Category Archives: Friar Reflections

A regular reflection from one of our Franciscan Friars on the day’s readings, the happenings around the parish, or discussing parochial outreach initiatives.

Good Deeds, Done in Love | Friar Reflections | The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

In this weekend’s Gospel, we see Jesus continuing with the Sermon on the Mount, with a section sometimes titled as the Similes of Salt and Light: When He says, “You are the light of the world,” Jesus believes that when we work through him we provide hope to our community. Our parish takes that seriously. We trust that His words in today’s Gospel carry power and we are going to draw from it. We know from experience that we can shine the light of Christ through good deeds, done in love. We need your help to be able to continue doing that for our local community. Just as you are a light, our Catholic Ministry Appeal is a light for all who rely on the ministries of our Church. Without your support, we can’t reach those who need Christ’s light to see. With your help, we can increase our impact, draw our neighbors into God’s house, and help our church burn brightly. Please help our goal of increasing our parish’s participation rate for this appeal. Any gift that you are able to contribute is welcomed and greatly appreciated. Thank you for your consideration in this appeal | Click here to make your gift to the appeal.


To update you, while the job was more involved than we initially thought, we are getting close to the completion of restorations for southernmost set of doors at the front of the church. We are waiting for the updated hardware to be delivered to allow for installation. It wasn’t until our contractors began removing some of the molding that we realized the extent of the damage to the doorway. What started as a job quoted near $9,000 for this first set is now estimated at $15,000. The additional cost is for the removal and re-installing the stain glass window and the additional wood and façade work. As I have mentioned before, these doors are original to the church, and our goal, along with any necessary maintenance, is focused on restoration and preservation, to keep with the historical nature of the church. Once this first set of doors are reinstalled, we will begin the process again with the entrance along Twiggs Street. We will place a temporary set of doors at that entryway, so those using handicap ramp will not have any impact to their access.


In January, new members were added to our Parish Advisory Board. The Advisory Board meets quarterly, and works alongside the Finance, Outreach, and Maintenance Committees in providing leadership and valuable input into our parish life. The board is comprised of eleven parishioners, along with our four friars. The parishioners are all active members who serve in one or more ministries each. The members are as follows: Laura Prather (Chair), Larry Bevis, Cindy Burnett, Sarah Daniels, Fr. Zack Elliott, OFM, Sam Ferlita, Friar Henry Fulmer, OFM, Fr. Mike Jones, OFM, Fr. Steve Kluge, OFM, Stephen Krist, Helen Lukavec, Lynda Marsh, Tony Miranda, Don Murray, and Felix Vega. I ask that you keep all of them in your prayers as they continue to serve our parish.


Activity up at the North Campus continues to grow, and with it, some income to assist with future upgrades and renovations. We are renting out the auditorium to the diocese on the third Saturday of each month as they host day-long pre-cana retreats for the couples of our greater Catholic community preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. Later this month, our rental agreement for Bonaventure Hall, the campus’ former prekindergarten building, goes into effect, with the developers tasked with redeveloping Robles Park moving in as they begin their work. The money raised will be set aside for future renovations of the North Campus kitchen and auditorium. Funds from our Gala in April will also go toward that project. I hope you all have the opportunity to join us for that special evening.

Peace and all good.
Fr. Mike

 

Return to Dialogue | Friar Reflections | The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

I do not know if the daytime TV soaps “Days of Our Lives” and “As the World Turns” are still in syndication or producing new episodes, but in terms of titles, I feel as if they were precursors for the current way we see folks communicate and have discourse with one another. As our world turns, we see more and more that any form of communication we have is centered on what we think is important to us alone and no one else.

There are always exceptions to the rule. I am not suggesting this is the way we all interact with our neighbors, even those of whom we disagree with, but I do see this trend creeping into many of our communication channels, and it makes me wonder where the compassion, love and dialogue has gone within our homes, friends, family, not to mention within our own church.

In 2013, while addressing the founder of an Italian publication that often dissented against him, and with the heading, “Letter to the Non-Believers”, Pope Francis wrote, “I would not speak about “absolute” truths, even for believers, in the sense that absolute is that which is disconnected and bereft of all relationship. Truth, according to the Christian faith, is the love of God for us in Jesus Christ. Therefore, truth is a relationship.” The Pope went on to say, “it comes to us always and only as a way and a life.”

