Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

November 5, 2023 - 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Next Sunday:  Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time     Celebrant:  Fr. Tharp     

All Souls Day, the forgotten day of Prayer


All hallows eve (aka Halloween) is the day before the Feast of All Saints.  A “saint” is a holy soul who is in Heaven with God forever.   Saints are our spiritual heroes in a world that has forsaken heroism.  Oh yes, we have sports heroes; movie stars, and celebrities.  We acknowledge and offer awards to some soldiers and first responders who give their lives protecting us.  But most inspiring heroic actions remain known only to God.  But just because you did not get a spot on the evening news does not diminish your contribution to “goodness” in our society and world. 


In the early days of the Church, each town had their list of Christian martyrs.  After Constantine became emperor and the Church became more organized, it was decided that the lists would be brought together to form one “master list” in Rome.  In Latin, canon means list.  Thus when your town’s hero was placed on the list, he/she was canonized.  


The Feast of All Souls (November 2) was a day of prayer for all the heroes in waiting; the souls in Purgatory.  In some cultures it is celebrated as the day of the dead.  In some it is depicted as an emergency to pray our deceased relatives and friends out of Purgatory (which is seen as “temporary hell”).   In a musical composition called the Dreams of Gerontius written by Edward Elgar, we hear of a soul who thinks he has died and gone to hell, but then rejoices to discover that he is only in Purgatory and on the way to Heaven.  We do not pray people out of hell! Hell is a decision made in “free will.”  We pray for our loved ones in Purgatory that they may be quickly purged of that which holds them back from relishing the Beatific Vision.  The positive view of prayer for deceased souls as a work of mercy has been somewhat lost in recent years.  Say prayers for your deceased loved ones frequently.  It helps us anticipate eternity. 


November Ballot Issue enshrining Abortion as a Right


As regards the Church’s stance on Issue One, the Archbishop is not offering a “political opinion.”   He together with the other Catholic bishops of Ohio are proclaiming the “moral teaching” of the Church which is their magisterial duty as bishops in the Catholic Church.  Remember that the Church grew up condemning horrible pagan rituals encouraged by the Roman Empire. These practices were politically correct and even encouraged at the time.  The Church complained that these practices were immoral in the eyes of God. They were not playing politics then.  They are not playing politics now. 

The bishops of the Catholic Church were then and are now, standing by the moral truth regardless of the political repercussions or consequences.  The truth from God may put us in conflict with what is culturally acceptable, but then again, the Church does not make decisions from polling results.  The Church simply tries to apply the Laws of God.


You can find on the internet the “Full Text of the Proposed Amendment One” annotated by the Ohio Roundtable explaining and commenting on each legal phrase.  Even for those who would cite some remote good thing that resulted from an abortion, the end does not justify the means.  The Archbishop is encouraging priests, Catholic laity, and all people of good conscience to get involved in attempting to send this “pro-death legislative initiative” down to defeat in November.  


Adoration of Blessed Sacrament praying  for the Conscience of Ohio


We have one more special adoration of the Blessed Sacrament time left praying for the conscience of Ohio.  This is at Sacred Heart on Monday, November 6 from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. reposition.  If you cannot come at this time, please pray wherever you are for the conscience of our State.  Governor DeWine is opposed to Issue One.  The Catholic Bishops of Ohio are unanimously opposed to Issue One.  If your understanding of God’s law obliges you to be pro-life and pro-parent’s rights, you can easily see that Issue One is not right for Ohio. 


The Tabernacle is moving at Sacred Heart!


When you first hear these words, you may think we are speaking of a miraculous event.  Rather, the title reveals a decision approved by our Worship Commission, our Parish Pastoral Council, and the Archbishop.  After reflecting on the Canon (universal) Law of the Church (referenced below), and given the USCCB’s National Eucharistic Revival; we have asked and been given authorization to move the tabernacle to the center of the sanctuary at the foot of the crucifix, displacing it from the small chapel which has been its home since shortly after the new church was built in 1989. So why should we make the change now?  For one thing, placing the Blessed Sacrament in the center of the sanctuary renders us more compliant with the spirit of the current Church Law.  Reference the following:

Canon 938: paragraph 2 & 3

¶ 2. The tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is to be situated in some part of the church or oratory which is distinguished, conspicuous, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.

