Deacon’s Corner, August 26 2018

On Sunday, we gather as the Body of Christ to celebrate the Lord’s Day – the day of Christ’s Resurrection.  This celebration is not a solitary, private event.  Instead, we come together as the People of God to worship with one heart and one voice in participating at Mass.  Our Catechism teaches “participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and the Church (CCC 2182).”

Some people like to think celebrating the Lord’s Day together is not necessary because they can pray at home just as well.  This has been an issue in the Church for almost 2000 years.  In the 4th Century, St John Chrysostom wrote: “You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more:  the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests (CCC 2179.)  Private prayer, though essential to spiritual life, can never replace the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy and receiving Holy Communion.   Even in areas without priests that cannot celebrate Mass every Sunday, the Liturgy for a Sunday Celebration without a Priest allows people to gather and keep the Lord’s Day Holy.

When people are absent from Mass, they are missed.  No one should be absent without a serious reason because celebrating the Lord’s Day should be the first thing on the Sunday schedule, not the last.  We should arrive on time, prepared in mind and heart to fully participate in the Mass.  Those who cannot attend because of illness, age, the need to care for infants or the sick, or other serious reasons deserve our prayers and special attention.

Participating at Mass does not complete our celebration of the Lord’s Day.  Our Catechism tells us we must also refrain from activities which “disturb the joy proper to the day of the Lord or necessary for relaxation of mind and body (Compendium 453.)  Unfortunately, in our 24/7 world, tethered to our jobs by laptops and smart phones, or where public safety and businesses run normally no matter what day of the week, it’s important to take some time of rest to recognize that all time belongs to God, and people are more important than things.  Resting on Sundays does not mean we are inactive.  It means we rest from the burdens of daily life by doing things to nurture our body and soul like spending time with family and friends, caring for the sick and needy, enjoying a hobby, or just turning off gadgets and enjoying the silence.

As we take time each week to celebrate the Lord’s Day, may we remind ourselves that we are made in the image and likeness of God who “rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken (Genesis 2:2).

Deacon John

Adapted from “Celebrating the Lord’s Day”, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,


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:

Jennifer Fulwiler:

Deacon Larry Oney:

For more info on the Made for Happiness Assembly and to register for FREE, please visit

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


Deacon Homily, August 19 2018

Gospel JN 6:51-58

Jesus said to the crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”


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Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, August 19 2018

Why Do I Forget to Pray?

Prayer is huge. It is the most important thing you can do every day. I pray a lot! Life has humbled me to my knees and I have been lost and scared. Really scared. So scared that I cannot sleep, cannot eat (who am I kidding, I overeat), cannot find happiness and I am panicking. Life is that scary for all of us at some point. That is when we take a huge breath and ask for help. I have prayed so hard that I promised God I would say yes to whatever He asked of me. He asked some very uncomfortable things, but He and I were having so much conversation that I had a calm, confident, blind faith. Prayer is what guides every part of my life now. There is still an infinite amount of studying and life’s journey is sure to continue to be challenging but, prayer will get us through everything that frightens us.

And yet, two weeks before the school year begins, a chaotic season; the time when prayer is needed the most for guidance and I forgot to pray. I have been going to bed and realizing that I have not even said “Thank you Lord” today. Why? It is not some philosophical answer about the human spirit or negative behavior. I just didn’t make it a priority when I was looking at the to do list. I simply forgot to put it on the list. Maybe this happens to you too. So here are some great reminders for all of us.

¨ “Be constant in prayer” so that spiritual grace gifts and love will abound in the church (Romans 12:6-13).

¨ “Pray at all times in the Spirit… with all perseverance” so that we will be protected from powerful satanic attack, and the gospel will be proclaimed accurately and boldly (Ephesians 6:10-20).

¨ Pray about everything in order to be relieved of troubling anxieties and allow the God’s peace to guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7).

¨ “Continue steadfastly in prayer” for the sake of remaining spiritually alert and seeing the manifold grace of God that prompts thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2).

¨ “Pray without ceasing” in order that there will be unity and love and appropriate submission and patience and joy in the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-18).

¨ “Always… pray and not lose heart” so that we receive what it is that we desperately want and need from God, whose heart is to give his elect justice (Luke 18:1-8).

Adapted from “Why do I forget to pray”


School News:

¨ The trees in the front of the school were removed this weekend. The building and grounds committee and I determined that the trees were no longer healthy and should be replaced with smaller ornamental trees. We are excited to expand the habitat in the front of the school with some new landscaping.

¨ Our Back to School Open House & BBQ will be Thursday, August 23 beginning at 5:30.  All are welcome to come see the new playground and updates to our school.


God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal


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


Deacon’s Corner, August 19 2018

Five times in the Gospel today the word “eats” is used.  Jesus makes it very clear that the “bread from heaven”, himself, is to be consumed.  Today, we know Jesus was talking about Himself in the Eucharist – His Precious Body and Blood that we receive through the consecrated bread and wine at Mass.   We call this the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist.  We can also experience Jesus in the Eucharist through Eucharistic Adoration.

Eucharistic Adoration has been a rich Catholic tradition since about the 4th Century when converts to the faith were invited to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament for 8 days.  Monks also used Eucharistic Adoration to spend time with Jesus outside of the Mass.  By the 11th Century, Adoration began to flourish as the Church developed the formal Rite for Eucharistic Adoration and encouraged people to visit our Lord often during the week.  In the 19th Century, lay women and men founded their own societies dedicated to perpetual adoration – around the clock – for days.  Many churches now have perpetual adoration chapels where this practice continues even through today.

Eucharistic Adoration is private time with our Lord as He is present in the Blessed Sacrament placed in a Monstrance on the Altar.  Spending this quiet time before Him is like spending time before our Living God, giving Him the keys to our heart.  We turn off our cell phone, genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament, kneel in the pew, and show God our respect being present with Him.

Just as we all pray differently, we may spend time in Adoration differently.  We can sit there and just relax, knit, pray, or read something spiritually uplifting.  Sometimes, I work on a homily or Deacon’s Corner that’s stuck in my mind.   Other times I ponder questions like:  How is God working in my life?, Who does He want me to reach out to?, What is He calling me to do?, How can I be more open to His voice?, and How can I be more faithful?  Or, I may just sit and rest enjoying ‘safe harbor’ from a hectic day.  So restful once, that I actually fell asleep!  No matter how we spend our time, sitting at His feet escaping the busyness and distractions of life allows God to lead us.

I remember as a child when people attending Eucharistic Adoration would pack the church.  Now, we are lucky to have a handful of people show up.  I wonder what would it take to fill the church up again?  If you would like to give it a try, Eucharistic Adoration takes place every Tuesday at Sacred Heart (4:45pm to 5:45pm), and St. Mary on the Lake on the first Thursday of each month (3:30pm to 5pm).  Eucharistic Adoration ends with prayer and a solemn blessing, called Benediction – where the priest or deacon uses the Blessed Sacrament to bless the people.  What better way to end your day than that?

Deacon John



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

Fr. Todd Homily, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15 2018


And Mary said:”My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”