All posts by Rob Boelke

Time of Fulfillment | Friar Reflections | Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

With this Sunday we begin reading from the Gospel according to Mark (1:14-20). The shortest of the Gospels, it is also, according to most Biblical scholars, the first one written, probably in Rome to a predominantly Gentile audience and preserving the remembrances of Peter.

Two things strike me about this Gospel. The first is the proclamation of Jesus, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” The phrase “the Kingdom of God is at hand” is said by John the Baptist in Matthew (3:2) and for him it means “near,” “right now,” “available.” However, when said by Jesus it also means “able to be grasped.” I feel this added meaning is important, since the Kingdom of God really isn’t a place, but a person. The Kingdom of God is Jesus Himself: both divine and human and thus “able to be grasped.”

I often wonder if Jesus were standing in front of us, how we would alter our speech and actions. Would we use the same language that is often peppered with profanity? Would we tell off-color or disparaging jokes? Would we ignore, or belittle, or act violently toward others? I don’t think we would do any of these things if Jesus were standing in front of us. We need to remember that Baptism gives all of us the identity of Christ. In the words of St. Augustine, “Rejoice O Christian! For by your baptism, you are more than a Christian YOU are Christ Himself!” We are Christ to other Christ’s! If only we would remember that more often, I can only imagine how our world would be changed.

The second thing that strikes me about today’s Gospel is that Simon, Andrew, James and John, are changed only AFTER they encounter Jesus: “They abandon their nets…they left their father” and FOLLOWED HIM.”  This gives me great hope since Jesus never asks anyone to change before they come to Him. He never asks anyone to change before he works a miracle. People are changed because they encounter Him. At every Mass, Christ meets us where we are through the readings of the Scriptures and through our reception of the Eucharist. We changed by these encounters. If not, it’s not because Christ’s power is ineffective, but rather because we don’t allow this power (the Holy Spirit) to effect change within us.

As we begin Ordinary Time (the time when we simply count the Sundays), let us allow the Risen and Glorified Christ to change us so that we may truly be Christ for one another.

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Steve

Online Mass | Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Music and Readings for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time | January 21, 2024:

Opening Song: Summons G 869

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

Psalm 25Teach me your ways, O LORD. Teach me your ways, O LORD. O teach me your ways, O LORD.

(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2021, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

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

Preparation of the Gifts: City of God G 857

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 231

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation

Communion Song: Where Charity and Love Prevail G 774

Dismissal: We Are Marching G 865

Come and See | Friar Reflections | Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

Our Gospel today has this very simple dialogue:

The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,

         “What are you looking for?”

They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher),

     “where are you staying?”

He said to them, “Come and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they staying with him that day.

When people begin the study of biblical Greek, the first text from the Bible they read is usually the Gospel of John. The sample printed above from today’s reading from John tells you why: the Fourth Gospel is written in very simple Greek. And the sentences are simple and straightforward in structure.

“What are you looking for?”
“Where are you staying?”
“Come and see.”

The exchange is so simple and apparently ordinary, you may wonder why John included it—especially when these words are the first we hear Jesus speak in this Gospel.

Well, I’d ask that you read the exchange once again, slowly.

What sounds at first like a person annoyed by apparent stalkers, followed with a request for a street address, and then a surprising, but matter-of-fact invitation is really a quite the profound exchange. This usually escapes us the first time we read it, but once you’ve read the full Gospel, you come to realize John’s simple language is much deeper than it appears at first glance.

“What are you looking for?” is actually one of the deepest questions one person can ask another. To paraphrase, “What—really, down deep—are you seeking as your life your life?” Power? Pleasure? Wealth? Relief from loneliness? Relief from pain or hunger? Knowledge? Truth? Love? How do you answer this question right now?

“Where are you staying?”—when asked by persons who are curious about or seeking Jesus, this is a question that is really asking “Where do you come from, Master?” What is the source of your life? Who—really, down deep—are you?” For the word translated “stay,” μένειν or menein, means something deeper than what is your address. In the Gospel of John, this word refers to a person’s source of being and ultimate purpose.

And Jesus’ response–“Come and see” –really, when you know the whole story, means, “Follow me as a committed disciple and you will come to really see (understand and believe) in a whole new way.”

Jesus asks Andrew and the other disciple, “What are you looking for?” This is a telling question, and one that we might often ask of ourselves. John the Baptist testified to Jesus’ identity, the Lamb of God, using the framework of the Old Testament. Andrew, Simon, and the other first disciples were looking for the Messiah, whom they also came to know as the Son of God.

