All posts by Lynda Marsh

A Eucharistic Devotion

We see them each week. Those men and women who serve in our Liturgical ministry as Eucharistic Ministers. They distribute the Body and Blood of Christ to the assembly of parishioners at each Mass, during the week and on the weekend, as well as on special feast days and Solemnities.

Their passion for sharing their faith with others at Communion is at the foundation of their ministry, along with their desire to build up our community of faith with this most precious of sacraments.

Sean Fitzsimmons-Brown, our Director of Music, says, “What I most enjoy about this ministry is meeting the people who want to be a Eucharistic Minister (EM). It is a ministry that easily helps build the community of the parish along with all the others. It is never dull, and often challenging. At the present time, there are 73 Eucharist Ministers, and that does not include those who go to Tampa General Hospital or bring the Eucharist to the homebound. We are always in need of help in those two areas. These EMs are trained to bear the hosts or cups, and it is open to any registered parishioner who has been confirmed. I can assure you, we can always use the help!”

Graham Brandt was inspired to become a Eucharistic Minister (EM) when he moved to Tampa for a new job and was wanting to serve his community in a simple, but essential way. He was most surprised by how seamless the training was and how organized the volunteer system is and continues to be. Graham has been an EM for the past 2 years. When asked why he continues in this ministry, he stated, “It is a good routine and helps me reflect on the week passed and the week ahead.” He encourages others to volunteer, “It’s a good experience!” Graham’s overall perspective on being a Eucharistic Minister is that, “Working with all the priests at Sacred Heart in this role is an honor. They are wonderful spiritual guides.”

If you would like to get involved at Sacred Heart as a Eucharistic Minister, please contact Sean Fitzsimmons-Brown via email, or by phone at 813.229.1595.

I beg you to show the greatest possible reverence and honor for the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things, whether on earth or in heaven, have been brought to peace and reconciled with Almighty God.
– St. Francis of Assisi

Father’s Day Spiritual Bouquets

It’s not too late to offer a spiritual bouquet in honor of fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and all of those men who have shaped us, formed us, and loved us, this Father’s Day.

If you would like to remember someone, please consider offering a spiritual bouquet in their name. Envelope packets for this occasion consist of a Father’s Day card and envelope as well as an offering envelope. You can find the packets on the table at the back of the church or simply ask for one the next time you visit the Sacred Heart Gift & Book Store.

The card is for your use, but please return the offering envelope to the Parish Office or drop it into the offertory basket no later than Wednesday, June 14th, so they can be included in the Mass intentions for all Masses on Father’s Day weekend.

Happy Father’s Day!

Summer Reading

With summertime comes slower days and more time to relax and do the things we’ve always wanted to do. So why not consider joining our Parish Book Club? You can bring your book with you while traveling, while at the beach or pool, or even while relaxing on your back porch with a cup of coffee on those endless summer days.

The group meets once a month to discuss a particular book, and they’ve planned out their reading schedule for the next several months. If any of these books interest you, we hope you join them!

June: “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalinithi and Abraham Verghese
For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

June Meeting: Thursday, June 15th at 7:00 pm (St. Francis Hall)

July: “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown
For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

July Meeting: Thursday, July 20th at 7:00 pm (St. Francis Hall)

August: “Madonnas of Leningrad” by Debra Dean
Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina’s grip on the everyday. An elderly Russian woman now living in America, she cannot hold on to fresh memories—the details of her grown children’s lives, the approaching wedding of her grandchild—yet her distant past is miraculously preserved in her mind’s eye.

August Meeting: Thursday, August 17th at 7:00 pm (St. Francis Hall)

September: “The Wright Brothers” – David McCullough
The #1 New York Times bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly—Wilbur and Orville Wright.

September Meeting: Thursday, September 21st at 7:00 pm ( St. Clare Room)

October: “The Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore
A thrilling novel based on actual events, about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America—from the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and author of The Sherlockian.

