Category Archives: Parish News

Statement from the Florida Council of Catholic Bishops

To view the original document released by the FCCB, click here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2022
CONTACT:
Michele Taylor
Associate Director for Communications
(850) 205-6817
mtaylor@flaccb.org

Statement on U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

TALLAHASSEE – On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In response, the bishops of Florida issued the following statement:

“We are deeply heartened to see that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in its landmark opinion, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The most influential abortion case in decades, Dobbs is a decision by our nation’s highest court to allow states to protect women and their children from abortion through all stages of pregnancy.

“The legacy of Roe and Casey has been the imposition of an abortion regime that made our nation one of the most liberal of Western democratic countries on abortion. As a result, over 62 million children nationwide and 3,368,4751 children in Florida were denied the opportunity to live outside the womb since 1973. Mothers, fathers, and families have suffered under the shadow of Roe. Now, decision-making on abortion policy is once again in the hands of the American people and their elected officials. This is a momentous step towards establishing a more robust culture of life.

“The Dobbs case marks a new era for the work of the Church and all those who strive to protect children in the womb. We remain committed to ministries of service that accompany expectant mothers facing difficult or unintended pregnancies. We strive to continue to build a society that empowers women so that mothers are truly supported throughout pregnancy and beyond. A truly pro-life culture values women for their unique contributions and special gifts in all spheres of life, while supporting them in their roles as mothers. We wholeheartedly promote the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ initiative Walking with Moms in Need as well as the Florida Pregnancy Care Network to provide life-affirming care for women.

“We also remain passionate in the collective effort to change hearts and minds in Florida so that abortion is unthinkable, and to advocate for the legal protection of human life in the womb accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children. Roe’s reversal is the long-awaited righting of a grievous wrong, and we look ahead with grateful hope as we seek to bring the light of Christ and the Gospel of Life to our state of Florida.”

1) https://www.johnstonsarchive.net/…/usa/ab-usa-FL.html, accessed on May 20, 2022.

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The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.

Parishioners Show in Droves for Successful Donation Event for Tampa Hope, JCHC

Volunteers from Sacred Heart’s Outreach Committee, Friars, and Knights of Columbus managed to thwart the rain as our latest Giving from the Heart donation drive-thru event was held last Saturday, June 11, at the North Campus. The event was organized in conjunction with Catholic Charities DOSP and Faith Community Nursing, supporting both the Tampa Hope Homeless Center and the Judeo-Christian Health Clinic.

The Judeo Christian Health Clinic provides free, quality, timely and compassionate health care to medically indigent residents of the Tampa Bay area who have no other resources for their health care needs. The Clinic, which began in 1972, serves patients who do not qualify for government funded programs and have incomes that fall just above the federal poverty level. JCHC recorded nearly 30,000 visits in 2021.

Opened last year, Tampa Hope houses over 100 local homeless in semi-permanent shelters while providing food, clothing, transportation, education, employment and benefits assistance, substance abuse and mental health counseling, basic medical care, and case management services in an effort to help reestablish permanent housing. Sacred Heart is an original partner of the facility, which is located in East Tampa.

More than 40 vehicles drove through with many car-and-truck loads of needed items, including toiletries, blankets, clothes, cleaning, office, medical and kitchen supplies, as well as monetary donations. More than 500 individual items were collected to help stock these important community resources.

Our next Giving from the Heart event will be held in August, co-sponsored by Open Doors and Sacred Heart’s Young Professionals, benefitting Saint Vincent de Paul, and Dignity for Haiti.

View the gallery below for pictures from the event:

Welcome Fr. Steve Kluge, OFM

Update:

On Pentecost Sunday, parishioners had a chance to meet our newest Franciscan Friar, Fr. Steve Kluge, OFM, as he celebrated his first Masses since joining us at Sacred Heart as a parochial vicar.

Presiding over the 10:30 a.m. and noon Masses, Fr. Steve brought out some snacks as props to help us understand how he believes he fits into the scheme of both the Friars, which he views as a tin of “mixed nuts,” as well as the Church as a whole.

