Televised Mass: Since the Bishops of Indiana have collectively made clear that the dispensation from Church Law to attend Sunday Mass expires as of June 11, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Jude Parish will no longer be live-streaming Sunday Mass on a weekly basis. Our regular volunteer who came weekly to make it happen is doing some summer traveling and as some noted with some recent glitches, it takes a person who is very familiar with the process to do it weekly without a hitch. We will still live-stream special events (weddings, funerals, Confirmation, special school events such as graduation or baccalaureate, or any other special liturgies or para-liturgies that take place in Church), or if we do any concerts as have been done in the past now and then.
The issue is one of encouragement to return to Holy Mass each week, for the sake of the souls of our faithful and their spiritual nourishment, but also because (as Bishop Rhoades’ announcement made clear), the Mass is the “source and summit” of the Christian life. Church Law is for the good of the individual, not merely for the sake of a law. It is further most important for the faith community to come together in support of one another, for shared prayer, and to build community. We are reminded that it is a matter of serious sin (which would keep a person from taking Communion in good faith without first benefit of Confession) if one intentionally misses Sunday Mass, or Holy Days that are listed as “obligatory.”
Another struggle we have is having a volunteer person in place each week who can operate the equipment that provides the live-streamed Mass. As we all know it is difficult to have that person available each and every week.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish: It is my strong recommendation that the parish returns to a 4:30 Saturday Vigil Mass and a 9 a.m. Sunday Mass. While some have pointed out that we have been blessed with a few new good-sized families swelling the numbers by filling a pew, it is still clear from this past weekend that two Masses, even if the 9 a.m. would be very full as it often used to be, are adequate for the number of members attending.
I had very few people express a desire for the three weekend Masses, but I had many more tell me that they wish we would return to the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass.
Aside from the Covid issues of the past year, what has been said from the days of Bishop McManus, is that when a Mass is only 1/3 full, a parish should consider dropping that Mass so as to bring more of the faith community together (at fewer Masses) but where there will be more members gathered in prayer.
As for Sacred Heart, with the number who are in choir, cantor, lector, or are extraordinary ministers of Communion, or altar servers, three Masses has been a challenge.
There is also no reason for us not to return to the best liturgical practices, using the Gospel Book, lectors reading the Scriptures, a cantor doing the Responsorial Psalm, and other cantor parts, the return of the choir for the 9 a.m. Mass, and even coffee and donuts (if those responsible wish to make it happen again). Gifts can be brought forward as in the past, collection taken up as in the past, and all normal procedures resume.
My recommendation is that we plan on this happening as of the first weekend of July.
As the President has said in his own comments (whether you voted for him or not), with the goal of everyone being vaccinated by July 4, “you can all shred your masks!” And everyone over the age of 12 has had the opportunity to be vaccinated since March. Others who are choosing not to get the vaccine can continue to wear their masks or take their chances I suppose. Time to return to normal living of life. If you have had the vaccine, all science indicates that masks and such are of no real value—either the vaccine works or it doesn’t and since it has been available to all over 12 for several months, there is no reason for a vaccinated person to still wear a mask. For whom or for what purpose?
Again, this is only my “opinion” for some, I’m sure, but I’ve done my reading, and asking authorities of knowledge. Anyone can choose to do what they want or believe what they want though and I respect that. If it were still a danger for church gatherings, the Bishops of the metropolitan area would not have opened things up as they have, and they certainly did their homework based on more than a few knowledgeable experts before making their decision. ~Fr. John
MUSIC MINISTRY AT ST. JUDE:
while some word of this has already been shared with Choir and Staff, I wanted to bring the parish up-to-date on a couple of changes for us.
On the weekend of Pentecost, Bryan Finkelstein made known to me that he had applied for and been given the music ministry position for the parish in Bristol, IN, where coincidentally he had been employed a number of years before. It is a very nice parish, not too large, and without a school, so the job description is significantly different from here. For Bryan, I think this was a dream position as he moves toward eventual retirement or maybe just helping out in retirement.
We are grateful to Bryan for the time he was willing to give us. All good wishes go with him.
