Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,
We have many teachers among both of our parishes. On Friday, November 1st the Hudson area churches delivered lunches to the teachers and administrators at the public schools and Sacred Heart school to support and thank our teachers for their service.
I have attached a publicity piece for the upcoming Prayer and Blessing for our schools. Members of our congregation are invited to attend the Prayer and Blessing at Our Savior Lutheran Church on Monday, November 4 at 5:00pm.
“The Hudson area churches will provide lunch for the staff at Lincoln Elementary, High school and Middle School and Sacred Heart School on Friday, November 1st. It was decided to provide the lunch as our way of showing appreciation for the commitment they have made to the children and families of the Hudson community and that we are also praying for them and the work they do. 125 box lunches from Subway will be purchased and delivered to the schools. We also hope to include a message in each box lunch to make the teachers and staff aware of who is providing the lunches and also an invitation to attend the prayer and blessing time on Nov. 4.
Our Saviour Lutheran is providing some funding for the lunches and the Ministerial Association will cover the balance. This is an opportunity to broaden their understanding of what they are doing to reach out into the Hudson community with the love of Christ and the work the ministerial association seeks to do to assist the hungry, homeless and hurting people in our community. I would also not hesitate to give them the opportunity to help finance the purchase of the lunches. Each of our congregations have individuals who like the chance to give to a special need. Letting them know of this outreach event may move them to give a special gift to the ministerial association. Any donations received can be directly sent to the ministerial association.”
How the story of a “Lost Boy of Sudan” Inspires us to Persevere
This week, the students in 1st through 6th grade listened to the testimonial of Dr. Jacob Atem, the co-founder of Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization. At 7 years old, Jacob was forced out of his peaceful village in South Sudan when his family was attacked and killed. 40,00 young boys were without homes after their villages were burned by northern soldiers. They were left alone and scared for their lives as they walked over 1,000 miles to find refugee camps; only half survived. They were the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” After years of starvation and fear, the survivors found stable homes in America or Australia.
His story is about perseverance. The students were amazed at what Dr. Atem told them and they were inspired by how kind and gentle he was now. He told then how hard it was being without a home and food, afraid for his life. How hard it was to be a refugee, missing his family, and without enough to eat. How hard it was to be a complete stranger in a foreign country. How hard it was to study to become a doctor. Yet, he was not angry. He was joyful and grateful to God.
His message to the children was clear. Study. Go to college and keep learning. Realize how blessed you are to live in America. Persevere.
The last sentence in the Vision of Sacred Heart School is: “We will graduate students who are prepared to persevere.” They will never be faced with the pain from Dr. Atem’s life, but they will still struggle as they grow as students.
Our children will need to develop the virtue of perseverance. In kindergarten, the key to success is to enjoy schoolwork. If we can get the little ones to want to work, they will be good students, they will get smarter. They must do their work when it is hard or they find it boring. In first/second grade, they have to work independently. To push past struggle and get to the end of the assignment. In third/fourth grade, they need to ask questions instead of giving up. Students need to erase and fix mistakes until they assignment is correct. In fifth/sixth grade, each student has to participate in St. Art Prize, where they research a saint, make art to represent the saint’s life, and present it to the community. It is a big assignment and it is hard.
Schoolwork can be overwhelming. We can try to avoid the struggle but God knows that the struggle is what helps to develop strength of character. We will struggle many times and we will overcome all of it with strong virtues. We are learning to put our trust in God, and overcome negativity. We take God with us everywhere we go and in everything we do. Life is challenging, at times, for all of us. But when we learn to persevere, we handle it!
God Bless, Anne Atkin, principal
Support for The Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization can be made at https://sshco.org.
What a beautiful way to pray together: Fr. Todd explained the Mass while we celebrated the Mass! He mentioned that our Mass has its traditions and roots in both ancient Jewish and early Christian worship. Hearing that reminded me of an earlier Deacon’s Corner I wrote about St. Justin Martyr describing the Mass to a Roman emperor almost 2000 years ago. I would like to share some of that with you again this week.
