Fr. Todd Bulletin, November 17 2019

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

Thank you for your support of Sacred Heart School at the Gala this past Saturday.  To my great surprise (and delight), I won the recliner donated by Kelly’s Furniture.  Numerous people have suggested that I make it my presider’s chair in the sanctuary.  For the time being, I think I will leave it in my bedroom!

November, beginning with All Souls’ Day on November 2nd, is a special time of the year when we pray for those who have gone before us.  This coming week we will have a special Mass of Remembrance where we remember and pray for our loved ones.  We will have one at Sacred Heart on Tuesday, the 19th, at 6pm (please note the time change from the typical 5:45pm Mass) and one at St. Mary on the Lake on Wednesday, the 21st, at 6pm.  On the 21st at St. Mary’s there will not be the usual 9:15am morning Mass.  Please join us for these beautiful Masses.

It is during this month that there is a special focus on praying for the souls in purgatory.  People ask what that means.  When it comes to understanding purgatory, I have always loved this description by Pope Benedict XVI.  He wrote:

There will be few people whose lives are pure and fulfilled in all respects.  And, we would hope, there will be few people whose lives have become an irredeemable and total No.  For the most part, the longing for good has remained, despite many breakdowns, in some sense determinative.

God can pick up the broken pieces and make something of them.  In any case, we need a final cleansing, a cleansing by fire, to be exact, in which the gaze of Christ, so to say, burns us free from everything, and only under this purifying gaze are we, as it were, fit to be with God and able, then, to make our home with him… I think it is something very human.  I would go so far as to say that if there was no purgatory, then we would have to invent it, for who would dare say of himself that he was able to stand directly before God.  And yet we don’t want to be, to use an image from Scripture, “a pot that turned out wrong,” that has to be thrown away; we want to be able to be put right.

Purgatory basically means that God can put the pieces back together again.   That he can cleanse us in such a way that we are able to be with him and can stand there in the fullness of life.  Purgatory strips off from one person what is unbearable and from another the inability to bear certain things, so that in each of them a pure heart is revealed, and we can see that we all belong together in one enormous symphony of being.

I love this description of purgatory because it captures how it is an experience of love–a love that makes us whole.  We need to remember that purgatory is not a bad thing but a blessing, the final fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to perfect us.   It is not something to be afraid of but seen with joy, for it is to be made whole again.  One of the ways we can accompany those who have gone before us is to pray for them, as they are now in the purifying presence of Love.

 

Let us pray well this month for all deceased!

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, November 10 2019

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

Last week, I got an email from our diocesan lawyer.  He let me know that someone had made up an email address under my name and tried to scam some money from the Attorney General’s office.  I must say whoever it was went right to the top!  (I should also mention that the Attorney General’s office declined to send the $500 in gift cards they were asking for!)  Another first in my pastoral life that makes for a good laugh.

On a more serious note, a difficult reality that many people are touched by in one way or another is divorce.  This can be the person who has been through a divorce themselves or someone whose parents are divorced. The diocese is trying to help heal some of the wounds this creates.

The Diocese of Lansing’s Marriage and Family Life office is offering a special retreat called Recovering Origins: A Healing Retreat for Adult Children of Divorced or Separated Parents.

https://dioceseoflansing.org/event/recovering-origins

Recovering Origins is a three-day retreat at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, Michigan that invites participants to move through the broken image of love that appeared to them in their parents’ divorce to their deepest origin and identity as God’s beloved capable of great love. The retreat gives participants a greater understanding of the wound of divorce and the ways it affects their lives, offers advice about the difficulties concerning love and trust of others, and explains how the Catholic faith, spiritual practices, and the Sacraments are essential to self-knowledge and healing. This retreat has something for any adult child of divorce or separation no matter how much healing you have already received or need!

 The retreat begins on November 22 at 7:00 p.m. and ends on November 24 at 3:00 p.m.

For those who have themselves been through a marriage that ended in divorce, there are numerous resources to help.  I want to mention a couple of them here.

Lisa Duffy works to help people work through recovery after a divorce. She has numerous books that you might find helpful.  More information can be found at her website: https://www.lisaduffy.com/.

Rose Sweet has developed a program called Surviving Divorce: Hope and Healing for the Catholic family.  You can find more information at her website: https://catholicsdivorce.com/.

Even if these do not apply to you, please think of someone in your life for whom they do and consider passing some of this information along to them. You could be a catalyst to greater healing in their life.

You may have noticed that Sacred Heart’s bell has not been ringing this past week.  Our bell is rung in two ways. The first is an external hammer that strikes the bell as it is immobile- this produces the first, quieter tone.  The second is the internal hammer that rings the bell as it swings- this produces the second, louder tone.  The internal hammer has fallen out because the large nut that holds it on the bell worked itself loose.  I have turned the bell mechanism off until we can get that fixed.

