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.

Quieting the Storm | Deacon Reflections | Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Today, we reflect on the powerful message conveyed to us in the Gospel of Mark, where we find the account of Jesus calming the storm. In this passage, we witness not only the authority of Jesus over the natural elements but also the profound lesson He imparts to His disciples, a lesson that resonates with us today. The need to have faith.

Imagine the scene: Jesus and His disciples are on a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee. Suddenly, a fierce storm arises, the wind howls, the waves crash against the boat, and panic sets in among the disciples. In their fear, they wake Jesus, crying out, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” How often do we find ourselves in the midst of life’s storms, feeling overwhelmed and afraid? We may face challenges, uncertainties, and trials that threaten to engulf us. In those moments, it’s natural to cry out to God, just as the disciples did. We question whether He sees our struggles, whether He cares about our suffering. We’ve all been there and Jesus was right there with us.

Barbara and I have dealt with many life’s storms together, I know you have as well. While I was in diaconate formation and feeling good about our life, we were hit with the big “C”, cancer. My beautiful wife who has never hurt a fly was diagnosed with breast cancer. My world was turned upside down. I was so upset and full of fear and I questioned God at the time, and realized I didn’t have the faith my wife did. She saw I was broken and I couldn’t do anything to help her. She looked at me and said “Well, this is another chapter of my story I can tell of my journey with Christ.”

Wow! I was taken aback. Here I was asking “why?”, and all I needed to trust and have faith in Him and everything would be fine according to His will: “Peace! Be Still!”. She was convicted in her faith in Jesus from the beginning, and through a lot of prayer, trust, surgeries and treatment, she is cancer free, Praise God! In this life storm I learned a huge lesson on how faith plays a major role in our lives as we follow Christ.

Like the disciples, we often allow fear to overshadow our faith. We forget that the One who calmed the storm in Galilee is the same One who walks with us through the storms of life today. In every trial and tribulation, Jesus invites us to trust in Him, to have faith that He is in control, even when everything around us seems out of control. Reflecting on the poem Footprints, it brings me peace knowing I am never alone. I hope you find comfort in these words as well.

Read the poem “Footprints”

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord, ”You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have
only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.”

Let us take heart from this Gospel and remember that no storm is too great for Jesus to handle. Let us turn to Him in faith, knowing that He hears our cries and is always ready to give peace into our lives. May we find solace in His presence and strength in His unfailing love, confident that with Jesus, we can weather any storm that comes our way.

May God bless you and keep you, now and always. Amen.

– Deacon Ray

Growing in His Time | Friar Reflections | 11th SIOT

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

My friend Antonio is one of the most patient people I know. Not only does he put up with me, but when we video chat once a week and I see how he interacts with his two-year-old son Augustus, he’s downright saintly. And if this isn’t enough, he is a gardener who starts his garden from seeds growing in pots in early spring.

When I meditate on the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel (17: 22-24) “I will take from the crest of the cedar, from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot…” and then read from the Gospel according to Mark (4: 26-34) the parable of the mustard seed, “the smallest of all the seeds on the earth” I am reminded of God’s patience, and His proclivity to choose small things through which to work.

I suppose God could have chosen a mighty and strong people to be his own, but he chose the Jews. I suppose God could have chosen a rich queen from a large metropolis to become His mother, instead He chose a poor teenage girl, from a town of no importance. I suppose the Word of God could have come into the world fully grown and strong, but He became a small and vulnerable human baby. God has His reasons for choosing the small and weak. Perhaps it’s so His grace will become ever more evident. Who knows?

Most of us, in the eyes of the world are nobodies, destined to be nobodies. But in God’s eyes we are all somebodies. God has begun a good work in us, and God will see that good worked finished. All we need to do is cooperate with Him.

That mustard seed has grown into “the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” A beautiful image of what the Church at large should be (the bush denies no bird a home), and a beautiful image of what Sacred Heart parish is: a place of peace and rest to all in downtown Tampa.

Today, let us continue to grow, in patience toward one another and ourselves and in hospitality to our neighbors. In this way we will continue to cooperate with God and His good work already begun in us will bear fruit.

