Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

March 14, 2021 - Fourth Sunday of Lent

Next Sunday:  Fifth Sunday of Lent  -   Fr. Tharp


Internet Scams using my Name


Please do not EVER believe any of the internet scams using my name and asking you to do something.  Note that they never come from my email address.  If you ever receive such a scam in the future, simply delete without opening.  Even opening it can jeopardize your system.  Don’t fall for these.  I will NEVER contact you in this fashion.


Unauthorized persons prohibited from basketball court


We will soon have new signs prohibiting unauthorized persons from using the basketball court in the parking lot.  Some basketball players have decided to refuse to leave before and during 5:15 p.m. Saturday Mass.  Hopefully we have some new procedures in place to reclaim the parking lot that belongs to us so our parishioners may use the full parking lot for services. 


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.  At the time I am writing this, St. Ann has achieved 96% of target, but with 16% of parishioners donating.     


This is the time when the smallest donation counts a lot!  With only 4% needed to reach goal, every small gift to the CMA help raise our percentage of participation and brings us closer to goal.  I offer many thanks to the 16% of parishioners who have done so much.  Remember “tug of war?”   Even if you were only pulling a little on the rope, you were part of the team.  If those who have as yet to donate make even a small pledge, we can show that St. Ann is a team that pulls its fair share.


Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent


I have struggled with how to have a communal penance service at either St. Ann’s or Sacred Heart’s facilities.  If we don’t have multiple confessionals with screens, (and we do not have them at either place) I am convinced we cannot create a safe environment either for the priests or the penitents and/or provide for true confidentiality of the sins confessed.  If the priest and penitent get close enough (without a screen) for face to face confession, the possibility for contamination from one to another is too great.  If we spread them six feet apart, there will be no confidentiality, and everyone in the whole church will be “hearing confessions.”  


Therefore, unless we have a lifting of restrictions by the authorities within the next two weeks, I will have as many additional confessions as possible at both St. Ann and Sacred Heart at the most convenient times possible.  I will announce these additional times  for confessions in both parish bulletins for March 21 and March 28.


Easter Vigil 2021


As you may recall, I asked the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Worship Office a few years ago for permission to have the first part of Easter Vigil at St. Ann and the second part at Sacred Heart.  They said “No!”   In the intervening years, Bishop Binzer has been gracious to come and help me so that we have the Easter Vigil at both parishes.   Easter 2019, I celebrate with a large RCIA group at St. Ann, while Bishop Binzer had the simple ceremony at Sacred Heart.  Last year (2020) no parish had Easter Vigil because we were closed for COVID.  With the shortage of priests, Bishop Binzer cannot help me out this year; so if we alternate years, this year 2021 (in fairness) should be at Sacred Heart.  Since I plan on being around for Easter 2022, the Easter Vigil will be at St. Ann in 2022. 


I am sorry the liturgists would not permit my plan to use both churches for Easter Vigil, but since that is not possible, we will alternate every other year.


Beacons of Light


If you have access to the internet, go to https://catholicaoc.org/beacons-of-light or type Beacons of Light into your favorite search engine.  The Archdiocese has known we were facing a shortage of priests for the last forty years.  Back in the early 1980s there was an article in the Catholic Telegraph titled “A Plunge to Scarcity.”   Before the turn of the century, we had diocesan-wide programs like “For the Harvest” and “Ministry 2000.”     In the early 2000s we had “The Futures Project.”  Now we need to use all the modern tools at our disposal and the power of the Holy Spirit to plan for our future.  Sadly there are many in our secular world who would love to see us fail.  This is why we must all participate as parishioners of our pastoral region in the Beacons of Light initiative so we can look to the future with hope and trust in the Holy Spirit. 


I encourage everyone to check this website out and pray for this important initiative. 


Lenten Devotions


I have Stations of the Cross and Benediction at St. Ann on the Friday evenings of Lent at 7:00 p.m. and Stations of the Cross during Lent on Sunday Afternoons at Sacred Heart at 3:00 p.m.  (Palm Sunday excluded)


Monday – Thursday 6:30 a.m. Mass…Church opens at 6:15 a.m.


During the Lenten Season more people are attending the Monday – Thursday 6:30 a.m. Mass.  Please note that the sacristan who in the past came very early to open the church is unable to do so at this time.  I will therefore open the church at 6:15 a.m.  I have been doing this for a few months now and there is still plenty of time for me to make preparations for Mass and start on time. 


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. 


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:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVLLqbEY5hKWinwz069MVcg


Reflection on Scripture: Fourth Sunday of Lent


“But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”  These words from today’s gospel selection resonate with anyone who has ever been out at night and suddenly a cloud covers the moon and darkness is total.  If you are out in the woods, you cannot light a candle.  Even a coal oil lantern is dangerous. What do you do?  The only option is a flashlight or similar electric light..  Otherwise, you wait for the cloud to move and the moonlight reappear; or you wait for dawn. 


The first reading addresses the Babylonian Exile of the Jews from Jerusalem in 587 BC.  The Jews are freed from captivity in Babylon (Iraq) and brought home to Jerusalem and their temple rebuilt by Cyrus of Persia (Iran).  Cyrus brings them into the light.


Jesus is the revelation of God.  In a world filled with darkness and sin, Jesus is our only light.  Jesus is the only way to salvation.


Next WeekFifth Sunday of Lent


Jer 31:31-34

Heb 5:7-9

Jn 12:20-33


Theme:  Obedience to God



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