All posts by Rob Boelke

Our Matthew 25 Commitment | Staff Reflections | Feast of Christ the King

Dear Parishioners,

Since beginning work here at Sacred Heart a little over two years ago, I can easily say I have been a beneficiary of our parishioners’ exemplification of this weekend’s Gospel according to Matthew, at least in a figurative sense. Communications, public relations, and social media personnel are often mischaracterized as gatekeepers protecting a company’s image or shills for an organization’s agenda. While these negative connotations may carry a small amount of truth to specific aspects of our profession, we are more akin to story-tellers than gatekeepers or parrots. Thankfully and intentionally, I have been working to make that the more dominate descriptor for my work here, because what a story we have to tell!

Each and every week we are blessed with new examples of our parishioners, ministries, and volunteers embodying Matthew 25:35-40. I am privileged to have a front row seat to so much of that service to our neighbors. I am even more privileged to be the one to help advance these stories of service to the rest of the parish and our local and regional partners. Not that you wouldn’t believe it, but many of those who work with our outreach ministries here at Sacred Heart are so camera shy when I am around to get photos or video. They don’t want any recognition for what they feel is simply answering His call to action, and I respect that, even when that necessitates more effort with how we represent or advertise a given ministry or outreach.

I feel strongly that we continue to grow our efforts in covering these “Matthew 25” stories here at Sacred Heart. Not for vanity, credit, or favor, but to grow our basis for who we can help and how we can help them. Outside of a personal invitation, effective story-telling is one of the best ways to convince someone to take an action. It could be as simple as a 10-second video on social media showing the interaction a volunteer has with a donor at our Giving from the Heart drives that makes a new parishioner set a reminder to donate at the next drive, for instance.

Creating and distributing content across multiple channels (web, social, email, print) takes time, and we all know that is in short supply. While we are nearly finished with the in-office studio space, we will need experienced volunteers to join us in making the space an effective tool for telling our parish’s story. A parish communications committee will be reestablished in the new year to help lead these efforts, so we can continue to grow our parish’s commitment to Matthew 25.

Peace and All Good,
Rob Boelke

Online Mass | The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Music and Readings for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe | November 26, 2023:

Opening Song: Christ Is The King G 615

Glory to God: Mass of New Wine (Jakob) (Lyrics: G250)

C.L.O.W. Dismissal (9 a.m. only): Seek Ye First G 715

Psalms 23: The LORD is my shepherd There is nothing I shall want, there is nothing I shall want.

(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2020, 2023, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Salisbury Alleluia

Dismissal of Catechumens (10:30 a.m. Mass): Go Now In Peace G 125

Preparation of the Gifts: To You Who Bow G 625

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation

Communion Song: Shepherd Me, O God G 39

Dismissal: Goodness Is Stronger Than Evil G 567

  • Readings for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, November 26, 2023
  • Lyrics and Mass Order for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, November 26, 2023
  • Contemporary Music for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, November 26, 2023

Online Mass | Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Music and Readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time | November 19, 2023:

Opening Song: O God Beyond All Praising G 674

Glory to God: Mass of New Wine (Jakob) (Lyrics: G250)

Psalms 128: Blessed are all who fear the LORD and walk in his ways! (2)

(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2020, 2023, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Greenbelt Alleluia

Dismissal of Catechumens (10:30 a.m. Mass): Go Now In Peace G 125

Preparation of the Gifts: City of God G 857

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation

Communion Song: God of Day and God of Darkness G 932

Dismissal: For the Healing of Nations G 884

  • Readings for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 19, 2023
  • Lyrics and Mass Order for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 19, 2023
  • Contemporary Music for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 19, 2023

Don’t Hide Your Talent | Friar Reflections | Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

It seems to me that the readings this weekend are preparing us to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe and the end of the liturgical year. Perhaps these readings were chosen to initiate a time of reflection or introspection concerning the past liturgical year.

We who are the Church are often described as the “Spouse of Christ” and both the first reading from the Book of Proverbs (31) and our Responsorial Psalm (128) use the image of a faithful and fruitful wife to help our reflection. Remembering that God has entrusted His heart to us.

