30 Days at Sacred Heart

Our parish has so many wonderful ministries and activities to be involved with, it is hard to know the full scope of what is happening at Sacred Heart. The goal of this project is to spend 30 days attending all of the different events at Sacred Heart and sharing them with the whole parish. Maybe you will find out about a group that you have never heard of before. Maybe you will have a chance to share why being involved is important to you. Hopefully we will all walk away with a deeper appreciation for the many wonderful things that Sacred Heart has to offer because of the generosity and involvement of our wonderful parishioners!

Thursday November 27

Wednesday November 26 – Day 30

8:00am Mass

9:00am Mass at CHS: Today, Cathedral invited grandparents to join them for the morning.
Advent Wreath: How does the Advent Wreath appear in church? A little hard work by some generous hands.
2:00pm Good Shepherd Mass: The usual Thursday Mass at Good Shepherd was changed to Wednesday due to Thanksgiving this week.

4:30pm Choristers

5:45pm Bells of the Heart

7:15pm Mixed Choir: Thanksgiving Eve or not, our dedicated choirs were still practicing today.

Tuesday November 25 – Day 29

10:00am Organ Practice: So blessed to get a mini-concert just about every week!
3:30pm Visitation: A time to visit with the family of Tito Galvez who passed away last Sunday.
5:30pm Funeral Mass: The funeral for Tito Galvez was celebrated within the evening Mass on Tuesday.

Monday November 24 – Day 28

8:00am Word and Communion
8:30am Money Counters
6:30pm Alzheimer Care Giving: The Health and Wellness committee sponsored this presentation that was designed to help those who care for people with Alzheimer’s learn news ways to communicate with their loved ones.

Sunday November 23 – Day 27

8:00am Mass: Flag waving for Christ the King.
10:00am Mass: We continue to celebrate Christ the King and remember our sister parish Cristo Rey.
7:00pm Narcotics Anonymous

Saturday November 22 – Day 26
8:30am Exercise Group
9:00am Vital 3.0 Training: The Vital 3.0 Planning Team meet for a second Saturday of training.
3:30pm Reconciliation: Look, new pamphlets!
5:00pm Mass: As we celebrate the feast of Christ the King this weekend, we especially remember our sister parish Cristo Rey (which is Spanish for Christ the King). The Sister Parish organized a rosary before Mass and provided information about Cristo Rey. We also celebrated a baptism at Mass.
Emma leads the parish in the rosary for Cristo Rey.

Friday November 21 – Day 25

9:00am School Mass: The third Friday of the month, the students at St. Katharine Drexel are bussed up to Sacred Heart to celebrate Mass. They lector, cantor, offer intercessions, bring up the gifts and provide great music and singing.
Advent Giving Tree: Just before Advent starts, this group gets together to set up the Advent Giving Tree. Having spent an afternoon stamping the cards, Sue brings them to the group and they write, catalog and hang all the cards on the “tree”. The gifts that are listed on the cards go to 5 different charities: Catholic Charities, the VA, Birthline, Anna Marie’s and Place of Hope. The group shared that every year, about 300 cards are put on the tree and without fail, they get about 400-500 gifts back from the generous people of Sacred Heart.
The tree before tags.
The tree after tags.
Craft Night: Once a month, a group gets together to devote time to working on a favorite craft (or hobby) while enjoying good fellowship. They are there from about 4pm to 10pm, but people are welcome to come for as much time as they like. Tonight, they were sewing, quilting and knitting, but any crafts or hobbies are welcome, even if your hobby is just visiting.

Thursday November 20 – Day 24

8:00am Mass
9:00am Mass at Cathedral High School
2:00pm Good Shepherd Mass: The sun was lighting up the beautiful stained glass in the chapel at Good Shepherd. In addition to Jackie who makes takes care of the technology and projector for Mass, two parishioners come to Mass and then distribute communion after.
6:00pm Vital 3.0 Mission Statement Group: This subgroup of the main planning team, met to work out a mission statement for youth ministry at Sacred Heart. The mission statement they crafted is “To engage all youth in loving and serving others as followers of Jesus Christ.”
6:30pm Women’s Book Group
7:00pm Mother’s Book Study

