All posts by FrGeorge

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.

Continue reading Franciscan Lenten Reflection

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).

Continue reading Franciscan Statement on the Recent Executive Orders

Teaching Mass

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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?

Continue reading Teaching Mass

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.

Merry Christmas

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“O Come, O Come Emmanuel…” Such are the words of one of our most popular of Advent songs. The word “Emmanuel” comes from the Hebrew עִמָּנוּאֵל, which literally means “God with us.” There is something about the title and the song that bespeaks of us remaining in place and God coming to us. And that is true. Christmas is a celebration that God so loved the world he sent his only Son to be with us and become one of us in all things. In our Christmas celebrations, we will gather and honor the Christ Child in the manger, celebrating this historical event of more than 2000 years ago.

The poet Jessica Powers (1963) wrote a poem describing how she sought, but did not find, the Child upon the straw. Only the ox and the donkey were there. Feeling an inner emptiness, she went out and found the Child in the wide and warm world of everywhere, wherever a heart was beating. It was then that she returned and was able to fully experience the Christ Child in Bethlehem, knowing the depth of the gift we have been given.

May you already know the Christ in the “wide and warm world,” so that this Christmas you may more clearly recognize the Christmas Child in the manger. May you deeply and profoundly give thanks to “God with us,” Emmanuel.

Forming Moral Conscience

The 2016 elections are upon us. Will our choices be the fruit of the lifelong moral reflection, or will it be more influenced by the current tides and winds of political hurricanes? What we can offer for your consideration is the guidance of the US Bishops and some reflections from the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province on key moral issues we face as an electorate. Take some time this week and consider these reflections as part of your ongoing formation of the moral conscience. Continue reading Forming Moral Conscience

Sacred Heart Summer Series – The Spirituality of Sacred Icons

In Communion With the Divine Beauty: A Presentation on the Spirituality of Sacred Icons

lefouOur special Summer Series is back! Join Fr. Michael for a four-week presentation on “The Spirituality of Sacred Icons.”

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Each one prays to God according to his own light.” Some pray with words and litanies, others with movement and hymns, and others with sacred images or icons.  For centuries, icons have been a significant part of worship in Eastern Orthodox Churches. They are known as “windows” into the spiritual world, allowing us to glimpse that world and be in communion with the beauty of the Divine. More recently, however, people from other faith traditions have become enthralled by the beauty and mystery of icons. Today, icons can be found in churches of various denominations, houses, museums, and even hospitals.

Class topics and descriptions can be found below. We hope you can join us each week!

Understanding the Basics of Iconography
– July 12th at 7:00 pm
– San Damiano Center

This session will provide a brief history and background of these sacred images, including the materials and processes used to create them. Fr. Michael will also help us interpret their visual and spiritual language.

sophiaIcons of Christ
– July 19th at 7:00 pm
– San Damiano Center

This session will highlight the different icons of Christ, including the history and background of some of these sacred works. Fr. Michael will also discuss the visual and spiritual language of these different icons and present a pastoral reflection.

Icons of Mary, The Mother of God
– July 26th at 7:00 pm
– San Damiano Center

This session will feature the different icons of Mary, including their history and background. Fr. Michael will also discuss the visual and spiritual language of these different icons and present a pastoral reflection.

Icons of Saints and Holy People
– August 2nd at 7:00 pm
– San Damiano Center

This session will focus on the different icons of Saints and Holy People as painted by Fr. Michael himself, as well as Br. Robert Lentz, OFM, his teacher and mentor. He will also discuss the visual and spiritual language of these different icons and present a pastoral reflection.

Are You An Alzheimer’s Caregiver?

Alzheimers-CaregiverNancy Parente from the Alzheimer’s Association of the Florida Gulf Coast will present two classes on caregiver support and education, as well as provide references for services that are available here in the Tampa Bay area for both the patient and the caregiver. Class details are below. We hope you can join us.

Tuesday, July 5th – 7:00 pm
– St. Francis Hall

Tuesday, August 2nd – 7:00 pm
– St. Francis Hall