Fr. Joe Bulletin, March 18, 2018

Greetings in Christ!

Just like last weeks bulletin, I’m writing this on March 3rd, before I head out for a week off.  Because of that, I obviously won’t be commenting on anything current.  Instead, its my hope to use this and the next article to hype our upcoming Triduum Feasts at Sacred Heart and St. Mary.  Last week, I posted on Good Friday and, this week, I want to walk us through Holy Saturday.

On Holy Thursday, we sat at the Last Supper with Jesus.  He washed our feet and gave us the gift of the Eucharist.  We then walked to the Garden with him.  On Friday, we walked through the passion with Jesus and spent Friday night “in the tomb” with Jesus.

With our service on Holy Saturday, we move from the tomb to the Glory of the Resurrection.   The service contains four parts: the service of Light, Liturgy of the Word, Christian Initiation and Renewal and Holy Eucharist.

The Service of Light begins outside where we bless our Easter Fire and Pascal Candle.  The mass continues inside in darkness to remind us of Jesus in the tomb.

The Darkness in Church continues as we move into the Liturgy of the Word, where we read multiple readings from the Old Testament.

Then, the lights will all come on as we sing the Gloria together and read from the New Testament.   The lights coming on and the Gloria being sung are the sign of our movement from the darkness of the tomb into the Glory of the Resurrection.   We haven’t sung or said the Gloria in more than six weeks and we rejoice at this time.

If you wish, you can bring bells to this service and ring them as we sing. We will read from the New Testament and Gospel and have a homily.

We then move into the time when we bring into the Church those who have been going through RCIA for the last many months.   This is a great and beautiful time where we remember our own baptism and thank God that we are a part of an unbroken chain of Catholicism and rejoice in those who join our faith.

Mass then proceeds as normal while we move into the Liturgy of the Eucharist as we usually do.

This service is long, but absolutely beautiful and, as with Holy Thursday and Good Friday, I strongly encourage all of us to make this our first priority: don’t miss this joy!

May Jesus bless our Lenten efforts!

 

Fr. Joe Bulletin Article March 11, 2018

Greetings in Christ!

I’m writing this on March 3rd, before I head out for a week off.  Because of that, I obviously won’t be commenting on anything current.  Instead, its my hope to use this and the next article to hype our upcoming Triduum Feasts at Sacred Heart and St. Mary.  Last week, I posted on Holy Thursday and, this week, I want to walk us through Good Friday Service.

A couple notes before I walk us through the service…

Please welcome Fr. John Quinn, who will speak on behalf of Cross Catholic Outreach, which was founded to create a meaningful link between parishes in America and the Church overseas in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Central and South America.  Please be generous in your response to Father’s appeal.

Please join us in or Lenten Holy Hour of Adoration on Wednesday, March 21st at 7:00 pm.  We will begin the Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration and Procession, followed by a homily and time for us to silently reflect on Jesus’ presence in our lives.

Our Good Friday Service for both our Parish Families will be at 3pm at Sacred Heart.

All the events of Good Friday are commemorated in the Stations of the Cross, the devotion we usually pray during Lent and especially on Good Friday.  Another devotional, the Acts of Reparation, may also be prayed.

Good Friday is a day of fasting within the Church. Traditionally, there is no Mass and no celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday.  A service will still be prayed with communion which will come from hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday. Baptism, penance, and anointing of the sick may be performed, but only in unusual circumstances. Church bells are silent and the altars are left bare.

Good Friday is the day where we place our Spiritual Focus on the suffering and death of Jesus.  We recognize that our sins come with a terrible price and that Jesus paid that price willingly out of love for us.  We pray that this day compels us to sorrow for our sins and a recognition of the love that drove Christ to such an incredible act.  Our celebration this day is not a mass, it’s called our Good Friday Service or Service of the Passion of the Lord and we will start it at 3pm, in honor of the moment in time that Jesus died.

This service begins in silence, with the clergy laying prostrate before the cross.  It continues with a reading from Scriptures and perhaps a homily that focuses on the role of suffering and loss in our life, as well as that of sin.   We then will pray a special set of prayers, asking God’s blessings and mercy on all areas of our world and Church.   Next, we adore the cross with a sign of reverence: some will kiss the cross, some will embrace it.  The key is for us to show our gratitude for the means that God saved us.

