Sacred Heart of Jesus Church - Serving the Communities of South Bend and Lakeville, Indiana
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The beginning of the new school year here:  after lengthy prayer and discussion, at least to begin the school year with so many unknowns with the direction unvaccinated children in classrooms can go—no one knows answers with any certainty at this point—we will begin the school year requiring masks for children and staff again.  It is troublesome to some, a concern for others that they are in place, and it seems to be a mixed bag among many schools and districts.  If one is to error however, it is best we begin by erring on the side of what is safest for our school children overall.  There are also many other factors that must be taken into account (that possibly those who prefer no masks are not aware of or considering).  We do not want to try to distance 6’ desks in the classroom, and go through all the theater we had to do last year.  As much as possible, we would like our classrooms and the interchange between students to be as normal as possible.  If there were to be an issue in any given class and such required virtual learning, quarantining, etc., that would certainly be more disruptive to their normal educational experience (in a good year) than having to live with a mask, at least till we can see where things go.  I have spoken at length with Mrs. Lewis on the matter, and she and staff will be assessing the matter on a weekly basis, looking at what is genuine medical guidance from non-political sources.

Schools that may be going “optional” find themselves in a dilemma after a few weeks or months, or have a child who becomes quite seriously ill, I’m sure their administration will regret their having caved to the pressure of “masking optional.”  Our leadership here does not want to face that or a worst possible scenario when it comes to the protection of our children.  
You may feel differently about it all, but until we can sensibly assess how the new year will play out, we are going to err on the side of greatest caution and care for the students, putting aside the opinions that some may have that are only opinions, not based on the best possible science (or even the lack of yet-to-be-learned science). 
Thank you for your cooperation and the understanding that not all in our school feel the same way when it comes to parenting and choices for their own children, but we cannot foist a possible dangerous choice on the children of other parents either.  
With the direction we are going for now, we are looking to provide the closest to normal school experience overall, and to do so, with many more factors to consider than most would know or understand, requiring masks is the most fruitful choice to make for now.         
With the direction we are going for now, we are looking to provide the closest to normal school experience overall, and to do so, with many more factors to consider than most would know or understand, requiring masks is the most fruitful choice to make for now. ~Fr. John                        
An upright food freezer: Does anyone have a freezer (not the chest type though) that they would like to donate to the school kitchen? It would be great if it was a self-defrosting or at least new enough that it is economical to have on all the time. If so, please give the office a call and let Emily know. It doesn't have to be really large either. Mostly used for ice and few odd items otherwise, unless doing a special event in the kitchen, at which time we could also use a small chest freezer that we have in the bar area of the Keller Room. We can arrange for pick-up. Thanks so much! ~Fr. John
World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly:  As many of you may have read in other Catholic journals or on Catholic websites, our Holy Father has designated a day to recognize the elderly and maybe particularly grands who, among the many of EU and Asian decent, have always been revered for their age and wisdom. Some of our current older members of the parish, especially of ethnic background, may even remember when a grand would live within the household of one of the children; multi-generational homes were common to many cultures. Young children learned from the oldest in the extended family as they grew up, and treasured what they learned. There was great respect given them. Hopefully, we are living up to those values still today as we raise young families.

Our prayers for this weekend reflect our regard and celebration of grands and the elderly of the parish, closing Mass for the weekend with a special blessing for them.  Here is a copy of that blessing: 

BLESSING ON A LONG LIFE

God of mercy, 

You have given Your children the gift of a long life, 

And they ask for Your blessing. 

Let them feel the tenderness and strength of Your presence. 

As they look back to the past,

Let them rejoice in Your mercy. 

As they look to the future, 

May they persevere in hope that does not fade.

To You be praise and glory forever!  Amen.

 

Editor’s note: There was a glitch in last week’s bulletin printing and the inside cover did not get printed.  These “Notes” are from that page:

NOTES FROM FR. JOHN
Funeral Dinners following the funerals of parish members: Shannon Daniels has coordinated funeral dinners for the past ten years and has prayerfully decided to retire from this ministry.  She has also been very involved in our school and will most likely now be involved at Marian since her two children will be there starting this year ahead.  We are so very grateful to Shannon for all she has done for the families following the funeral of their loved one.  It is truly an important ministry that I imagine is offered by most all parishes in the diocese.  I hope we can continue this ministry, but it will take someone to come forward to chair it.  Shannon will provide all the guidance needed to help someone step in.  It isn’t overwhelming, though there have been the odd times where there may be more than one funeral lunch within a week. There are always many good helpers who give their time when Shannon has called for kitchen staff and servers.  It just needs a good organizer.  Shannon said when she volunteered to be the chair, it was due to her praying about it and responding to what she felt she was being called to do for the parish. 
 
Fr. Greg was away for part of the July 4th weekend for a wedding.  It seems to be the summer for weddings, and I too will be away for two out-of-town weddings: August 7th and August 21st (Friday/Saturday).  I am also away for a funeral/memorial on July 30 for a longtime friend who died of Covid this past March.  I’m also away for a family event July 10. 
 
Retreat week was lost due to two funerals; my Aunt and Godmother which took me to Fort Wayne on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then returning to Fort Wayne on Friday for the funeral of a friend of over 41 years who died in her sleep at age 95. Since the Retreat goes from Monday evening to Friday noon, the only day I would have been able to be present would have been Thursday.  I’ll be looking at what other possibilities for what is to be an annual retreat.
 
Our Annual Calendar Planning for the year was on June 30th..  If you are a chair person for any parish or school organization and missed letting the office know of your events in this year ahead, it is necessary for you to call Carol to let her know of your date and space needed so that it can be put into the Parish Calendar.  Avoid a conflict for the date you may want for one of your events by getting the date/time in the Parish Calendar well ahead. Thanks much for your cooperation. ~Fr. John
On the matter of Sacred Heart’s Sunday Mass times:  as with such issues, I went to the Parish Council and they had determined that a survey would be useful in the matter, along with Fr. Greg also present at the most recent meeting. 

The results of those who participated in the survey were the following, sent to me from Fr. Greg
 
“From the tally, those who opted for 9:00 a.m. Mass were 20, to keep both Masses for the foreseeable future were 26 while those who feel both Masses should continue for the Summer/Fall were 13.  5 checked both options.”

However Fr. Greg received some verbal feedback as well, and those who prefer two Masses  are of the concern that one Mass will make the church overcrowded.

I had one very nice e-mail from a parishioner who simply asked that we consider waiting till the end of the year and then maybe revisit the matter, not knowing  what Fall may bring with the Virus or variants.  She wrote her e-mail in a most respectful manner, with a courteous salutation of “Dear      Fr. John,” and was simple and logical in expressing her concern.

I also have regard for the 64 people who took the time to respond to the survey that the Parish Council recommended we do. I had heard that there were some verbal concerns that were being discussed among some (though none of those people came to me directly) which would have been the most effective way of handling their concerns, and the most respectful of how to work within the Christian community. I am only a phone call away and my door is always open to parishioners.  

In light of the results of the survey, I am pleased to continue with Masses as they are since that seems to be where those responding seem to be at this time.  Fr. Greg (or I) are here to serve, as always, and whether he or I am at St. Jude or Sacred Heart, having two Masses on a Sunday morning is fine.  I do it most Sundays and have for over 15 years of being primarily at St. Jude Parish.  For most of those years too, Sacred Heart only had the need for one Sunday Mass. If membership or concerns over safety from the virus require two Masses, we are pleased to provide them.  Father Greg, the Parish Council, and I can revisit the matter if and when the need arises at a later time. ~Fr. John