Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jun 7, 2023

Today is the Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus (Corpus Christi).  The Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus is at the heart of our Faith as Catholics.  The Church has believed and taught from the very beginning that the bread and wine at Mass become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  Jesus gave us the gift of Himself when He suffered, died, and rose from the dead.  This gift not confined to a particular place and time, but it is given to us by Jesus until He returns at the end of time.  Jesus chose to use bread and wine and change it into His Body and Blood as He did at the Last Supper on the night before He died.  The very same sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday is not repeated at every Mass, but it is made present for us.  Jesus’ sacrifice transcends time and space so that we can all partake of it and witness it along with Mary, St. John the Apostle, and Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross.  This is the most important gift that Jesus gives us; it is the gift of God Himself.  He gives us His life so that He can live in us and renew us in His love and we in turn can give that love to others as we witness to the love and mercy of God in our world today.

Receiving our Lord in the Eucharist is not just a pious act we do at Mass.  It is truly at the heart of all that we believe and all that we do.  As the Second Vatican Council teaches us: “The eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.”  This means that we cannot truly live our lives without it.  We cannot live as God created us to live.  Unfortunately, not all Catholics believe and grasp this most important belief of our Catholic Faith.  This is why it is so vitally important that we come to Mass every Sunday unless illness prevents us.  As I so often teach the children, Jesus suffered and died to give us the gift of Himself so it must be important to Him, but how important is it in our own life?

As we celebrate this Feast of Corpus Christi and in the midst of this time of Eucharistic Revival, let us do everything we can to deepen our belief in the true presence of Jesus in this Most Holy Sacrament.  Pray, read the Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, spend time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and speak of this wonderful gift to others especially to your children and grandchildren.

It was by the grace of God that I was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ 46 years ago on this very day, June 11.  To me this is just amazing as I reflect on where in the world these 46 years have gone.  Looking back on the past it always amazes most people as to how fast time goes by.  The past 46 years have been a great blessing from the Lord.  They have been filled with many good times, some incredibly challenging times, and a few very sad times as well.  Through them all, God has granted me the grace to know that He is with me all the time even though sometimes it is not clearly evident.  This grace is granted to me through the sacraments of the Church and the constant prayers of so many good people, the people of Sacred Heart Parish and the other parishes and people I have been blessed to serve as a priest of Jesus Christ.  These are the things that sustain me and will continue to do so until the end of my days on this earth.  I thank each and every one of you for all the prayers, the support, the friendship, and the trust that has been shown to me over these 4 decades of my efforts to serve God and His Church in the best way that I could.  I know that I did not always do everything that I should have done or could have done and for this I am deeply sorry.  I know the things I did with the help and support of this parish family was due to the Grace of God and the prayers of many people who also try to live in the grace of God and be of service to His Church.

My heart overflows with gratitude for all that we have been able to accomplish these past 26 years here at Sacred Heart.  I am always humbled and inspired by the goodness, the generosity, the faith, and the sacrifices of this parish community.  May God continue to bless and inspire all of us to continue and do all that we can to build up the kingdom of God on this earth so that we may one day enter fully into the kingdom He has prepared for us.

The FEAST OF THE SACRED HEART is next weekend, and we will celebrate our patronal feast at all the Masses. After the 5 PM Mass on Sunday we will have our annual parish picnic.  The picnic will be held in the pavilion next to the warehouse. WE WILL PROVIDE THE HAMBURGERS AND HOT DOGS, WHICH WILL BE GRILLED BY THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, ALTAR & ROSARY WILL PROVIDE CUPCAKES AND COOKIES, AND WE ASK THOSE ATTENDING TO BRING SIDE DISHES TO SHARE.  SO PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND WITH YOUR FAMILIES. THERE WILL BE WINE AND BEER AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE!

Fr. Joe Labak