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 11 2018

 

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Dear Sacred Heart Family,

This coming week I will be taking some vacation time (November 12th-16th) for a combination of things.  1) I have two priest classmates from Minnesota coming to Michigan for a visit.  2) I will be deer hunting with my twin brother.  3) I have family visiting from New York.  It is going to be a great week!

In this month of November, when we remember our loved ones, I want to continue our series on the four Christian responses to death.  Last week was taking time to grieve.  This week is our response of remembering and learning from those who have gone before us.

Most people are very good at this.  They naturally take time to look back and remember their loved ones.  Often enough it is only when someone is gone from our lives do we realize the magnitude of their actions and their true legacy.  Some lessons only are learned in hindsight

The challenge is to look at those who have died with truth, so that we can truly learn from them.  At times there is a temptation to vacillate between looking back at someone with cynicism so that their whole life is colored in a negative way or looking back at someone with rose-colored glasses so anything negative is obscured.  Well neither of those approaches do someone justice – only truth does.

This practically means looking back at someone who has gone before us and remembering and learning from both the good and bad aspects of their lives.  We learn in two ways – from positive examples that we wish to emulate and from negative examples that we want to avoid doing ourselves.  To truly learn from someone, we need to be able to learn in both of these ways.  All of us are a mixed bag, none of us are perfect.  Just like we wouldn’t think people would be scandalized by that fact so we shouldn’t be scandalized to realize this is true about those who have gone before us.

For the same person then we will have many memories of their acts of sacrifice, their love, their kindness and also things we will need to forgive them for.  This is all part of grieving.  Sometimes people die leaving unresolved hurts that still need to be dealt with, still forgiven even after they are gone. This is not a disservice to them or their memory.  Wounds that remain after someone’s death are too often passed down if we can’t bring them into the light of God’s grace for healing.

Let’s pray for this grace to truly remember and learn from our loved ones.

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 28 2018

 

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

This past Monday I was home- a beautiful fall day on the farm.  The day’s task was butchering chickens.  Good for us, not so much for the chickens!

I want to encourage you to consider attending Sacred Heart’s Gala this year on November 10th.  I want to mention two of the auction items available that night.

  • The first item is a day at my family’s farm. The day will include a tour, milking cows, feeding calves, collecting eggs, tractor driving, lunch provided by parents (really this means my Mom!), and Mass at the house to end the day.  We host a group around 20-25.
  • The 2nd item is dinner at the rectory for up to 10 people with myself and Fr. Tomy. A homemade curry dinner is available upon request.

This is Sacred Heart’s one big fundraiser of the year. Tickets are available at the office.  My folks are coming that night as well and we are all looking forward to it.

This week we have two important days.  November 1st is All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation.  We celebrate this day to remember that this is what all of us are called to- to be saints.  It reorients are vision back on Heaven and gives us the encouragement of all of those who have gone before us and show us the way.

November 2nd is All Souls day. This is the day where we remember all of our loved ones who have died and especially remember those who need our prayers in purgatory.  Sadly, we have lost this sense that we have to pray for the dead so this day is a powerful reminder to do so. I want to share two great quotes on purgatory.

The first is from Pope Benedict….

“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”.

The second is from Msgr. Charles Pope, priest from the Archdiocese of Washington, DC…..

“You know, honestly, is there anyone here carrying stuff with us we know we can’t take to heaven? I’m not just talking about our sins, I’m talking about our heartaches, our hurts, some of those regrets we might carry with us. We can’t take those things to heaven, it wouldn’t be heaven! And so there is a beautiful line in the Book of Revelation that says of Jesus, regarding the death, that He will wipe every tear from their eyes. (cf Rev 21:4) And this is part of what we call in the Catholic tradition the process of purgation. The Lord wipes the tears form our eyes: any sorrows, any regrets, any rough edges of our personality, those effects of sin that still cling to us. The Lord takes good care of it all…he wipes the tears and purifies us with holy fire.”

