Category Archives: News

From the Pastor’s Desk

The Passing of Pope Emeritas Benedict XVI

As we are all aware Pope Benedict XVI died on December 31, 2022. He served as Pope for eight years. In 2013, he made the choice to step down, because he was convinced that his feeble health would hinder his governance of the Church. He was a very intelligent Read more...

From the Pastor’s Desk: We’re Having a Confession-a-Thon!

(Great!…but what’s a Confession-a-thon?)

The S-7 Family of Parishes is having an Advent Confession-a-thon for all our parishes on Tuesday, December 13, at St. Vivian Church, from 5:00PM-8:00PM.

What’s a confession-a-thon? As I am sure some of you have already figured, a Confession-a-thon is an event with lots of confessions over lots of time. We will have the Blessed Sacrament exposed for adoration and prayer, with Advent music playing in the background in a dimly lit church, and at least two confession stations (sometimes even three or four) operating at once. All are invited to come and adore the Lord, to pray for the conversion of all sinners (including themselves!), and, if they want, to receive the Sacrament of Penance/ Reconciliation. I will be there hearing confessions (and maybe going to confession myself!). Fr. Haft and Fr. George will also be there for some of the time. We will also invite some of our regular priest helpers to hear confessions for an hour or two! The confession stations will be set up in various corners of the church, and maybe some will also be set up in nearby rooms (whatever it takes to assure privacy and to handle busy times).

So, is it just Fr. Umberg’s silly name for a penance service? No. It’s my silly name for something that is in some ways better. than a penance service. At a penance service, everyone, including the priests, shows up at a set time. There is a song, a prayer, readings, and a homily, making it so we have all committed almost half an hour before we do what we came to do. Confessions are usually heard for only half an hour or forty-five minutes, and so the penitents are told (in so many words) to make it quick. In a Confession-a-thon, the praying and the confessions begin at the same time, and last until the end. Many people are adoring, praying and meditating and several people are confessing their sins at the same time. People arrive and leave when they please, within a three-hour time frame. While it is always good to be considerate of others who might be waiting, people can take their time to confess their sins in a way that is meaningful to them. There is still some communal aspect here, in that several people are there praying while the confessions are going on, all while Advent’s greatest hits are playing the background!

Will there be other opportunities for confession at the other parishes in Advent?  Besides the many regular confession times on the weekends, those who cannot make it to the Confession-a-thon on Tuesday evening, the 13th, may attend the First Penance Service at St. Clare Church on Wednesday evening, December 14, from 7:00PM-8:30PM. Also, we will add more time and an extra priest to the regular confession time at Assumption Church in Mt. Healthy on Saturday afternoon, December 10, from 1:00PM-2:30PM.

So, come and be reconciled to the Lord and His Church. Prepare the way of the Lord!

-Fr. Umberg

From the Pastor’s Desk – My First 100 Days as Pastor of the S-7 Family

There is a tradition in business, politics, and other various institutions, of the new leader being assessed on the first 100 days of leadership. I would like to give a report on my first 100 days.

Being appointed the head of six separate institutions simultaneously, it would be more fair to wait 600 days! I am supportive of the Beacons of Light planning process. However, in our family, at this point, I am spread too thin. A new pastor normally comes in, meets everybody, learns the parish, and makes some adjustments. This is different. I am thinking of possible ways to remedy this.

The first 50 days, I only directly ministered to 3 of the 6 parishes: Assumption, St. Vivian, and St. Bartholomew. As of late August, I added St. Clare. I have celebrated many liturgies, including some funeral liturgies, and I have attended many evening meetings at these four parishes. This weekend I will celebrate my first Sunday liturgies at St. Bernard and Mother of Christ parishes.

I have arranged for the first meeting of our Beacons of Light Planning Council at the end of this month. This council is composed of members of the six parishes’ pastoral councils (two delegates from each parish). One of our tasks will be to come up with a 2023 plan for Beacons of Light for our family of parishes. Please pray for us, that we will work well and wisely together in our planning, to make this family of parishes one parish in the next five years.

Thank you for your cooperation, patience, and prayers.

