The Altar – Our Lenten Series

As we celebrate the First Sunday in our Lenten journey this year, we begin with a series titled – The Altar.  As we progress through the weeks toward Holy Week, we will dive deeper into a greater understanding of our Catholic worship, but even more than that, an opportunity to come closer to the Jesus through our own participation and gift of self.

Each Monday, we will post a discussion guide along with a link to the weekend’s message.   We encourage you to listen again and sometime throughout the week take some time to share your thoughts on the discussion questions with your family or a small group of friends.

Sacred Heart Parish Homilies

Week 1 – Where’s Your Altar?

The heart of religion is the worship of God.  And the heart of worship is always sacrifice; a gift that is poured out on the altar.  Where is your gift being poured out?   Where is your altar?

Discussion Questions

  1. If you could go to any concert or any sporting event in the world (past, present, or future), which would you choose? Why?
  2. What would you say is your primary motivation to go to Mass each Sunday? You are invited to be introspective and honest:  habit, love, you know it’s a good thing to do, you get something out of it, etc…  Share and Discuss.

( Disclaimer:  if you are going to Mass, no motivation is going to be “wrong”.  It is simply good to know one’s reasons.)

  1. The heart of worship is sacrifice. If this is the case, what is the sacrifice offered at Mass?  Is the critical moment of the Mass when we received something or when we give something?  What are those moments (of offering and receiving) and how easy is it to miss those moments?  Please share and discuss.
  2. In your experience, have you seen the altar at church more of an “altar of sacrifice” or a “dining table”? How might this change how you approach the Mass?  If you don’t see it as either, please share how you do see it.
  3. What is one thing that you believe might help you show up prepared to truly worship the next time you go to Mass? Please share and discuss.

God in Real Life

What is the lamb around your neck that you bring to the altar?

His Word

The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart—that is, the word of faith that we preach— for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~ Romans 10:8-9

Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written:  You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”  ~ Luke 4: 8

*Adapted from a message series and materials from UMD Newman


One more goal to set for 2019

Our Way of Life – Stewardship Renewal Wrap up January 26 and 27

Thank you for the gifts we have been receiving through our Way of Life Stewardship Renewal.   We realize that taking on stewardship renewal through personal and phone visits has been challenging, and regrettably we haven’t been able to meet with everyone.  Not just do we all have very full lives and schedules, but we often pull back from conversations about family, politics….and yes, Church!

Yet we continue to hear both our stewards and those receiving a visit comment that the conversations have been “very good”!   Talking with one another face to face has deepened relationships, opened up possibilities and interests that might have gone unnoticed, and offered us opportunities to pray for people’s deepest needs and desires.

This is so much more than just checking a box!!!    check mark

We want you to know that you are loved.  You are important.  Our parish is here to help each person come to know the Lord and to love and care for one another, as He did.  If you did not receive a phone call or visit and would like to sit down and have a conversation about our parish, parish school, prayer needs, or life questions; please let us know by noting that on your Stewardship response or calling Anne or myself at the parish office (371-2621).  We have stewards who are ready to meet you.

The secondary goal of our Stewardship Renewal is to help each person offer their response to the Lord for the gifts we’ve each been given in the form of a Stewardship’s response/commitment card.  We are all a part of God’s family, the Body of Christ, and all of our gifts are important and necessary to carry out His mission.  Ask Jesus how he wants to guide and help you this year grow as a disciple, talk with your family about how you might serve others this year, and take a few minutes to complete your Stewardship Card.   It’s vital to our parish that each of our families make a personal response and commitment as your final goal to set for 2019.

Whether you have received your card from one of our stewards making a personal visit or by mail, now is the time to make your response.     Drop your response in the mail to the parish or bring it to Mass on January 26/27 for our commitment weekend.  Help us wrap up our stewardship renewal and launch into 2019!

Our Lady

This year we have a very special opportunity to bring our parish together to celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the Patroness of all the Americas, given to us to pray for our protection and well-being. See the true story of Juan Diego below and how Our Lady’s intercession and vision aided the conversion of millions across North, South and Central America.

Fr. Scott Schilmoeller has gifted a life-size image of the Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe that he brought from his pilgrimage to Mexico City this past summer. It will be installed this week in the entrance of St. Mary’s Church; providing a place for everyone in our parish to honor Our Lady and pray for her intercession.

(original tilma in the Basillica of OLG in Mexico City)

Everyone is Invited to Join the Celebration!

  • On Wednesday, our parish school and community members are welcome to join us for Mass at 8:20 am in honor of Our Lady’s Feast day.

Then, on Sunday, December 16th we will have a community celebration for Our Lady of Guadalupe:

  • We begin the day with Mañanitas prayers at 5am in St. Mary’s Church. Our Spanish choirs will be leading with traditional Mexican music sung in honor of Mary.
  • Next, come together for 11:30 Bilingual Mass to celebrate as One People and enthrone the image of the Tilma for St. Mary’s Church
  • After Mass, the celebration continues in Burns Gym from 12:30pm to 3pm with great food, traditional music and dance, Hispanic hospitality and fellowship.