How can we come into truth without respect and assistance from one another? It’s easy to cheer along with your favorite team, to rally with a particular party, or to read posts shared by others who hold our same views. It’s easier to speak to those with similar backgrounds than those with which we have nothing in common. It has always been harder to love our enemy. When we write others off as irredeemable, we are missing something—kindness, compassion, and dialogue. We hear many times in scripture how those who were different were treated unfairly and looked down upon. It is Jesus who takes the time to speak and care for them. Why is He doing this, listening to them, and accepting them where their circumstances have brought them at that moment and time?

I feel as though dialogue was once very much welcomed and appreciated. It is a way of stretching one’s ability to see things in a different light. You may remember when there were debate teams in schools. It was very exciting to hear and listen to what was being debated on stage. It brought a sense of openness to the competitors, but it also gave some enlightenment and knowledge to the audience. These used to be the “Days of Our Lives” as the world turned. Dialogue, the common practice within our society, has now shifted to monologue. How are we expected to grow spiritually and mentally if we allow ourselves to be cut off from discourse?

In recent weeks, we’ve seen another uptick in tragic events that usually spark debate. People going out to relax with friends or family and have a good time, and not coming home. Bring back the days of our lives where kids can be kids, and adults can be respectful of each other in dialogue and work together to solve these crisis. I thought we’d always have that opportunity. This week, I hope we all take a small step towards the vision of speaking and listening in love. It is my prayer that we meet each other with respect and use dialogue in a spirit of compassion.

Open our hearts. Lord, and help us to find Christ in one another by dialoging in a spirit of openness.

May the Lord give you Peace,
Friar Henry

 

Proclaiming the Word | Deacon Reflections | The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, issued motu proprio, or of his own initiative, Aperuit illis was published on September 30, 2019. As part of the Letter, the pope established that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time was to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God.” Today is that Sunday, now known as the Sunday of the Word of God. The timing of the Letter’s publication was significant, as its initial release came on the Feast of Saint Jerome. Saint Jerome translated most of the Bible into Latin, and proclaimed, “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

My assignment and service as a permanent deacon here at Sacred Heart is something that I treasure and thank God for. I am grateful to you, the parishioners here at our dynamic parish, for journeying in faith with me over these past three years. Taking on this new role in my life and my faith has been challenging, but through your prayers and support, I’ve received the grace I’ve needed to continue to serve. Many of you have asked since my appointment, “what does a deacon actually do?” A deacon is ordained for three charisms that help guide his ministry. Word of God Sunday is especially meaningful to a deacon, as proclaiming the Word is one of the charisms in which we are ordained; the others being a minister of the cup and practicing charity for the rest of our lives.

This week is the perfect time to share with you what the charism of proclaiming the Word actually means.

“The deacon participates as an evangelizer and teacher in the Church’s mission of heralding the Word. In the liturgy of the Word, especially in the Eucharist or in those liturgies where he is the presiding minister, the deacon proclaims the Gospel.” (National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and life of Permanent Deacons in the United States.)

When the bishop ordains a deacon, he gives him a Book of Gospels and says, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”  I was profoundly humbled learning when deacons assist at Mass, even if it’s with the pope himself, they are to proclaim the Gospel, and at liturgies in accord with the provisions of Canon Law, they may preach by virtue of ordination.

Deacons are tasked with other designated responsibilities that relate to the Word of God. For example, at the beginning of Mass, the deacon processes with the Book of Gospels raised up in reverence, so all can see. A deacon also participates in specific penitential rites as designated in the Roman Missal. He voices the needs of the people in the General Intercessions, needs which he should have a particular and personal familiarity with from his charism and ministry of charity. During the celebration of the Mass, a deacon helps the faithful participate more fully, extending the invitation of peace, and later dismissing the community at the end of the Eucharistic Liturgy.                    

While these are just a sample of the greater duty set of a deacon, you can see each is related to spreading the Gospel. This is why this Word of God Sunday is near and dear to a deacon’s heart. We are all called to spread the Gospel, and to set the example by living It. As my father used to say to me, “actions speak louder than words.” As any one of us knows, oftentimes it is difficult to stick to that understanding of living the Gospel, but I work toward that each day. Focusing on, and spending time with the Living Word of God will change our hearts, and will enrich not only our own lives, but the lives of all.

