Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

October 8, 2023 - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Next Sunday:  Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time     Celebrant:  Fr. Tharp        

November Ballot Issue enshrining Abortion as a Right


In a letter dated August 12, 2023, Archbishop Schnurr cites the following reasons this amendment to the Ohio Constitution on the November Ballot must be defeated:


  • Put women at risk. This amendment would enable elimination of some of the most basic, fundamental safety regulations on abortion clinics, including the current requirement for an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician.
  • Threaten parental rights. The vague language in the amendment opens the door to anyone under 18 having an abortion, or even beginning cross-sex hormone treatment, without parental consent or notification.
  • Allow abortion through 9 months of pregnancy. The amendment provides caveats such that a healthy, fully-formed infant in the womb who otherwise could be delivered with no issues would still be a candidate for a surgical dismemberment abortion.


In addition, take a copy of the “Full Text of the Proposed Amendment One” annotated by the Ohio Roundtable explaining and commenting on each legal phrase.  It is interesting that the word “woman” never appears anywhere in the entire amendment that is supposed to be incorporated into the State Bill of Rights.  Is it intended to protect “women’s rights” or “political advantage?” For the Catholic Church and indeed all “life centered” religions who believe that God created all life, this is not a political issue.  This is a moral issue.  We see absolute law in the Decalogue.   (Thou shalt not!)   Even for those who would cite some good thing that resulted from 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.  


The Purpose behind Beacons of Light


Years ago, I welded and then “fish-plated” the left I-beam rail under a flatbed truck for a friend who regularly hauled steel coils.  After welding the broken rail on the left, I applied the same strengthening process to the unbroken right.   My purpose was not simply to fix the broken rail, but to strengthen both rails of the truck to more safely haul its heavy cargo.  Fish-plating before a crack occurred in an I-beam was a preemptive way of thinking ahead.


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.


Precious Blood at Communion


We have distributors lined up for two cups at all three Sunday morning Masses; two at Sacred Heart and one at St. Ann.”  For the moment, we do not have cups lined up for the either of the Saturday evening Masses.  Again, we can only offer both species to the degree we have enough Eucharistic ministers willing to do cups at the various precept Masses.  We hope to have cups offered at the Saturday Masses very soon.




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


As the new reduced Sunday Mass schedule is in place, it has been recommended that I continue to live stream the 4:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart, and consider not live streaming the 5:15 p.m. Mass from St. Ann but instead live stream the Sunday Mass at 9:30 from St. Ann.  We will experiment with this for a time and see which arrangement is more favored.


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 expects a return on his investment! “ROI”   Jesus invested himself completely in us by dying on the cross for us.  Do we willingly go out and spend our lives in service to him?  In the first reading and the gospel, the writers employ the imagery of a vineyard.  Isaiah says the Lord nurtured his vineyard Israel, but it grew only wild grapes.  I have wild grape vines all over my retirement property; but wild grapes are useless.  If we produce like wild grapes, God has no ROI.  Before you farm the land, you clear it of useless wild grapes and burn the vines.  Wild grapes are only kindling for the bonfire. 


In the gospel for today, Jesus says: “The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.”    Jesus died on the cross and has become the cornerstone of life.  The stone the builders did not think worthy of the foundation has become the guarantor of eternal life.  The ignominy of the cross has become the jubilation of eternal life.  The plan of God turns the logic of humans on its head. 


So when society ridicules you for faith in Christ, take it as a complement.  It is like wild grapes calling the finest Bordeaux vines “clutter.”  We can be Christ’s ROI if we give ourselves completely in his service. 


NEXT WEEK   The Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Is 25:6-10a

Phil 4:12-14, 19-20

Mt 22:1-14


Theme: Respect (not the song); the attitude!







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