The rest of the true story…. Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In 1531 a “Lady from Heaven” appeared to a humble Native American named Juan Diego in what is now Mexico City, identifying herself as the ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God. She made a request for a Church to be built on the site of her appearance. When Juan Diego communicated her wish to the local Bishop, he hesitated, and requested a sign. The Mother of God obeyed by sending Juan Diego to the top of a hill in mid-December to gather an assortment of roses for the Bishop. Juan Diego gathered these roses in his ‘Tilma’, the outer garment worn by men who work in fields. After carrying the roses and presenting them to the Bishop, there was an image of Mary miraculously imprinted on the Tilma.  This tilma, which should have deteriorated in 20 years, shows no sign of decay 476 years later and still defies all scientific explanations of its origin.

Today, the site of her appearance is marked with a Large church in Mexico City containing the original Tilma. An incredible list of miracles, cures and interventions have occurred by visiting and honoring this site. Yearly, an estimated 10 million visit her Basilica, making her Mexico City home the most popular Marian shrine in the world, and the most visited Catholic church in the world next to the Vatican.

Mary appeared to Juan Diego during a time of war and strife, and promised compassion, love and protection to the suffering people through her Son Jesus. Within 7 years of her appearance 6,000,000 Aztec Indians converted to Christianity.


She is the patroness of all of the Americas and we humbly ask for her intercession and protection for all in our parish.  Our Lady of Guadalupe. Pray for us.

Come Away & Rest

The Links of Fr. Andrews – July 22, 2018

His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. ~ Mark 6:34

Grace to pray for this week: To hear the instruction of the Master Teacher

Dear Friends,

We extend a warm welcome to anyone visiting our church this weekend. Your presence means a lot to us. If you are passing through we wish you safe travels. Perhaps you are new to Norfolk and are looking for a church to call home. Stop by our Information Desk at Church. We’re honored to assist you in any way possible.


The Gospel this weekend is a perfect fit for summer. Jesus invites his followers to “come away…to a deserted place and rest a while.” In a world where technology is consistently present, more and more people are looking for an escape. There’s a big difference between reading about the world second hand through a screen and encountering life personally.

Human beings have an amazing capacity to receive input via the senses. Life becomes multi-dimensional and vibrant when we allow every sense to be engaged. Sometimes it can be difficult to detach from the internet because it affords such quick stimulus. However, deep down I believe we know that we’re missing out living this way.

Suggestion: live local. The world is a big place filled with billions of people but we can’t live everywhere. An abundant life means blooming where we are planted. Every day we can be fully alive through encounters with our family and community. Books are better than screens. Sharing stories verbally breeds life. Exercise is its own reward. Cooking fresh food gives health to the body. Prayer brings peace to the soul.

Psalm 23 comes between the readings this weekend. You’ve heard it many times, but I invite you to pray with it this week. Give the Lord a chance to show you the place of peace he wants to lead you to. Let’s not accept any substitutes for the real life God offers.


It’s never too early to hear about our next Discovering Christ (DC) course. DC is an easy way to hear the message of the Gospel in a casual atmosphere. Please visit our website for more details. We’d love to have you join us and I think you’ll be glad you did.

God love you!

  • Less noise often leads to hearing God’s voice.

Happy 4th of July

Happy Independence Day!

Better known as the 4th of July these days,  Independence Day began in 1777, just one year after the Declaration of Independence was signed, as a time set aside to celebrate the birth of our nation rooted in certain founding truths.  Despite a multitude of cultures, it’s become a day for everyone in our country to come together and celebrate as One Nation, Under God.

What a fitting model for us to reflect on as we try to live out our pastoral priority of One Church, One People.  There are many beautiful examples of this happening, from our Kermes Celebration last weekend to our 11:30 Bilingual Mass each weekend over the past month.

I’d like to extend the following thank you and encouragement to everyone in our parish in helping us come together more as One People.

*Just a quick reminder that this weekend we will celebrate Mass in Spanish at 1 pm at Sacred Heart Church.

“I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. ~ Mark 1:17
Grace to pray for this week: To see a bigger picture of what church can be
Dear Friends in Christ,
Peace be with you! A hearty welcome to everyone, especially those visiting us for any reason, whether in person or through technology. Your presence is a gift.
So did you hear it? There’s so much urgency in the scriptures this past weekend:
    “Set out for the great city of Nineveh…and announce the message” (Jonah 3)
    “…the time is running out.” (I Corinthians 7:29)
“The kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mark 1:15)
In a busy world, this type of urgency may not be welcome. But it all depends on how you look at it. When Jesus begins his public ministry he starts by getting to know just a handful of people. You would think that he’d just find a way to announce the arrival of the kingdom to every person on earth at once. Instead, he chose a surprising approach – get to know a few people really well and then have them pass it along to someone else. The result? 2000 years later there have been billions of Christians. Jesus knew what he was doing.
This past week our parish experienced a first hand look of this through Reboot with Chris Stefanick!  We heard and saw how the Holy Spirit moves hearts through friendship and invitation.   Each of us, and collectively as a parish, is called to do exactly what we hear about in the Gospel this weekend. Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James, and John out of their daily job and into mission. By this point they had already met him but now he was inviting them to a life-changing decision. Jesus would make it clear that there could be no “in between” – it was time to choose.
If you were able to help someone find an answer to the biggest questions in life wouldn’t it be worth it? Even if you could help just one person. That changed life could change many other. That’s what we want to do here in an intentional way at Sacred Heart Parish. God is helping us build a “way of life” or “roadmap” that will guide every part of the life of our church.
Our goal is to help people meet Jesus and then make a personal decision to make him the center of their life. Our way of life here will guide the steps toward this moment and the life flowing from it.
God love you!
* Right now, God is ready to say beautiful things to you.