Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

Third Sunday of Advent

Schedule Change !


Fr. Schmitz is away for the Sunday before and Christmas Day, so we have secured a priest to cover the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at St. Ann both on December 22 and Christmas.  (It is easier to secure a priest for the two Sunday Masses at St. Ann than one who will do all three in a row at Sacred Heart.)  I will keep you informed of other necessary changes of “priest celebrant” as we navigate the busy (Christmas/New Year) Holiday Season.   


Advent Penance Servicve for St. Ann/Sacred Heart Pastoral Region


The Advent penance Service for our Pastoral Region is Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart.  We will have multiple priests to hear Confessions, so any wait in line should be brief.  There will be very few scheduled times for personal Confessions after the Fourth Sunday of Advent and before Christmas.  For convenience and avoiding long lines, I recommend participation at the December 18 Penance Service.


Reception into the Catholic Church


There will be a reception into the Catholic Church and administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation at the 8:00 a.m. Mass on Saturday, December 21.  Confessions will still start immediately after Mass as close to 8:30 a.m. as possible. 


Candy Canes at Christmas


For the past twenty years or so I have been securing candy canes for Christmas Masses and inviting children too young to receive the Eucharist to come up with their parents and siblings and receive a candy cane from a basket near the communion station, or a server; so that even though the child cannot receive the real body and blood of the Lord; they can receive a symbol of Christ in the form of a shepherd’s staff (the Good Shepherd) reminding us of Christ’s blood (red) shed on the cross and the (white) purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In essence, I wanted to create a good memory for the child that would endure and perhaps enhance their appreciation of the Real Presence when they make their First Communion.  Unfortunately in today’s environment, this could be mistaken for me (the priest) giving the gift, rather than the parish giving the gift; which is what I always intended.  So as to avoid any misunderstanding, this year the parish will supply candy canes next to the Nativity Scene so that parents may give one to their child (or not) as they visit the depiction of Christ’s birth.  This way, it is clear that any decision to accept the candy cane is purely at the discretion of the parent accompanying the child. 


St. Ann Church:  School Side Church Parking Lot Door


The south side, school entrance to church door was damaged last Sunday afternoon when a man broke into the church.  The police are investigating.  This door may not be functional at some times during necessary repairs.  We apologize for any inconvenience.


Reflection on Scripture


Who were you expecting?  This is the essence of today’s rhetorical question from Jesus to the crowd.  John was not the “expected” prophet.   Jesus was not the “expected” messiah.  Expectations can blind us to the reality of God’s hand in the midst of day to day circumstances.  When we come to know Jesus Christ personally, we realize he exceeds any and all expectations.  Who but God himself could have foreseen the hypostatic union? 


As we approach Christmas, let us seek to see Jesus in the unexpected person, in the unanticipated circumstance, and in the unsuspected opportunity for charity. 


Next Weekend: Fourth Sunday of Advent


Is 7:10-14

Rom 1:1-7

Mt 1:18-24


Theme:  The background information to the birth of the Lord.


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