Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

June 25, 2023 - Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Next Sunday:  Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time            Celebrant :  Fr. Tharp

The New Sunday Mass Schedule begins next Sunday


Precept Masses on Sunday Morning for the Parish Family of St. Ann / Sacred Heart are 8:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart, 9:30 a.m. at St. Ann, and 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart.  I (Fr. Tharp) will celebrate all the Sunday morning Masses: 


8:00 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart worship space

9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Ann worship space

11:00 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart worship space


Remember:  The Saturday evening Masses (4:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart and 5:15 p.m at St. Ann) remain unaltered.


The new Mass schedule was determined entirely by the ad hoc Mass Schedule Committee of the combined Parish (Pastoral) Council of St. Ann / Sacred Heart.  As pastor and in conformity with the Beacons of Light model, I have deliberately not involved myself or intervened in this determination.  Canon Law and the Archdiocese determined that no priest could celebrate more than three Masses per day.  The Beacons model determined that one priest should be able to handle the sacramental duties and needs of the Parish Family formed by Sacred Heart and St. Ann. 


History and Future


How did we become two parishes and schools in one “Family?”   I became pastor of Sacred Heart in 2006 and pastor of St. Ann in 2012 when I filled in as interim pastor, and the two parishes became one Pastoral Region under one pastor officially in 2013.  On July 1, 2022, by decree of the Archbishop, St. Ann and Sacred Heart officially became one canonical “Family” comprised of two parishes and two schools.  As parishioners of the one canonical family, you are all blessed to have two worship spaces where Mass is celebrated, all within your one “Family.”  Both worship spaces must be kept and maintained due to the reality that neither worship space is large enough to accommodate  the needs of 2800 parishioner families (the combined total of registered parishioner families) at one location.  Factoring in weddings, baptisms, and funerals the necessity to keep both worship spaces functional and utilized regularly becomes all the more obvious. 


In Canon Law, each parish is titled as a “Juridic Person” under the law.   The two Juridic Persons currently known as the one Family of St. Ann / Sacred Heart (this is the interim “doing business as” name) will eventually become canonically “one Juridic Person with two worship spaces and two schools for the purposes of canonical administration.” 


What happens with the two schools?   The plan is that both schools will endure with full enrollment.  The State of Ohio has addressed the contemporary and controversial issue of “school choice” by increasing the threshold for eligibility of tuition assistance under “Ed Choice.”   In time, this should enable both schools to conform themselves to provide a unique service to the primary (K-8) educational needs of the community in which they reside.  The only subsidy they would need could be dedicated scholarships for tuition assistance (some of which we already have a both locations) as well as the one Parish Family still being “Landlord” for the physical buildings at both educational locations. 


To use a “Cards” analogy, “We do not know the cards the future will deal to the Catholic Church in the years to come.”  Nevertheless, the reorganization of the two parishes each with schools into one Parish Family with two minimally subsidized schools, should posture us well to face the challenges of the future in a manner that is both efficient and functionally adaptive.  


On a personal note, I beg both congregations to give the new schedule a chance.  I realize that it may moderately inconvenience many and seriously inconvenience some.  Since I will celebrate all Masses every week, please give me a chance to show you that I can provide a forty five minute Mass experience that is both prayerful and focused.  I promise to do the very best I possibly can to provide concise homilies with a pertinent theme you can remember.  I have consistently given it my best shot over the past decade (or almost two) but I promise to redouble my efforts.  Please don’t give up on St. Ann / Sacred Heart, or worse yet on the Catholic Church, because of a limited schedule over which I have no control.  Please, let’s stick together through this!


Allocation of Priest Personnel


Fr. Ron Williams has provided Sunday assistance for Sacred Heart and St. Ann for nearly two years (since July of 2021).    As we move to only three Sunday Masses as of July 1, 2023, we will no longer require the services of another priest for Sunday Mass assistance. 

Both St. Ann and Sacred Heart express our gratitude to Fr. Williams for his Sunday Mass help for nearly two years.  We wish him well and promise to pray for him in his new assignments.  


