Fr. Todd Bulletin, November 18 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

Fr. Tomy will be gone on vacation from Nov 19 – Dec 9.  We will not have our 8am Mass on the three Mondays he is gone- November 19th, November 26th, and December 3rd.  On Thanksgiving Day we will have our 9am Mass.  We will not have Mass the day after Thanksgiving, November 23rd.

In this month of November when we remember our loved ones, I want to continue our series on the four Christian responses to death.  This week is the importance of taking time in prayer.  We need to take time to pray for our loved ones, for the repose of their souls, and to take time to pray for ourselves and our family members.

When it comes to praying for our loved one let us seek to pray right into the reality of their lives.  The more intimately you know someone the better equipped you are to pray for them because you know more than just the good face we all put on for the world to see- you also know their struggles.  Having walked with them and perhaps having experienced firsthand someone’s shortcomings and struggles you can pray that those very things be set right.  Msgr. Charles Pope wrote this about purgatory: “Yes, there are many things in us that need purging: sin, attachment to sin, clinging to worldly things, and those rough edges to our personality. Likewise most of us carry with us hurts, regrets, sorrows, and disappointments. We cannot take any of this with us to Heaven. If we did, it wouldn’t be Heaven.” These are the things we pray for our loved ones for.

Having prayed for them we need to pray for ourselves and anyone who is impacted by our loved one’s death.  Jesus promised us that He is with us “always, until the end of the age”.  So, in the midst of the grief we pray- Jesus we need you now. I need your strength and I need to be able to lean on you.  When it comes to the other people who have been impacted by a person’s passing I sometimes I simply pray this: “Jesus whoever is most in need of your comfort and consolation today please draw near to them”.  He knows who that person is and can touch their hearts in ways I never can.

Here is a prayer for those who are grieving:

Dearest Jesus, who wept at the death of your friend

and taught that they who mourn shall be comforted,

grant us the comfort of your presence in our loss.

 

Send Your Holy Spirit to direct us

lest we make hasty or foolish decisions.

Send Your Spirit to give us courage

lest through fear we recoil from living.

Send Your Spirit to bring us your peace

lest bitterness, false guilt, or regret take root in our hearts. 

 The Lord has given.                                                                                                                

The Lord has taken away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Amen.

 God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, November 4 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

This past Monday I experienced a first in my life.   With two of my brothers, we harvested and processed horseradish.  I think my sinuses will remain clear for the rest of the year!

This week we will have a Mass of Remembrance at both parishes.  This is a great way to start November, the month in which the Church focuses in a special way on praying for our deceased loved ones.  All are welcome to attend.

  • Sacred Heart on Tuesday, November 6 at 6:00pm
  • St. Mary on the Lake on Thursday, November 8 at 6:00pm.

The reality of death is a hard one.  Often, we don’t know how to approach it.  This month I want to look at the Christian’s response to death.  It is fourfold;

  1. Grief
  2. Remembering and learning from our loved ones
  3. Prayer
  4. Realizing God’s providence.

This weekend I want to focus on grief.  We need to remember that grief is a good thing, although it can be incredibly painful to go through.  In the wake of the September 11th attack, Queen Elizabeth II wrote this to families who lost loved ones “Nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments. Grief is the price we pay for love.”  The fact that we grieve reveals the fact that we first loved and were loved.  To grieve means that something is right, not wrong.

Many of us are familiar with the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  It can be helpful to see these steps because they can articulate what we are going through.  The danger though is that thinking grief is a cut and dry process.

There is nothing lockstep about this process – people do jump from one stage to another and then back again and that is perfectly okay.  There is no timeline for grief and the is okay too.  What is important in all of this that we permit ourselves to grieve.  For as painful as the process is in whatever form it takes it is meant to be healing.

Paul told the Thessalonians “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”   (1 Thess 4:13-14).  In the midst of our grieving we need to lean on the Lord.

