Sacred Heart of Jesus Church - Serving the Communities of South Bend and Lakeville, Indiana
PASTORAL CHANGES TAKING PLACE: As was announced in church this last weekend,Fr. Julius will be reassigned by Bishop to St. Theresa Little Flower Parish as of mid-June, Fr. Terry returning to Fort Wayne as a pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Of course, there will be other changes forthcoming and announced, likely in Today’s Catholic this week. 
       
Fr. Gregory Abuya, from Fr. Julius’ diocese in Nigeria, will be assigned to us (last I heard from Bishop) to help in our parishes, primarily Sacred Heart of Jesus.  With so many changes taking place for the two parishes this year, I hope to be more available to each parish to provide good transitions as much as I may be of help to that process.  I’m sure Fr. Gregory will be a good choice, Fr. Julius seemed to know him and express confidence. 
       
For Fr. Julius, I think this may be the first time he has been a pastor and with the size of Little Flower, he will be jumping in with both feet.  Since there is no school there, it will be a bit easier, but no doubt their Religious Education program will be of good size.  With his wonderful education and ability to relate so well with people, I have every confidence too that he will do very well and not be overwhelmed.  Youth is on his side!  I can remember those days! It’s a different energy level. 

We will be planning a reception for Fr. Julius, likely the weekend before he leaves. All will be invited, of course, from either parish; to be held at Sacred Heart’s Parish Center. An old-fashioned potluck might be nice, but I will let that determination be made by the planners.  We are overdue for a parish gathering and enjoyment of visiting with one another.  Just sorry Father’s leaving must be the occasion.  He will be missed very much.
       
Our principal search continues and, if the applicants are any indication, we have every confidence (too) that we will be blessed with a good person soon.  Our worry as we interview is knowing that we are not the only parish in search, so our favored choice may not choose us!  Keep the process in your prayers, being sincere in that commitment, please. Fortunately, those interviewing all have a very deep regard for Catholic education and the Church. 

THIS PAST WEEKEND: I was down for the count.  I can’t recall the last time I have been ill in any way other than a common cold or sniffle, but I seem to have contracted a intestinal bug that had me down from Friday and into Sunday.  I’ll be happy to wait another 20 years or more for that to happen again.  Thanks to Fr. Michael Driscoll, who, retired from his work at ND, is more available these days to fill in on short notice.  (I only mention because there are those who think every time I am away for any reason, that I’m on vacation, and they ask the silly question, “How was your vacation, Father?”  It was NO vacation or picnic!  If it’s making the rounds, pray you do not get it.~Fr. John
We have not received word as yet as to when the Bishop’s dispensation will be rescinded for not being required to attend Sunday Mass by ALL Catholics.  Some dioceses are looking to Pentecost as the return date, but I imagine it will be at the discretion of each Bishop and according to the areas around the country and how the virus varies from place to place.  Where people have been more fully vaccinated as being asked to do, the virus is less an issue than in areas where people have not cared enough to cooperate with this nationwide request for the good of all people.~Fr.John
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.
AN EASTER WISH AND MESSAGE OF HOPE:  Easter celebrates the reality that hope springs eternal!  As you read this week’s bulletin and articles/columns, you will be celebrating the most wonderful and important day of the Church year, but much more than just Church, our faith tells us that we are celebrating the most important moment of all of life.  If it were not for Christ, the salvation of man would not be possible.  It is by no merit of our own that we attain heaven; we do not save ourselves—though admittedly, many seem to think they do.  Rather, our lives of faith are lived in grateful response to what Christ has done for us.
        
From Fr. Julius, all our Staff and myself, we send to you and your family and loved ones a most sincere wish for Easter joy.  May your heart be filled with gratitude for what Christ has done for you and me and may your life always reflect that joy to others. True faith in Our Lord allows for this attitude of heart.  Be joyful!  Alleluia!
FILLING THE PEWS AS BEST AS POSSIBLE (until we are allowed to open up all pews completely):  MANY members are doing things in their “groups” or “pods” as some have called them.  Many are eating dinner with other family members or close friends.  Many are at all the stores, shopping for most everything, and in most of those places “spacing” is not being observed worth a hoot—but people are there, and out and about! 
While the Church’s dispensation from attending weekly Mass is still in place, unless there is a very serious need (that you are not compromising in other ways) it would be wrong to be taking advantage of the dispensation.  It is not a “free pass” as many have used it, but to be used out of necessity.  But, if you are everywhere else, or with your “pods”, or shopping, going to work regularly, then you likely have no need to take advantage of a dispensation from Holy Mass. 
               
Think about it.  Of course, each has to answer to their own heart and conscience about the matter, but if compromising your concern in any other way, then you can come to Church for the Sunday Mass.  A dispensation should not become the sinful excuse.        
When a Catholic takes a pass on attending weekly Mass for lack of care or laziness or even using the pandemic as an excuse (when going to work or elsewhere), it is the Catholic who loses.  Graces, being joined to a community of love and praise, the Eucharist, the benefit of the Word, and so much more.  The Church has disciplines in place for the best spiritual good of the individual.  Pray about it, friends. ~Fr. John
If you participate in the Rice Bowl Project, please bring your Rice Bowl total in the form of a CHECK (payable to either St. Jude or Sacred Heart) place it in an envelope marked “Rice Bowl” and put it in the collection basket on Holy Thursday or at the next Mass you attend during Holy Week or Easter. Thank you !