Author Archive: edlavalette

The summer of 2017 is coming to a close

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

Well, it has finally happened, the Summer of 2017 is coming to a close with Labor Day weekend here. Even if we aren’t going back to school there is a sadness in our hearts as we let go of summer and head into fall; which for us in New England is a beautiful time of year!

If you are looking for something to do this weekend we are all welcome to Holy Family Church, 35 Hamilton Street in Worcester as Bishop McManus and Cardinal Langlois from the Diocese of Les Cayes, Haiti renew the covenant relationship between our two Dioceses. We are all invited after the Mass for a wonderful Haitian Dinner in the Parish Hall of St. Stephen’s parish across the street. This takes place this Sunday September 3nd at 2:00 P.M. Several of us are planning on attending. It would be wonderful to have you attend.

Next weekend we welcome our young people and their families to formally begin their dedication to Faith Formation. At each of the Masses we as a community agree as a faith community through signing of a Faith Formation Covenant to walk together, encouraging growth in our understanding of our faith in Jesus Christ. We need to remember that faith is “caught” not “taught” and is the responsibility of our total community (it takes a village) to raise a faithful Disciple of Jesus Christ. Faith begins in the home, and is supported by the larger faith community through our Faith Formation offerings.

Perhaps your family has been busy enjoying these summer months and have yet to register for Faith Formation. Please take this as a reminder to get registered and give the wonderful gift of deepening faith to the youth in your family. Under Tara Corcoran’s wonderful leadership and the work of the Formation Ministry Team, we have exciting ways to catch the Spirit of Discipleship and grow deeper in our understanding and living our Catholic Faith.

Don’t forget, starting next weekend we also let go of the summer Mass schedule. Starting September 9 and 10 Mass will be at 4:00 P.M. on Saturdays and on Sundays 8:30 and 10:30 A.M. Welcome back to all those who have been traveling this summer and spending time in second homes. It’s great to be back in full swing!

Fr. Bill

Parish Life Teams

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

When you come to church this weekend look for the flyer at the end of each pew describing Parish Life Teams. It describes the plan for each one of ministries that the Pastoral Planning Team (PPT) has been preparing for the last several months at our monthly meetings. I am extremely pleased with the work that has been accomplished not only through dialogue and meeting, but also prayer and reflection.

I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you can contribute your enthusiasm, wisdom and energy in one of the areas of ministry in service to our parish. We have 5 areas of ministry: Community Engagement, Faith formation, Operations, Stewardship and Worship. Where does your heart lie? We are looking for eight people to serve on each of these ministry teams. The leasers of each ministry are in the flyer along with their contact information. Feel free to contact them and meet with them to find out more about the direction each ministry will take in the future.

Please take a flyer home with you and reflect on how you can contribute to the future direction of our parish ministries. Each ministry team will meet on the second Monday of each month in the parish center. A room will be designated for each ministry. Individual meetings will be from 7:00 P.M. to 8:40 P.M. after which we will gather in the hall to pray, hear reports from each ministry and share wisdom and insights with the group at large.

All this work opens the circle of involvement for all in the parish to pool gifts, skills and talents so that our ministry becomes the “work of the people” Pope Francis expresses as he calls be witnesses to our faith in Jesus Christ. Our work together will also empower us to be witnesses to our parish mission “Becoming and making disciples; welcoming all to follow Jesus Christ.”

Through well-formed ministry teams we will empower our whole community to reach out to those who for some reason have distanced themselves from faith and our faith community. We have our work cut out for us; but together all things are possible.

Fr. Bill

Going through the Dark Night to reach the light of Christ

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

The events of Charlottesville, Virginia are on my mind as I am sure on the minds of many of us. The situation in North Korea also is in the balance and I have been walking on egg shells; trying to get the message out to you and not offend anyone’s political stance regarding these situations. I have used tactful expressions to speak to you this weekend and many weekends to share where our Christian and Catholic teachings address these issues in the hopes that we hear God speak to our hearts. “God is found in the whisper and the calm; not in fire and fury!” In the prayers, I wrote: “For our nation, that we may recognize God is present in the whispering winds and calm waters; not in fire, fury or weapons!” Tact is not one of my strengths; I have other gifts and I hate walking on eggshells.

St. John of the Cross wrote a poem “The Dark Night of the Soul” and I am feeling our nation is now experiencing this Dark Night. This is a good thing, it is about the necessity of purging the things that keep us from union with God so that we can draw closer to communion with God. The events of Charlottesville bring to our attention the moral issues that are facing our nation and need to be brought to the surface so that we can speak to the anger, hatred and bigotry that is present in some areas of our country and many areas of our lives. The Dark Night invites us to be still and address the hurt and the pain that some are experiencing. Trying to understand the experience of others is often a painful part of our faith journey. We cannot turn our backs on where people are at.

