Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

April 17, 2022 - EASTER SUNDAY

Next Sunday:  Divine Mercy Sunday                            Celebrant :  Fr. Tharp

Next Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday


As we have done in past years, Sacred Heart and St. Ann Pastoral Region will celebrate by praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on Sunday, April 24.  Because we have First Communion for the Children of St. Ann at 2:00 p.m., we will pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 4:00 p.m.   (In the past, it has been at 3:00 p.m.)  


Also please note that I will move the regularly scheduled 1:30 Baptism Mass at Sacred Heart that Sunday to take place during the 12:00 p.m. Mass at Sacred Heart.  This will require me to go back and forth from church to church a few times that day, but this should not be a problem.


Re-introduction of Precious Blood at Communion


We have been informed by the Archdiocese that we may (at the pastor’s discretion) re-introduce communion under both species at Masses any time after Divine Mercy Sunday.  Some parishioners have greeted this announce with applause.  Some see it as a terrible mistake.  As pastor, my major concern is whether we have adequate Eucharistic Ministers available at each Mass to distribute the cup?  Recall that returning to the practice (pre-COVID) requires the Eucharistic minister to finish the precious blood in his or her cup before returning it to the Altar.  My coordinators at St. Ann and Sacred Heart respectively have surveyed the comfort level of their Eucharistic ministers respectively and determined that initially we may only have enough lay distributors willing to do this to satisfy one precept Mass per Sunday.  Since the rules of how distribution is to take place (the Catholic liturgical norms) cannot be altered, I will attempt to seek out more Eucharistic lay volunteers who will be comfortable filling this role.  We will begin re-introduction with only two cups available at either church, at only those Masses where we are assured before the Mass that both species can be reasonably offered. 


As soon as possible, I will attempt to publish those precept Masses at which both species can be staffed.  The Archdiocesan liturgists have strongly recommended the re-introduction of this option at every Mass.  It may take some time to train additional Eucharistic ministers willing to consume the remainder of the precious blood in the cup before the practice is fully restored at every Mass.  Please bear with me!


Beacons of Light


As we move into the Easter Season, we draw closer to the official July 1, 2022 beginning of “Phase One” of the Beacons of Light program.  The title of my assignment as pastor will change from “Pastor of the St. Ann/Sacred Heart Pastoral Region” to “Pastor of the St. Ann / Sacred Heart FAMILY OF PARISHES!”   Throughout phase one the Mass times will remain the same, the schools will continue to operate the same, and everything we are currently doing now will remain the same for the time being.  What will change is how we plan for the future.  The Beacons process is unflinchingly committed to the “principle of subsidiarity.”  The only “top down” decision that has been made by the Archbishop is that, since St. Ann and Sacred Heart have worked well together as a “Pastoral Region” for the past ten years; from now on the parishes will begin the process of determining how (for the long term future) one priest will be able to serve the needs of both worshipping communities as “one family.”  THESE DECISIONS WILL NOT BE MADE BY THE ARCHBISHOP OR BY ME!  The decisions will be made by the parishioners who make up the FAMILY.   The process to be announced July 1, 2022 calls for the establishment of “layers of consultation” ranging from existing committees and boards from both parishes, moving up to divisional consultative committees and ultimately up to the leadership committee made up of members from both worshipping communities.  In other words, this is going to be a lot of work. 


The principal of subsidiarity requires that every parishioner voice be heard; from athletics, to the rosary altar society, to buildings and grounds, festival, worship, etc.  Parishioner concerns are legitimized by the very fact that you have a vested interest as a “parishioner.”  Everyone in a “Family” has to have a voice.  A “Family” the does not exhibit “charitable consensus” as its modus operandi will not survive.   


All this means that we will begin (perhaps before July 1) to hold listening sessions (just like we did for the Synod on Sodality) allowing people to express ideas, preferences, concerns, feelings, and anything else that will provide a context for the remainder of the consultative process.  In planning for the future, we do not want to leave out any steps.  Many Families may not see significant change or movement for three, four, or five years.  But remember that although there are “phases” of the process, the timeline of the phases is entirely up to the parishioners.  To use a car analogy (which you know I frequently use in homilies) the parishioners (through a defined consultative process) will make the decisions that drive the car.  I will serve as the mechanic who tries to keep it all operating throughout the process. 


So tighten your belts, put your work gloves on, dawn your hard hat, and be prepared to engage in the renovation process of taking two fiscally solvent, ministerially complete parishes with schools, and make them into a functional family whose needs can be met for the long term by one priest.  But it will only work if everyone participates, and if all of us set our minds to the task.  With the Holy Spirit helping us, we cannot fail.  Without the Holy Spirit, we are all doomed anyway.


Be alert and plan to participate in the upcoming listening sessions.  And please, keep us in your prayers. 




I keep running this article because there are new scams everyday


Remember I NEVER solicit funds, donations, favors, or any request of any kind over the telephone, text, email, carrier pigeon, drone, etc.   NEVER!  Do not allow yourself to be taken in by scammers.  Even if they have my recorded voice, be assured it is computer generated fake!  It is not me!!!  


Reminder for volunteers who work with or around children


Please be aware that failure to register with and complete the requirements of Safe Parish will result in your inability to continue to work with or around children in any parish and/or school setting.  We have been informed by the Archdiocese that there can be NO EXCEPTIONS.


Live Streaming for Precept Masses

Please remember to access the Sacred Heart / St. Ann Pastoral Region You Tube site by clicking on the following link:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVLLqbEY5hKWinwz069MVcg

Reflection on Scripture:

The celebration of the “Resurrection of the Lord” (aka: Easter) transcends religion and nature.  It transcends culture and science.  It is intellectually and conceptually a complete paradigm change!  It conforms to the natural forces of Spring.  The traditional Easter parade in New York ushers in a new summer season.   Philosophically, Easter changes our ontological and epistemological understandings of perceived and reasoned existence.  (Rationalism and Empiricism)   It is at once the greatest event in human history and the culmination of all theological endeavors.  Easter changes our very concept of existence, space, and time.

Jesus Christ shows us our destiny.  Our fate is not renovation, restoration, or reanimation.  Our promised fate is “resurrection” beyond the boundaries of space and time as we know them.  In his resurrected body, Jesus was both tangible enough to eat a piece of fish and yet at the same time to walk through walls and locked doors.  He was not wowing the disciples with holographic trickery or virtual reality.  He was showing us our destiny in an entirely new way of spiritual existence.  Resurrection is beyond human comprehension except in Jesus Christ. 

NEXT WEEK (Divine Mercy Sunday)


Acts 5:12-16

Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19

Jn 20:19-31


Theme: Doubting Thomas






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