October Meeting: Thursday, October 19th at 7:00 pm (St. Francis Hall)

November: “Belgravia” by Julian Fellowes
The New York Times bestselling novel about scandalous secrets and star-crossed lovers. On the evening of 15 June 1915, the great and the good of British society have gathered in Brussels at what is to become one of the most tragic parties in history – the Duchess of Richmond’s ball. For this is the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, and many of the handsome young men attending the ball will find themselves, the very next day, on the battlefield.
For Sophia Trenchard, the young and beautiful daughter of Wellington’s chief supplier, this night will change everything. But it is only twenty-five years later, when the upwardly mobile Trenchards move into the fashionable new area of Belgravia, that the true repercussions of that moment will be felt. For in this new world, where the aristocracy rub shoulders with the emerging nouveau riche, there are those who would prefer the secrets of the past to remain buried…

November Meeting: Thursday, November 16th at 7:00 pm (St. Francis Hall)


Hospitality At Its Finest

A friendly smile. A welcoming spirit. A helping hand. These are some of the best qualities of Sacred Heart. And nowhere can you experience them firsthand than at an event managed by one of Sacred Heart’s Hospitality Ministries.

Bake Someone Happy? New Parishioner Welcome Dinners? Coffee & Donuts? These are just a few of the ministries under our Director of Hospitality, Gail Lewis. Under her guiding hand, we’ve expanded our offering under Hospitality with the goal of building up the community of Sacred Heart – to get to know one another, to celebrate our strengths, to comfort those in times of need, and to truly provide a sense of belonging with our fellow parishioners.

As Gail says, “We are the face of the body of Christ to those God sends our way. We help our guests feel the love of God by truly welcoming them into God’s house through friendly, authentic, and gracious service. I am blessed to have a wonderful group of volunteers who are dedicated to making Sacred Heart Parish one of belonging, welcoming, and inclusivity.”



And what does parishioner Aprile Black think? As a member of our New Parishioner Welcome Committee, she volunteers her time meeting new parishioners four to five times a year. “The New Parishioner Welcome Dinners are a great way for Sacred Heart Church to welcome individuals and families who have recently joined our parish. I have been a part of these enjoyable dinner parties for a couple of years. Each of the events is themed (Italian, Bar-B-Q, etc.), and each volunteer brings an assigned appetizer, salad, or dessert. We arrive early to set up St. Francis Hall and to greet our New Parishioner guests with a name badge and a glass of wine, soda, or juice box. A good bit of mingling is always a part of these events as we get to know our new parishioners, and they get to meet other new parishioners over good food. By the time the food has been blessed, we have made new friends, and they have learned a bit about the ministries offered at our beautiful church. I enjoy being busy, and I like to party. This ministry is a good fit for me. I have met so many nice volunteers and new parishioners that I definitely feel that I am getting more than I am giving to this ministry. A covered dish, some dish washing, it’s all good! If you are one of those people who have always wanted to be more involved, this parish has a wealth of ministries where you can help out, just ask!”

Our welcoming and friendly attitude is more evident as more and more families register with us. Pam Ferron, our Director of Parish Life & Communications, says, “Our New Parishioner Welcome Committee hosted its first dinner in December 2012 and now hosts about 5 dinners per year. There is an unbelievable energy at each and every dinner and I truly love attending them. I enjoy hearing what brought the individual or family to Sacred Heart, and more importantly, why they decided to come back and register with us. One of the most common responses is how welcoming we are. It makes me proud to be a part of our Sacred Heart family.”

Is meeting new people, forming stronger relationships, or helping out with delicious meals something that interests you? Take a look at all of our Hospitality ministries. They would love to have you join them!

To view all of our Hospitality ministries and to sign up, click here.

Journey With Us for Holy Week

Holy Week is a journey into the Heart of the Gospel. We hope that you will make room for God during your busy life as it intersects with this Holy Week. It is a matter of the heart. It is at the center of our Christian Faith.

If you’ve never attended the events of Holy Week, here’s a little bit more about them, including what you can expect. To read more about the Triduum, click here.

Holy Thursday
– Mass of the Lord’s Supper – 7:00 pm in the church

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated after sundown on Holy Thursday.  We remember that at the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus offered his Body and Blood in the appearance of bread and wine and shared it with his apostles.  The Mass also commemorates the institution of three pillars of the Catholic Faith: the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the sacramental priesthood, and the Mass.

