells us that certain demons can only be cast out through prayer and fasting.

As church, we condemn all forms of hatred, homophobia, racism, terrorism, religious-intolerance, and any thing that diminishes the dignity of the human person. We must conform ourselves, as St. Paul tells, to Christ and his gospel, for these are evil times.

Only through prayer and fasting can we have the grace to stand in faith and solidarity with those who suffer so unjustly these sins against God’s love.

As a faith community we must preach and live the gospel, in season and out of season, and not delude ourselves into thinking that what goes on in church has nothing to do with what goes on in the market place. We cannot separate our religious beliefs from our political, and every day life.

St. Peter’s Parish welcomes everyone to worship and pray together in an atmosphere of mutual support and respect. We must model in ourselves the change that we want to see in the world. To that end I, as your pastor, pledge my efforts, and ask for your prayers, as we go forward during these difficult and challenging times.

The word’s of St. Peter seem appropriate for us, “ Be sober and vigilant, your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8)

May God bless us with his peace, and give us the desire to work for that justice which brings about peace.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Roger C. Gagne
Pastor


Oh God, we are one with You. You have made us one with You. You have taught us that if we are open to one another, You dwell in us. Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts. Help us to realize that there can be no understanding where there is mutual rejection. Oh God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept You, and we thank You, and we adore You, and we love You with our whole being, because our being is in Your being, our spirit is rooted in Your spirit. Fill us then with love, and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes You present in the world, and which makes You witness to the ultimate reality that is love. Love has overcome. Love is victorious…
— Thomas Merton

Update on Recent St. Peter Parish Routine Finance Audit

Dear Parishioners,

During the past year, an accounting firm selected by the diocese, conducted a routine audit of St. Peter’s Church and School operations. This audit is usually conducted every five to seven years in every parish of the diocese.

This past week, the parish financial council, along with the trustees and auditors received the results of this audit from the accountants who conducted the audit.

In general, the parish and school received a satisfactory report of all its financial operations, and were found to be in compliance with all diocesan regulations.

The report while generally positive, did recommend some adjustments and procedural changes that will simplify and tighten up our entire operation. I have accepted their recommendations, and plan to move forward, with the help of the finance council, auditors, and parish staff to make these changes.

I want to thank all those who generously support our parish school on a weekly basis, and encourage those who could do more, to prayerfully consider increasing their level of stewardship giving.

Your generosity, as well as the timely payment of tuition, will make it possible for us to continue providing Catholic Education for the people our tri-parish school.

I want to conclude by thanking our parish office manager, Charlene Schrieber, Al Papino, parish bookkeeper, Marianne Beirne, accountants payable secretary, Connie Anderson, parish secretary, Joan Sickinger, school principal, and Barbara Rossi, and Karen Hardy, school secretaries, for their tireless dedication to our parish and school. I also thank them for workingdiligently with the audit process during this past year.

I also express my thanks to our parish trustees, Flo Hainey, Jack Madden, our parish auditors, Ben Algeo and Bryan Cote, along with the other members of the finance council, Carmela Brazeau, Judy Mc Cormick, and Steve Isherwood, for their support and dedicated service to me and to the parish and school community.

May God continue the good work that he has begun in us. Be assured of a remembrance in all my prayers.

Sincerely Yours,
Rev. Roger C. Gagne
Pastor

2016 Easter Message - Fr. Gagne

EASTER 2016

What is spring, if not the ripping apart of winter’s coldness. Spring is the sound of water splashing over rocks, and ice melting from the warmth of the sun climbing higher each day in the sky. Spring is most welcomed, yet can be cruel, in its attempts to call forth life from the seemingly lifeless earth. Calling forth change, we come alive again after winter’s long rest. It was at this time of year that the mystery of God’s love was revealed through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel tells us about an empty tomb; people stooping to peer in, a woman weeping in a garden, exhausted after the festival of Passover and the spectacle of the crucifixion. In the early morning light, and in the pain of loss and betrayal, Jesus in his human body, rose from the grave.

In order for us to grasp the meaning of his resurrection, we must let go of our need to know the historical details of Jesus’ world and life. To see the face of Jesus, that moved Veronica to step from the crowd to wash his face, we need to stoop, and peer into the empty tomb of our souls, and like Mary in the garden, see him through our own tears. Only by entering into silence and mystery can we truly see the face of Jesus. We ask forgiveness for our refusal to see Jesus in our brothers and sisters, and for looking the other way when we see the needs of others. Lord, break open our graves of despair, and roll back the rocks of bitterness and revenge. Let in the light of Resurrection, and free our bodies and spirits to rise again and again and again.

A Happy Easter Day, and Season to all of you.

-Father Gagne

Christmas, during the Holy Year of Mercy 2015

Dear Parishioners,

           The dictionary defines a tuning fork as, “a two pronged metal device that makes a sound of fixed pitch when struck that is used as a reference, as in tuning musical instruments.” 