Finally, we will bring the Blessed Sacrament out from the place of reservation and all who are not prohibited can come forward to receive.  The service ends in silence.

This is a prayerful and amazing service and I cannot encourage us strongly enough to make it our highest priority: thanking Jesus for what He’s done for us and walking through His passion with him.

This year, we will also experience “Tenebrae”, which will be held at 8pm at St. Mary on the Lake on Good Friday.  Tenebrae is a church service observed during the final part of Holy Week commemorating the sufferings and death of Christ.

May Jesus bless our Lenten efforts!

 

Fr. Joe Bulletin March 5, 2018

Greetings in Christ!  A blessed and holy lent to you all!

The culmination of our Lenten season is the Triduum and I wanted to take a few articles in the bulletin to describe each service in order to encourage as much participation as possible in these wonderful, holy days.  This week, we’ll look at Holy Thursday, my favorite of the three Holy Days.

 

Both our parishes will celebrate Holy Thursday at St. Mary on the Lake this year. We’ll gather at 7:00pm.  This is the day where we, as Catholics focus on the Gift of the Eucharist.  We have only one mass this day at Church, with a special mass also at the Cathedral in the Morning.

 

For priests, the day will start at the Cathedral in Lansing.  We gather there at 10:30am for the Chrism mass.  At this mass, the Bishop will bless the oils that every Church in our diocese will use over the next year.  Also at that mass, all Priests will renew their vows.  This is an exciting and blessed celebration; please remember to pray for priests to be faithful followers of Christ and servants of His People.

 

After that, we will celebrate a mass on Holy Thursday night called The Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  Here, we remember the Last Supper Jesus celebrated with His disciples to begin His passion and death.  In a unique way, we recall the events of the Last Supper and include within this some beautiful rituals.  We have a procession of the oils we will use for the rest of the year: the ones I will bring back from the Morning mass at the Cathedral.  We also will remember and celebrate Jesus washing the feet of His Disciples, in order to connect in hearts the necessity of our love of the Eucharist compelling us to serve our fellow human beings.

 

As Jesus left the Last Supper to go to the Garden of Gethsemane, we process with the Eucharist out of the Church and down to the Parish Hall, where we will place the Blessed Sacrament.  Here, we will incense the Blessed Sacrament and sit in silence for a bit.  All who wish are encouraged to stay and pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament for a bit.

 

I’m very excited for this celebration…I hope we make this our top priority for our families, forsaking sports and all other things to gather together and pray.

 

Now, for a schedule update…

I’m heading off Sunday, March 4th to take a week off.  To be honest, I’m really quite wiped out and could use a week of rest.   Please pray for me and know that I will definitely be praying for you, both in gratitude and petition.  I carry my beautiful parish families with me wherever I go.

 

Father John Quinn will be visiting our parish next weekend to speak at all the Masses on behalf of Cross Catholic Outreach.  Thank you Fr. Quinn and all those who work to create a meaningful link between parishes in America and the priests and nuns working in the Church overseas in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Central and South America.

 

I’m so very grateful to be your priest!  Make sure and push hard through this Lenten Season to sacrifice, pray and help others with all you have and are!

 

Fr. Joe Bulletin Article February 25, 2018

Greetings in Christ!
I am so excited for this Lenten Season.  I cannot encourage us strongly enough to keep pushing through and giving all we have in acts of Prayer, Fasting (or sacrifice) and Charity.  This is a time for us to go all out in our internal war with the flesh: rejecting sin and embracing virtue.
Each week, I hope to have my homilies posted so that you can catch any of the series you may have missed on the 7 deadly sins and the virtues to combat those sins.
Remember: it is never too late to start or restart lent…
A reminder that this Saturday, we will have our penance service for both of our Parish Families.  We will gather at St. Mary on the Lake at 10:00am and move pretty quickly into individual reconciliation.  We’ll have handouts there to help you if you need and lots of priests.  PLEASE don’t pass up this wonderful opportunity to meet our Lenten Obligation and give our sins to the Lord.  We’ll receive His mercy, joy and strength in return: a darn good deal. 🙂
I had some wonderful questions from some folks who felt challenged by the homily on greed and gluttony and, as a result, wanted to sort through their stuff and see what they could part with that other people may need.  I’m so blessed that we have taken up that challenge!  If you find yourself with clothing or other such things that you’d like to pass on to the poor, please make sure and do so. If you are out of options on that front, let me know and I’ll try to organize some way to get them where they will do the most good.
May God bless, strengthen and inform our efforts to be holy.  I’m so blessed to be your priest.