Of course, this left us needing to find someone, but also interestingly, Tom Farwell, also one who had worked here many years before, was looking once again for a full-time music director’s position, having left Queen of Peace at the time Masses were on hold and much more due to Covid. They felt the need to cut a number of otherwise important positions in order to meet the circumstances facing them, even with the PPP monies that many parishes applied for and received.
So, while it all came about very quickly, Tom Farwell and I (and our business manager) came to an agreement and will have Tom coming onboard here as of the weekend of June 12/13. Tom too is very talented and a likable fellow who looks forward to having the position of music/liturgy minister with us.
Having said that, Tom was married last weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) to Sharon, who he met while working at Queen of Peace, a choir member/cantor there and longtime member. Bless them both.
That means that while Tom (and maybe Sharon) will be coming to us as of June 7, they will be away the weekend of June 26/27 and the following Saturday as they enjoy a honeymoon. Can’t blame them for that plan made and kept!
Masks, the Vaccine, and Church Attendance: Today, Memorial Day, Dr. David Angus, made clear what the CDC has made clear, that children vaccinated no longer need to wear masks (at camps or other places where children will gather this summer). Children who are not vaccinated and outside needn’t wear masks either. All others above the age of twelve have had the opportunity since March to receive a vaccine, for those choosing to comply.
Bishop Rhoades has made clear that as of June 11, the dispensation from Sunday Mass attendance expires, which means (as always before) that to miss Holy Mass on Sundays, for any reason other than serious illness or an otherwise dire reason, is serious sin on behalf of Catholics not in attendance. More than Church Law is the reason behind the law, namely for the spiritual good of the Catholic. It is nourishment for the soul.
We are blessed that many of our members have returned to weekend Mass with their families. There still seems to be some families conspicuous by their absence, sadly. More than an issue of Church teaching on the importance of Sunday Mass, families need to know that the communities of Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Jude miss those families and their importance to the community in praise and thanksgiving to God for all of the blessings that are ours. Your presence strengthens all our lives in our faith journey.
Younger families, if you have had your children in school, especially choosing a Catholic school, there is no longer a bonafide reason for your family to miss Holy Mass on weekends. Teaching children to know and live the Faith, a promise made at their baptism, is a grave responsibility before God. All I can do as a pastor is encourage you and pray for you; the rest is up to (you) as parents to set the example that is so important for the spiritual good of your children.
Our school and our parish are one, not two separate entities. We have one mission as a faith community. We are one family, not “school families” and “the parish”. ~Fr. John
With more and more people returning to Church, it is still important to us (here) that those who are still unable to come to Church, uncomfortable in being out most anywhere, that they turn to the Church, asking for the Sacraments often; most especially Reconciliation, the Sacrament of Healing when one is seriously ill (not waiting until death is immanent), and most especially the very Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Call the office at any time you are in need and we will come to you at home, providing for your Sacramental needs. Don’t ever let it be said, if your need is genuine, that you did not call or take advantage of ministry at home because “I didn’t want to bother anyone.”
FR. JULIUS’ FAREWELL: because of the timing of the Mass on the Grass on June 11, and Father’s last weekend in the parish, it was decided that a reception for Father would take place following the Mass on the Grass on Friday evening, June 11, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. BOTH parish communities are invited to join this Mass and reception. A sign-up much like we use for the parish picnic at St. Jude, will be available for both parishes so we can determine approximate numbers attending.
If you want to make cookies or brownies as part of the treats available at the reception, please contact Julie Breen to let her know, again, so they can plan ahead. Julie’s number is 574-656-4081.
A CHANGE IN MUSIC DIRECTORS
An opportunity for me to reunite with an old friend in Bristol has presented itself and I will be leaving St. Jude to become (once again) the music director at St. Mary of the Annunciation. Fr. Bob Van Kempen gave me my first directorship there in 2007 and I served his parish for nearly seven years. His current director is moving to England at the end of June and I will start July 4th weekend.
