Walking Hand in Hand | From the Desk of the Pastor | March 2024

O, Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Your infinite wisdom and love,
You remind us that we are the Body of Christ;

many parts, one body, united in our faith in Jesus Christ.

We humbly come before You, seeking unity within our parish
and ask You to strengthen and sustain all those who volunteer in our parish.

Empower us, O God, to set aside our differences and to come together,
we focus on the mission and vision You have set before us.

As we walk hand in hand, let our unity serve as a beacon of hope to the world,
a testimony of Your love and a reflection of Your divine grace.

Oh God, we trust in Your guidance and ask that You unite us in our mission,
as we continue to spread Your word and serve Your people.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Dear Parishioners,

On Ash Wednesday we handed out a prayer card with our Parish Ministry Prayer (above) on it for people to pray a prayer of mission and unity throughout the season of Lent. As we pray, it is a reminder that we are not alone, we have God and one another and it is that oneness that we celebrate at the Eucharist every week. 

This weekend, we had an outreach ministry retreat where everyone was invited to attend. The theme of the retreat was “We are the Body of Christ; Many Parts, One Body.”  The theme was a reminder to us of all the many ministries here at Sacred Heart, yet we are one parish. 

Our parish advisory board last year introduced new mission, vision, and value statements.  These statements aid parish leadership in the development of priorities for the parish and specifically the North Campus property. These statements can also help ministries define themselves and how they can contribute to the greater parish vision.

Parish Mission StatementTo cultivate a vibrant community of faith by creating meaningful connections with both God and each other.

Parish Vision Statement: To be the faith-filled heartbeat of Tampa, welcoming one another, supporting each other, and modeling Christ’s love to all those we meet.

Parish Value Statements:

1. We are a joyful, loving, and vibrant Body of Christ, finding inspiration in our diversity and delight in our parish friends and family. (Franciscan Value: appreciation for beauty, reverence for all creation)

2. We are welcoming, approachable, kind, and inclusive – not only to those within our walls, but also to those who live along the margins. (Franciscan Value: affirmation of the unique worth of each person)

3. We are passionately compassionate and generous with our means – intentional in our service, driven in our actions, and devoted to our social responsibilities. (Franciscan Value: service to the poor and marginalized)

4. We are proudly Franciscan in spirit, embracing our unique heritage and the traditions passed down through generations before us, yet always striving to change and evolve. We’re never done with our work or ready to give up. (Franciscan Value: faith in a personal and provident God)

Long-time parishioner and the executive director of the nearby Franciscan Center, Brian Lemoi, led our ministry retreat this weekend. During the session, he discussed an excerpt from the non-profit organization, Renew International, known for creating programs like Theology on Tap, which connect faith and life:

“Act with intentionality. Intentionality means doing things with a purpose and a plan. We as Church can be intentional about ‘our ministries’ by doing the following:

  • building a spirit of hospitality into our plans (for our parish volunteers and recipients of our ministry services)
  • ensuring that all parishioners understand the plan and their roles in it.

In looking at that statement, the parish advisory board has and will continue to purposely plan for the future of Sacred Heart and we will find ways to share that plan with the various ministries and parishioners. Lemoi ended that excerpt with “taking the time to plan assures that our good intentions are carried out.”

The parish advisory board members are: Larry Bevis, Cindy Burnette, Sarah Daniels, Fr. Zack Elliott, OFM, Sam Ferlita, Fr. Mike Jones, OFM, Stephen Krist, Helen Lukavec, Lynda Marsh, Tony Miranda, Laura Prather (chair), and Felix Vega (meets quarterly).

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Mike Jones, OFM