Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Mar 22, 2023

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, we hear about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. As our Lenten season draws to a close we look forward to celebrating the Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus conquers sin and death and so He calls us out of darkness and death to a new life in Him. Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb and set him free from the cloth that bound him. Jesus is calling us right now from the darkness of sin and He sets us free from all that keeps us from following Him more closely in our daily lives.

Even though the Lenten season will end in a few weeks, Jesus never stops calling us to walk away from all that binds us and keeps us from living as God created us to live. Our daily prayers, reception of the sacraments, and God’s Holy Word are always there for us so that we can continue to grow strong in His love and be witnesses of that love to everyone we meet in our daily lives. This is what it means to be a Christian, a true follower of Jesus.  It may be a good thing for all of us to take some time right now and think how we want to close this holy season of Lent this year. I urge you to take time to make a good confession, if you have not already done so. Make a commitment to participating in the liturgies of Holy Week, and to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection by not just attending Mass on Easter Sunday, but also by inviting a friend or family member who has been away from the Church to start coming back beginning with Easter.

PASSIONTIDE: You will notice today that our statues in church are covered in purple cloth. This is a tradition in the Church that reminds us that when Jesus went up to Jerusalem prior to the Passover and His arrest and crucifixion, He did so in a veiled and hidden way. So, the covering of the statues hides them from our sight as Jesus was hidden during the days before His death.

Abbot Gueranger enlightens us with a mystical interpretation of the Gospel, which, in former times, was read on this Sunday: As Christ hid himself from the rage of the Jewish authorities (John 8:59), so now he is hidden from the world in preparation for the mysteries of his passion. “The presentiment of that awful hour [of our Savior’s passion] leads the afflicted mother [the Church] to veil the image of her Jesus: the cross is hidden from the eyes of the faithful. The statues of the saints, too, are covered; for it is but just that, if the glory of the Master be eclipsed, the servant should not appear.“ The interpreters of the liturgy tell us that this ceremony of veiling the crucifix during Passiontide, expresses the humiliation to which our Savior subjected Himself, of hiding Himself when the Jews threatened to stone Him, as is related in the Gospel of Passion Sunday [John 8:46-59, They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple (John 8:59)]. The Church begins this solemn rite with the Vespers of the Saturday before Passion Sunday.

On Sunday, April 16, we will conduct our annual nominations for Parish Council. I ask you to please take some time to think about who you may wish to nominate or consider if you would like to serve our parish by running for Parish Council yourself. To be nominated, one must be 18 years of age and a registered member of Sacred Heart Parish. The following are presently on Parish Council: Patti Chamier, Don Drouhard, Tricia Easton, Jennie Pettry, Michael Flanigan, Kathy Calhoun, Sue Edurese, Tom Eaton, Roger Petrey, Beth Marzano, Bill Adams, Alan Beery, Donna Bishop, Nancy Goddard, and Tricia Husser.  The nominations will be made by written ballot before each Mass next weekend.  Please pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance.

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS.  The Feast of the Sacred Heart this year is on Friday, June 16.  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.  We will celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the weekend of June 17 and 18 at all the Masses.  Following the 5 PM Mass on Sunday, June 18, 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.  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.

Fr. Joe Labak