Wednesday November 19 – Day 23

8:00am Mass
9:00am Scripture Study
4:30pm Choristers: The Choristers started practice by singing Happy Birthday to Ms. Plumski.
5:45pm Bells of the Heart: These ringers spent their practice making final preparations to play at Mass on Saturday.
6:00pm Youth Group: Back to the usual routine of grades 6-8 meeting at 6pm, followed by high school students at 7:30pm. Tonight, our youth made cards for all those who lost a loved one in the past year.
6:00pm Intercessory Prayer: This group met to continue planning the intercessory prayer piece that will support our youth, especially those preparing for Confirmation.
6:00pm/7:30pm Confirmation Group: Some Confirmation students are meeting for some additional learning in addition to the work they will do with their sponsors. Two sessions were offered covering the same material.
Faith Formation Committee: The Faith Formation Committee generally meets once a month. They help oversee and evaluate the faith formation program at Sacred Heart. While some members are also involved in the planning for specific JIF sessions, the group is really about the overall faith formation experience at our parish. They help plan retreats, our parish mission and look to the future to dream about what can be done. Anyone who is interested in faith formation activities is encouraged to look into this committee.
7:15pm Mixed Choir: Another group of great singers waiting to sing birthday wishes to Beth!

Tuesday November 18 – Day 22

10:00am Organ Practice: Such a beautiful sound from our organ!
6:15pm Praise Choir: This picture says so much about the Praise Choir and their sense of family. After their rehearsal tonight, they were gathered around a table to share a treat in celebration of birthdays. Lucky for me, they are a generous family and they shared.
6:30pm Health and Wellness: According to this committee, they have the highest energy of any committee. Other committees might disagree, but the Health and Wellness committee has started many projects to improve the health and lives of our parishioners. They did a survey of the parish last year and found there was a need for education. From ongoing blood pressure checks to the upcoming presentation for Alzheimer’s Caregivers, the Health and Wellness committee is constantly seeking to meet that need.
7:00pm Men’s Club: This “above average” group of men is focused on doing acts of service for the parish and the community. They have an upcoming spaghetti dinner on December 4th, and their meals never disappoint. They differ from the Knights of Columbus in that they are affiliated solely with our parish and comprised of members of Sacred Heart.
7:30pm Sacred Heart Ringers: I talked last week about enjoying the vocal warm ups of the Praise Choir. Tonight I learned something about how the Sacred Heart Ringers get warmed up…they stretch before they ring.

Monday November 17 – Day 21

8:00am Word and Communion: If the group that gathers isn’t very big, they will hold the Word and Communion service in the space around the tabernacle.
8:30am Money Counters: Monday means money counting. November’s crew was on the job bright and early.
11:00am Funeral: One of the many things I love about the Catholic church is that it is so multidimensional. The church is here to support you and enrich your life. We are here to educate, to celebrate, to fight for justice and to provide comfort among many other things. Today was a day to comfort as we celebrated a funeral Mass for a parishioner. There is a lot of behind the scenes work involved with funerals. There is the planning of the Mass, the folks who come in to help with the lunch, the resurrection choir and the set-up and take down of tables and chairs.
7:00pm Knights of Columbus: The Knights of Columbus meet the third Monday of the month in the Hospitality Room at church.

Sunday Nov 16 – Day 20

8:00am Mass: Today we heard the parable of the talents. How do you share your time, talent and treasure with Sacred Heart?

9:00am Blood Pressure Checks: Once a month, blood pressure checks are offered after all of the Masses. You can drop into the hospitality room and have your blood pressure checked and recorded. When I stopped in this morning, Al was having his blood pressure checked. He told me that it was through the checks at church that he was referred to his doctor to help manage his blood pressure.

Alternative Gift Market: The Alternative Gift Market continued after the Masses this weekend.

10:00am Mass

3:00pm Hospitality Training: A make up session was held for those who missed because of the snowstorm last Monday and were not able to make it to training on Thursday.
4:00pm Wake Service: A wake service was held for John Cruze from 4 – 8pm, with parish prayers at 7:30pm.