Many years ago, I learned an acronym related to the Word…

B.I.B.L.E.: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

May we allow the Lord to inspire, encourage and strengthen us as we follow His instructions through His Word.

Peace of Christ,
Deacon Ray Ferreris
Servant for others

 

What Is Ours to Do | Friar Reflections | The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

In today’s Gospel according to John (1:29-34), John the Baptist once again makes an appearance. Playing his usual role, he points away from himself and reminds his followers that he is only the forerunner, the one who makes ready and testifies to the One who is coming after him. John the Baptist then highlights the newly baptized Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” since it is He, Jesus, whom the Spirit comes upon and remains.

If there is any lesson to be learned from John it is the call to be humble and to recognize what it is ours to do, and then do it. When I begin to compare myself to others, it is then that I usually become frustrated or depressed. When I begin to compare myself to others, it’s then that I have forgotten that we are all servants of the Lord, through whom God shows His glory (Is. 49:3, 5-6), and that we have all been sanctified in Christ Jesus and are called to be holy (1 Cor. 1:1-3).

Rather than comparing ourselves to one another and making our Christian life some sort of competition, perhaps we should cooperate with and encourage one another in using our blessedness to magnify the presence of the Lord in our own little corner of the world. Making visible the Lord, Jesus Christ is a wonderful way to think about living out our own baptism.

One of the beautiful aspects of our parish is seeing the many ministries that extend into the community, each doing what is theirs to do. All those who are involved in liturgical ministries work together to ensure a smooth flowing and dignified worship experience. Those involved in faith formation seek to pass onto others the faith that speaks to the signs and needs of our times. Our parish is living the admonition of St. Francis when he wrote, “the Lord has shown me what to do, may the Lord show you.” Each in our own way is living our Baptism into Christ, and for that we should all be thankful.

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Steve

The Lessons of the Magi | Friar Reflections | The Epiphany of the Lord

Dear Parishioners,

Epiphany is often seen as the completion of the Christmas story. You’ll notice that our Creche below the altar is now complete with the magi in place, given their scriptural appearance in this weekend’s Gospel. While Epiphany provides a nice bookend to the Christmas season, there are lessons we can learn from the visit of the magi that remain relevant to this day.

Lesson 1: Seek Him:
We need to actively seek out God in our lives. God speaks to us and give us directions. While there may not always be a big sign, like a star, we needn’t expect something huge or unavoidable to hear Him. Rather, we should survey the heavens, and be attentive to God’s whisper and have the courage to act!

Lesson 2: Embrace the Challenge
We should expect that, whatever path God asks us to take, it is going to be challenge for us. I’m pretty sure the magi had a rough time getting across the desert and wilderness to Jerusalem. Often times, the more difficult path is the path God asks us to follow; think Robert Frost and “The Road Not Taken.

Lesson 3: Swim Against the Current
Don’t be too quick to follow the crowd. In God’s way, the crowd is often wrong, and we usually come to our faith as individual children of God. Remember, the magi were a small group, maybe just three. Still, they recognized the birth of the Messiah, while “all Jerusalem” essentially missed it. With God, the minority is often the right place to be. We often need to find our own way.

Lesson 4: Share Yourself with God
Break open the gift of yourself before God. The magi presented the Christ Child with very precious, yet material gifts. We are called to bring to God our very best self. They gave him their treasures, the very best they had. We are called to do likewise. Recognize you own special giftedness and pay homage to God by making the most of what God has blessed you with.

Lesson 5: Return Changed
After meeting the Christ child, the Gospel tells us that the magi “returned to their own country by another way.” More than just geographical, they returned changed, as we should be when we encounter Christ in our lives. When we meet Jesus, we can’t go back the same way as if nothing happened.

. . . . . .

I pray that this celebration of the Epiphany may inspire you to listen carefully for God’s direction in your lives and to boldly set out where He calls. May Jesus in the Eucharist change our lives and set us off on a new way, inspired by the example of the magi. The season of Christmas may be ending, but our journeys towards and with Jesus continues forward!