You could stop there and that is enough to reflect on.

We need to examine if we “bring God good and reach out our hands to the poor and extend (our) arms to the needy.”

And you, dear Saints of God of Sacred Heart Parish, do! Hands of Hope, Bikes from the Heart, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Knights of Columbus and many other groups and individuals are the arms of the parish reaching into the community. Not to mention how you treat our homeless brothers and sisters with dignity and charity.

As the opening Collect reminds us this is how we show our devotion to God as we “serve with constancy the Author of all that is good.” And there is more since: God is for giving, we are made in His image and likeness, are made for giving as well, and when we give ourselves to others, we discover full and lasting happiness and joy.

Today’s Gospel from Matthew reminds us that each of us has been given a gift from God that we are called not to cling to nor hide, but to use for the benefit of others, beginning with our families. Charity begins at home, but shouldn’t stop there. Discipleship (imitation of Christ) is not safe. It’s risky to reach out to others with kindness and mercy. But if you think about it, this might be a good description of heaven, the eternal reaching out in mercy and kindness to us by God.

To prepare for heaven we must begin living heaven here on earth. We are called not to speculate when Christ will return in glory, but live as if He is already here in His glory. And if we do, then when our earthly life is over we will hear Him say,

“Well done, my good and faithful servant…Come share your master’s joy.”

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Steve

Our 2023 Holiday Giving From the Heart

In our continued effort to meet the growing needs of our community, Sacred Heart is holding its latest Giving from the Heart drive-through donation event on Saturday, December 9, at the North Campus from 10 a.m. to noon. Volunteers from our Open Doors and Bikes from the Heart ministries will be on hand for this special event ahead of Christmas that benefits the Bikes ministry and Catholic Charities respectively.

Can’t make it to the North Campus on the day of the drive?

Click the logo to access our Amazon Wishlist, and have your donation shipped directly to the parish office!

This drive is set to aid the foster children and families associated with Catholic Charities, as care packages will be created out of the donated items to serve as gifts for Christmas. Unwrapped toys and books for children of all ages will be collected, along with personal hygiene items, and gift cards for common retail stores.

Click to View the Catholic Charities Needs List:
  • unwrapped toys or books for children or teenagers (ages infant to 17)
  • personal hygiene items including Germ-X, perfume for girls, and cologne for men
  • body wash, shampoos, conditioner
  • hair accessories for girls (bows and clips, brushes and combs, blowers, curling irons)
  • electric or manual razors for teenage boys
  • baby care items (diapers, rash ointment, formula, wipes)
  • Gift certificates ($25 increments preferred; Walmart, Target, Visa/MC, etc.)

If you have an old bike cluttering up your garage, Bikes from the Heart will be accepting those as donations to refurbish and distribute to those in need. The ministry will also have refurbished bikes available for purchase with a donation to the ministry that would make the perfect Christmas gift. Children’s bikes will also be available for donors to purchase and provide to the Catholic Charities care packages directly. Time permitting, volunteers will also provide on-site repairs for your own bike.

Click to View the Bikes from the Heart Needs List

Additional information and needs list updates will be available on this page as they are received. As always, the church appreciates your attentiveness and generosity for these drives.

Online Mass | Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Music and Readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time | November 12, 2023:

Opening Song: The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns G 450

Glory to God: Mass of New Wine (Jakob) (Lyrics: G250)

Psalms 63: For you my soul is thirsting, like a dry, weary land without water

(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2020, 2023, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

Dismissal of Catechumens (10:30 a.m. Mass): Go Now In Peace G 125

Preparation of the Gifts: Journey of Faith G 832

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation

Communion Song: Eye Has Not Seen G 785

Dismissal: America the Beautiful G 1085

  • Readings for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 12, 2023
  • Lyrics and Mass Order for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 12, 2023
  • Contemporary Music for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 12, 2023

Seeking Wisdom | Friar Reflections | Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

“Wisdom is readily perceived by those who love her and found by those who seek her.”  As we rapidly approach the end of another church year, it would be a good time for us all to reflect on this gift of the Holy Spirit; Wisdom. Wisdom participates in God’s capacity to order all things properly, and a wise person accomplishes in his or her life what God does for the whole of creation.

