Next Sunday: Fourth Sunday of Advent Fr. Schmitz
Christmas Schedule for St. Ann and Sacred Heart
Fr. Tharp will celebrate all Masses on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve Masses:
Sacred Heart: 3:00 p.m.
St. Ann: 5:00 p.m.
Sacred Heart: 7:00 p.m.
St. Ann: 10:00 a.m.
Sacred Heart: 12:00 a.m. (Midnight)
Fr. Tharp will celebrate the three (Sunday Schedule) Christmas Day Masses at Sacred Heart. Fr. Schmitz will celebrate the two Christmas Morning Masses at St. Ann. Please note that there is no “Midnight Mass” at St. Ann.
Advent Reconciliation (Confession)
It would be virtually impossible to have a traditional Advent Penance Service (with multiple priests hearing confessions) available and still follow the COVID preventive measures still incumbent on public gatherings. How could we ever respect the seal of confession and still have the priest and penitent close enough to keep their voices confidential. The Archdiocese has made it clear that we are NOT to do general absolution. For these reasons, I will continue during Advent to have regular confessions at Sacred Heart on Saturday mornings (8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.) and regular confessions at St. Ann on Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. I also hear confessions before Masses on the Sunday mornings I am at St. Ann.
During the week before Christmas, I will hear regular Tuesday (December 22) evening confessions at St. Ann from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. or until all are heard. On Wednesday, December 23, I will hear confessions at Sacred Heart from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. or until all are heard.
When I hear individual confessions, I will still require that you go behind the screen (not face to face), that you wear a mask as I will, and that you socially distance in any line formed outside the confessional.
Plan for Celebrating a COVID Christmas
Remember that the Bishops of Ohio have extended the suspension of (the precept) duty to attend Sunday Mass or Holyday Mass until at least 2021. Therefore, no one is obligated to attend Mass this year on Christmas.
Since it appears that this Christmas, we will still have COVID inspired reduced capacity seating and standing room in both St. Ann and Sacred Heart churches, we are planning to live stream the A/V feed from the Christmas Eve Masses in Church through our youtube page. For the 3:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart, we plan to also set up Fellowship Hall so as to use the projector and smart TV for overflow attendants in Fellowship Hall. When and if this is also full, the remainder of the overflow crowd both at Sacred Heart and later at 5:00 p.m. at St. Ann (because the church is full) will be directed to stay in their cars in the parking lot and watch the live stream on their personal cell phone or pad. After the main crowd leaves, then those in their cars will form a line to receive communion in the Narthex or Vestibule. I had asked for permission to also distribute Communion at other times at both churches outside of Mass, but I have been told by the Archdiocese that it is not permitted. Using every permissible means, I hope to accommodate the needs of as many as possible for Christmas.
We do not anticipate overflow crowds at St. Ann or Sacred Heart on Christmas Day. If this would happen on Christmas Day at Sacred Heart, I will immediately set up to live stream and deliver communion to the overflow from the parking lot after Mass in the Narthex. Similarly, St. Ann overflow (should this occur on Christmas Day at St. Ann) could watch an earlier Mass from St. Ann on Youtube while sitting in their car in the parking lot and then come into Church for communion at communion time.
The Masses on Christmas Day will be at the same times as the regular Sunday Masses at both parishes.
Important Note: If you end up watching Mass in the parking lot at either church, it is imperative that you NOT tap into the church WIFI, while watching the Mass on your phone or pad! The experts tell us that this would CRASH our WIFI and then no one anywhere could see us! This is the “Achilles Heel” of the whole attempt to provide Mass for everyone!!! While we are live streaming at ether of the two parishes, it is imperative that no one use the church WIFI during live streaming. This would be a catastrophe.
Communion on the Tongue
Please remember as I stated in recent articles, until the threat of COVID is over; if you wish to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, you must come to me (Fr. Tharp) ONLY and you must be sure you are at the end of my line. Please do not present yourselves to Fr. Schmitz or any of the Lay Eucharistic Ministers for communion on the tongue! If on Sundays, you see that I am going to be at St. Ann, then you must come to St. Ann that Sunday if you want to receive ONLY on the tongue. I am not willing to ask Fr. Schmitz or any of the Lay Eucharistic Ministers to take a risk with which they are uncomfortable. Be assured, I will follow all the protocols necessary to administer on the tongue safely.
Live Streaming a precept Mass from St. Ann and Sacred Heart each week
Please remember to access the Sacred Heart / St. Ann Pastoral Region youtube site by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVLLqbEY5hKWinwz069MVcg
Reflection on Scripture: Third Sunday of Advent
Gaudate! Rejoice! As we light the pink candle, we are half way through the Season of Advent. To this point, our focus has been on the Second Coming of the Lord. On Thursday, December 17, we move to Late Advent when we focus on the Birthday of the Lord. But for today, we sit back and say, “We are half way there.”
In today’s gospel selection, John the Baptism is grilled by the Pharisees as to why he is acting like a “messiah” would act; when he says he is not the one. John explains that he is analogous to the pick-up truck with a large sigh driving down the road in the front of the eighteen wheeler truck carrying a “wide load.” The pick-up truck is not the wide load, but it is coming “on his heels.” We go out into the world and announce by our lives that the Second Coming of Jesus is coming. It would be a good idea to get ready.
If you have ever been boating on the Ohio River; you may be leaning back and enjoying yourself, but you are always alert and watching for a dreaded barge. The wake from a barge can easily capsize a small boat. Also, the barge can’t stop! Since the barge weighs hundreds of thousands of pounds and your boat weighs maybe one hundred, the reasonable course of action (dictated by the laws of inertia) is clear. When the warning is sounded that a barge is coming, it is time to stop skiing, fishing, or sunbathing and head for safety. Similarly, when the Lord assures us that he will return when we least expect; it is prudent to take him at his word and be prepared at all times. When it comes to living your life in preparedness for the Second Coming, the old adage is very true; “If you snooze, you lose.”
Next Week: Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Theme: The Annunciation