Fr. Todd Bulletin, August 12 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family!

I had a great vacation but it is good to be back home!  The floor renovations in the Church are moving along well.

It is hard to believe that it is already August. This is the time of summer when we realize we are in the waning days of vacation and there is a collective realization that we need to begin gearing up for the coming school year.  While I can’t speak for our students I can say that I am excited for the school year.  (The fact that I am no longer in school helps my excitement!). Concurrent with the school year many of our various ministries pick back up at both of our parishes.

In this time of transition the challenge is to enter into it well.  One of the great pieces of advice I have received was to take a moment like this before a new period starts and to surrender and consecrate it to Jesus ahead of time.  To simply pray, “Jesus I consecrate this new school year, this season of football, this time of preparation for first communion, etc, to You.  Please help me do all of this for your honor and glory.  Help me be open to the people I will meet and the graces you want to give me.”  Make the prayer specific to you and what the year will bring.  Even if your life is going to continue on in what feels like the same old rut make it new by consecrating it again.

Paul wrote to the Colossians “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).  If we do this we give the Lord full permission to be involved in every aspect of our coming year and it can be help remove anxiety, fear, and stress.  On another level this can be a way to a powerful way to take things out of our hands that we can’t control anyway and instead entrust it to God and His will.  Jesus, we consecrate this coming year at Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s to You!

God Bless,

Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, August 5 2018

Dear Sacred Heart,

A big thank you to everyone who gave gifts in the welcome basket from both parishes!  With the gift cards I was able to get some things for my offices and the rectory kitchen.  On Thursdays when there are no parish events, Fr. Tomy and I pray evening prayer together and have dinner (usually his Curry).  This past Thursday, I taught him how to play Backgammon.  He claimed to never have played before but from the beating I received I think he may have been a Backgammon shark!  To protect my pride, I have been telling myself I am just a really good teacher.

This Monday, August 6th, I am concelebrating at a Mass for my friend, Sr. Maria Regina, who is taking her final vows with the Sisters of Life (  They are a community founded in 1991 to particularly protect and uphold the dignity of human life.  If you would like to learn more about her specific vocation story here is a link to a video made by the Archdiocese of Toronto.

( )


I want to use this occasion to talk briefly about religious vocations.  Sadly, there are not as many vocations as there used to be and so this beautiful part of the Church is not as visible as it used to be.  Without it something is missing.  Sr. Maria Regina is a reminder that there are still vocations and for us to keep on praying for them.

Like the priesthood, our culture has a hard time understanding this calling.  Whether or not it is asked this directly people look at the celibate religious vocation and wonder if it is possible for someone to be happy living that life.  It can be hard to express the joy that comes from being able to put your life totally into God’s hands, and then with Him, to be able to do His work.  If you want to see a picture of that joy look at her vocation story.  Jesus tells us that: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39).  The religious vocation is simply the giving of your life away and finding it anew in the Lord.

One of the important roles the religious serve in the world, besides being able to do the Lord’s work, is their sign value.  Their whole life points to Heaven ahead of time and the fact that we are meant to live with God for all eternity.  In a world that is beautiful and filled with good things religious sisters and brothers remind us that all that is good and beautiful in the world came from God.  That this world, as good as it is, is passing away and we are made for eternity.  It is easy for us to take our eyes off of Heaven and get entirely caught up in earthly pursuits- religious remind us and raise our eyes back to Him.  In a world forgetful of God religious, by their very presence, remind us of who we are meant to be.

In our own parishes we have been blessed.  Fr. Matthew Hartley from Sacred Heart was ordained for the Archdiocese of Denver in 2006.  From St. Mary’s Gabriel Heidbreder is studying for the Fathers of Mercy.  Sunday, August 19th in Dewitt we have the Bishop’s priesthood discernment dinner for those going into their junior year of high school and older.  I would love to have some guys from here go.  Let’s keep on praying for vocations!


Fr. Todd Bulletin Article, July 22 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

Our floor renovation is progressing very well and on schedule.  This past Monday, Fr. Tomy joined me on the farm for a tour and a visit.  I gave him a set of farm clothes in case a disaster happened but he came through unscathed without any manure on him!  It was also his first experience driving a tractor.  By the time we were done he was becoming an old hand.


