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

 

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