Deacon’s Corner, March 12, 2018

 

The history of the Church is a history of holiness.   Not just bishops, priests, deacons, and religious – but each and every one of us.  By virtue of our Baptism, we are all called to be holy witnesses of Christ in every aspect of our daily life.  That’s what it means to be a Christian.  Anyone who dares to call themselves a Christian will outwardly carry the marks to identify them as a disciple of Christ.  Do YOU carry these marks?

Do you conform yourself to Christ in word and deed?  Jesus spoke out against sin and injustice, yet He treated everyone with love and compassion.  He worked for the good of everyone by offering His love, care, and healing regardless of their wealth or social status. He had a special place in His heart for the poor, the outcast, the sick, and the grieving.

Do you seek the will of God in everything you do?  Do you regularly pray and receive the Sacraments?  Because, all of the Sacraments are an abundant source of Grace.  Do you allow yourself to be guided by the wisdom of the Church?  Do you continuously strive to join your will to God’s will?

Do you devote yourself to God’s glory?  God is the ultimate source of the very gifts we have.  Do you recognize His glory and might so the good you accomplish is done in His name?  Are you humble in doing so?

Do you seek to love your neighbor?   God places people in our lives who need our help.  Are you vigilant to recognize them, and help them the best you can?  Do you take care of those less fortunate or outside your circle of friends?

Do you accept the crosses that inevitably come your way?  Suffering in this life is inevitable.  And being a Christian does not give you a free pass to avoid suffering.  But, Jesus showed us how to give value to our suffering especially when we join our suffering to His.  When you offer up your suffering for others, you can experience a liberating transformation which helps you grow closer to God.  You can, in essence, be “Born Again”.

God invites us to holiness so we can experience the same happiness on earth that we will in Heaven.  His universal call to holiness demands nothing less than to always live with the ultimate goal of Heaven in our hearts.  Jesus came into the world to show us how to do just that. How many marks of His disciple do you carry?   Deacon John

Adapted from “Introduction to Catholicism for Adults” by Rev. James Socias

 

 

 

Mrs. Atkin Bulletin, March 18, 2018

So you had a bad day…….

You are having a bad day. Everything that could go wrong, did; you stepped on a Lego piece; you burned the cookies you were making; you got hit in the head by something; you ran over the cat; you forgot to do something you were supposed to do; you made a huge mistake and it is already done and you cannot change it. When the day is truly a bad one, you are hyper focused on that one part of your life.  It’s consuming most of your thoughts and the thoughts are negative.

Interacting with our kids when, they or we, are having a bad day gives us an opportunity to think about how God deals with us. He will give us grace. He will give us mercy. But he will not let us give in to temptation and just say “I am going to go to bed and hide in the covers.” He will not let us run away and give in. For those of us that have tried, we know it doesn’t work and problems can get very ugly, very quickly.

God is polite and He will not interject Himself into your life without permission. God has given us the power to decide how much we would like to lean on Him. It is the power of free will. You have to ask for help and the more you ask, the more you receive. The amount of help given is infinite. So, ask every day. Simple. But it just isn’t that simple and we forget to ask, sometimes when we need it the most.

When you have a bad day ask Jesus to wrap Himself around you and protect you. Ask Him to keep you safe and to be with You as you face the negativity and challenges. Ask Him to keep you calm and to be kind to others. Strap in and weather the storm together. It will be alright. It will all be okay. You will feel good again. God will never make you handle a bad day alone.

Lord, Help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that You and I can’t handle together. Amen

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

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!

 

Cross Catholic Outreach

Fr. John Quinn will be visiting our parish this weekend 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.

 

To learn more about Fr. Quinn and Cross Catholic Outreach, click here.

Deacon John Bulletin Article March 11, 2018

In the Second Reading, St Paul writes because of God’s mercy and great love for us, He “brought us to life with Christ – by grace you have been saved.”   The word “grace” comes from the Greek word charis, which means “favor, blessing, or kindness.” We can extend grace to others; but when the word grace is used in connection with God, it takes on a more powerful meaning. Grace is God choosing to bless us rather than curse us as our sin deserves.  Grace is His gift to us of kindness, compassion, generosity, and goodwill.  Because grace is a gift, we can choose to accept or reject it.  But, only by accepting God’s grace, then showing His mercy and great love to others, can we turn something evil into something good.

