Deacon Corner, August 5 2018

In the 5th Century B.C., the Jewish people returned to Jerusalem after captivity in Babylon only to find their temple destroyed and the city’s walls in ruin. They immediately rebuilt the temple, but were then faced with the challenge of no fortified wall around the city for protection.   They were defenseless against enemies, wild animals, weather, and anyone who could easily enter and cause great trouble for the people.  But, there is more to this story than just the safety and protection.

According to a report received by Nehemiah, the King’s cup bearer, the people of Jerusalem were shamed.  A city with broken walls meant it was a city of defeated people.  They felt both unsafe and humiliated at living in a destroyed city (Nehemiah 2:17).  So, God called Nehemiah to lead the people not just in rebuilding the walls, but to a much bigger project – restore Jerusalem after laying in ruins for 150 years.  Nehemiah told the Jewish leaders, “Rebuilding the walls would show God’s blessing on His people again (Nehemiah 1:9).

Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was an important sign to the enemies of Israel.  Doing so would show God’s blessing again and let them know that God was with His people (Nehemiah 1:9, 2:20).  As Nehemiah led the work to rebuild, the people experienced mockery, attacks, distractions, and temptation to sin.  Even so, God equipped them to stand firm and be determined in their efforts.  The result was completing a daunting task in just 52 days (Nehemiah 2:3-5,12; 4:3,8; 6:10-12.)

Sometimes, we face challenges that leave our life seemingly in ruins.  With our temple destroyed and our “protective walls” torn down – we can feel afraid, humiliated, and defeated.  Even so, it’s important to remember that God has a plan for our life, and to overcome these feelings requires much more than personal desire or reaching a goal.  In the midst of the ruins, Nehemiah was driven by an understanding that God appointed him to the task of rebuilding.  When God charges us with a task – whether to repair a relationship, refocus our life, or share our blessings with others – He gives us whatever skills and strength are needed to continue doing what He’s asked no matter what challenges come our way.

What kinds of challenges do you face this week? How has God equipped you to overcome them?   May we pray for the grace to persevere through our challenges and finish the tasks God gives us.  May our labors always bring Him glory.

Deacon John

 

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 (http://www.sistersoflife.org/).  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.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7og8ygvoDZ4- )

 

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!

 

Altar Rosary Society

 

Altar Rosary Society:

The Altar Rosary Society primary mission to the church is taking care of the Lord’s table.  They provide hosts, wine, altar linens, vestments, server’s albs, altar flowers, weekly cleaning of the Altar and a host of other things!  Every woman of the parish is considered a member of the Society and is encouraged to attend meetings.

Every year the Altar Rosary society holds a Rummage Sale to raise funds for their mission.  With the construction this year, they were unable to hold their Annual Rummage Sale.  Let us thank the Ladies of the Parish with a 2nd collection the weekend of August 4-5.  God Bless!

 

Made for Happiness Assembly

 

REGISTER TODAY for the Made for Happiness Diocesan Assembly!  You are invited to join thousands of faithful Catholics from across the diocese for the Saturday, September 22 Diocesan Assembly.  The day will include an outdoor Eucharistic Procession from St. Mary Cathedral in Lansing to the Breslin Center in East Lansing (9:00 to 11:30), the Assembly Gathering featuring inspiring speakers and music (1:00 to 4:30), and the All-Diocesan Mass (4:30 to 6:00). Throughout the day Assembly goers also will have access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and will be able to view a variety of religious displays.  The Assembly is for the whole family, with music, activities for kids, and free childcare.  Admission is FREE, but advance registration is required because space is limited! To register, go to madeforhappiness.org

 

From Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

“The happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist.  Only he gives the fulfillment of life to humanity!  With Mary, say your own ‘yes’ to God, for he wishes to give himself to you.”

 

 

 

Deacon Corner Bulletin, July 29 2018

The past 2 weeks we’ve been discussing the 8th Commandment which says “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” It’s all about speaking the truth.  But, sometimes speaking the truth can be hurtful.

Our Catechism teaches witnessing to the Gospel “is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known (CCC 2472).”  But witnessing the truth of the Gospel can be very difficult, even dangerous.  Many Christians have chosen martyrdom rather than reject the truth of God.  But what if speaking the truth can harm others?  What if giving my truthful opinion leads to hurt feelings, animosity, or break up a relationship?

Jesus showed us the pursuit of truth must include the virtue of charity.  That means speaking the truth in a humble and loving manner.  St Paul told the Christians in Ephesus to speak “the truth in love”- with sincerity, compassion, and understanding (Ephesians 4:15.)  We witness the truth in sincerity and love in 3 key ways:  by taking up a matter with someone privately with great delicacy and diplomacy; by simply acting in a manner consistent with our intentions (don’t say one thing and do another); and acting with sincerity and humility (be aware of our own faults when pointing out the faults of others.)  No matter how we speak the truth, we must make sure our own pride does not make us eager to point out the faults of others.