The Sacrament of the Sick in Hospitals


Please remember that even Catholic Hospitals are not permitted to tell me when my parishioner enters their hospital.  If two or three people tell me about their loved on in the hospital after Mass, I will not keep it straight in my weak brain long enough to get it on paper.  Therefore, if your loved one enters the hospital (if it is not an emergency) and would like me to provide the Anointing of the Sick; please leave a clear and accurate message on my daytime voice mail at (513) 858-4260 or email me at frtharp@sacredheart-fairfield.org.  Please also remember that you cannot text me at the above number as it is a land line and does not receive texts. 


If an emergency arises during the evening or night after the secretaries leave and you need me for an emergency Anointing of the Sick, you must call (513) 858-4210, and press option number 2 to leave a paging voicemail for Fr. Tharp.  This is the only way to be sure I will receive your message when I am away from my desk until the next morning.  I suggest you use this emergency procedure only at the times when the secretaries are not available to answer the telephone. 


Keep in Touch with Sacred Heart/St. Ann via email or text


Our Director of Evangelization (Jose Martinez) has invited us to participate in a parish communication tool provided by “flocknote.com.”  To join you can scan the QR Code or text SHSA to 84576.  You can leave the program at any time by texting STOP to 84576.  I think this will prove to be a great way for the parishioners of the St. Ann/Sacred Heart Family to stay in the “know!”


Catholic Conference of Ohio


The Catholic Bishops from the State of Ohio have asked faithful Catholics throughout Ohio to oppose the proposed ballot initiative for the November ballots enshrining and expanding abortion in the State of Ohio.  In addition, the amendment could mean that parents would no longer need to give consent or even be informed if their minor child is seeking an abortion, redefined gender assignment, or reproductive reassignment.  Catholics of good conscience are encouraged to read the Archbishop’s communications, speak out, and stay informed.


To assist parishioners with the ability to be heard on important moral issues, the Knights of Columbus are displaying information on Voter Registration at the doors of church.  Registration to vote is both free and very convenient.  If you are not registered to vote, please stop by for easy to read information and directions. 


Ask any Question!


Mr. Jose Martinez is the new Director of Evangelization for the Parish Family of St. Ann and Sacred Heart.  I am the old pastor of St. Ann and Sacred Heart.  Two times this summer, Mr. Martinez and I will attempt to answer  “any question” you may have related to our new parish family, theology, church administration, or any aspect of life in general.  We had a well-attended first meetings on June 5 at Sacred Heart and the second meeting will be June 26 in St. Ann Church at 7:00 p.m.  Anyone who is a member or worshipper at either St. Ann or Sacred Heart is invited. 


Re-introduction of Precious Blood at Communion


We have distributors lined up for two cups at all three Sunday morning Masses; two at Sacred Heart and one at St. Ann.”  For the moment, we do not have cups lined up for the either of the Saturday evening Masses.  Again, we can only offer both species to the degree we have enough Eucharistic ministers willing to do cups at the various precept Masses.  We hope to have cups offered at the Saturday Masses very soon.




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


As we move to the new reduced Sunday Mass schedule, it has been recommended that I continue to live stream the 4:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart, and consider not live streaming the 5:15 p.m. Mass from St. Ann but instead live stream the Sunday Mass at 9:30 from St. Ann.  We will try this beginning July 1.   


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:


There are no secrets in the Kingdom of Heaven.  God knows everything and God is in charge.  Do you find this concept comforting?   Or are you only comfortable to the degree that you have been loyal to God?  Sin is willful disobedience to God.  That is bad.  But betrayal of God is tantamount to blasphemy.  In today’s gospel selection, Jesus says that if we say we don’t know him when confronted in this life, Jesus will in turn disown us before the judgment seat of God. 


Now you might say, “I won’t ever disown God!”   But what do we do when we ridicule the person praying in front of the abortion clinic?   If the media characterizes the person as a religious zealot and we agree; have we not disowned God himself?  If we chime in with agreement when others are ridiculing faith in the Church, are we not betraying Christ, the Son of God?  Remember, whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren….


Betrayal is not just refusal to obey; it dismisses reality.  It says that God does not matter.  He is not even worthy of acknowledgement.  He is irrelevant.  Can you imagine standing before the judgment seat of God and not just being condemned, but ignored?  If we ignore God as irrelevant in this world, we seal our fate when we stand before the throne of God. 


NEXT WEEK   Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


2 Kgs. 4:8-11, 14-16a

Rom 6:3-4, 8-11

Mt 10:37-42


Theme: Abandon the temporal.  Embrace the eternal! 




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