If you need more support we are blessed with grief support groups offered through Catholic Charities – www.catholiccharitiesjlhc.org/adam-grief-and-loss .  Support groups meet at Catholic Charities’ Jackson location (3425 Francis Street, Jackson, MI). There is no cost to attend. This ongoing group meets each Wednesday evening, beginning with a 6:15 p.m. potluck dinner and followed by grief support groups from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.  Groups are held for children (age four and older), teens, and adults.  Those interested in attending can call Catholic Charities at 517-782-2551.

This month let us lift up in prayer anyone who is grieving.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, October 14 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

This past week I went on a field trip with 5th and 6th graders to Notre Dame. It is a beautiful campus with a great connection to our Irish heritage.  Just so you know this is not in conflict with being a Spartan fan.  As Fr. Joe helped us learn, MSU is where Jesus went to school so we know His mother would have cheered them on as well!

This coming Tuesday I will be in Lansing for the day for Orientation of New Parish Ministry Leaders.  When a priest is made a bishop, he goes to what is called “Baby Bishop School”.  I imagine this is the equivalent for pastors- “Baby Pastor School”.

We have a great opportunity in our local area available to us through Catholic Charities and St. Anthony’s in Hillsdale.  Antonia Busch now works at St. Anthony’s and offers counseling and therapy.  Any parishioner from Sacred Heart or St. Mary’s that would like to receive counseling can do so.  This counseling is free of charge.  Catholic Charities may ask if they can bill insurance but no one will be asked to pay.

Antonia graduated this past spring from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with a M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  She has clinical experience with treatment for substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.  She also has preparation for dealing with problems that may be unique to Catholics, such as NFP, marriage, divorce, annulments, as well as more general problems with parenting or within families.

Antonia has begun the process to become both a Nationally certified Trauma Therapist and a Nationally Certified Play therapist for children and adolescents.  Given those trainings along with generous support from Fr. David and the parishioners at St. Anthony’s they have almost finished creating a Play Therapy Room in Hillsdale so that children can find healing from traumatic experiences.

Antonia is available in Hillsdale on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  On Wednesdays she is in Adrian.  You can contact Catholic Charities’ Adrian office at 517-263-2191.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 23 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

Fr. Tomy and I went out fishing last Saturday with some parishioners.  I have to be honest and say that Fr. Tomy out fished me.  It made me feel better that he also out fished everyone else on the boat!

There have been some questions about the placement of the statues at Sacred Heart.  There have been a few different iterations so I had to make the call on who goes where when we moved everything back upstairs from the basement.  We have Mary and Joseph on their own respective side altars in the Sanctuary with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the side shrine.  I wanted the Sacred Heart statue in the Votive Candle area for two reasons.  Firstly, the Sacred Heart is front and center in the middle window in the Sanctuary.  Secondly, with the Sacred Heart being our Patron I wanted him to be in the side shrine so people can stop and pray and, if they want, light a candle for a particular intention.

This past week we had the parking lot resealed at St. Mary’s, much like it was done at Sacred Heart.  It is part of the regular maintenance required to keep a parking lot in good shape.  That is not a bad analogy for our souls- we also require regular maintenance to keep us healthy and in good working order.  So, I want to mention briefly some good Catholic Maintenance that should be a consistent part of our lives.

Daily Prayer time– this should be a measurable time that we plan into our day everyday no matter what. Usually we don’t have an issue praying to much so I always encourage people to find their minimum.  What is the minimum amount of time I am called to give to Jesus each day?  Once we know that we can plan it in and also hold ourselves accountable to it.

Reading the Bible– This can easily be a part of our regular daily prayer time.  But in some way scripture should be a part of our lives.  When is the last time the bible at home as been cracked?  Pope Francis once asked “Do you read the Bible as often as you check your phone?”  The only caveat I would put on that is if you have a Bible App on your phone- which is something I would highly recommend!

Confession– This is a great sacrament that cleans us up.  For healing things need to be named, claimed, and then tamed by God’s grace. Confessions are available at Sacred Heart Tuesday’s 4:45-5:45pm and Saturday’s from 3:45-4:15pm.  At St. Mary’s they are available Thursday’s and Sunday’s from 8:30am-9:15am.  Never be afraid of not knowing the right words- either Fr. Tomy and I are happy to walk through this sacrament with you.  The whole point is to give Jesus our hearts and whatever is in them for His healing.

