Young and ALIVE

NEWS FLASH – Catholicsm is alive and well among young people. Don’t listen to the media. I’m privileged to be on pilgrimage with a group from the Archdiocese of Omaha. Today we are at the Shrine of Divine Mercy. The crowds are huge but so joyful. When I was young John Paul II offered us the fullness of the Gospel and told us not to wait. It worked. People respond to the Lord when the message is clear and bold.

All of this culminates Saturday into Sunday with a vigil and closing Mass with the Holy Father. You can watch on EWTN. Know that I’m praying for you. Please pray for us. Go to confession to experience God’s amazing Mercy. 

Jesus, we trust in you!



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To my Parish Family

Dear Parish Family,

So God put something on my heart almost a year ago. It was an invitation to step aside in 2016 to gain perspective on where I’m at in my pilgrimage to His Kingdom. I like to remind people that I am a practitioner of the Faith just like everyone else. I’m a sinner in need of constant mercy who hopes to run the race to the finish.

The Father provided a perfect opportunity by allowing me to travel to World Youth Day (WYD) in Poland with a group from the Archdiocese of Omaha. This will be my first WYD and, who knows, perhaps my only one. Pilgrimage just works. There’s something about leaving the friendly confines of daily, getting out on the road, and letting the Lord lead the way. This summer I didn’t need a vacation…I need pilgrimage.

I’ve been asking the Lord what grace He would like to give me on this journey. This is what I heard: “I want to you inherit more joy as my beloved Son. I want you to be free ever more in that joy to be a father to my people.”

In this Year of Mercy I’m not only in need of God’s continual mercy but yours as well. As I begin my 7th year as your pastor I’m acutely aware of and grateful for all the beautiful things God has shown us. He’s truly on the move and I think we’re on the verge of something very special. But as we move forward together into His heart I need to ask your forgiveness. As pastor, I’m to be the image of Jesus but there are times my humanity gets in the way.

By nature I am an introvert. People are surprised to hear that given what I do but it’s true. Being alone and in small groups refreshes me, large crowds and the spotlight don’t. Because of this, I can come across as unapproachable, intimidating, or arrogant. If I have negatively affected you in this way, in the spirit of this Jubilee Year of Mercy, I ask for your mercy. We can’t turn our personality on and off like a switch but I can, and will, do more to make people feel more comfortable.

The responsibility as pastor can be intense at times but I tend to make it worse by thinking all of the responsibility falls on me. It doesn’t, and I know the Lord wants to free me from this self-imposed burden. He is in charge of this parish and I have hundreds of good teammates in you, His people.

Most of all I offer a offer a word of peace and an open hand to anyone who may be going to church somewhere else or stopped going because of anything I have said or done (or not said and done). I desperately want to share the life of Jesus but at times the message can seem out of reach or even frightening. Please come home. You are missed! We’re here to walk with one another to meet the Lord. There’s no need to be afraid. Jesus doesn’t want to take anything good away from you.

So, please pray for me and all of the pilgrims heading to Poland. These are troubled times in the world but it’s in darkness that His light shines all the more. I’m open to the grace He wants to give me and trust that he will. He wants to give you great things too!

I’m excited to return from this pilgrimage and begin the next chapter with you. Be assured of my prayers as I head out on this journey. I’ll be offering Mass for you with the Holy Father this coming Sunday. God bless and keep you, good people of Sacred Heart Parish.

Your Brother in Christ,

Fr. Dan Andrews


 

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for Us.

St. John Paul II, Pray for Us.

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My pilgrim prayer: Lord, give me the joy your Son talks about (John 15:11). Free my heart and let me be a good father to your people. They are beautiful. Amen.

The Mission “Effect”

Last week I blogged about the need for parishes to move from Maintenance to Mission. One of the things on my post was a list of identifiers for mature Catholics. Such person:

  • has a personal relationship with Jesus
  • can and does share faith with others
  • is open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • has knowledge and love of the Scriptures
  • knows basic Catholic theology
  • experiences real Christian community
  • has a commitment to the Sunday Eucharist
  • celebrates the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis
  • can pray spontaneously out loud when asked
  • enthusiastically makes use of their gifts in parish/community
  • is okay inviting someone to come to Mass with them

I also included a very unscientific poll asking people if this characterizes most adult Catholics they know. The answer was 14 – NO and 1 – YES. Again, just a small sampling but telling nonetheless.

