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St. Gerard 2017 Trip

Dear Parish Family,

We have been twinning with our sister parish in Haiti, St. Gerard’s for 14 years now and it has been sometime since we have been there to visit. It has also been some time since Fr. Tilus has had an opportunity to visit us. There is a Haitian proverb that translates “What the eye doesn’t see, doesn’t move the heart.” Some of you have shown interest in visiting St. Gerard’s and the four chapels that we have been supporting and so I am inviting anyone who would like to visit our twin to let me know now as I nail down arrangements for a pastoral visit to Haiti.

Our journey will take place Monday February 20th and we will return Sunday February 26th 2017. Fr. Tilus is ready to welcome us during that time. We will not only visit St. Gerard and its chapels but also visit the city of Les Cayes and have an opportunity for a third world immersion experience. I am trying to keep the cost down as much as I can, but air fares and ground transport all depend on the price of fuel. Right now I am expecting our trip to cost around $1,200.00 US. Right now four of us are going, we have space for eight. If you are interested in making this journey, please let me know no later than September 18th.

The Pastoral Planning Team is in the process of calling forth new leadership for our four parish ministries. I am hoping that if you are approached to fill a leadership position you will see what a great opportunity it is to use your gifts to enhance parish life here at Sacred Heart. Our transition will be over the next year as new ministry leaders take a seat at the table where decisions are made. If you feel called to serve, please let your intentions be known as we continue to work as partners in ministry in our parish.

As we call forth God’s blessings on all those returning to school campuses this fall, we all experience the sadness of saying goodbye to another summer. Even many of us who do not attend school have a lump in our throats and a knot in our stomachs as we see summer coming to an end. A blessed school year to all!

Fr. Bill

Dwell in unity

Dear Parish Family,

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell in unity!” These words of Psalm 133 come to mind as I review and reflect on the events of this past week and the summer of 2016 (which is not over yet!). Fr. Fortunatus came to visit us and as the days for his arrival approached, “the cheese kept moving” and we needed to shift gears. It was wonderful to be able to call Bill Parent and have him so very willing pick up Father Fort at the airport on such short notice, since his original plans were canceled due to weather. I did not want him to stay alone in the parish house, even though the house is beautiful thanks to so many of you who worked together to transform it. At the same time, I have a student from Haiti staying in my guest room and had no space for him to stay with me. Fortunately, Paul and Marie Rogers were gracious enough to welcome Fr. Fort into their home and were happy to host him for the weekend.

On Sunday Ken and Joyce Konicki and I were going to Tanglewood, and there is always room for one more in the circle. Fr. Fort had a great time and shared that this is the most welcoming parish experience he has ever had. How good is that, to be told how welcoming we are as a community.

People coming into church this weekend were so impressed with the new flooring. At the 4:00 Mass as I was praying the breavery before Mass many who came in were exclaiming how beautiful the church looks with the new flooring. On the way out at both weekend Masses people were pleased with the work we are doing. Again, this is all possible due to the pledges made 4 years ago to our capital campaign. We still have more work to do; the new doors and windows are being fabricated and will be installed as soon as they are delivered. Then work on Handicap bathrooms in front of the church, and the side across from the sacristy.

Again, how true it is “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell in unity!” We certainly are working together in so very many ways. How proud I am of who we are as a community of faith! Let’s keep moving forward as a powerful presence of faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

Fr. Bill

Missionary speaker this weekend

Dear Parish Family,

I am pleased to welcome Fr. Fortunatus L. Rwehukiza to our parish this weekend as our missionary speaker for the Propagation of the Faith. He will be speaking on behalf of the Nyundo Diocese in Rwanda. He is seeking our financial assistance to help with the work in Rwanda which he will explain in his presentation. I am asking you to be sure to bring extra money with you to share in this missionary work. After communion we will give Fr. Fortunatus a special blessing from our community.

