Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Aug 10, 2023

Tuesday, August 15th, we celebrate the feast of our Blessed Mother’s glorious Assumption into heaven.  It is truly a feast to be celebrated with great joy and eager anticipation. We celebrate this feast and we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as God took her to heaven, body and soul, upon the end of her life here on earth. We celebrate the reuniting of the Blessed Mother with her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We can only imagine the joy that Mary experienced, as she was welcomed to heaven by the Holy Trinity and all the angels and saints.

It is easy to understand how this day can be remembered for all the joy it brought to our Blessed Mother, but we may still wonder, what does it mean to us? For us, it means that a promise has been fulfilled. Mary is the first to follow Jesus, who ascended into heaven. Mary is in heaven, body and soul. The promise that Jesus made to us by His Resurrection from the dead is now fulfilled in Mary, His Mother. What God has done for Mary He will also do for us.  We can be sure of this. God is always true to His Word, no matter what we may think. We may not be able to understand how God will fulfill His promises, but He will do it, of this we can be sure. Mary was sure that all God’s words to her would be fulfilled. That is how she lived her life, with complete trust in God.

Her example of faith and trust will show us that God does keep His word. For our part, we must pray for a greater trust in God, a real trust that allows us to put ourselves in His hands. If we believe in God as we say we do, then our lives must show that faith in all that we say and do. Our celebration of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary is a celebration of our faith in God’s word to us as He shows us the way that leads to eternal life. It is a time for us to renew and deepen our trust in Him who has given us all good things. Let us ask God for a deeper faith in Him as we strive to put His word into practice, just like Mary did.

This Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother is a HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION, which means that we are obliged to participate at Mass either at the vigil the evening before or on the feast day itself. Please check the bulletin for Mass times and make plans to come to Mass.

Lower-Level Renovation:  I am happy to say that the work on the bell tower is complete.  It is good for the next several decades and the bells are ringing again.  We had to do the work on the bell tower before we could begin the work on the lower level of the church.  So, by the time you read this we will have begun the work in the Andes Room which includes new floor covering, wall covering, and ceiling.  We are planning the same type of work in McMahon Hall.  The Conry Room will be more of the same in addition to reconfiguring the room to make it more useful as well as some needed HVAC work.  Of course, as we all know, this type of work takes money.  At present we have about $75,000 set aside for the project, but we did not anticipate the bell tower work which was about $25,000.  We never know what we will run into as the work proceeds.  We can always use some more help with the financial end of this project.  If anyone would like to donate to this project, your generosity would be greatly appreciated.  Our parish community has always been so generous no matter what the need may have been.  As we look back over the years since I have been at Sacred Heart (26 years to be exact) and all that we have accomplished we have never borrowed any money from the bank or incurred any debt.  Not too many parishes could make that claim.  That is thanks to your great generosity and sacrificial spirit.  Your willingness to Sacred Heart Parish is up at the top of your giving list.  I am extremely grateful for this as well as for your ongoing generosity with the day-to-day operating of all our parish facilities.  You have done an outstanding job.  I know that God has blessed our parish for this, and He will continue to do in the future.  Again, I thank you on behalf of our parish family for your sacrificial giving and your desire to build up the kingdom of God on earth both spiritually and physically.  May God bless our parish family as well as everyone of you and your loved ones.


Let us continue with the final four petitions of the Our Father, breaking them down and unpacking what they really mean according to the Church’s deep reflection and teaching.

The fourth petition: “Give us this day our daily bread.”  This petition acknowledges the Father as the giver of all good gifts: he “who made you … satisfies you with his good gifts” (Sirach 32:13), or from Psalm 81: “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”  This petition is an entrustment of all of our needs – physical and spiritual – to the loving providence of the Father. It is saying: “Father, into your hands I commend the satisfaction of my every desire.”

The fifth petition: “Forgive us our trespasses…” As the Catechism acknowledges, this petition is both “astonishing” and “daunting”.  Jesus teaches us that our cry for forgiveness will not be heard unless we have met a strict requirement: we must forgive those who sin against us. Our cry for God’s forgiveness hinges on this all-important “as”… We must let the Spirit of God enter deeply so that our hurts can be turned into intercession, and our cry for mercy can flow from the gift of showing mercy.

The sixth petition: “Lead us not into temptation.”  The Greek verb translated “lead” means “do not allow us to enter” or “do not let us yield” to temptation. For God “himself tempts no one” (James 1:13).  Christ’s own temptations reveal that victory over temptations is possible only through prayer.  It is a petition to the Spirit to help us discern the movements of our hearts and to distinguish the voices that vie for our attention.

The seventh petition: “Deliver us from evil.”  The Catechism, quoting St. Ambrose of Milan, writes: “In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil, diabolos in Greek, is the one who ‘throws himself across’ God’s plan and his work of salvation in Christ. One who entrusts himself to God does not dread the devil. [For indeed] ‘If God is for us, who is against us?’” 

Fr. Joe Labak