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Zack

Full of Thanks | Friar Reflections | The Solemnity of B.V. Mary, Mother of God

Dear Parishioners,

Happy New Year! I want to take the time to thank the people who have helped make this Advent and Christmas season a wonderful celebration of who we are at Sacred Heart.

I would like to thank our outreach committee who took charge of helping those stricken by the affects of Hurricane Ian at St. Michael Catholic Church in Wauchula. We had an excellent helping hand from those in our parish and we are so grateful to those who aided in these efforts. Our December Giving from the Heart drive saw 75 cars deliver items of need, the largest number of individual donations we’ve had for those events. Our Giving Tree was also a huge success, with parishioners and several ministries and groups coming together to provide Christmas gifts to the children of St. Michael’s. The delivery to St. Michael’s nearly filled the equivalent of two 10’ U-Haul box trucks. My thanks go out to my brothers friars, the choir, our Knights of Columbus council, Loving Hearts, Open Doors, Secular Franciscans, Social Justice Committee, our conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the outreach committee, and most importantly, our parishioners. Thank you all for your collaboration and determination in collectively assisting our neighbors in need.

We were fortunate to continue our parish’s tradition of the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe a few weeks back. I want to specifically thank Norma & Lazaro Hernandez and Alina & Joaquin Diaz for their continuous support of this event over the years. Out of all the parishes that I have celebrated this feast day, Sacred Heart is my favorite. We also were able to hold evening prayer with the help of our music director, Phil Jakob, and the choir. The choir, along with Phil, and our contemporary ensemble director Sam Corson, did a fabulously across all our Christmas Masses and we thank them for their efforts in aiding to what is always a memorable atmosphere celebrating the Nativity.

I’d also like to thank their families for sharing them with us during the holidays. Additionally, we thank our liturgical ministers, altar servers, the environmental committee, Eucharistic ministers, greeters, readers, and ushers for their hours of service. Thanks also to our faith formation families who produced this year’s Christmas pageant prior to the 4 p.m. Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve. Lauren Young directed the event, and I thank her and the children who participated for keeping this annual tradition active.

When we look behind the scenes, we can truly see all the hard work that our remarkable staff and volunteers do. Each and every one of our staff members and friars have been blessed with talents and we are so fortunate to have them here. When we all work together, our parish does incredible things!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Fr. Mike

Finding What We’re Looking For | Friar Reflections | The Nativity of the Lord

Dear Parishioners,

This Christmas, I find myself thinking back to the Gospel reading we heard on the Third Sunday of Advent (Matthew 11:2-11), pondering at the words used by Jesus asking the people what they were looking for. The questions being “what did you go out to see?” and “why?”…

“What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet?”

Reflecting on this Advent and Christmas season, I see parents, grandparents, college students, children, and teenagers all living out the call of charity, in not only providing monetary gifts but also gifts of compassion and servitude to those who are in dire need. These people are bringing hope, love, and Christ into the darkness and destitution of those who would not otherwise experience the season as a season of hope or good will.

The seasons of Advent and Christmas are about providing hope and giving of oneself. It’s where the words within the Gospel are truly acted out in real life. It is the time of year when people are more generous, kind, self-sacrificing, and loving towards their neighbors and friends. If you were to ask me what I get out of the season, I would tell you that it’s the peace and good will exhibited and brought forth by the good deeds of every person. We see the Kingdom of God a little more clearly though our active participation in being brothers and sisters to the least among us.

Though this time of year is filled with the busyness and anxiety of fulfilling so many holiday obligations, the season of Advent gifted us the ability to step back and reflect on our lives, while Christmas provides the us greatest gift of all: God sending his Son into the word to share his love and mercy towards all humankind. It is my hope and prayer that we all experience that generosity, love, peace within our homes, family and neighbors during this Christmas season.

