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Behind The Scenes… 6.24

Dear Parish Family,

There are so many things happening here at Sacred Heart and trying to keep on top of them is a real challenge so for the next few weeks I am going to update you of things that are going on “behind the scenes.”

Three years ago we held our capital campaign asking people to pledge to “Our Family…Our Faith…Our Future.”  I wish to thank all those who are honoring their pledge.  We are counting on each and every one of our parishioners to honor their commitment to our parish so that we can complete all the necessary work.

Because of your contributions we have been able to complete phases one of our renovations.  We have replaced the roofs and gutters of the parish center and the church and have added insulation. The total cost of these improvements was $171,000.00.  These improvements have already proven to be more energy efficient.

Phase two of our project is coming along.  Additional storage space has been created in the choir loft which has been re-purposed as a parish library and conference room.  The new audio/visual system has been installed in the church along with a new “cry room” on the tabernacle side of the church where the former confessionals and storage room were located.  The day chapel is almost done; shortly all the new flooring will be installed in those areas.

This summer we will begin work in the altar area (sanctuary) reshaping the altar, moving the organ and Tabernacle and enlarging the space for music ministry.  As you may know we have made a commitment not to finance a loan for the work we are doing but will upgrade and renovate as campaign pledges are honored.

Some people who made pledges have moved and others are unable to honor their pledges due to changes in their financial picture.  At this point the loss of that anticipated revenue adds up to $87,000.00 – a large amount, almost 10% of our pledged income.  This will impact the outcome of our project.

If there are people who are in a better position at this time to pledge or are new to the parish and would like to make a commitment, please let me know.  We need assistance from everyone to complete the work we are doing.

Once again, thank you for your support.  None of the work that we have done would be possible without you.  And a Happy Fathers Day week to all our dads!

Fr. Bill

Hazy, Hot and Humid 6.22

Dear Parish Family,

Hazy, hot, and humid; welcome to summer in New England. It has finally warmed up and the gardens are soaking in the heat as everything ripens and we enjoy the fruits of our labors. Some have complained about the weather, my response, “at least we don’t have to shovel it!”

Some may think, because it is summer, things slow down as far as parish life is concerned. Don’t let the summer Mass schedule fool you. This time of year is when all the planning for faith formation, budgeting, closing out the fiscal year, inviting and training new leaders for all our programs and fitting everything into place with names and faces happens.

All the members of our Pastoral Planning team are working in each of their four areas to put into place the mandates that are part of our functioning as a parish. Sometimes we think things just happen not realizing all the efforts of many people bring everything into reality.

  • The Message Shapers has worked on the homily themes right through to Advent in December.
  • Weekend Experience Ministry is working hard on our welcome packet for newly registered parishioners, along with an orientation session for all who come to our parish. I have often heard it said that we are the most welcoming parish in the area!
  • The Operations Ministry is working on budgeting, the website and all the technology that we are now using at Mass. I have only heard praise for our use of the visuals at Mass, and I must say the participation at Mass has certainly been enhanced. I can’t begin to describe all the work being done to make sure all the renovations take place. Believe me it is more than you could ever imagine.
  • Mission and Outreach Ministry is working on the many ways we can put the Gospel into practice and also reach out to those who are inactive in the parish.

All this exciting ministry takes place through the efforts of many dedicated parishioners who want to see Sacred Heart be the parish God wants us to be. I invite you to jump in and join us in this work as we gather for Parish Life Night the second Monday of each month. Next meeting is August 10th. If you want to be a part of the planning process then nominate yourself or someone you know that really loves our parish for the adult at-large position; or the two youth positions for the Pastoral Planning team. The slips are in the vestibule of the church.

Summer time and the living is easy! At the same time there is no vacation from our vocation in being faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and leaders of our parish ministries. A wonderful thank you to all who journey together in ministry.

Fr. Bill

Healing Mass 6.11

Dear Parish Family…

Next Saturday June 20th I am inviting all those who are senior citizens and those who are in need of healing to come to a “Healing Mass” at 11:00 A.M.  Following Mass there will be a light luncheon (You must RSVP by June 15th).   I want to offer everyone an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Healing twice a year.  Remember, Anointing of the Sick is a Sacrament of Healing – our prayers are for healing and not for “dying.”

