Sacred Heart of Jesus Church - Serving the Communities of South Bend and Lakeville, Indiana
I continue to be amazed and edified by the number of members in both parishes who have attained “years” and are still doing so well. Always unfortunate for those who are not so blessed, but it is good to cheer on and acknowledge those who celebrate birthdays of significant years.  The funny thing is that as they all age, they seem to think those years are not that many and it is the people a few older who are “elderly.”  Also edifying.  We would like to acknowledge Johanna Pairitz who turned 91 this past Monday, and Mary Ann Sobieralski who turned 80 this past Tuesday.  I know there are always more out there who manage to keep birthdays quiet, but we are happy to send wishes your way if you let us know.  Blessings regardless!
I continue to do what I can to urge those who have not been vaccinated or choosing not to, to do so.  I still very much agree with the Holy Father, our own Bishop, and others of genuine expertise on the matter (not political persons as such) who feel this is our best answer to put the worst of this virus behind us.  Bishop spoke to the matter once again when addressing the clergy of the diocese at a recent meeting in Warsaw.  He asks us to see it as a matter that goes far beyond just thinking of ourselves, but an ethical issue that faces us as a society.   

First Communion Sunday just around the corner.  Please keep our young who will be making their First Holy Communion in your prayers in the weeks ahead.  Many throughout the diocese.  Pray too for those who no longer believe in the power of the Eucharist or the Real Presence Christ left us as a gift for the journey of life. 
In order to accommodate the growing numbers of people returning to Mass, the diocese is permitting us to begin using every pew in part of the church as long as you maintain three feet distance between family groups. At St. Jude,  the Blessed Mother side of the church will have all pews available. The St. Joseph side will still have every other pew blocked off. Please sit where you feel the most comfortable which may not be your “usual spot.” We also ask that you not directly sit behind someone. Please try to stagger yourself. Friends who are fully vaccinated do not have to socially distance from each other.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE TO NOTE: We are continuing to find small portions of the Hosts on the floor and it is not necessarily from children in school, but more from adults who seem to have problems with placing the Host in their mouth, fumbling with the mask to do so, and not realizing that a part of the Host broke away and fell to the floor.  

Bobby (Krisch) brought this up when he too found a partial Host on the floor over Christmas break and I believe something was in the bulletin at that time about the concern. 

Long ago in this whole Covid time, I urged people to pull their mask down and away from their mouth before taking the Host in their hand, so they could easily place the Host in their mouth.  It seems nearly no one heard me or got the point I was making.  So, I repeat it. 

Firstly, please bow (a simple bow is sufficient) BEFORE approaching the Minister of Communion, and at that moment, pull down your mask so that when you do come forward to receive, you are not trying to handle (a purse, a cane, a child, the mask, etc.) but rather have your hands free and mouth exposed so that you can carefully and respectfully put the Host in your mouth. When you step aside, please do not linger, as others are behind you, but at that point as you are walking away, you can pull your mask back in place. Neither you nor anyone around you could possibly catch the virus in those moments.

I mention “when to bow” because so often people come forward and as you are trying to give them the Host, they are bowing downward and their hands with them and in the process, moving their hands farther away from the Minister who is trying to place the Host in their hands.  The “bow” is to take place before you step forward, ideally.  And you can wait a moment till the person ahead of you has moved on (for those who feel they are bowing to the backside of the one ahead).  

We MUST be more careful though about not breaking the Host when receiving it, either in one’s hand—it is not to be done—or when trying to get it past a mask that is in the way.   

A reminder too, to anyone you know who may wish to receive on the tongue, most dioceses across the country made it a directive that it cannot be done during these Covid times.  In our own diocese, while Bishop does still allow for that option, he has made it clear that the individual doing so MUST come up at the END of the line, to receive last and if several, then the Minister must purify his hands between recipients. 

So much misinformation and false fears have been created and spread regarding the virus (though of course it is very real as a virus) and as one person so poignantly said the other day, “I’d hate to repeat this past year of virus, but I cannot help but wonder how different it would have been handled if not in an election year.”  So true.~Fr. John

Please note: the mask mandate still remains in effect.