Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Nov 13, 2023

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, a time for us to stop to thank God for all the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. Thanksgiving Day gives all of us the opportunity to recognize that it is God who has given us all the good gifts we have received. We cannot truly celebrate this holiday apart from God. The very word thanksgiving implies that it is God we are thanking because who else could we possibly be grateful to for all that we have.

There is no better way to do this than by coming to Mass on Thanksgiving Day at 9 AM in the church. Please remember to bring an offering of nonperishable food items to be brought up in the offertory procession.

During this month of the Poor Souls, we are reminded to pray for those who have gone before us in faith.  Whenever we lose someone we love, we always wonder what happens to them.  I often wonder what they might be experiencing at the moment when people have gathered for the funeral Mass.  I think it is a moment when the one who has died is experiencing the fullness of God’s love even though they may not yet be united to Him totally in the kingdom of heaven. 

The funeral Mass is the first Mass to be offered for that person who had died, and it is very important yet so often it is omitted because the family does not want to be bothered.  They would much rather have something shorter and in some cases nothing at all save a few prayers at the grave.  If only they knew what they were depriving their loved one of.  In other cases, it is the one who has died who leaves instructions that they want no wake and no funeral Mass because they do not want their loved one to go through the grieving as if shortening the process or eliminating it altogether will diminish their grief.  They will still grieve and without the funeral rites their grief will be longer and not shorter.  I would dare to say that when someone dies and leaves instructions that there should be no wake or funeral Mass the loved ones will realize, after death, how much they need and desire the prayers of the Church.  If a loved one of mine should ever make such a request I would acknowledge their request when they make it, but for their own good I would have to disregard it when they die and make sure that they receive all the prayers the Church has to offer.  This is how important our prayers for the dead are even if we or they do not realize it now.

This month of the Poor Souls is a wonderful time for us to reflect on the mystery of death in our Catholic Faith; our own and that of our brothers and sisters.  Let us do so in the light of the teachings of the Scriptures and the Church and not let ourselves be taken in by the popular thought of death and our society’s obvious fear of it.

FIRST RECONCILIATION:  Today and tomorrow the second graders of our parish will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. Please keep them in your prayers that they may continue to experience the love and mercy of God in this sacrament and be instruments of His love and mercy to others. May we all have a great love and appreciation for this beautiful sacrament of God’s forgiveness.

WE GIVE CATHOLIC!  On Tuesday, November 28, 2023, from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 pm Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish and Sacred Heart of Jesus School are participating in #weGiveCatholic, Northeast Ohio’s Online Day of Catholic Giving. Please support us with your donation on that day by going to, search for Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish or Sacred Heart of Jesus School then click “Donate.” Mark your calendar, then Give Catholic on Giving Tuesday.  We are again asking that you consider a donation to help with the renovation of the lower level of the church.  The Andes Room is complete, and it turned out very nicely.  We redid the walls, the ceiling, the lighting, the carpeting, audio visual components and a few other details.  Thank you very much to Pat Boyert, who was the general contractor, and to Holly Linger who did the interior design.

Next, we will move on to the Conry Room which will be more involved since we must do some HVAC work there before we can begin the remodel.  I would like to make the room into two smaller meeting rooms with some added storage.  As always, when you start a project such as this it always end up being more costly that what you thought.  Your generosity is needed and very much appreciated.  We hope to make these facilities as beautiful and as functional as we can.  Please consider donating to our improvement fund.  God bless you for your continued generosity.

Fr. Joe Labak