Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Mar 6, 2024

Our parish Communal Penance for Lent will be on Monday, March 11 at 7 PM in the church.  Do not be afraid to approach Jesus in confession.  He is waiting for you, and He is calling you to come to Him with all His love.  Immerse yourself in His ocean of mercy just as He told St. Faustina.  There will be some visiting priests here to help hear confessions.

Today is Laetare Sunday, which is the Fourth Sunday of Lent and the halfway point of this Holy Season.

This halfway point gives us cause to reflect on what we have done during the first half of Lent. Are we making the most of this special time to grow in our faith and our love for God and one another? If we have not been doing so well with our Lenten resolutions, then this is a good time to renew our efforts and make the most of what remains.

Sacred Heart School is a very important part of our parish community.  I think we can all agree that it is a very fine school and most importantly it is a CATHOLIC school.  As I tell all the parents that I meet with when they begin the process of enrolling their children in our school, “Sacred Heart School exists primarily to teach the Catholic Faith.”  Our children receive an excellent education in the environment of a Catholic Faith Community.  The best environment for education is one that acknowledges the place of God in all our lives.  All children should be taught about God the creator of all things who created each of us out of love.  An educational environment that has no place for God does a great injustice to the human spirit and the total education of all young people.

In the past, many parents would have liked to send their children to Sacred Heart School, but they could not afford to do it for a variety of reasons.  As we have seen lately there have been several changes made with school funding through the State of Ohio for private schools.  We have talked about the Angel Scholarship Fund that diverts money from our Ohio State income taxes to the school of one’s choice.  Last year we received over $100,000 in scholarship money.  This is a very easy process and can be done through our parish website.  This does not cost you anything at all.  The money is taken from your taxes and given to the school. Please note that you do not need to have children in a private school to take advantage of this.  Anyone who pays Ohio State income tax can designate any school they desire to receive this scholarship money.  This opens the door for grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, and neighbors.  Everyone, please give this serious consideration and tell your family and friends about it.  You still have time to use this option for your 2023 state income taxes. This is a great way to divert our Ohio tax dollars towards Catholic education.

The State of Ohio has also expanded the Ed Choice program to enable children to attend private schools with a reduction in tuition costs.  For example, a family of four making $130,000 can receive over $6,100 in tuition assistance. Any family who applies for Ed Choice will receive at least $650 per student.  One nice thing about Ed Choice is after going through the application process the first year, following years require only a renewal application and proof of address, unless there is a drastic change in your finances.

Our Catholic Schools in the State of Ohio have never been in a better financial situation.  It is long overdue.  Parents of students in private schools have paid the same taxes as those who have their children in public schools.  I have heard that the teacher unions are not happy about these recent developments, but fair is fair.  These new resources can enable us to keep up more with the maintenance of our buildings and programs as well as compensating our teachers in a more just way.

Remember that during the season of Lent we pray the Stations of the Cross with Benediction each Wednesday afternoon with the school children at 2:30PM.  We also pray the Stations of the Cross on Friday evening at 7PM in the church.  The Stations of the Cross are a very sacred tradition in the Church and a very prayerful way to remember the sufferings and death of Jesus, which He endured for love of us.

Mark your calendar:  The Living Stations will be performed by the 8th Grade class of Sacred Heart School on Friday, March 22 at 7PM.  We have been doing this for many years and it is always a very prayerful and beautiful depiction of the Stations of the Cross.  It is a very prayerful way to spend a little time on a Friday evening in Lent.

Fr. Joe Labak