For the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of Fatima, students in Ms. Pasternak’s religion classes learned all about the Fatima visionaries and the Marian apparitions which took place there. Here is a useful link to a wealth of information about that still-timely miracle:
Fatima 100th Anniversary – Home
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- The Official Vatican Website
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Pope has issued a new apostolic exhortation called The Joy of Love. In it he boldly reaffirms the Church’s teachings on marriage, sexuality, and the sanctity of life.
The cycle of readings for the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday is amongst the most beautiful set of readings of the entire year. Starting with the first verse of Genesis and working its way through the establishment of the convenant with Abraham, the fall of mankind, our need for a Redeemer, the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, and the Gospel account of His resurrection, we are presented with a glorious continuum of the whole spectrum of salvation history.
A link to those readings is below. I wish you all a blessed, holy Easter! He is Risen!
St. Patrick’s Day
A very happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! On this day we celebrate the life and example of the great Irish missionary St. Patrick, who escaped from slavery in Ireland only to become a priest and be sent by the Church right back to those who had enslaved him in order to bring them the Gospel of Jesus.
In this Year of Mercy, what a splendid example of forgiveness and love we have in St. Patrick! Let us all celebrate his day by doing what he did: spreading the love of God to all those we meet, each and every day.
The Real Valentine
St. Valentine was a Catholic bishop living in Rome during the anti-Christian persecutions of the third century. He was jailed for marrying couples according to the Christian tradition. While in prison, young couples would visit him and he would marry them in secret, often sending them cards from his cell in which he told them he was praying for them and signing them, “With love, from your Valentine.”
For this he was beheaded on February 14, 269.
From this came the tradition of celebrating love on February 14th, and sending those we love a “Valentine.”
On this Valentine’s Day, say a prayer for everyone you love, as well as for those who have no one to love them. Thank God for all those in your life whom you love and who love you in return, and ask God to increase your love so that you might share it with everyone you meet, each and every day.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
Lent comes to SHHS!
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics. Here at the Heart there will be numerous opportunities for all of us to draw closer to God throughout the 40 days of Lent and forever thereafter.
At Ash Wednesday Mass, we will put ashes on our foreheads as a sign of our humility, our repentance for our sins, and our desire to draw closer to God. Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert to prepare for His public ministry. Lent is an opportunity for all of us Christians to fast, to give up that which is ungodly, to repent, spend more time in prayer and reading the Bible, to give more to charity, and thereby draw closer to God. The use of ashes as a symbol of humility and repentance before God is a recurring theme throughout the Bible (Esther, Job, Daniel, Jonah, and Matthew 11:21).
What would you be willing to give up for Lent in order to spend more time with God? Your cell phone? Your I-pad? Television? Swearing? How about your time? Maybe you could spend more time praying, reading the Bible, going to Church, receiving the Eucharist, going to Confession?
At the Heart, you will be able to go to Mass every school day during Lent, thanks to Fr. Casey. We will also have frequent opportunities to go to Confession, to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration, and to engage in other powerful Catholic spiritual exercises such as praying the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross.
We wish all of you and your families a blessed and peaceful Lent!
Wednesday, February 3 is the Feast of St. Blaise, a 4th century Catholic bishop and martyr who once saved the life of a young boy who was choking to death on a fish bone. He is the patron saint of those afflicted with throat ailments. On his feast day, Fr. Casey will be available in the SHHS chapel to bless the throats of anyone who would like him to do so. He will touch their throats with a pair of blessed candles and pray the following prayer: ““Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” God bless you all! -Dan Mathews
St. Blaise | Saint of the Day | AmericanCatholic.org
A very blessed and happy new year to all the Sacred Heart family! Don’t forget to start the new year off right by attending Mass on the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God, who is the patroness of the United States.
EWTN’s Saints and other Holy People Home
In his eloquent Urbi et Orbi (“To the City [of Rome] and the World”) Christmas message, the Pope spake movingly that without God, humanity’s efforts are in vain.
“He is truly the Saviour, for he is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sin of the world (cf. Jn 1:29). With the shepherds, let us bow down before the Lamb, let us worship God’s goodness made flesh, and let us allow tears of repentance to fill our eyes and cleanse our hearts. This is something we all need!
“He alone, he alone can save us. Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst. The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.”
Please accept my prayerful best wishes for a blessed, merry Christmas and a truly happy, healthy, holy, and prosperous new year! Here are the beautiful Bible readings from the liturgy of the Midnight Mass on Christmas.
The Sacred Heart High School family wishes everyone a blessed and peaceful Advent season!
The Pope has announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Here is the full text of his letter. Sacred Heart High School will be planning a host of activities in conjunction with the Year of Mercy.