If you attended a different Mass, and would like to see Fr. Steve’s introductory homily, you can view it below:

Original Post:

Sacred Heart is delighted to announce that Fr. Stephen (Steve) Kluge, OFM, will join the parish as a parochial vicar in early June.

Fr. Steve most recently served as a pastoral associate at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Long Beach, N.J. just 40 miles from where he was raised in Point Pleasant, N.J.

Fr. Steve joined the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province in 1994, and has served as a friar for more than 27 years. Fr. Steve earned a Master’s of Divinity from the Washington Theological Union in Washington D.C. and was ordained in 2001.

Fr. Steve has spent most of his ministerial life with the people of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New Jersey, including seven years as pastor. Prior to returning to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New Jersey, Fr. Steve was parochial vicar of St. Francis Parish in Raleigh, N.C., where he ministered to men on death row, and served as the spiritual assistant to the local Secular Franciscan Fraternity.

Fr. Steve is also a poet and author of a well received book of poetry entitled, “From a Parish Priest.”

Fr. Francis Di Spigno, the current pastor at St. Francis of Assisi in New Jersey, said of Fr. Steve in a recent goodbye letter, “I always enjoyed living with Steve and ministering beside him. He is a man of deep prayer and great faith. I will certainly miss him, his counsel, and his wonderful ability to teach complicated mysteries in ways that even the simplest among us can understand. He has a great way of weaving his humor into pretty much everything.”

Please join the friars and staff in welcoming Fr. Steve as part of our parish upon his arrival.

Why do we celebrate the Ascension on a Sunday?

On May 29, 2022, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. In the days following His resurrection until the Ascension, Jesus appeared to His apostles in several different ways to affirm for them that He had been raised from the dead and truly lives. They were filled with the theological virtue of faith, indicating that with God all things are possible. Soon He would leave them again, this time to sit at His Father’s Right Hand.

Did you know? |  We see His Ascension depicted in the triptych of windows along the south side of the church, adjacent to the choir area, with His disciples losing sight of Him among the clouds as He was lifted. These windows were donated to the parish in 1904 by the Knights of Columbus and dedicated “to the greater honor and glory of God.”

I always thought it was “Ascension Thursday.” What Changed? | The Solemnity of the Ascension is a Holy Day of Obligation, occurring on the Thursday that coincides with the 40-day mark following Easter, and is celebrated as such in many regions of the country, while other regions transfer the celebration to the following Sunday. Transferring the Ascension to Sunday is actually not that new, and part of a larger trend to transfer holy days of obligation and other solemnities to the following Sunday. Doing so allows greater exposure and more solemn celebration of the holy day among the faithful.

For the Ascension in the United States, this trend started on the West Coast in the late 1990s, and eventually spread. Other parts of the world have also transferred this solemnity to Sunday including Australia, Canada, and some countries in Europe. With the approval of the Holy See, the episcopal conference (the body of bishops in a country) can transfer solemnities and change some of the holy days of obligation (Canon 1246). In the U.S., each ecclesiastical province, or the metropolitan archdiocese and its suffragan dioceses, was permitted to decide whether to transfer the Ascension or not. (Portions of this article are attributed to the Paul Christopher Lim’s “From the Back of the Church”)

Running Back to Home Base | Friar Reflections | “Bleacher Brothers” Mission Recap


By Rob Boelke, Manager of Communications

When introducing Fr. Casey Cole, OFM, and Fr. Tito Serrano, OFM, at the beginning of our parish mission this past Monday evening, I asked the pair of friars how the start of their ambitious tour was going, seeing as Tampa was just their second stop following the kickoff in Miami just days before. “There’s been a southern Florida cloud gently hovering over our  trip so far,” Fr. Casey stated. “Every part of our trip has had a little bit of ‘rain’ or a little bit of ‘slipping here, forgetting something there,’ but it has been great.”

