Sacred Heart of Jesus Church - Serving the Communities of South Bend and Lakeville, Indiana
I’m a bit behind on trying to keep up on “Notes” for your benefit, but am only hoping that all parishioners are reading the bulletin, at least on-line, if not able to come to either church in person.  Please, make every effort to stay up on parish(s) news each week, as for many, it is our only way of reaching you at this time.

In Trying to Reach Everyone. . . who have been so kind as to send Christmas cards, lovely notes, updates on family vis-a-vis Christmas letters, and gift remembrances that take many forms: from delicious delights, gift cards to keep the car in gas for weeks to come, and generous amounts to put (maybe) on a little get-away to warmer climates sometime after Christmas, to each and all, Sodalities, teachers and staff, and not least of all, parishioners, THANKS SO MUCH! 

It was truly an “odd” Christmas in that I was not be able to see or visit with, if even just in passing as they came and went from Church, the great number of parishioners and extended families home for the holidays.  COVID is taking its toll on mental and spiritual health in some ways too.  We all miss seeing so many that we would normally see and visit with, and that makes me sad.  But it’s also the season that reminds us that, with God, in all things, hope springs eternal!  Looking forward to this New Year and one less traumatic on all of us. 
 
But, for all the goodness that always is, especially in good people and kind people, and generous people, blessings to all!

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS:    to both parish teams who did the decorating for this Advent/Christmas Season, I wish to once again express my sincere thanks to you for all your hard work.  With the short window for getting Christmas decorations “up”, I know it takes time away from your own families, home-decorating, and personal holiday preparations, but what you do for the parish(s) is both remarkable and beautiful, and so much appreciated.  I always hope others in the parish tell you the same, in their gratitude to you for your gift of time and talent.

At St. Jude Parish this year, helping Ellen and Gene Wilkensen, were the Scott and Charlene Weber family.  Both work full-time otherwise, Charlene one of our own grade school teachers who have all been so greatly stressed this semester with all the Covid necessities regarding teaching, still quickly said “Yes” to my asking if she would have an interest in helping with decorating.  “Ask a busy person if you want something done!”  Nothing much changes in life in that way, no matter how many years since someone wisely created that old saying!  As always, everything was beautiful and each year seems to add something new that we did not see in past years.  Vincent Daniels helped again too, and tweaked the manger scene to accommodate the newly added screens above in the corners of the church.  The manger itself was his artistic creation and continues to be our traditional stable scene ever since.
 
At St. Jude’s too, we are pleased to once again have in the foyer the beautiful three-piece nativity figures of the Holy Family, from (former) St. Mary’s Parish.  A lovely Fontanini set.  If we had more matching pieces, we could alternate it inside the church in future years too.

At Sacred Heart, we thank Marilyn Miller and her team of very devoted women (and in recent years, men and children), who helped enhance the beauty of the church for Christmas. The love they put into their work is evident, as the outcome helps add color to what would otherwise have been a 'dull Christmas.'

We also thank the Lectors, Ushers and servers who volunteered during the Christmas liturgies. Their readiness to step in when the need arose is greatly appreciated. 

MUSIC DIRECTOR:  A word of thanks to Lisa DeLorenzo and her family for singing Christmas Carols at Sacred Heart. Fr. Julius said it was amazing to see three generations of one family singing carols; it was pure joy!  Thanks to Betsie and her husband as well for helping to make Christmas Eve so special.  And thanks to Diane Bowersox for her continued music ministry not only at the Christmas Day Masses but  at the Sacred Heart 8:00 Sunday Masses. 

We are saying a little prayer that Lisa will want to stay on; please encourage her to consider doing so, folks. Originally, she came to fill-in and get us through when Abe and Emily returned to Michigan where he is continuing his studies.
 
 At St. Jude Parish, we are pleased to announce a new full-time music director, Bryan Finkelstein, who was most recently with St. Anthony’s Parish.  He comes with great recommendations from their members as well as some friends from Queen of Peace, where he had been director in the past.  We hope this move to a local person, with great music skills and credentials will be one that is lasting for us for some years to come.  He is eager to work with students as well as the choir and cantors, and to help build the music program here in the years ahead. 