7:00pm Narcotics Anonymous

Saturday November 15 – Day 19

8:30am Exercise Group

9:00am Alternative Gift Market: The Alternative Gift Market was held in the gathering space from 9am to 3pm. An assortment of unique craft items from around the world were available to purchase. You could also select alternative gifts like buying ducklings for a family. A delicious soup lunch was offered. Johnny Bread was also available for purchase.
3:30pm Reconcilliation: Same time, same place. Jesus awaits!
5:00pm Mass

Friday November 14– Day 18

8:30am Mass: Father Ralph celebrated Mass at St. Augustine’s with the school children from St. Katharine Drexel. Every third Friday, the school busses the students up to Sacred Heart for Mass at 9am, but today I made my way through the roundabouts to St. Augustine’s.
Father Ralph preparing to begin Mass.
Alternative Gift Market Set Up: It takes time to carefully unpack and catalog all the unique items that will be sold at the Alternative Gift Market this weekend.

Thursday November 13 – Day 17
8:00am Mass: Thursday is a day of many Masses. Your first choice is 8am Mass at Sacred Heart.
9:00am Mass at Cathedral: You can also choose to attend Mass at 9am with the students of Cathedral. It is a pretty awesome experience to celebrate Mass with so many young people.

2:00pm Mass at Good Shepherd: You can also attend Mass in the afternoon at Good Shepherd. This is on my calendar for next week.
7:00pm Hospitality Training: Fall means Stewardship Commitment Cards and people joining new ministries. Our much loved after-Mass hospitality couldn’t happen with the people who volunteer to serve the wonderful baked goods that another group of awesome parishioners whips up every weekend. We have done away with disposable cups for after-Mass goodies. Hospitality ministers have been trained in the washing and sanitizing that needs to take place. Thank you hospitality volunteers for being a part of this stewardship move for Sacred Heart.

Wednesday November 12 – Day 16
8:00am Mass: The group visiting after Mass.

9:00am Scripture Study: Another week of Bible study by the Scripture Study group.
JIF Preparation: All of our Journey in Faith sessions start with a meal. It is a great time for families to sit down together and visit with other parishioners. The meals wouldn't happen without all of the hard work put in by a dedicated crew of volunteers who are in the kitchen hours before JIF starts.
Helping to provide childcare at JIF Wednesday (and Sunday) were two lovely young ladies. Norah and Mya are part of an American Heritage Girls troop and were doing required volunteer service. They were also working on their babysitting badge. Thank you Norah and Mya!
5:15pm JIF: Our intergenerational faith formation program offers the same content Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. Families can pick which date works the best for them. Tonight was a repeat of Sunday’s theme of “A Disciple: Who, What, When, Where, Why?” Lots of good conversation and thinking about disciples and living our own life of discipleship.
8:15pm Confirmation Sponsors Meeting: A repeat of Sunday’s meeting to let Confirmation sponsors know how they will support our youth on their journey to Confirmation in the Spring.
The pond has been looking pretty interesting the past two days...almost tropical in color.

Tuesday November 11 – Day 15

10:00am Organ Practice: Kathy was back at the organ practicing again today.
5:30pm Evening Mass: Tonight at Mass I was enthralled by the stained glass, especially the triangle window in the tabernacle area. Darkness comes early these days so the window was mostly dark, but there was one small spot that was shining bright green. Next time you are at Mass, take some time to enjoy the stained glass windows.
6:00pm Sister Parish Committee: The Sister Parish Committee exists to encourage the relationship between our parish and Christo Rey in Maracay, Venezuela.
6:15pm Praise Choir: If you have ever heard the Praise Choir warming up, you would know it is a pretty cool sound. They go “ah-ah-ah-ah-ah” up and down the notes. Note: I am not a musical person so if my description doesn’t make sense, just stop by and have a listen.
7:00pm Pastoral Council: The Pastoral Council consults with the Pastor and works for the good of the parish. The Council recently approved a set of goals for the parish that you will be hearing more about in the coming weeks.
7:30pm Sacred Heart Ringers: I did not get to visit with the Sacred Heart Ringers, but they were busy practicing in order to share their talents with the parish in Advent.

Monday November 10 - Day 14

Snow Day at Sacred Heart. The money counters were here and a brave soul came for the Word and Communion service. Hospitality training and St. Arnold's group were unable to meet due to the weather.

