Welcome to the Parish of Sacred Heart
All meetings and prayer gatherings are canceled this evening, Monday, March 3, 2014 because of the icy weather.
7:00AM MASS With Distribution of Ashes
8:30AM MASS With Distribution of Ashes
12:15PM LITURGY OF THE WORD With Distribution of Ashes
4:00PM LITURGY OF THE WORD With Distribution of Ashes
7:00PM MASS With Distribution of Ashes
There will be Virtus training on and Monday, March 24th from 6:30 to 9:30pm in the Sacred Heart Library. If you plan to attend please register with Merry Marcellino at 609-267-0209 ext. 305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A reflection from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.
The Time of Lent . . . a Path to Holiness
When I was a boy growing up in a Catholic family, Lent was a big deal. Ash Wednesday was the
beginning of a special time of the year unlike any other. My Mom, like her German mother before her,
would make doughnuts on the Tuesday before — “Faschnaut Day” — clearing out kitchen cabinets and
the ice box to make way for the forty days of sacrifice and penance that stretched out ahead of us.
Those doughnuts were great and very different from the kind you get at doughnut chain stores today.
They were sinkers … you could build a house with whatever was leftover!
All of us in the family had to make the “big decision” by that Tuesday … what were we going to
“give up” for Lent? For my Dad it was easy: cigarettes or beer; for my Mom, some special treat she
enjoyed; for us kids in the house it wasn’t so easy. Candy or desserts were usually at the top of the list.
No matter what we chose, however, the point was always clear: we had to make a sacrifice during Lent
and we had to stick to it until Easter! Add to that the required fasting and abstinence, and you know
what? We survived. Lent didn’t kill any of us.
As with so many traditions in the Church, Lent evolved over the years. People began to
emphasize more “giving” rather than “giving up.” The sober and serious tone of the forty days of Lent,
beginning with Ash Wednesday, became lighter and less intense. Sure, the Church continued to accent
the penitential nature of Lent but it did so in different ways, stressing things that were more positive
rather than negative. The obligation to sacrifice something ceased to be the first or most immediate
item on the Lenten agenda.
I am a great believer in the “both/and” rather than the “either/or” approach to life. And, so, for
me Lent is a holy season of penance when I feel called, as a Catholic, by the very nature and purpose of
Lent, to both “give up” and to “give” something.
In my own prayer and reflection as Bishop of the Diocese, I recognize my responsibility to guide
the faithful of the Diocese — clergy, religious and laity alike — in living out our Christian life in pursuit of
holiness. Lent is a time to intensify the pursuit of holiness as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s own,
passion, death and resurrection, the central mysteries of our Catholic faith. And, so, together — bishop
and clergy, religious and laity — let us focus our attention on the call to holiness that is at the heart of
our Lenten journey and at the heart of our life’s journey.
Each weekend we profess our common belief in “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.” I
discussed these “four marks of the Church” at length in my first pastoral letter as Bishop. There, I
reminded us of the scripture passage that says: “As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in
every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy (1 Peter 1: 15-16).” The
Church gives us the season of Lent as an aid in that process. And here’s the motivation:
… the Church’s call to holiness is rooted in Christ’s own invitation to be holy in imitation
of him. The holiness of the Church is not merely a reflection of but, rather, an
identification with the very holiness of God. Can the Church be anything less than what
God calls her to be in imitation of him (Pastoral Letter, August 28, 2012)?
That is a strong motivation to give Lent, and the growth in holiness it offers, our best shot. Yes,
“giving up” something and making sacrifices are an important part of the Lenten experience in the
Church but if they don’t lead us to deeper holiness, a closer, life-altering identification with Jesus Christ
and his Gospel , they are empty gestures. It’s like going on a diet for a while. We’ll lose some weight for
sure but if we don’t make up our minds to change our eating behaviors or if we lose our motivation, the
weight will only return and more.
Lent and its sacrifices should connect us on a deeper level with the Lord Jesus Christ, should lead
us in a more profound way to a closer identification with him who suffered and died on the cross for us.
Giving up. Sacrifice. Every individual Catholic has to decide this Lent “what MORE can I do, can I give up
for him?” Lent should help us say, “With Christ, I am nailed to the cross. And the life I live is no longer
my own. It is the life of Christ who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians, 2: 19-20).”
And the other part of the Lenten “both/and” equation — giving something — needs to be
addressed. As with sacrifice and penance, our Lenten “giving” must lead us to holiness in Jesus Christ.
He is the reason why we give. It is his face we see in the face of others. “Whatever you do for the least
of my brothers and sisters, you do for me (Matthew 25: 40).”
As Bishop, I would like to offer a thought on something that can bring the “both/and” of Lent
together for us and that is: time. Giving up my time so that I can give my time to others and grow in
As a boy, time seemed to hang heavy on my hands. I had a lot of it. I often wasted it. From
what I hear from parents, that is not as true today. But as I grew into adulthood, time seemed to move
more quickly and became more valuable, more precious.
Perhaps this Lent, whether we are young or old or somewhere in between, we can give some
prayerful thought to “time” and how we can use it in our pursuit of holiness.