With the example of our two patrons, the Sacred Heart and St. Mary, I want to turn to their example and wisdom for their direction and guidance in these two outposts of God’s Kingdom.  This week I want to turn to the example of our Blessed Mother.

Mary is a beautiful example of Discipleship, of what it means to be a Christian.  I am struck by her first and last words.   We meet Mary when the Angel Gabriel is speaking to her, asking her to be the mother of God.  Mary’s response to this request is “Let it be done to me according to your will”.  We hear Mary speak her last words when she is with Jesus at a wedding reception in Cana.  Seeing the need for wine she asks Jesus to take care of the problem and tells the servers to “Do whatever he tells you”.

We can learn a lot from Mary’s first and last words.  She begins by being totally open to God’s will- which is certainly harder to do than it is to say.  Those moments, big and small, come to each of us and we need to pray for the grace to also surrender ourselves.  It is important to remember that these moments are never a one-time event- our surrender to Jesus and His will is a daily choice.  Some days it is an hourly choice!  Mary said yes to the Angel Gabriel and she continued to say yes to the Lord even up to the foot of the cross.  Mary’s beginning posture of openness to God, even in incredibly difficult and confusing situations, was maintained throughout her life.  It needs to be the same for us.  When it is hard to say Yes Mary is there to pray for us and take her to Jesus just like she took that young couples need for wine to Him.

Which takes us to Mary’s last words- “Do whatever he tells you”.  Mary ends her words in the Gospels by simply pointing to Jesus.  If only our life can be that simple, where all we say or do would be words or actions that point to Jesus.  I have heard that a good metaphor for holiness is that of window.  The saints are a clean window, people through whom others can see Jesus clearly.  Jesus tells us He is the light that has come into the world. The question then becomes how much of His light can shine through us.

Mary, we ask for your help to surrender our lives more fully to Jesus on a consistent basis.  Help us to point always to you.  May our first words and our last words so define our lives.


God Bless!

Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, July 15 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

I really enjoyed my first weekend with you.  Some of my family was able to join me for the 9:30 at St. Mary’s and the 11:00 at Sacred Heart.  With my big family, you will be seeing one sibling or another from time to time.  I enjoyed giving them a tour of both Churches.  Sunday evening, I went back for my day off and helped bale hay.

I need to apologize for the mess up with Mass this past Monday morning.  I had a key to give to Fr. Tomy so he could access the sacristy and celebrate the Mass.  With my family visiting and greeting, I forgot all about it and the key stayed in my pocket!  Again, I am sorry about that.

They are making great progress in the floor restoration.  When the viewing port is set up please take a peek.  Sacred Heart is already a beautiful Church and this will make it even more beautiful.  I am looking forward to celebrating Mass there when it is done.

Thank you for all those who came out for the Sacred Heart Golf outing this past weekend to support our parish and school.

I really love the fact that we are entrusted to the two hearts- that of Jesus and Mary together.  We could not ask for better caretakers!  Below are two prayers, one to Jesus and one to Mary. May we keep each other lifted up in prayer and ask for their help in living our mission.

I look forward to getting to know you as we go along.  I have always enjoyed joining families for dinner and, if it hasn’t been done yet, blessing the house while I am there.  A game of cards thrown in wouldn’t be amiss either!  Some people have been asking what I like to eat – I pretty much enjoy all food and I don’t have any allergies.  I don’t eat a lot of sweets and the only food I really don’t like is Mayonaise!

God Bless ~ Fr. Todd



Holy Heart of Jesus, Sweet Sanctuary of rest, bring peace to my soul and settle my spirit, especially in the matter of (special request)

I vow to place all of my worries and fears into the wound of your Sacred Heart, there to be tended to in accordance with your perfect will, which desires only the best and highest good.

Your love alone is enough, and I surrender to it; clinging to the hope of a swift resolution and trusting with confidence in all of your promises.



O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer. As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son. Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially …(special intention).

We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer. We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting. Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever.



Fr. Todd Bulletin, July 8 2018


Dear Families at Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake ,

I am very excited to be joining you.  I know Fr. Joe has loved his time with you and I am to be following him.  He has told me many great things about both communities.  Every time we talked over the past couple of weeks all he would do is brag about you and the good things the Lord has been doing.  I look forward to continuing the good work Jesus has already begun.