Sunday November 9 – Day 13

8:00am Mass: We were treated to more beautiful bell music at the 8am Mass. Bells of the Heart were ringing and sounded great. Thanks Bells of the Heart!
10:00am Mass: We finished our celebration of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica and were led in song by the Mixed Choir. How blessed we are to have such talented people sharing their GIFTS with Sacred Heart.
11:15am JIF: After a break in October for our Parish Mission with John Michael Talbot, JIF is back to its regular Sunday/Wednesday schedule. Today’s theme was “A Disciple: Who, What, When, Where, Why?” Lots of good conversation and thinking about disciples and living our own life of discipleship.
2:15pm Confirmation Sponsors Meeting: There was just a little space left in the calendar between the ending of JIF and the start of Turkey Bingo so we decided to squeeze in a meeting for Confirmation Sponsors. What an important job they have!
4:00pm Turkey Bingo: The large tents have been a great addition to our Parish Festival. They provide plenty of shade and make festival set-up run more smoothly. Did you know that Turkey Bingo helps to fund the rental of those tents, and is just a fun way to spend your Sunday afternoon? It was a packed house as people played their bingo cards and enjoyed fellowship with each other. If you missed out, you can look forward to Ham Bingo in the spring.
4:30pm Boy Scouts: The Boy Scouts are continuing to work on their robot.
7:00pm Narcotics Anonymous: I didn’t mention it last week, but our parish also hosts a Narcotics Anonymous group that meets Sunday evenings. We keep them in our prayers as they continue on their journey of recovery.

Saturday November 8 – Day 12
8:30am Exercise Group: Another morning of exercise and conversation at the Janson House.

10:00am Social Events Planning: The mission of the Social Events group is “making fun for everyone”. If you have attended a Barn Dance, the Softball Team Social or any of the other quarterly events put on by this group, you know they are fulfilling their mission! They seek to build community through fun activities for all generations, and we are thankful they share their GIFTS for the fun of the parish!
2:00pm Wedding: The last wedding at Sacred Heart in 2014.
3:30pm Reconciliation: Every Saturday, Jesus is waiting to give you forgiveness. Come get yours.
5:00pm Mass: The Choristers made their 2014-15 season debut at the 5pm Mass this weekend. They sounded wonderful and we were treated to both bells and beautiful voices. Here is a sample…

Friday November 7 – Day 11

8:00am Mass: On the first Friday of the month, morning Mass is followed by adoration until 11:30am. Spending quiet time in adoration is a great way to open your heart to God. It is a chance to enjoy some silence. After Mass this morning, a helpful group of parishioners stayed after to enjoy conversation and help stuff bulletins.

8:30am SKD Mass: I am planning on going to Mass with SKD this coming Friday.
5:00pm Wedding Rehearsal

Thursday, November 6 – Day 10

8am Mass

9am Mass at Cathedral: My plan is to get to this Mass next week.

2pm Mass at Good Shepherd: I will visit the Good Shepherd Mass in two weeks.

4-7pm Knights of Columbus Chili Feed: The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization that conducts a variety of fundraisers to support our parish and community. Most of the money they raise stays local. The Knights normally meet the third Monday of the month. Oh, and they make really good chili!

Mothers’ Book Study: After an enjoyable potluck and movie last week, the Mothers’ Book Study was back to their usual schedule of meeting the first and third Thursday of the month. Tonight they were discussing St. Joseph. One member shared how much she enjoys the connection and being able to meet and share with other Catholic moms.

Wednesday, November 5 - Day 9

8:00am Mass: After morning Mass, some of the attendees stayed around for an hour to help label the Annual Report that is going out to all parish households.

9:00am Scripture Study: I caught the Scripture Study group before they started this morning and asked what they thought the parish should know about their group. LaVerne offered that it is an informal, diverse group that meets to look at the Bible and learn what it means and how it relates to life. When asked what it means to have a group like this, she added that it is important to see how our faith has been passed on. Lora, who facilitates the group, shared that having the group meant “everything” to her. She had long wanted a Bible study and was very pleased when the parish decided to offer one. Margaret Mary concluded by saying that the group helped “continue the journey or learning and loving God.

1:00pm Widow/Widowers Support Group: Like the Mixed Choir, this group has been in existence for quite some time here at Sacred Heart. Started in the 90s because they were looking for something worthwhile to do, this group enjoys conversation and support. About 9 years ago, the group began making the prayer blankets that are taken to the sick of our parish and babies that are scheduled to be baptized. This is their main project and they feel it helps people in the parish know that we are thinking about them and praying for them.

