Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

March 8, 2020 - Second Sunday of Lent

Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA)


At the time this is written, we (St. Ann) have achieved nearly 91% of our target in gifts and pledges, but only about 18% of the parish has donated or pledged.  Please remember that the Archdiocese relies on each parish to do its “fair share” so we can fund facilities like the Mt. St. Mary Seminary, Catholic Social Services and Catholic Charities, St. Rita School for the Deaf, Campus Ministries at Public Universities, Catholic Chaplains at public (non-Catholic) hospitals, Prison Ministries, New Evangelization, and retirement for Archdiocesan priests; purposes we could never achieve as individual parishes, but only when we work together as an Archdiocese. 


To those who have already pledged, I offer my sincere gratitude.   To those who have not yet responded, please prayerfully consider a donation in any amount.


Healthy Practices for Sunday Masses especially during Flu Season


The Archbishop has informed us that the Catholic Bishops of the United States are urging all priests, deacons, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to practice good hygiene, washing their hands before Mass begins or even using an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion;


Priests are also to assure the faithful that; if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms of sickness, they are NOT obliged to attend Mass, and even that out of charity they ought NOT to attend.


At St. Ann and Sacred Heart, all Eucharistic Ministers have been using the alcohol based hand sanitizer for a number of years.  If you are concerned about shaking hands at the sign of peace or about receiving the Precious Blood from the Chalice; simply offer the sign of peace without touching.  Receiving only the host is still receiving the fullness of the Sacramental presence of Jesus Christ.  If you have concern, simply opt out of receiving the cup and receive only the host, until the medical concern subsides.


Finally, if you are going to sneeze or cough and you are very close to others in the pew, do what the children are taught to do; namely cover your nose and mouth with your arm.  Then you can use your handkerchief or tissue as usual. 


Tuesday, March 24  “The Light is On”


Each year during Lent, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati engages in “The Light is On” program.  This one night during Lent, every Pastoral Region (at least at one parish in the pastoral region) offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confessions) from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. especially for those who have not been to Confession for many years.  The priest will not yell or complain about how long the person has been away, but will simply welcome the person back.  Obviously, there are some limitations.  The priest cannot fix a serious “canonical problem” that may require the intervention of the Archdiocesan Marriage Tribunal, or give immediate absolution for a reserve sin on the spot, but every priest promises to be kind and understanding in helping the penitent to return to the good graces of the Church.  For the St. Ann-Sacred Heart Pastoral Region, Fr. Tharp will hear confessions from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart on Tuesday, March 24 in the confessional room in Sacred Heart Church.   Consider inviting someone who has been away from the Sacraments for a long time.


Stations of the Cross


During the Season of Lent, I will have Stations of the Cross and Benediction at St. Ann on each Friday evening at 7:00 p.m.  I will have Stations of the Cross at Sacred Heart on the Sundays of Lent at 3:00 p.m.   To the best of my knowledge, the Lay Presiders will still offer informal prayer of the Stations of the Cross at Sacred Heart at 7:00 p.m. on Fridays.  


Reflection on Scripture  


The story of the transfiguration is a powerful proof text and an extraordinary revelation.  The proof text reveals the hypostatic union; that Jesus is fully human and yet fully Divine.  The revelation given to us by the story reminds us that Jesus is the culmination of the Law and the prophets.  Moses is the great lawgiver.   The Decalogue is the foundation for all Judeo-Christian morality.  Elijah is the great prophet; the conscience of Israel who proclaims the truth about God, that God is truth. 


So why is this recounted story such a pinnacle moment in salvation history?  I submit that it clarifies the reality of what we mean by the Incarnation.  Our God, who is beyond time, loves us so much that he chose to send his Son into time to lift up humanity to eternity.  The physical and the supernatural are not competitive but complementary. This truly is the greatest story ever told. 


Next Week:  The Third Sunday of Lent


Ex 17:3-7

Rom 5:1-2, 5-8

Jn 4:5-42


Theme: The Woman at the Well


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