I know this has been a shock for you as it was for me and St. John the Evangelist, the parish I came from. I was struck by the fact though that the announcement happened on the feast day of the birth of St. John the Baptist.  He is an incredible example of what it means to follow God’s call, even with its unexpected twists and turns.  It was a reminder to me of the Lord’s providential hand in all of this and the call to trust in His love and His plan.

I wanted to share a bit about me.

I grew up in Fowler, MI on my parent’s 260-acre organic dairy farm.  They sell their milk to Horizon organic.  I am the 4th of ten children (seven boys, three girls).  My twin brother, Fr. Gary, is number five being born four minutes after me!  Five of my sibling are married and I am blessed to have nine nieces and nephews.  I am hopeful that there are many more to come.

I entered seminary right after high school in 2006.  My first four years were at St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.  I then spent four years at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit for Theology.

For my first assignment I spent three years at St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Abor, MI.  I spent this past year at St. John the Evangelist in Fenton, MI.  Both of my assignments have had schools so I am very excited to have our school at Sacred Heart.

I enjoy running, fishing, playing cards (euchre, pinochle, cribbage to name a few), board games, reading, and generally hanging out.  I love being a priest and I love farming (I usually go back to my parent’s farm on my day off) so this assignment seems particularly providential.

It is an honor to be able to serve here.  I look forward getting to know all of you.  I have been praying for you since I received the call from Bishop Boyea.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd


Fr. Joe Final Bulletin, July 1 2018

Greetings in Christ!

It’s with a heavy heart that I submit this bulletin, my last one for you, my beloved parish families.

July 1 of this year would’ve started my seventh year with you guys and apparently, the Bishop decided that it was penance enough for you all!

All kidding aside, I want to tell you with all sincerity that I love you. You have helped me become a better priest than I was when I walked into our parishes six years ago.

Through all of you, the Lord healed my broken heart and I am eternally grateful to all of you for that.

I’m going to type up my last homily and submit it to both parishes to put on the website or whatever means is deemed most appropriate. It is in that homily that I will offer you my thanks, as well as some challenges for the future.

I ask you to welcome Fr. Todd, to cherish him and love him like you did me.

I will hold both of my parish families in my heart for the rest of my life.

I’m heading off now to minister to two parishes closer to my family which of course is a blessing to me. In the same way that I tried to give you the entirety of myself, I will now offer that to them. This means that I will not be coming back to help with weddings or funerals or other such things. It’s not a lack of love on my part at all, but a desire to be faithful to what the Lord is calling me to now.

Thank you for loving me as I am and helping me become more.

Your brother,





Fr. Joe Bulletin, June 24 2018

Greetings in Christ!

I want to start this off with a reminder for us all.  Next week is a big one for our Sacred Heart family.  We begin our massive project of repairing the floors all through the Church, re-carpeting and all sorts of yummy goodness, including work on the entrances and exits.  Because of that, the only masses we will celebrate from July 2-6 is on July 4th at St. Mary on the Lake at 9:00am.   We will pray mass together that day and ask God to bless our country and help us to grow closer to Him.

The Catholic Church also offers us a pretty big celebration this week: On Friday, we celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.  This is the day when we remember the martyrdom of both of these extraordinary men.  It’s unclear why this date is picked: its either because one of them died on that date or because it is the day their relics were moved to Rome…we are not sure which.

Either way, its a time to remember their deaths and honor the faith, hope, love and courage that gave them the strength to lay down their lives for Our Faith.

St. Peter was crucified upside down on Vatican Hill in Rome in the year 64 AD, during the reign of Nero.

In 1950 human bones were discovered beneath the alter of St. Peter’s Basilica and many claimed they belonged to Peter. In 1953 an excavation found St. Peter’s tomb in Jerusalem bearing his previous name Simon, as well as the tombs of the other apostles, Mary, and Jesus.

In the 1960s, discarded debris from the excavation beneath St. Peter’s Basilica were re-examined and were identified as the bones of a male human. This discovery caused Pope Paul VI in 1968 to announce they were likely to belong to the Apostle Peter. On November 24, 2013, Pope Francis revealed the relics of nine bone fragments for the first time in public during a Mass celebrated at St. Peter’s Square.

