Author Archive: edlavalette

Yearly Stewardship

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

This week our Stewardship Team mailed to all 550 registered families our Annual Stewardship renewal packet. The Stewardship team’s goal is to receive commitment cards from 50% of the 550 households currently registered at Sacred Heart or 275 Commitment Cards.

We are striving to add NEW STEWARDS to the ranks of our registered parishioners to continue and grow our ministries at Sacred Heart both within our walls and those efforts outside our walls and beyond. By your commitment, ongoing feeding programs, such as the Mustard Seed for Worcester’s needy and the Trinity Community Supper in Milford, feed approximately 250 in Worcester and about 100 people in Milford; comprised of homeless, senior citizens on fixed incomes and entire families that can’t make ends meet.

Those households and families who have been in the parish quite some time know the drill; we are asking members of all households to make their commitment of Time, Talent, and Treasure, so that we can continue to move forward as a vibrant community of faith counting on your willingness to share in these three areas of parish life.

These commitment cards are your way of showing that you VALUE our community and each other here at Sacred Heart and are willing to put in writing. It shows your willingness to journey in prayer, in service and financial support, as a member of your parish. I am asking that all families take the time to submit a card. The Stewardship Team and I want to be clear, if for some reason you are unwilling or unable to fill out a section of the card; fill out what you can and leave the rest blank. JUST SEND IN THE CARD! BE CLEAR and somewhat PUBLIC and COMMIT TO MEMBERSHIP HERE AT SACRED HEART.

If you have questions about how you can share your time, talent or treasure, members of the Stewardship Team are willing to meet with you and talk about small ways you can begin. Small steps from many people will put us on the move. We all make commitments to mortgage and car payments, getting our kids to school events, increasing demanding sports schedules and to doctors’ appointments. Are we willing to make a commitment to our parish community and walk with our fellow neighbors as a people committed to each other, as people alive in the Spirit of Stewardship? The Stewardship Team equates Stewardship to ownership, this is your time.

To the many of you who take our stewardship renewal to heart, The Stewardship team and I thank you so very much.

Fr. Bill

Voluntas Dei Day of Recollection

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

Over the years parishioners have asked about the I.V.Dei after my name. It stands for Institute Voluntas Dei (Latin for God’s Will); a secular institute made up of priests, married couples and single men and women who follow a specific spirituality called “The Three Fives.” The institute is world-wide and we have a group who meet here in Massachusetts called the Bay State Team. Each of the Teams meet monthly for formation into the Institute and spiritual growth and development.

I bring this to your attention because the Bay State Team is hosting a Voluntas Dei Day of Recollection. It is an opportunity for people here in the area to find out about the Institute; meet members of the Bay State Team; and join us for a day of spiritual growth and reflection.

The Day of Recollection will be held on Saturday November 4th here in The Fr. Reilly Center from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Our Presenter is Dr. Vincent Lynch from Boston College. Topic is: “Healing the hole, becoming Whole!” People are like Swiss cheese, with several holes (and the rest cheese). This day will help people look past the holes and focus on the cheese, and even help them strategize how to build bridges across the holes.

The cost for the day is $25.00 per individual and $45.00 per couple. You need to register with me by October 20th. This is a good chance to find out if the Institute and Voluntas spirituality may be for you and strengthen your journey of faith. You can get more details about the institute at our website: Or if you prefer to talk with one of our local team members feel free to talk with Pam and Ernie Chaplin, Sue and Mike Conciatori, Karen and Kevin Barrett, Rob and Gina Russell; and me of course.

On another note, a sincere thanks to all who donated to Hurricane Harvey Relief; we received more than $5,000.00 to assist in this effort. This weekend September 30/October 1 we will hold a second collection for those needing assistance after Hurricane Irma.

Fr. Bill

St. Gerard’s Parish Twinning

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

We have been twinning with St. Gerard’s Parish in Lagaudray, Haiti for over 14 years now. We walked with the parishioners of its main parish church, St. Gerard’s, it’s three mission chapels and their first pastor, Fr. Claude Wilnes. You may remember that Fr. Claude came to visit us several years in the summer and shared with us that thanks to our financial assistance, St. Gerard’s was able to open schools at the main church and the three missions.

Fr. Claude was followed these past six years by Fr. Wilnes Tilus who also visited us here at Sacred Heart. Under the leadership of Fr. Tilus we helped supply the financial assistance to build the parish house, the foundation of the parish hall, and the chapels in two of the missions. This past year our assistance not only supplied the salaries for the teachers, but also assisted in hurricane relief to help rebuild the roofs on some 200 homes. This is very valuable assistance that would never happen without the generosity of our parish donors and the wonderful work of our Haiti Ministry.