Let us pray for all of our loved ones who have gone before that they might be brought swiftly into the home of Heaven.  That if there was still any sin or pain still clinging to them that it might be set right.

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, October 21 2018

 

Year of Prayer

Father,

You invite each of us to share in the life and ministry of your Son, Jesus. Send your Holy Spirit to form our parish as a community of missionary disciples. Teach us how to hear Jesus, to love Jesus, and to share your gift of salvation with everyone we meet.

Through the witness and intercession of Mary, guide me to deepen my commitment as a disciple of Jesus. Lead our parish to grow as an intentional community, committed to go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. We ask these blessings in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen

 

 

 

 

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

I had my meeting in Lansing this past Tuesday for new parish ministers.  It was a quick overview of all that goes into parish ministry.  It made me especially grateful for our great staff and our many volunteers we have that help our parishes run so well!

As a follow-up to our latest Assembly Bishop Boyea has announced a year of prayer for us as a Diocese to implore God’s guidance for forming missionary disciples in our parishes.  The Bishop has offered the following suggestions to help us engage in this year of prayer.

 Each Person is asked:

To Pray the Rosary or another devotion to the Blessed Mother once a week as a family or household for the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes in how to form missionary disciples.

Every Parish is asked:

To offer quarterly a prayer service to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes in how to form missionary disciples.

To offer a prayer experience for the children of the parish in asking for the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes.

To increase opportunities for Confession

Challenges/Suggestions for the Diocese:

Priests: Two hours of Daily prayer in addition to celebrating Mass

Deacons: One hour of Daily Prayer

Laity:

*  Married with Children at Home- 10 minutes of Daily Prayer

*  Married Empty Nesters- 30 minutes of Daily Prayer

*  Married Retired- One hour of Daily Prayer

*  Single- One hour of Daily Prayer

Make a weekly sacrifice (Fasting, almsgiving, service) for the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes in how to form missionary disciples.

Make a Holy Hour each week praying for the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes in how to form missionary disciples.

Make a pilgrimage to a holy shrine or Eucharistic Chapel to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our parishes in how to form missionary disciples.

Over the course of this year we will work on implementing what we can of these suggestions on a parish level.  On the individual level we are each challenged to incorporate prayer more deeply into our daily lives.  This will not only be a tremendous blessing for us as a Diocese as we all pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance but it is also a blessing for us.  Anytime we can develop a greater habit of prayer we will see the difference.  Fr. Tomy, Dcn. John and I are not left out of the challenge!

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, October 7 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

Last weekend Fr. Tomy and I went perch fishing on Lake Erie.  Fr. Tomy beat all of us- it seemed every time we looked to the back of the boat he was reeling in a fish!  It was a great time.

On this past Tuesday, October 2nd we celebrated the feast of the Guardian Angels.  This feast day reminds us how close Heaven is to us, that on this journey through life we are never unaccompanied.  I know there are moments I can look back in my life where my safety and protection in particular situations seems only explainable through divine intervention.  I wanted to include part of an article that delves into our understanding and belief in Guardian angels.

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/8-things-to-know-and-share-about-the-guardian-angels

 

What is a guardian angel?

A guardian angel is an angel (a created, non-human, non-corporeal being) that has been assigned to guard a particular person, especially with respect to helping that person avoid spiritual dangers and achieve salvation.

The angel may also help the person avoid physical dangers, particularly if this will help the person achieve salvation.

 

Where do we read about guardian angels in Scripture?

We see angels helping people on various occasions in Scripture, but there are certain instances in which we see angels providing a protective function over a period of time.  In Tobit, Raphael is assigned to an extended mission to help Tobit’s son (and his family in general).  In Daniel, Michael is described as “the great prince who has charge of your [Daniel’s] people” (Dan. 12:1). He is thus depicted as the guardian angel of Israel.  In the Gospels, Jesus indicates that there are guardian angels for individuals, including little children. He says:  See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 18:10).

 

What does Jesus mean when he says these angels “always behold” the fact of the Father?