Fast forward about 20 seconds, and he thought there was another cloud, as Fr. Tito’s microphone was fighting against him. Motioning to the congregation of more than 100 in attendance, Fr. Casey exclaimed, “we make plans and God laughs, and that’s what we are praying for.” Fr. Tito eventually figured things out (he forgot to turn it on) and thus began an evening of discourse that we rarely get to have in our parishes these days. One of openness and civil discourse, humility and humanity. I certainly hope their visit to Sacred Heart set a tone for their summer tour.


Watch the Full Mission Session Here:


Casey and Tito are on a pilgrimage more so than a tour, however. You’ll have seen in our advertisements over these last few months that the pair of young friars are visiting each and every Major League ballpark this summer, marrying ministry and their passion for the sport of baseball. When I asked where their passion for baseball emanates, Fr. Casey provided insight into this mission’s focus on evangelization in untraditional settings. “Who doesn’t love baseball? It gets in your bones…it brings people together. There is something spiritual about it, almost like a church. You have the fraternal aspect; you spend a lot of time sitting with your brothers in the dugout. For some, that may call it boring, but I call it quality time. The beauty of the stadiums attracts us as well. They are kind of like cathedrals, each slightly different, some ornate, some big, some beautiful. They are hubs for cities, and they house tradition. No other sport has the tradition that baseball does, rooted in something much bigger than yourself.”

Fr. Tito (left) and Fr. Casey (center), with Rob Boelke (right) during the Bleacher Brothers event at Sacred Heart on May 23, 2022.

“We are putting ourselves out there,” Fr. Tito mentioned as the discussion turned to the goals for their interactions at the stadiums. “We’re hoping people will approach us. You don’t go to a baseball game dressed like this (in their habits) unless you want that attention.” Fr. Casey interjected, “Oh, look the Padres are in town. You’ll get kids asking if it is Star Wars night. These (jokes) are pretty popular.” Tito continued, “You’ll get that look from people thinking, ‘Can I?’ (approach) and we say ‘Of course you can!’”

Fr. Casey then told us about one interaction in particular from their first game in Miami that exemplified their mission. “We were in the bathroom and a young guy, 19 years old, came up to us saying he wanted to talk to us, but not in here.” I remarked that I was glad the gentleman in question made such an important distinction, as the congregation laughed. Fr. Casey went on to explain that the man had really been struggling with his faith, with his parent’s faith and culture, and that he felt disconcerted. “He had some real questions for us, and he ended up hugging us after. It was great!”

Fr. Casey (left) and Fr. Tito (right) at Tropicana Field on May 24, 2022

Similar to the interactions they anticipate on having in each ballpark this summer, we had questions prepared for Casey and Tito, covering topics that face the modern Church, both specific to Sacred Heart and on an broader scale. We discussed how to grow alongside the population moving into our parish boundaries. We examined how to invite back our family or friends who have fallen away from the Church, and how to do so with dignity and respect for their experience. We talked about divisiveness, and how civil discourse and listening can help you connect with those who have a different worldview. And just like the encounter with the fan in Miami, it was great.

On behalf of the parish, I thank Fr. Casey and Fr. Tito for their time, honesty, and compassion during this visit, and I hope we see them again soon. And thank you to our parishioners who made the trip out to the church during a Monday evening rainstorm to join us.

June’s Giving From The Heart Event Benefitting Tampa Hope, JCHC

In our continued effort to meet the growing needs of the Tampa/Hillsborough County community, Sacred Heart is holding its latest Giving from the Heart drive-through donation event on Saturday, June 11, at the North Campus main lot from 10 a.m. to noon. The June event is an effort of both Catholic Charities and Faith Community Nursing, benefitting the Tampa Hope homeless shelter and Judeo Christian Health Clinic.