This September, a new pastor at St. Gerard’s takes the helm; Fr. Claude Renel Elysee. I assured Fr. Renel that the twinning relationship between the faithful of Sacred Heart Parish of Hopedale and the faithful of St. Gerard’s parish in Lagaudray will continue in the years ahead; not to worry.

This weekend after the Sunday morning masses, our Haiti Ministry is holding a Haitian Spaghetti Breakfast (no charge). At this breakfast, we are inviting anyone interested in knowing more about our parish work with St. Gerard’s to ask questions. We are hoping more of you will make a monthly commitment to St. Gerard’s along with those who are already giving a monthly pledge. In the pews, this weekend there are flyers for this purpose. Giving $5, $10, $20 per month is a great help for people who have nothing. Come find out how our assistance helps so many.

Fr. Bill

It takes a parish!

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

What happens when the pastor gets sick? This question popped into my mind when I woke up Saturday morning with little strength, a fever and body aches. On top of everything, we had a full schedule; returning to the regular 3-Mass schedule on the weekend, covenant Sunday for Faith Formation at each of the Masses, anointing of a dear parishioner at the 4:00 Mass; anointing of the sick following the 10:30 Mass and Marriage preparation at noon! How can I find a priest to fill in on short notice? When weeks and months of preparation went into these events and continue with homily series: “This is us!” All right, I will rest till I have to come in and do the best I can without infecting the rest of the community. Besides, this too will pass.

As I struggled through the weekend, I like many of us when we get sick wonder where we picked up the germs that take us down? Was it at the hospital on Wednesday? Was it visiting the nursing home? Was it anointing someone in their home this week? Well, what difference does it make? We all need to live the gospel and so I moved on from there.

Then I thought of when I was a newly ordained priest at St. Joan of Arc. We were four priests serving the parish with 11 weekend Masses. A regular weekend was 4 Masses. When the pastor got sick, there were three of us there to kick in and we all knew what was happening that weekend in the parish so no big deal. Well, things have changed, haven’t they? The church looks quite different now. This is the church of the Laity, not the church of the clergy and the sisters that took care of everything.

How important it is for all of us to rise to the occasion and take responsibility for our parish. Taking leadership roles in our parish ministries is essential. If everyone does their part, all will work together for the good. Don’t think, “Let someone else do it.” Step up to the plate and work together. There used to be three priests here at Sacred Heart, now there is me. We want to continue to be a vibrant faith community. To do so takes all of us sharing our time, talent and treasure with the larger community.

I am writing this from home as I try to regain my health. I slept 4 hours Sunday afternoon, and thought, “How am I going to sleep tonight? I’ll be up all night!” Well I went to bed at nine and woke up more than 12 hours later! Guess I needed the rest. I hate to admit it, but I am not getting any younger, and may have other sick days in the weeks, months and years ahead. Hopefully we can all take responsibility for who we are as a parish and work at this together. Even though I was sick this past weekend, did you notice all those around who made sure everything happened without a hitch?! It takes a parish fully involved to keep us on track!

Fr. Bill

Proud to be Catholic

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

I believe you know that I am proud to be Catholic! I know for example during Hurricane Harvey that the Catholic Charities Office in each of the 194 Catholic Dioceses in the US were immediately at work assisting on the ground with aide relief in Texas and seeking how they could further assist those in need. When there is a disaster in any country Catholic Relief Services (CRS) established throughout the world is on the ground to assist in relief efforts. Our education system is worldwide as is our health care systems. All these are in response to the gospel; feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, instructing the ignorant, being the hands of Christ. Are we perfect? Far from it, we are a church of sinners not Saints, but constantly growing in our ability to show the lover and mercy of God. It is with this pride, that I encourage others to join us in our Catholic Faith.

Each year at this time we begin inviting those who are looking to celebrate sacraments after the age of seven years of age to join the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults, referred to by the acronym RCIA. If you are older than 7 and would like to be baptized, or were baptized in another faith tradition and would like to be Catholic, or have graduated from high school and would like to be confirmed, then RCIA is for you.

I know there are several adults who faithfully attend Mass with their spouse and come forward for a blessing. I am pleased that they are here and wordship with us. I would encourage them to join us fully in our Catholic faith.

If you are interested in the Sacramental life of the church, please see me for more detail as Jeff Cote and his team prepare for this journey of faith! You will be proud you did!

Fr. Bill