THE FEST 2022: Thousands of people are expected to descend on the Center for Pastoral Leadership on August 7 when The FEST 2022 returns to its traditional “home” on the spacious grounds of the CPL, 28700 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe.  The theme for this year’s celebration of faith, family, and fun is – appropriately – “Homecoming.” During 2020, the pandemic forced The FEST organizers to switch to a virtual format. Last year, the event took place in the Brookside Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. But things will be back “home” this year at the CPL. People are invited to attend the free, daylong event which begins at noon and ends with the closing Mass which will be celebrated by Bishop Edward Malesic.

“Everyone’s favorite part of The FEST takes place at the end of the day when we come together as one at the table of the Lord for Mass with Bishop Malesic,” said Father Bob Stec, event organizer and pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Brunswick.  “We are asking everyone to join us for Mass, the crown jewel of The FEST. It will be such a joy and blessing for thousands of us to come together to celebrate our faith and ask God to renew our spirit this year,” Father Stec said. “This spiritual renewal is especially important this year after the struggle with the coronavirus pandemic for the past two years. We need to come ‘home’ so we can find the comfort, inspiration, and peace we need. We will do that best when we gather together for Mass.”

There will an abundance of music, with nationally known Christian musicians Crowder, Phil Wickham, We The Kingdom, Micah Taylor, Rhett Walker, as well as local entertainment.  Besides it being a great day visiting with family and friends, collecting information and giveaways, and enjoying lots of food, attendees at The FEST also have the opportunity to build and strengthen their faith throughout the day by praying the rosary, spending time in adoration, receiving a blessing, picking up a Brown Scapular, and taking part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I hope you are able to attend.

Now that we are in the month of August, we know that school will be starting soon.  Not too soon for the kids and maybe not soon enough for the parents.  At any rate, the first day of school for Sacred Heart is Tuesday, August 23.  It has been a rather warm summer, but not as warm here as in other places in the country and the world.  Hopefully that heat is all behind us. We are looking forward to a bigger and better school year.  It looks like our enrollment will be just a bit bigger than last year with around 225 to 230 students Pre-K thru 8th Grade.  The faculty remains pretty much the same although we did have to move some teachers around due to the retirement of Mrs. Semrau, who taught Kindergarten for over 20 years, and Mrs. Bott, who taught second grade for 18 years.  Both Mrs. Semrau and Mrs. Bott were excellent teachers who gave themselves for the good of the children helping them to grow and learn in many ways especially in their Catholic Faith.  We are very grateful to these outstanding teachers for their years of dedication, hard work, and ministry to the children of Sacred Heart School.  Please keep them in your prayers as they begin a new part of their lives.  May they have a happy, healthy, and long retirement.  May God bless all our teachers and staff.

Next Monday is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since it falls on a Monday it is NOT a holy day of obligation in this diocese; however, I would still encourage you to participate in the Mass if at all possible. Mass will be at 8 AM in the church.

A CHANGE IN THE LINE UP:  Recently there were a few changes concerning the parish staff.  Abby Cook, a member of the parish, daughter of Doug and Beth Cook, and a graduate of Franciscan University, was hired to be a part time DRE focusing on the PSR program for Pre-K to 5th grade.  We welcome Abby to the parish staff, and I am confident that she will do a very good job.  She is a creative and caring person who is very committed to her Catholic Faith as well as sharing the faith with others, especially our children.  Welcome to the parish staff, Abby!  We will be praying for you.

The other change is with Annette Bernard, who was the DRE. She will still be on the staff with some different responsibilities.  Annette will continue to oversee the VIRTUS Program which is the training for adult volunteers concerning the protection of God’s children.  She will also be handling funeral programs and arrangements, some wedding arrangements, and various other projects for the parish and school. I am very grateful to Annette for the seven years she was the DRE.  She did a very good job directing the religious education of our children both in the PSR Program and in our school.  She is a very skillful, energetic, and organized person who has enhanced the parish ministry in many ways.  God bless you, Annette, for all your hard work.  I know you will continue to minister to our parish family in many helpful and creative ways.  Please keep Annette and Abby in your prayers.