Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

February 21, 2021 - First Sunday of Lent

Next Sunday:  Second Sunday of Lent                       Fr. Schmitz


Personal Lenten Devotions


Sometimes people like to “give up” something as a self-imposed penance during Lent.  It is also possible to “do something” as a Lenten practice.  I will have Stations of the Cross and Benediction (with all proper social distancing) 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.  (Palm Sunday excluded)


Dietary Rules of Lent


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. 


CMA 2021


The Archdiocese of Cincinnati asks every parish to do its part to fund essential programs and services in the Archdiocese that are beyond the capacity of any individual parish or pastoral region, but can be funded if all the parishes pool their resources and provide the services on a diocesan-wide basis.  The “fair share” target that has been set by the Archdiocese for St. Ann is $21,210.  As of the date this article was submitted for printing, St. Ann has achieved 24% of target, but with less than 1% of parishioners donating.     


Please prayerfully reflect on the mailed materials which you should have already received in the mail.    Please consider your commitment.   If you did not receive the mailing from the Archbishop, there will be plenty of additional pledge cards and envelopes available at the church doors. 


Moral implications of COVID-19 Vaccines


Some have accused the Catholic Church of moral duplicity in its teaching regarding abortion and the use of fetal cells harvested from aborted babies in the development and testing of vaccines like the COVID-19 vaccine.  The USCCB website cited below reports the following:  One of the three pharmaceutical companies making the vaccine apparently did use a compromised cell line in design, development or production, but it would seem that the other two did not.  Later confirmatory tests applied to this vaccine manufactured by the three companies may have used the compromised HEK293 cell line.


The entire document is available on the website at:


The following statement from page 5 of the referenced document seems to sum up the advice of the USCCB regarding the moral issue associated with the vaccines.  It reads,  “In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines.”


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:


Reflection on Scripture: First Sunday of Lent


Of the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke) Mark predates the other two.  Mark is very efficient with words in explaining that Jesus was tempted in the desert.  In chapter 9 of the Book of Genesis, God explains to Noah that the rainbow is the sign that henceforth God will not destroy every living thing with water.  But I thought I remembered from science class that rain mist serves as a prism dividing the wavelengths of sunlight and thus segments the variant wavelengths of sunlight into their component colors.  If science is correct, why does this story exist in Sacred Scripture? 


When you think of the stories in Genesis, it is important to know where they originated.  I ask you to imagine a grandfather in Biblical times sitting outside his tent and building a fire before nightfall.  His grandchildren arrive to hear a story.  One child says, ”Grandpa! I saw a rainbow today.  Why are there rainbows?”  Now tell me, if you were the grandfather, would you seek to explain the color wavelengths of light scientifically or would you use the event to teach a moral lesson to your grandchildren?   Science teaches “How” while morality teaches “Why.”   The explanation of “how” a prism works may be easily forgotten.  The poetic story in Genesis as to “why”  rainbows exist will be remembered for a lifetime. 


Genesis and the whole Torah (Pentateuch) teaches “why” through the vehicle of story.  Since these stories originated before the written word, story was the only way to preserve history and moral understanding from one generation to another.  Did God create color wavelengths with this story in mind; or did the grandfather create the story to show us the magnificence God’s morality and purposefulness in all creation? 


Next WeekSecond Sunday of Lent


Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18

Rom 8:31b-34

Mk 9:2-10


Theme:  Transfiguration 


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