Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jun 6, 2024

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, our parish patronal feast.  Although the actual celebration of this feast was this past Friday, June 7th, we are permitted to move the celebration to Sunday because it is our patronal feast. 

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a very powerful image of the love of Jesus Christ for all of us.  The symbol of the “heart” is one that is very much used today almost to the point of overuse.  People will insert the symbol of a heart in place of the word love.  It seems now that people will just say the word “heart” for the symbol instead of the word “love.”  This may seem very popular today, but somehow it takes away from the real meaning of what a person may wish to say by using the actual word “love.”  Love is a much-overused word in our day and as a result it can lose much of its real meaning and purpose in our speech and in our lives.  We use the word “love” to apply to many things such as a favorite food, color, movie, book, picture, activity, other people, and God.  Maybe our love for a person and God should not be described with the same word that we use for the all the other things we are attracted to or enjoy having or doing.  Maybe this Feast of the Sacred Heart can afford us the opportunity to reflect more prayerfully on what we are saying when we use the word “love.”  Jesus teaches us all about what love is by what He says to us and more so by what He does for us.  The image of the Sacred Heart shows us Jesus with His heart exposed and open to both give us His infinite love and receive our love in return.  The image of the Sacred Heart reminds us of the Jesus hanging on the cross when the soldier pierced His heart with the lance and water and blood poured out.  These are familiar images in Catholic art, and they depict very vividly the immense power of God’s love.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a feast that both reminds us of all that Jesus has done for us in His love as well as challenges us to grow in a greater love for Him and for others.  The Sacred Heart is indeed at the very center of our Faith teaching us all that we need to know about the love of God.  Love is best understood in the context of God’s love for us which He showed us by first becoming one of us and by suffering and dying on the cross and rising from the dead.  This is what true love is all about.  It has less to do with feelings of attraction and more to do with our willingness to give of ourselves.  The Sacred Heart shows us that love is best expressed in the willingness to sacrifice.  There can really be no love unless there is a willingness to sacrifice for another.  This is exactly how God loves us, and this is the love He calls us to have for one another.  So, before we say we “love” this or that we should think about what we are really saying.  When we say that we love another person we need to be prepared to make sacrifices for them whether those sacrifices be great or small, a few or many, known to others or completely unknown to all except you and God.

FAREWELL!  Today we bid a fond and thankful farewell to Fr. Pat.  Fr. Pat came to us 4 years ago to serve as our Parochial Vicar.  Even though he arrived during the pandemic, Fr. Pat brought with him a renewed and deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit working in our midst.  Fr. Pat has worked diligently for the past four years with every aspect of our parish life, especially with our young people.  He has done so much working with Claire and young adult volunteers to help our children and young people to grow in our Catholic Faith and in a real relationship with Jesus.  So many have come to know Jesus through prayer and study and especially through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Fr. Pat has given so much to our young people in programs like 10:10. Ablaze, The Vine, and Roots.

Fr. Pat has worked very closely with Deacon Rich with our Altar Servers to enhance our worship and prayer, especially in the Liturgy.  Our prayerful celebration of the Mass helps us to live our Catholic Faith in every way and every day of our lives.

I am so grateful for what Fr. Pat has done in our parish and I am sure that you are as well.  Please continue to pray for Fr. Pat in his new assignment in Lakewood, Ohio.  Lakewood is a lot different than Wadsworth, but people are people, and we are all children of God.  Fr. Pat will be ministering in three parishes in Lakewood, St. Luke, St. James, and St. Clement while he will reside at St. Luke Parish.

Let us pray that God will continue to bless and guide Fr. Pat in his ministry so that he can continue to bring Jesus to the people he has been sent to serve.

Fr. Joe Labak