October is the Month of the Rosary, one of the most beautiful and powerful of Catholic prayers. Blessed Pope Pius IX once said, “Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” Here is a link to the history and methodology of this prayer. God bless you all. The entire SHHS family is remembered in my Rosary each and every day. – Dan Mathews
Here is a link to an article covering the Pope’s just-completed visit to Cuba. While there the Pope reminded the faithful to serve God and humanity, not Marxist ideology.
Pope meets Fidel Castro after warning against ideology
Here is the new Papal encyclical on the environment. There is much in here to ponder, challenge, and inspire.
A spectacular and inspiring work of art has made its home in Waterbury: a statue of hometown hero Father Thomas Conway, the chaplain of the ill-fated U.S.S. Indianapolis, who spent three days in the water ministering to his fellows before he succumbed to exposure and died. The statue features Fr. Conway holding a man’s head above the water’s surface with one hand, and raising his other hand (in which he holds rosary beads and dog tags) in prayer. It is powerfully moving indeed.
Statue of last Catholic chaplain to die in combat in World War II unveiled in Waterbury – The Catholic Transcript Online
Here is a link to the beautiful readings from the Easter Vigil which will be celebrated on Saturday night. It is a glorious mosaic of the entirety of salvation history, from the opening words of the first book of the Bible about the creation, to the fall of mankind and the prophecies about the coming of a Redeemer, climaxing in the Resurrection of Jesus. It is a snapshot of what the Bible teaches us about our relationship to God.
Happy Easter to you all! God bless you.
April 4, 2015
In a powerful model of charity and humility, the Pope washes the feet of prisoners on Holy Thursday.
Pope washes feet of prisoners in traditional Holy Thursday event
Sacred Heart High School is offering numerous opportunities for its entire family to have a blessed and meaningful Lent.
-Fr. Jim Gregory, the school’s chaplain, is generously celebrating Mass every week from Monday through Thursday in the school chapel, beginning at 7am. Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate! If you are looking to give up something for Lent, how about 20 minutes of your time each morning to spend with God in the Eucharist?
-Also, on Wednesday 18 March, Father Jim will be in the chapel during long block to hear confessions. This is the best early Easter present you can give to yourself. One of the best things you can give up for Lent is your sins! Fr. Jim can help you to do so. Please prayerfully consider going to Confession this week. You’ll be glad you did!
-On Monday, March 23rd, at 11am the Relics of the Passion from the Vatican archives will be on display in the chapel at SHHS. These include fragments of the True Cross to which Jesus was nailed, a fragment of the Crown of Thorns, and stones from the Holy Pillar at which Jesus was scourged and from the table on which the Last Supper was celebrated. These are some of the great treasures of the Church, and we are pleased to invite you to pray with us before them.
THE REAL MEANING OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY
St. Patrick lived in the 4th and 5th century. He was born in Scotland, and as a teenager was kidnapped by Celtic barbarians and brought to Ireland in chains as a slave. He escaped, and studied to become a priest. As such, he was asked by his bishop to return to Ireland to preach the Gospel to the very people who had enslaved him. He did, and using the three-leafed clover to teach the concept of the Trinity, he won the island and its people for Christ. So on St. Patrick’s Day, besides the wonderful example of forgiveness which St. Patrick demonstrated, we celebrate the love of God for all of us, and we pray for the wisdom to spread it to others.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! God bless you all!
Guidelines and suggestions for a fruitful Lenten observance:
1. Increase the amount of time you spend in prayer each day. Praying the Rosary each day is a marvelous opportunity for spiritual growth.
2. Spend more time reading the Bible. This Lent, why not read a chapter of Matthew’s Gospel each day?
3. Give more of your time and treasure to charities.
4. Go to church more often. Attendance at Daily Mass is a wonderful way to grow closer to God.
5. Go to Confession. It’s like taking a bath on the inside. If you haven’t been for a long time, don’t worry! The priest will walk you through everything you have to say and do. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.
6. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting; Fridays during Lent are meatless. Observance of these sacrifices makes more room in your life for God. There’s a great old Catholic saying: “You can’t be full of God and full of roast beef.” When you give something up for Lent, then every time you reach for that something and you stop yourself, you’re thinking about God at a time when you might not otherwise have been.
God bless you all, and may you all have a peaceful Lent!
Have you ever wondered who St. Valentine was, or how the custom of exchanging cards on this day began?
St. Valentine was a Priest,who lived in ancient Rome in the third century. He was imprisoned for performing weddings according to the Christian rite. While he was in prison, he continued to secretly perform weddings for all the Christian couples who came to visit him. He often sent them letters afterward, telling them that he loved them and signing them “From Your Valentine.” He was martyred in 269 on February 14th. He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.
So this Valentine’s Day, consider the true meaning of this day: a celebration of the love of God for each and every one of us, and the love that we are all called to have for one another. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! God bless you.
Today we celebrate Lincoln’s Birthday. A reading of his Second Inaugural Address reveals a man who was deeply immersed in and profoundly influenced by the Bible and his Christianity.
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.