Fr. Bill’s Weekly Letter

Happy Spring!

Dear Parish Family:

Happy Spring! The sun is finally shining and everything seems right with the world. As I write this note, Fr. Bill is on vacation and Tina, Tara, Darlene, Joe and I are busy at work. The past month has flown by with Holy Week, Easter being a distant memory and First Eucharist and Confirmation being recent ones. Congratulations to all our First Communicants, Confirmandi and recent college graduates!

As most of you are aware, there have been some exciting changes in the parish office in the past month. We are amid transition so we ask your patience as we try to negotiate the changes in responsibilities. Our administrative assistants, Tina and Darlene are learning all the ins and outs of our day-to-day operations. Darlene is focusing on finance and bookkeeping, so if you have questions in that area, Darlene is the person to ask. Tina is focusing her efforts on scheduling, sacramental and faith formation recordkeeping so Tina can answer your questions in those areas. Both Tina and Darlene can assist with scheduling Mass intentions and sanctuary lamps or other questions that you may have. If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to call the parish office.

I am very excited to be working with Tara Corcoran in the area of Faith Formation. Tara will be coordinating Faith Formation grades 1-6 as well as Cherub’s Corner and Kids Chapel (formerly Fishers and Finders!). Tara has some awesome ideas so stay tuned!

As for me, my role is changing as well. Presently, I will continue to work with young people in grades 7-11 including Confirmation preparation. I will also focus my time on overseeing ministries and operations ensuring that we have the proper resources that we need to be successful. I ask for your prayers for the entire staff as we move forward into our new roles.

Happy Spring and enjoy the beautiful weather!

Pam Chaplin

PS…don’t forget the Holy Day next week…Ascension Thursday ~ Masses are on Wednesday at 7:30PM and Thursday at 9AM!

Easter Grace and Mother’s Day

Dear Parish Family:

We have celebrated well the Easter Sacraments here at Sacred Heart: three Catechumens receive all three sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil, we have had infant baptisms, First Communions, and on Friday May 12th, 23 of our young people received the Sacrament of Confirmation. What a wonderful blessing for us all. We rejoice in the Easter grace that flows freely through our community of faith.

This weekend is Mother’s Day and as a community we will pray a special blessing on all mothers as we celebrate Mother’s Day WEEK! We will also pray for our mothers who have passed who hold a special place in our hearts.

I am now ready for a two week break and going on vacation May 15th to May 26th. I am going to be visiting my last two National Archive Presidential Libraries and Museums. I will be staying in Detroit and driving from there to semi-local sights. The Gerald Ford Museum is in Grand Rapids and the Ford Library is In Ann Arbor. I will visit the Herbert Hoover Library and Museum in West Branch Iowa. There is one First Ladies Museum and it is in Canton, Ohio. Also in Canton is the McKinley Presidential Library (not a National Archive Library); and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Detroit has many other sights plus great Greek Restaurants which I love, so I am looking forward to a wonderful visit.

I am hoping on my return we will all be able to walk through the front doors and grow closer to completing the renovations we have planned. In the meantime, Fr. Peter Francis I.V.Dei will celebrate Mass Saturday May 20th; and we welcome Msgr. John Doran for the Sunday Masses May 21st and the vigil Mass for Ascension at 7:30 P.M. May 24th and the 9:00 A.M. on May 25th. Then I will be back for Masses the following weekend when we begin the Summer Schedule! A sincere thankyou to Fr. Peter and Msgr. Doran for making vacation possible!

Happy Mother’s Day Week and Happy Easter!
Fr. Bill

Good News Abound This Easter Season

Dear Parish Family,

Lots of happenings here at Sacred Heart, with Good News abounding this Easter Season! The heavy bronze front doors have been removed and the new light mahogany doors have been hung! On Friday of this week all the hardware will be installed, so when you arrive for Mass this weekend you should be able to enter through the front again.

The new handicap bathroom is ready to use this weekend too! There was never hot water in that bathroom before, but now there is, so everything is up-to-date in that section of the building. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel of the work we only dreamed of doing 4 years ago thanks to the generosity and dedication of so many of you who have invested time, money and energy in making “God’s House a Home!”

At the same time, we exceeded our goal of $43,200.00 toward our Partner’s in Charity Appeal. How proud I was to read on the front page of the Boston Globe on Tuesday, May 2nd the article that highlighted the Guild of St. Agnes in Worcester (one of our Partner’s Agencies) that is contracted to serve 300 kids in Department of Children and Families. Currently they serve nearly 1,600 children throughout Worcester County. This makes me proud to be Catholic, and especially proud to be a part of the Diocese of Worcester and Sacred Heart Parish. Our willingness to support so many families in need through Partner’s help the Guild of St. Agnes continue their ministry. We collected $45,481.00 which is $2281.00 over our goal. THANK YOU to those who help make these miracles possible!

Yes, lots of Good News happening this Easter Season! Thanks for making the Good News possible and being part of the work of the Church here in Hopedale and in the Worcester Diocese.

