Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

May 14, 2023 - Sixth Sunday of Easter

Next Sunday:  The Feast of the Ascension               Celebrant :  Fr. Tharp

Happy Mother’s Day


Take some time today to say a little prayer for your mother.  If you are fortunate enough that your mother is living, make a call, send a card, make contact and remind her of your prayers.  If you are like me and your mother is deceased, send a pray up to Heaven for her today.  God will make sure she hears it in Heaven.  Say “thank-you” today to God for the gift of your mother.


The Sacrament of the Sick in Hospitals


Please remember that even Catholic Hospitals are not permitted to tell me when my parishioner enters the hospital.  If two or three people tell me about their loved on in the hospital after Mass, I will not keep it straight in my weak brain long enough to get it on paper.  Therefoere, if your loved one enters the hospital and would like me to provide the Anointing of the Sick; please leave a clear and accurate message on my voice mail at (513) 858-4260 or email me at frtharp@sacredheart-fairfield.org.  Please also remember that you cannot text me at the above number as it is a land line and does not receive texts. 


Review of Mass Schedules


There are “five Phases” of the implementation of Beacons of Light.  By the end of Phase One, Families of Parishes are to have streamlined their Sunday Mass Schedules.   Family C-4 (comprised of Sacred Heart and St. Ann) has been designated a “one priest/pastor region.”  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, except in the case of an emergency.   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 (except in an emergency) 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. 

The Combined Parish Council presented a survey at St. Ann on Sunday, May 7th and will present the survey at Sacred Heart on Sunday May 14th.  After we have the data, the Combined St. Ann/Sacred Heart Parish Council will provide me with their decision as to the new streamlined Sunday Morning Schedule for our Family.  The decision will then go to the Archdiocese for approval.  If all goes well, the new schedule will be implemented on July 2, 2023

Celebrations and Graduations


Pentecost is often referred to as the “Birthday of the Church.”   The Monday following after Pentecost has been established as the celebration of “Mary the Mother of the Church.”  The Feast was reestablished by Pope Francis for the Monday after Pentecost to remind Catholics that the Church is a Family.   This year the celebration of Mary the Mother of the Church is also celebrated in the United States as Memorial Day.  Because it is a National Holiday, we will NOT have a 6:30 a.m. Mass at St. Ann, but we will have a 7:30 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart and a 9:00 a.m. Mass at St. Ann.  All weekend we will remember and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom as Americans, and also celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost and the Memorial of Mary the Mother of the Church.  I see no conflict in celebrating religious truth as we prayerfully remember those who valued freedom more than life. 


The eighth grade graduation Mass for Sacred Heart School is May 24th.  The eighth grade graduation Mass for St. Ann School is May 31st.   Congratulations to all.


Keep in Touch with Sacred Heart/St. Ann via email or text


Our Director of Evangelization (Jose Martinez) has invited us to participate in a parish communication tool provided by “flocknote.com.”  To join you can scan the QR Code or text SHSA to 84576.  You can leave the program at any time by texting STOP to 84576.  I think this will prove to be a great way for the parishioners of the St. Ann/Sacred Heart Family to stay in the “know!”


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.


Ask any Question!


Mr. Jose Martinez is the new Director of Evangelization for the Parish Family of St. Ann and Sacred Heart.  I am the old pastor of St. Ann and Sacred Heart.  Two times this summer, Mr. Martinez and I will attempt to answer  “any question” you may have related to our new parish family, theology, church administration, or any aspect of life in general.  The meetings will be on June 5 and June 26 at 7:00 p.m.  More information to come.


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.”  The reality of the “post COVID” church is that fewer people are coming to Sunday Mass.  “Beacons” is a creative structuring for where we are going; not for where we have been.   


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:


Jesus promises us that he will not leave us orphans.  He will send the Holy Spirit to us.  What Jesus promises us is our own “commission.”  In the US armed forces, it is my understanding that once commissioned as a Major or Lieutenant Commander, military personnel fulfill their duties by virtue of Congressional Commission.  The Father commissioned Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan.  The Holy Spirit commissioned the Apostles at Pentecost.  We are commissioned as fully initiated members of the Catholic Church at our Confirmation and given the graces of the Holy Spirit.  When a man is ordained a Deacon, Priest, or Bishop he is ontologically changed; in other words his very “being” (who he is) is changed forever.  Similarly, when a religious brother or sister makes Solemn Vows, it is not technically a Sacrament, but they make an eternal life changing promise to God, and their solemn promise changes them.  You cannot undo a sacrament.  That is why it is written, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”     A commission in Christ whether it be Confirmation, Holy Orders, or even Baptism puts an indelible mark on our soul.  We are commissioned in Christ; and as Christ is forever, so is our commitment to Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Once commissioned for the eternal, forever changed. 


NEXT WEEK   The Ascension of the Lord


Acts 1:1-11

Eph 1:17-23

Mt. 28:16-20


Theme:   My destiny is to be at the right hand of the Father.  Follow my path and your destiny will be Paradise. 







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