On another note, we are having dumping problems again. We moved the dumpster from the back parking lot to behind the garage to give it more visibility. We also put locks on it since someone who remodeled their bathroom dumped their toilet, plaster, and tiles into the dumpster rather than pay for proper disposal; they made Sacred Heart pay for the disposal of their construction debris. This week someone dumped a basketball hoop where the dumpster used to be, so now we must use parish funds to dispose of their unwanted items. I cannot understand how anyone can freely use the funds of a not-for-profit institution and just walk away. I find it mean-spirited and abusive behavior. I am hoping three things: that they are not parishioners, Christians, nor residents of our Hopedale community. We have notified the police. If you do see suspicious activity, please let the office or the police department know. We are fortunate that Dennis Madigan is fencing in the dumpster as his Eagle Scout Project. If you would like to donate to Dennis’ project, go to our Facebook page for further information.

On a happier note, our renovations continue and I am hoping all will be done in the main body of the church before Christmas. Thank you all for making it all possible and for your patience.

Fr. Bill

4 areas of our parish

Dear Parish Family,

We invite all to gather on the second Monday of the month at 7:30 P.M. in the parish center for what we call “Parish Life Night.” All are invited to contribute their wisdom, skills, gifts and talents toward the life of our parish. Each month we look at the ways we function as a parish and pool our creativity and resources to be a parish that assists each other to become faithful Disciples of Jesus Christ and to invite anyone who would like to become a member of our community to also become faithful Disciples of Jesus.

Our work is divided into four areas. I am inviting you to come join us and assist us in developing these areas so that your expertise is used to assist us in being a vibrant, life-giving community of faith.

  1. Weekend Experience Ministry: The most important time we gather as a community is on the weekend. This is the time when we “keep Holy the Sabbath.” We want this time to be spiritually uplifting; welcoming; and community building for all of us.
  2. Message Shapers Ministry We believe we are “One Church with One Message” and that message is spread through the homily at each Mass ad through our faith formation gatherings as small groups; age appropriate formation; and Sacramental preparation.
  3. Operations Ministry As a parish we have to be current in the technology we use to spread the message of Jesus Christ; we have to maintain our facilities and be fiscally responsible for our campus.
  4. Mission and Outreach Ministry We are a parish that is on a Mission to invite others to follow Christ. We don’t just take care of ourselves and look inward; we look out toward the larger community and put ourselves at the service of the needs in Hopedale and beyond.

It is far too easy to simply sit on the sidelines and watch the happenings of our parish and pick and choose where you might want to participate. Some even choose to sit and find fault with what is happening rather than build up the community. I am inviting you to consider where your gifts, skills and talents fit in these four areas of Parish Life here at Sacred Heart and come and join us in the work of Ministry. In the bulletin you will see the current leaders of each of these ministries. Contact them with your questions; better yet, come join us Monday night August 8th at 7:30 in the parish center and see for yourself how you can contribute.

Fr. Bill

PPT Leadership

Dear Parish Family,

I attended my first Pastoral Planning Team meeting Monday night (July 25th) since the March meeting due to my Sabbatical. What a wonderful leadership team we have as a parish. There was respectful listening one to another as concern for inactive families was brought to the table. The listening was not only respectful; there was genuine concern on behalf of all to respond with thoughtful, reflective encouragement toward solutions and desire on the part of all to be a part of the solution and not stare at the problem nor be overwhelmed, nor discouraged by it. I got a sense that we were all in this together and wanted to work this out and help our parish grow as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

I read the minutes from the meetings while I was away, and the PPT continued to work together to lead our parish in healthy directions and raise issues that would assist us in continuing to listen to God’s will and be led by the power of the Holy Spirit. How lucky we are to have such faithful people who care about the future of our parish!
In the months ahead we will be inviting new leaders to “sit at the table where decisions are made.” I invite you to consider taking a leadership role in our parish, and also to approach others you know who love our Catholic faith and parish and encourage them to consider serving in this leadership capacity. Let’s together pray that the Holy Spirit will assist us in choosing good, faithful and wise leadership for our Pastoral Planning Team and our four Parish Ministries: Message Shapers, Operations, Mission and Outreach, and Weekend Experience.