What You Can Expect:
– The priest will wash the feet of select parishioners as a memorial of Jesus’ actions with his own disciples (John 13:4-9) and as a symbolic reminder of our call to service of others as Jesus’ disciples.
– While the Mass begins with our normal ritual opening, there is no ending for this Mass.  In a way, the Holy Thursday celebration, which begins the Triduum, does not come to its conclusion until the end of the Easter Vigil.
– At the end of the liturgy, the Eucharist is reserved outside the main sanctuary of the church, the altar is stripped, and there is a bareness as we wait for what transpires on this long night when we watch and wait with Jesus.

Good Friday
– Stations of the Cross – 12:10 pm in the church
– Celebration of the Lord’s Passion – 7:00 pm in the church

No Mass is celebrated on Good Friday; instead, a special liturgy is celebrated that commemorates the Passion and Death of Jesus on the cross.  Holy Communion is distributed from hosts that were consecrated the day before at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

What You Can Expect:
– The central narrative of the liturgy is the reading of the Passion Narrative from the Gospel of John (John 18:1-19:42).
– A central part of the celebration is the veneration of the Cross, in which people come forward to reverence the cross upon which our Savior died.

Holy Saturday & The Easter Vigil
– 8:00 pm in the church

Just like Good Friday, there is no daily Mass offered on Holy Saturday.  The Easter Vigil Mass, which takes place after sundown on Holy Saturday, properly belongs to Easter Sunday, since liturgically, each day begins at sundown on the previous day.  It is considered the “pinnacle of all holy vigils” as it commemorates the holy night when Jesus rose from the dead.  On this night, the Church keeps vigil, waiting for the resurrection of the Lord, and celebrates the sacraments of Christian initiation for all RCIA members.

What You Can Expect:
– The vigil celebration begins in total darkness when the new Paschal Candle is solemnly processed into the church – the Light of the Risen Christ overcoming the darkness of death.
– The Elect enter the church clothed in the purple robes of our Lenten observance and without candles. After they emerge from the waters of Baptism they will receive lighted baptismal candles (“Receive the Light of Christ”) and will change into white robes symbolizing their union with the Risen Christ in the Sacrament of Baptism.
– That same evening others, already baptized in the Christian tradition, will profess their faith in union with the Catholic Church and join us and their newly baptized brothers and sisters at the table of the Eucharist.

Get Involved This Lent!

Are you looking to do more this Lent beyond giving something up? If whatever you give up makes more room in your life for God, then let’s be intentional about dedicating that space for God.

Sacred Heart has several ways you can get involved during this Lenten season, and we encourage you to join us in one or more of the suggestions below. Happy Lenten journey!


Bible Study Series: Forgiven – The Transforming Power of Confession
Join us for a 4-week, video-based study from to create “A Lent to Remember.” “Forgiven” is a beautiful presentation on the transforming power of Confession. No matter what you have done, no matter how long you have been away, Jesus is waiting for you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation!

Beginning March 14th, Bible Study will host the 4-week program. If you are unable to join Bible Study on Tuesday evenings, we still encourage you to participate. You can watch individually, as a family, or create your own small group with neighbors and friends. has all the resources you need.

Tuesdays, March 14th – April 4th
7:00 pm / San Damiano Center

Best Lent Ever
We all know the things that make us happy, but we don’t always do them. Lent is an opportunity to change that. This year we invite you to do something different.

Sign up for Best Lent Ever, a FREE, video-based email program featuring internationally acclaimed speaker and New York Times bestselling author Matthew Kelly. From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, Matthew will help you identify what stands between you and happiness…and what to do about it. Are you ready for your best Lent ever? Sign up!

best lent ever
Soup Suppers & Stations of the Cross
Every Friday night during Lent, come join us in the St. Francis Hall for Soup Suppers followed by Stations of the Cross. The Soup Supper begins at 6:30 pm and Stations of the Cross start at 7:30 pm in the church.

What are the Stations of the Cross?


Parking on March 5th


Please be advised that this weekend the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts will be at Curtis Hixon Park. Due to the increased traffic in and around downtown Tampa, parking may be more difficult to find.

Parking options in and around Sacred Heart can be found here.

