Sacred Heart of Jesus Church - Serving the Communities of South Bend and Lakeville, Indiana
Thanks to those who showed concern after my auto accident of this past week (someone turned in front of me as I was passing through an intersection) with phone calls, texts and e-mails from friends who cared.  It is always nice to know how much friends do care, though sometimes the events of life that become the occasion of such are not always that great.  All is well though and following up with some therapy on neck and back.
A quote that came up just recently, regarding our tendency to look upon ourselves for our sins or mistakes, or shortcomings of life (which we ALL have), comes from       St. John Paul II, which goes something like this:  You are not the sum of your sins, you are the capacity with which God made you—all that you were created to be!  Maybe not the exact quote, but close in thought and understanding.  You may want to post it on your bathroom mirror where you are reminded often.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day to all who seek to express love to others by words, actions, thoughtfulness, and support in times of need; who know how to love in good times and in bad, sickness and health. . . .well you know well how the vows are worded.

While I know many are not reading the bulletin these days as much as would be helpful, I would like to once again make strong my urging to “update your pictures and information” to Carol, our parish secretary, or Mary Ann, the same, for our On-Line Pictorial Directory.  It is a great source to parishioners and parish staff if this information, pictures, phone numbers, e-mails, are all up-to-date. 

If you are truly a bona fide member of the parish and wish to be considered so when in need of parish services, please make the effort to provide our offices with your updates for the directory.  It may mean a new picture too as a number of those presently on-line and in the directory include loved ones who have passed away or children who have moved from the home.  It is SO helpful to staff to be able to quickly put a face with a name when your call in or when the hospital calls or more sadly, the funeral home.  There are those who simply come in and go out from week to week (when attending Mass in person) and with little more than a quick hello, if that, and who are not involved much, and as a result are largely unknown to the parish family.  Often they are the same ones who say, “It is an unfriendly parish” or, “Father doesn’t seem to know me.”  Relationships are a two-way street (smile).~Fr. John
Mass at Sacred Heart 5:00 p.m.

Ashes will be distributed during Mass.
If you can serve at this Mass, ask Father before Mass if he needs help. Thank you!
Should I get the vaccine when it is my turn?”  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in its statement on December 11, rightly described getting vaccinated as an “act of charity.”  It is also an act of Solidarity. 
Getting vaccinated not only decreases one’s chances of infecting someone else—something that even otherwise healthy people can easily and unknowingly do—but also sends an important public signal to people who belong to high-risk populations that we are doing our parts to keep them safe:  health care workers, the elderly, prisoners and the poor.  “Being vaccinated safely against Covid-19,” said the USCCB statement, “should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.” 

I guess that lays the case for why, the rest is up to how much good Christian (and Catholic) people care about those most vulnerable as they go out and mingle among them as many do, even if in the most cautious of ways at this time.
I’ve heard some say—not just a few—that “I just put my life in the hands of God. I don’t need the vaccine.”  To which I would say, true, we all have our lives in the hands of God whether we want to acknowledge it or not.  If I needed surgery or had a heart attack, or a broken leg, I would not simply say, “I’m in God’s hands.”  God would say, “Get to the doctor!”  God also gave man (became one with him) the knowledge and talents to address such matters as killing viruses, and many other things that science and gifted doctors and epidemiologists, etc., address for the sake of the common good.  As we were always taught, “God helps those who help themselves.”  We use the gifts and talents given us and we are irresponsible not to do so.  It is not really a matter of simply “putting our lives in God’s hands” as the Bishops of the USCCB point out.  It is a matter of charity and care about others, and among them the most vulnerable.  It goes along with our commitment to “right to life.”  Not sure how anyone could see it otherwise.

The February issue of America Magazine provides a much fuller article on this very topic and its discussion.  You may look for it at their website.  I would reprint it for you if I could or we had the room in the bulletin to do so.

For the pandemic to come to an end—to allow us to reopen our churches, schools, and workplaces—a significant portion of the population must be vaccinated (Archbishop of Miami).  While vaccination is not a moral obligation as a rule, from an ethical point of view, the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one’s own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good.  Hopefully, this will be helpful to you who read the bulletin and who have mixed feelings about whether or not to be vaccinated. In the end, it is not “just about me.”~Fr. John
I spent part of an hour recently. . .just going through the Christmas cards that I had received, taking time to re-read some of the lovely letters or notes that catch the recipient up on the past year’s events with a family.  There are GREAT pictures too that make up some of the cards; always fun to see.  Some people never seem to age though! Not fair.

In seeing a few pics, I thought, I bet the one chosen for the card was from among several and maybe one of those or the one for the card would be perfect as an “update” to the On-Line Parish Directory, which I would hope all members look at from time to time, and update as needed (or send updating information to Carol in the Parish Office) who will then make the necessary corrections.
Send a new pic?  If still the one I took of many as they passed by in the lobby, your update is likely a much nicer picture!  Easy enough to do, please consider updating your on-line entry!
By now, some of you have gotten at least your first shot for Covid and are scheduled for the second.   Eventually, I hope, it will allow many to return to church.  I look forward to seeing you in the pew again! Covid protocol will still be in place for the time being as a necessary pre-caution.
With a new music director beginning and shots being given, I hope we can soon be back to singing in church! ~Fr. John
N.B.  The COVID 19 vaccination is now available for Indiana residents ages 70 and older.  You can register now for an appointment by going to the Indiana State Department Vaccine web site or by calling 211.

My apologies for my mistake and that we didn’t catch it in editing my notes from last week.  The Wilkeson’s who have helped in so many ways, and most recently with decorating the church (St. Jude’s) over the past several years, spell their last name as above, not as I had misspelled it (in the way similar to my friends’ last name).  We should always be careful to spell people’s names correctly.  I try to do so, but now and then one slips past me.

If you are reading the bulletin before you leave church this weekend, and want help with signing up for your Covid shot, there are people in the lobby of St. Jude who will help you do so. 

I’m told that in St. Joe County, they are booking into February already, but if you don’t mind driving to Elkhart General Hospital or Plymouth hospital, you may be able to get in earlier, depending on how fast those are filling up at the time of this reading. 

I’m also told that a few people, if having a reaction, are having it with the second shot, though it is not one where you can get the flu as it is NOT a live virus.  To help avoid the possibility of any reaction, I was told by an RN to “pre-medicate” the day or so beforehand and maybe through the day of the shot by taking Motrin or an Ibuprofen.  Simple enough!
Remember, getting the shot is helping others beyond yourself insofar as all our safety goes.  It is not just about you.  Christ reminds us to put others first.  Get the shot(s)! I too seem to have a pretty good immune system, as I’ve been out and about ever since this began, and remained Covid-free.  Maybe my immune system, maybe just darn lucky or blessed, but that is not a reason NOT to get the shot once available to me, and so I did so. I feel more safe to be around others who may need my presence, which is as much about why as for my own safety. ~Fr. John

N.B.  The COVID 19 vaccination is now available for Indiana residents ages 80 and older.  You can register now for an appointment by going to the Indiana State Department Vaccine web site or by calling 211.