Weekly Message

Summer Solstice

Dear Parish Family:

Summer Solstice began last Tuesday and sometimes we all want to simply get into a summer kind of mood and put our feet up and relax. However, here in the parish office we are working hard to implement all the decisions we make through our Pastoral Planning Team meetings. The leadership and decision-making team meets monthly to make sure that the ministry needs of the parish are on target for our community. I want to touch on a couple of those areas that we are working on.

These past few months we have been restructuring our major parish ministries. Something wasn’t quite right and we talked it out patiently with each other during and between meetings. I must say, it is wonderful to know that the leadership team is invested and concerned about how we function as a parish even as we talk with one another at coffee and, and communicate through e-mail and in the parking lot! What a dedicated group we have!

We will have five focus areas of ministry: Faith Formation, Worship, Operations, Stewardship and Community Engagement. More information regarding the mandates for these areas of ministry will be coming in a chart form as soon as we have articulated them well.

Youth engagement is a top priority! Our Faith Formation Team has been looking closely at ways to engage our Junior High youth members, those in grades 7 and 8 in ways that assist them in deepening their involvement in understanding and practicing their faith through a variety of fun, flexible formats. We constantly need to be reminded that faith is “caught” not taught and so sitting in a classroom setting, teaching our faith only plants seeds. We must put our faith into practice and make it a lived experience so that it takes hold.

I hear comments from many visitors after funerals, sacramental celebrations and weekend Mass on the vibrancy of our faith community. This doesn’t happen by chance. It is the dedication of our Pastoral Planning Team and our entire community and our desire to make all things new. It takes the commitment even in the summer months to put things into place so that we do not grow stale, but continue to listen attentively to the Word of God, and the needs of our faith community. The members of our PPT are listed in the bulletin each week. Take the opportunity to share your wisdom so that Sacred Heart can continue to grow as a dynamic faith community.

Fr. Bill

Feast of Corpus Christi

Dear Parish Family:

On this Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, I wish to thank you for truly being the Body of Christ as a community of faith! I thank you for your continued generosity to the parish as we not only take care of our own parish needs. I am even more thankful for your continued generosity in looking beyond our own parish boundaries to meet the needs of our Diocesan family in not only carrying our share of Partners in Charity, but exceeding our goal. (See Thank you letter from Bishop McManus also in this bulletin).

This feast reminds us that when we receive the Body of Christ, and in our sharing of this one bread and one cup; we become the body of Christ. We are a community of faith that pools its gifts, skills and talents; time, talent and treasure as did the Christian community of the early church. How proud we should all be of our willingness to walk the talk and together be faithful Disciples of Jesus Christ.

On top of our generosity to our own parish and our diocesan family we also assisted the Xavierian Missioners in the wonderful work that Fr. Tony and Fr. Carl shared with us last weekend. If you were not able to contribute to the work of the Xavierian Missioners last week, feel free to put a donation in the collection basket in an envelope marked Xavierian Missioners.

This Sunday also begins Father’s Day Week! We will have a special blessing for all fathers at each of the weekend Masses. We ask God’s blessings too on all fathers who have died; that they may be welcomed to the banquet in heaven.
Happy Feast Day, Happy Father’s Day Week!

Fr. Bill

The Trinitarian formula

Dear Parish Family:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit! Amen! As Catholics, we begin and end all our prayers with the sign of the cross; it is also our official way of bestowing blessings upon us all. We are so accustomed to addressing God in the Trinitarian formula that this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity may seem like overkill.

This celebration is always held the Sunday following Pentecost in order that we as a community of faith may rejoice in the fullness of God’s presence through the power of the Holy Spirit. Coming to a recognition that there are three persons in one God helps us to understand the plural used in the Hebrew Scriptures when we read, “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” Jesus continued to point out to his disciples especially in the Gospel of John, “The Father and I are one.”

The greeting used by the celebrant at Mass is also a threefold blessing, “The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!” This greeting is taken directly from St. Paul to the Corinthians and confirms the understanding of Trinity by the early church, passed down through the ages.

Just as Father, Son and Spirit work together through the ages we are called to work together as a community of faith, pooling our God given gifts toward ministry in the church and in the world. To continue our work here in our Hopedale community, we are in need of a few more ministers to be videographers, hospital ministers, and ministers to Draper Place. These ministers are a sign of the community’s presence, bringing the Eucharist, comfort, presence, and prayer to members who are unable to participate because of illness or aging.

Ministers of Care and videographers are living witnesses that our community of faith has not forgotten the absent sick, the invisible elderly, and the unseen sufferers. These ministries bring everyone into common-union with the whole community so that no one is alone. If you have a few hours to spare, please consider serving in one of these areas.

Happy Easter!
Fr. Bill

Pentecost

Dear Parish Family:

We are completing our 50 days of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Disciples must have been sad to see Jesus taken up into heaven, and told to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Wait they did, and I love how Luke expresses this period of waiting; “When the day of Pentecost came, they were gathered in one room, with one mind and heart eager to receive the Spirit.” (Acts 2:2)

How wonderful to be so focused as a community in one mind and one heart all on the same mission; and because they were empowered by the Holy Spirit we are here today as a faith community and thousands of faith communities throughout the world assemble in belief of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

We wear red on Pentecost Sunday to remind ourselves of the unity we share as followers of Jesus Christ and the flames of the Holy Spirit that send us forth into the world to invite all to follow Jesus Christ. At the end of the weekend Masses I will carry the Pascal Candle out of the church to remind us all that we are to bring the light of Christ into the world.

Those who gathered for the Easter Vigil April 15th surely remember how wonderful it was to bask in the candle-lit church as we sang together our praise of the light of Christ and His resurrection from the dead. May we carry that same light and Spirit into our conversations, our gatherings, our encounters and never hide the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and Him risen from the dead.

Many try to snuff out the light of Christ by criticism, complaint, and negativity; these choke the Lord’s Word in us. Let’s make sure we are not among them, and let’s together go out to all the world and tell the Good News!

Happy Easter!
Fr. Bill

Memorial Day

Dear Parish Family:

For many people, Memorial Day is a three-day holiday weekend that marks the beginning of the end of the school year and graduation. For those who like to garden, it is the weekend when all crops should be in the ground awaiting the summer sun. And to others, it is the weekend when we decorate the graves of loved ones.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, with both Southerners and Northerners honoring those who died in the Civil War. After World War II it became a day to honor all those in the military who died fighting to protect our nation.

For me personally, Memorial Day is full of memories and emotion. I remember attending Memorial Day parades with my Uncle, Col. Angelo Pilla who during his highly decorated military career experienced things that many of us will never experience. I remember my uncle even in his older years standing at attention as younger soldiers marched by and quietly saluting them showing them his gratitude and respect for their service. Every year, I try to attend a Memorial Day parade to show my gratitude and respect for those who serve our country.

So, this weekend, enjoy your barbecues and celebrate the beginning of summer. But also take a moment to honor those who died fighting for our country.

Visit a cemetery.
Say a prayer.
Light a candle.
Attend a parade.
Tell a story.
Remember.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend,
Pam

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

Summer Hours Starting This Weekend - Saturday 4:00 pm, Sunday 9:30 am