Author Archive: edlavalette

Commitment Weekend

Dear Parish Family…

A sincere thank you to Rob Callahan, Chris Hodgens, April Izzi, Joyce Konicki, and Jana Loughlin; for planting the seeds for our contemplation and prayerful reflection on our commitments to Sacred Heart. Their personal witness to their stewardship of time, talent and treasure hopefully encouraged us all to prayerfully consider our personal commitment to Sacred Heart Parish.

Sacred Heart Parish will be what each of us makes it. Every day I spend an hour in prayer and that prayer begins with a simple but pertinent request for God’s direction. “Lord, what is it that you want to do at Sacred Heart Parish? Whatever it is, I am available.” That is what I mean when I ask each person to “prayerfully consider” what God is asking you to personally do as a disciple of Jesus Christ and an a parishioner here at Sacred Heart.

To assist you in prayerfully preparing for Commitment Weekend it is important that we understand what commitment to Sacred Heart parish is and means:

com·mit·ment (noun)
· a promise to do or give something
· a promise to be loyal to someone or something
· the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something

Commitment Weekend is more that giving money to Sacred Heart, it is about faith raising and funding ministry. Not simply funding ministry with money, funding the ministries with our talents, participating in ministry in the many ways offered in the ministry catalogue. It is disciple making and being faithful disciples here in the vineyard of Sacred Heart Parish. We prayerfully consider being faithful disciples, caring and managing all God has given us by sharing our gifts, skills and talents, so that all of our ministries are functioning as a vibrant community of faith because we all take responsibility for making our parish the parish God wants us to be. We all want to give of our time to worship and pray to God thanking God for the many ways we are blessed as the people of God. Our commitment of treasure helps us escape the trap of selfishness by keeping ourselves spiritually focused on God. We remember that there can be no ministry without money and want to make sure that our mission of becoming and making disciples of Jesus Christ is the whole reason we exist as a parish.

Fr Bill

First Job and Generosity

Dear Parish Family…

I remember my first summer job and the boss telling me not to let anyone else know how much I was getting paid or what my job responsibilities were. I was flattered, thinking that was so others wouldn’t be jealous because I must be getting paid more or had a higher skill set than them, but looking back now, the exact opposite was probably true!

We often avoid these subjects because we are embarrassed about how little we make (or how much!), or we are afraid that we are going to be asked to do something that we aren’t able to do. Sometimes it seems that when it comes to sharing our money or our talent, making a commitment is difficult. Many, many thanks for your current and past support to Sacred Heart!

Once a year, we remind ourselves of the generosity we share with each other and with those beyond the walls of Sacred Heart through our Annual Stewardship Campaign. Each household has been sent our Annual Stewardship Renewal packet. I am asking all family members to prayerfully review its contents in preparation for Commitment weekend October 24 and 25. By mistake two areas available for ministry were omitted, Event Planners and Café Ministers (Coffee And), if you wish to join these two ministries just write them in on your card.

God showers us with grace everywhere, and every week, through prayer, presence, and service, we at Sacred Heart educate, develop our faith, assist the poor, visit the sick, support people in times of need, worship God, and help people experience a more just, loving, and peaceful world.

Commitment Weekend is more that giving money to Sacred Heart. It is about making a commitment to participate in ministry by sharing our gifts, skills and talents, so that all of our ministries continue to function and Sacred Heart remains a vibrant community of faith. Our commitment of treasure is necessary; remember that there can be no ministry without money. We want to make sure that the reason we exist as a parish, “Becoming and Making Disciples, Welcoming All to Follow Jesus Christ” is secure.

I hope you will prayerfully make your stewardship commitment for 2015-2016 by submitting your commitment card on or before Sunday, October 25th, when we will celebrate our willingness to come together sharing our time, talent and treasure; becoming the generous people and church that God created us to be.

