Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Apr 18, 2024

Last Saturday, April 13, Jon Hawkins was ordained to the Order of the Diaconate by Bishop Michael Woost in St. John Cathedral.  It was a beautiful day for such a wonderful celebration.  The sun was shining and the Mass was very beautiful and prayerful.  Bishop Woost gave a very inspiring instructive homily concerning the service to the Church commitment of men ordained to the Diaconate. It is a life of prayer and celebrating the sacraments as well as announcing and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  A deacon serves at the Altar and serves God’s people caring for the poor and the needy.

Last Sunday, April 14, Deacon Jon ministered at the Altar as a deacon for the first time.  How beautiful and fitting that Deacon Jon should exercise this ministry here at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish where he was baptized, received Holy Communion for the first time , and received the Sacrament of Confirmation.  This is where his parents brought him every Sunday and where they made sure he was educated in the ways of our Catholic Faith.  Deacon Jon was formed in faith by his parents and his parish family.  This is where God planted the seed for his vocation to the diaconate and ultimately to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.  In just one short year Deacon Jon will be ordained to the priesthood.  He still has some more studies to complete as well as training in parish life and ministry.  In addition to his studies at St. Mary Seminary he will also be ministering part time at St. Hilary Parish in Fairlawn.  Please continue to pray for Deacon Jon as well as the other six men ordained to the diaconate with him last Saturday.  May God continue to bless him, watch over and guide him in this next year that he will be a faithful and dedicated deacon and priest of God.

I am especially proud and pleased what Deacon Jon has been able to accomplish by the grace of God and the prayers of so many people.  Deacon Jon was only a few years old when I came to Sacred Heart in 1997.  I have seen him grow up and mature into the very fine young man that he is.  This is truly a blessing from God to me.  We as a parish have prayed many years for vocations to religious life from among our young people.  This is God answering our prayers now and as He has done in the past.  We have had members of our parish answer this call to serve in many ways just as Deacon Roger and Deacon Rich have done in being ordained to the diaconate as well.  We have had men answer the call to the priesthood as Fr. Scott Steinkerchner, OP, and Fr. John Mulhollan did.  We have also had women answer the call to religious life as Sr. John Paul Myers, OP, and Sr. Mary Consolata, CM, did.  In addition, we have two men of our parish who are in formation for the permanent diaconate, Jon Woost and Michael Niese.  I am also aware of a few other young people who are seriously considering vocations to the ordained or consecrated life.  So, we must keep on praying and encouraging our young people to turn to God as they look to the future of the life God has given them.

God has a plan for everyone of us and the only way we will know His plan for us is by spending time with Him in prayer.  Really, no matter who we are or whatever our age may be we still need to turn to God to know what He wants us to do in our live.  God is never finished with any of us until we stand before Him when He calls us from this life.

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS.  The Feast of the Sacred Heart this year is on Friday, June 7.  Since the Feast of the Scared occurs on a Friday we are permitted to move the celebration to the weekend because it is our patronal feast.  So, we will celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the weekend of June 8 and 9 at all the Masses.  Following the 5 PM Mass on Sunday, June 9, we will hold our parish picnic.   The Family Life Commission and the Parish Council will be working to plan the event, but more help and ideas would be most welcome.  So, if you would like to help plan this parish gathering, please call the parish office as soon as you can.  In the meantime, we can all pray for good weather, or we will have to have our “picnic” downstairs in McMahon Hall.

This year our celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will coincide with Fr. Pat’s final weekend here since his four-year assignment will be complete.  So, we will celebrate a day of thanksgiving for all that Fr. Pat has done for our parish over the past four years.  He has done so many wonderful things here, his work with our youth, our school, PSR, along with his teaching in the Becoming Catholic series preparing those who desired to enter the Catholic Church, and in addition to all the regular day to day ministry of a parish priest.  He has been a great asset to our faith community helping all to grow in Grace and Service.  May God bless him in his new assignment.

Fr. Joe Labak