I love every aspect of my work at St. Jude, the students, the student cantors, our faithful parishioners. And then there is all of you, who are so dedicated to the music ministry. It's been an honor to work with all of you. Barb and I will miss you.
I apologize for not giving you this news in person. It was my intention to talk about this at our next rehearsal, and when I spoke to Fr. John on Sunday I told him I would be informing the choir the next time we would meet. Then I realized our next meeting would not be for another ten days (as I am on vacation this week and there is no rehearsal on Thursday). Due to the difficulty parishes have in finding qualified people I felt it necessary to immediately contact about two dozen substitute players and directors in the area. I know that it is a small Catholic world we live in and I did not want to have you learning of my departure through the grapevine.
In the remaining weeks left for me at St. Jude I will be working diligently to help make the transition as seamless as possible for Father, you, and the people of the parish. Meanwhile, keep your ear to the ground as we search for your next director. Peace, Bryan
Monday, May 31
8:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart
9:00 a.m. at St. Jude (no 5:30 p.m. Mass that day
OUR NEW PRINCIPAL FOR ST. JUDE SCHOOL: Ana Maria Lewis shares with us a bit about herself and her background:
“I grew up in Cincinnati, attended a Catholic grade school, and an all girls Catholic high school. I have lived in South Bend for the past 25 years. I have worked in the diocese for the last 18 years, the first 14 years as a 2nd grade teacher and the last 4 years as the assistant principal of St. Joseph Grade School in South Bend. My husband Chip and I have three children, Madeline and her husband, Michael, Tommy and John Paul. All attended and received their Catholic education in the diocese from St. Joseph Grade School and Joseph High School. I am excited to begin this next chapter in my life and call St. Jude home.”
At the weekend Masses, I announced that we had selected a new school principal and awarded her a contract for the year ahead. We welcome Ana Maria with joy and are pleased to have a person with so many qualifications and experience in teaching and leadership.
I’m grateful to the very capable search committee who made themselves so readily available to complete this process.
(Sorry that the televised Mass of this past weekend had some “glitch” to where there was no sound.)
ORDINATIONS TO THE TRANSITIONAL DIACONATE: are taking place this weekend in Fort Wayne and the Cathedral. They include two young men, one of whom is my cousin, Mark Hellinger (St. Elizabeth Anne Seton Parish, in Fort Wayne) and the other Brian Isenbarger, a longtime New Haven area name. Fr. Don Isenbarger, now deceased a number of years, a relative to Brian, as well as Fr. Glen Kohrman (whose mother was an Isenbarger).
Due to the Ordinations, one being my cousin, and the likelihood we will have lunch together after as a family, I will not be at the 4:30 Mass on Saturday due to time constraints.
FR. JULIUS’ FAREWELL: because of timing of the Mass on the Grass on June 11, and Father’s last weekend in the parish, it was decided that a reception for Father would take place following the Mass on the Grass on Friday evening, June 11, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. BOTH parish communities are invited to join this Mass and reception. A sign-up much like we use for the parish picnic at St. Jude, will be available for both parishes so we can determine approximate numbers attending.
We will also have decorated/wrapped boxes for cards for Father at the entrances of the churches in the time ahead for those who may wish to give Father a card but cannot attend the Mass and reception.
For Mass on the Grass the reception will be inside the Parish Hall building at Sacred Heart and Mass itself will be outside. Please bring your own folding chairs/lawn chairs or blankets for your comfort during Mass.
The sound system used for the Mass will also be used for those who wish to offer an brief anecdote/memory or tribute to Father, during the reception.
If you want to make cookies or brownies as part of the treats available at the reception, please contact Julie Breen to let her know, again, so they can plan ahead. Julie’s number is in your parish directory. ~Fr. John
Friday, June 11th, is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Father Julius will celebrate Mass at 6:00 p.m.(weather permitting)
Please bring chairs or blankets and a friend, maybe someone who is not attending Mass in person or who needs to come back to the church. Everyone is welcome!
We will have a special reception for Fr. Julius afterward (in the Parish Hall) with tasty goodies to enjoy and fellowship to share! Sign-up sheets are posted on the bulletin board.
Come join our family!