All posts by Rob Boelke

A New Way to Communicate the Good News | Staff Reflections | The Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners, 

Back in August, the Bishop’s office announced a resolution to a key item presented through the recent synodal process. They found from their synthesis of the sessions a desire from our region’s parishioners for greater synergy, community, and communications. That resolution takes place today, as we celebrate the first-ever Diocesan Media Day, instituted to raise awareness of our diocesan media ministries, including Spirit FM and the Gulf Coast Catholic.

Many will be familiar with these outlets and the great efforts they make to share the Good News, but in the off chance you were not aware, please take the time to find Spirit at 90.5 on your FM dial and subscribe to the weekly newsletter at gulfcoastcatholic.org. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 states “Test everything; retain what is good.” I can assure you will retain these as part of your daily and weekly routines.

As a child of the information age, spending the entirety of my 13- year career in media, communications, and the like, I take heart seeing our pastoral office provide a day of emphasis for these outlets. We need to remember anything that communicates a message is considered media, and sometimes (yes, sometimes), it can even be uplifting! We regularly produce media for you here at Sacred Heart, with the intent to inform and enrich your connections to both the Gospels and our parish. From this web article that you are reading my thoughts from this week to our live-stream Mass, or our social media posts, Flocknotes, and emails letting you know about upcoming liturgical events, our media production is already robust, and we intend to do much, much more.

We recently completed our own version of synod-like “Listening Sessions,” tailored to focus on our parish and its needs, as opposed to the greater Church. Similarly, we heard a desire for more media, specifically with a Franciscan focus, for parishioners to gain a greater understanding of the order from a theological perspective, as well as to develop a greater Franciscan identity within our parish. The Friars and staff are ready to answer that call.

You’ll have heard us mention before the need to prioritize new media (video/social/ podcasts) in previous columns, especially when addressing the topic of evangelization. We must be readily available through multiple digital outlets to meet the demographic changes and population growth within our parish boundaries, in addition to the parishioner requests previously mentioned. I am happy to say we are finally approaching that next step. Recently, the parish hired a new parish communications assistant, backfilling a vacant position. With this additional help in place, we can begin building out a studio space within the parish office. We will start with producing some short-form informational content, as well as weekly podcasts, featuring the friars discussing their reflections on the week’s Gospel or lay leaders telling the parish about their ministries, and grow from there.

If you are interested in supporting these new ventures, please reach out to me directly via email.

Peace and all good,

Rob Boelke
Manager, Communications

Online Mass | The Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hymns for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Opening Song: Here I am, Lord G 844
Penitential Act: Glory to God: Mass of Joy & Peace (Alonso) G 250

Responsorial Psalm 146:
I will praise the Lord all my life, sing praise to my God while I live.
(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2016, 2022, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Salisbury Alleluia (Walker)
Preparation of the Gifts: Christ, be our light (Farrell) G 652
Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231, 234, 238
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation G 240
Communion Song: The Church of Christ in Every Age G 847
Dismissal: How Great Thou Art G 630

Links to Resources for Mass: 

  • Readings for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 25, 2022
  • Lyrics and Mass Order for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 25, 2022

Do Cheaters Prosper? | Friar Reflections | The Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

I’ve always found the parable in today’s Gospel, according to Luke (16: 1-13), problematic to say the least. What we have here is another person, like the prodigal son in last week’s Gospel, who squandered another’s property. What is so galling is that, in the end, he seems to get away with it “and the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently” when the steward “doctors the books.”

It seems that the old adage “cheaters never prosper” isn’t true in this case! Yet in today’s first reading from Amos (8:4-7), the prophet warns that “the Lord will never forget” those who cheat the poor and needy. What’s going on?

Years ago, when studying theology, specifically the Hebrew prophets, I told my professor it seems as if the prophets were warning that if there was not justice in the land, there would be no true and acceptable worship. She smiled. Late in the year, I used this in a presentation and one of the women who heard me had bumper stickers made: “NO JUSTICE NO WORSHIP.” I gave them to members in the class (other religious) to do with them what they wanted. One person said that he put it on the outside of his bedroom door. The next morning, he saw that someone had torn it off. Oh well…no one likes a prophet’s message.

Perhaps the readings seem to contradict each other so that we might ask ourselves, “Whom do we serve, God or mammon?”

Mammon is not just keeping tabs on our bank accounts and investments, but includes power and privilege. Perhaps the Gospel is inviting us to take a look at who we really are (“I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg”), not who we pretend to be. Maybe while looking at ourselves we might also discover that our actions, whether public or private, reveal something of our character. Not to mention that in the time spent reflecting on ourselves, we have less time to criticize others. Self reflection leading to self-awareness might be the path to self-conversion and a greater imitation of Christ, which is the goal of Franciscan prayer.