Opened in 2021, Tampa Hope houses over 100 local homeless in semi-permanent shelters while providing food, clothing, transportation, education, employment and benefits assistance, substance abuse and mental health counseling, basic medical care, and case management services in an effort to help reestablish permanent housing. Sacred Heart is an original partner of the facility, which is located in East Tampa.

The Judeo Christian Health Clinic provides free, quality, timely and compassionate health care to medically indigent residents of the Tampa Bay area who have no other resources for their health care needs. The Clinic, which began in 1972, serves patients who do not qualify for government funded programs and have incomes that fall between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty level. JCHC recorded nearly 30,000 visits last year.

Below are lists from each organization highlighting the most needed items hoping to be collected during the drive.

Tampa Hope Homeless Shelter Needs:

  • Toiletries, such as detergent, shampoo, body wash,
    deodorant, towels, tissues, toilet paper
  • Kitchen supplies, such as disposable plates, cups and utensils, distilled water, paper towels, garden trash bags, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer, dish soap
  • Essential garments and clothing, such as blankets, underwear,
    shoes, sandals, bed linens, rain gear, pillows

Judeo Christian Health Clinic Needs:

  • Office supplies, such as printer paper, pens, pencils and electric sharpeners, printer ink (HP 83x, 12a, or 35a), legal envelopes, sticky notes, legal pads
  • Kitchen supplies, such as disposable plates, cups and utensils, distilled water, paper towels, garden trash bags, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer, dish soap
  • Non-perishable food items

Interested in volunteering with GFTH? Contact Tom Henry regarding Catholic Charities, or Fran Provenzano regarding Faith Community Nursing.

We thank you in advance for your generosity and continued support!

36 Receive First Communion During The Third Sunday of Easter

We rejoice and celebrate with our parish children and youth as they received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time last weekend. These families have participated in workshops, retreats, a church tour, and received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time in January. It was truly an amazing weekend full of God’s love, joy, and abundant blessings for our parish. We welcome them to the Table of the Lord!

To inquire about sacraments for your children and youth, contact Maria Giral at 813-229-1595, Ext. 214, or mgiral@sacredheartfla.org.

 

Sacred Heart To Host Mission Feat. YouTuber Fr. Casey Cole, OFM

Join your fellow parishioners and visitors from around the diocese on Monday, May 23, at 7 p.m. in the church for a special mission session featuring Fr. Casey Cole, OFM, and Fr. Roberto “Tito” Serrano, OFM, from the successful YouTube channels “Breaking In the Habit” and “Upon Friar Review.

St. Francis of Assisi didn’t just preach in churches or the places where people who already had faith gathered. He spent most of his time preaching in the city square, among ordinary people, talking in ways they could understand. He had a gift of finding God even in the ordinary. For 800 years, the Franciscans have continued this legacy. In their own bid to meet people where they are and invite them to return to Jesus and his Church, Cole and Serrano will set out on a pilgrimage nearly a decade in the making.


In 2013, the pair of friars began to dream of how they might follow in St. Francis’ footsteps through our modern world. People didn’t gather in the streets like in the 13th century, but they did gather in stadiums for massive concerts and sporting events. As avid baseball fans, the self-professed “Bleacher Brothers” developed the idea of spending a summer visiting each of the homes of America’s pastime, inviting people “home.” Beginning in May, and spanning just 11 weeks, Cole and Serrano plan to visit all 30 Major League Baseball cities and stadiums, stopping in Tampa Bay to visit Sacred Heart on May 23, and Tropicana Field on May 24, as the Rays take on the Marlins.

Admission for the mission talk is free, and all are welcome. Cole and Serrano will also be available early at Tropicana Field, prior to the game on May 24.

Parking Info

*This page will be updated as more information is gathered regarding the event

Bleacher Brothers Media Kit

In the lead up to the event, please utilize the copy and images from this page for your bulletins, calendars, and social media.

