From the pastor’s desk—Dec. 5, 2021

Fr. Ray Smith, CMF
Parochial administrator

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

In Advent, one person more than anyone else helps us to prepare for the coming of Jesus and that is Mary. Her journey of faith is not only in several of the Mass readings but she is also celebrated in one of the largest Marian feasts of the year, as Our Lady of Guadalupe. This year, for the first time at Sacred Heart we will be celebrating the full novena to our Blessed Mother.

Every novena has one purpose and that purpose is for the faithful to learn more about the saint we honor and imitate them. It is not simply a time to spend in more prayer or festivals, it is important to learn their story, so as to imitate the message and virtues of their life.

This year, during the Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, we are focusing on the message she gave to St Juan Diego, “build for me a church.” St Francis heard a similar message in dream to rebuild the church. This is a message not just meant for St Juan Diego or St Francis but for us as well. In light of what has happened to our Church in the last twenty years due to the sexual abuse scandal and more recently Coronavirus, we are called to rebuild this church today.

Mary’s petition is one that comes to us on two levels. The first was for Juan Diego to build a physical church, in her name but not to her. Her desire was to continue the message she gave at the wedding feast of Cana, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:3). The churches we build, even in her name, are to the worship of her Son. Mary’s message is always one that points us to her Son.

Here at Sacred Heart, we already have a church, so what are we to build? In the case of a church that is almost 140 years old, there is always something that needs repairing and fixing. In the coming year we will begin an effort to fix the roofing issues that have persisted in the church, the parish hall, and the parish building.

Secondly, the Church is also the members that form it, what we call the domestic church. Mary’s call to build a church is a call to build up its’ members. This is our bigger challenge as we continue to move in and out of surges in virus cases. This is also a challenge when our faith is on auto-pilot where we do what we have always done. To build up the church is to build up our faith whether that be extra reading of the Scriptures, attending Mass more regularly, or serving in the parish a little more.

If we take this extra time to build/rebuild a church in Mary’s honor, Mary (and Joseph) will hear something they did not hear in Bethlehem, “There is room in the inn.”

With a heart for Mission,
Fr. Ray