As for St. Paul, he was beheaded in 67AD, also by Nero. As an interesting sidenote, St. John Chrysostom wrote that Nero actually knew St. Paul personally.  St. Paul’s body rests at St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.

In 2006 National Geographic confirmed the remains were his.  You can read about that discovery here:

Let’s pray to stay faithful to that which was handed on to us by the wonderful Sts. Peter and Paul!



Fr. Joe Bulletin, June 17 2018


Greetings in Christ!

I pray that these warm days in Michigan bring you great joy, productive work and wonderful time with you family. Speaking of family, it is Father’ Day. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Lord for my dad. The older I get the more I realize I will probably never finish learning all the beautiful things he has to teach me. Let’s all pray for our dad weather living on earth or in heaven.

This is going to be an unusual week at our parish families……

The bad news is that Tammy, Fr. Tomy and Deacon John are all going to be away and you guys are stuck with me!

The good news is that Bishop Sean will be here throughout the week and we will carry the mass schedule as best we can, as well as any emergencies that may pop up.

Bishop Sean is going to offer Bible Study this week at Sacred Heart on Wednesday night at 6pm.   I haven’t asked him what topic he would like to cover, but I’m sure that he will knock it out of the park as he usual does!

On Thursday of this week, we celebrate St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a Jesuit priest.  Here’s a little bit on him from

¨ St. Aloysius was born in Castiglione, Italy. The first words St. Aloysius spoke were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. He was destined for the military by his father (who was in service to Philip II), but by the age of 9 Aloysius had decided on a religious life, and made a vow of perpetual virginity.

¨ A kidney disease prevented St. Aloysius from a full social life for a while, so he spent his time in prayer and reading the lives of the saints. Although he was appointed a page in Spain, St. Aloysius kept up his many devotions and austerities, and was quite resolved to become a Jesuit. His family eventually moved back to Italy, where he taught catechism to the poor. When he was 18, he joined the Jesuits, after finally breaking down his father, who had refused his entrance into the order.

¨ He served in a hospital during the plague of 1587 in Milan, and died from it at the age of 23 after speaking the Holy name of Jesus for his last words.

¨ He received his First Holy Communion from St. Charles Borromeo and his Last Rites from St. Robert Bellarmine.  St. Robert went on to write a book about the life of St. Aloysius.

May God bless us to hunger for Him like St. Aloysius did and pour ourselves out in loving service to those in need!

God bless you all



Fr. Joe Bulletin, June 10 2018

Greetings in Christ!

I gotta tell you, I simply can’t believe how fun and successful our Food Fair was.  We are going to set next years date ASAP so we can get the word out to get more cooks in to lose to me and my World Famous Coney Sauce.  🙂

We have closed out the Easter Season and celebrated the Trinity and Corpus Christi…one of the my favorite seasons has come to a close.   Now, we enter into a rather longish stretch of Ordinary Time.  Every year, I remind us that the Church does not use the word “Ordinary” the way we Americans do.  We are using the Latin word for a progression of numbers.  Thus, this is the 10th week of Ordinary Time and next week is the 11th, all the way through to the end of the year.

I’ve got a couple things to run by us…

First of all, we will be starting the restoration of our Church floor in the first week of July. Because of all the moving around and adjusting, we won’t be celebrating mass together that week, except for July 4th, when I’ll offer mass at St. Mary at 9:00am.

Our town hall meetings broke down what we will be attempting and how far we hope to stretch our dollars, so I won’t go into that too much. The basic idea is this: we will get new carpet in the area where you all sit and pray during mass (that area is called the Nave), we will be ripping out the platform in front of the communion rail and the elevated area where the altar is.  Depending on what we find underneath the altar area, our plan is to restore the original terrazzo/marble flooring.  We are also replacing the carpet in the front entryway, and removing the carpet in the sacristy to restore the original wood floor.  This is made possible because of your generous response to the Witness to Hope Campaign and I am so excited about it.  Because the money is pledged over 3-5 years, we may have to secure a bridge loan from the diocese to take care of the payments that will be due right away.  We thought we had qualified for a no interest loan should such a thing pop up, but as it turns out, we didn’t.  It’s not that big of a deal, thank God, as the interest on such a diocesan bridge loan is very low.

Please pray that God bless our efforts and help everything to go well.  While these restorations are going on, we will pray mass in the Parish Hall.