Reflecting on today’s readings, we receive a message that discipleship is far more than an acceptance or adherence to Jesus. It means becoming part of God’s family and requires an abandonment of the past along with a willingness to “see” and “stay.”  Jesus dwells with God, and we are invited to make our home there as well. Like Samuel, we are constantly being called into a deeper more meaningful relationship with God. What do we look for and what do we find in Jesus?

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Zack

Online Mass | Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Music and Readings for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time | January 14, 2024:

Opening Song: Baptized in Water G 993

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

Psalm 40: Behold, behold, behold I have come. I delight to do your will. O my God.

(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 2021, Philip Jakob)

Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

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

Preparation of the Gifts: Here I am, Lord G 844

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 419-421

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation

Communion Song: Take and Eat (Joncas) G 1009

Dismissal: We Are Marching G 865

The Start of a New Year | From the Desk of the Pastor | The Epiphany of the Lord

Dear Parishioners,

Jesus said “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Many of you over this Christmas season followed suit. Our parish is very fortunate to have dedicated people willing to give of themselves for the sake of others. I want to thank all those who helped make this Christmas season a wonderful celebration of who we are at Sacred Heart Parish.

This Christmas, we commemorated the 800-year anniversary of St. Francis of Assisi’s rule and first crèche by handing out 800 nativity ornaments at various outreach events and through telling the story of Francis’ Christmastime tradition as part of the Children’s Program on Christmas Eve. The program is something parishioners and visitors alike enjoy watching, and all of the children did such a great job. Laureen Young directed the program, and the friars and I thank her for helping make this possible again this year.

With Christmas falling on a Monday, it meant celebrating 13 Masses in less than 48 hours. This feat was only possible through the many willing to help when and where it was needed. Each Mass and event turned out wonderfully and I would like to thank our Environmental Committee, altar servers, Eucharistic Ministers, readers, and ushers, many of whom assisted across multiple Masses. Also assisting were our Gift Store volunteers, collection counters, the docents of our Historical Society, the volunteers who clean the altar linens, and our staff, who were always willing to jump in and help.

Both on Christmas Eve and Christmas, I was approached by several of our local homeless who wanted to donate to the church. An older gentleman came to me saying he had received a generous gift, and wanted to give a portion to the church. I insisted that he needed to keep it, but he was adamant he wanted to give to Sacred Heart because of the good we do. A young woman on Christmas Day insisted on a donation to our church because she heard the church is in need of some expensive repairs and wanted to help. Throughout the weekend you could witness many of the homeless sharing among themselves. It is a reminder that they are also our parishioners and part of our community.

Over these next two months our parochial campaign as part of the 2024 Catholic Ministry Appeal (CMA) will be rolled out. The response in 2023 was incredible, as parishioner participation grew by more than 10% year over year, increasing from 13% in 2022, to more than 23%. This increase in participation lead us to collecting more than double the amount we had collected from the previous year, amounting to 88% of our goal. Our targets for 2024 remain focused on increasing our participation rate while reaching our goal. My mother always said many hands make light work. The friars have already been discussing our gift to the CMA and we plan on giving at the start of the appeal.

This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany. As the Magi journeyed to find the Christ Child, it reminds us of our own journey of faith. Our journey never ends, but leads us closer to God. The journey is never the same and we travel on different paths to find God. Some paths are easy to travel while others are fraught with hardship, however the end is the same: God’s love. Pope Francis is asking that 2024 be a year of prayer before the Jubilee year in 2025. May our prayers this year help us to find the right path that will lead us closer to God.

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Mike

Online Mass | Epiphany of the Lord

Music and Readings for the Epiphany of the Lord | January 7, 2024:

Opening Song: We Three Kings G 504

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

Psalm 72:  Before him all kings shall fall prostrate, All nations shall serve him.

(Text: Abbey Psalms & Canticles © 2010, 2018 USCCB; Music: © 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: Epiphany Carol G 509

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 419-421

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Jakob)

Communion Song: Angels We Have Heard on High G 474

Dismissal: The First Nowell G 507

Online Mass | The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Music and Readings for the Feast of the Holy Family | December 31, 2023:

Opening Song: Sing We Now of Christmas G 495

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

Psalm 105:  He the LORD is our God. He remembers his covenant forever. (x2)

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

Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

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

Preparation of the Gifts: A Weary Couple G 500

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation G 419-421

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Jakob)

Communion Song: Come Sing a Home and Family G 498

Dismissal: Joy to the World (ver. 1 & 4) G 471

Online Mass | The Nativity of the Lord, 2023

Music and Readings for the Nativity of the Lord | December 24 & 25, 2023:

Opening Song: O Come, All Ye Faithful (ver. 1, 3, & 4) G 472

Glory to God: Mass of New Wine (Jakob)

Psalm 96 (Christmas Psalm {Farrell}):  Today, today a savior has been born, a savior has been born to us. He is Christ the Lord, Christ the Lord, Jesus Christ the Lord.