It may mean that they are constantly standing in his presence in heaven and able to communicate the needs of their charges to him.  Alternately, based on the idea that angels are messengers (Greek, angelos = “messenger”) in the heavenly court, it may mean that whenever these angels seek access to the heavenly court, they are always granted it and allowed to present the needs to their charges to God.

 

What does the Church teach about guardian angels?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God [CCC 336].

 

Who has guardian angels?

It is considered theologically certain that each member of the faith has a special guardian angel from the time of baptism.  This view is reflected in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which speaks of “each believer” having a guardian angel.  This understanding is reflected in an Angelus address by Benedict XVI, who stated:

Dear friends, the Lord is ever close and active in humanity’s history and accompanies us with the unique presence of his Angels, whom today the Church venerates as “Guardian Angels”, that is, ministers of the divine care for every human being.  From the beginning until the hour of death, human life is surrounded by their constant protection [Angelus, Oct. 2, 2011].

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Mass/Adoration Schedule for Week of October 1

Priest Convocation

The week of October 1st, Fr Todd and Fr Tomy will be attending the annual priest convocation.  During this time, you are invited to come, pray and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Monday, Oct 1 ~ Daily Mass at 8am

Tuesday, Oct 2 ~ Exposition at 4:45pm, Benediction and Repose at 6pm

Wednesday, Oct 3 ~ Exposition at 8 am, Benediction and Repose at 9am

Thursday, Oct 4 ~ Exposition at 8 am, Benediction and Repose at 9am

Friday, Oct 5 ~ Children’s Mass at 9:00am

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 30 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family

We had a very blessed day at the Diocesan Assembly last weekend.  It was great to see so many parishioners there.  I heard that many had the occasion to meet my twin brother as well!  All of the talks were recorded and will be made available on the Diocesan website.  I strongly encourage you to listen to them when you have the chance.

This week Fr. Tomy and I will be gone for our annual priest Convocation.  It is the one week of the year when all of the priests of the Diocese gather together with Bishop Boyea for time together.

One evening we will take time to celebrate important anniversaries of ordination- 25, 40, and 50 years.  Another day we celebrate a Mass for all of the deceased priests and deacons who have served in Diocese of Lansing since its founding in 1937.  One of the most profound moments of that Mass is when all of their names are read aloud.  It is powerful to pray for all those who have served before us and to pray that I might be able to serve as faithfully and with the same perseverance and dedication.

Each year we have a speaker offer a series of talks on one aspect of faith or ministry.  This year we will be discussing strategic planning for the coming years in the Diocese.

This coming week we will only have Mass on Monday and Friday at Sacred Heart.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there will be Eucharistic Adoration offered during the usual Mass time if you would like to come and pray during that time.  Please keep all of us in your prayer this week.

Regarding the new floor layout, I have heard from a few different people, questions and concerns about the center aisle width in the Church.  An important part of the restoration was a redesign of the pew layout to accommodate wheel chairs and walkers.  That included making the side aisles wider, which simultaneously reduced the width of then center aisle.  Now that we’ve had two funerals in the church, we have discovered the pall bearers are no longer able to walk alongside the casket as it is brought down the center aisle, as has been our tradition.

I came at the tail end of the planning for this project, but I know Fr. Joe, the flooring committee, Diocesan Liturgical Review Committee and the Historical Architect worked hard on this plan to make our parish accessible for everyone.  Every change, even a good change like making Sacred Heart handicap accessible, has consequences.  I think this was an unforeseen one.

I have been asked why we can’t move the pews back to where they were.  There are two reasons.  The first and most important is that we cannot sacrifice handicap accessibility.  The second is that when the pews where fastened down every place a screw was put in a hole was burned into the carpet so the screw wouldn’t unravel the new carpet.  If they were moved we would see every hole.

I know this has been a beautiful tradition we have had here at Sacred Heart.  To be a pallbearer for a loved one is an honor that I don’t want anyone to lose in all of this.  We will be talking about alternate ways for the pall bearers to process into the Church with the casket so that their role is still acknowledged.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd