Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
At the point of my composing this pastor's column, I have received no direction from Bishop Taylor on taking up a collection to support relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Irma.  I will therefore encourage all of us to make a donation to Catholic Charities USA for this purpose.  You can either google Catholic Charities USA and donate online, call 1-800-919-9338 to donate, or send your donation to 2050 Ballenger Ave., Suite 400, Alexandria, VA. 22314.  It is good to know that 100% of our donations will go to relief efforts.

While there are many in our parish who give so generously in times of emergency and in other normal times, I must say that the number of fundraisers (which have wonderful food and sometimes entertainment) have been happening close together since we hit September.  I am concerned that some, or all of them, will not do as good as they otherwise could, because of their close proximity to one another.  I am not asking (or begging) you to attend all of these, though that would be nice, but try to support as many as you can afford, as much time and effort goes into putting these together and making them go.  Consider inviting your non-parishioner friends to join you at some, or all, of the fundraisers you attend. Coming up this Friday is the Men's Club "Chicken Bake" which has two seatings (5:00 and 6:30 p.m.) and includes a delicious meal and the offering of my homemade ice cream.  Then, the following Saturday, October 7, the Knights of Columbus are having an "Oktoberfest" which will include a delicious German meal catered by "Home Plate" and entertainment by our own Bill Lamoureux and some singing buddies.  Your consideration of participating in one or both of these events is VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.  Remember, in both of these instances, you are getting something for yourself and giving something to people in-need through charities that benefit from the proceeds from these events. Given time restraints, the tickets for the "Oktoberfest" will only be made available before and after Masses next weekend, September 30 and October 1.
What is your favorite Bible passage?  What is you favorite prayer?  Sometimes you can use the same answer for both questions.  I believe I can with the 63rd Psalm in the Old Testament.  Throughout the year, this Psalm is prayed not only once every four weeks in Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours but also on many special feast days in the church's calendar and in the Octaves of Christmas and Easter.  I believe it can be a very intimate communication with God, and I find it especially endearing when I am in our Perpetual Adoration chapel for prayer.  I hope you will look it up or cut it out from this blulletin and begin saying it in your prayer time.  I truly believe you will be blessed by it.

"O God you are my God, for you I long.
For you my soul is thirsting.

My body pines for you, like a dry weary land
without water.
So  gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life.
My lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life
In your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled with a banquet
My mouth shall praise with joy.

On my bed I remember you
On you I muse through the night
For you have been my help.
In the shadow of your wings I rejoice
Your right hand holds me fast."

May God bless us by this and other prayers that lift
our minds and hearts to him.  Amen
If I speak of St. Faustina, I would hope that more than a few of you not only immediately connect her with the "Divine Mercy" chaplet prayer and the Novena to the "Divine Mercy," but also can say that you are praying the chaplet regularly, if not every day. The revelations of the Lord to St. Faustina led to the beautiful Image of the Divine Mercy through Jesus Christ which is prominent in our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel as well as wonderful reflections on God's Mercy.

Did you know that St. Faustina's Diary of revelations from the Lord also speaks in more than a few places about the Eucharist? Author and speaker Vinny Flynn, who has introduced millions of people to the Divine Mercy message, has written a book "Seven Secrets of the Eucharist" that highlights St. Faustina's simply expressed, yet tremendously profound teachings on the Eucharist.

Sacred Heart Church Education Commission is offering the opportunity for group or individual reading and reflection on this reflection on the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn.  This includes a book (about 100 pages) and a study guide with discussion or journaling questions.  The group gathering will be for seven weeks and will begin the last week of this month.  Please be ready to sign-up to get the materials, and if you want to participate in the group gatherings, which day of the week that you want to meet.

I also would encourage you to block off the dates of November 6-8 as we will be having a parish mission on the topic of the Eucharist by Vincentian priest, Father Bill Rhinehard.  He is of the same religious order that includes Father Oscar Lukefahr (oh happy memory) and Father Ron Hoye who led good missions for us in the past.