Thank you so much!
Fr Bill

Parish Pride

Dear Parish Family…

How proud I am to be the Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish! What a wonderful day we had on Saturday! Everyone worked together to make “Fill-A-Ford”, “Trick-Or-Treat so Others Can Eat” and the Harvest Festival all happen. The response of our whole parish was equally commendable. Not only did we “Fill-A-Ford” twice as planned, it was filled more than 5 times due to such a tremendous out pouring of generosity on the part of so many in the community. A special shout-out to the youth of our parish who went door-to-door collecting food for those less fortunate; truly a job well done! Over 200 attended the Harvest Food Festival for Friends & Neighbors that had to be held inside due to the weather. Many pitched in to set it up and clean it up, and when it was all done the hall was ready for a hectic morning of faith formation. Wonderful willingness to share space and allow all our gifts, skills and talents to shine! Kudos to all who worked so hard and so well together. Bravo!

As I shared with you on the weekend, the Synod on the Family is being held in Rome from October 4-25. I am asking all to pray the prayer below each day for the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit for all the participants and especially Pope Francis as he leads the process.

Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod in Rome
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer! Amen.

One event at a time

Dear Parish Family…

I wish to thank all of you for your words of sympathy and understanding at the news of my sister Margaret Clarke’s death this past Tuesday. It was totally unexpected. Your presence at the wake and funeral were a wonderful gift of support and love for me and my family. It will be a while before I am able to acknowledge your gifts of food, flowers, Masses and cards, but know that your wishes are greatly appreciated by all the members of our family in our time of grief. I am so fortunate to be here with you in such a wonderful community of Sacred Heart.

I our human resource needs. Paul is stepping down as our facilitator, however he will continue to assist in human resource needs and many other parish activities. Thank you Paul for always sharing your gifts so generously. Stepping up to the plate to assist as our PPT facilitator, while remaining partner with Donna Rajcula on the Weekend Experience Ministry, is Joe Sperino. Joe also is a reader of the word, and assists in any way he can in helping our parish grow. Thank you Joe for always being such a good steward here at Sacred Heart!

Hope you had a chance to watch the lunar eclipse on Sunday night, I know I did. Might forget the next one in thirty-three years. Remember, take one event at a time, and it will all fit into place!

Fr. Bill

Fill-A-Ford and Harvest Fest

Dear Parish Family…

Next Saturday, October 3rd, there is lots happening here at Sacred Heart, and I don’t want anyone to be left out! I am hoping all will participate in “Fill-a-Ford” with warm clothing and food supplies for those young people in need in our community. These items will be distributed throughout the school system. Some older folks mentioned that they have no means to go shopping for needed items. If you are unable to shop for items, but would like to help, just put money or a check in an envelope and place it in the collection basket and committee members will be happy to do the shopping for you. We need all the help we can get. We are going to try to fill two Ford pick-ups this year!

Also on October 3rd we are having a “Harvest Food Festival for Friends and Neighbors.” I hope you have sold the tickets you received and especially invite neighbors to come and celebrate the season with us. Remember this is not a fund raiser, this is a “fun raiser”, an opportunity to gather and celebrate the gift of each other. That is why there is a maximum of $45.00 per family and children under the age of 10 are free! Some asked about seating? There will be hosts and hostesses on-hand to make sure that you are seated with family and friends and to make sure that each table is full. If you have a table-full, write that on your return envelope and a table will be put aside for you. Remember too, to keep the costs down for this wonderful night, it is BYOB. Payment can be placed in the collection baskets at all Masses this weekend or brought to the Parish Office during business hours. The deadline to purchase is Wednesday September 30th. Tickets will be available for purchase after all Masses this weekend.

And also on October 3rd, while all our parish and community activities are going on, some members of our Haiti Mission Team and I will be at St. Paul’s Cathedral at 10:30 WITH Bishop McManus to renew our parish covenant with St. Gerard’s Parish in Port Salmone, Haiti. I am going to wear my roller skates and take one event at a time that day, and celebrate and be present with each moment of the day.

And a surprise is in store when to come to Mass next weekend. I don’t want to spoil it, so just wait in joyful hope to see what it is!?

Yes, lots is happening here at Sacred Heart next weekend. Make sure you are part of the happenings as we gather to celebrate our bounty as people of God.