Thank you to some generous parishioners who donated money for lights at Sacred Heart Church and School.  The two lights flanking the school steps are now working again.  The bulbs in the upper level of Sacred Heart are replaced with LED’s and will be regularly used.

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, November 3, 2019

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.”

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, October 27, 2019

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 

https://www.amazon.com/Behold-Mystery-Deeper-Understanding-Catholic/dp/1593252285

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 

https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Mass-100-Questions-Answers/dp/0867169494/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+catholic+mass+100+questions&qid=1571769831&s=books&sr=1-1

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.

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, October 13 2019

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

I hope you are enjoying these beautiful fall days!  I was at my parents’ this past Monday and spent a refreshing day outside working on various projects.

This coming week, we have a few special events.

  • On Wednesday, I will be joining a field trip with Sacred Heart students to visit Notre Dame. It is a beautiful campus and it is a treat to be able to celebrate Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart as a part of our tour.  It is always a joy to visit the place where Jesus’ mother Mary went to school.
  • On Saturday, our Confirmation class will be having a one-day retreat with other Confirmation kids from the surrounding region. I will be spending the day there with them.  Please keep us in your prayers that we might powerfully encounter the Holy Spirit.  Come Holy Spirit!
  • On Sunday, October 20th, at the 11am Mass at Sacred Heart, I will be doing a Mass explained. We will celebrate Mass but as I go through each part, I will be taking time to explain the meaning of each step.  Mass will be followed by a brunch in the parish hall.  The following week, on the 27th, I will do the same thing at St. Mary on the Lake at the 9:30 Mass.  (Brunch will follow there as well.)

I am very excited about this opportunity.  The Mass is something at the heart of our faith—a powerful weekly time where we come to encounter Jesus.  It is both a time to give and to receive.  We give something to God: our time, our hearts, and all that is in them.   Then having given, we receive grace from Him.  Something that is astounding is that at Mass we give God simple bread and wine that He takes and then gives back to us, but better and transformed: the very body and blood of His Son.  We are called to surrender all of ourselves and experience that same reality—giving of ourselves and then receiving something back, but better and transformed.  At times, our focus can be solely on what we are receiving, but that is a narrowed vision of what Mass is meant to be.

Fr. Joe once wrote a column in “In the Know with Fr. Joe” about the importance of going to Mass, and he wrote this:

“My friend Father Geoff always points out that no one goes to their grandpa’s birthday party asking, “What am I going to get out of this?” They go to the birthday party because they love Grandpa.  In the same way, our primary reason for going to Mass cannot be, “What am I going to get out of this?” Instead, it should be, “What can I give in the midst of this?” The radical gift of the whole experience is this: When we surrender our need to make this about what we get from it, we’ll receive more than we could ever ask or imagine.” https://faithmag.com/whats-point-going-church

I once heard someone say that what is done daily will be done dully if not done deeply.  So can be our experience of Mass.  A way to enter more fully into the Mass is to understand why Mass is the way it is.  Many of us growing up Catholic have had parts of the Mass explained at one time or another, but perhaps not fully or recently.  It is my sincere hope that this will help each of us enter into and pray the Mass more fully!

 

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 29 2019

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s Families,

This week, September 30-October 3rd (Monday-Thursday) Fr. Tomy and I will be gone for the annual priest convocation.  We will not have daily Masses those days.  Please pray for us this week!

A question we all have is how to build our relationship with Jesus.  When that phrase comes up- “personal relationship with Jesus” does that describe my own relationship with Him?  This is after all the basis of what it means to be Christian.  Before anything else we are called to be with Him and then from that relationship we go out and serve. Periodically then we need to participate in encounter opportunities- events where we can go and encounter Jesus and His love in a personal, life changing way.  I want to strongly encourage two opportunities coming up in October.

First is the women’s conference- https://www.lansingdiocesecwc.org/.  This will take place on Saturday, October 12th at the Lansing Center in Lansing Michigan. Here is a brief testimony shared by Becky after attending a previous women’s conference:

“Becky had anticipated a quiet day of speakers and reflection. Instead, the day’s events thrust her into a very emotional and unexpected awakening. Until the conference, she hadn’t realized what a box she had built around her heart due to all the stress she was experiencing. “During the conference, it was like the protective shell I erected was cracked. Prior to this day, I thought I had to be in control and do it alone. I suddenly realized I have this partner – God – to help me get through everything.”

