Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

May 12, 2024 - The Ascension of the Lord

Next Sunday: Pentecost                          Celebrant:  Fr. Tharp  


Happy Mother’s Day


Today we have the opportunity to thank our mothers for giving us the opportunity to live lives of faith by the grace of God.  As we bless and thank our mothers, let us also thank God for the gift of the Blessed Virgin as our mother and the Mother of the Church.  Jesus gave her to us on the cross through John.  Let us take this opportunity to thank God for all who serve us in a motherly role.  And if you are like me and your mother is deceased, sent a special bouquet of prayers to God this day in memory of your Mom.   I assure you, she will rejoice with the angels as you remember her on this special day.




As of 5/6//24, Sacred Heart is at 210% of target with 420 families participating.  St. Ann is at 126% of target with 154 families participating.  Remember that when any parish exceeds target, a percentage of the money over target comes back to the parish. 


Thanks to all who have pledged or contributed.  Thank you for prayerfully considering a donation or pledge to this year’s CMA.  I will report each week the results I have in the bulletin.


Beacons of Light: Phase Two


During Phase One, we identified and called to leadership key employees and volunteer staff into “Director” or “Leadership” positions.  Since moving to Phase Two (envisioning) we have asked the combined Parish Council, as well as other advisory groups to “brainstorm” and identify problems which impede the Immaculate Heart of Mary Family from achieving desired outcomes such as increasing Sunday Mass attendance, becoming a more evangelically oriented community, involving a greater percentage of membership in active lay ministry, and creating a sustainable path of growth for the parish community and its ongoing outreach.   During this phase, we seek out problems and envision possible solutions.  The hope at the root of the “envisioning” is not just to survive as we have in the past, but to reorganize to thrive. 


Remember that in each “phase” (we are now in phase two) our efforts form within Beacon’s six principles: 1) Eucharist  2) Church  3) Leadership  4) Stewardship  5) Evangelization and  6) Love in Action. 


In thinking and discussing this, one of the problems brought to me over my forty seven years of priesthood has been the influence of secular society’s customs on membership in the Catholic Church.  Individual Catholics, groups of Catholics, as well as those interested in being a Catholic are sometimes relegated to the category of  “unacceptable”  or they “feel estranged or unwelcome” because of issues such as divorce and remarriage, issues surrounding gender,  disappointment at the Church’s past handling of the clergy abuse crisis, right to life issues, loyalties to political principles that may conflict with ecclesial moral teaching, Vatican II changes both real and perceived, and the list goes on.   If a person feels unwelcome or disenfranchised, their perception becomes their personal reality.  


It has been proposed by some that statistically, the largest religious denomination in the United States is Catholic and the second largest denomination is “fallen away” Catholics.  The evangelical efforts required by Baptism and Confirmation demand an effort on our part to reconcile without forfeiting the integrity of Catholic teaching.  How do we offer the hand of unity without capitulation of moral principle?   Perhaps part of our the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish family response to evangelization should be a “truth squad” (or some such name) that would be conversant enough with Catholic Teaching so as to make the position espoused by the Catholic Church to be both understandable and practical to the inquirer.  In other words, the lay person would offer to be a mentor.  This does not mean all lay volunteers would have to be trained in Catholic moral apologetics; but simply able to hear the question honestly and bring the person to the pastor, lay minister, or diocesan resource that could provide specific and precise counsel. 


The aforementioned is just one example of what this “envisioning” process is all about.  “What are the problems we face as a Catholic parish?  What is the desired outcome?  What kind of vehicle do we construct to get there?  I hope to have some listening sessions during the upcoming summer to invite and discuss envisioning ideas.  Remember, no decisions are being made!  We are simply throwing out ideas.


Razing of the old convent building at St. Ann


The old convent building at St. Ann is essentially a single purpose building.  At present it is used only for storage.  There is no future possibility of acquiring a religious order who would use it as a faculty residence (original purpose).  The “circulating hot water” heating system is not functional, and cost to repair to functionality would likely exceed $750,000.  Other necessary repairs would cause the restoration numbers to exceed 1.5 million for a building whose primary use does not fit our needs.  The Archdiocese has asked us (for long term insurance purposes) to raze the building.  The Archdiocese will pay for this improvement.  Therefore Immaculate Heart of Mary Family “Combined Parish Council” has recommended we accept the Archdiocese offer and lower our operating costs at St. Ann by razing the building and making space for more effective storage facilities.  It is likely this will all take place before the end of calendar year 2024.  I will keep you informed as we progress.




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 Feast of the Ascension is not Jesus saying, “Well I am done here.”   Rather, Jesus is bringing everything to fulfillment so he can ascend to the Father and the Holy Spirit can make all of us his temple, and God can be present to the whole world through the Church.  Jesus fulfills his ministry so that the Holy Spirit can fulfill our destiny.  God creates the world.  The Son of God is incarnate to redeem the world.  The Holy Spirit comes to the Apostles at Pentecost and then to all the faithful in the Sacrament of Confirmation.  With the fulfillment of God’s graces, we the Church become the vehicle through which God lives with us in the world.  We become the Church in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are the Body of Christ, the People of God; The Church.


NEXT SUNDAY  Pentecost


Acts 2:1-11

1Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13

Jn 20:19-23



Theme:  Descent of the Holy Spirit







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