In the wake of the tragedy at a high school in Florida three weeks ago, Sam Houser posted on Facebook:  “Recently, I have been seeing a lot of conflict following the tragedy in Florida.  I’ve seen a lot of arguing, name-calling, and blaming going around, like the Left blaming the Right or the Right blaming the Left.  However, I think that we can agree that what happened was a lack of love and respect for fellow people. I know that there’s still going to be conflict, especially those who you don’t particularly care for. Going forward, I have no idea what’s going to happen regarding any legislation.  However, I do have an idea that if we treat others with love and respect, we may be able to help the world become better.  Just remember that no act of love is too small or insignificant; rather, every act of love is important.”

I have known Sam for almost 4 years.  He is an alumnus of Sacred Heart School and currently studying mathematics at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.  Sam is a humble, kind, gentleman who will do anything for anyone, whether they agree with him or not.  His words remind us of what it means to be “brought to life with Christ”.  Jesus did not take sides on politics.    He didn’t place blame or exclude anyone from His social circle.  He didn’t bully those who disagreed with Him.  Jesus always treated others with respect and showed the same love for his friend Lazarus as he did to the soldiers who nailed him to the cross.  Through His example, Jesus invites us to accept God’s grace to save us from the anger and bitterness that exists in our society today.  For it is only through our kindness, compassion, generosity, and goodwill are we able to do those acts of love that are so important to bringing harmony into the world even though we have no idea what will happen next.

Deacon John

 

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 Homily, March 3, 2018

If you would like to read along as you listen, please refer to the words below.

(Honestly, its my notes, so there may be some errors in typing or whatnot. I hope you find it helpful.)

 

 

 

We’re going to start with a distinction between anger and wrath.

Anger is morally neutral. It isn’t good or bad. Its an emotional reaction that occurs when our expectations are not met.

Anger becomes a sin when we obsess over it, when we direct it at a person who does not deserve it, when we hold it, when we crave punishment or violence for the person who we perceive as the problem. Ultimately, wrath or sinful anger is a rejection of love. A rejection of mercy.

We don’t generally use the word “wrath” in this way, so I’m going to stick with the phrase “sinful anger”.

So, how do I tell the difference between anger and sinful anger?

The easiest way is in retrospect, which often isn’t helpful right away. Sinful anger can be such a strong force that you and I have to engage a process to beat it, not a moment. Do not get discouraged or give up in fighting sinful anger; engage the process knowing that at first, you’ll see it after the anger but you’ll get closer each time to the explosion that caused the problem and, eventually, you’ll be able to possibly see anger coming before you blow up.

With that in mind, the process for letting God heal our anger looks like this:

First, when we realize we were angry, are angry or are about to get angry, we need to ask ourselves two questions:

1. What was my expectation that was not met?
2. Was this expectation just and/or spoken?

This process does a couple things: it allows us to see the root of our anger and honestly, sometimes that is enough to tame the beast of anger. There are times I have moved from anger to laughter as I realized that my expectation was silly.

The virtue that God gives us to combat sinful anger is mercy. Why mercy?

Because sometimes, we’ll realize that our anger was totally unjust. We had a ridiculous expectation. We had a realistic expectation, but we didn’t speak it, whatever it may be, the key is this: sometimes, we will realize our expectation was unjust and we’ll feel shame and those are the moments when we need to remember to have mercy on ourselves. To put it bluntly, it seems to me that we shouldn’t be surprised that we sin, we should be surprised that sometimes we don’t. Ask God’s forgiveness for your sinful anger, ask forgiveness of anyone whom you offended or hurt in that sinful anger, receive mercy and move on.

Sometimes our anger is just. Sometimes, we’ll realize that we had a just expectation, that we spoke it and somehow in the process we got run over. That’s when we need mercy for others. That’s when we need to remember how often people forgive us, how often people put up with us. That’s when we remember the crushing weight of the innumerable obligations we all feel and we simply pray for the person instead of raging. We give them the gift that God gives us: mercy.

And God’s mercy is an important thing to remember. Jesus tells us that the measure with which we measure others will be measured back to us…that should absolutely terrify and challenge us to be as gentle, as merciful and as patient as we can be. If we can’t be merciful out of love for God, then we can be merciful out of naked self interest.

Lord Jesus, in your name, I renounce sinful anger.
Lord Jesus, in your name, I embrace mercy.
May God bless our efforts.