From the Pastor’s Desk, February 18 Bulletin

 

Greetings in Christ!

A blessed and holy Lenten Season to you all!  For the next 40 days, we are challenged to "take it up a notch": to focus on fasting, prayer and almsgiving (charity).  This is a time to be conscious of our sin (not other people's sin!) and make sure that we abstain from meat on Fridays during this season.  It's also important that we get to confession and, as a result, there are tons of options in our area to make sure we don't wait till the last minute or miss it entirely.

I'm going to try something new for this Lenten Season: I'm going to preach Themed Homilies.  The idea of a themed homily is a minor custom in the Church where the priest prayerfully chooses a theme for a Season and preaches that theme as opposed to focusing on a particular reading.  I was going to do this last year, but it involves a lot more preparation time than I had so I spent the last year tinkering on and off with a schedule and prepping the homilies so that I would be ready for this year.   God is so good...He really helped and guided me on this and I'm blessed.

 

So...what's the theme? …..."The 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Cardinal Virtues".  Here's how it will look:

Feb 18 - Greed & Gluttony/Generosity & Abstinence

Feb 25 - Envy/Gratitude

March 4 - Anger/Patience

March 10 - Lust/Chastity

March 18 - Pride/Humility

March 25 - Sloth/Diligence

A couple notes on this: When we look at Lust/Chastity, I found I was uncomfortable preaching it in congregations that have little ones, which would be every congregation.  As a result, I chose to do it for the March 10th weekend because I will be away.  What I'll do is, instead of preaching a homily, I'll write one and send it to the bulletin so you can read it at your leisure.

Palm Sunday is a tough one: it is one of the longer masses of the year and even without a homily, is going to be close to impossible to preach anything substantial because I'll have to fly out of Church to get to the next mass on time. So, that is the Sunday I'll preach on Sloth/Diligence and again, most of it will probably be written, unless I figure a way to trim it more than I have already.

I'm excited about this and hope that God bears great fruit in all our lives as a result.  I know that, just working on these and praying about them, I was convicted of a lot of sins in my life that I had lost track of...praise the Lord!

As everyone and their brother knows, its flu season and, according to the CDC, its one of the worst on record.  As a result of that, I'm going to do one thing and ask you to do two:

First, I'm going to set aside the Precious Blood for now.  I hate doing this, but it really seems like something we need to do.  Normally, I'm a fan of trusting people to not go to The Cup if they are sick, but it seems that, with this virus you can be sick for four days before you even know it.    If you are scheduled to offer the precious blood, please come forward as usual.  We will replace the Precious Blood with two more stations of the Sacred Body.

The two things I'll ask you to do are:

Not hold hands during the Our Father.  I'm not a fan of this practice and I don't want my motives to get muddled up into the problem.  However, I've had a couple people tell me that, when they don't hold hands at the Our Father because they are sick, they get "a look" from others that indicates they are offended.  I assume that we all have more than enough drama in our lives that we don't need more, so we'll just say "No" to holding hands during the Our Father.  According to the rubrics, the appropriate posture during the Our Father is our hands together near our heart.

The second thing is that, during the Sign of Peace, please either bow to each other or accept that some people are not going to shake hands/hug because of their sickness or desire to not get sick.  It's not a rejection of you or your desire to share a sign of Christ's Peace: its more a practical thing to keep us all as healthy as we can.

So...there it is!  I hope you read this section in the spirit I am offering it: a spirit of affection and respect.

I pray that God bless and convict each of us to enter into this Lenten Season with our whole heart, mind and soul!

fjk