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Commitment Weekend

Dear Parish Family,

October 22-23 is Commitment Weekend. There are plenty of reminders through the parish website, email blasts and bulletin posting our needs of time, talent, and treasure here at Sacred Heart. If you are not involved at all at this time, please consider taking a small step into each of the three areas. Prayerfully consider how you can share who you are and be counted on as a faith filled parishioner of Sacred Heart.

I do wish to address the seriousness of the needs of our brothers and sisters in Haiti, in particular at St. Gerard’s. When Fr. Tilus tells us that 363 homes in the parish were completely destroyed,424 were damaged, and the roofs of the main church and the tree chapels were blown off; we as Americans immediately think “Insurance claims!” However, there is no such thing as home owners or property insurance in Haiti. A home in Haiti is a lifetime accomplishment. A family saves enough money over many years to buy a piece of property, maybe 30’X40’. They build a somewhat unstable shack on the property and try to save to maybe invest in a metal roof rather than a thatched roof on their home. If enough can be saved they put in a cement floor instead of a dirt floor, and maybe cement the twig walls if enough money can be saved. Homes are one room, cooking and dining are all done outside over an open fire. The home is shelter and safety at night. Water comes from a well located many several miles away, although for two of the communities of the four at St. Gerard’s we have dug wells so potable water is more local. Out houses are shared in neighborhoods.

When someone’s home is destroyed, it is a whole lifetime of saving and sacrifice that is lost, with no insurance to bail you out. You have lost everything. Aid relief is the only thing that these families have. There are no government programs as we have here in the U.S. There is no tax system to provide emergency funds. We have no clue how fortunate we are to live in a first world country.

I am investigating through Catholic Relief Services and our Diocesan Haitian Apostolate, the best way we can assist our fellow parishioners at St. Gerard’s. I am going to let Fr. Tilus take the lead on whether we should visit in February. In the meantime, let us commit our prayers for all Haitians, and we will continue to accept donations for Aid Assistance to those in need.

“Count me IN!” is our Stewardship renewal theme. Several parishioners have said, “I will always share my time, talent, and treasure with Sacred Heart and I can also do more to help in Haiti.” How proud I am to walk with those who always want to walk the extra mile!

Fr. Bill

Can we Count you IN?



Can we Count you IN?

Sunday is Commitment Sunday and all parish families are asked to bring the Commitment Card that they received in the mail to Mass. The commitment card offers suggestions for how you can share your time, talent and treasure with your parish family.

As you reflect on how you can get more involved at Sacred Heart, here are some areas that we especially need some help:

4PM Mass 8:30 Mass 10:30 Mass
Altar Servers Altar Servers Altar Servers
A/V (Media) Ministers Cantors A/V (Media) Ministers
Cantors Greeters Cantors
Greeters Ushers Eucharistic Ministers
Videographers Greeters
Ushers Readers of the Word

Our goal is to continue to be a Stewardship Parish—a community committed to prayer, parish ministry, and generous financial support. All three are equally important. May God bless you as you make your commitments.

Don’t forget to bring your Commitment Card to Mass Sunday!

Annual Stewardship Renewal

Dear Parish Family,

“Count me IN!” Hopefully by this time you have received the Annual Stewardship Renewal materials sent out to you. If you have not, then chances are you may not be registered in the parish and need to let Melissa in the office know so you can be registered. There are additional packets at each of the doors. Lots of effort goes into creating our materials. Each of the ministry leaders takes the time to write a description of their ministry to invite all to share their mustard seed of time, talent and treasure in the best way you see fit as a member of our community.

Now that you have the materials in your hot little hands, I would ask you to prayerfully review the Ministry Catalogue with the members of your family and call forth the gifts and skills each has and encourage all to be involved in our parish ministries. A couple of people asked where we need the most help. From my perspective we certainly can use more AV ministers to operate the computer during Mass. This requires a high degree of patience when just pushing the button on the computer doesn’t bring up the correct slide for the community to participate. If you or someone you know is good with computers this is a real call for you to come forward and share in this valuable worship ministry. Also we need videographers to run the recording camera at the 4:00 Mass. This is a much easier tech position and a great support to all our homebound. It would be great for younger members of our community who may be more tech savvy than us older folks, so please consider joining us!

We always need more altar servers, ministers of Holy communion; readers of the word and especially CANTORS so that there is less of a burden on everyone. It spreads the responsibility to more people. So don’t hesitate to step forward in any way you feel comfortable.

Next week we will have fellow parishioners witnessing to their experiences of stewardship here at Sacred Heart. Their witness opens the door to personal questions that you may have regarding how you may fit in. Also please feel free to contact any of our parish ministry leaders regarding questions you may have regarding specifics and preparation for ministry.
Reflect, pray, and prepare to shout out through your commitment card, “Count me/us IN!”

Fr. Bill

Count me in!

Dear Parish Family,

Every fall is for me a milestone marker. Milestones are the markers along the side of the road where you take a seat and rest a bit before you continue to move forward. There were several ancient Roman milestone markers on the El Camino and of course I took the opportunity to sit on these centuries old markers and look back and where I was and look ahead to where I was going and catch my breath.

This fall as I sit on another milestone marker for our parish I look back with pride on all that has been accomplished. The Annual Stewardship Renewal materials that you will receive in the mail this week will detail all the accomplishments we achieved together this past year. How wonderful it was for me to return from Sabbatical and hear that the Message Shapers continued our Mercy homily series with Msgr. Doran at the helm. How surprised I was that the whole parish house was renovated by people pooling their time, talent and treasure to adopt each of the rooms and transform the whole building for a cost of less than $900.00 worth of paint! How exciting that through the efforts of our Operations team and your generosity we were able to update our parish computer server and system stations and for the first time in my fifteen years here, meet all our ordinary expenses, update the system and put $18,000.00 into savings! Everyone made this possible.

The Weekend Experience Team invited all to come forward as ushers/greeters and many responded to make our parish so welcoming. This ministry alone has brought some inactive parishioners back to worship, and has helped our parish grow with new membership. How excited so many are when we look at our church and grounds. Thanks to your generosity to the Capital Campaign our worship space looks so beautiful. To list all that has been accomplished would take more space than I am allowed; so check out page 4 of the Ministry Catalog.

As with any milestone marker, we not only look back we also look ahead to where we are going and inviting all of us to renew our commitment to each other and our parish in the year ahead. Our theme this year is “ Count me IN! ” We have grown and are growing as a parish and because we are we are looking forward to investing in new ways to minister well to all of us and become Vibrant in our faith for all ages. We also need to increase our communications skills and get the good news of Sacred Heart Parish out to especially those who are members who are not joining us in worship. I am hoping to hear those words from every household, “ Count me/us IN! ” I/we are ready to join our time, talent, and treasure with the rest of our community and move our butts off the milestone onto a new and exciting year of ministry and mission here at Sacred Heart!

Fr. Bill

Rite of Baptism

Dear Parish Family,

Many interesting conversations take place at the front doors of the church after each of the Masses. I can tell when someone hangs back and waits till the line is gone that they want to speak to me. Topics range from questions regarding my homily, or parish happenings or information on how to join and more.

After a recent baptism I had a wonderful conversation about the signs and symbols of the Rite of Baptism that we have in the Catholic Church. It began by the person telling me how lucky we are as a parish to have Baptisms at weekend Masses. When I shared that all Sacraments of initiation are to be done in the presence of the faith community; the realization further deepened why they were so touched by the Rite and how it deepened their faith.

“I needed to be reminded that all my senses are dedicated to the Lord.” That is the purpose of sacraments being held in the presence of the faith community. We all need to be reminded of how we are called to use our whole being as faithful Disciples of Jesus Christ. How important it is to be reminded that we are called to “no longer walk in the darkness of sin, but walk in the marvelous light of Christ.” What a wonderful reminder, when we are overwhelmed by the bad news to “see the goodness of the Lord, smell the fragrance of His earth; hear God’s word echo in our ears; use our lips to speak God’s praises, use our hands to help others, and to walk the earth spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Each and every time I hear and speak these words I am reminded of how we are called to make the world the place God says it ought to be. Every day in the news we are constantly bombarded with the ways people walk the earth spreading fear. We need to be reminded that we are called to walk the earth spreading faith.

Yes, many interesting conversations take place at the front doors of the church, at coffee and, and from what I hear, many good and wonderful conversations take place about our faith on the ride home and at the brunch and dinner tables after we have gathered in worship here at Sacred Heart. That is why we as a faith community gather to keep Holy the Lord’s Day. May the seeds of faith planted at the table of the Word, and the table of the Bread continue to grow!

Fr. Bill

Catholic Adults

Dear Parish Family,

It is wonderful to receive a call out of the blue from someone wanting to become Catholic. That happened last week and it so happens that as Faith Formation begins I annually invite any non-Catholics that are attending Mass regularly with their Catholic spouse to consider becoming Catholic.

There are also some baptized Catholic Adults who have not received their First Communion and/or their Confirmation. I am inviting these people to come forward to complete their Sacraments of Initiation this year as we begin another Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) with Jeff Cote who is always eager to walk with people on their journey into fullness of our Catholic Faith.

The three Sacraments of Initiation are annually celebrated with adults throughout the universal Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil will be on Saturday April 16, 2017 and sessions with Jeff will begin in November. This gives us all a two-month period of time to approach those we would like to invite to our Catholic Faith to talk with me about getting involved. Those Catholics that need to complete their Sacraments of Initiation should also talk with me.

Some couples in our parish may have been married civilly and may not realize that they can easily get their Marriage validated (blessed) in the Church. Also some divorced and re-married may be able to obtain an annulment for their first marriage in order to have their marriage blessed in the church. I would encourage you to take the time to meet with me and see what is involved and drink in the sacramental graces available to you.

I wish I knew everyone’s sacramental situations personally, but I don’t. However, you may know family members, neighbors or other parishioners that need a personal invitation to deepen their relationship with Christ and the church. Please open the door for them and encourage them to speak to me. Or, let me know who they are, and I will be happy to speak to them personally.

Our mission as a parish is “becoming and making disciples, welcoming all to follow Jesus Christ.” Let’s work together in doing just that!

Fr. Bill