Category Archives: Parish News

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.

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.

Such a profound change of heart unfolds gradually in an ongoing dialogue between a believer and God. This dialogue involves the privileged encounter with God in the scriptures so that we might feel what the “heart of God” feels and that we might deliberate with the “mind of Christ.” In this process, we come to appreciate how human thought and activity is evaluated from God’s perspective. We quickly discover that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not always our ways (cf. Is 55:8). Another example of God’s unique perspective on the human order is found in Psalm 34 when the psalmist proclaims “the Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Ps 34:1). Adopting this view into our Lenten dialogue impels us to ask ourselves – “do we hear the same cry?”

This perspective and the numerous questions that we encounter in our reflection on the revealed Word of God require some assistance. The Prophet Isaiah is a regular companion for believers reflecting on God’s Word during Lent. Isaiah asked the people of Israel to consider the difference between their approach and God’s approach to the practices of prayer, fasting, and giving alms. The difference is seen first in a series of questions that are posed:

Why do we fast, and you do not see it? Afflict ourselves and you take no note of it?… Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: that a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? (Is 58:3,5)

Then the difference is made clearer in the challenging response that is given:

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them and not turning your back on your own Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and I will say: Here I am! (Is 58: 6-7,9)

As we enter into this forty-day period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we must challenge ourselves, as the psalmist did and as Isaiah did, to see, to judge, and to act upon the moral dimensions of the numerous social and political issues that surround us on a daily basis. We needt he “heart of God” and the “mind of Christ.” While the list of political and social issues is extensive, it certainly includes: establishing appropriate and humane immigration policies; securing accessible and affordable healthcare for all; eradicating the denial of civil rights based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs, and sexual/gender identity; protecting the earth and our natural resources; overturning unjust economic policies that widen the gap between the rich and the poor; stemming the rise of violence; and avoiding unchecked defense spending that promotes an arms race and offers a false sense of security undermining global peace.

When we considered these types of issues, our religious and moral convictions can, and often do, come into conflict with popularly-held political and social proposals – leaving us with the uncomfortable mixture of the “forbidden topics” of politics and religion. The ever-present temptation with such issues is to avoid public, and even private, discourse about them because if we dare express our view we might further tensions with our conversation partners that could lead to disagreements and breaks in relationships. Sadly, over-concern about potential disagreements can blind us to the serious moral concerns that are inherent in the mix of these issues and lead to an uncomfortable, unnecessary, and, in some instances, immoral silence.

Roman Catholic social teaching can be particularly helpful in clarifying our vision and strengthening our voice and resolve. The words, “politics” and “religion,” can be understood in a broader context than we usually hear them addressed. Within the Catholic framework of social thought, the term “politics” is never limited to petty partisan squabbles, nor is the term “religion” reduced to simplistic propositions concerning the validity of claims about the superiority of one belief system over and against another. Rather, both of these terms can and should be understood in relationship to the concept of the common good.

Informed discussions about political realities should draw meaning from the classical use of the word “polis” which refers to the “city” or “public space” wherein deliberation and discourse take place about those matters which touch upon shared human concerns or the common good. Our brother Ken Himes, O.F.M. brings needed clarity to this point (and many others) in his book, Christianity and the Political Order Conflict, Cooptation, and Cooperation, Orbis Books 2013. Ken’s book is filled with examples of how the concept of the common good, in history and in our times, has shaped the Church’s outlook and action upon the numerous issues that form the political and social agenda.

The concept of the common good in Catholic social thought is not only a political reality but it is also a religious reality with roots in creation theology. A relational God (Father, Son, and Spirit) creates human beings to be in relationship with God, with other human beings, and with the entire created order. The Second Vatican Council’s document, Gaudium et Spes – Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (1965) understands the common good as: the sum of those conditions of social life whereby persons, families, and associations more adequately and readily attain their own perfection. (cf. # 74). Recently, Pope Francis, in his encyclical, Laudato Si On Care for Our Common Home, (2015), shared this perspective and developed it to be inclusive of personal, social and ecological concerns. The pope proposed an “integrated approach.” Applying the traditional concept of the common good to the current environmental crisis, he writes:

We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature. (cf. # 139)

Creation, then is the appropriate theological starting point for advancing the value of human community and the value of shared natural resources as part of a concerted effort to promote the common good. A good rule of thumb to remember is: those activities that enhance the quality of human community and foster the good of the created order are deemed moral goods and worthy of pursuit; while those activities that unjustly exclude people from community, or exploit the resources of the earth are considered moral evils.

Complementing and building upon the foundation of creation, Catholic social teaching also discusses the concept of the common good in relation to the love command articulated in the Gospel. Jesus charges his disciples to be known for their love of God and their love of neighbor. The love that Jesus calls us to express is not narrow and limited, but rather broad and universal. We recognize this perspective in the narrative response that is given in Luke’s Gospel to the famous question: “Who is my neighbor?” As we know, the neighbor, in the love command, is not confined to one’s family, friends, or fellow citizens. No, the neighbor is – the stranger, the immigrant, the refugee, the poor, the sick, the neglected, and the over-looked – in short – the “little ones” (minores) who are forced to live life on the margins of society (cf. Lk 10: 29 – 37). As followers of Francis of Assisi, we proudly identify ourselves with the minores and we must then “never turn our back on our own.” We must speak and act on behalf of the common good of all.