St. Justin Martyr was a scholar and converted to Christianity after years of studying various pagan philosophies. He adamantly defended the Christian faith from attacks by pagans, Jews, and heretics. In 155 AD, Justin wrote a letter to the Roman emperor appealing for justice and mercy for Christians by clarifying the Christian worship liturgy. At that time, Christians were being falsely accused of engaging in cannibalistic rituals. Justin’s letter described what we call today the Mass. He wrote:
“On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read…When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves…and for others…so that we may be found righteous by our actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and…gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying “Amen.” When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the “eucharisted” bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent” [from The Lamb’s Supper, Scott Hahn, pages 34 & 35].
How many parts of today’s Mass can you find in Justin’s letter: the Readings? Homily? Petitions? Preparation of the Gifts? Eucharistic Prayer? The Amen? Sign of Peace? Communion in both forms? Communion to homebound parishioners? Even the day, the “day of the sun,” or Sunday, shows that our Mass has been celebrated on the weekday of Jesus’ Resurrection since the beginning of the Church.
About 10 years after St. Justin Martyr wrote this letter, he was tried, convicted, scourged, and beheaded for refusing to worship Roman gods. As we walk into church for Mass today, may we take a moment to remember St. Justin Martyr and the early Christians who endured hardships, persecution, and martyrdom for this liturgy that is our highest form of prayer. May we find joy in the Mass, as they did, by experiencing God in our hearts. After all, it’s been that way for almost 2000 years.
The first reading explains,“the prayer of the lowly, pierces the clouds to reach the unseen throne of God.” Such prayers are heard because they come from the hearts of people who know how much they need God. Although God has no favorites and answers the prayers of all, the oppressed, the orphans, the widows, and those who can least help themselves are His special concern. The best prayer is humble and selfless service. In the second reading, Paul humbly acknowledges, his work as accomplished by the grace of God, and he thanks God for enabling him to fight a good battle — to run a good race while keeping his Faith intact and proclaiming it. In today’s Gospel parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus reminds us that God hears the prayers those who approach Him in humility with a repentant heart. God did not hear the prayer of this Pharisee because he exalted himself. His prayer was a prayer of thanksgiving that he was not as evil as other people. He announced to God his freedom from sin and detailed his fidelity in observing the prescribed fast and in giving tithes. The tax collector’s prayer, “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner,” was heard because he humbled himself, acknowledging his sins and requesting God’s mercy.
The parable has a two-fold meaning, giving us i) a warning against pride and contempt for others, and ii) an admonition to approach God with a humble and repentant heart. The parable was mainly intended to convict the Pharisees who, on the one hand, proudly claimed they obeyed all the rules and regulations of the Jewish Law, while on the other hand, they ignored the Mosaic precepts of mercy and compassion. The Pharisees were looked upon as devout, law-abiding citizens and models of righteousness. But they were proud and self-righteous. The tax collectors, on the other hand, were the most-hated group in Israel because they collected taxes for a foreign empire. Hence, they were considered by their fellow-Jews to be traitors, unclean and sinful. The parable shows that both men were sinners: the difference was that the publican realized that he was, but the Pharisee did not.
The Pharisee got what he asked for, which was nothing, while the sinner got what he asked for, which was everything. Two things especially make our prayers void and of no effect: a proud sense of our own righteousness, and a contempt for others.
We become the proud Pharisee when we brag about our achievements giving no credit to God, when we seek praise and recognition from others for our accomplishments, and when we degrade others with insensitive comments, hurting their feelings. In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to imitate the humble publican (tax collector) by acknowledging our total dependence on God and His grace for all our achievements and blessings; by confessing to God daily our sinfulness and asking for His pardon and forgiveness; by praying for God’s continued daily support through His grace; by asking God for strengthening through the daily anointing of His Holy Spirit living within us; and by becoming more sensitive to the needs and feelings of others, serving Jesus in them as best as we can.
If we are truly humble, we will find grace, mercy and peace. There must be a space in our lives for grace to enter and work its miracle. One lesson of the parable for us is that we must keep our focus entirely on God and our relationship with Him, recognizing that we are constantly in need of His mercy and forgiveness.
Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,
Thank you for your prayers for the Confirmation retreat this past week. We had 45 kids there from around the vicariate. Our own Jen Loar helped with a lot of the planning in conjunction with other DRE’s from the other parishes. Thank you, Jen!