¶ 3. The tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved habitually is to be immovable, made of solid and opaque material, and locked in such a way that the danger of profanation is avoided as much as possible.

In addition to conformity with Church Law, placing the tabernacle in the sanctuary speaks volumes to the centrality of the Eucharist in our spiritual self-understanding. For those coming to our worship space for the first time, there will be immediate recognition that this is a community that focuses on the Eucharist as our foundation.  One of the most compelling reasons for using the brass tabernacle from the former church (now the gym) is that it provides a real sense of continuity. 

We plan is to move the tabernacle to the center of the sanctuary before the Feast of Christ the King.  We will have to remember to genuflect (or solemn bow) when entering or leaving the church.  We will also wish to use the narthex a bit more for conversation so we show the appropriate respect for the presence of the Sacred Species.  Be assured that we are simply moving existing furniture in this process.  Nothing is permanently or irreversibly changed.   There is no cost.  More instructions to come as we move closer to Christ the King. 

The Purpose behind Beacons of Light


Beacons of Light is a new way of thinking.  Most of us think of maintaining our parish, but as attendance has declined at most all “organized religion” churches, Beacons challenges us not to maintain but evangelize and expand.  We are and have always been a missionary church!  Christ could have sat in the temple or his local synagogue and enjoyed the affection of many local rabbis, teachers, and congregants.  Instead he “mitto” that is sends out the disciples to evangelize. 


You can focus on your house and let your lawn go to seed.  Or you can make your house inviting by enhancing its appeal with a well-manicured lawn.  One looks outward; the other inward.   Beacons calls us to always be going forth with the message calling others to Christ.


Beacons of Light  Phase Two


In Phase One of Beacons of Light (Leadership) we hired or promoted from within the four “Directors” who will be in charge of much of what the pastor traditionally has done that is non-sacramental.  This restructuring allows the parish to focus on evangelization rather than simply maintaining what we have done in the past and doing it the same way.  In addition to hiring and promoting lay ministers, we have refined the Sunday Mass schedule so that the Family can be served by only one priest. 


We are now moving into Phase Two which is “Visioning.”  We will use this time to discern goals and create teams.  We will explore opportunities for the parish to reach out in faith into a broader scope of community.  We can pinpoint the purposes for our stewardship efforts and consider new ways to structure into cost centers which could pinpoint purpose and enhance revenue sources.  We will marginalize the maintenance of the impractical and highlight the opportunities for purposeful expansion.  We will seek to redefine the pathway and reaffirm priorities.  All this must be done is the context of practicality and feasibility.  We will look for opportunities to expand, not just maintain.  Please watch for discussion sessions that peak your interest as we move forward through this discernment process.




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


The sound for the live-streaming from St. Ann has been repaired.  Sorry for any inconvenience.


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:


“No brag….Just fact!”   Walter Brennan in the “Guns of Will Sonnett” coined this iconic phrase.  But it also is what today’s gospel is all about.  The scribes and Pharisees were the official teachers of the Jewish Law.  Jesus tells the people to obey the Law, but not to follow the example the Pharisees set.  Pharisees often felt that their skill as lawyers gave them license to live above the Law.  Some felt the Law did not apply to the enlightened elite.  And of course, they were the elite.  But Jesus says you can’t preach one thing and then do the opposite.  To teach propriety to others, you must be a person of integrity yourself.   Otherwise people dismiss you by saying, “it’s all just talk.” 


God does not want to hear someone brag about his/her knowledge of the Law.  God wants to see us live the truth.  “No brag.  Just fact!”



NEXT WEEK   Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


Wis 6:12-16

1 Thes 4:13-18

Mt 25:1-13



Theme: Make sure you have extra grace before the journey!








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