Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

January 7, 2024 - The Epiphany of the Lord

Next Sunday:  The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time           Celebrant:  Fr. Tharp     


Declaration from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith


The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith recently published the declaration Fiducia Supplicans on the pastoral meaning of blessings.   The media (in my opinion) deceivingly reported this as “Pope allows for blessing of same-sex marriages.”   The following is paragraph 39 of the referenced declaration:  “39. In any case, precisely to avoid any form of confusion or scandal, when the prayer of blessing is requested by a couple in an irregular situation, even though it is expressed outside the rites prescribed by the liturgical books, this blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them. Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.  The same applies when the blessing is requested by a same-sex couple.  


Clearly the Dicastery has NOT legitimized “marriage” or for that matter “a marriage ceremony” for couples in canonically irregular situations in general; or for same-sex couples in particular.  The Holy Father has simply permitted for pastoral reasons, non-liturgical prayers for and private prayer blessings of persons whose situation renders them canonically constrained.


So when you hear broadcasts stating that the Catholic Church is now doing same-sex marriages, be assured that this is not accurate. 


Beacons of Light Phase Two


 As we move into January, St. Ann and Sacred Heart will be conducting meetings and discussion sessions regarding the process for “visioning for the future.”   The more people who contribute to the collective brainstorming the better!     Check the bulletin for opportunities as they are announced. 




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


Barring the unforeseen, Saturday evening Mass at Sacred Heart and Sunday morning at St. Ann will be live streamed each week.


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:


This year, the Epiphany of the Lord falls on January 7, 2024; and the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated the next day Monday, January 8, 2024.  As you can see, Sunday, January 14 then becomes the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The liturgical Christmas Season officially ends with the Baptism of the Lord. 


Easter 2024 (March 31) for western Christians is always calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon (March 25) after the spring (vernal) equinox which is March 20 (or March 19 depending on time zone).  Ash Wednesday is February 14!  To top it off, this year is “leap year” and so there is a February 29th in 2024 calendar. 


The Christmas Season seems to have come and gone so quickly.  In celebrating Epiphany, we realize that the beginning of Lent is only 37 days away.   So with all this being compressed into about a hectic six week period, why is Epiphany a big deal? 


Epiphany celebrates the coming of the Magi to see the newborn Jesus; recognizing him as the King of the Jews and the long awaited Messiah.  The Magi represent to whole world.   The Savior of the World Jesus Christ is the one reality that can melt away all divisions and all that separates us from one another.  Jesus Christ allows us to express our unity as humanity without arbitrarily imposed uniformity.  On the Feast of the Epiphany, the Holy Spirit allows us to identify ourselves as one of many individual souls made in the image and likeness of God. 


Do we see ourselves as nothing more than one of the “herd of humanity?”   Just being one of the herd gives us no identity.  Identify yourself as an immortal soul, created by God, baptized and reborn in Jesus Christ, and destined for eternal life in him.  The magi recognized an infant as the Savior of the World, the King of Kings.  Look into the mirror of your soul and see an inimitable and unique reflection of God.  That is the epiphany our world so desperately needs today.


NEXT SUNDAY  The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19

1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20

Jh 1:35-42



Theme: The call of Simon Peter










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