Acts of service– We heard last weekend the reading from James where he tells us faith with out works is dead.  It is the that any claim to faith that doesn’t reach outside of ourselves isn’t real.  One way to measure that is acts of love for the people around us.  Is there someone I keep an eye on and watch out for?  We are our brother’s keeper.  Look for someone to help and if there is someone you haven’t seen in a while consider reaching out.

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 16 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Families,

One of the hard realities of life is suffering.  Suffering often can feel like being abandoned and we can ask God where He is, why did He allow this or that to happen.  Jesus didn’t promise that he would remove all suffering and hurt but He did promise that no matter what happened He would be with us.  It is part of our life of Faith to continue walking and trusting in times of trial and hardship.  Usually this is much easier said than done.  To that end I am grateful for the feast we celebrated on September 15th, Our Lady of Sorrows.  Mary experienced great suffering and still remained with the Lord throughout it. She can help show us the way and we can lean on her intercession for us.

I have included a brief explanation and reflection on this feast day (https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/the-feast-of-our-lady-of-sorrows.html) .

The title, Our Lady of Sorrows, given to our Blessed Mother focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Traditionally, this suffering was not limited to the passion and death event; rather, it comprised the seven dolors or seven sorrows of Mary, which were foretold by the Priest Simeon who proclaimed to Mary, This child [Jesus] is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare (Luke 2:34-35). These seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother included the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt; the loss and finding of the child Jesus in the Temple; Mary’s meeting of Jesus on His way to Calvary; Mary’s standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord was crucified; her holding of Jesus when He was taken down from the cross; and then our Lord’s burial. In all, the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother’s heart was fulfilled in these events. For this reason, Mary is sometimes depicted with her heart exposed and with seven swords piercing it. More importantly, each new suffering was received with the courage, love, and trust that echoed her fiat, let it be done unto me according to Thy word, first uttered at the Annunciation.  …

Focusing on the compassion of our Blessed Mother, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, reminded the faithful, Mary Most Holy goes on being the loving consoler of those touched by the many physical and moral sorrows which afflict and torment humanity. She knows our sorrows and our pains, because she too suffered, from Bethlehem to Calvary. ‘And thy soul too a sword shall pierce.’ Mary is our Spiritual Mother, and the mother always understands her children and consoles them in their troubles. Then, she has that specific mission to love us, received from Jesus on the Cross, to love us only and always, so as to save us! Mary consoles us above all by pointing out the Crucified One and Paradise to us! (1980).

Therefore, as we honor our Blessed Mother, our Lady of Sorrows, we honor her as the faithful disciple and exemplar of faith. Let us pray as we do in the opening prayer of the Mass for this feast day: Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life. Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love, and trust.

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 9 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

I hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day weekend.  I was able to go home and hang out with family – including my twin brother.  We celebrated by laboring – our project was putting tin on one of the old barns.

Thank you again for your generosity in supporting the Church renovation.  As you know several things fell beneath the budget line of what was possible.  I am very happy to say that through the very generous gift of several families (who want to remain anonymous) we are able to move forward on redoing the entrance to the Church Hall.  We will be able to install an automatic door and redo the floor.  In conjunction with the changes to our pew arrangements that was a part of our Church restoration this will make Sacred Heart fully handicap accessible.  We anticipate that this project will move quickly and can be completed this fall.  An additional gift was given to update the phone system at Sacred Heart.  Currently the three buildings – Church, Rectory, and School are not connected in a cohesive way.  This will tie all three together and also get wi-fi in the church basement to make that space more user friendly.  It is humbling to receive gifts like this- thank you for your care for this parish and each other.

As we enter into the school year one of the things that pick up is athletics.  It is an image used throughout scripture to describe our spiritual life.  Training for any sport requires consistent work, discipline, the humility to be able to be coached so we can grow, teamwork and time management to name a few. These are the attributes necessary for other relationships and should describe our walk with the Lord.  Here are a few instances where scripture uses athletics to call us on in our faith.