Let us Pray:
The feast day of your birth resembles you, Lord
Because it brings joy to all humanity.
Old people and infants alike enjoy your day.
Your day is celebrated
from generation to generation.
Kings and emperors may pass away,
And the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse.
But your festival will be remembered until the end of time.
Your day is a means and a pledge of peace.
At your birth heaven and earth were reconciled,
Since you came from heaven to earth on that day
You forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt.
You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth:
A treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick;
Spiritual light for the blind;
The cup of salvation for the thirsty;
The bread of life for the hungry.
In the winter when trees are bare,
You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit.
In the frost when the earth is barren,
You bring new hope to our souls.
In December, when seeds are hidden in the soil,
The staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb.
— St. Ephraim, the Syrian

Peace and All Good, and Merry Christmas,
Friar Henry

A Season of Waiting | Friar Reflections | The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Dear Parishioners,

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

In today’s first reading, Isaiah 7:10-14, the prophet recounts the experience of the Lord telling King Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz refuses to obey, so the Prophet Isaiah responds saying, “the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.”

As Christians, we read that as a prediction surrounding the birth of the Messiah, Jesus, the Christ. This and many other citations are the reason the prophet Isaiah is often called the “fifth evangelist.” Today’s Gospel, Matthew 1:18-24, recounts the annunciation of Mary’s pregnancy to Joseph, who gives Jesus legitimacy and protection. Matthew quotes Isaiah with the introduction “all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet…”

Matthew’s mission in writing his Gospel account for a largely Jewish audience is to show them that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. In Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah has come in a way that was inconceivable, since Jesus is both son of Mary, and Son of God. In Jesus, God is with us as one of us, albeit without sin.

A few years ago I wrote the following poem:

Arise from your slumber,
Get ready the feast.
With colored banners prepare the halls and the walls.
Pick a tree and decorate its’ branches,
But leave off the topping star or angel.
Let the celebration not be put off!
Our hope has come
Wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Let joyful expectation give rise to action
As recognition of even now with us Presence
Gives birth to thanks and wonder!
Still our Hope is yet to come,
Wearing honor and glory,
Robed and crowned with the vulnerable power of Love.
So let us wait,
And do a bit of fasting before the feasting,
And decorate our festal robes with Patient hope and charity.
In this great already but not yet,
Let us permit the Advent preparations for the great Christmas
celebration!

Rather than seeing Advent as merely the time before the season of Christmas, I think it better to understand Advent as its own liturgical season of patient waiting. I like to think our entire lives are like Advent, as we too wait for the fullness of the birth of Christ within us, who has been gifted to us in Baptism.

Happy Advent!
Fr. Steve

Beating Down the Door | Friar Reflections | Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent)

Dear Parishioners,

For many of us, Christmas is a time of comfort, of peace, and of abundance. We’re fortunate if that is the case. But what if Christmas is intended to be an annual reminder of our need for a Savior to break into our darkness? What if Advent, the season leading up to the celebration of the Incarnation, ought not make us sentimental and satisfied, but rather challenge us to live out our convictions through our baptism and to be bold heralds of Christ’s coming?

A few weeks before Advent in 1943, and from a Nazi prison cell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famed German theologian and Lutheran pastor wrote a friend, “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” Bonhoeffer could not be more right. The door of freedom for him then and for us today is still opened from the outside by the coming and second coming of Jesus Christ. Bonhoeffer, a vocal anti-Nazi dissident, was executed a year and a half later, but concluded in a final letter to his friend and Anglican bishop George Bell, “This is the end—for me, the beginning of life.”

Maybe we need to push against the door a little harder. After all, don’t we already have faith in Jesus? A faith and trust that, if fully engaged, can move mountains? Our convictions should be such that once Jesus comes to open the doors of our own personal prison cells, He would need to stand back lest He be hit by the door itself! Bonhoeffer exemplified this through advocacy, as well as in his acceptance of God’s Will for his life.

Without doubt, we do indeed rejoice that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) “to give light to those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). And it is the Incarnate Son of God who wants nothing more than to open the doors to set us free!

As we are invited to bring the Christ Child from our home Christmas Crèche to Mass next weekend to be blessed, let us remember that Jesus’ humble birthplace had no doors, the access and availability of God made flesh is open, and continues to be open to us all without any barriers. May we continue to pray for the remainder of this Advent Season and beyond, that any door keeping us from fullness of the presence of Jesus in our lives be blown off its hinges!


Parishioners are encouraged to bring their nativity scene figurines with them to any Mass on the weekend of the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 17-18), for a special blessing from the Friars. The blessing will take place after Mass.