Wisdom invites itself in our daily lives. Wisdom is not a level of education, nor does it require us to read more books or memorize things. Rather, wisdom is a capacity to live well, and to make informed decisions. Such wisdom is only possible with good judgment, stemming from experience and everyday knowledge, through listening, observation, reflection and then putting it into practice. Wisdom, in order to be gained, must be sought out and desired. Each of us seeks in our own heart and mind the people that we might ask for advice in our lives. Those people are usually important figures for us, whose practical judgments we would trust and also whose spiritual advice could be helpful. Our first reading this Sunday reminds us that we need to seek wisdom to “the perfection of prudence,” and once we obtain some wisdom, we would be wise to treasure that wisdom. True wisdom figures and reflects the wisdom of God.

Wisdom can be seen as a preparedness for Jesus’ return. Our Gospel from Matthew today brings us back to wisdom.  The parable that Jesus gives to us illustrates the practical nature of wisdom. All ten of the virgins wanted to meet the bridegroom but five of them did not bring enough oil to keep their lamps burning. A person who knows about oil lamps will know that extra oil must be taken along if the wait is going to be long. Seems a practical foresight , but five of the virgins did not have that wisdom.  When the bridegroom was delayed, those five ran out of oil.

The point of this parable is to ensure we are ready at all times for the Lord. To be ready for the Lord, we must be willing to wait for the Lord. To wait for the Lord, we must be willing to do all the things that will allow us to be ready as we wait. And so the question is, “do we live our lives in such a way that we are always ready for Him?” We must live and conduct our lives in such a way as to mirror the life Jesus has presented to us. Our question may be “how does Christ know us?” He knows us when He looks into our hearts and sees Himself. We trust and follow Him, taking to ourselves His truth so that it becomes our truth. Then the door will open for us.  May you be filled with the Wisdom & Peace of Jesus!

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Zack

Fall Updates | From the Desk of the Pastor

Dear Parishioners,

I would like to thank all of our volunteers and staff for helping put on a very successful Fall Festival last Sunday. It was so nice to see so many of our parishioners come out and participate in our parish life. When several of our volunteers were informed that we were in the middle of an additional transition for our event coordination position, they quickly stepped up to aid in planning and execution. Building on last year’s event, we added a few new elements, including a chili cook-off, bike rally, and quilt raffle. Each gave parishioners a chance to win some great prizes for participating, but also allowed for sharing their God-given talents.   Speaking of talent, Fr. Steve and I participated in the Bike Rally, but we were not the quickest. In our defense, it is hard to ride a bike while wearing a habit.

A few weeks prior to the festival, we were able to again fill the vacant event, hospitality and outreach manager position, with parishioner Vicky McCarthy stepping into the role. I told her not to panic too much about the festival because I knew our wonderful volunteers had it under control. Vicky was there on Sunday helping and taking notes, already thinking of what we can do next year.

Last Sunday was busy enough with Masses and the festival, but I was called to spend the second half of the day in St. Petersburg at the Cathedral, and for a great reason. Tony Miranda, a parishioner here at Sacred Heart since 2017, was selected to receive our parish’s St. Jude Medal for 2023. The St. Jude medal is awarded annually to individuals and couples from each diocesan parish and mission for outstanding service to their communities. Tony is an amazing volunteer who helps where ever he is needed. Every Saturday, Tony works with Hands of Hope preparing and serving food to the homeless, while also serving as an active member of the Knights of Columbus, and our Parish Advisory, Outreach, and Maintenance Committees. Sunday was also a busy one for Tony as he volunteered at the festival for several hours before making the trek to the Cathedral to receive his award at the prayer service with Bishop Parkes.

