Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

February 26, 2023 - First Sunday in Lent

Next Sunday:  Second Sunday in Lent                Celebrant :  Fr. Williams


Personal Lenten Devotions


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 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


I am reprinting these Lenten dietary rules one last time in case you missed them last week.


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 and 18, but promises all other envelopes for February, March, and April will be delivered by the post office in a timely fashion.  If they keep their promise, you will have received your envelopes by the time you read this.


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 20:  Sacred Heart is at 173% of goal with 13% participation.  I offer my sincere gratitude to each and every donor whose generosity has allowed Sacred Heart to achieve and exceed the Archdiocesan target.  Remember that a fifty (50%) percent of every dollar over goal returns to Sacred Heart. Also remember that any donation to CMA of any amount (no matter how small) increases our participation percentage.


St. Ann has not yet achieved its target, but is more than half way there at 61% of goal with 13% participation.   Remember that the Archdiocese looks both at the dollars pledged as well as the percentage of participation.  Even a very small gift lifts our participation numbers.  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 interviews and reviewing the top four of the seven applicants.  We are trying to be very thorough.



Beacons of Light Organizational Structure


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 about three years from now.  The reality is that priests my age (70 plus) have functional and canonical “expiration dates.”   “Beacons” is a 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.”  It is almost certain that this will become the reality by July 1, 2023.   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:


Temptation is not sin.  In his weakened state, Jesus (having spent forty days and nights in the desert) was tempted by Satan.  Jesus showed us that even though he was in the flesh, his divinity enabled him cast temptation aside like swatting a gnat.   But you say, “I am not divine.  How can I overcome temptation?”  Well, you can because you have God’s grace (in other words God’s power of life) in you because of the Sacraments. 


How does the Navy lift heavy objects from the depths of the ocean?  Is it done with a mechanical devise like a crane?  No, they inflate a balloon so the object is lifted effortlessly from the depths.  How does God protect us from sin?   God allows his life (his grace) to flow within us so we can be lifted by his grace and be freed from the depths of sin.  However, the balloon won’t work unless it is inflated.  Similarly we cannot be lifted from sin unless we allow ourselves to be filled with God’s grace.  God gives us that grace through the Sacraments.


NEXT WEEK   Second Sunday in Lent


Gn 12:1-4a

2 Tm 1:8b-10

Mt 17:1-9


Theme:  The Transfiguration



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