-Fr. Steve

An Update On Our Work | From the Desk of the Pastor | June 2024

Dear Parishioners,

It is hard to believe that we are already into the summer months. As we move into this new season, I wish to provide you with an update on our current preservation efforts along the front façade.

Where to begin…? Many of you have asked how long with the scaffolding be up? We originally reported between 12 and 14 weeks, but unfortunately, our contractor, All Trades Historical Restoration, has found additional damage which will now extend that time by about three to four weeks. The timetable now to finish phase one would be the end of August, provided there are no additional repairs needed. The additional work will add about $65,000 to the original estimate of $200,000. A reminder that phase one of this preservation project covers the top two-thirds of the front façade, along with a few other items. Here is a summary of what is being done:

Cross | An engineer is making a plan for a new base for the cross which usually adorns the top of the façade. The cross itself wasn’t damaged but the base had corroded due to the age of the building. The original cross will be repositioned on the new base.

Flashing | When examining the cross, our contractor noticed the roof’s flashing was loose, likely a cause of some of the water damage to the inside of the church. They will be resealing flashing to fix the leaks.

Rose Window | This is where most of the new damage was found. After inspecting the window, our contractor discovered more than 67 fractures of various sizes on the rose window. Each of these will need to be sealed and painted to match. The fractures are simply due to age and the sun beating down on the building.

Sacred Heart of Jesus | I am not sure many of you will have noticed this, but the fingers on the one hand of Jesus are missing. They fell off years ago, though we were able to recover them. Our contractor will be reattaching them to the statue.

Doors | The three remaining sets of doors yet to be restored will be part of this initial phase. It is plain to see the damage due to the sun hitting on them day after day. Our contractor will remove the doors to work on them.

Similarly to the northernmost entryway, the other entryways will be sealed up with plywood during that time. Work will alternate to ensure two entryways will remain available for parishioners and visitors to use. With the handicap doorway along Twiggs Street, a temporary door will be placed to ensure the continued use of the handicap ramp.

Keep in mind that this work does not include what will need to be done to address the water damage on the inside of the church, but it does help stop causes of that damage.

Staff and volunteers are applying for grants from the county and state to provide some additional money for the next phases of work on the outside of the building. The next phase would cost between $200,000 and $300,000 depending on how much we can afford to do at that time.

Regarding the North Campus… staff and committee members have been meeting with the diocese, architects and a kitchen designer to best determine what will need to be done for the kitchen at the North Campus. As we continue assessments, the building’s plumbing is becoming a major issue. The drain pipes in the kitchen have collapsed due to age. All new plumbing will have to be installed, and would include the bathrooms in the auditorium as well. Our team is looking at what we actually would need and will use for the parish regarding the kitchen design. Once we settle on a final design, we will be able to get more of an idea on what the cost would be to renovate the kitchen.

A development committee is being assembled to aid the parish in fundraising, seeking applicable grants, and creating a new parochial legacy program. All money raised through these vehicles will aid the church and the North Campus. Our church turns 120 years old next January. The majority of the North Campus is more than 50 years old. If we ignore any problems we find today, it will cost the parish much more in the future. Luckily, we have many dedicated parishioners who want to help. If you have experience in raising money and would like to help, please reach out.

Peace and All Good,

– Fr. Mike

Embracing the Great Commission | Deacon Reflections | Trinity Sunday

Dear Friends,

Trinity Sunday is a significant feast in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as other Christian denominations. It is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost. Trinity Sunday is a special occasion that is dedicated to celebrating the central mystery of the Christian faith—the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On this day, believers around the world reflect on the nature of God as revealed in Scripture and affirmed by tradition. One of the key passages often read and meditated upon is in todays Gospel, Matthew 28:16-20, commonly known as the “Great Commission.”