The second thing I need to run by you concerns our Altar Rosary Society.  These marvelous ladies do more for our Parish Family than you can imagine…they take care of our altar linens, pay for various mass needs that pop up, they clean our Church and give their all for us.  Usually, they host a large rummage sale to fund their activities throughout the year, but this year our renovation work makes that sale an impossibility.  As a result, we are going to take up a second collection for them this summer, on  August 4-5.  Please be generous to them, they’ve been crazy generous with us.

So that’s what I’ve got for you, beyond a plea for patience and understanding.  This summer will be a very challenging stretch for us all and, when we get impatient or irritated with the process and all the accommodations, its a good time to reflect in gratitude for the gift of being able to worship in such a holy, beautiful space.

Over the next couple weeks, I need to submit the bulletins very early and, as a result, they probably won’t be too personal in terms of our schedule, what’s going on, etc.  I’ll use those times to let us know what Saints are coming up in the weekly celebrations.  It’s always nice to remember our Saints great examples and wonderful prayers.

I pray that God bless our efforts to be His People.



Fr. Joe Bulletin Article, June 3 2018

Greetings in Christ!

This weekend is the Feast of the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of Christ, or as its more commonly called “Corpus Christi”.

As Catholics, we recognize the gift of the Eucharist as one that is so amazing, its the only Sacrament we call “The Blessed Sacrament”.

I thought this might be a good time to tighten up our reverence for the Eucharist a bit, so I’m going to offer some things I’ve seen that we can work on.

Genuflection: a priest challenged me on this in seminary and it absolutely changed my life.  When we walk into the Church, we genuflect toward the Tabernacle.  If someone was new to a Catholic Church, it might not be clear to them what we are doing because we can easily fall into the trap of “half genuflecting”.  When you go to genuflect, pause and do it slowly.  Its using our bodies to remind our brains that we are in a Sacred Place: let’s take our time and do it right!

Language: its not the “bread and wine” once the consecration happens: its the Body and Blood of Christ.  That’s important for us to remember: its using our language to remind ourselves that this is a great and sacred moment.

Our Body Posture, make sure we try our best to show reverence and intentionality when we are ministering the Eucharist or receiving it.

It’s good to think about the fact that we receive the Eucharist.  We do not initiate, Christ initiates and we respond.  There are numerous ways we show that mystery and wonder within the mass and the way we receive communion is one of those ways.  We submit to the teaching that “God initiates, we respond” by making sure that we receive communion, we don’t take communion.

That’s why when we receive, we do it one of two ways:

¨ If we receive on the hands, we make a throne with our hands: right hand under and left hand on top (if we are right handed).

¨ If we receive on the tongue, we make sure that we do so in a way that makes it easy to receive: chin up, tongue extended.

We do not take the host out of the priests hands, we receive.  This is why we don’t do what is called “Intinction”: taking the host and carrying it to the Precious Blood in order to dip it in: we receive.    Whatever way we receive, we want to be sure that we give a loud and clear “Amen” to the statement “The Body (or Blood) of Christ”.

We love each other…that’s part of being a family.  However, we want to be sure we show proper reverence and reflection when we process forward to receive Him.  The communion line is not a good time to socialize with those we walk by: we focus on Jesus in the Eucharist.

We avoid chewing gum during mass and make sure that, if we are distributing The Eucharist, we act with great love and reverence.

We help those who come to Church but are not Catholic.  We do so by explaining beforehand what the Eucharist is and why we ask those who are not Catholic to not receive it.  At every Church I’ve been assigned to, I (or others) have found the Sacred Host left laying on the floor or even enclosed in hymnals.  No one does something so disrespectful intentionally; they simply don’t know what to do.  We can help those we bring to Mass, or if we see someone who doesn’t seem to know what to do after receiving communion, we simply offer to take the Sacred Host and consume it.

It may be that we look this over and it sounds picky, but I promise you its not.  St. Paul tells us that “Whoever eats the flesh without considering it eats and drinks their condemnation”…wow.  It’s that important! So, I’m using this Feast as a time to remind us as a family to pause and make sure our familiarity with the Eucharist doesn’t unintentionally move into disrespect for this incredibly sacred and special gift from God.

May our love and reverence for the Eucharist translate into a deep love and reverence for each other!

God bless you!