Sacred Heart of Jesus Church - Serving the Communities of South Bend and Lakeville, Indiana
I’m hoping . . . that those who are not picking up a bulletin in church are reading it on-line weekly.  It is our best way to communicate with our members in the midst of all this turmoil due to the pandemic.

Numbers in attendance are growing each week and at each Mass, but very slowly.  The reasons seem to be very mixed as I talk to various people from the parish.  Some have fears, for sure.  Some worry that their being out might jeopardize their older family members whom they see throughout the week.  Some, because they refuse to wear a mask while in church (or elsewhere) and are frustrated that the requirement is continuing when social distancing is also taking place.  Clearly, the reaction to the entire situation is very mixed indeed; as much so as are the reports being given us by media.
   
What to do?  You can only follow your own conscience when it comes to attendance at Holy Mass, but I also feel you are as safe, maybe safer here than in your need to go to the local supermarket or other stores where we see many parishioners once again. As far as masks for the time being; I can only follow what the Diocese is asking of us at this point and have no idea as to when it will all change—I hope at least no later than the original date of August 15, when the dispensation from attendance is supposed to end.

My personal feeling, not that it matters, would be that if the mask is the issue, I would want to have the spiritual nourishment of receiving the very Body and Blood of Christ each week and carry the small cross of the mask—nothing compared to the Cross of Christ for me—rather than to miss that wonderful opportunity to receive the Eucharist in the context of Holy Mass.  

For those with genuine health fears, we must respect your feelings, which is why the Bishop issued a dispensation from Sunday attendance until August 15. Challenging times to the living of one’s Faith!
 
I’ve not heard reports since the return of “the churched” to their respective places of worship, that any rise in numbers has been attributed to their return. Go figure.  Enough said.

On a much more positive note, I congratulate Frank and Doris Vas, who will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary during the month of July.  What a beautiful testament of their commitment and their genuine trust in God’s help all these years.  Sadly, Frank’s health has been failing, so please keep them in your prayers.

The Parish Staff did the year- ahead Calendar Planning this past Monday, and it is assumed that meetings formerly scheduled will once again begin in the month of August. If you have information that needs to be put into the Parish Calendar (so no conflicts and so your space is kept open), make sure you call the office or better, send a clear and concise  e-mail to the parish secretaries.  Don’t assume that your regularly scheduled meetings are in the calendar once again until you (as chair) make that clear.  If you will not be returning to a committee or a group for the time being or altogether, please let that chair person know. ~Fr. John
On-line registration is now open for our Religious Education Program for the year 2020-2021. RE is for 4-year olds to 8th grade. Classes this coming fall will be from 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

If you have any questions, you can contact Heather Buison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Registration: https://forms.gle/Y9kSY7LJH7n6QKsAA
Mass Attendance:  It was good to see the numbers increasing this past weekend with those choosing to come to Mass, realizing that it is as safe to come to Mass as it is to go shopping or patronize other businesses providing necessary services or even my experience in going to doctor’s offices lately; or as it is for children to be playing with other children in the neighborhood or among extended family.

With the State continuing to open up and no news of any increases related to churches (of any denomination) since opening up, people seem to be feeling more comfortable with getting on with life, especially their desire for the Eucharist.

An Interesting Article: appeared in a national Catholic publication of good reputation about politicians who seem to straddle the issue of abortion, “I accept my Church’s position that life begins at conception.  That’s the Church’s judgment.  I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and—I just refuse to impose that on others.”  A direct quote from one politician who claims to be a good Catholic—but this politician is not alone.

The response by the author of the article was spot-on, “Many other politicians before (him) had clung to this twisted logic, missing the fact that the beginning of life is not a Church judgment but a scientific one, binding on everyone, and that Church teaching on abortion is more about the duty to protect life in its earliest stages than it is about identifying precisely when it starts.”  Something to think about. Though I also realize that we are living in an age of Relativism vs  moral facts and objective truth, and many are buying it. In the end, such thinking becomes self-defeating.

I had heard the numbers were down on those viewing Mass on YouTube (provided by the parish), though I understand that one can view it at other times of the day, not just at the 10 a.m. hour.  I also noticed though that far less came to Church after the televised Mass to receive Communion, as was offered last week and this week between the times of 11:45 and Noon.The first week, the numbers were approximately 30, but this week it had dropped to only 14.  My concern is that some may have thought we were only offering this opportunity to you for that first week, though clearly, it was said that we would continue to do so until further notice, at least until August 15 when the dispensation is presumably going to be lifted regarding Sunday Mass obligation.- Fr. John
ENCOURAGING: This past weekend, we had the joy of celebrating with both parish communities, our First Communion students’ coming together for Holy Mass and to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist for their first time.  The Church was full, though mindful of the restrictions we must follow for the time being.  It was SO good to see people, families, grandparents, and pray together again in one another’s company.That is Church!

While wanting to be very cognizant and respectful of some people’s needs to take greater precautions with regard to the COVID-19 threat that still remains, I want to otherwise encourage others to return to Mass. 
 
As I said in the previous bulletin, some people over 65 have interpreted the Bishop to say you may not come to Mass if past that age, but that was NEVER his statement.  While all are still dispensed from the Sunday obligation to attend, and while older people—more at risk—are encouraged to remain home, no one has said you may not come to Mass.  We are adults and can make good decisions for ourselves in such matters, and that will always be respected.

Having said that, we still ask that those attending wear masks for Mass—since it is being asked of us by the Diocese.  We have set things up in church to facilitate proper social distancing, and we have hand sanitizers at the doors for when people come in or leave church.  We also have a cleaning crew of volunteers (your help would be greatly appreciated in volunteering now and then) to use proper sprays to sanitize all the pews used, doors, and any other places where people may have their hands. 
 
Interestingly, the New England Journal of Medicine made it clear that to just pass by someone is not sufficient to “catch” the virus from them if infected.  It would be the cough or the sneeze that projects the possibility.  If all are wearing masks, then the risk is much less and it respects others valid concerns. Yes, they are annoying.  We all agree on that. I can’t imagine being in the medical field and wearing one all day long in treatment rooms where they have always been required.  Bless those dear people who have always had our health care in mind; day-in and day-out.

If you have been away but are one of the ministers at Mass and would like to let Carol or Mary Ann know you can once again help with your ministry, please phone either office.
 
PRAYERS NEEDED: Continued prayer is needed for the chaotic times we are in; for an end to racial hatred and violence in our society, resumption of peaceful protests rather than violence to make one’s voice heard otherwise, and that our just-minded law enforcement officers will remain safe as they attempt to protect the rights and safety of all citizens  The solution is not a one-way matter, as we can all recognize and should acknowledge so as to make good changes.  Pray for peace!  But as Pope Paul VI once said, “If you want peace, pray for justice.” Bulletins are now back in print and at the doors. Sign-up for Mass is no longer required. YouTube Mass will continue at least until August 15 (to be re-evaluated at that point.)  We are looking into some video equipment that will allow us to continue posting the Mass online for bonafide shut-ins or for our nursing home members for future times ~virus or not.~Fr. John