4:30pm Choristers: When I asked the Choristers what it meant to them to have their group, the first answer that I received was that it is fun. I also heard that it helps them feel like they belong to something. They enjoy working as a team and like that there is a range of ages that participate. One member nicely summed it up by saying “we are a team and we all contribute and it wouldn’t be the same if one of us wasn’t here.”

5:45 Bells of the Heart: I was joining the Youth Group off campus this evening, so I caught a Bells of the Heart member before they started practicing. When I asked her what the group meant to her, she said that even though she isn’t good musically by herself, she can play in a group and she loves music. She appreciates the Bells of the Heart group because it allows her to play music as an adult. Bells of the Heart will be playing at the 8am Mass this weekend. Enjoy!

6:00pm Youth Group: Youth Group started the evening at the Good Shepherd apartments. The youth mixed with the residents at tables to play card bingo. A good time was had by all and the 35+ youth brought lots of energy. When bingo ended, the youth then went for bowling and pizza.

7:15pm Mixed Choir: I missed the Mixed Choir tonight, but look forward to catching them again in a week.

Tuesday, November 4 – Day 8

10am Organ Practice: The carpets were cleaned in church yesterday, so the sanctuary doors were wide open, and the sounds of the organ filled the gathering space. Kathy, one of our talented Sacred Heart accompanist, comes on Tuesday mornings to practice on the organ, cause who has on organ in their house to practice on? It was a treat to listen as she played through some songs. Here is a little video clip so you can enjoy too…

5:30pm Mass: I was excited to go to Tuesday evening Mass again tonight. I was even more excited when there were little people (under age 4) at Mass again. If you haven’t tried daily Mass yet, please do. Just one time. You won’t be disappointed.

6:15pm Praise Choir: This is a group that doesn’t just sing because they like to sing, they sing because it feeds their soul. When I asked them what it means to them to have the group that they are in, and how it helps their faith, Barb said that it is a “spiritual and uplifting experience.” Ruth said she hears God’s voice through music and said that it is another way to listen to God. Julie said that is strengthens her faith by what they are doing but also through the camaraderie. It is faith through music. They pray with and for each other and for other concerns. Yvonne said that she feels more of the spirit through song than the spoken word, so this group helps in that way. She also said that she imagines the congregation as a desert and the notes of the songs are God’s grace that is soaked up by the people. By the way, they notice when the congregation is singing and they really enjoy and appreciate it! As Yvonne states it, “it is the voice God gave you, give it back!”

6:30pm Stewardship Committee: When I sat down with the Stewardship Committee and asked them what they wanted the parish to know about their group, Dan said that one of the things the committee is working towards is for more parish and community involvement in the church. Joe said that being involved and connected outside of Sundays helps him feel more connected to the church. When reflected on their own beginning involvement in the committee they thought it was also important to point out that no one needs to be a stewardship expert to be on the committee. Having a willingness to help is probably the biggest requirement. There are even different ways to be involved that don’t always include monthly meetings. Sometimes, you just won’t know if it is the right thing for you unless you try.

Sacred Heart Ringers: The newest bells group was back practicing again tonight. I caught the end of the practice as they were continuing to make good progress in the piece they are preparing to play for Mass in the next month or so. As I watched them practice, they all had looks of concentration as they carefully read the music, watching for their turn. Yet, despite the serious looks, there was also laughter. And prayer. After they closed in prayer, I approached some of the younger members and asked them what it meant to them to have a group like this. Rachel said that is was an opportunity to meet some people she would not normally have met, and an opportunity to share her G.I.F.T.S. with the parish. (We love G.I.F.T.S being shared!) Nancy shared that she missed playing music with a group and found that this was the highlight of her week. Kate shared that she liked being able to see her friends and ring the bells. Hannah said that she likes playing a different instrument with a group (she also plays piano and cello) and looks forward to playing at Mass. While we wait for their debut performance, here is a video of the Sacred Heart Ringers for you to enjoy.

Monday, November 3 – Day 4
Monday is the last day of the first week of the 30 Days at Sacred Heart project. What a busy week it has been. There is so much going on at Sacred Heart…so much going on that I haven’t been able to make it to everything. The events that I did make it to all carried a common theme of connection and relationship among the great people of Sacred Heart.