Suggested Bulletin and Calendar Copy:

Sacred Heart to Host Mission Featuring “Bleacher Brothers,” Fr. Casey Cole, OFM and Fr. Tito Serrano, OFM

Join parishioners and visitors from around the diocese on Monday, May 23, at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, Tampa for a special mission session featuring Fr. Casey Cole, OFM, and Fr. Roberto “Tito” Serrano, OFM, from the successful YouTube channels “Breaking In the Habit” and “Upon Friar Review.”

St. Francis of Assisi didn’t just preach in churches or the places where people who already had faith gathered. He spent most of his time preaching in the city square, among ordinary people, talking in ways they could understand. He had a gift of finding God even in the ordinary. For 800 years, the Franciscans have continued this legacy. In their own bid to meet people where they are and invite them to return to Jesus and his Church, Cole and Serrano will set out on this pilgrimage that was nearly a decade in the making. As avid baseball fans, the self-professed “Bleacher Brothers” developed the idea of spending a summer visiting each of the homes of America’s pastime, inviting people back to their spiritual “home base.” Cole and Serrano plan to visit all 30 Major League Baseball cities and stadiums, stopping in Tampa Bay to visit Sacred Heart on May 23, and Tropicana Field on May 24, as the Rays take on the Marlins.

Admission for the mission talk is free, and all are welcome. For more information, visit shfla.org/bleacherbros.

Suggested E-Newsletter Copy:

Sacred Heart to Host Mission Featuring “Bleacher Brothers,” Fr. Casey Cole, OFM and Fr. Tito Serrano, OFM

Join your fellow parishioners and visitors from around the diocese on Monday, May 23, at 7 p.m. in the church for a special mission session featuring Fr. Casey Cole, OFM, and Fr. Roberto “Tito” Serrano, OFM, from the successful YouTube channels “Breaking In the Habit” and “Upon Friar Review.

In a bid to emulate the Franciscan missionary model of “meeting people where they are,” Cole and Serrano will set out on a unique pilgrimage to all 30 Major League Baseball markets over an 11-week stretch, visiting both Sacred Heart and Tropicana Field along the way. As avid baseball fans, the self-professed “Bleacher Brothers” developed the idea of spending a summer visiting each of the homes of America’s pastime nearly a decade ago, with the hope of inviting people back to their spiritual “home base.”

Admission for the mission talk is free, and all are welcome! Visit shfla.org/bleacherbros to view their tour announcement video, and read more about the friars’ upcoming visit.

Suggested Social Media Copy: 

2 baseball loving friars + 30 baseball cities + 11-week summer tour = A run toward “home base.”

Join parishioners and visitors from around the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg at Sacred Heart Tampa on Monday, May 23 as the “Bleacher Brothers,” Fr. Casey Cole, OFM and Fr. Tito Serrano, OFM, visit Tampa Bay in a bid to invite people back to Jesus and His Church. For more, visit shfla.org/bleacherbros.

(Tag Accounts: DOSP, Sacred Heart Tampa, and Casey Cole, OFM)
(Optional Hashtags: #BleacherBrothers #Franciscan #CourageouslyLiving #SacredHeartTPA)

Poster, Social Media, Bulletin Images and Graphics (Click Images Below to Expand -> Right Click Image You Need -> “Save as…”): 

KOC, SHCCW Host Successful Giving From the Heart Drive

Our latest Giving from the Heart donation drive-thru event was held on Saturday, April 9, at the North Campus in support of Catholic Charities’ Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center of Tampa.

More than 15 volunteers from Sacred Heart’s Council of Catholic Women and Knights of Columbus were on hand to collect donations for the center, which offers support services to women and families who are facing unplanned pregnancy.

More than 20 vehicles drove through with many car-and-truck loads of needed supplies, including diapers, toiletries, blankets, clothes, and food. More than 500 individual items were collected to fill the center’s shelves.

Foundations of Life focuses on developing a balanced life for the parents and their child. Nearly all Foundations of Life’s clients fulfill more than 50 percent of their priorities for pregnancy and early parenthood, including healthy delivery, development of parental skills and financial literacy, furthering educational or career ambitions, and spiritual growth. Items will be distributed by the center to clients who are actively in need of supplies to support their pregnancy or newborns.