We had the Mass Explained at Sacred Heart last week and this week we are offering it at St. Mary’s. In the process of getting ready for the Mass Explained, I was struck by how much is present in the Mass and how much I couldn’t talk about due to time. There is a great richness in the Mass that we can easily miss if we don’t know what is there. To fill out more of what I know is lacking from what I presented, I want to mention some more resources.
Behold the Mystery: A Deeper Understanding of the Catholic Mass
As Catholics, the Mass should be a mountaintop experience for us. Often, though, we go through the motions at Mass without an appreciation for what has really happened. Popular speaker and author Mark Hart helps Catholics move beyond the repetition and ritual to see the Mass for what it really is: a heavenly banquet, a wedding feast, in which heaven and earth meet. In his engaging style, Hart guides readers toward a deeper understanding of the Mass, its roots in the Jewish Sabbath, its sacrificial character, and its signs and symbols. As we are told to go in peace, he inspires us to see the Mass as a place to be nourished so that we can further Christ’s mission in the world.
In the last part of the book, Hart provides pithy answers to frequently asked questions, such as: “Why can’t I leave right after Communion?” or “Why did the words change?” Finally, Hart offers ten things we can do to get more out of Mass.
Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
The Mass may seem routine, and it may be the common property of millions of Catholics, but much lies beneath. Mike Aquilina not only answers practical questions about this central act of Catholic worship, but also walks you through the Mass, explaining the meaning behind the prayers and practices. Find answers to such questions as:
- What is the Real Presence?
- What are the Jewish roots of the Mass?
- Why is the Mass a sacrifice?
- Why do some people receive Communion on the tongue and others in the hand?
You may be surprised by how much you’ve missed in your understanding of the Mass.
11 REASONS TO ATTEND THE SHS GALA AND MONEY RAFFLE
All proceeds benefit Sacred Heart School
- Hilarious Comedian Sal Dimilio is Coming to Hudson!!
- The Church Hall will be Beautiful.
- Pumpkin Pudding in a Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Trifle
- Roasted Meatballs over polenta; Chicken & Bacon Roulade
- Father Todd’s Farm Tour
- Chance to Win Large Sums of Money
- Diamond Earrings, Whiskey Basket, Lazy Boy Recliner, Yeti/Coffee Basket, Leather purses, String of Pearls, Meat and Cheese Basket, and much more….
- Everyone Receives 5 Luxury Raffle Tickets at the door.
- Over 100 Door Prizes
- Wall of Wine and Craft Beer
- Live Auction: Dinner at the rectory, tickets to see The Grinch at the Fox Theatre, Wine Tour, Movie with the School Counselor for Your Class.
Tickets are $100 apiece, Table Packages are available.
Call the school for tickets and or to reserve a table package. 517-448-6405.
Why do we have music at Mass? Music is as much a part of the Mass as the prayers and Scripture readings. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (the GIRM), which tells us how to celebrate the Mass, singing is of “great importance” and should be part of the Mass whenever possible, especially during Sundays and Holy Days.
Music at Mass helps us come together as one. It encourages everyone to participate in expressing our joy and love of God. Our Catechism teaches that the music and song of the Mass “participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful” (1157). That’s a lot of words, but it tells us that the Mass, in itself, is a song. Music at Mass has its roots in our Jewish heritage. Jesus would have sung Psalms in the synagogues and temple with His family, friends, and the Apostles as a way of giving glory and praise to God. The Gospel tells us Jesus sang at the Last Supper when He instituted the Holy Eucharist (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26). So, we should not be surprised that for almost 2,000 years, we have had music and singing during Mass. Music helps us express spiritual union, show gladness in our heart, and creates a feeling of unity as we gather in sharing the Eucharist together. The GIRM encourages all of us to sing along as part of the dialogue of prayers with the priest so we do not lose the beauty and joy of praying through music as our ancestors did. St. Paul said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). Singing is the sign of the heart’s joy (Acts 2:46). As we join together today at Mass, let’s remember that music and singing are part of our deep, Catholic roots. Those roots are the identity of our Church we must work to preserve for generations to come.