Word and Communion Service: Since Father works on Saturday and Sunday, Monday is his day off. As Mass is not celebrated, a small group gathers on Monday mornings and is led by a lay presider who shares the daily readings and offers a reflection on those readings. Communion is shared (from hosts consecrated on Sunday), and you as a parishioner have one more way to be connected to Christ, your parish and your fellow parishioners.

8:30am Money Counters: As the Word and Communion Service ends, the team of money counters gets organized to start their work. This rotating group of volunteers helps us stay compliant with best practices for counting the Sunday collection. When they finish, they stay and visit for a short while enjoying coffee and some goodies.

7:00pm Sacramental Prep Meeting: A repeat session for parents who were unable to attend on Sunday evening was offered. Materials and information about preparing for First Eucharist and First Reconciliation were handed out. Pray for our children as they are preparing for these sacraments.

Sunday, November 2 – Day 6

8:00am Mass: At Mass this morning, we shared in the celebration of the baptism of the two newest members of Sacred Heart. It is always a joy to see the little ones and watch (and listen) to their reaction to the water. God bless the parents as they guide their little ones on their journeys of faith.

Communion to the Homebound: Have you ever noticed a small group of people approach the tabernacle after 8:00am Mass and leave with a small black pouch? There is a small team of people who take one Sunday a month, and one of a half dozen lists, to make visits to the nursing home, Good Shepherd apartments and individual houses. The people they visit are always so appreciative of the time the homebound ministers spend bringing them communion. It is a very rewarding ministry.

10:00am Mass: At the 10am Mass, we continued our celebration of the feast of All Souls with the Mass of Remembrance. The names of all our parish members who have died in the past year were read and a candle was lit in remembrance.

1:00pm Vital 3.0: The Planning Team met to continue work on shaping the direction of our ministry to youth. Discipleship is something we are all called to. If we want to have our youth strong in their faith, then we must all actively follow the path of discipleship.

1:00pm Open House at Eastern Star: As it sometimes happens, there were two things happening at Sacred Heart. The Diocese requires parishes to supply a residence for their pastor. We purchased Eastern Star from Father Ron at the end of June.

4:30pm Boy Scouts: Sacred Heart sponsors a Boy Scout troop that meets Sundays at 4:30pm. They have been busy working on a robotics project and plan monthly campouts.

7:00pm Sacramental Prep Meeting: A meeting was held to give parents beginning information on sacramental preparation. What an exciting time for all our second graders who will be making their First Reconciliation and First Eucharist in the coming months. Pray for them! There will be another session Monday night.

Saturday, November 1 – Day 5

8:30am Exercise Group: I have seen cars gathered at the Janson House on Saturday mornings as I drive down 10th Ave NE, but I really knew nothing about the group that meets to get some exercise and encouragement from each other. For about 15 years, this dedicated group of women have gotten together to exercise, vent and socialize. They first started in the church basement, spent time in the old convent, used the school gym and now use the (somewhat tight) space in the Janson House. Snowstorms don’t keep these ladies from their weekly meeting. I’d venture a guess that it is more about the people than the exercise that keeps them coming so faithfully. Our people make Sacred Heart great!

9:00am Mass: November 1st is the feast of All Saints. We remember the Church triumphant, those holy souls who have gone before us and intercede for us in Heaven. For this feast, we take the relics out of the altar and put them on display. We have first class relics from Saints such as Lucy, John Bosco, Jacob Major and Pius X. We also have a second and third class relic from St. Martin de Porres.

3:30pm Reconcilliation: Feeling burdened or overwhelmed by things? Try Reconciliation if you haven’t been in a while.

5:00pm Mass: In the evening, we celebrated the feast of All Souls. We remember all our faithful departed, especially those who have died in the past year.

Friday, October 31 – Day 4
It was a pretty quiet day at Sacred Heart, but that was a nice balance to the busy week. Reflecting on the past couple of days, I keep coming back to the people of Sacred Heart and what a difference they make in each other’s lives. We don’t call them Small Christian Communities, but each of the different activities we have at Sacred Heart is like a Small Christian Community. A group of faithful people joining together to support one another and grow in their faith.

8:00am Mass: Have you ever sat and listened to the sound of the baptismal font in church? The gentle trickle of the water makes a soothing soundtrack for the Mass.