Cheaters might prosper in this world, but not in the next. Yet all cheaters, and all sinners, have the opportunity to change their attitudes and behaviors with the grace of God. Let us pray for the grace to be open to change more and more into the image of Christ and thus live out our baptismal identity and mission.

May the Lord give you peace,

Fr. Steve

Online Mass | The Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hymns for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Opening Song: A Place Called Home G 891
Penitential Act: Glory to God: Mass of Joy & Peace (Alonso) G 250

Responsorial Psalm 113:
From the rising of the sun to its setting, praised be the name of the Lord.
(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2016, 2022, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Salisbury Alleluia (Walker)
Preparation of the Gifts: Send Down the Fire G 593
Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231, 234, 238
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation G 240
Communion Song: We Will Serve the Lord G 827
Dismissal: How Great Thou Art G 630

Links to Resources for Mass: 

  • Readings for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 18, 2022
  • Lyrics and Mass Order for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 18, 2022
  • Contemporary Music for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 18, 2022

October’s Giving From the Heart Drive

Sacred Heart is holding its latest Giving from the Heart drive through donation event on Saturday, October 8 at the North Campus main lot from 10 a.m. to noon. The October event will benefit both our Hands of Hope ministry and Love INC of Metro Tampa.

For nearly a decade, our Hands of Hope ministry gathers together each Saturday at our North Campus to prepare a meal for our homeless neighbors. They then go into the city and distribute said meal while offering friendship and fellowship to the people they serve. 

Love INC of Metro Tampa is a nonprofit whose mission is to mobilize Christian churches and their members to transform lives through outreach volunteer service. Sacred Heart was one of the six founding churches of Love INC and since its launch in 2017, our parishioners have served as founders, board members, Help Center volunteers, Resource Navigators and professionals offering their pro bono services to our most vulnerable neighbors. Love INC will be collecting for a pair of initiatives that assist their clientele: Home Beautification Program -&- Lullaby Ministry.

The home beautification project exists to help senior homeowners in the Tampa Bay area get their lawn and property back in code with the city. What senior homeowners can struggle to even accomplish, can be completed within hours by Love INC volunteers.  Once every other month, Love INC volunteers from various Church partners gather to work in people’s lawns. The Love INC Lullaby Ministry is dedicated to providing support and children’s items to Tampa Bay Area families that are going through a challenging time in their lives.

If you are interested in volunteering for our next Giving from the Heart donation drive, contact our Hands of Hope or Loving Hearts INC (SH’s affiliate ministry of Love INC) via email.

Below are lists from each organization highlighting the most needed items hoping to be collected during the drive.

Hands of Hope Needs

  • Non-perishable food items, such as rice, beans, canned vegetables, crackers, peanut butter
  • Toiletries and personal items, such as soap bars, small bottles of shampoo, deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, masks
  • Adult underwear, socks, and t-shirts

Love INC Needs:

  • Home Beautification Project: Safety Glasses, Trash Bags, Yard Gloves, Rakes, Coolers, Clean-Up Caddies, Twine, Shovels, Buckets, Pruners, Sunscreen, Brooms, Tarps
  • Lullaby Ministry: Diapers (all sizes), Walmart/Target Gift Cards (for families moving into housing purchasing essentials), Bus Passes, Monetary donations (to assist with rent)

We thank you in advance for your generosity and continued support!

(This page will be updated with additional donation needs and volunteer opportunities)

2022 Franciscan Celebrations | September 30 – October 7

“Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no one living can escape.” That line, written near Francis’s own embrace of Sister Bodily Death, reflects the importance and natural character of death in the life of all creation. St. Francis was not afraid of what would come at the end of his earthly life, choosing instead to recognize in that experience, not an end, but a transition from one way of living to another.

The Friars of Sacred Heart invite you to join them for a series of Franciscan celebrations, reflecting on that devotion and understanding of creation, as we observe the Transitus and The Feast of St. Francis.

Want to Learn More About the Transitus? Click Here

God’s Good Earth: Friday, September 30 | 7 p.m. | North Campus Auditorium
Our director of music, Philip Jakob, will lead an hour of prayer and music as part of the international observance of the Season of Creation, highlighting this year’s theme, “Listen to the Voice of Creation.”

Blessing of the Animals: Saturday, October 1 | 11:30 a.m. | North Campus Ellipse
Bring your animals and let us share God’s blessing of all creation. The Friars will be on hand to provide blessings to pets large and small, furry, finned, feathered or scaly.

Transitus of St. Francis: Monday, October 3 | 6:30 p.m. | Church
Every year, on the third evening of October, Franciscans ritually remember the passing of Francis of Assisi from this life during this liturgy, as a reminder to renew our own commitment to follow Christ in the way of the poor man of Assisi. A reception in St. Francis Hall will follow the liturgy.

