Category Archives: Parish News

Florida Bishops’ Statement on 47th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade

January 22, 2020 marks a sad anniversary: the U.S. Supreme Court’s tragic decision legalizing the deliberate taking of unborn human life through elective abortion. Judicial sanction of the termination of life in the womb seen by some as a “right” is a “wrong” that for 47 years has coarsened hearts and darkened minds. Today, after more than 60 million abortions, there is less regard for all human life as society discards those deemed inconvenient because of age, infirmity or any other reason.

This past year, in one of the most polarized political environments experienced in recent history, we were appalled that some states sought to strengthen laws that permit abortions even to the moment of birth. We also saw the U.S. Congress fail repeatedly to consider protections that ensure infants who survive abortion receive proper medical care.

Yet, amid this darkness, signs of hope remain, and good and courageous acts light a way forward. The passage of laws by several state legislatures to restrict abortion is encouraging. Wide support in Florida for the vital help provided to pregnant women and their families by pregnancy care centers is greatly welcomed. Parish and other ministries that provide material and spiritual help and offer hope and healing for those suffering from past abortions hearten us and are to be commended.

The prevailing interpretation of the privacy clause in our Florida constitution, which has provided broader rights to abortion than the U.S. Constitution, is frustrating. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that legislation requiring a 24-hour reflection period prior to an abortion will ultimately survive court challenges and be upheld as law.

Despite the claims by some that Roe v. Wade is “settled law”, Americans are still conflicted about abortion, and this is what lies behind much of the divisiveness of today’s political discourse. As Catholics, we do not pretend to impose our views about human life on the citizenry of this great nation. Nevertheless, as Americans, we wish to contribute, as faithful and faith-filled citizens, to the common good and to promote human flourishing in our society by making our proposal. Dr. Martin Luther King’s proposal on the need for racial justice touched the conscience of a nation and brought about the end of Jim Crow. In the same way, our proposal informed by Catholic teachings but accessible to reason hopes to touch consciences and bring an end to America’s “slaughter of the innocents”.

This proposal holds that everyone’s human dignity is served when each human life is protected in law from the moment of conception until natural death. Respect for the right to life and dignity of every human person – whether he or she be poor, an immigrant, a refugee, incarcerated, infirmed, sick, elderly or unborn – simply reaffirms the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights” and thus promotes the “more perfect union” to which our founders aspired.

Fraternal Ecology – Update

Recently, Fr. Dan Kenna, OFM visited the parish as part of the Holy Name Province “Fraternal Ecology Project.”  Here is an update on the review.

The friars who serve Sacred Heart are from Holy Name Province. We are a “Fraternity in Mission to the People of God” in the tradition and spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.  We have about 240 men serving in a wide variety of ministerial settings — colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers, and diverse social ministries along the East Coast, as well as in overseas missions.  Forty years ago, we had 1,200 friars serving about 36 provincial commitments. Now we have the 240, older in average age, serving 30 provincial commitments. Even though our vocations remain strong, we are statistically aging. As such, we find that we are stretched thin as a province and in each of our ministerial settings.

We know we must realistically plan for the future in light of our diminishing numbers and the ever-increasing challenges of our ministries. As a province, we are committed to right-size our number of ministerial commitments, to reorganize and reimagine those we maintain, so that we might re-establish “Fraternities in Mission” that assures a quality of fraternal life for the brothers and, thus, empower us to better serve the Church.

Our province is finalizing this 2.5-year process. As part of that process, Fr. Dan Kenna, OFM, visited our friars, parishioners, and liturgies this past June. The Provincial Minister and his Council have received analysis and recommendations for each of our ministries and will prayerfully make their final decisions in December 2019. On January 3, 2020, these decisions will be announced to the friars, their Partners in Ministry (parishes), and all local bishops.

The Provincial has asked me to communicate with the parish to thank you for your patience as the decision process unfolds. He also asked that while we recognize these are hard decisions, they are also “family” decisions as we friars discern what is ours to do in this new reality and in the light of our call to live as brothers in mission. As such, these decisions will be final and not subject to appeal once they are announced.

Please keep our Provincial Minister, Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM, and his six provincial counselors in your prayers. Ask the Holy Spirit to give them wisdom that they may do what is theirs to do.

Peace be with you,
Fr. George Corrigan, OFM