Essential Service

President Trump recently announced “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.” While his powers to do so were questionable to say the least, I am glad that he considers houses of worship and their religious services essential. I would not disagree on that particular point, but would note that a large percentage of citizens do not attend weekend worship services at all plus another group of of households that participate irregularly. My Church has its own C&E Catholic faithful (that’s Christmas and Easter only – although to be fair, Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday are also part of that particular mix). So, while I would agree on the essential nature of Mass and worship services, obviously they are not essential in the minds of all. Continue reading

The Next Steps

USNA-graduationWe are firmly in the midst of high school and college graduation season. And sadly, this year, the rites of passage and mark of accomplishment is required to find new ways to celebrate. Ways that honor the women and men and salute their efforts…but in 2020 these events are not the joyful celebration that we had hoped for. So, all graduates, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you celebrate and consider your next steps. Because pageantry aside, the next steps are key, defining, and part of the sea change you will experience in the next few years…. it has me thinking about my college graduation and my “next steps.”

Every institution has their own traditions and ways to celebrate – including my alma mater, the United States Naval Academy. Every May, the seniors march on to the field at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium for graduation. The women and men are dressed in their “choker” whites (future Naval Officers) and blues (future Marine Corp officers). Theses graduating midshipmen take their places, listen to the speakers of the day, walk across the stage to receive their diploma, take the oath of office, and then it happens… Continue reading

How beautiful

Salvador Dali’s painting “Ascension” is certainly one of the most provocative paintings depicting the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus. The symbolic elements are many, the speculations even more, and the agreement on meaning is still up for grabs. But I sometimes tend to focus on some of the more realistic elements cast among the surrealistic things. While the art experts discuss the finer points of Dali, his life, faith, and his work – I am fascinated by perspective, as well as the hands and feet. The former as though clutching at something; the latter soiled and showing the wear and tear of life on earth. Continue reading

Finding our way

Today our parish will offer our first public Mass in some 60 days. It is not as simple as opening the doors to the church and celebrating in the usual way. There are limitations on the number of people that can be admitted. We have roped off every other pew (actually we used ribbon) and limited access to only the main aisle. We are required to have ushers at the door equipped with a counter so that once we reach the prescribed number of people, no further entry will be allowed. Continue reading

Choosing an Abundant Life

“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Most people know that verse and are drawn to the idea of an abundant life. What would that look like to you? If we don’t have an idea of what it looks like, how will we know when we have it?

Once upon a time in Kenya, an Englishman visiting the central highlands, and discovered a beautiful river. Not too far downstream he came upon the chief of the Kikuyu people enjoying a moment of fishing. The chief had a great spot in the shade, the fishing line was tied around his big toe, and the chief seemed like he was napping more than fishing. Continue reading

Living stones

I heard someone once refer to us as a “tourist church.” At one level that is certainly a compliment to the grandeur of the church structure, its architecture, and art. When you enter the church, there is no doubt that you are “in church.” At another level, given our proximity to the downtown hotels and the Port of Tampa, we have tourists and all manner of visitors – and you know what – they are all most welcome. If a “tourist church” means that we are known for welcoming the visitor, the stranger, the alien, and the tourist – that is a good thing. Continue reading

Discovering Essential

Guest column from Sacred Heart’s Chairman of the Parish Advisory Counsel, Mr. James Rossman.

In this space last week, Fr. George discussed the stunning changes that have impacted us during the last few months. Those changes certainly include a litany of hardships, sacrifice and disruptions of the norm, but they also created an opportunity for reflection, for examination of the emptiness of some parts of our pre-pandemic lives and for imagining a new and better world on the other side of “Safer at Home.” He ended his column with: “What will we do with the time given us?” Continue reading

Vaccines, Antibodies, and Love

At the beginning of this time of pandemic, it was interesting to read stories of people on an extended wilderness sojourn as they returned to their normal life. In the several weeks away, they discovered there was nothing normal about the world they had left. They returned to find covid-19, masks, social distancing, sheltering at home, and a world reporting and tracking pandemic. Continue reading