The theme, God’s Desire, was palpable throughout the day and wedged into her heart. “My life had been so focused on everything going on around me that I hadn’t thought about myself or spent a lot of time with God. I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t a good enough mother, wife or daughter. I was frustrated that I didn’t have enough focus for each aspect of my life.” Becky became unshackled from her negative self-talk. She came to understand God’s loving desire was to have an active relationship with her. “Since the women’s conference, I have conversations with God every day. I listen and reflect. Now when I wake up, before I even get out of bed, I pray for God’s guidance to get me through my day.”” https://faithmag.com/how-womens-conference-changed-beckys-life-good

The second opportunity is Holy Fire great Lakes which in Bowling Green Ohio on Sunday, October 13th. https://nfcym.org/holyfiregreatlakes.

Holy Fire is a national Catholic one-day faith experience for middle school youth, developed in collaboration with a host diocese and nearby regions. Its mission is to ignite the hearts of young people with the love of Christ and to inspire them to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in the world.

I encourage you to send your 6-8th grader to this one-day experience of dynamic speakers, music, and the sacrament of the Eucharist like they have never before experienced. At Holy Fire, young people will be invited and challenged to embrace their baptismal call and embrace the relevant and powerful gospel of Jesus.

These opportunities are transformative.  Whenever we intentionally set aside time for the Lord, He will respond by giving us grace and strength in ways we cannot imagine.  (FYI- the Men’s conference is in February)

 

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 22 2019

Our readings this weekend are challenging.  They point out that one day we will be called to present to God an accounting of our stewardship, the ways in which we used our time, talent, and treasure for His Kingdom.

 

This weekend is a good reminder of our call to arms in both the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.  Part of our stewardship of the life God gives us is by how we give it away to those who need it the most.

 

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

  • To instruct the ignorant. This work of mercy means all of us are called to share and teach the faith passed on to us.
  • To counsel the doubtful
  • To admonish the sinner
  • To bear wrongs patiently
  • To forgive offenses willingly
  • To comfort the afflicted
  • To pray for the living and the dead

The Corporal Works of Mercy are:

  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead

 

We have many opportunities for both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in our own parish and communities. We have the Hudson Ministerial Association and Food Pantry, and the Food Pantry at St. Mary on the Lake. We have parishioners who visit and bring Communion to the homebound.  On a regional level, we have Catholic Charities and all of their good work.

 

The Diocese of Lansing is hosting a “Welcome the Stranger Among Us” Conference – Pastoral Care of Immigrants on Friday, October 11th from 8:30-3:30.  For more information or to purchase a ticket, please go to this website: https://www.eventbee.com/v/welcomethestranger#/tickets

 

I know it can seem daunting when we see a list like this.  Don’t be discouraged!  See if the Holy Spirit is nudging you on one or more of them and then say yes.  Such is to be a good steward of this life Jesus gives us.

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 15 2019

It is hard to believe that Fall is already here.  In this coming week or two, my parents will be taking in their final cutting of hay.  (I am hoping this happens on a Monday so I can get some tractor time.)

Fall reminds me of this passage from Mark 4:26-29: “He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.  Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

What we see mirrored in the fields round about us that are growing ripe for the harvest reflects something of the way Jesus works in our hearts.  At this time of the year we are in a privileged place of reflection.  What in my life in the past has been a seed of grace that has grown, perhaps even imperceptibly, but now is bearing fruit in my life?  What are the good things He has been doing even amidst times of difficulty or trial?  When you think of those blessings, think of their beginning and see if you can remember when the seed was planted: a prayer, a conversation, a homily (every priest’s fervent hope!), an unexpected road block?  God can bring even good out of evil, and these exercises of remembering can help us see His hand more clearly.   Doing so, we not only rejoice more in God’s loving providence but receive hope that even now Jesus is sowing seeds of grace in our heart.

This coming week, we will watch Deacon Larry Oney’s talk from last year’s Made for Happiness Assembly.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn-lLPRa8n8.

 

Sept 18 – at Sacred Heart (6 pm in the School Basement)

Sept 19 – at St. Mary on the Lake (10 am)

 

Deacon Larry Oney, a permanent deacon for the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, serves at Divine Mercy Parish in Kenner, Louisiana. With a passion for lifting people up and sharing the faith, he leverages humor, joy, Scripture, love and personal insight to speak to people’s hearts and encourage them to live Spirit-filled lives.  Deacon Larry’s ministry can be found at hopeandpurpose.org.  HIGHLIGHTS of his talk:

 

  • • Every Christian is meant to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • • The Holy Spirit is the animator upon earth today in the body of Christ.
  • • Every Christian has the authority and power to evangelize all the world.
  • • By the power of the Holy Spirit, God calls us to be receivers, healers and deliverers.

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

As a side note:  

The Parish Secretary will be on Vacation September 19-29, returning on Monday, September 30.  If you need immediate assistance, please contact Deacon John or the school office.

