Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

January 1, 2023 - Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Next Sunday:  January 8, 2023 (Epiphany)                 Celebrant :  Fr. Williams


Disciple Maker Index


With the approval of both the St. Ann and Sacred Heart Parish Councils and with the strong recommendation of the Archdiocesan Beacons of Light leadership, we will be participating in a parish-wide survey about discipleship conducted by the Catholic Leadership Institute, a non-profit Catholic apostolate that does leadership training and development.  The results of this survey will become a major resource of parishioner opinion and data for the forward migration of discussions as to how we assimilate two parishes into one “Family” still utilizing two church buildings and two schools, but sharing the same pastoral vision and goals.   From my perspective, it is a priority that the unique intangible treasure of each parish not be lost in some attempt at homogenization.  We must not squander the uniqueness of each community, but lift it up as important in the new whole.  However, accomplishing this task will require each nuclear family in both parishes to embrace and articulate the components that will form the essence of the new whole.


 I am therefore imploring (begging) each family in St. Ann and each family in Sacred Heart to complete a 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.  It will be available online and in paper format with more instructions to follow.  All responses will be confidential and the parish will only receive information about the community as whole.


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 everyone in their discipleship journey.  Additional details are in this bulletin.


Archbishop to Host a Six Week Video Series on the Eucharist


Archbishop Schnurr will host a six week video study available to the public starting Sunday, January 8 and concluding Sunday, February 12.  You may sign up anytime now before the New Year begins by going to CatholicAOC.org/theMass.   Promotion and sign-up for these video studies will take place during December.  This will provide a wonderful opportunity for families and individuals to come to more fully understand the Church’s teaching on transubstantiation (aka the Real Presence). 


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


Parish Councils at both St. Ann and Sacred Heart have authorized a job posting for the position of Director of Evangelization.  The following is the official “job posting” for the paid employee position of “Director of Evangelization.”  Cut off for receiving applications will be 11:59 p.m. Monday, January 2, 2023.  At the time this is written, we have four applicants to consider.




The Family of Parishes currently known as “The Sacred Heart, Fairfield / St. Ann, Hamilton Family of Parishes” is seeking a Director of Evangelization.  The Director of Evangelization is responsible for supervising and managing the Evangelization Team at Sacred Heart / St. Ann Family of Parishes.  The Evangelization Team includes but is not limited to the Associate Directors for Infant Baptism, RCIA / RCIC, First Reconciliation, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Adult Education, Mission Commission, Bereavement Ministry, Small Faith Communities and Discussion Groups, Ministry to the Hearing Impaired, Senior Ministry; coordination of efforts of parish organizations (such as “Woman of Faith, Women Together, Rosary Society, Foot Ministry, Pro Life Ministry, Mom’s with Babes Ministry”); as well as Catholic organizations not under the direct control of the pastor such as “Knights of Columbus Roettele Council 8115, Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree, Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary” as well as other groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, etc.  The Evangelization Team is responsible for all efforts of accompanying youth, adults, and families throughout the Process of Evangelization so that the parish is creating missionary disciples.  The Director of Evangelization must be able under the authority of the Pastor to articulate and implement a clear vision / mission for Evangelization of parents, youth, staff, and parishioners.


Strongly prefer a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry, Religious Studies, Theology, Religious Education, or related field, or commensurate ministry experience.  Must have spiritual maturity, defined as a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church who is faithful to the Magisterium, consistent in ones prayer life, regularly receiving the sacraments, and able to speak of one’s relationship with Jesus.  Must have a broad understanding of and ability to articulate Church teaching regarding evangelization, catechesis, prayer, sacraments, and ecclesiology.  Must have experience mentoring and accompanying adults at different stages of the discipleship path.  Must be able to pray in front of and with others, to lead and participate in spontaneous prayer.  Must be able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people, using the spoken word, both within one-on-one coaching/apprenticing situations and in large group settings.  As is always the case in a working team setting, the person must possess and exhibit a cooperative, consultative, consolatory approach in all personal interactions.


Anyone wishing to apply by U.S. Mail or E-mail, please send resume to the Office of the Pastor:


Father Larry R. Tharp

Sacred Heart / St. Ann Families

400 Nilles Road

Fairfield, Ohio  45014

[email protected]


Remember:  The suggested structure under the Beacons initiative recommends three key “lay” positions in every “Family” structure directly responsible to the pastor.  These include the aforementioned Director of Evangelization, a Director of Administration, and a Director of Worship.  It is my intention to expand to a fourth ”Director” position working closely with the Director of Administration, but will function as Director of Real Estate and Physical Assets.   I believe three of the four “Director positions” can be filled by promotion from within.  I believe that the Director of Evangelization will need to be hired through a thorough “search” and open-listed employment process.  


For a Family of Parishes having one or more parochial schools, a process is being designed by the Archdiocesan School Office to assist each new “Family of Parishes” with procedures and processes designed to help the parishioners of the Family to discern organizational structures that will best suit the ongoing educational needs of all as individual students and as parish youth in general.  Each situation will be unique and will require “thinking outside the box.”   


Eucharistic Display created by Blessed Carlo Acutis


The Women of Faith group is sponsoring Eucharistic Miracle posters created by Blessed Carlo Acutis, who died of Leukemia at age 15, but had created a website displaying these accumulated Eucharistic miracles from throughout the world.  There is little doubt that when canonized, he will almost certainly become the patron of the internet and social media.  Remember that the three stages or “cause of sainthood”  to having one’s name placed on the “list” or “canon” of Saints in Rome starts with the title “Venerable, “ moves to the title “Blessed, ” and then after miraculous interventions is verified by the Holy See, the pope may name the person to the “list” or “canon” of titled “Saint.” 


To encourage especially the young to take note of these posters, the Women together have created a raffle for those who take note of each poster throughout the next year. 


Re-introduction of Precious Blood at Communion


We believe we have distributors lined up for two cups at all three Sunday morning Masses at Sacred Heart.  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:


Theotokos is Koine Greek meaning “God bearer.”  The early church used this word for the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She bore the Son of God, Jesus Christ in her womb.  Some at the time complained, “Don’t call her “God Bearer, rather call her Christ Bearer.”  She bore the physical human Jesus into the world.  But remember that Jesus is defined as the Hypostatic Union; fully Divine and fully human.  Therefore, a human female virgin known as Mary, bore the fully Divine and fully human being into time and space.  Thus in English, Theotokos is rendered “Mother of God.” 


But remember that Mary is a human being just like us.  She is NOT a demigod.   Yes God kept her safe from the taint of sin in her Immaculate Conception.  Yes God allowed her to conceive and bear the Immanuel in the Annunciation.  Yes God allowed her Assumption into Heaven at the moment of her death.  But does the title mean that God, the omnipotent almighty God, lowered himself to come into time and space?  In the Kenosis passage St. Paul says Jesus emptied himself.  But how can God empty himself of being God.  Isn’t humanity rather “lifted up” by God becoming incarnate?  The “emptying” becomes God sharing his Divinity so as to raise us up to immortality.  Jesus brings the emptying to fulfillment on the cross.  He brings the “lifting up” to fulfillment in the Resurrection on Easter morning.  By his emptying, Jesus lifts us up.


Some in other traditions of Christianity go a bit crazy when they hear “Mary, the Mother of God.”  Don’t be put off by the term.  Rather allow it to explain how through Mary, we have been eternally lifted up by the power of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


NEXT WEEK  Epiphany 


Is 60:1-6

Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6

Mt 2:1-12


Theme: The life changing enlightenment of an epiphany!


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