Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

May 10, 2023

Today is MOTHERS’ DAY! I hope that all the mothers of our parish community have a wonderful day. This day affords a great opportunity to reflect on the love and support that we have experienced from our mothers. Mothers have a tremendous influence on our lives. This teaches us so many things about life and love. All that we learn from our mothers can and does have a powerful impact on all that we do.

The image of a mother is always one that is extremely loving and giving. We assume that mothers will always put their children first and will sacrifice anything and everything for the sake of their children. This is quite an image that we have concerning the role of a mother in our lives. Where do we get this idea, this image of what a mother is supposed to be? I would say that we get this image from our faith in God. Our mothers are the first person in our lives with whom we have a relationship. This relationship begins at the very first moment of our lives and continues for some nine months until our mother gives birth.  For the most part, this is a bond that endures and is probably best understood by the mother herself. I think this can give us some insight into our relationship with God.  As the psalmist asks, “Can a mother forget her child?” The response follows, “Even should she forget, I (God) will not forget.” It is through our mothers that we first experience the love of God. As a result, our mothers become so very important in our lives, even if the child is adopted, the power of that love is so very strong.

Mothers’ Day is important to all of us, but what is more important is how important our mothers are to us EVERY day. As we honor our mothers today, we pray that God will bless them and watch over them. May our mothers always follow the example of our Blessed Mother by leading us closer to God and helping us to be more like Jesus. Let us not forget to pray for our mothers who have gone before us in faith, that they may enjoy the fullness of God’s love in His eternal kingdom.

Thank you, thank you! I am very grateful to all of you who sent birthday greetings my way two weeks ago.  I appreciate your thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity.  It is nice to be remembered, but birthdays seem to come around a lot more quickly as we get older.  When we were kids it seemed you had to wait forever for your birthday to come around, now it seems as if they are not even a whole year apart.  God blesses us with these years and the good people that come into our lives in the midst of them.  I thank God for all the blessings He has given me in the good people of our Sacred Heart family.  Thanks again, and God bless.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we need to remember the sacredness of all human life, especially the life of the unborn child.  It was a great moment last June 24 when Roe vs. Wade was overturned in the Supreme Court, but it was only a moment.  The whole abortion issue was sent back to each state.  At the time, Ohio had a Heartbeat Bill according to which abortions were not permitted after 15 weeks of gestation.  That bill has been suspended by a court order as the pro-abortion forces are mounting their next attack on innocent human life and more.  They are now gathering signatures to amend the Ohio State Constitution in making it legal in the state of Ohio to have an abortion up to the birth of the child.  I shudder to think of all the innocent children who will be killed before they even have a chance to live the life that God has given them.  No one has the right to take the life of another person.  Only God can give life and only God has the right to take life away.

In addition, the whole question of abortion, this constitutional amendment will also do much more damage under the guise of reproductive freedom for women. A proposed amendment to Ohio’s Constitution claims to recognize reproductive freedoms, but it furthers a culture of death and removes current safeguards for women. As Catholics, we find the proposed amendment dangerous, unjust, and contrary to our belief in the sacredness of all life.  In today’s bulletin you will find an insert that explains all that is at stake here.  Please read it carefully and share it with others.  By all means, DO NOT SIGN A PETITION TO PLACE THIS AMENDMENT ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT!  The insert also has some important web sites so you can read and share more information.  Please remember that the unborn child cannot defend herself/himself against this threat to their lives so we must stand up for them.

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS.  Our celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart will take place on the weekend of June 17 and 18 with our parish picnic following the 5:00 PM Mass on June 18. What would a Parish Picnic be without a raffle?  This year we will have a raffle with a Grand Prize of $500.  The tickets will be $5 each and will also be sold in advance as well as on the day of the picnic.  The winner need not be present.  The proceeds from the raffle will go to help Ukrainian refugees coming into the Cleveland area.  We are joining with three other parishes to raise money to help these refugees.  Please be generous in supporting our efforts.


Today we continue our series of Liturgy Lessons on the Eucharistic Prayer. The Eucharistic prayer begins when the priest begins to say or chant the preface dialogue,

The Lord be with you

–           And with your Spirit.

             Lift up your hearts!

–           We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

–           It is right and just.

As you know, “Eucharist” is Greek for “thanksgiving” and so we are offering to God the only suitable means of thanksgiving appropriate, or commensurate, to what He has done for us.  How DO you adequately thank the one wo rescued you from the clutches of Sin, and Death, and Satan, and Hell?  What sign, or word in any language, would ever be enough to thank God for creating me, redeeming me, and inviting me to experience, infinite, eternal beatitude?  God HIMself has provided for us the means for giving thanks, and it turns out its offering back to the Father the Son He gave us!

In the preface that the priest chants, you hear theologically rich poetic language that highlights aspects of the faith, or the feast day that’s being celebrated, whether it’s for saints or martyrs, or doctors of the church; there are prefaces for the dead that are chanted at funerals, prefaces for specific solemnities like Christmas and Easter, and specific prefaces for Advent and Lent.

In a word, the preface is designed to orient us toward the mystery into which we’re about to be taken.  As the preface concludes, the entire congregation joins together in exuberant song as we sing the song of the angels and saints in the Book of Revelation, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus – Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!  In this moment, imagine the myriads of angels and saints beyond counting, standing with us shoulder to shoulder, invisibly but powerfully present, joining us in adoration of the Lamb of God seated upon the throne.

Fr. Joe Labak