Fr. Bill

Harvest Food Festival for Friends and Neighbors

You are invited to our Harvest Food Festival for Friends and Neighbors to be held on Saturday October 3, 2015 from 5:30-10pm.  This event promises to be an evening of family fun, community-building and outreach!  In addition to a festive fall dinner, music and fun, there will be a “FILL A FORD TRUCK” on our parish grounds!  Please bring a donation of non-perishable food/snacks, and/or warm winter clothing (new or gently used) for children living in Hopedale and our surrounding towns who are in need!

The event will take place in our parish center and outside, with a festive menu, music including live entertainment and a bonfire! The tickets are $15 per person, children under 10 are free, with a family maximum of $45. We have included tickets for purchase in this mailing, along with some extras to invite neighbors and friends!  If you need additional tickets, please contact Melissa in the office during weekdays at 508 473-1900.  If you plan to attend, please include your payment and headcount in the enclosed envelope, and return by Monday September 28th to the parish office or during Mass in the collection basket.

The dinner will include a variety of fall favorites:

  • Pulled Pork and Rolls
  • Homemade Baked Beans
  • Potato Salad
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Garden Salad
  • Hotdogs & Chips
  • Apple Crisp
  • Soft drinks
  • Coffee & Tea
  • BYOB

We are looking forward to seeing you and your family at the Harvest Food Festival! Thank you in advance for helping us make it a successful event!

The Harvest Food Festival Committee

25th Anniversary of Haitian Covenant 9.10

Dear Parish Family…

Twenty-five years ago I was living in Haiti and drove from Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince to pick up our then Bishop Daniel Reilly and a delegation of 9 others who were coming to Haiti to celebrate the signing of a covenant between the Diocese of Worcester and the Diocese of Les Cayes. Bishop Alex Verrier would sign for the Diocese of Les Cayes. It was a wonderful celebration with Immaculate Conception Cathedral filled to overflowing and a week of celebration visiting the parishes and ministries with which parishes in our diocese we were twinning.

Little did I know when I went to Haiti for the first time in 1987 how all this would unfold. At that time, we were creating a Haitian immersion experience for youth through the Office for Youth Ministry. As director I assembled an exploratory group that traveled with me in 1987; Michael Cahill, Barbara Clancy, Tanya Connors, a reporter from the Catholic Free Press that would report our findings; Matt Lazure a youth representative from Southbridge and me.

To celebrate this 25th Anniversary of our Covenant, Sr. Judith Dupuy, Director of the Haitian Apostolate, is honoring the “Founders” of our Haitian Apostolate at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Worcester. The event takes place with Mass celebrated by Bishop McManus at 10:30 A.M. Saturday 3 October. This is followed by a FREE Haitian luncheon in the Cathedral Hall following Mass.

I know Oct. 3 is a busy day here in our Parish, however if you would like to attend, you are most welcome. We do need to get a count into Sr. Judith so if you are interested in attending please let Melissa in the office know by noon on Tuesday Sept. 29th.

One never knows what types of seeds we plant when God invites us to begin a project. I am grateful for the many blessing we as a parish shower on our sister parish St. Gerard’s as we continue to walk together in faith.

Fr. Bill

August Transitions 8.28

Dear Parish Family,

Our August Pastoral Planning Team (PPT) meeting is always our transition meeting.  We say good-bye to our two youth representatives and one adult at-large representative and say hello to those who have stepped forward to serve on our leadership team.  We thank Connie Jackson for her three years of service as an at-large representative.  As always Connie will stay well involved in ministry in so many ways especially assisting in the Martha Mary Ministry.  Maureen Hodgens is moving on to Holy Cross College next weekend and will continue to practice her faith and make us and her family proud.  Tom Sperino will be entering his senior year of high school and of course will be sitting with his dad, Joe and help out as an usher at Mass throughout the year.   We thank the three of them for their willingness to serve so faithfully on the PPT.

We are excited to welcome our new representatives; Helena Martin and Catherine Hodgens will serve a one year term and Chris Hodgens will begin his three year at-large position on the PPT.  It was a pleasure to welcome them Monday evening and thank them all so much for their willingness to serve.