Lastly, I’d like to thank all of our parishioners on behalf of the Outreach Committee for making our first Socktober drive a very successful one. In planning, we set a goal that we felt would not only be achievable, but one that directly reflected the homeless that we intended to serve within our community. The annual average population of those considered homeless in Hillsborough County is 1,600, so we set that number as the goal. That simple message must have created a spark, because we pushed well past goal by the end of the drive. A conservative count, not including any last minute donations, saw parishioners donate 4,325 pairs of socks. Many of you will remember that the Behavioral Resource Unit of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, who directly interact with the homeless of our area, offered to match donations for the last two weekends of October. That match will result in an additional 2,529 pairs of socks, bringing our drive’s total to 6,854 pairs. Collected socks are already in the hands of our partners at Tampa Hope, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and our Hands of Hope ministry. When you are homeless, a simple thing such as clean, dry socks can make a difference. I’ve been a part of Socktober drives in several of my previous parishes, and it has always been very successful. Again, I thank all of you for your generosity, and look forward to holding this drive again in the future.

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Mike

2023 St. Jude Medal Winner | Tony Miranda

Commissioned by Bishop Emeritus Robert Lynch in 1999, the St. Jude the Apostle Medal is given each year by the Diocese of St. Petersburg as a way to recognize parishioners who show outstanding service to their respective parishes. At a ceremony on Sunday, October 29, held at the Cathedral of St. Jude, parishioner Tony Miranda received this year’s distinction from Bishop Gregory Parkes, alongside pastor Fr. Mike Jones, OFM.

Registered and participating at Sacred Heart since 2017, Tony tirelessly gives of his time and talents to our parish, most notably through his participation as volunteer coordinator with our Hands of Hope ministry, as well as through his service on our parish’s outreach, maintenance, and advisory committees. A Tampa native and first generation Cuban-American, Tony’s commitment to service is rooted in an upbringing that showcased hard work and opportunity.

“My parents were immigrants, and so I saw from a young age the value of hard work,” Miranda explained after receiving the award. “I was unaware of my nomination until I received a notice from the Diocese, and later, a call from Fr. Mike. It’s a privilege to then to be in the Cathedral praying with like-minded, service driven folks, and to have that moment with the Bishop. I am humbled by this, as I just see myself as a cog.”

Those who know Tony wouldn’t be surprised by his humility in receiving the award, nor by the mechanical metaphor about his place in ministry at Sacred Heart. Miranda is a retired engineer, who after more than 20 years working in circuit design, primarily in Arizona, moved back east to begin a different career, paying forward the work of another influence that lead to his life of service.

“When I was in high school, at Jefferson, I had a few teachers encourage me to pursue more coursework in the STEM areas, after seeing that I had a knack for it,” Miranda described. “That led me to a very successful career, and so I wanted to find a way to essentially pay back that influence.”

Tony (far left) has been an important figure with the Sacred Heart Council #12110 of the Knights of Columbus since joining the parish. Miranda has been a Knight since the early 2000’s.

Tony joined Teach for America, and spent several years teaching math and science courses in the Bronx after leaving Arizona, before life brought him back to Tampa. Tony then taught for several years at Cristo Rey Tampa Salesian High, a Catholic college preparatory school and work study program sponsored by the Salesians of Don Bosco, which forms underserved young men and women who will actively live faith, hope, and love. When moving back to the Tampa area, Tony found that his affinity for city living followed him from New York. He moved into downtown and began attending Mass here at Sacred Heart, joining up with the Knights of Columbus Council #12110, and later, Hands of Hope.

Tony currently teaches math at Hillsborough High School, and is grateful for the friendships and respect his live of service has provided him. “Each weekend, when distributing meals with Hands of Hope, we pray before opening the food line, and we always tell our guests that it is a blessing to be there in community with them.”

The parish would like to thank Tony for his continued efforts,
and congratulate him on receiving this year’s award.

Online Mass | Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Music and Readings for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time | November 5, 2023:

Opening Song: All People That On Earth Do Dwell G 912

Glory to God: Mass of New Wine (Jakob) (Lyrics: G250)

Psalms 131: Like a weaned child on its mother is my soul within me.

(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2023, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

Preparation of the Gifts: Come to the Water G 640 –OR—Journey of Faith G 832 (10:30 a.m., noon)

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation

Communion Song: The Servant Song G 831

Dismissal Chant: In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful G 691

  • Readings for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 5, 2023
  • Lyrics and Mass Order for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 5, 2023
  • Contemporary Music for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 5, 2023