Next week I will be attending the annual Voluntas Dei Congress in Paoli, PA. at Daylesford Abbey. On Saturday morning August 6th Alexis Ibarra will be ordained a Deacon for our Voluntas Dei community. This is a wonderful celebration for us all as he finishes up his last year of studies moving on to priesthood. I will not be present for the 4:00 P.M. Mass that Saturday and have made arrangements for one of the priests from Fatima Shrine to join you in prayer. (Msgr. Doran was not available.) However, I will be back in time for Sunday Mass on August 7th. In the meantime, please pray for us as we gather.

Fr. Bill

Gospel “Good News”

Dear Parish Family,

As Christians we need to allow the Gospel “Good News” to out-shine the “bad news” we are surrounded with through the news media. I was always taught in homiletics that an effective preacher will have the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. These past few weeks we have been instructed by Jesus to be “neighbor” to all; that no one is “enemy.” We are to treat everyone with mercy. Jesus tells us all to “Go and do likewise!” At the same time, in the story of Martha and Mary we hear Jesus’ invitation to sit and listen. Our hearts are like Martha “anxious and concerned about many things.” As I suggested we need to have a Mary heart in a Martha world.

Prayer also is a powerful part of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ. Our role as faithful disciples is to make the “Good News” of the gospel out shine the bad news of the world today. We are not to live in fear, but walk in faith. I am inviting us all to join in prayer with members of our Hopedale and Milford communities to walk and pray together shedding the light of the Good News on the situations in our world today. An invitation to all:

“Community members will gather at Hopedale Pond at 6:30 pm Monday July 25th to remember those lost in senseless violence over these past weeks, from the tragedies of Orlando and Nice, to the systemic racism (one part of which surfaces as the killing of people of color by police in circumstances that would never end in the death of white people), to the violent responses directed at police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. We will remember the lives of all who were lost and we will honor and give thanks for the dedicated service of our local police departments. Following the remembrance service at Hopedale Pond, we will walk (and / or carpool) to the Fino Park bridge at the Cedar Swamp Pond in Milford and conclude our remembrance in Milford.”

Please come and join us in prayer and remembrance!

Fr. Bill

Pews Moved, Tiles Coming Up

Dear Parish Family,

Thank you so much for the warm welcome back. I was happy to hear how well received Msgr. John Doran was; many people commented on how happy they were he was here in my place. Also, many of you were wondering if I would share my pictures that I took and hold an evening of sharing my experiences. I will work on that. First, I have to figure out how to get the pictures from my phone to a computer. There are some pictures I would like to print; but have no clue how to do that. Pam taught me how to post on Facebook two days before I left, but I never learned how to respond to your comments. I am technologically challenged; but I have other gifts!

I wanted to take a moment to update you on church renovations so that everyone understands what we are doing. We will be holding Mass in the church throughout the weeks ahead, but the pews will not be anchored down, nor will there be any flooring until August. As I write this all the pews are on the organ side of the church and the Aero-Tec staff has enclosed the other side in plastic while removing all the asbestos tile on that side. On Tuesday the other side will be done. The asbestos tile was already removed in the old cry room and the hallway into the bathroom in the front of the church.

While the pews are movable the ceiling and beams will be painted throughout the church. When that is complete the new flooring will be installed and then the pews will be anchored at an angle so that we are all facing the altar. Eventually the bathroom in front of the church will be made handicap accessible, the former cry room will be made into the reconciliation space and the current reconciliation space will become a parlor for meetings. Finally, our new front doors will be installed.

I did not want Msgr. Doran to have to celebrate Mass during all this renovation work. So now it begins in full swing, and we will get to watch as our church is transformed and the hazardous asbestos is finally taken away!
Again, thank you for your generous welcome back, and your generous contributions to the Capital Campaign that make all this work possible!

Fr. Bill