Our Catechism says charity and respect for truth should dictate our response to every request for information or communication.  That includes those times when we must not divulge the truth – like keeping a secret to protect someone or being held to a professional oath of confidentiality.   The Catechism says it’s OK to withhold the truth, or use discrete and evasive language to avoid it especially when the good and safety of others, respecting privacy, and the common good are involved.  No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who has evil intentions if the truth is known or has no right to know it (CCC 2489.)  St Raymond said in situations like this, if our conscience justifies lying to protect someone, then we may do so.  St. Augustine wrote that if our mind justifies a lie is the best answer to give in these situations, then we are not in violation of the 8th Commandment.  Of course, both would say for a very good reason.  An obvious good reason would be lying to the Nazi SS squads while hiding Jewish families in the attic during WW2.

We must always remember the Truth is Sacred; and Christ, who is the truth, expects us to testify to him by the truthfulness of our lives, our actions, and our words.  We do this by being His humble, sincere, faithful followers; always showing mercy and compassion for others.  In short, we do what Jesus would do; and treat others the way we would like to be treated.

Deacon John

Adapted from an “Introduction to Catholicism” by Father James Socias

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, July 29 2018

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

This coming week I will be taking some vacation for the next July 30-Aug 7th.  Providentially this is the exact same time frame Fr. Joe had planned for his retreat so we already had coverage for the August 4-5th weekend.  My twin brother, Fr. Gary, and I will be visiting a good friend and his family in Washington State for a few days.  Then I will be going to Connecticut to concelebrate at the Mass of a friend who is taking her final vows with the Sisters of Life.  It will be short time for going to the opposite ends of the country.

Last week I talked about Mary’s example.  This week I want to turn to the wisdom of the Sacred Heart.  For those who would like a brief history of Devotion to the Sacred Heart a concise account can be found here: http://www.catholicspirit.com/devotion-to-the-sacred-heart-of-jesus-a-brief-history/.

Jesus revealed this image of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary in a time period that had a very negative view of God.  Into this reality Jesus revealed this image of his heart surrounded by the crown of thorns and burning with love.  He said this to St. Margaret Mary: “My Heart is so full of love for men that It can no longer contain the flames of Its burning love. I must discover to men the treasures of My Heart and save them from perdition.”  Jesus later said to her- “Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love”.

The image of the Sacred Heart is one that should challenge our image of God.  Do we think of Jesus in this way- one who is close to us, with a Heart burning for love of us or do we think of Him in a way that is cold and distant?  Just like this image and its devotion brought healing to a world that needed it so this image can and should bring healing to us.  No matter where we are in our walk with the Lord we all need to realize anew that we are loved and from time to time just be loved.

The image of the Sacred Heart captures the reality of faith being an invitation by the Lord into a relationship with Him.  This is not something that can be forced, for love can never forced.  Love can only be offered and then either received or rejected.  Let us meditate on this image and pray again to receive His Heart and then reciprocate by entrusting our own hearts to Him.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Principal Anne Atkin, Bulletin July 29 2018

Why Summer Reading Pays Off Year-Round

Attention parents: even though summer is almost over, it’s not too late to help your child become a better reader before the new school year begins. Summer is an important time for students to keep reading and improve their language skills. If your child hasn’t been reading regularly this summer, they may be in danger of the “summer slide”—a decline in their reading ability.  However, this “summer slide” can be avoided by ensuring that children are as engaged as possible in whatever they choose to read—just as long as they’re reading every day.

The best ways to keep your child from becoming a “rusty reader” over the summer are:

  1. Encourage your children to read books they enjoy for at least 30 minutes per day. Your child will likely be more engrossed in material they choose themselves than material that is forced on them.
  2. Provide incentives for reluctant readers. For example, if your child enjoys basketball, agree to take them to the local court if they do their “daily reading.”
  3. Make reading a social act. Establish a time during the day when all members of the family gather and read on their own, or take turns reading the same book aloud.
  4. Connect your reading to family outings. If you take your kids to an aquarium, con sider reading a book about fish or the ocean with them later that day. The outing can help place the reading into a broader context.

There’s still time for kids to pick up a book this summer. Take your children to your local library or bookstore and let them pick out a book they’re going to love today. They will be better readers tomorrow for it. (Adapted from Ed.gov/Home Room Why summer reading pays off year round).

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, Principal

 

Fr. Todd Homily, July 22 2018

This week’s recording includes the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.  He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.”  People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.  So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.  People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.  They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.