In Matthew’s Gospel, we encounter Jesus giving His final instructions to His disciples before ascending to heaven. Gathered on a mountain in Galilee, the disciples receive the profound commission from their Master: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This command creates the essence of the Christian mission and underscores the triune nature of God’s identity and it’s called the Trinitarian formula. This command is present at every Christian baptism, the pouring of water and the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

This formula affirms the Christian belief in the triune God, three distinct persons existing in perfect unity and harmony. It emphasizes the inseparable relationship between the Father, who creates and sustains all things; the Son, who redeems humanity through His sacrificial death and resurrection; and the Holy Spirit, who empowers believers and guides them in their journey of faith.

As we observe Holy Trinity Sunday and reflect on the Great Commission, let us be reminded of the richness of our faith and the privilege of participating in God’s mission. May we be strengthened by the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and may our lives bear witness to the transformative power of the gospel.

In obedience to Christ’s command, let us go forth with confidence, knowing that He is with us always, guiding and sustaining us in His mission of love and reconciliation, just as the Gospel of Matthew concludes with the following words “And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world…”

– Deacon Ray

To learn more about the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, click here.

Standing In Our Midst | Friar Reflections | Pentecost

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear…” this is the opening phrase of today’s Gospel according to St. John. In John’s Gospel, the Ascension and Pentecost happen on Easter Sunday. (In Luke these feasts are spread out over time; forty days after Easter for the Ascension, and another ten days for Pentecost.) I’ve always liked the Lukan chronology, since it gives us the gift of time to better ponder the fulness of the Easter mystery: the bodily resurrection of Jesus, his return to the Father in heaven (taking his now glorified body and human nature with him), and his sending the Holy Spirit to abide forever with us, the Church.)

But this year, it’s that first line in the Gospel that captured my heart. “On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear…” The disciples at that point were afraid that they too would be handed over to the Romans by the Jews. I hope none of us in today’s world are afraid of the Jews, since we would then be afraid of Jesus who was, is and always will be Jewish. But all of us have locked places in our hearts. All of us have a fear of someone or something. Today’s Gospel is an invitation for us to name that which causes us fear and then to trust that the risen Christ is already there, standing in our midst and saying to us, “Peace be with you.” Peace, the Shalom of God, which is the promise of right relationship with not only God, not only with our neighbors and creation, but right and healed relationship with ourselves.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ’s Peace, Healing, and Forgiveness. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate, not only with God, but sometimes we need an advocate on behalf of those wounded parts of us that we long to be healed, restored, forgiven. God is quick to forgive.

Our friends and neighbors, those we have hurt, might forgive in time and up to a point. I find that too often we can’t forgive ourselves. We don’t think we can or ought to open those memories of the hurt we have caused others; we think if we pretend to forget, then those words or actions, those things that “I have done or have failed to do” have no real hold on us. But we are wrong; those are the locked doors behind which is not condemnation, but the Holy Spirit of Christ’s forgiveness.

Today, on this wonderful expression of Easter, the gifting of the Holy Spirit to a wounded and too often wounding Church, let us remember that the Healing Spirit is given to us who not because we have somehow earned the gift, but because in our pain we need the gift. Today, let us celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit by living not in fear but in faith. “The antidote to fear is Faith, and the fruit of faith is Charity.”

-Fr. Steve

A Busy and Holy Time | From the Desk of the Pastor | May, 2024

Sisters and brothers,

So far we have had a very busy Easter Season. We held our latest Giving from the Heart drive, which collected more than $7,000 worth of items for Foundations of Life pregnancy center, as well as needed items for Hands of Hope. We welcomed Abbot Isaac Camacho, O.S.B., from St Leo’s, who confirmed 30 of our parish youth. Our annual parish gala was a success, with the event raising more than $78,000 for the renovation of the kitchen at the North Campus. Let’s not forget we celebrated Fr Zack’s birthday as well!

That high level of activity continues this weekend across many of our Masses, with 28 of our parish’s children receiving their First Communion. Over this past year, it has been a pleasure working with the children and their families as they prepared for their sacraments. We should be proud of all of our children. All of this activity certainly shows the parish is thriving and growing.

