20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parish Family,

I want to give an update on the request/petition to Bishop Thomas to relegate Sacred Heart Church (which again would mean Epiphany of the Lord would no longer use the Sacred Heart church building for divine worship). I have submitted the paperwork of the petition to diocesan personnel for their review and suggested edits before I formally submit it to Bishop Thomas. There has not been a huge rush in preparing the petition for Bishop Thomas because he will not be able to make a final determination on the petition until he consults with the presbyteral(priests’) during their regular meeting this September 27th. Please continue to pray for our parish and all involved.

I hope you had a chance to read Bishop Thomas’ “Leading the Flock” column in the bulletin two weeks ago. The bishop wrote about the declining number of priests and seminarians in our diocese and of our need to pray and fast to ask the Lord of the harvest to send more priestly laborers into the harvest. This decline has mirrored declining participation in the Catholic faith in general. I want to repeat Bishop Thomas’ requests and ask that you join me in praying and fasting for an increase in priestly vocations.

Bishop Thomas wrote:
“First, I ask every Catholic to pray one Hail Mary per day for an increase of priestly vocations. I especially encourage families to add this Hail Mary to their prayer before meals, regular daily prayers or family rosary, as a way of encouraging their children to seek God’s call for their life. Mother Mary will intercede for us with her Son for an increase of priests in the Person of her Son!”

“Second, I ask all who are able to offer some form of intentional fasting or penance each Friday for this same intention. The fasting or penance might be foregoing a meal, abstaining from meat, avoiding snacks between meals, or some other small sacrifice that can be united with Jesus’ loving offering of his life for the salvation of the world on Good Friday, the very sacrifice we encounter in the Eucharist.”

Please also remember that every Friday of the year the Church urges us to make some sort of sacrifice in remembrance of Good Friday, and how powerful it can be for our diocese to also offer this sacrifice together for the intention of an increase in priestly vocations. Concerning regular Friday penance, the United States Bishops’ document, “On Penance and Abstinence” (1966) states: “Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the Passion of Jesus Christ.” Some Catholics continue to abstain from meat all Fridays of the year, which is my normal Friday sacrifice, but we can all do something to unite ourselves to Jesus’ Passion and ask that He send us more priests after His own heart.

In Christ,
Father Eric

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