Learning to live better

From time to time, I am asked “if the parish could use…” and what follows is a litany of things old and beloved, unusual and familiar, new and used, useful and whimsical, and the occasional, “I don’t know what it is, but it seems like it is holy.” The conversation is hardly ever (perhaps never?) with a person from the millennial demographic. At this point in their lives, they live minimally and do not have the same emotional connection to things as did the generations before. They are a mobile group and thus don’t want a lot of stuff when moving house or moving to a new city. IKEA will do just fine until things settle. Continue reading

Lenten Advice

Every year, as Lent approaches, parishioners ask for advice: What should I do for Lent? I am always happy to help a sister or brother in Christ to make Lent a time of spiritual growth. Maybe this year you might want to “upgrade” your source of Lenten advice. Well, who better to pick for as your Lenten spiritual director than Pope Francis? Here is his advice for a Lenten period of deepening your spiritual life. Continue reading

Our Traditions

Traditions can be big or small, important and not. Not all traditions are created equal. If each one of us are to be a person faithful to Gods’ eternal covenant in Christ; if we are to be a church faithful to that covenant, then we must be a people who remember rightly and hold onto the Traditions that go to the heart of faith, the heart of the covenant. Continue reading

Short Shrift

Shrove TuesdayShrove Tuesday is the day preceding Ash Wednesday. The day is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics, who are called to make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God’s help in dealing with – and then carry those reflections into the season of Lent.

The archaic verb shrive means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of Confession and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday derives from that linguistic root. The idiom “short shrift” shares that same heritage. In its original form short shrift referred to a brief period of penance granted to a person condemned to death so he or she could be cured of immorality before execution. This original meaning has little relation to the modern sense of short shrift, which usually bears negative connotations – brief and unsympathetic treatment. One usually does not want to be given short shrift.

This Shrove Tuesday, may we priests not give “short shrift” to penitents seeking to draw closer to God. May all of God’s faithful not give “short shrift” to their reflections and on-going conversion in this Lenten season.  May we all find the time and place to “shrive” during Lent.

Valentine’s Day – Ash Wednesday

Thinking about making Valentine’s Day reservations soon? If you are Catholic and under the age of 60 you might want to look for seafood or vegetarian fare. This year, Valentine’s Day shares the calendar with Ash Wednesday. This hasn’t happened since 1945 (…but it will happen again in 2024 and 2029). That means it is an obligatory day of fasting (one full meal plus two smaller meals that together are not larger than the full meal) and abstinence (no meat). Also, expect some non-Catholics in the restaurant to think you and your date have dirt on your heads. Continue reading

Forgive: be set free

Forgive him (or her)? Forgive myself? How could God forgive me? These are all questions we have asked ourselves at some point. We who were raised in the Christian tradition in which forgiveness is intrinsic to our faith. We, who as children, freely asked for and so easily received forgiveness. Sometime between our childhood and our teen/adult years, we learned to savor and recall moments of hurt or regret. Regrets that continue to haunt us and enter our lives, our dreams unwelcomed. Memory of hurt too often recalled, nursed, leading to thoughts of how such egregious actions can be balanced out in an uncaring universe. “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Sounds like a quote from a Shakespearean tragedy, but it is all too modern, a blithe saying speaking to something as old as humankind. Continue reading

Wolf of Gubbio Project

For the previous two weeks, I have been chatting with you about an upcoming art project that would speak to the Franciscan character of the parish. Last week, I said that we had found a sculptor who was deeply rooted in the Franciscan tradition and had proposed a work for outdoor placement – a sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi and the Wolf of Gubbio. After all the promises of “next week,” next week has arrived! Please click here to find out more about our project!

Something to consider…

The Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province have served at Sacred Heart in Tampa since 2005. The friars assumed pastoral leadership from the Jesuits of the Southern Province who had well served the people since 1882. The Jesuits and their tradition continue for the citizenry of Tampa through their ministry at Jesuit High School. The Jesuits have left their mark in downtown by the amazing edifice that is our church. Their legacy also is appropriately displayed in their motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, “to the greater glory of God,” which adorns the arch over the transept/sanctuary. Continue reading