It may help to know what this looks, feels, and sounds like in a person. There are plenty around in our parish, beautiful examples of discipleship all. This past weekend one of our younger parishioners gave her witness at the Steubenville Conference in Springfield, Missouri. Drue gives us a great feel for what’s in the heart of a follower of Christ and how she got there.

http://steubystl365.com/drue-adoration/

World Youth Day 2016


On July 25th I will be leaving on pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. Luke Miller, FOCUS Missionary from our parish, Deacon Nicholas, and I will join 42 others from our Archdiocese. 

I’d like to take your prayer intentions with me. Please send them to:

WYDintentions@sacredheartnorfolk.com

Focus Missionaries Return “Home”

FOCUS Missionaries Return “Home” July 16 & 17

We are excited to welcome home four of our young adults from Sacred Heart parish that have accepted the call to become FOCUS Missionaries and are working on college campuses across the US to share the Gospel. Stephanie Parks, Kylie Funk, Luke Miller, and Kolton Powell are finishing up with FOCUS New Staff Training at Ave Maria University in Florida. They have shared that it has been amazing month full of reknown speakers, team building, and ongoing formation. The missionaries are also all looking forward to getting back to Nebraska for a short time and seeing the fruit that the Holy Spirit is bringing about here as well.

Focus team2016

The team will be speaking at all of the Masses July 16 and 17 to share what they have been doing. Let’s open our hearts to hear how FOCUS has fully embraced the call of “making disciples of all nations” and how that ties into our Parish mission as well. These young leaders are helping to form future leaders of our nation, coming into contact with our children/grandchildren, and helping to build up the Church and bringing hope to society. They will be joining us for coffee and rolls  on Sunday after Mass and sharing stories and photos from their respective campuses. Please take a few minutes to visit with them and see how you can be a part of the Great Commission and a FOCUS Mission partner to help carry on this great work.

Would you join our Perpetual Adoration team in praying for their intentions and our parish?

We thank you Lord for your great Love and the gifts given to Stephanie, Kylie, Luke, and Kolton.  We pray for the conversion of souls on our campuses and in our parish; that the Lord will prepare our hearts to receive Jesus and his message; and open the way for our parish missionaries to receive the necessary funding this summer so that they can fully enter into the ministry that God is preparing them for this fall.


Maintenance to Mission?

The next step in ALIVE IN CHRIST (AIC) is the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) retreat on July 16th. The PPC will be looking at the data from AIC so that we can discern the the Vision of Sacred Heart Parish. In order for us to arrive at the vision it has to be identified. Our daily mission (what we do each day) is what brings the vision to fruition.

One of the big questions that may be circulating out there is why our parish would even need to consider a move from Maintenance to Mission. Aren’t we already on mission? To a certain extant, we are. The difference is how overall mission success is measured.

More and more we are talking about Discipleship in our parish. I love to hear people use the word. That’s our mission – to make disciples. This is the mission of the whole Church and every Christian. Qualities of discipleship can be defined. Fr. James Mallon (St. Benedict Parish, Halifax, Nova Scotia) lays out a vision for a mature disciple in order for his leadership team to measure the progress of his parish. 

Below are some characteristics of a mature disciple of Jesus. Give them a read and then answer the poll question. Does this describe most of the adult Catholics you know from anywhere in the USA?

A Mature Disciple is one who:

  • has a personal relationship with Jesus
  • can and does share faith with others
  • is open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • has knowledge and love of the Scriptures
  • knows basic Catholic theology
  • experiences real Christian community
  • has a commitment to the Sunday Eucharist
  • celebrates the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis
  • can pray spontaneously out loud when asked
  • enthusiastically makes use of their gifts in parish/community
  • is okay inviting someone to come to Mass with them