Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

December 6, 2020 - 2nd Sunday of Advent

Next Sunday:  Third Sunday of Advent                    Fr. Tharp


Why did the live-streaming of the Wednesday evening Thanksgiving Mass fail?


On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I had announced that I would live stream the Thanksgiving anticipatory Mass at Sacred Heart starting at 7:00 p.m. that Wednesday.  Somehow the WIFI connector in the basement of the Church was turned off, and I did not know this until immediately before Mass.  For this reason, the signal to start the live-streaming never got to our youtube channel.  After Mass, I went downstairs (stood on a chair to reach it) and reset the WIFI connection.  I was so busy with other issues before Mass that I did not think to check the WIFI connection.  Thus the only Thanksgiving Mass which was live-streamed was the morning Thanksgiving Day Mass at St. Ann.  I apologize that I did not leave myself enough time to troubleshoot this before I started Mass. 


Season of Advent


The first half of the Advent season (until December 17) focuses our attention on the Second Coming of Christ.  That is why we call it “Advent” from the Latin preposition “ad” (meaning towards) and the verb “venio” (meaning to come).  From the 17th to the 24th we focus on preparing to celebrate the Birth of the Lord. 


Advent Reconciliation (Confession)


The St. Ann / Sacred Heart Pastoral Region typically has a communal penance service during Advent for those wishing to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Christmas.  Many of our priests who traditionally help with our penance services are older and very susceptible to COVID.  Also many who frequent the communal penance services are by age or medical condition also very susceptible to COVID.  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.  As we get closer to Christmas, I will try to expand times when I will hear confessions, but there will NOT be a communal penance service during Advent for our pastoral region. 


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 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.   I will give more specificity in the weeks to come.  I just wanted everyone to know we are “thinking ahead” so as to be prepared.


The Masses on Christmas Day will be at the same times as the regular Sunday Masses at both parishes.


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


Giving Tree


This year we will not have request cards and collect donated gifts as such, but we will be asking for donations of gift cards (which do not need to be sanitized as gifts would.)   See additional information elsewhere in this bulletin.


Reflection on Scripture: Second Sunday of Advent 


“He will baptize with the Holy Spirit!”   The word “baptismo” is Koine Greek for “washing.”   John’s washing was a baptism of repentance.  Jesus changes the ritual to mean the person has died to his (her) own self and is reborn in Christ.  Baptism washes away original sin and makes each of us living members of the Family of God; brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.  Obviously Jesus did not have sin.  He is the Son of God; the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  Rather, Jesus inaugurates his public ministry with his baptism, and invites everyone to the life giving waters of baptism.  The Holy Spirit is the giver of life.  He is the “ruah Elohim” (the breath of God) hovering over the chaotic waters at creation.  He is the “Breath of God” which opens the waters of the Red Sea for Israel.   And He is present to testify for Jesus at his baptism.  When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell with us at Baptism and Confirmation, we are ontologically changed and an indelible mark is made on our soul.  Henceforth and forever, this indelible mark says we belong to God. 


Next WeekThird Sunday of Advent     


Is 61:1-2a, 10-11

1 Thes 5:16-24

Jn 1:6-8, 19-28


Theme:   John testifies to the Light (Jesus)


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