Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

February 19, 2023 - Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Next Sunday:  First Sunday in Lent                Celebrant :  Fr. Tharp


Personal Lenten Devotions


Ash Wednesday is February 22, 2023.  Sometimes people like to “give up” something as a self-imposed penance during Lent. It is also possible to “do something special” as a Lenten practice. I will have Stations of the Cross and Benediction at St. Ann on the Friday evenings of Lent at 7:00 p.m. (Good Friday of Holy Week is different) and Stations of the Cross during Lent on Sunday Afternoons at Sacred Heart at 3:00 p.m. (No stations on Palm Sunday)


Dietary Rules of Lent


Rules of Fasting and Abstinence are not intended to do any harm. They are designed to

make us aware of “why” we are fasting or abstaining. The self-deprivation reminds us

that Jesus died on the cross for us. Our act of penance reminds us of who we are and why

we do what we do. During Lent, Catholics are asked to abstain from meat on Ash

Wednesday and the Fridays during Lent, and fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Abstinence simply means “abstaining from meat.” The flesh of mammals and birds

(essentially any animal that is warm blooded) is considered meat. The flesh of reptiles,

fish (cold blooded), bird “eggs” and cheese are not considered meat. The chicken itself is

warm blooded and thus is considered meat. Anyone fourteen years of age or older who

will not be physically harmed by the diet is asked to abstain from meat on Ash

Wednesday and the Fridays during Lent.


We define fasting for Lenten purposes as meaning eating only one regular meal and two

smaller meals or snacks, with no eating between meals. Fasting only applies on Ash

Wednesday and Good Friday and then only to those between the ages of 18 and 59 who

have no medical problem aggravated by the practice.


Sunday Donation Envelopes


The company that prints and mails your donation envelopes to you has been unable to produce the envelopes for February 12, but promises all other envelopes for February, March, and April will be mailed to you in a timely fashion.  If they keep their promise


If the company fails to meet its promise and you have not received your envelopes through the mail, please write your envelope number in the advice section of your check to aid recording in the parish office.  Free envelopes are available in the vestibule for Sunday Donations. 


CMA: Catholic Ministries  Appeal 2023


As of Monday, February 13:  Sacred Heart is at 65% of goal but with only 4% participation.  St. Ann is at 50% of goal but with only 7% participation.  Obviously it is still early in the drive but remember you can boost our participation numbers with any small gift to the CMA.  We have plenty of extra cards and envelopes available at both parishes.  Please help us show the rest of the Archdiocese that the Family of St. Ann/Sacred Heart does its part for the ministries funded by the CMA.


Disciple Maker Index


 I am imploring each adult in St. Ann and each adult in Sacred Heart to complete the 10-15 minute survey.  The survey will only be available from January 21- February 27 and will ask you to reflect on your own spiritual growth and enable you to provide feedback on what our parish is doing (or not doing) to help you grow spiritually.  The survey is available online and in paper format.  All responses will be confidential and the parish will only receive information about the community as whole. The “internet link” to the survey is https://portal.catholicleaders.org/d/y8c99y.  You can type this into your browser, scan the QR Code, or use one the paper copies available at the church doors.


The survey results will be invaluable to me as pastor and to every parishioner committee member working on this project as we seek ways to best support each parishioner in their discipleship journey.  Additional details are elsewhere in this bulletin.


Director of Evangelization for the St. Ann/Sacred Heart Family


A search committee of nine (two are St. Ann staff, two others are St. Ann parishioners, two are Sacred Heart parishioners, two are Sacred Heart staff, and one is staff to both parishes) are joining me in conducting continuing interviews of the top four of the seven applicants.  We are trying to be very thorough in the interview process. 


The recommended Beacons of Light organizational structure requires a Family of Parishes to have a Director of Evangelization, a Director of Worship, and a Director of Administration.  The structure I envision will also include a Director of Real Estate and Physical Assets. (This is due to the reality that our Family needs both churches to accommodate our Sunday attendance, and both schools to accommodate our existing and anticipated students.)    Together with the two principals, all four directors will serve as an extension of the pastor in their specific areas of expertise.  “Beacons” foresees an environment not simply focused on maintaining what is, but directed to outreach, evangelization, and growth. 


The symmetry of all this organizational structure is not based on the clerical model I, and most priests of my age, have grown up with!  Rather it operates on a model of assumed delegation, so that the younger priest who replaces me when I retire will feel comfortable assuming the role of pastor in an organizational model normative throughout the Archdiocese.  In other words, my oversight in this process is to establish a manner of operation designed not for me personally, but for my successors in the long term future.  The reality is that priests my age (70 plus) have functional and canonical “expiration dates.”   Beacons is creative structuring for where we are going; not for where we have been.   


Review of Mass Schedules


There are “five Phases” of the implementation of Beacons of Light.  Family C-4 (comprised of Sacred Heart and St. Ann) has been designated a “one priest/pastor region.”   This means that there is no assisting priest envisioned.  In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati no one priest is canonically permitted to celebrate more than three Masses on any one day.   At present we have two Sunday morning precept Masses at St. Ann and three Sunday morning precept Masses at Sacred Heart.  Five Masses may not be celebrated by any one priest.  Also every precept Mass at any parish must adhere to “space utilization requirements.”  We have a declining Sunday attendance based on St. Ann and Sacred Heart’s October Count numbers.  At least three of the five existing Sunday Masses are not well enough attended to meet these utilization requirements. 

After we have the data from the survey currently taking place, we will empanel an ad hoc utilization committee representing St. Ann and Sacred Heart in order to study, discuss, and reconcile our Sunday numbers with Archdiocesan utilization requirements.   In the meantime, please remind parishioners that their presence each week at either St. Ann or Sacred Heart will result in a tremendous impact on the recommendations that the ad hoc committee will be required to bring to the Archdiocese.    

Re-introduction of Precious Blood at Communion


I may have been too quick to announce that we have distributors lined up for two cups at “all three Sunday morning Masses at Sacred Heart.”  So far we have not been able to schedule cups for the 8:00 a.m.  We will keep trying.


For the time being we only have distributors for the cup at the 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Ann.  Again, we can only do this to the degree we have enough Eucharistic ministers willing to do cups at the various precept Masses. 




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:


In Deuteronomy and Romans we are told that vengeance belongs to God not man.     In today’s reading from Leviticus we hear, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.”  The teaching is clear.  Christians are not to act out of revenge.  Why? Well, we are all victims of sin!  We are all sinners.  To put it colloquially; we are all in the same boat.   One sinner taking revenge on another sinner is a bit like the cat who bites his own tail.  Remember that in another gospel selection, Jesus saves the woman caught in sin by saying that “he who is without sin can throw the first stone.”   


Taking vengeance is like throwing kerosene on a fire to put it out.  It only feeds the fire and spreads it.  God’s justice is mercy.  We participate in the justice of God only when we practice the same forgiveness he does.  Mercy is the water that puts out the fire. 


NEXT WEEK   First Sunday in Lent


Gn 2:7-9, 3:1-7

Rom 5:12-19

Mt 4:1-11


Theme:  We ask for God’s Grace to overcome temptation 




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