We have been blessed with some amazing talent from ND students these past years and it has allowed us to stay within a budget amount we can afford, since they were, for the most part, part-time.  We are grateful to them for their willingness, ongoing, to fill-in when we have need too.  Many thanks to the recent students: Benton, David, and Roshan.  While the first two will graduate at the end of this new semester, Roshan will be continuing studies at ND for at least another year-and-a-half, so we will no doubt continue to see him from time to time and enjoy his immense talent as pianist/organist. Bryan looks forward to keeping a good relationship with ND students and maybe will be able to continue to offer some added music concerts that involve students.
 
Living locally too, Bryan has a realistic understanding and expectation of what local parishes can offer by way of salary, which will help us to stay within budget. 
 
Speaking of budget: so much depends on the members of the parish being faithful to their own support of the parish on a weekly basis, regardless of the restrictions that some have chosen to follow for their own safety or that of extended family members by being more virtual members for weekend Masses.
 
These are difficult times for many families and some have been more greatly effected by Covid cut-backs in jobs, but we must remember that if we want a parish and school to be here for the future, it necessitates ALL members to do their part in the meantime. That’s not a “money talk” either, just common sense speaking to us all.~Fr. John
All the snow and ice may have kept you from noticing the brand new metal roof on the Social Hall. It was installed before Christmas and will keep the kitchen below it nice and dry. No more leaks! This was made possible with your donations to the Building Fund!

At the beginning of 2020, when you were asked to increase your Building Fund donations, you did so generously. Please, if possible, keep contributing. As in your home, the need for up-keep on the buildings continues.

We especially want to thank Nick Kenkel for spear-heading this project.
Thank You to all who participated in this wonderful Christmas project.
In order to encourage families to attend the Christmas liturgies, and to ensure we do so following COVID protocol, Sacred Heart will offer two Christmas Eve Masses 4:30 p.m.** and 6:00 p.m. and two Masses on Christmas Day at 8 a.m.** and 10 a.m.

**The 4:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. Masses are  full and closed to any more sign-ups.

We will have sign-up sheets for these Masses posted on the bulletin board. If you know you will attend, please sign-up on the sheet provided and indicate how many will be with you. If you need to call in your request (291-3775), please state your name, phone number, and how many will attend.A confirmation call will follow.
...derived from the first word of the Entrance Antiphon at Mass: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.                     Indeed, the Lord is near!” (Phil.4:4-5)
  
Advent is half over and Christmas is soon to follow!  This Sunday is further set apart by the custom of wearing rose vestments and the lighting of the rose Advent candle.      
Michael Weisser (Lisa) is home from hospital and has made it through Covid.  As some of you may know, he has been on oxygen for several years now.  If at St. Jude, you would see him coming to Mass and to Communion with one of the travel oxygen bags over his shoulder. He wants to thank the many who are part of the Prayer Line, and others of the parish who would have been faithfully praying for his recovery.  He was very pleased with his care when in hospital and Lisa said he received three drugs to help him get through the Covid and knock it out.  Doing well and back home!  Prayers make a difference and they certainly were appreciated by this recipient!

Speaking of Covid, I have now lost two Fort Wayne friends to the illness and one former parishioner from Goshen, so it has been close to home, as they say.  Many have weathered through it that both you and I know, I’m sure.  We continue to pray that for them there are no long-range effects, as they say can be a part of the illness. 
 
Our churches are still open and we have very good reason to hold fast to our need to be open.  In part it is because we do all we can to maintain a safe environment and no cases are linked to “attending church” in our diocese.  Your continued cooperation is part of how we have been so fortunate.  Follow the rules, please, and know that in doing so you are a blessing to all who want to be able to attend Church—keeping our doors open!

Our bulletin editor, Mary Ann, reminds us in the office that the company who prints the bulletins wants all copies “in” to them early-on in December.  Seems odd; I do not recall that necessity in the past, but at any rate; lest I miss the opportunity to say so, I want to (on behalf of our office and staff) wish each and all of you a very blessed season of Advent preparation for the Holy Season of Christmas.  May yours be happy, healthy, blessed, and all that it is meant to be in our Catholic Christian tradition.  It is not about parties, cookies, decorations or over-spending; it is about God’s love for us, such that he sent his only begotten Son into the world to bring salvation to you and me, and a long-waiting world.  Hold on to that truth and your faith in it through this otherwise busy season ahead. ~Fr. John