Conversely, this last month has also seen a decision made by our  Sacred Heart Catholic Conference of Women for their group to disband. Their membership, comprised of several selfless and active parishioners, has seen a decline in recent years that has been mirrored on the state and national level. I will be meeting with their current council to develop a Mass/prayer service and social to celebrate the past and current women of the SHCCW, and recognize their years of service to Sacred Heart. The mission of the Sacred Heart Council of Catholic Women has been to assist the pastor and the parish community in charitable, educational, social and spiritual undertakings. Throughout the 55 years of their ministry, the SHCCW certainly have been a key part of our parish life. The majority of their works have gone undetected as these women volunteered and worked for the betterment of the parish and not their own glory, always helping when and where there were needs, for events large and small. They have served in many additional roles in our parish, including leadership.

Our thanks and gratitude go out to all of the past and current members of the SHCCW. In Mark and Matthew’s Gospels, we hear, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” For me, the SHCCW did not exist to be served, but to serve our parish. Truly, these women are a wonderful example of how we can live out our faith. Over the next month I would ask that each of us say this prayer for the transition of their group:

Loving God, you are the Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end.

Our endings and our beginnings are rooted in your love.
Whether near or far, we are held close by your love, and kept safe from any lasting loss.

We praise you for the gift of the Catholic Conference of Women, who have served Sacred Heart Church for 55 years, as they served to assist the Pastor and the Parish community in charitable, educational, social and spiritual undertakings.

As the ministerial service of the Catholic Conference of Women concludes, let these endings and new beginnings be filled with your blessing.

Touch all the faithful and the CCW members with your grace and your peace. Help us to live with courage and gladness as we prepare for the future you present us.

We ask all this through your Son, Jesus Christ,
our life and our hope,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Peace and All Good,
Fr. Mike

Bearing Fruit in Abiding Faith | Deacon Reflections | Fifth Sunday of Easter

Dear Friends,

In the heart of the Gospel of John lies a profound parable that speaks volumes about the basis of our Christian journey. John 15:1-8 beautifully portrays Jesus as the true vine and His followers as the branches, illustrating the intimate connection and dependency we have on Him for spiritual strength and fruitfulness.

As Jesus begins his talk, He declares, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.” In these simple yet profound words, He establishes Himself as the source of our spiritual life, the very essence from which our faith and growth spring forth. Here, Jesus unveils a fundamental truth: apart from Him, we can do nothing. The symbolism of the vine and branches evokes powerful imagery deeply rooted in the agricultural practices of Jesus’ time. In ancient Israel, the vineyard was a familiar sight, and the vine dresser’s care for the vine and its branches was essential for a fruitful harvest. Likewise, Jesus portrays God the Father as the vine dresser, meticulously tending to His vineyard—the Church—and ensuring its health and productivity.

Yet, the key message lies in the relationship between the vine and the branches. Jesus points out the vital importance of abiding in Him: He says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  Abiding in Christ involves a continual relationship of dependence and trust. It’s about remaining connected to Him through prayer, Scripture, and obedience. Abiding in Christ calls for a deepening of our relationship with Him through prayer, Scripture, the Sacraments, and acts of love and service toward one another. It requires humility to acknowledge our dependency on Him and a willingness to submit to His guidance and direction in our lives. Just as branches draw their sustenance from the vine, so too do we draw our spiritual nourishment from Christ, allowing His grace to flow through us and bear fruit in abundance.

What, then, is the fruit that Jesus speaks of? The fruits of the Spirit detailed in Galatians 5:22-23—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—are the natural outgrowths of a life deeply rooted in Christ; they are the results, the fruits, of the Gifts. When we abide in Him, His life becomes manifested in ours, transforming us from within and enabling us to reflect His love and presence to the world.  An example is when we go out to help those in need. Hopefully, we are using our nourishment from Christ to help in any way we can, by being kind, loving, patient, and gentle, sharing peace and joy and being faithful to Christ’s guidance and direction in our lives.

However, Jesus also issues a warning: “Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” This solemn reminder underscores the grave consequence of neglecting our relationship with Christ. When we disconnect ourselves from the source of life, we become spiritually barren, unable to bear fruit and susceptible to spiritual decay.

