Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jul 11, 2024

Next week is Natural Family Awareness Week.  Natural Family Planning Awareness Week is a national educational campaign.  The Natural Family Planning Program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops develops a poster each year with basic supportive materials.  It is the individual dioceses, however, that offer a variety of educational formats in the local church to focus attention on Natural Family Planning methods and Church teachings which support their use in marriage.  The dates of Natural Family Planning Awareness Week highlight the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25) which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love, and responsible parenthood.  The dates also mark the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne (July 26), the parents of the Blessed Mother. 

Our human sexuality is a beautiful gift that God has given us.  This gift is wonderfully explained in St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.  His explanation and application of this teaching as revealed in the Word of God and Catholic teaching through the history of the Church is so important to our understanding of ourselves as human beings and of our relationship with others, especially the relationship of a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Marriage.

We have at our fingertips this teaching thanks to the internet.  Anyone can search the internet using theology of the body as a starting point.  Our Diocesan web site as well as the USCCB web site is filled with all kinds of information for people of all ages.  For the next few weeks, you will find in the bulletin, inserts that can teach us more about this very important topic.  We must seek knowledge and understanding of all that is taught by the Church concerning the Sacrament of Marriage so we can be better witnesses in the world to truth that is Jesus Christ.  Jesus and His Church are only concerned about ONE thing and that is our good.  Please take the time to read these stories and share them with your families, especially your children and grandchildren.

On July 1, I completed 27 years as your pastor here at Sacred Heart.  We always wonder where all that time goes as it passes by so quickly.  As I look over the past 27 years, I see how very much we have accomplished.  I have often told my priest friends that if Fr. Conry or Fr. McMahon were to come back here, they would not recognize the place.  Our physical plant and surroundings have changed a great deal from the new parish offices to the new rectory and parking facilities to the addition to the school, but I pray that we have also grown in our Catholic Faith and in our efforts to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others especially our children and grandchildren.  Our school continues to grow as a means of educating our children.  We have a very fine Catholic School where the very purpose of our existence is affirmed and strengthened and that is to teach the Catholic Faith.  By the way, our school will be celebrating 75 years this coming school year.  You will hear more about that in the future.

I am so grateful to all of you who made all this possible because of your faith, devotion, sacrifice, and hard work.  We have so many good and generous people here who are very committed to our Church, our parish, and one another.  I pray that this spirit will continue to abide and grow in our parish family so that more and more people will be able to know and follow Jesus in our community.

I am very grateful to all those who have served our parish in special roles of leadership and teaching especially Deacon Roger who has served our parish since his ordination in 1997, and even though he is “retired” he still does so much for those in need especially the sick and home bound.  Along with that I am also very grateful to his wife, Helen, who has worked alongside him all these years.  I am also grateful to Deacon Rich for all his hard work and devotion to our parish family since his ordination in 2009.  Deacon Rich has done so much for our parish over the years especially in preparing those who wish to become Catholic and those entering the Sacrament of Marriage.  He has helped so many people come to know the Lord and at the same time maintain a busy dental practice.

The love and devotion of these two deacons has been a great blessing for our parish.  I pray that God will continue to bless and guide their ministry in every way.

Well, 27 years have passed and now there are only two years that remain for me here at Sacred Heart (God willing) as I will retire in a little less that two years.  I have slowed down in the recent years, and I am very sorry that I cannot do all that I did before and care for you as I would like to do.  I do pray for all of you and your families, and I hope to continue to do that.  May God bless us all, especially our parish family here at Sacred Heart.

Fr. Joe Labak