Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

March 19, 2023 - Fourth Sunday in Lent

Next Sunday:  Fifth Sunday in Lent                Celebrant :  Fr. Tharp

Catholic Conference of Ohio


In a letter dated February 28, 2023, all 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.  We have numerous copies of the letter at the doors of Church.  Please take a copy and read about this troubling ballot proposal aimed at the Catholic Church and pro-life efforts throughout the state.  You have seen similar initiatives reported in other states.  Catholics of good conscience are encouraged to read the letter, speak out, and stay informed.


Heads-up on Holy Week


Palm Sunday is April 2.  Easter Sunday is April 9.  As usual on Holy Thursday, April 6, I will have the Mass of the Last Supper at St. Ann starting at 5:30 p.m., and the Mass of the Last Supper at Sacred Heart at 7:30 p.m.  Feel free to attend at either as your schedule allows. 


On Good Friday at Sacred Heart I will participate in the three hours of services beginning at 12:00 noon and ending with distribution of Holy Communion at 2:30 p.m.  I will also celebrate the traditional three part Good Friday Service at St. Ann beginning at 7:00 p.m.


As of last July, St. Ann and Sacred Heart are officially a “Family of Parishes” we are to have only one Easter Vigil Mass.  Last year I celebrated Easter Vigil at St. Ann.  This year, the Easter Vigil will be at Sacred Heart.  Next year it will be at St. Ann.   Thus each church will celebrate Easter Vigil every other year.


On Tuesday, April 4, I must attend the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral.  I will forego the “social and dinner for priests” and try to be back to St. Ann in time for the 6:30 p.m. confessions, but I may be a few minutes late depending on how traffic is that day.  Skipping a meal will be good for my waistline. 


CMA: Catholic Ministries  Appeal 2023


I applaud both parishes in our family for your extraordinary effort.  St. Ann has exceeded its goal and Sacred Heart has doubled its goal.  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.  Remember that fifty (50%) percent of every dollar over goal returns to the donating parish.


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


I am pleased to announce that Mr. Jose Martinez has accepted this position.  We thank all the applicants who applied.  More information and timing will be forthcoming.



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 recently completed, 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


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:


The story of the “man born blind” asks the proverbial question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  The Pharisees felt that bad luck had to come from a former sin; either one’s own sin or the sin of one’s ancestor.  Jesus turns it around and says that all blessing flow from God, and a miracle allows us to see God’s benevolence in everything we are and have. 


The Pharisees are upset that Jesus performed this miracle on a Sabbath.  Jesus asks, “Why not recognize God’s blessing of sight on the very day we praise and bless God most?”  The Pharisees want to argue!  Jesus simply wants to heal and give sight.


And that of course is exactly what happens in baptism.  We are born blind; victims of sin.  In baptism we are healed and given sight in the light of Christ.  The Pharisees want to focus on the natural.  Jesus offers us insight into the supernatural.  When God first creates he says: “Let there be light.”  Jesus is the supernatural light and truth.”   We see God only when we use his gift of light and faith in Jesus Christ.


NEXT WEEK   Fifth Sunday in Lent


Ez 37:12-14

Rom 8:8-11

Jn 11:1-45


Theme: The raising of Lazarus 





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