Happy Easter,
Fr. Bill

New Doors to God’s Home

Dear Parish Family,

It is Monday morning and I am getting my usual Monday morning responsibilities taken care of including my weekly bulletin letter. As I write this I am looking out my office window to see if the truck delivering our new front doors has arrived. They are supposed to be delivered today and installed this week. We ordered them in January and many have asked why it takes so long.

First, we did not order the doors until we had the money from our Capital Campaign to pay for them. Second, they are a special order; we can’t just call a company and buy them off the shelf. We have specific needs for our doors. Since the church was built we have become bigger people, and so caskets have gotten bigger! So instead of 48” wide double doors we are getting 60” wide double doors. The panic bars will also be recessed giving us the full 60” to enter the church when the doors are opened.

The existing doors were difficult to keep clean due to the brass grill work. This will not be a problem with the new doors. Actually, as I am writing this I am hoping when you come this weekend you may enter through the new doors!
Some have also asked why we don’t just fix the existing doors. Since I have been here we have spent a great deal of money trying to fix them and have been told that the mechanisms are no longer fixable. I was told by Lou Thibeault (may he rest in peace) when we started gathering information for our major renovations that the doors were always a problem since they were installed and never worked well. He was a member of the building committee when the church was built in 1965. With his wisdom, we moved to replace the doors and increase the size of entry due to meet our current needs.

The tile in the new handicap bathroom is installed and I am also hoping that the plumber will come this week to install the sink and toilet. This has been a long haul but well worth waiting for as we continue to “Make God’s house, a Home.” As I type this the truck just pulled in! Yeah!

Fr. Bill

50 Days of Easter

Dear Parish Family,

Happy Easter everyone! And now that it is the Easter Season, we enter into this season of “amazing grace” as we celebrate the Easter sacraments through Baptism, First Eucharist, Confirmation, and Baccalaureate. As a community we rejoice in the sacramental grace that flows as we gather as a parish community. At the same time, we celebrate the achievements of our graduating seniors as they move to the next stage of their lives.

It is wonderful to have people approach me to bless religious gifts that are being presented for these occasions. “Father, I am going to my grandson’s graduation in New York on Sunday would you please bless this for me?” We travel far and wide to celebrate and affirm the many happenings in the lives of loved ones and family members. This beautiful weather too, is a cause for celebration.

We have fifty days to get it all in and somehow it seems to pass oh so quickly. My suggestion is to take one event at a time and build strong family ties as you rejoice at each event. Making time to affirm, celebrate and enjoy each other in these sacred moments helps us to put into perspective the times when we are challenged by the stumbling blocks that trip us up from time to time.

To all who are celebrating sacramental grace, and achievement; be in the present moment and drink in the love that comes from family and friends who gather. To all who are rejoicing; pay attention to how important you gift of presence is as all gather and share in the many gifts we bring to each other by simply “being there!”

Happy Easter!
Fr. Bill

Seder Supper 2017

On Palm Sunday Eve, as we have for the past 35 years, we gathered as a Parish Family to partake in the wonderful tradition that is The Seder Supper to recreate The Passover.

There are so many to thank. Thank you to those who attended our gathering; Joe Calabrese for our hall set-up; the parish office for their support; to PR Running and Judge Francis & Virginia Larkin for the contribution of wine; to Oliva’s Catering for the wonderful meal; to the Sacred Heartbeats, who led us in song; to our wonderful host family The Corcoran Goyette Family; Philip & Tara, Casey, Riley and Rory, perfectly exemplified what it is to be a family and the bounty that comes from that unity; Thanks, of course, to our dear Pastor, Father Bill who teaches and leads us to be a better people and inspires us to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Last but by no means least, a special thanks to our wondrous Seder Committee: Rich & Jess Allen, Dave & Audrey Barber, Ralph & Jane Becker, Mike & Sue Conciatori, Bob & Julia Manning, Linda Matondi, Rob & Gina Russell, and Diane Ward. They will be and are missed greatly. The Seder is what it is because of a dedicated few who give of their time, talent and treasure to realize the joy of continuing this tradition. Our committee itself is a “treasure”!

Next year we will continue this spirit filled tradition on the night before Palm Sunday. Please consider this message an early invitation to all of you, Our Parish Family, to once again experience “A nite unlike any other nite”, a perfect prelude to Holy Week.

Shalom,

Michael Matondi

Holy spirit moving through our staff

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

While we have all been making our Lenten journey as a parish community and small groups growing deeper in our relationship to Jesus Christ, our Pastoral Planning Team has been led by the Holy Spirit to look deeper into our parish structure and to realign ourselves as a leadership team. The Spirit has also been moving through our staff and taken over completely!

Melissa has been led to another job and will be serving with us until April 20th. She will still be active in ministry, but will be working in the health care field. We wish her well in her new position. We welcome Darlene Page and Tina Buckley in their new roles as office administrative assistants. Both, Darlene and Tina will work with Melissa during the next two weeks to learn the day to day operations of the parish.

Starting in May, Tara Corcoran will begin working in the area of Faith Formation. She will be working the with the younger people and their parents as Pam puts together a team for Vibrant Faith University. Lots of movement and blessings for us all as the Holy Spirit guides and directs our parish mission and work.