Psalm 119:32: I will run the way of your commandments, for you will broaden my heart.

1st Corinthians 9: 24; 27:  Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize?  Run so as to win. …..No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

2nd Timothy 4:7: I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2a:  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.

Philippians 3:13-14: Brothers, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

I want to thank John Zuelke and the many volunteers who helped make St. Mary’s Fish Fry such a great success.  We raised $4201.  Thank you to everyone from both parishes that came.  I was very happy to do my pastoral duty and taste test the fish numerous times throughout the evening!

Let us all compete well in the arena of faith!

 

God Bles,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 2 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

What a blessing to be back in the newly renovated and restored church and sanctuary at Sacred Heart. Thank you again for your generosity in supporting the project through Witness to Hope and for the many, many volunteers who have given of their time to help it go so smoothly.

At St. Mary’s this is the official end of the summer season and a time when we say goodbye to our summer parishioners.  Thank you for all of your prayers and support and know of ours for you.  I have enjoyed getting to know you in my short time this past summer and I look forward to you return next year.  Thank you to our faithful fish fry crew- another delicious success.

The school year is off to a good start – it is great seeing the school full again.  For many of us the start of the academic year is a good time to take an intentional step to deepen our walk with the Lord.  That is the theme I started last week that I would like to continue.

Another great opportunity we have here at Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s is the biweekly Bible Study that has been going on for the last 5-6 years.  I will plan meeting for roughly an hour.  Previously Fr. Joe alternated the bible study with St. Mary’s – he was at one parish one week and at the other the next week.  I am going to sync them up so I will be at both parishes the same week.  Sacred Heart’s Bible Study meets on Wednesday’s at 6pm in the Parish Hall.  St. Mary’s meets on Thursday mornings at 10am.  Both will be covering the same chapter so if it works to go to one or the other parish, we will be covering the same material.

What a blessing these times are.  Scripture is transformed when we realize it is not just recounting a story but it is my story.  I have heard it said that the stories in the Bible never change – only the faces do.  We see ourselves in them and we meet Jesus reaching into our lives just as he reached into the lives of those we read about.  Please consider coming.  You will not only learn more about Jesus but you will come to know Him more fully.  Paul told Timothy that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2nd Timothy 3:16).  In any encounter with the Lord in the Bible we will experience at one time or another each of these elements.  And doing so we grow.

At our last meeting we picked up at the 3rd Chapter of the Gospel according to John.  At our next meeting this coming week, we will jump into the 4th Chapter of John.

¨ Wednesday, September 5 at Sacred Heart at 6pm

¨ Thursday, September 6 at St. Mary’s at 10am. 

 

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, August 26 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

This past weekend two of my sisters went camping with their families at the Lake Hudson State Recreation area.  They tented there one night. The second night, it was so hot, they stayed at the rectory.  That is my type of camping- a nice bed, AC, and a refrigerator!

This is coming week is one of lasts and firsts.  It is our last week in the basement (blessed be God!).  I am excited to be able to celebrate Mass with you for the first-time next weekend upstairs.  On the other hand, this is our first week of school.  Anne and rest of the staff have done a lot of work making improvements in the school and getting ready for the new year.  I am excited for our new year to start.  Please keep our students and staff lifted up in your prayers.  They are an important part of the mission of Sacred Heart Parish.

The beginning of the school year marks the shift from summer to fall and is the start of many different ministries.  Spiritually speaking it can mark a moment of transition where we can hear Jesus calling us to grow, to take another step deeper into our relationship with him.  Our relationship with Him can too easily plateau if we don’t seek to grow.  I encourage all of us to look to what one good step might be this coming year we can take to deepen our faith.  As the kids go back to school let us strive to grow as well.

There are many good opportunities.  This weekend I want to focus on the Diocesan Assembly on September 22nd.  It is a one-day event that will have a lasting impact on your life.  The speakers we will be blessed to listen to are excellent- being able to present and apply the faith to our lives.