In my meetings with other Pastors I always hear the difficulties they experience with getting parishioners to take responsibility for leadership positions.  That is far from the case here at Sacred Heart.  We have a wonderful leadership team that listens to one another and is willing not only to share wisdom, but also take on the tasks that help us to become such a wonderful parish moving forward into the future.  I would ask you to consider taking a leadership role.  Each year in the spring we invite all adults and high school youth to submit names of people (your own included) who would like to “sit at the decision making table” for Sacred Heart parish.   Pray for the wisdom and the decisions of our PPT, but also pray that we continue to raise up new leadership for our team.

On another note, I wish to thank all those who welcomed Sr. Tess Browne to our parish as she preached about the work of the Sisters of Charity if Nazareth.  A check was sent to them from our parish for $1,791.38.  We received a thank you from her for the warm welcome she received from all of us.

Fr. Bill

Rubble and Blessings 8.20

Dear Parish Family…

Many of you walked past the rubble when you entered the church through the glass entry way for Mass last weekend. When you entered the nave you saw where all the debris was from. Now that everything is at one level, our next step is to move the tabernacle from the left side of the church to the center where my chair was before. This will begin happening the week of August 24th along with extending the existing platform in a semi-circle so that the new altar will be under the cross. Again I encourage you all to take a look at the diagrams that are on the bulletin board outside the sacristy. The debris will be gone before you come to church this weekend.

The whole church was covered in dust after the platforms were jack hammered. We needed help to clean the church for weekend worship. An e-mail was sent for help on Saturday morning. I wish to thank those who came forward to wash all the pews, dust the furniture and vacuum the rugs. Helping Saturday were: Larry Bonetti, Roger and Marie Brothers, Pam Chaplin, Gerry and Rima Crepeau, Joan Knowlton and Rob Russell. A sincere thank you to all in helping us to keep the church open on weekends and for funerals while we do these major renovations. Again thanks to all who through their pledges to our capital campaign are giving us the resources to renew our church.

We are hoping to finish all the work in the sanctuary (altar area) by the end of October, then begin work replacing the front doors before winter along with the reconciliation room and meeting room in the front (rear from my perspective) of the church.

On another topic, many are leaving for college orientation in the weeks ahead. If you are leaving for college, please pop into the sacristy and let Pam or me know and we will call you up for a blessing at the last Mass you attend before leaving home for continued education.

Happy Summer,

Fr. Bill

Day in the Park 8.13

Dear Parish Family…

While all the demolition is going on in the sanctuary there is also lots of planning taking place to celebrate what we have accomplished at this point in our renovations. I would like you to mark your calendar for events that are taking place in the weeks ahead.

Saturday September 12th is Hopedale’s “Day in the Park” from 10am-4pm where we will have our very successful flavored iced coffees. At the 4:00 Mass that afternoon we will be blessing the “Deacon Joseph Manella Chapel” in honor of Deacon Joe who as our Deacon Emeritus has served our parish for well over 20 years. Following the Mass we will have an opportunity to honor Deacon Joe with a wine and cheese celebration in the parish center.

Saturday October 3rd we will be holding our first “Harvest Festival” with foods from Germany. So make sure you get your tickets, invite your friends and bring your favorite German beverages (B.Y.O.B.) to celebrate. Babysitting will be provided along with free kid food and movies. This will be held following the 4:00 Mass. Starting in September until that day we will be collecting food and clothing for young people in need. A list of the items we are looking for will be forthcoming.

Mike Iacovelli is completing the shelving and cabinets for the library/conference room in the Choir Loft. He is using the wood from the pews that were in the loft. As soon as they are installed we will be dedicating the Library in memory of Dwight Page.

One of our young people going to “Fishers and Finders” asked what was going to happen in the former room they gathered in (Sacristy Lounge). As we move forward with renovations it is our hope that the two bathrooms in the church will be brought up to code and will be handicap accessible. The hall way coming in from the parking lot also needs to be updated. These are all on our wish list so to speak. We will get there someday, however we need to make sure that everyone continues to honor their pledges to the capital campaign.

Many happenings here at Sacred Heart! As several have said, “It is wonderful to see everything taking place, how exciting. We are on the move.”

Enjoy the summer days!
Fr. Bill