Labors of Love | Friar Reflections | The Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

It is hard to believe that summer is coming to an end, and Labor Day is upon us. Faith Formation, along with many other parish ministries and groups are starting up again following their summer breaks. A couple weeks ago, we held our informational ministry fair as a kickoff to the seasonal change. I do want to thank everyone who took the time to visit the fair, and especially the volunteers who were at each of the stations. You did an outstanding job advertising our the many aspects that make up our parish life here at Sacred Heart. If you did not have the opportunity to sign up for a ministry, or if you were unable to attend, please contact the parish office and we’ll be happy to connect you to our ministry leaders.

You will notice this week that the southern-most doorway at our front entrance is covered with plywood. I mentioned a few months ago that we would be resorting and repairing our doorways, and I am pleased that this process has begun. This is not a matter of just putting some varnish or sealant on these doors and calling it a day. For the restoration, our contractor must remove the doors entirely and work on them at their shop.

Many of the doors have sun damage and small cracks in need of repair. These doors are 117 years old, and our goal is to have them for 100 more. The frames of the doors have also settled over that time, and issues with the frames will also be addressed. Each set of doors will take between four and six weeks for repair, with one set of doors being repaired at a time. When restoration begins on the handicap accessible doors at the side entrance along Twiggs St., a temporary door will be put in its place. The estimated cost for the complete restoration of our entry doors will be about $36,000.

The main entry doors will take between 4-6 weeks for each set to be restored.

You’ll likely also notice the lack of holy water in the fonts by the church doors. We have seen a recent uptick in our neighbors without homes using the fonts as wash basins for their clothes or face. For both the safety of our parishioners and our homeless, we will test a dispenser for holy water that we have borrowed from our friends at the St. Jude Cathedral in St. Petersburg. It is stationed near the main entryway, and when tested during last weekend’s Masses, it seemed to work out nicely, however some did confuse the dispenser with a hand sanitizing station. Wood stands are made for these stations that help differentiate them from other dispensers. If we chose to move forward with their use, each stand or station is a $300-$500 expense.

On the left, the holy water dispenser we are testing. On the right, wood dispensers that we will consider.

Finally, I’d like to provide an update for our new reconciliation alcove. To remind you, we are enclosing the area near the stairwell with glass to ensure privacy for those seeking confession. We are anticipating the installation of the glass in a few weeks. While many parishes hold reconciliation once or twice a week, we provide the sacrament Monday through Saturday, so having a more private space is needed. The space would also be available for use during weekend Masses. The estimated cost for this project is $9,000.

Confessions will be more private once the alcove is enclosed with glass.

Our clergy, staff, and volunteers are always looking for ways to preserve our church, enhance your ability to take part in the Mass and sacraments fully, and engage with parishioners and the community through outreach and ministries. We hope you see the fruits of these labors very soon.

Peace and all good,
Fr. Mike