First, give time to God. Slow it all down and make time for God in prayer. Who could be more
important than making time for the One who created us, who loves us as we are, who cares for us every
moment of the day, who promised to be “with us all days (Matthew 28:20),” who will call us home after
this life is done? I mean, really. I can make time for just about anything else. Why can’t I find time for
God? Why can’t I give up some time for him.
1. Go to Mass. Less than 20 percent of Catholics in the Diocese of Trenton go to
Mass every Saturday/Sunday. What else is so important, more important
than giving up an hour or so once a week to hear God’s Word, to receive him
in the Eucharist, to bring our children and families to the Lord, to reflect on
what is truly important in life, to join other Catholics in what the Second
Vatican Council calls “the source and summit of the Christian life?” It takes
time but, honestly, not that much. Can I go to the gym or exercise later? Will
the mall or grocery store still be there when I leave church? Will things that I
need or want to do around the house disappear if I go to Mass for an hour
once a week? Aren’t there several times each week when Mass is offered in
my parish or another parish close by so that I can still do these other things?
Let me recommend that this Lent is a time for the decision to commit
ourselves to give time to God and to get to church. Mass is not an option for
the Catholic, it is an obligation and for good reason. We are faithful to other
obligations. Why not give up some time to be faithful to that one? Lent is
the perfect time to re-connect.
2. Personal prayer. One of the easiest things we can give up is the distractions
that push God away. Prayer isn’t difficult. It is as simple as closing our eyes
for a moment or two and just remembering that God is present everywhere,
especially within us. God gives us everything and we are so blessed. Stop
and say thanks. We also have many challenges and concerns in life, things
that even cause us suffering and heartache. Offer them to God and ask his
guidance and help. We may feel alone at times. Remember that God is
always with us. We sin. Ask God’s forgiveness. Go to confession even if it’s
been a long time. Why hold on to sins like they are some hidden treasure?
Let go. The old saying is on target: “live as though everything depends upon
you but pray like everything depends upon God.” Say prayers that you know.
Pray in your own words. Give up a little more time for God this Lent.
Second, give time to others. Everyone is busy. Everyone has things to do. But everything that
we are in life, everything that we have in life bears the ”fingerprints” of someone else. Our parents; our
children; our friends; our neighbors; our co-workers. Do we give them enough time? Could they use or
do they really need just a little bit more time?
1. The elderly, especially elderly parents or members of the family. Would it hurt to
call or visit them, to give them some time? Sometimes they just want someone to
listen or to talk to them to remind them that they matter. Is our time so important
that we cannot do this?
2. Our children. The world in which we live is sometimes a scary place. Our children
don’t come with a set of instructions. There are forces out there willing or, worse,
eager to drag them down or lead them along the wrong path. Alcohol. Drugs. Sex.
Relationships. Bullying. Peer-pressure. A little more love and attention — a little
more time — could make all the difference. They may act like they don’t want or
need us. But they do.
3. People we know who are sick or alone or struggling. How about a call or visit to
them or just making the time to sit down and write them a note or letter or even an
email? Are we that busy, too busy? It only takes a few minutes of our time.
4. On a larger scale, have we ever thought about giving our time as a volunteer to
those with special needs? Not all our time, no but some of it. The poor. The
hungry. The homeless. The sick. Lent may be the time to give time as a path to
The scriptures tell us that there are two great commands: love God and love our neighbor as
ourselves. Jesus Christ tells us that “the command I give you is this: love one another as I have loved
you (John 15: 12).” Love takes time. Are we willing to give it up? Are we willing to give it? This Lent is
the time to give an answer.
Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.
Bishop of Trenton
Bishop O’Connell issues instructions for Lent 2014
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Here is what the Catholic Church in the United States asks of us as baptized Catholics this
The days of fast (only one full meal) and abstinence (no meat) are Ash Wednesday and
All other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence (no meat).
Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast (only one full meal) as above.
From the age of 14, people are also obliged to abstain (no meat: this obligation prohibits
the eating of meat, but not eggs, milk products or condiments of any kind, even though
made from animal fat).
The obligation to observe the laws of fast and abstinence is a serious one for Catholics.
Failure to observe one penitential day in itself is not considered a serious sin. It is the
failure to observe any penitential days at all, or a substantial number of days, which must
be considered serious.
The obligation, the privilege really, of receiving the Eucharist at least once a year – often
called “Easter duty” – for those in the state of grace should still be fulfilled during the
period from the First Sunday of Lent, March 9 to Trinity Sunday, June 15. However, the
Church’s law does permit this precept to be fulfilled at another time during the year when
there is a just cause.
I want to encourage Catholics to get to confession and to make use of the sacrifices and
traditions that have always been part of our Lenten practices in the Church.
May this Lent be a time of penance, grace and joy for us all.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.
Bishop of Trenton
FEDERAL DONOR RECORDKEEPING RULE ON CHARITABLE DEDUCTION
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 included a section relative to charitable deductions.
The rules require that people claiming charitable deduction back up those deduction claims with cancelled checks; records from banks or credit card companies; or written notices from the charity or not-for-profit institution. The burden is on the donor to maintain or obtain the required records.
The parish will provide a record of contributions, upon request, which will satisfy the IRS requirements. Contributions of cash can only be used as a deduction if church envelopes are used enabling the parish to identify the donor. Please call Deneen Thomas at 609-267-0209 ext. 303