Every now and then I hear some talk about “last rites,” which is not at all a particularly useful phrase because it opens the door to much misunderstanding.  Many Catholics presume it refers to the Anointing of the Sick, but there is nothing “last” about this Sacrament.  The Church teaches that anointing is to be celebrated early on in an illness for healing in body, mind and spirit, and not as a last measure.

It is my hope that we will offer the Anointing of the Sick twice a year for those who are unable to join us following the last Mass on the Second Sunday of each month.  It is my hope that we schedule these services once during the Advent and Lenten Seasons.

So again I extend the invitation especially to our seniors to join us on Saturday June 20th at this “Healing Mass” and invite you to join us for the luncheon following the Mass.

Fr. Bill

Recalculating in the Parish 6.5

Dear Parish Family…

Our homily series for the next eight weeks in entitled “Recalculating.” It is something we need to do as individuals, as a parish and the Catholic Church in general.

As our closing ritual of Pentecost Sunday dramatized (carrying the lighted Pascal Candle out to the world) and our Gospel on Trinity Sunday “go out at make disciples” commanded us; we need to take the great commission of Jesus seriously and reach out to those who have chosen to disengage with our Catholic Faith.

We have been making efforts on our campus to make God’s house a home, by introducing new technology in weekend worship, moving the family room from the back of the church to the front so that the altar can be seen throughout Mass, rather than looking at people’s backsides as we were told; by reshaping and sharpening our faith formation, and continuing to be a welcoming community. All these efforts are attempts on our part to be “user friendly.”

No one registers in the parish with the intention of disengaging down the road. I know that many grandparents and parents are saddened when they have done everything “right” to introduce their children and grandchildren to our Catholic faith, and they become inactive. We tend to point fingers and blame those who drop out, but instead of finger-pointing we need to listen to the hurts and pain that some are experiencing.

Those of you who attended the 9:30 Mass last week for the graduating high school seniors knows how wonderful it is to come to Mass when there is a church full. What a celebration it is, and how uplifting it is. Wouldn’t it be great if the community could gather and celebrate that way at every Mass every weekend!

All members of the community hurt from inactivity. Who is willing to take the risk and gently and respectfully invite someone who has drifted away to come home? I am hoping that as a community, we will be willing to take the risk together.

Fr. Bill

Mother’s Day 5.8

Dear Parish Family…

Happy Mother’s Day WEEK to all of our Mothers as we honor them and our Mother Mary during the month of Mary.  May we celebrate the gift of nurturing that we receive from all who affirm and encourage us on our journey through life.

This week many of you received a letter from me requesting your generosity to the Annual Partner’s in Charity Appeal.  Our parish goal is $45,000.00 and I wish to thank those of you that have donated $37,659.50 so far toward our goal.

It takes all of us pooling our resources together to collect our portion of the 5 million dollars that is needed from all parishes in the diocese to continue the ministry, education and Charitable works of the Diocese of Worcester to all who are in need in Worcester County.  Our diocese helps both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  I am proud of the work we do in the name of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.

Many of our donors that helped us make our goal in the past have passed on, and new donors need are needed to meet the many needs here in our diocese.  If you have not made a pledge, can we please count on you to help?  If you did not receive a pledge envelope there are envelopes at each of the doors of the church; please take the time to share your blessings with those who are in need.

At the same time I would be remiss if I did not thank all who not only pledge to Partners in Charity, but the many who have made a five-year pledge to our Capital Campaign.  As you look to the tabernacle side of the Church you can see the progress made in the new family room and the day chapel.  We are inviting all to donate a book to the “Dwight Page Memorial Library” in the former choir loft, by joining us Monday Evening May 11th at 7pm for wine and cheese and wisdom sharing at Parish Life Night at 7:30pm.  Bring a spiritual book that you have read as a gift to the parish and those looking for inspiration.

Fr. Bill

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