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Behind The Screen 8.6

Dear Parish Family,

“Pay no attention to the man behind the screen!” There will be no screen in the sanctuary this week but we are still in the demolition stage of this work. The level where the altar was has been removed and starting Monday they will remove the three levels that led to the presider’s chair. Eventually this will be where the tabernacle will be placed. I was pleased with the interest many showed after the Masses when I invited you up to take a look at what is happening. Many shared how exciting it is to see things happening right before our eyes. I must say I am not a fan of clutter and disorder, so this is sending me over the edge, but I’ll get over it. It will be beautiful and updated when we are done. More on this later.

This weekend, Ron Almeida informed members of the music ministry, the PPT and me that he has accepted a music position at St. Mark’s Parish in Cranston, R.I. ; a church which is closer to his home. As Ron and Laura welcome their first child in October, they anticipate a much different routine so this move is best for their family. Ron’s last weekend here will be August 29 and 30. He has been with us for two years, and on behalf of the community of Sacred Heart I wish to thank him for his journey with us and for sharing his musical talents and abilities.

I will not be here for the Saturday evening Mass. I will be attending the annual Voluntas Dei members congress in Paoli, PA. August 5-8. I will be here for the Mass on Sunday. Please pray for us as we gather, and I ask the 4:00 community to welcome Fr. Joe from Fatima Shrine who will be here to worship with us so that I may be away.

Hope all are soaking in the warmth of summer and enjoy rest and relaxation!

Fr. Bill

Lots of activity happening 7.30

Dear Parish Family,

Lots of activity happening here this week. You may have seen in the news that insurance rates are going up in Massachusetts due to the claims made for damage to homes during this harsh winter. Well, we are one of those insurance claims. Ice dams formed above Melissa’s office and water just poured into the room through the walls, window and door. Many of you who have been to the office know that we moved her into the sitting room till all the repairs are made. It took months to get the insurance adjuster here because of the number of homes that had similar problems. Ours was considered minor since no plaster came off the ceiling or walls to expose wires.

Those of you who are passing by will notice that the situation is being corrected. All the pieces have fit together, the check came from the insurance company to make the necessary changes so that this does not happen again, and JLB Builders who are doing the work in the church are also working with us to get the project finished before the snow flies.

In the meantime, the altar in the church is removed so that it can be re-fabricated as shown in the renovation plans. The altar we are using now is temporary and from and will be sent to Haiti to be permanently used in the chapel we built in the town of Madame Comb, a mission of our sister parish, St. Gerard. I am not sure how long the process of re-fabrication will take place; however the altar will be returned when we have completed the removal of all the platforms in the sanctuary. Again we are doing all this work through your generous donations to our capital campaign without taking a loan. Also we are doing as much as we can without having to close the church. We will have to close the church next summer for about a month to remove the asbestos tiles under the pews. We are right on schedule.

Mark your calendar for Saturday September 12th. At the 4:00 Mass we will dedicate the Day Chapel in honor of Deacon Joseph Manella. A reception will follow in the parish center.

Fr. Bill

Parishioner Pride 7.16

Dear Parish Family,

How proud I am of the many parishioners who want to assist in the ministry work we do here and also take pride in our property. The Siefring Family has been helping out with some of the landscaping, along with John and Michelle Faherty. They have spent hours outside sprucing up the property. If you look closely there are “hidden treasures” in some of the flower beds that really call our attention to some of our Lenten and Easter journeys as a faith community. How good is that?

This week, two families came forward requesting memorial gift offerings in memory of loved ones who have passed. It is so touching when a family chooses to honor the life of a loved one with a gift to our parish in their memory.

Thank you to all those that moved furniture so that the Day Chapel could be carpeted. Several people came forward and everything was moved before I could finish our healing service following the 9:30 Mass. The flooring in that section is completed and there is a bit more finish work to be done, but be not afraid to check it out after Mass. In the fall we will have a formal dedication of the Library in Memory of Dwight Page, and the Day Chapel in honor of Deacon Joe Manella.

Many people are away on vacation during these summer months and having enough ministers of Holy Communion, readers of the word, altar servers and music ministers is a challenge, even for just two Masses. I would ask all those ministers to please check in the sacristy before Mass to see if they are needed so we can start Mass on time with sufficient ministers to worship with reverence and praise to God. If anyone wants to join us in any of these ministries please let us know and we will be happy to get you prepared.