St. Francis Day Celebrations: Friday, October 7 | Franciscan Center (3010 N. Perry Ave.)
The Franciscan Center is combining their annual St. Francis celebrations and Blessing of the Animals with the historic occasion of their 50th Anniversary.

  • Festivities begin with the “God’s Good Earth” music and prayer service at 4 p.m.
  • At 5 p.m., Members of the Franciscan Center and our Friars will gather to bless and dedicate a room with in the Center in the memory of Sr. Jeanne Williams, OSF.
  • At 6 p.m., City of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will be on hand to unveil a new historical marker celebrating the Franciscan Center’s 50 years as a place of peace, healing, and joy within our community.
  • At 6:30 p.m., our Friars will once again be available to bless the animals of our local community.

The event is free to the public, and will feature live music, pet-friendly vendors, food, exhibits, and family activities from the Franciscan Center’s riverfront grounds.

Lost and Later Found | Friar Reflections | The Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

God loves the just but does not ignore the sinner, for whom there is always a place in his kingdom. The church is not an exclusive club. As a matter of fact, there was a friar who referred to the church as a refuge for sinners.

The Pharisees seemed to resent God’s mercy, so Jesus answered their jeers in this week’s Gospel with a series of parables. The parable of the lost sheep does not deny the goodness of the virtuous majority but makes the point that there is a special place for the repentant sinner. The lost coin is important to the careful widow, and her joy at its recovery is shared because it is deeply felt. The sum may be modest, but its sentimental value matters to her a lot. We’re all V.I.P.s in God’s eyes, especially those who are lost and later found.

But there is another side to this story: the Prodigal Son “came to his senses.” He opened his eyes to see, his ears to hear; he reached out for help and got in touch with reality. The father’s welcome was extraordinary, but it could only happen because the son came back home. We, too, need to be willing to let God embrace us as we come to our senses. God’s mercy is there for any of us who turn to him with all our hearts.

The parable of the prodigal son is a classic of narrative skill that is timelessly relevant. We need to know that a loving God awaits our return home (if you haven’t already done so, do yourself a favor and get a hold of a copy of Henri Nouwen’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son”). We also need the reminder that the same loving God expects us to forgive one another and to welcome them back again. The joy of a son’s homecoming was spoiled for the father by the sulking of the elder brother but the father was undeterred.

It’s sad that the elder brother held resentment towards both his brother and his father. God wants us all to be merciful and understanding. Leaving people helpless is no part of his plan. Though living under the same roof, the elder son was isolated from his father. Focused on his own rights and needs, he could not handle his brother’s safe return. Calling him “this son of yours” must have grieved his father. As we strive to be faithful and dutiful disciples, we need to be open to welcome home the lost ones, for we, too, have been lost at different times in our lives.

We come to church as both a refuge and home for a brief bit of respite from our hectic week. And as God welcomes us, we welcome those around us knowing that we all long for acceptance. God meets us where we are, knowing us and loving us, welcoming our return home with open arms. We are called to do likewise.

Peace and all good,
Fr. Zack

Online Mass | The Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hymns for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Opening Song: The King of Love, My Shepherd Is G 786
Penitential Act: Glory to God: Mass of Joy & Peace (Alonso) G 250
CLOW Dismissal (9 a.m.): Seek Ye First G 715

Responsorial Psalm 51:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your merciful love. (x2)
(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2022, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Salisbury Alleluia (Walker)
Preparation of the Gifts: Hosea G 514
Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231, 234, 238
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation G 240
Communion Song: Lord, I Need You G 1063
Dismissal: How Great Thou Art G 630

Links to Resources for Mass: 

  • Readings for the Twenty-Forth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 11, 2022
  • Lyrics and Mass Order for the Twenty-Forth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 11, 2022
  • Contemporary Music for the Twenty-Forth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 11, 2022

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

Online Mass | The Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hymns for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Opening Song: The Kingdom of God G 810
Penitential Act: Glory to God: Mass of Joy & Peace (Alonso) G 250
CLOW Dismissal (9 a.m.): Seek Ye First G 715

Responsorial Psalm 90:
O Lord, you have been our refuge from generation to generation. (x2)
(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2001, 2022, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Salisbury Alleluia (Walker)
Preparation of the Gifts: The Summons G 869
Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231, 234, 238
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation G 240
Communion Song: Eye Has Not Seen G 785
Dismissal: Go Make of All Disciples (v. 1 & 4) G 843

Links to Resources for Mass: 

  • Readings for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 4, 2022
  • Lyrics and Mass Order for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 4, 2022
  • Contemporary Music for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, September 4, 2022