 

Our Financial Report for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2019 has been submitted to the Diocese of Lansing.  We have also provided a bulletin stuffer this weekend.

Click here if you wish to preview the FYE 18.19 Parish Financial Report.

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 8 2019

Dear Sacred Heart & St. Mary Parishioners,

 

There has been a lot going on the past couple of weeks, so this bulletin article is a bit of a catch all.

A big thank you to all who helped with the fish fry at St. Mary on the Lake—delicious as always!  Now that we are past Labor Day, we will no longer have our 6 pm Mass on Saturdays.  Our winter schedule is Confessions at 8:30 am followed by Mass at 9:30.  The Mass rotation Fr. Tomy and I try to stick with is one will take the 4:30 pm Mass at Sacred Heart and then on Sunday will take the 9:30 am Mass at St. Mary’s.  The other will take both morning Masses at Sacred Heart.  The following weekend, we swap that schedule.  There is an attempted method to the madness!

A word from Dan LaCroix:

Thank you for being so welcoming to me in the time I was at the parishes. I really enjoyed getting to know you, and my time living in a parish was very helpful in my discernment. Working in the school and going to all the parish events (as well as meals you invited me over for) was a very welcome break between graduating from Michigan Tech and beginning seminary. I’ve just moved into Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, and I begin classes September 3. I look forward to being able to come back to visit over breaks. Please pray for me as I begin seminary, that my formation may go well and I may follow God’s will for my life.

Fr. Tomy will be on retreat this week (September 9th-13th).  Please pray for him and all the priests from his community serving here in America as they gather for their annual retreat.

A big thank you to Jim and Bea Cuthbertson who removed the hive of honey bees that had taken residence in the back wall of Sacred Heart.  They moved into a space under a window sill by the air conditioning units.  They brought an extra bee suit so I was able to help safely remove them with a shop vac and then relocated to their farm.  What a really neat experience.  Jim estimates there were 25,000-30,000 bees in the hive.  I look forward to hearing how the Church hive does in its new home!

We are approaching the beginning of many religious education classes and opportunities.  Please stop by the Church offices to register or sign up.  There are ways for all of us to grow in this coming year.

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 1 2019

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,

Thank you to everyone who helped make my installation Mass and reception so beautiful.  Thank you to for your warm welcome for my family and friends who came down- I enjoyed being able to give them a tour of parish and rectory.  With eight of my nieces and nephews running around for the afternoon there is a trail of crumbs throughout the first floor- the rectory is nicely lived in!

I have had a couple of questions about who can join the pilgrimage to the Holy Land in October of 2020.  While I want parishioners from Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake to have the first opportunity to come, we are not restricting those who can come to just our parishes.  You are welcome to invite family and friends from outside the parishes to come.

We are officially back to school- which is always hard to believe.  This is a good time of the year to ask the way in which Jesus wants you to grow and learn this year.  The mantra I heard throughout seminary was that while we were in seminary to formed to be priests, formation does not stop after ordination.  In other words, there was the reminder that we would of course need to be keep on learning and growing after seminary. Even though we might not be going to classes regularly anymore we would need to keep on reading and seeking ways to grow.

This is a great challenge for all of us.  As our kids go back to school do ask that.  Jesus, how do you want me to grow this year.  Is it to read a book on a particular subject or simply the life of a holy man or woman that can be an inspiration for me?  Is it to access some of the resources we have here through Bible Study, C.A.F.E. on Sundays, Formed.org, to listen to good podcasts?  I know I have talked about these things and before and you can find information on our website for them. Here I will just mention a few books that you might find helpful:

  • “Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found Itby Jennifer Fulwiler. Jennifer gave a presentation at last years Made for Happiness Assembly. This book is a fuller presentation of her story and how Jesus met her as an atheist and walked with her into faith.
  • “A Song for Nagasaki” The Story of Takashi Nagai a Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb by Paul Glynn.  As noted in the books forward “Christians and non-Christians alike were deeply moved by Nagai’s faith in Christ that made him like Job of the Scriptures: in the midst of the nuclear wilderness he kept his heart in tranquility and peace, neither bearing resentment against any man nor cursing God.”  His story is deeply encouraging and is a powerful example of how to walk in and through great suffering.
  • “He Leadeth Me” by Fr. Walter Ciszek S.J..  American Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent some 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. He here recalls how it was only through an utter reliance on God’s will that he managed to endure.
  • “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The private writings of the saint of Calcutta By Mother Teresa and Brian Kolodiejchuk.  During her lifelong service to the poorest of the poor, Mother Teresa became an icon of compassion to people of all religions.  This collection of her writing and reflections sheds light on Mother Teresa’s interior life in a way that reveals the depth and intensity of her holiness for the first time.

God Bless!

Fr. Todd