The good news is that we go through the Dark Night to reach the light of Christ. Certainly, the Civil War was a Dark Night for our country and led to freedom for many who were oppressed. We need to trust that God has not abandoned us and will assist us in growing through this time of uncertainty and help us to become the people God calls us to be.

Together let us listen to the ways God speaks to us as we gather on the weekends, and know that the Word of God speaks directly to the events and situations that are happening in our lives today if only we take the time to listen. It is easy to give in to anger, hatred and violence; it takes more energy to be still and listen to God who speaks in the whisper and the calm of the storms of life. Let’s listen together!

Fr. Bill

A caring community

Dear Parish Family:

I always want to make sure that our parish is a place of welcome and healing for all who enter, not matter who they are or how comfortable they feel being in a church setting. Some people are away from church for various reasons and it is up to us as a parish community not to sit in judgment, but take as our example the “Prodigal Father” and welcome back with open arms those who choose to enter the doors of Sacred Heart Church.

We have had several funerals these past few weeks and for me these are significant times in the lives of families. These are times to welcome and assist in healing as people struggle to accept the loss of a loved one. We try to make people during this difficult time of mourning as comfortable as possible.
Our visual equipment and projecting the Mass parts, music and a picture of the deceased make it as easy as possible for those who have not been to a Catholic service to fully and actively participate in our prayers for loved ones and friends. A special blessing for those not receiving communion or non-Catholic brings comfort and healing for those who come to grieve the loss of their friend or family member. The pleasant invitation to each participant to come forward to read or bring up the gifts assists all in feeling comfortable as they contribute to the memory of their loved one.

Whenever there is a funeral I invite the parish community to attend the funeral to support families in their time of need. How important it is for others to know we are a caring community. In the weekend prayers, I make it clear when funerals are being held so that everyone can pray for those families who have lost a family member. It is wonderful for me to have someone leaving the church ask, “What time is the funeral tomorrow? I’m going to try to make it!”

We are on this faith journey together and it is important for us to know and give the gift of our presence in times of need. It is my prayer that our parish will always be a place of welcome and healing; what a wonderful reputation to have; wouldn’t you say? As we gather for weekend worship make the effort to extend a hand of welcome to all who come to journey with us in faith!

Fr. Bill

The five ministries

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

I want to thank Msgr. John Doran for celebrating the 4:00 P.M. Mass this Saturday so that I can attend the annual Voluntas Dei Congress at Daylesford Abby in Paoli, PA August 3-5. I will be here for Sunday Mass August 6th. Please pray for us as we gather, that the Holy Spirit will assist us in the decisions we make.

I want to continue to inform you regarding the five ministries that will direct the work of our parish: Formation, Worship, Operations, Stewardship and Community Engagement. All the teams will gather at Parish Life Night on the second Monday of each month from 7:30 to 9:30 in the parish center to ensure that we have good communication among all the ministries. Following the individual ministry meetings everyone will gather together in the main hall at 8:45 for prayer and reports. The reporting time is crucial for good communication and working relationships among all the ministries. This time together gives everyone an opportunity to share wisdom, ask clarifying questions and encourage each ministry to grow in deeper service to our parish. The time commitment for people serving in these ministries will be two hours per month.

Each ministry will be consist of 8 people. I am especially encouraging parishioners who do not presently serve in any ministries to prayerfully discern where your gift, skill and talent lies. I am also encouraging parishioners of all ages; high school students, young adults, empty nesters and retirees to consider serving on a ministry team. We must cast the net long and far so that as many people as possible may be involved in parish direction and decision making.
5+40=1. With God all things are possible! 5 ministries, the wisdom 40 leaders makes us 1 parish eager to work together to fulfill our mission here at Sacred heart: “Making and becoming faithful disciples; inviting all to follow Jesus Christ!”

As we prepare for our revised structure, pray about where it is that you fit in!
Fr. Bill

Young Adult Ministry Summit

In an effort to better serve the young adults of our diocese, I would like to invite you and/or any young adults you may know to a Young Adult Ministry Summit on Thursday, August 31st at 6:30pm at St. George in Worcester. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the needs of young adults and brainstorm ways in which these needs can be met on both a local and diocesan level. I understand we had one of these a couple of years ago and it yielded some great discussion and fruit. This gathering is open to any young adult in our diocese so please also feel free to pass this along to anyone else! If you plan on attending, please RSVP by Thursday, August 24th so we can get an accurate head count. We’d love to see you there! Thanks for all that you do!

God bless,

Tim Messenger
Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Diocese of Worcester
49 Elm Street, Worcester, MA 01609