Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

March 28, 2021 - PALM SUNDAY

Next Sunday: Easter Sunday                                Fr. Schmitz

Holy Week Schedule


Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week follows the normal weekday Mass schedule.  On Holy Thursday there are NO MORNING MASSES!!!   I will have the Mass of the Last Supper at St. Ann at 5:30 p.m. at St. Ann and at 7:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart.  On Good Friday NO MASS IS CELEBRATED IN ANY CATHOLIC CHURCH!!!  Therefore, there are no morning Masses.  Rather we have Stations of the Cross at Sacred Heart at 12:00 Noon.  The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ will be sung by the choir starting at 1:00 p.m.  Adoration of the Cross will take place at about 2:00 p.m. and Holy Communion will be distributed at about 2:30 p.m.   The traditional three part Good Friday Service (including Holy Communion) will take place at St. Ann starting at 7:00 p.m.


There are NO MORNING MASSES OR AFTERNOON MASSES on Holy Saturday!!!  Since I am only permitted to have ONE Easter Vigil celebration, and it may not start until 8:45 p.m.; and because I celebrated the 2019 Easter Vigil at St. Ann (recall that because of COVID there was no Easter Vigil in 2020), Easter Vigil will be celebrated at Sacred Heart this year and at St. Ann next year in 2022.


Easter Sunday will follow the normal Sunday Schedule; with Fr. Schmitz celebration the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at St. Ann, while I celebrate the 8:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart.  I am praying that the Governor and the CDC may lift the “social distancing” requirements for Easter, but assuming they are not lifted, we will follow the plan outlined below in “Will there be crowds at Easter Masses?” 


Archbishop’s Invitation to return to “in-person” celebration of Mass


I have posted at the end of my article a letter dated March 15 from Archbishop Schnurr asking everyone to prayerfully consider returning to the “in-person” celebration of Mass during the Easter Season.  The Archbishop makes it clear that he is extending the dispensation from the precept of Sunday attendance for everyone in the Archdiocese, so as not to tax the conscience of those who (because of their medical condition) still need to stay away from crowds. 


Special Confessional Times for Holy Week!


St. Ann      Tuesday of Holy Week   6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Sacred Heart     Wednesday of Holy Week  6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

                             Holy Thursday after 7:30 p.m. Mass until 9:00 p.m.

Will there be crowds at Easter Masses?

In a normal year, the unequivocal answer is “YES!”   In this year of COVID, I do not know.  Remember that for Easter, we still must wear masks and obey social spacing requirements.  Every other pew will still be taped off.


For Easter Sunday morning, the plan is for Fr. Schmitz to take the two Masses at St. Ann and I will take the three Masses at Sacred Heart.  I will live stream the 8:00 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart.  If there is overflow, we may be able to accommodate them in Fellowship Hall where they can watch the live-stream and receive communion after those in church.  If Fr. Schmitz experiences overflow at the 9:00 a.m. at St. Ann, he can invite them to watch the recorded 8:00 a.m. Mass on their phone or pad and come into church at communion time to receive communion.


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.


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. 


Communion on the Tongue


Because we are still within a time of high risk for certain segments of our population, 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.  If on Sundays, you see that I am going to be at Sacred Heart, then you must come to Sacred Heart that Sunday if you want to receive ONLY on the tongue. 


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: Palm Sunday


The second reading of the Mass on Palm Sunday is the Kerygmatic Passage from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (Phil 2:6-11).  In many cultures, ballads or songs are used to teach history, or in this case theology.  What we hear in today’s reading of the “Passion” according to St. Mark, is summed up in this passage.  It was probably It was probably a popular ballad in the earliest days of the Church.  By singing or reciting it, you (as an evangelist) could sum up in a few words what Jesus did and who he is.   Madison Avenue (professional advertising) always tells us that you get people hooked in the first fifteen seconds of a commercial.  The Early Church knew that the story of our salvation would resonate with people if we could just get their attention.  The story of our salvation in Jesus is referred to as the greatest story ever told.  From my perspective, the Kerygmatic Passage is the greatest commercial ever made.


Next WeekEaster Sunday


Acts 10:34a, 37-43

Col 3:1-4

John 20:1-9


Theme:  Resurrection


On March 15, Archbishop Schnurr sent the following letter to the faithful of the archdiocese.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Peace be with you this Lenten season. 

This has been a most unusual and difficult year for all of us.  A year ago at this time, none of us envisioned the anxiety, illnesses, deaths and other losses that were coming as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  We likewise could not have anticipated that the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation put in place last spring would still be in effect a full year later.

From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, in the interest of the common good, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio have voluntarily cooperated with the guidance of public health authorities.  As you know, last March we temporarily suspended the public celebration of Mass for the safety of our parishioners and to help slow the spread of the virus.  In May, we reinstated the public celebration of Mass with strong health and hygiene protocols in place.  We have been able to keep churches safely open for public worship since that time thanks to the vigilance of parish leaders and parishioners alike.

As good news in overcoming the pandemic continues to develop each day – and as we together approach the Paschal Triduum, the center of the liturgical year – please prayerfully consider returning to in-person celebration of the Mass this Easter season.  As more and more of the social aspects of our lives approach normalcy, so should our communal worship of God, who “so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life (Lumen Gentium, 11).  At Mass our souls are nourished by both God’s Word and the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  We recall Christ’s own words as he foretold the salvific gift of the Holy Eucharist: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6: 54-56).  This unmediated connection with Our Lord is only possible in person.  Moreover, the Mass is where we come together in communion as God’s holy people.  Christ brought us together as Church because we need each other.  We cannot return to the God who created us out of love without the help and support of other Catholics.  This is why God gives us the Church, and this is what we share in most completely at Mass.

Nothing can adequately replace gathering together in person for the live celebration of the Mass.  Because the commandment to keep holy the Lord’s Day is never suspended, I am very grateful for the efforts of our pastors and parish leaders to offer remote access to the Mass through livestreaming, and for the many other creative ways in which they have tirelessly continued to minister over these trying months.  Many resources for keeping the Lord’s Day holy are available online for those of you who are still unable to participate in person.

The coronavirus pandemic, despite positive trends and widespread vaccination, is not yet over.  For that reason, the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation will remain in place at least for now to not unduly burden the consciences of those who have serious health concerns, either for themselves or for someone in their immediate care.  Likewise, please maintain vigilance when it comes to wearing masks, social distancing and using hand sanitizer in church.  The health and safety of our communities continues to be of paramount importance.  However, for those who are able safely to return, our priests, deacons and I wholeheartedly look forward to worshipping with you in person once more.

During this Lenten season, we unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ and we trust in the glorious hope of His Resurrection.  May God bless you and your loved ones.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr

Archbishop of Cincinnati



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