Peace and all good,
Fr. Zack

Helping Our Neighbors Recover | Friar Reflections | The Second Sunday of Advent

Dear Parishioners,

You may be aware that our parish will be assisting the hurricane recovery efforts of our neighbors in the Diocese of Venice throughout Advent, specifically St. Michael Parish in Wauchula. The people in this parish were hit hard by flooding as a result of Hurricane Ian, with many losing their income from farming. We would like to see our whole parish get involved in helping the parishioners of St Michael’s in these next few weeks, with several opportunities for you to assist.

Many of our ministries are already answering the call to assist. For example, the Knights of Columbus are graciously providing the profits from their nativity silhouette sale to these efforts. Our Sacred Heart Society of St. Vincent de Paul will be helping out by sharing assets and needed items with other SVdP groups in the Diocese of Venice. Our parish will focus on two efforts to support St. Michael’s. Our Advent Giving Tree will feature tags with suggested gifts for children and teens of families that are currently struggling financially following the storm. 89 tags were available on the tree last week, and I am happy to report that each and everyone has been accounted for. If you are looking to assist in this effort, we have added more tags this weekend.

The other effort is our upcoming Giving from the Heart, scheduled for Saturday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to noon at the North Campus. We will be collecting a whole host of necessities for the families of St. Michael’s. You can view the needs list here.

Sr. Gema Ruiz, the director of religious education at St. Michael Parish, forwarded us this story of a family of seven within her parish affected by Hurricane Ian. The following is their experience with the storm:

“When Hurricane Ian was heading our way, we were worried that our house wouldn’t withstand the high winds, so we tried to prepare the house as much as possible. Then my family of seven packed up a few items and headed to the shelter at the nearby junior high school. It was a long night as the storm passed over Wauchula. But we were safe. Then next day, once the roads became passible, we went back home to look for any damage. We were shocked and dismayed to find the house partially underwater. We didn’t foresee that we would be dealing with flooding. Our family tried to salvage some clothing items, then we returned to the shelter. The next day we went home to find the house now completely underwater.

There was nothing we could do; our house was destroyed. It was a difficult time for us all, especially for our little ones. We were left completely helpless and homeless with no place to go besides back to the crowded shelter. Our family had to rely on the kindness of others for basic necessities. Eventually, we were transferred to another shelter where we stayed for more than a month. We have now been placed in temporary housing outside of town, and I am thankful to all involved for that.

It has been hard on the whole family, and now the commute to school and our jobs are much farther. But I feel we are adjusting well, because of the generosity of others, who have made our hardship more bearable. Our family home is still ruined, and we still need to find a permanent housing situation, but we are all together and for this we are thankful.” On behalf of the friars, our staff, and those at St. Michael Parish, I invite you to take part in these upcoming efforts. Please be a beacon of Christ’s love this Advent for these families who so desperately need assistance.


  • I’d like to provide another update on the restoration of the church doors. As I mentioned last month, we ran into some unexpected delays with the discovery of old termite damage and dry rot from water damage around the door frames. To fix this, we first will have to remove the stain glass windows above every door and safely store them while repairs can be made. Once the door frames have been repaired, which will include replacing some of the wood, plastering, and touch-up painting around the frames, the stain glass will be re-installed above each of the doors. The previous estimated cost of the door restorations was $34,800, but with this additional work we anticipate the cost going up. Rest assured that our contractors are trying their best to keep the original architectural design of the doors.
  • Earlier this fall during our parish listening sessions, we mentioned that we then wanted to put out a survey to all parishioners. I ask for your patience as we are still working on putting that together.
  • I will be away for more than a week this Advent, from December 13 to 20. My brother has pancreatic cancer and will be having surgery on December 16. I am going to New York to be with him. I ask that you keep him in your prayers.

Pope Francis in his Angelus address in Saint Peter’s Square last Sunday (11/27/22) said, “We must be awake, alert, and vigilant. Jesus warns us: there is the danger of not realizing his coming and being unprepared for his visit. I have recalled on other occasions what Saint Augustine said: “I fear the Lord who passes by” (Sermons, 88, 14.13), that is, I fear that he will pass by and I will not recognize him!” Let us all take time during this Advent season and recognized Christ in our lives.

Peace and all good,
Fr. Mike