8:30am Mass at St. Katharine Drexel: I have not figured out bi-locating yet, so I will have to save this for another week.

Thursday, October 30 – Day 3

8:00am Mass: I argued with myself about going to Mass this morning. I told myself that I have a lot of things to do and a meeting to go to and I should just get started working. Well, Mass won. I really wasn’t sure what could be so different from yesterday that I could write about, but during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we were briefly joined by two deer. They could be seen through the windows behind the tabernacle. All heads turned to watch as they continued south towards the path and wetlands. What will you discover at a daily Mass?

Clip and Count: As Mass ended and the regular fellowship group left, I realized that something was happening in church that wasn’t on my calendar. The group that sorts, clips and groups all the points and box tops for St. Katharine Drexel was busy at work. If you don’t currently save box tops and labels, the group encourages you to start. This is money that goes to the school. They are also looking for someone to take over coordinating. They meet as needed when enough items are collected to have a sorting party.

This small stack of box tops is worth $5 dollars for our schools. It all adds up!

9:00am Mass at CHS: I will attend Mass at Cathedral another week.

2:00pm Mass at Good Shepherd: Another week. Who knew you had so many choices for Mass on Thursday?

6:30pm Women’s Book Club: This group meets once a month for discussion that centers on a certain book. As is often the case among friends, discussions can get off the topic at hand but are always lively and remain in the realm of connecting with and encouraging each other. One member described the group as “a phenomenal group of women who love to read and have become friends in the process.” New members are always welcome.

7:00pm Mother’s Book Study: This group of women chooses to read books that center on our faith (and motherhood). They are currently reading A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. They cover a short chapter every two weeks. At this meeting, they were having a “Mom’s Night” with a potluck, busy bag stuffing and watching the movie “Mom’s Night Out.” Members describe it as a place for fun, fellowship and faith. It is also encouraging as a mom, when sometimes you want to pull your hair out, to have a place to connect with other Christian moms. If you want to connect with other moms, this group would be happy to welcome you.

Wednesday, October 29 - Day 2

8:00am Mass: Having so thoroughly enjoyed Mass on Tuesday evening, I was looking forward to starting Wednesday by going to Mass. It was quiet and peaceful and a wonderful way to start my day. After Mass, some parishioners sat down to visit and share some coffee and goodies. When I sat down to talk with them, they were very welcoming. Their message for the parish is that all are welcome to stay. They enjoy the fellowship and feel like they are a family. They notice when someone isn’t there to share in Mass and the social time. A rosary is started by 7:40am and morning Mass is offered Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Pick a day and try it!

9:00am Scripture Study: As Mass ends on Wednesday morning, the Scripture Study group begins their gathering. I know this group has a good time as I have heard the laughter. Visiting with a few members afterwards, one person mentioned the feeling of fulfillment she gets by spending time studying the Bible. She feels like her eyes have been opened to God’s word and His plan. Another member just wanted to make sure people knew that it existed. Joining a Bible study takes commitment for sure, but the benefits to your faith and the support you are sure to get from your group are well worth it.

4:30pm Choristers: What a fun visit with the Choristers! Made up of youth (including 6 new members) from Grade 2 through Grade 8, they very politely raised their hands to take turns telling me about their group. They thought it was important that the parish knows that anyone can join them. If you have been to a Mass where the Choristers sing, you already know this, but they wanted to make sure that you know that they “are good singers.” They also said it was fun , they laugh, and they get to play bells and chimes. Emma especially appreciated the different opportunities they have to sing different songs and sing with different people.

5:45pm Bells of the Heart: Wednesday is a busy night for music at Sacred Heart. As the Choristers file out, members of Bells of the Heart take up their posts at the bell tables. When asked what they thought the parish should know about their group, they told me that they are fun, they laugh a lot and it is a good group of unique people. Oh yeah, and they play bells. One member had never played an instrument before, and playing bells has given her that opportunity. Megan, the youngest member of the group added that anyone can (and should) join. To send me on my way, they played me on song. Thanks Bells of the Heart!