The Pastoral Planning team is full of energy and wisdom and has been such a blessing. I am so proud to witness this much dedication and attention each person has to reach out and serve all members of our community. How lucky we are to have the Holy Spirit give us so much special attention during these times of transition.

As we journey through this Holy Week I am praying a special prayer of thanksgiving for the goodness that has unfolded during this time of doors opening, new opportunities ahead, and our coming “Up from the waters!” Have a blessed Holy Week, see you in church!

Fr. Bill

Passiontide and Holy Week

With the Fifth Sunday of Lent we enter a period in the church calendar called Passiontide; the two weeks between Passion Sunday and Easter Sunday. Some of you may remember that beginning this weekend all the statues were covered with purple cloth as a reminder that we must focus solely on the passion, death and finally the resurrection of Jesus. This Fifth week we are called to examine how we will make Holy Week, that begins next Sunday; a week of personal spiritual growth and not just an ordinary week of Lent, and most especially not just an ordinary week in our lives.

As much as we strive through prayer, fasting and acts of charity throughout the Lenten Season, Holy Week is considered the “final stretch” of our spiritual exercises to move with the universal church with the power of the Holy Spirit. Many traditions abstain from meat throughout the whole of Holy week as do the Mediterranean and Slavic nations. These traditions call for simple meal preparation in order that the whole family can enter fully into the rituals celebrated throughout the week in all the Catholic communities throughout the world.

How are you planning on making Holy Week a time for your personal spiritual growth? How are you planning on making Holy Week more than just an ordinary week in your life? How are you planning on making Holy Week, Holy?

Have you ever attended the Seder Supper? Have you ever attended Tenebrae? Have you had your feet washed on Holy Thursday, or spent time at the altar of repose Holy Thursday evening? Have you prayed with the universal church on Good Friday Evening, thanking God for the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and reverenced the cross with the assembled community? Have you celebrated our salvation story at the Easter Vigil and welcomed our new Catholics joining us on the journey of faith receiving the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation?

If not, why not? Don’t let another Holy Week pass as just another “ordinary week.” Make the time to enter the beautiful rituals that put flesh on our spiritual journey. If you do, you will never be the same.
Fr. Bill

Half Way To Easter

As we gather this weekend for the Fourth Sunday in Lent we are more than halfway through our journey. It is wonderful to hear such positive feedback from the many folks that joined in the small Lenten groups. I like the format very much. It is creative and the resources for the groups are tremendous using signs and symbols that connect with each of the gospel stories. I find that each of the prayer services help us to ritualize our journey of faith. On the cover of “Up from the Waters” it is clear that this reflecting and sharing the living gospel is definitely for Lent Year A. I am hoping that there may be a Year B and Year C to follow; since the materials are so good.

I hope you have taken the time to visit the www.partners-charity.net as Matt and Meredith Daelhousen encouraged us to do before we gather this weekend for in-pew solicitation for our goal of $43,200.00. If everyone of us does our part, we should have no problem in assisting the many needs of the ministries of our diocese. Let’s all pitch in and do our part.

In this final stretch of Lent, I hope you have taken the time to reflect on the question “Where do you thirst?” Allow yourself the time to sit with Jesus where you thirst and be pleasantly surprise that he overlooks the baggage that we and others pile on us. Instead, drink freely of the “living water” that only Jesus can provide. This Fourth Sunday of Lent we are invited to examine “Where are you blind?” Allow yourself the time to go deeper in your relationship with the Lord to uncover those blindspots.

Fr. Bill

Lent’s Acts of Charity

Dear Fellow Companions on the Journey!

I am sure you have seen the posters outside the church with St. Teresa of Kolkata, the patron saint of this year’s Annual Partner in Charity Appeal. How important it is for us to work together as parishes in the Diocese of Worcester to meet the Ministry, Education, and pastoral needs of the many people of Worcester County. As you can imagine the many needs increase each year with requests for immigration assistance, housing, food, and much more.

We have been able to make our goal each year and expand our donor base so that more share the responsibility of meeting our parish goal. The Diocesan goal is $5 million and our portion of that goal is the same as last year; $43,200.00. Last year through your wonderful generosity we could exceed our goal by $8,459.00. Isn’t it wonderful when we can pool our resources and be more generous that we are asked to be.
This weekend as we gather for the Third Sunday of Lent we will hear a direct plea from Bishop McManus to join as Partners in Charity. We will also hear from our parish chair couple Matt and Meredith Daelhousen encouraging us all to join in meeting our obligation to assist in the appeal.

Besides prayer and fasting, the third pillar of Lent is Acts of Charity. It is appropriate that we use this Annual Appeal to share in meeting the many needs of those who are part of our wider faith community. Next weekend we will invite all to participate in the in-pew solicitation for “Partners”. I know that many of you have already generously contributed and thank you ahead of time for your generosity.

I ask us all to join in prayer to St. Teresa of Kolkata for the success of our appeal here at Sacred Heart parish, and join me in supporting Partners in Charity.
Fr. Bill