Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

The Epiphany of the Lord

Federal Income Taxes


It is January 2017 and our thoughts turn from holidays past to 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. 


One Faith, One Hope, One Love Tuition Assistance Fund


Recall that over a year ago, all the parishes of the Archdiocese (including Sacred Heart and St. Ann) participated in the aforementioned fund drive.  One of the purposes was to establish an Archdiocesan Educational Endowment to provide tuition assistance to Catholic school parents throughout the Archdiocese.  The aid is to be targeted to the middle class parents unable to meet the requirements for State assistance to the poor, and yet not wealthy enough to be enabled to pay ever increasing tuition rates. 


The Archdiocese is now taking applications for the first limited grants, but the cut-off date is January 31, 2017.  Instructions as to how to apply are available in this bulletin.  Please consider applying if your situation warrants it.


St. Ann New Year’s Eve Split the Pot


Congratulations to Aaron Saurber the winner of the St. Ann Annual New Year’s Eve Split the Pot drawing.  The winner is a member of St. Ann.  I am grateful to all those who helped by buying and selling tickets.  Thanks also to St. Ann School and its auxiliary groups who helped so much.  And special thanks to Mark Conese, our Parish Council president and Maureen Kollstedt and her team of helpers who sold tickets every Sunday in the vestibule. I want to say a special thank you to the Roettele Council K of C which is based at Sacred Heart but helped sell numerous tickets.  I am sure the winner is grateful for the nine thousand dollars and the other nine thousand will help the parish hopefully avoid ending the fiscal year with any red ink.  My sincere thanks to all involved.


Reflection on Scripture


The Feast of the Epiphany is both shrouded in mystery and yet a genuine enlightenment.  The mystery is that we know very little about the Magi.  Matthew is the only of the four gospels to mention them.  We don’t even know for sure that there were “three” except that since there were three gifts, the assumption is obvious.  Non biblical writings name them as Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar.  Tradition has them representing the three races of the world born of the three sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  The three kings coming to Bethlehem therefore represents the whole world coming to recognize Jesus as the Son of God.  This is enlightenment. 


When we watched the TV coverage of the conclave in Rome that named Pope Francis as the Holy Father, it was wonderful to see the diversity of the cardinals.  Like the Three Kings, these cardinals from every race and ethnicity are a symbol of the fact that the faith of Jesus Christ is truly “catholic” or “universal.” 


In recent years, it has become acceptable in the media to label Catholic teaching as archaic and out of touch.  Some would seek to make Catholics ashamed of their moral teachings.  On the Feast of the Epiphany, let us take pride in the universality of our Church, and the origins of our traditions in no other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the World.  True enlightenment comes only from him.


Readings for Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


Is 49:3, 5-6

1 Cor 1:1-3

Jn 1:29-34


Theme:  The inauguration of the public ministry of Jesus at his baptism.



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