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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.