Special, hand-made donations were delivered during the drive, serving as a reminder that our Giving from the Heart events are served by a community much larger than our parishioner base. Knit baby blanket and sweater sets were donated from a non-Catholic friend of a volunteering parishioner for the second year running. Foundations of Life operates in a similar vein, holding an open door policy for those seeking assistance, regardless of age, race, or religion, with a 96 percent success rate of clients choosing life for their unborn child.

Our next Giving from the Heart event will be held in June. For more on how you can assist Foundations of Life, visit www.foundationsoflife.org.

We thank all who participated for their generosity and continued support.

An Update on the North Campus | Friar Reflections | The Fifth Sunday of Lent

Dear parishioners,

Instead of a discussion on this week’s Gospel, I would like to provide you with an update and reflection on our North Campus property. I am aware that many of you were instrumental in the initial efforts to begin revitalizing the property prior to my arrival at the parish. It is inspiring to hear of and now see the commitment of our parishioners in their pursuit of that greater vision.

Last year, we finished several aspects of the initial phases from the original “True North” campaign. New brick and rod-iron fencing was installed, along with new security gates. The gym, which had been condemned, was removed. The parking lot was resurfaced. Wi-Fi was installed in the school, library, and auditorium. Our garden ministry continues to do a wonderful job in cleaning and beautifying the grounds, and there has been talk of future new traditions, like hosting an outdoor Stations of the Cross service. Fr Zack has seen his bee ministry grow to manage six hives, which means more honey for the Gift and Book Store. This month, much of the lighting in the auditorium will be updated or replaced, with additional outdoor lighting on the buildings also on the present docket.

There has also been growth in the number of ministries that utilize the North Campus. While the bee and garden ministries may go without saying, our bible study, book club, finance committee, Knights of Columbus, men’s prayer group, music ministry, Open Doors ministry, outreach committee, parish advisory committee, RCIA, and rosary group, along with the Sacred Heart Council of Catholic Women and Secular Franciscans all have begun to utilize the campus for their regularly scheduled meetings and events. We also have our Sacred Heart Academy Alumni group arranging luncheons to revisit the campus.

A view of the major appliances and ovens in the North Campus kitchen.

These add to the several semi-annual and annual parish events held on the property, such as new parishioner welcome dinners and advent offerings like the popular “Cookies with St Nicholas.” We continue to use the space for liturgical events at different times of the year, and the parish hosted several diocesan events at the North Campus over the last year. With parking downtown becoming more and more of an issue, it is advantageous that we have these multipurpose spaces readily available for these regular meetings. While “True North” originally looked to address other areas in phase two, I believe a project set for a later phase should be prioritized, to coincide with the usage growth of the property, and provide future opportunities for parishioners who may not be directly tied to a ministry to have more of a chance to experience the campus.

The kitchen is in desperate need of rehabilitation and remodeling. The plumbing and electric need to be updated and brought up to code. The appliances, counters, and racks are all old and may need replacing. There is no air conditioning in the kitchen, so this would also need to be added. A kitchen is the heart of any good parish event. It certainly is at the heart of one of our great ministries, Hands of Hope, who utilize the kitchen at the North Campus to make meals for the local homeless community every Saturday. For most events currently held at the North Campus, we are seeing organizers bring in food, rather than prepare it on site. Having a working kitchen would increase our ability to have more parish events at the North Campus.

By no means should we ignore the many other projects needed to modernize and revitalize the North Campus, but the kitchen should become our first priority.

From various meetings and discussions with parishioners since being installed as your pastor, I must again say how it is uplifting to see the excitement around the possibilities at the North Campus. As a parish, we need to keep that excitement flowing, and channel the event and usage possibilities being discussed, like community gardens, farmers markets, transitional housing, or developing a new chapel, into a revitalized plan and path forward for the property.

Peace and all good
Fr. Mike