Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

May 1, 2022 - Third Sunday of Easter

Next Sunday:  Fourth Sunday of Easter                            Celebrant :  Fr. Tharp

Re-introduction of Precious Blood at Communion


We have been informed by the Archdiocese that we may (at the pastor’s discretion) re-introduce communion under both species at all Masses   My primary concern is whether we have adequate Eucharistic Ministers available at each Mass to distribute the cup?  Recall that returning to the practice (pre-COVID) requires the Eucharistic minister to finish the precious blood in his or her cup before returning it to the Altar.  My coordinators at St. Ann and Sacred Heart respectively have surveyed the comfort level of their Eucharistic ministers respectively and determined that initially we may only have enough lay distributors willing to do this to satisfy one precept Mass per Sunday.  Since the rules of how distribution is to take place (the Catholic liturgical norms) cannot be altered, I will attempt to seek out more Eucharistic lay volunteers who will be comfortable filling this role. 


Therefore, for the time being, we have only enough distributors for two cups at the 12:00 noon Mass at Sacred Heart on May 1, and this is only when the two can be there.  


Beacons of Light


As we move into the Easter Season, we draw closer to the official July 1, 2022 beginning of “Phase One” of the Beacons of Light program.  The title of my assignment as pastor will change from “Pastor of the St. Ann/Sacred Heart Pastoral Region” to “Pastor of the St. Ann / Sacred Heart FAMILY OF PARISHES!”   Throughout phase one the Mass times will remain the same, the schools will continue to operate the same, and everything we are currently doing now will remain the same for the time being.  What will change is how we plan for the future.  The Beacons process is unflinchingly committed to the “principle of subsidiarity.”  The only “top down” decision that has been made by the Archbishop is that, since St. Ann and Sacred Heart have worked well together as a “Pastoral Region” for the past ten years; from now on the parishes will begin the process of determining how (for the long term future) one priest will be able to serve the needs of both worshipping communities as “one family.”  THESE DECISIONS WILL NOT BE MADE BY THE ARCHBISHOP OR BY ME!  The decisions will be made by the parishioners who make up the FAMILY.   The process to be announced July 1, 2022 calls for the establishment of “layers of consultation” ranging from existing committees and boards from both parishes, moving up to divisional consultative committees and ultimately up to the leadership committee made up of members from both worshipping communities.  In other words, this is going to be a lot of work. 


The principal of subsidiarity requires that every parishioner voice be heard; from athletics, to the rosary altar society, to buildings and grounds, festival, worship, etc.  Parishioner concerns are legitimized by the very fact that you have a vested interest as a “parishioner.”  Everyone in a “Family” has to have a voice. 


All this means that we will begin (perhaps before July 1) to hold listening sessions (just like we did for the Synod on Sodality) allowing people to express ideas, preferences, concerns, feelings, and anything else that will provide a context for the remainder of the consultative process.  In planning for the future, we do not want to leave out any steps.  Many Families may not see significant change or movement for three, four, or five years.  But remember that although there are “phases” of the process, the timeline of the phases is entirely up to the parishioners.  To use a car analogy (which you know I frequently use in homilies) you, the parishioners (through a defined consultative process) will make the decisions that drive the car.  I will serve as the mechanic who tries to keep it all operating throughout the process. 


So tighten your belts, put your work gloves on, dawn your hard hat, and be prepared to engage in the renovation process of taking two fiscally solvent, ministerially complete parishes with schools, and make them into a functional family whose needs can be met for the long term by one priest.  But it will only work if everyone participates, and if all of us set our minds to the task.  With the Holy Spirit helping us, we cannot fail.  Without the Holy Spirit, we are all doomed anyway.


Be alert and plan to participate in the upcoming listening sessions.  And please, keep us in your prayers. 




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 gospel today recounts Peter dragging a net ashore filled with one hundred and fifty three large fish.  Did one of the disciples actually “count” the number of fish?   The best scholarly guess as to the number comes from the Jerome Biblical Commentary in which Bruce Vawter, C.M. cites St. Jerome as pointing out that zoologists at the time, referenced in the “Helieutica of Oppian” stating their estimate that there were 153 species of fish known to exist in the world as they knew it.  Unfortunately Jerome’s reference has not survived in the rewritten manuscripts of the epic poem.  Some cite that it is a triangular number of 17 but if so, what would the “17” signify?  Others reference the “gematria,” but then following this path, the interpretations are endless. 

Biblical context would favor St. Jerome’s explanation that 153 referenced all the fish there are!  This would mean that the scope of the Church is truly “catholic” or “universal.”   This is why the evangelical commissioning at the end of Matthew’s gospel is to “go out to all the nations….”    The scope of our missionary task is the whole world.  Jesus calls us as he did the disciples to become “fishers of humanity”…all humanity throughout the world.  If you feel you have all the species of fish there are in the whole world in your net, you know that there are no limits to the evangelical possibilities.  The sign outside the post office used to say, “Uncle Sam wants you!”  Jesus says, “I want everybody.” 

NEXT WEEK (The Fourth Sunday of Easter)  also Mother’s Day

Acts 13:14, 43-52

Rev 7:9, 14b-17

Jn 10:27-30


Theme:  “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”



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