Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God

Happy New Year and Taxes


As we put up our 2017 calendars, our thoughts turn to New Year’s resolutions, the hope for an early spring, and the certainty of Federal Income Taxes.  For those who file Schedule A and deduct donations to qualified eleemosynary organizations, you will be anxious to receive your statement of donations made in envelopes to either St. Ann or Sacred Heart.  At both parishes, we will try to send out statements to all who used their envelopes or electronic giving regularly.  We will try to get these out by the end of January, but (if you wish to file early) please also feel free to contact your respective parish office and request a statement for 2016.  Remember that if you have made single contributions of $250 or more during the year, you should have received a contemporaneous letter of acknowledgement in the mail for each large donation.  If in filing your tax return, you choose to deduct contributions on Schedule A, you should retain not just the statement we will supply, but also the individual contemporaneous letters of acknowledgement, as these may be required in addition to the statement of donations should you be audited and have to prove your Schedule A deductions. 


Grocery Certificate and Gift Card Programs


As we start a New Year, please consider buying “gift cards” as presents for your friends and relatives.  This program could be a major fundraiser for each respective parish if everyone used it.


Reflection on Scripture


The Solemnity of Mary the Holy Mother of God is celebrated every January 1 to start the New Year right.  The early Church defined Mary, the mother of Jesus as the “Theotokos” (Greek) or “God bearer.”  This reminds us of two theological truths.  First, it reminds us of the “hypostatic union” namely that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine (a mystery).  It also reminds us that the Virgin Mary was that vessel chosen by God at her Immaculate Conception through which He would physically enter into the world in the Incarnation.  Remember that Mary is the model for the Church.  What God does for Mary, he promises to do for the whole Church. 


Mary is the “God Bearer” or Theotokos.  We become theotokos every time we receive Holy Communion.  Mary was conceived without stain of original sin (Immaculate Conception).  We are freed from original sin at Baptism.  Mary’s body was assumed into Heaven.  We trust in the promise of Jesus every time we say the creed, “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.”  What God does for Mary, he promises to do for the whole Church.


Readings for Epiphany


Is 60:1-6

Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6

Mt 2:1-12


ThemeThe Wise Men



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