CATHOLIC SERVICES APPEAL
The theme of the 2017 CSA is “With Open Hearts.” This CSA theme is an invitation to all Catholics in Northwestern Pennsylvania to help fulfill the mission Christ has given to us and to share a portion of the blessings we have received. Like Jesus, you and I must
also reach out and touch people’s lives in so many ways.
This month’s FAITH magazine gives you some idea of the 90 ministries and services that you help to fund through your support of the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA).
I am asking every parish family to make a pledge or a gift to this appeal. Our parish goal is $87,500 for the combined parishes of Sacred Heart and St. Joseph. Anything collected over and above this goal will be used for projects here in our parish. Pledge envelopes are in the pews and at all of the exits.
LENTEN PENANCE SERVICES
Sunday, March 26, at 2:00pm is the Penance Service at Beloved Disciple Parish in Grove City. Tuesday, April 4, at 7:00pm is the Penance Service at Good Shepherd. Thursday, April 6, at 7:00pm is the Penance Service at St. Joseph. Tuesday, April 11, at 7:00pm is the Penance Service at Notre Dame.
NEW PARISHIONERS IN A MINISTRY
If you are a new parishioner to St. Joseph Parish and were in a ministry in your former parish (altar server, greeter, lector, Eucharistic Minister, choir, usher, religious education teacher, money counter, etc…) we would love to have you continue your ministry here at St. Joseph. You can indicate this on your registration form, call the parish office, or speak with Fr. Tom Whitman.
SACRED HEART PARISH COUNCIL OR FINANCE COUNCIL MEMBERS
We are looking for members of Sacred Heart Parish to be a part of our Parish Council or Finance Council. If you would like to be a member of one of the councils, please give your name to Fr. Whitman or call the parish office to let us know you are interested. We need your input to help us better minister to your needs.
NEW PARISHIONERS TOUR
On Monday, March 27, at both 1:00pm and 7:00pm, I will offer a brief tour of the church and offices for those who are new members, particularly those who have joined us from Sacred Heart, but all new parishioners are welcome. Please sign up on the signup sheets in the Gathering Space if you are interested in attending one of these tours. This will give me a chance to meet you and help you find your way around. I hope to see you there.
HOLY THURSDAY DINNER
There will be a pot-luck dinner on Holy Thursday beginning at 5:30pm. The parish will provide the drink, the meat, and the dessert. Please bring a dish according to the first letter of your last name: A-G = vegetable, H-N= Salad, and O-Z= Pasta or Potato. Please sign up at one of the exits by April 9 so we know how many people for which to prepare.
REFLECTIONS ON THE READING
The gospel this week is the story of the man born blind being healed by Jesus. The story is filled with all kinds of “blindness.” The gospel challenges us to examine the ways that we too struggle with blindness.
The Pharisees struggle with a blindness that results from a rigid adherence to protocol, or the law. According to the law you were not allowed to heal people on the Sabbath and yet Jesus does. The Pharisees think they have God all figured out, how God is supposed to work, what rules he follows, but Jesus shows how there are no limits to God or God’s power. The Pharisees think this healing can’t be from God because it doesn’t follow the rules for how God should act – rules that the Pharisees made up, not God. Sometimes our desire to be right, our need to be right, gets in the way of the freedom of God.
At others times we are blinded by our fear, like the parents of the man born blind. We are afraid that we will fall out of favor if we stand up for what we believe is right. Sometimes we just remain silent or avoid the controversial topic so we don’t have to face our fear or take the risk of being rejected by others.
The first reading reveals the blindness that comes from stereotyping others. Samuel was looking for the next king and was looking for a certain type of young man. But God chose David who was totally different from what Samuel was looking for. Sometimes our stereotypes of others keep us blind to their potential. And Paul reminds us in the second reading that we all have some blindness when it comes to faith because until we put our trust in Jesus, we are all in the darkness. And the more we place our trust in Jesus the more we are able to overcome our rigidity, our fears, or our stereotyping of others. May we open our hearts to trust more deeply in Jesus in order that we might overcome our particular blindness.