Please note: The Parking Garage facility next door to the church will not be available for parishioners during the 7:30 am and 9:00 am Masses. It will be available for the remaining morning Masses at 10:30 am and 12:00 pm. Please let the attendant know you are going to Mass, and you will not be charged. If you plan to stay after Mass to attend the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, please pay the posted rate. Thank you.

Donate to Our Silent Auction

Save the Date! Our 5th Annual Sacred Heart Gala will be on Saturday, February 25th.

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In addition to the wonderful dinner and dancing, we will also be hosting a Silent Auction. If you have a business and would like to donate an item to our silent auction, please bring your donation to the Sacred Heart Gift & Book Store during normal business hours. Or if you know a business or establishment that you frequent often, we would welcome their donation too.

Donation forms can be downloaded here. Please drop off all donations no later than Saturday, February 4th.

If you have any questions, please contact our Event Planning Committee member, Angie Ducker. Thank you in advance!


Six Easy Steps to Discernment

To belong 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.

God calls each one of us to a work of love that fills your life with purpose and joy. Discerning your charisms can help you discover that call. Charisms are spiritual gifts that are given to us to be given away, to be used and, in the using are a sign of God’s loving presence in the world. Discerning your gifts can be done in “six easy steps.”


Step #1: Pray for Guidance
The discernment process involves listening for God’s direction and guidance for our lives. In order to hear Him, we need to be tuned into His voice through prayer, Scripture, and the Sacraments. The New Testament describes charisms in 1 Cor 12 and Romans 12 that include service, wisdom, knowledge, teaching, administration, helping, and pastoring. This all points to the breadth of talents and abilities needed to build and be the Kingdom of God in our time and place. Praying for God’s guidance will help you to see more clearly your gifts, talents, interests, and the, “Hey, I might like to try that,” opportunities available. In addition, understanding your charisms can help you simplify your life and avoid burnout. If you know your gifts, it becomes easier to say, “no” when people ask you for things that you don’t really have to give. And because it is unusually energizing and fulfilling to exercise a charism, you are much less likely to burn out if you are working in your area of giftedness.

Step #2: List Your Options
Now that you have taken it all into prayer, make a list of your options, so that you can survey the choices in front of you. Our bulletin for our Mass of Belonging on October 4th is not going to be our regular “bulletin,” but rather a worship aid and a stewardship magazine that lists the ministries and groups that we have at Sacred Heart. That list will be a good place to start, but you may discover in your discernment process a call to start a new ministry that we don’t offer.

Step #3: Ask Questions
Start examining the options. You can continue to take it all into prayer. The answers to these questions will (hopefully) start pointing you in some direction. We’re discerning through these options along with God, so don’t blaze through the questions on your own. Take them to prayer, and ask God what He thinks. Ask Him to help you answer these questions. Be with Him in silence, read scripture, give Him a chance to talk. You can start with the questions below, and ask others as they present themselves. Also, consider asking a friend who knows you well to help you identify your gifts. Some questions to get you started:
– What are the needs of the church and its current ministries?
– Do I feel drawn to any of the ministries more than others?
– Do I see a gap in ministries offered?

Step #4: Next Action Steps
For the choices that remain, what are the next steps you would take to explore these options? What actions can you take to check them out? As we mentioned, we will have four ministry fairs in the weeks following the Mass of Belonging. At each fair, there will be people that can help answer any questions you may have and give you some background on the ministry you may be interested in. Continue to pray.

Step #5: Choose & Trust
Hopefully, an option has risen to the top. You don’t have to be 110% convinced that this is exactly the will of God and the absolute best decision you’ll ever make. As long as you’re spending time in prayer, remaining close to the Sacraments, and following God’s peace, you are on the right path. Now make your choice, and trust in God.

Step #6: Just Do It…And Learn
Once you have chosen, start and give it a while. Continue to reflect upon your involvement in ministry in prayer and in the Sacraments. The entire process will help you to deepen your faith, see more clearly, and grow ever closer to God. And then see Step 1. The process never really ends.

How will you get involved? Visit our Ministry page to explore all of your options to give of your time and talent to the larger parish community. We would love to have you.