One last note, we are beginning the preparation process for people who wish to become Catholic, or adults who have been Baptized and have not made either or both their First Communion and/or Confirmation. If you are interested in completing your sacraments of Initiation please contact the parish office and we will get you enrolled to begin in September. Right now we have seven people who will be on the journey. The more the merrier!

Fr. Bill

Renovation Updates 7.9

Dear Parish Family,

How lucky we are to have the wonderful guidance of Larry Bonetti leading our Buildings and Grounds Team. It is a pleasure to work hand in hand with Larry as we move through the many phases of our renovations here at Sacred Heart. We are also working with an excellent contractor Larry Boyd and his crew of workers who take pride in the work they do making sure we can take pride in the finished product. Paula Cadoret and our architect Joe McPhee have been working so well together in choosing colors and materials that will enhance the appearance of our worship space and truly “Making God’s House a Home.”

The work in the new family room and chapel is almost complete and we will now begin to work in the Sanctuary (altar area). I need all the patience I can muster during this phase of the work because this is “my office space”. (In the seminary they always said “the altar is your desk.”) I know this will be messy, dusty work and I ask your patience and understanding while this work is being done. It will look messy for quite a while and hopefully can be cleaned up when funerals need to be celebrated. Doing all this work without closing the church is a challenge, but well worth the effort so that we can still worship and celebrate funerals in our own worship space.

Two questions have been frequently asked: when will we have to close the church? And where are you traveling this summer. First answer: We will have to close the church to remove all the asbestos tiles under the pews, which will require removing the pews. While they are out we will paint the church, install the new flooring and install the pews at an angle. We will probably do this next summer. At that time we will worship in the parish center, and if the weather is right even consider having Mass outside.

Second answer: due to the work we are doing in the sanctuary, I want to be around to answer any questions that may occur regarding this portion of our project, so I traveled in April to Texas to visit three presidential libraries. So I will be around while all this work is happening.

Joe McPhee has diagramed what the church will look like when we are finished with phase two of the renovations. These diagrams are on the bulletin board in the corridor when you come into the glass entry way. Be sure to take a look at what is happening.
In the meantime I want to thank all of you for your generous donations to these projects and promise we will use our resources wisely.

Fr. Bill

Young Disciples 7.2

Dear Parish Family,

This week I would like to keep you up to date on 2 issues that affect the youth of our parish. We as church leaders, as well as many parents, have become very concerned about the faith of their children, especially those born between 1984 and 2002. Recent research (www.barna.org) shows that nearly 59% of these young people who grew up in Christian churches end up walking away. Right here in our parish, many who receive Confirmation never return after they receive the sacrament. To address this trend, the Diocese of Worcester is partnering with parishes in a strategic process titled, Vital 3.0, from Frank Mercadante’s Cultivation Ministries. Why? Because it takes the entire parish to effectively develop life-long young disciples.

The Vital 3.0 Initiative will train lay leaders how to develop teen disciples who are excited about their faith and want to continue to practice. Training began with an orientation on June 13th and continues over the course of two years. The training will gather parishes together to network, brainstorm, and pray. We will learn how to reach millennials, recruit volunteers, engage teens and their parents, integrate youth into the life of the whole parish, effectively leading groups of teens on retreats and service trips and much more. If you are interested in becoming part of this parish team, please let me know.

This past year, we started using Decision Point, by Dynamic Catholic for our Confirmation Preparation Program. We have found that this program is indeed dynamic and not only teaches young people about the sacrament of Confirmation, but goes much deeper. It inspires them to think about how to respond in faith in all areas of their daily lives, long after their Confirmation prep has ended. This program assumes that participants have a solid knowledge-base about our Catholic faith-a problem for those who have skipped years of faith formation and return for Confirmation.
Because we believe that Decision Point is the best way to help form our young people as mature Catholics, Confirmation preparation will:

  1. Continue to be a 2 year process
  2. Begin in the 9th grade and conclude with Confirmation in the 10th grade.
  3. Require an additional year for those who have skipped several years of faith formation to catch up on the basics of our faith. These students will then start confirmation preparation in the 10th grade and be confirmed in the 11th grade.

Forming young disciples, does take the entire parish. I ask all of you to consider assisting in this process.

Fr. Bill

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