6:00pm Youth Group: Youth group normally has middle school and high school students meet separately, but tonight they were participating in a service project where they collected food to bring to the food shelf. When the students were back from picking up the food, I was able to ask them what they thought the parish should know about youth group. One older student said that it is a safe place you can go where you trust everybody without being judged. They also talked about it being fun while also being a way to continue to learn about their religion. They also said that they can learn about things they didn’t know about before and then see how things apply in a real-life situation. The students are learning to connect their life to their faith as they become disciples of Christ.

7:00pm Peace and Justice: Visiting with the Peace and Justice Committee, one of the first things they wanted the parish to know is that they need members. They are still in the process of defining themselves, so if you have a passion or even an interest in social justice, consider joining this group. They mentioned appreciating that Peace and Justice reaches beyond the parish into the community and even globally. How can you help make a difference?

7:15pm Mixed Choir: Back to the sanctuary a third time today, I met with the Mixed Choir as they were finding their places and catching up with each other. When I posed my question, the first response I got was that this choir “has more fun than any other choir in the diocese.” To balance that statement, another member added that they are very professional and have continued to show improvement. As they started to reminisce about the choir space in the old church and dodging falling plaster as they stood for the entire Mass, I realized that many of the members of the choir have more than 10 years in the choir (some more than 20). That speaks volumes about the people that are a part of the Mixed Choir. A fairly new member said that even given all the experience most of the choir had together, she felt very welcomed by the group.

As I reflect on the past two days, I am seeing groups of people gathering together around a certain activity and through the vehicle of that activity, relationships are formed. It is the people who make the difference. The fellowship, the friendship and sense of family that I see in these groups is one of the many things that really sets Sacred Heart apart. How blessed we are.

Tuesday, October 28 - Day 1

The day started quietly as there was no morning Mass and nothing scheduled at the church in the morning.

5:30pm Mass: Tuesday night, we have Mass at 5:30pm. The time was changed this fall to accommodate choir and bell rehearsals. If you didn’t know we had Mass on Tuesday evening, don’t feel bad. When I told my husband that I had gone to church, he was surprised to discover that we have Tuesday evening Mass. If you haven’t come on a Tuesday evening, I encourage you to try it out. It is such a different experience from weekend Mass. It is quieter (and shorter, so it is especially kid-friendly). Alex, 8, who usually attends the evening Mass, said he likes the Gospels. There were young and old alike at Mass and it was a wonderful end to the Tuesday work day and such a peaceful way to ease into the evening.

6:15pm Praise Choir: I checked in on the Praise Choir as they were arriving, settling in and getting ready to start. When I asked Diane what she thought the parish should know about Praise Choir, her answer was that they have a great deal of fun, but they also work hard and have an appreciation for contemporary music. Other members added “who wouldn’t want to join” and “we are a fun group and we love to sing.” They promised no moldy oldies. They were a fun group to visit with and as I comfortably sat talking to them, I felt like if I just decided to stay and sing along with them, they would have been fine with that. Unfortunately for me, and fortunately for them, I had another meeting to get too. I will just have to content myself with singing along at 5pm Mass when the Praise Choir is sharing their talents.

6:30pm Finance Council: Sitting down with the Finance Council, their responses gave me a very clear idea about who is involved with the Finance Council. This is a group of people who care deeply about the parish and the concerns of parishioners. They spoke of a desire for more communication from the parish and more explanations behind decisions that are made. They want our parish to be financially sound and filled with committed and involved parishioners.

7:00pm Men’s Club: They met, but I missed them. I have them on my calendar for later in November.

7:30 Sacred Heart Ringers: As I finished up with the Finance Council, I met the Sacred Heart Ringers as they were wrapping up their practice. This group just started this year and is a mix of those new to bells and some more experienced bell players. Mary, who is also a new parishioner, was intrigued when she heard the bells being played at Mass. Deb thought it was something new and different to do. One experienced bell ringer enjoys helping the new ringers and is enjoying watching the group come together.

In all of the groups I visited with, I noticed a common theme. I noticed a sense of community and welcoming. There was also fun and laughter at all the events I attended. Okay, not during Mass, but as people visited afterwards. Sacred Heart is a home away from home. There are groups waiting to welcome you, and your support helps make it all happen.

October 27, 2014
Tomorrow, 30 Days at Sacred Heart begins. It is a full schedule, but I am excited to see what is happening and to listen to parishioners talk about the groups they are involved with. 12 hours and counting...