            The birth of the Son of God in human form is like a tuning fork that God used to resonate his love to all people. This love becomes a fixed pitch, as it were, to touch our minds and hearts. The gift of Jesus at Christmas, and every time we encounter him in the sacraments or in other people, helps tune ourselves to his love and will for humankind. 

             This Holy Year of Mercy, is our Holy Father’s invitation to allow us to resonate, like a tuning fork, to his merciful love, not only within ourselves, but also in all our relationships. The Holy Year calls us to be in tune with God’s desire to bring mercy and forgiveness to a world of darkness, hopelessness, religious persecutions, terrorism, indifference to the killing of the unborn, cruelty to animals, and all that diminishes the dignity of the human person. 

              At Christmas we are reminded that God’s plan for us is not our destruction. As the words of the Prophet Isaiah writes, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” 

              In the birth of the Holy Child we are reminded that the power of forgiveness and mercy are more powerful than hate and weapons of violence. When we choose to be merciful we release the power that these things have over us. Mercy and forgiveness are what drives back Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises. 

               May we allow the tuning fork, which is Christ, to resonate in our hearts this Christmas. That despite our many hurts, disappointments, sorrows, angers, frailties of age or sickness, loneliness, or depression, the love of God will touch us, as it touched Mary and Joseph in the manger of Bethlehem, and as it continues to touch us at Holy Mass, and in the sacraments, and in each other when we resonate with divine mercy and love.

A blessed Christmas to all of you.

Father Gagne

THE HOLY YEAR OF MERCY

Dear Parishioners,

In Matthew Kelly’s book “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic,” he describes the four essential realities that define a dynamic Catholic.

As we approach the beginning of the Holy Year of Mercy, that will begin in December, I thought it might be helpful for us to reflect on these four realities.

Matthew Kelly writes that, “prayer, study, generosity, and evangelization are the signs of a dynamic Catholic,” and by extension a dynamic community of faith.

Prayer: Kelley writes that, “ Dynamic Catholics have a daily commitment to prayer. These are people who are trying to listen to the voice of God in their lives, and believe doing God’s will is the only path that leads to lasting happiness in this changing world.”

Study: “Dynamic Catholics spend at least fourteen minutes each day learning about their faith. Jesus calls us not only to be followers, but disciples. A disciple is one who is always learning more about the way of Jesus and the genius of Catholicism.”

Generosity: “Dynamic Catholics are filled with a spirit of service and are generous stewards of their time, treasure and talent. Stewardship is not a requirement, it is a way of life.”

Evangelization: “Dynamic Catholics invite others to grow spiritually by sharing the love of God with them.”

Matthew Kelly concludes this section by writing, “Imagine for a moment if everyone in your parish did these four things:

  • Spend ten minutes each day in prayerful conversation with God.
  • Read five pages of a great Catholic book each day.
  • Gave 1% more of their income to support the mission of their parish than they did last year.
  • Did one thing each week to share the genius of Catholicism with someone else.”

It is my prayer and hope that we will reflect on “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic,” as we prepare for the Holy Year of Mercy.

The process of being a disciple takes time, and a willingness on my part to venture forth from my security, to what Teihlard de Chardin prays: “Lord, Compel us to discard our pettiness and to venture forth into the uncharted ocean of Charity.”

May God who has begun this good work in us bring it to completion. Let us pray for each other as prepare to embrace the holy Year of Mercy.

                                                         Yours in Christ,

                                                          Rev. Roger C. Gagne

                                                          Pastor

 

EASTER Message - 2015

 

Dear Parishioners,

 Those who say that the Resurrection of Jesus is just a nice story do not know the story. For the followers of Jesus, he was their friend. The gospels speak to us, as Father Robert Barron says, “with breathtaking directness, of eating and drinking with their friend Jesus after he rose from the dead.” All these witnesses went to their deaths defending the truth of what he taught. No one gives up his life for a nice story. How many martyrs are there to Osiris, Hercules, Dionysus, or even the emperors of Rome, who proclaimed themselves gods. The answer is none. People do not die for some abstract thought, but are willing to die for their friend, “whom they had looked upon and their hands had touched,” when he came back from the dead. This remains the still-startling truth that is the meaning of Easter. Until we allow Jesus to be our friend, and become his friend, then we are simply spectators, like the crowds who chose to look upon him with marked indifference. To celebrate Easter is to believe that my friend Jesus died and rose for me, and that as his friend I will give my life for him, and rise with him to a new and everlasting life. May we, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread, and have our hearts burn within us as he speaks to us through his word.  A Blessed Easter Season to all of you.

Rev. Roger C.  Gagné
Pastor

 

Walk with us on your Journey - Lenten Reflections, (by Fr. Gagné)

Walk with us this Lent as we progress from the darkness of winter into the light of springtime, renewing ourselves daily in our commitment to Christ, to love and serve others though prayer and sacrifice.

 Read >> Lenten Reflections (by Fr. Gagné)

"Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life..." -- Pope Benedict XVI