All of these speakers have podcasts with them speaking on many, many different aspects of the faith.  I often listen to podcasts in the car or when I am back home driving the tractor.  They can be a great way to hear about the faith from another perspective- plus it is always encouraging to hear others share their stories.  Here are the links to the podcasts for each of the speakers:

Fr. Mike Schmitz: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-fr-mike-schmitz-catholic-podcast/id1200915759?mt=2

Jennifer Fulwiler: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-jennifer-fulwiler-show/id944869051?mt=2

Deacon Larry Oney: https://radiomaria.us/hope-and-purpose/page/2/

For more info on the Made for Happiness Assembly and to register for FREE, please visit https://madeforhappiness.org/

Please join me at the 12th annual St. Mary on the Lake fish fry on Friday, August 31st from 5:00-7:00 pm.  It will be a great way to start your Labor Day weekend.

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

A Letter from Bishop Boyea

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I am writing this to you due to the recent removal of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick from ministry. Once again, the sins of a cleric have hurt victims, scandalized the faithful, raised anger in many hearts, and brought ill-repute upon the Catholic Church. Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse of minors, his homosexual activity and his abuse of seminarians and young priests are beyond the pale. In addition, some knew about this and did nothing to address his behavior. I am as shocked as you. So, first of all, I apologize for his behavior and the behavior of those who did nothing to stop him. It is incredibly wearying and demoralizing to hear yet again about these sexual sins and alleged crimes. Let us hold each other in prayer.

As you may know, each bishop is ultimately responsible to the Holy Father, who is the only one who can remove him. Still, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be discussing how we bishops might attempt to hold one another accountable, given this limitation. I can never give a guarantee that there will not be other clerics who violate their promise of celibacy and abuse their positions. We are all sinners. The Lord Jesus knew what the archbishop did just as he knows our sinful selves as well. Beyond what we can do as human beings to address the behavior of one another, we also commend ourselves and each other to the charity and justice of our God. Christ is our hope in all things. May God have mercy on us all.

Bishop Earl Boyea, Diocese of Lansing

 

 

https://dioceseoflansing.org/news/bishop-earl-boyeas-statement-current-sexual-abuse-crisis

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, August 19 2018

Dear Parishioners,

We had a good turnout Saturday to spread mulch around the school playground.  Matt Shaffer graciously lent us his Bobcat which I enjoyed driving!  On my day off I helped my parents cut and chop 35 acres of hay.  Overall, I have had a lot of tractor time which is good for my soul!

This weekend we continue to hear Jesus describe the Eucharist in the Bread of Life Discourse from the Gospel of John.  The Eucharist is Jesus’ complete gift of Himself to us.  In the Eucharist He is totally present to us.  It is a reality we need to dive into again and again, to continue to deepen our understanding of what it means to be so loved.  Over the centuries the Church has developed rich imagery that capture one reality or another of Jesus’ gift of Himself.

The image I want to turn to is that of the pelican.  At my ordination I received a green vestment that has this image on it – a mother pelican feeding her chicks. Understandably I have received many questions about it! I have included in this article a close-up picture of that image from my vestment.

This image has roots that predate Christianity.  It was thought that the Mother Pelican, if there was no food available for her young, would pierce her own breast to feed them with her blood.  Christians very quickly picked up this image as a symbol of what Jesus does for us in the Eucharist when He feeds us with His own body and blood.  Just as the mother pelican pours out her own life for the sake of her young so Jesus pours out His very life for us that we might have life.  In St. Thomas’ great hymn to the Eucharist, “Adoro te Devote”, he included this stanza: “Like what tender tales tell of the Pelican.  Bathe me, Jesus Lord, in what Thy Bosom ran.  Blood that but one drop of has the power to win.  All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.”  If you keep your eye out when you go into older churches you will be surprised how often you will see it!

I have loved meditating on this image and to wear it as I celebrate Mass.  Here is what God has done for me and continues to do for me.  Why would I turn to anything other than Him to sustain me?  How easy it is to do so.  Jesus invites us to Himself and to receive His own self-sacrifice.  Let us run to Him and strive to receive Him with grateful and prepared hearts in the Eucharist.

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd