Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

May 7, 2023 - Fifth Sunday of Easter

Next Sunday:  Sixth Sunday of Easter               Celebrant :  Fr. Williams


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.   


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 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 will present a survey at St. Ann on Sunday, May 7th and 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

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:


I have a room with your name on it in Heaven!  This is a paraphrase of today’s gospel message.  Have you really considered what it means to be a fully initiated Catholic, sustained by the Eucharist?  It means that this phrase is Jesus’ promise to you.  Now we can certainly insult and lose the promise by a life of debauchery and sin.  We can ignore the promise by saying that promises of others are more attractive than this.  In the final analysis however, we, in our free will, either accept the invitation of Jesus or we don’t.  If you wish to eat at the finest restaurants, you better be ready to dress a certain way and be willing to tip generously.  If you refuse, they will throw you out. 


Jesus never disinvites anyone from the party.  We make ourselves unacceptable by sin and denial. But then we have to admit that the fault is ours.  If we live in the promise, we have the security of Jesus Christ.  And that is better than any insurance policy you are likely to find in this world.



NEXT WEEK   Sixth Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day)


Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

1 Pt 3:15-18

Jn 14:15-21


Theme:   “I will not leave you orphans.”







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