The Lenten journey toward metanoia is indeed a spiritual exercise because it involves both a new way of being and a new way of acting. However, such a journey should never be “spiritualized” in the distorted sense of being disconnected or out of touch with the world around us. Life in our fraternities and ministries demands that we pay attention to the social and political issues that touch the common good. We can only proceed on this journey with God’s grace and with moral courage. If we are to see, judge and act as Jesus did we must be prepared to embrace the cross in all its dimensions. The cross that marked our foreheads on Ash Wednesday must transform us from within and lead us to act with the “heart of God” and the “mind of Christ” so as to foster the common good.

Kevin Mullen, O.F.M.
Provincial Minister, Holy Name Province
Lent 2017

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).

The recent actions of President Donald J. Trump regarding the treatment of immigrants and refugees entering our country have been troubling to a wide-ranging group of citizens across the United States. As Franciscans, we are morally outraged by and resolutely denounce the January 27, 2017 Executive Order addressing the US immigrant and refugee admission program.

While the action’s stated intention is to protect the U.S. from terrorism, it is ill conceived and counter to our country’s founding principles. Furthermore, whether intended or not, it is perceived as targeting Muslims and as suggesting that all Islamic immigrants and refugees are suspect.  This is an affront to the human dignity of our refugee sisters and brothers fleeing persecution and war, and the many immigrants who hope for a better life on our shores. We believe that the order as written and implemented sows division and animosity, making the solidarity that leads to security less possible.

We feel compelled to add our support to the many voices from various sectors of our society who also have denounced this Executive Order: refugees and migrants themselves, business leaders, civic and political leaders, public personalities, and religious leaders including many US Catholic Bishops.

Some of our ministries have been fortunate to welcome refugees into their communities, working with Church organizations contracted by the US government after the lengthy (usually two to four years) vetting process already in place.   Still other ministries have been places of welcome for immigrants, carrying out the Biblical mandate to “welcome the stranger.”

Pope Francis, during his 2015 visit to the U.S., reminded Americans of the importance of our own identity as immigrants. He said, “As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.” Our country, at its best, has cherished and embodied this decree to “welcome the stranger” by proudly embracing its identity as a nation of immigrants.

Considering this heritage and in solidarity with our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters, we Franciscans commit ourselves to:

  • Advocate for the withdrawal of the January 27 Executive Order;
  • Prepare to be communities that offer hospitality to our refugee brothers and sisters; and
  • Continue to reach out to and deepen our commitment to solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.

We pray that God’s wisdom will prevail and will lead all of us to seek the Common Good.

Franciscan Friars (OFM) of the United States of America

Very Rev. James Gannon, OFM
Assumption BVM Province
Franklin, WI

Very Rev. Kevin Mullen, OFM
Holy Name Province
New York, NY

Very Rev. Robert Campagna, OFM
Immaculate Conception Province
New York, NY

Very Rev. Jack Clark Robinson, OFM
Our Lady of Guadalupe Province
Albuquerque, NM

Very Rev. William Spencer, OFM
Sacred Heart Province
St. Louis, MO

Very Rev. David Gaa, OFM
Saint Barbara Province
Oakland, CA

Very Rev. Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM
Saint John the Baptist Province
Cincinnati, OH

In addition, President Trump issued two multi-pronged orders on border security and immigration enforcement including: the authorization of a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the stripping of federal grant money to sanctuary cities; hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents; ending “catch-and-release” policies for illegal immigrants; and reinstating local and state immigration enforcement partnerships. The Executive Orders include:

  • Border Security
  • Interior Enforcement
  • Refugee Resettlement (above)

A summary of the Executive Orders

Border Enforcement EO “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements”

  • Moves forward with construction of a wall at the Mexico-US border
  • Increases the number of Border Patrol Officers
  • Increases detention facilities and detention itself
  • Limits and narrows protections for asylum seekers
  • Fast-tracks deportations

Interior Enforcement EO  “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”

  • Expands the priorities DHS will use for who to apprehend and deport; now includes any criminal offense (e.g. driving with a suspended license) or a person deemed a “safety risk” by an immigration officer
  • Attempts to defund “sanctuary cities” from federal funding if the city is not in full compliance with 8 U.S. Code 1373 (sharing of information regarding immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of people)
  • Deputizes local law enforcement to enforce immigration law
  • Reinstates “Secure Communities” which allows racial profiling
  • Begins process to impose civil fines and penalties on those facilitating undocumented presence in the US

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?

There is quite a bit to keep up with. Would you like to know more about the Mass and your Catholic faith? Here’s your chance – join us this Saturday, January 21 st at 10:00 am for a “teaching Mass.” It will be an opportunity to hear questions and answers about our celebration of the Mass – and for you to ask your own questions! And one question you may have is, “Will this be a sacramental Mass?” No, it will be an opportunity to learn, ask questions, and deepen your understanding of our celebration of Mass and the Eucharist.