(Text: Psalm 96:1–2, 2–3, 11–12. Refrain text © 1993, Bernadette Farrell. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.
Verses text © 1963, The Grail (England). All rights reserved. Used with permission of A.P. Watt, Ltd.
Music © 1993, Bernadette Farrell. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.)

Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

Preparation of the Gifts: Hark the Herald Angels Sing G 475 -OR- Sir Christemas (Matthias) at 11 p.m. Night Mass only.

Eucharistic Acclamations: Mass of Creation (Haugen) G 419-421

Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Haugen)

Communion Song(s): O Little Town of Bethlehem G 482 & Silent Night G 476

Dismissal: Joy to the World (ver. 1, 2, & 4) G 471

Online Mass | Fourth Sunday of Advent

Music and Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent | December 24, 2023:

Opening Song: O Come, O come, Emmanuel G 444

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

Psalm 89:  I will sing forever, I will sing forever, I will sing forever of your mercies, O LORD. (x2)

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

Gospel Acclamation: Advent Gospel Acclamation (Wright)

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

Preparation of the Gifts: Creator of the Stars of Night G 458

Eucharistic Acclamations: Missa Emmanuel G 419-421

Lamb of God: Mass of New Wine (Jakob)

Communion Song: Come to Us, O Emmanuel G 469

Dismissal: Soon and Very Soon G 941

Start With “Yes.” | Deacon Reflections | Fourth Sunday of Advent & Christmas

Dear Friends,

On this busy Fourth Sunday of Advent, we hear the story of the Annunciation. I’ll sum it up briefly — The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her she’s going to be the Mother of God. She is deeply troubled and wonders how this can even be, as she’s never been with a man. Gabriel reassures her that she has found favor with God, and the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive and bear a son and name him Jesus. Gabriel then tells Mary of her elderly barren cousin Elizabeth who has also conceived and assures her that nothing is impossible for God.

And Mary’s response?

“Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) This was Mary’s yes to God.

What does our yes to God look like?

Mary made her choice freely, but not without some trepidation. She was troubled and questioned how this could possibly come to be. Gabriel responds, “Do not be afraid be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.” As disciples of Christ and spiritual children of Mary, we are called to take these words to heart in our own lives. Like Mary, being faithful to God’s call could very likely lead us to places of discomfort, hardship, and even fear.

Perhaps you’ve heard me share this before, but I feel it’s worth repeating, especially in light of today’s Gospel. When I received my calling from God to become a deacon, I was warned during formation about several things that may happen to me throughout formation, ordination, and living my life as a deacon.  I was told some so-called friends might change their involvement in my life, and to recognize that if it happened, they really were not my friends. While that may make sense, it still hurts. I was told Satan would begin to challenge me in my faith, my family life, my job, so on and so forth. At that point in my life, I knew what God wanted me to do, and I wasn’t turning back. By echoing Mary’s words of courage and trust, “Be it done to me according to your word,” I had to place myself right alongside her and not be afraid.

Her words are a reminder that during even the darkest of times, we are not alone. That same Holy Spirit that came upon Mary has been promised to each of us; that we are always overshadowed by the Most High. God is with us as we wait for his return in glory.  We are seen, we are known, we are loved. Emmanuel, God is with us!

Mary’s testimony and her response hopefully inspires us to also see ourselves in favor with God. Mary empathizes with our pain and suffering; she knows what it’s like to suffer. She asks similar questions like we do. Ultimately, the young woman from Nazareth trusted in God’s almighty power. She believed that indeed nothing is impossible for God. She believed God would lift up the lowly and bring the holiest of holies to life within her womb. In Mary’s reliance and trust in God’s word, the Kingdom takes root, just as it wishes to take root in each of us. 

On this last day of Advent, let us spend some time in prayer with Mary, our Mother, asking her to increase our faith and trust in her Son, and to continue saying “yes,” especially as we celebrate His birth, and during this Holy Season of Christmas.

Peace of Christ and Merry Christmas,
Deacon Ray