All posts by FrGeorge

U.S. Bishops Urge National Leaders to Address Scourge of Gun Violence

For many years, the USCCB has supported a federal ban on assault weapons, limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines, further criminalizing gun trafficking, certain limitations on the purchase of handguns, and safety measures such as locks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using guns without permission.

In the aftermath of the tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, once again urge national leaders to finally come together and address the crisis of gun violence in a comprehensive way. Their comments are below:

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Your Voice is Needed

Please participate in the Call-in Day to Congress on Monday, February 26th.
Your advocacy is critical to help the nearly 1.8 million Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. They may face deportation as soon as March 6, unless Congress reaches a bi-partisan deal to protect them. Bishop Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and your own Franciscan Friars urge you to be part of this “call to action.”

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Franciscan Statement at the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

As Franciscans, our approach to social issues is always to seek deep solidarity with those who are vulnerable or on the margins of society. This stance was embodied by our founder, St. Francis of Assisi, who ignored the norms of his society and made direct encounter with the most despised and vulnerable of his time a priority. When we embrace our world, we seek to repair broken relations that lead to a variety of social issues and maladies: turning away the stranger/the immigrant; the challenge of climate change; lack of care for the elderly and disabled – both physically and mentally; a dis-ease with the dying process; the death penalty; and, as we mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, a particularly tragic one, abortion. Our approach is in line with the leadership of the Catholic church in that we utilize the rubric of the consistent ethic of life.

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All Souls Remembrances

Last Sunday, October 29th, we celebrated our parish Candle Lighting Ceremony in memory of all of our deceased loved ones. The solemnity of the ceremony helped us to remember our loved ones who meant so much to us in this life and who have now passed onto God’s bright glory. Thank you to our parishioners who requested memorial candles and to those who participated in this special service. A very special thank you to Friends of Sacred Heart for organizing this event. You may find a complete list of donors and their loved ones here.

Discerning Commitment Sunday

The weekend of November 4th and 5th our parish will celebrate “Commitment Sunday.” It is a time to show that you belong to Sacred Heart. Belonging to a parish community, to be a people of faith, means that we are also called to share our time and our talents. How do you discern how God is calling you to bring forward your gifts? Discernment is a word Christians often use instead of “making a decision” or “picking a choice,” although it means more than that. Discerning something means taking the ideas, the options, and the choices to prayer in order to ask God where and how He is leading you.

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Franciscan Lenten Reflection

metanoiaReflections on the Common Good

Marked with an ash-cross on our foreheads we began Lent with the hope that we would encounter the transforming effects of the cross of Jesus Christ in our upcoming Easter celebration and ultimately when we face our personal transition from this life. With these goals in mind, Lent becomes a critical season for us to enter into intense periods of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in order to experience a “change of heart” – a metanoia – that will help us look upon the world and respond to the needs of others with the love and compassion of Jesus.

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Franciscan Statement on the Recent Executive Orders

Syrian-Refugees-US-borderIn flurry of activity, President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” (you can read the full text here). The key points of the Executive Order are:

  • 90-day ban on entry into the US from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan
  • 120-day suspension of the refugee resettlement program
  • Indefinite suspension of the arrival of Syrian refugees
  • 64% decrease for refugees admitted into the US in 2017
  • Prioritization of refugees who are religious minorities suffering religious persecution
  • Mandated review of stricter vetting procedures for refugees and immigrants.

The Franciscan OFM friars of the United States have issued a joint Franciscan Statement on the Immigration Ban:

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25.35).

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Teaching Mass


Join us Saturday, January 21st!

We Catholics attend Mass on Sundays, Holy Days, and even weekdays. We instinctively know when to stand, sit or kneel; what responses to make at different times during the Mass; and all kinds of other actions during the liturgy. But it is not always clear why we do what we do. For example, what is the meaning behind the making of the cross on our forehead, mouth, and heart before the reading of the Gospel? Why do we bless ourselves with holy water as we enter the church for Mass? Why do Catholics pause at the end of the Lord’s Prayer for the priest to add his part? Why is it that sometimes we sing the “Gloria” at Sunday Mass? What is the meaning of all the actions by the priest during Mass?

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Sacred Heart & the College Football Playoffs

cfb-playoffsWhat is going on in downtown Tampa in connection with the NCAA Championship game?
Superbowl-sized crowds are expected to participate in this exciting, multi-day, multi-location event.  Signature events include a free, 3-day music festival at Curtis Hixon Park (Friday, January 6th thru Sunday, January 8th – 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm each day), Playoff Fan Central at the Tampa Convention Center (Friday thru Sunday), Taste of the Championship at the Florida Aquarium, and 5K & Fun Run on Bayshore Boulevard (Sunday morning). They are estimating over 40,000 people in and around Curtis Hixon Park on most days (January 6th thru 8th). You can get notifications regarding road closures and emergency notifications by texting CFBPlayoff to 888777.

Will Sacred Heart have the usual weekend Mass schedule?
We will maintain the Mass schedule for Saturday and Sunday morning, however, we will not hold a 6:00 pm Mass on Sunday due to the extremely large crowds expected for the Sunday evening concert and the affect it will have on available parking.

Will you be coming from Davis Islands or South Tampa on Sunday morning?
There will be a race/fun run starting from the Amalie Arena on Sunday morning, which will also extend onto Bayshore Blvd. Please plan accordingly. You can get notifications regarding road closures and emergency notifications by texting CFBPlayoff to 888-777.

What about parking?
The Madison Building has assured us that they will make parking available as they normally do. The parking lot at the corner of Kennedy Blvd. and Florida Ave. will not be available unless one pays the posted fees.

New Year’s Day Masses

Please note the special schedule of Masses for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God on Sunday, January 1st, 2017. This solemnity is a holy day of obligation and falls on Sunday this season.

– Vigil Mass, December 31st, 2016, at 5:30 pm
– Solemnity Masses, January 1st, 2017, at 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am, and 12:00 pm
*There will be no 6:00 pm Mass.