Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

December 3, 2023 - First Sunday of Advent

Next Sunday:  Second Sunday of Advent     Celebrant:  Fr. Tharp         


Feast of the Immaculate Conception


This coming Friday is December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Holyday of Obligation.  The obligation cannot be released (even though it is a Friday) due to the fact that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the patronal feast for our nation.  Therefore, we will have the regular “Holyday” Mass schedule for Friday, December 8.  On Thursday, December 7 we will have 5:30 Mass at St. Ann and 7:00 p.m. Mass at Sacred Heart.  On Friday, December 8, we will have 6:30 a.m. at St. Ann, 7:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart, 8:15 a.m. School Mass at Sacred Heart (limited access only through the school) 10:00 a.m. school Mass at St. Ann (limited access) and 7:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart. 




Advent is constituted by the four consecutive Sundays prior to Christmas.  It could theoretically be twenty eight (28) days long if Christmas falls on a Sunday (as it did last year)!  However, since Christmas falls on a Monday this year, Advent is 22 days long (the shortest Advent possible).  We will celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent on the morning of Sunday, December 24, and begin the celebration of Christmas Masses that afternoon at 3:00 p.m.   I realize that asking Catholic people to celebrate two major feast days (the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas) within the course of 57 consecutive hours seems a bit much; this is precisely what the calendar requires us to do this year. 


Advent Communal Penance Service


Remember that the communal Advent Penance Service for the Family of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (the new name for “St. Ann and Sacred Heart Family”) will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart on Wednesday, December 6, at 7:00 p.m.  There will be multiple priests hearing confessions. 


Beacons of Light  Phase Two


We have moved into Phase Two which is “Visioning.”  We will endeavor to discern goals and create teams.  We will explore opportunities for the parish to reach out in faith into a broader scope of our communities.  We intend to pinpoint the purposes for our stewardship efforts and consider new ways to structure into cost centers which could pinpoint purpose and enhance revenue sources.  We will marginalize the maintenance of the impractical and highlight the opportunities for purposeful expansion.  We will seek to redefine the pathway and reaffirm priorities.  All this must be done is the context of practicality and feasibility.  We will look for opportunities to expand, not just maintain.   Discussion sessions for groups and the general parish population are planned to begin in earnest after the Holidays. 




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


Barring the unforeseen, Saturday evening Mass at Sacred Heart and Sunday morning at St. Ann will be live streamed each week.


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:


Today’s scripture encourages us to be “alert.”  This is not the same as being on edge.  The old adage says a “watched pot never boils.”   What is the meaning of the adage?  I contend it reminds us that being on edge is not a prudent way to wait.  Rather, I contend that being alert to all that is going on around us while we conduct business as usual is creative waiting and constitutes being watchful and alert.  A mother with a small child may be immersed in cooking for her family, but she is also alert and listening for a cry or signal from her small infant revealing something amiss.  As St. Paul tells the Thessalonians in his second letter to them, you do not need to stop living and working as you await the Second Coming!  You simply need to be alert to recognize the realities.


As we live out the last month of calendar year 2023, most would admit that we live in perilous times.  The threat of another “world war” seems more plausible than it has been in the last seventy years.  We are constantly bombarded with advice from experts who NEVER mention prayer or God in any advice.  The powers that be say there is much that divides us, but then only seek to engender suspicion between arbitrary groupings of people herded into opinion camps between which conversation and mutual respect are defined by them as anathema.  Today’s scripture advises us to take care of our normal duties and obligations, but live alert, not to the prognostications of the media, but to the Word of God.  The only plan for survival that will work is God’s plan.  God’s plan is not devised by “opinion polls” or dependent upon the newest psychological or sociological paradigm.  Be alert to the future as if you had a direct line to God.  You do!


NEXT WEEK   Second Sunday of Advent


Is 40:1-5, 9-11

2 Pt 3:8-14

Mk 1:1-8



Theme: John the Baptist





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