In a world marked by distractions, busyness, and the allure of self-sufficiency, the message of John 15:1-8 rings as relevant and compelling as ever. It calls us to reexamine our priorities and to prioritize our relationship with Christ above all else. It challenges us to cultivate a vibrant, abiding faith—one that is deeply rooted in Him and bears fruit that endures.

As we continue our journey through the Easter season, may we heed the words of Jesus and abide in Him, drawing strength and sustenance from the true vine. May our lives be personified by an ever-deepening intimacy with Christ, resulting in lives that bear fruit in abundance, to the glory of God the Father.

Peace of Christ,
Deacon Ray Ferreris

Nudging to Nourishment | Friar Reflections | Fourth Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

As I’ve said before, Good Shepherd Sunday (John 10:11-18) is not easy for me to preach on. I’ve had no experience with sheep, nor have I ever met a shepherd of sheep. But in the “Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays” the author of the reflection on this text reminds us that, “a good shepherd knows that it is best to lead from the back, gently nudging the flock toward nourishment and keeping out of harm’s way” (p. 182).

This reminded me of my time teaching English in Santurce, Spain during summer vacation. (I did this for three summers before I reentered the friars, and though the days were long, the pay was wonderful.) I knew no Spanish and was told that’s why I got the job. I did have a wonderful Spanish aid, Susanna, who assisted in class, and at the local tapas bar the English teachers and aides frequented every night. Every Wednesday, we’d take my class of 20 children on an outing by bus to the sea, or another town. She was the leader, and I with a big, tall walking stick in hand, followed behind, making sure no one wandered away. It was very stressful, but the kids seemed to enjoy this time away from a full day of classroom instruction. I never lost anyone. I don’t know if they were afraid of me or afraid of the stick.

This idea of “nudging” people to nourishment, to faith, fidelity, and forgiveness, is to my mind exactly how Jesus ministered to people and lived His life. While in homilies I’ve never used the word “nudged”, I have used the word “invited”. The Greek word for “good” can also be translated as “beautiful” or “exemplary”.  Jesus was a beautiful and exemplary shepherd in that He never beat His followers over the head, never scolded nor scared them, but by word and deed showed them how much they were loved. He was a good shepherd since, in the end, He even laid down His life for them. Who Jesus was then He is even more so now. He invites and nudges us. He doesn’t beat nor scold us. He laid down his life for us and rose from the dead for us.

All of us should be shepherds for one another. Parents, you are the shepherds of your children. Grandparents, you too are shepherds for adult children, guiding them by example; caring, praying with and for your grandchildren. My prayer for us all who are the Church is that we lead one another to nourishment by gently guiding one another. My prayer for all of us is that we also have the humility to be guided especially when we find ourselves in difficult situations. My prayer for all of us is that we let ourselves by nudged by Jesus, the Good Shepherd, so that we who are God’s children now may come to realize who we shall be when all has been revealed (1 John 3:1-2).

– Fr. Steve Kluge, OFM

Peace Be With You! | Friar Reflections | Third Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

As we look upon the Resurrection of Jesus and its redemptive act of love for us as it effects the forgiveness of sin, it also needs to be seen as a gift of peace towards all humanity. Our readings this Sunday all emphasize repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Acts of the Apostles urges repentance for forgiveness of sins. John’s letter views Christ as an offering for the world and reminds us that if we sin, we have Jesus as our personal intercessor before God. In Luke’s Gospel, which happens to be the tail end of the Emmaus Story, we hear Jesus opening the minds of the Apostles to the Scriptures, telling them they are to preach repentance after first greeting them with the words “Peace be with you.”

Peace connotes the restoration of relationships, between God and His people and His people among themselves.  When Jesus stood among them with the word “peace,” He restored them to relationship with Himself. The barrier of death has been overcome.  Jesus and His disciples are united. He is not a ghost, and they do not have to be afraid. He is alive and real. Nor do we need to be afraid.

At some point after the Resurrection, the disciples might have wondered, “Jesus rising from the dead is great, but what now?” “What’s next?” What’s next is for them to go out and preach the good news of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, to be preached in Jesus’ name. Jesus is now teaching and commissioning them.

Last week we read that the Apostles are to forgive sins and indeed, this is the greatest work we can carry out as Christians, to forgive.  As God the Father forgave us through Jesus’ death on the cross, so we forgive others. That example of forgiving others can lead us all towards a peaceful existence with one another.

We are invited in this time of Easter to deepen our faith in the risen Christ by renewing again the promises of our Baptism:  to die to self and to live in the Lord. Words are easy and actions can be costly. We can ask ourselves: “Can I truly offer forgiveness and ask for forgiveness too?” “Do I really trust that my own sins are forgiven?” “Do I know that Christ died and then was raised to life and through that, our whole world was changed forever?” The answer to all of these questions should be a resounding “yes!”

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to convey the message of peace to his followers, and that includes all of us. May we be open the grace of peace in our lives proclaimed to us by Jesus himself!

Peace be with you!
– Fr. Zack

Rolling Back the Stone | From the Desk of the Pastor | April 2024

Sisters and brothers,

On Easter Sunday we heard a passage from the Gospel of Mark (16:2-4), stating “Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.”

Pope Francis in his Easter Vigil address this year talked about the stone. He stated:

  • “There are times when we may feel that a great stone blocks the door of our hearts, stifling life, extinguishing hope, imprisoning us in the tomb of our fears and regrets, and standing in the way of joy and hope. We encounter such “tombstones” on our journey through life in all the experiences and situations that rob us of enthusiasm and of the strength to persevere. We encounter them at times of sorrow: in the emptiness left by the death of our loved ones, in the failures and fears that hold us back from accomplishing the good we mean to do. We encounter them in all the forms of self-absorption that stifle our impulses to generosity and sincere love, in the rubber walls of selfishness and indifference that hold us back in the effort to build more just and humane cities and societies, in all our aspirations for peace that are shattered by cruel hatred and the brutality of war. When we experience these disappointments, do we also have the sensation that all these dreams are doomed to failure, and that we too should ask ourselves in anguish: “Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?”

    Yet the same women who bore this darkness in their hearts tell us something quite extraordinary. When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. This is the Pasch of Christ, the revelation of God’s power: the victory of life over death, the triumph of light over darkness, the rebirth of hope amid the ruins of failure. It is the Lord, the God of the impossible, who rolled away the stone forever. Even now, he opens our tombs, so that hope may be born ever anew. We too, then, should “look up” to him.”

Last weekend we saw the evidence of that stone rolled back for us in our celebration of the Triduum and Easter Sunday. Many ministries came together to help with the planning and organization of these celebrations alongside those who volunteered and served at all the services. A lot of that heavy lifting was accomplished by our Liturgical Advisory Committee, our Faith Formation staff and catechists, the Environment Committee, our altar servers, ushers, readers, Eucharistic Ministers, cantors, and choir. It’s also important to recognize the ministries we don’t always see in action, that play a pivotal roll in the background, including those who clean the altar linens, the money counters, and the parish staff who go above and beyond to ensure the success of these liturgies. Our parish’s outreach and social ministries also played a role in the Triduum. At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, members from the Open Doors ministry prepared the altar. The basket of food presented during the Preparation of the Gifts was collected by our St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers in March.

We often focus on being “trapped in the tomb.” That wasn’t the case this Easter. A group of twelve came into the Church at the Vigil. Over the past year they each shared their story of how the stone was rolled away for them as they came into their faith in Christ. On Easter Sunday, nearly 4,000 came to our parish to celebrate their faith in the Risen Lord. It is the witness of all these people who encourage all of us to continue on in our own faith.

I want to thank everyone who assisted us over these past weeks in creating these prayerful and faith-filled celebrations. Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil this year concluded by saying, “In the darkness, let an unexpected shout of joy resound: He is alive; he is risen! And you, my brothers and sisters, small and great … you who are weary of life, who feel unworthy to sing… let a new flame be kindled in your heart, let new vitality be heard in your voice. It is the Pasch of the Lord; it is the feast of the living.” Our parish is alive with the faith of the Risen Lord.

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Mike