-Fr. Umberg

A message from Father Haft

Thank you to all who assisted with the funeral Mass on Monday, October 17, for my friend George Jones. Thank you to all who came to the funeral Mass and prayed for the repose of George’s soul. The two friends of George, who drove from Columbus, were touched by the kindness of our parishes. The family members who could not attend were grateful for the care shown to George.

May the Lord bless all who care for the dead. May the Lord welcome George into the heavenly kingdom.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Yours in Christ:

Fr. Haft

From the Pastor’s Desk – Abortion: A Central Social Justice Issue

A central theme of Judaism as instructed in the law of Moses and the preaching of the prophets is that of social justice. As we have seen in recent Sunday Mass readings from the prophet Amos, concern for the poor (both generously sharing our resources with them and seeking to correct unjust business practices, laws, and structures) is a matter of great importance for anyone who is claiming to worship the God of Israel. In fact, the prophets promise doom for those who are indifferent to the suffering of the poor.  A central theme of Judaism, which we find in the Law of Moses and the preaching of the Prophets is that of social justice. While the expression “ social justice ” does not occur, “ justice ” and “ righteousness ” are words which are frequently used.  As we have seen in recent Sunday Mass readings from the Prophet Amos, concern for the poor (both generously sharing our resources with them and seeking to correct unjust business practices, laws and structures) is a matter of great importance for anyone who is claiming to worship the God of Israel. In fact, the prophets promise doom for those who cause the suffering of the poor.

There are other elements to social justice which one sees in the writings of the Law, the Prophets and in the Psalms, including: equal justice for all before judges (avoiding bribes and bias), avoiding harassment of foreigners and exploitation of workers, access to credit, honesty, and a general concern for orphans and widows, who were the vulnerable members of society.

Anyone who is truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, will follow these teachings, doing our best to be righteous in all our conduct, including our civic involvement. There is some legitimate range of opinion, (i.e., prudential judgements) as to what the problems are, what the biggest priorities are, and how best to address them. No political party, no candidate, nor any elected official is officially endorsed by the Church. Catholics need to look at human rights, their own assessment of what is actually happening in our society, and the candidates and the propositions that are up for vote, and then they must vote their best to promote a just society as Christians. Of course, they should seek to be informed, and try to help by works of charity. They must also take part in the social/political sphere to see that human rights are respected and to make the world a better place.

Where then does the abortion issue fit into all of this? The U.S. Bishops have said in recent years that protecting innocent human life from abortion is a central social justice issue. How is concern about abortion social justice? It has to do with protecting the human right to life by our structure of laws. Simply hoping that the life of an innocent baby is not unjustly taken, or promising not to do it ourselves, is not enough (just like hoping that employers will be fair and just in their hiring and treatment of employees is not enough!). We must work together to protect the human right to life, not only in our works of charity (which are always important), but in the way we vote. Is abortion the only issue? No. Is it a central one for any Catholic? Yes, definitely.

May the Lord guide us in all we do to protect human life from conception to natural death.

-Fr. Umberg

From the Pastor’s Desk – A Special Guest at Assumption!

A few weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, Father Umberg heard that a priest had called St. Vivian (Assumption’s office was already closed) asking if he could stay overnight at Assumption rectory so that he could concelebrate a funeral at Assumption on Saturday morning. Father Umberg asked if they knew anything about the priest. They responded, “He’s a Jesuit. He says he’s from EWTN.” It was Father Mitch Pacwah, SJ, a leading priest at EWTN television who has many of his own shows! Needless to say, Father Umberg said yes, and he and Father Haft enjoyed many conversations with their special weekend guest! (PS Fr. Umberg’s dog Otto also enjoyed the company of Fr. Pacwah!)

From the Pastor’s Desk – Big Change!!!: Change of Communion Procession at St. Vivian Church

Since arriving at St. Vivian, I have noticed that the way you have done communion here at Sunday and weekday Masses is very unconventional. I am, of course, referring to the fact that communicants here at St. Vivian begin processing from the back pew instead of the front pew, and walk up along the sides of church instead of up the center aisle. I realize there are historical reasons for this pattern, and that you have done this for a long time. Nevertheless, having heard the various reasons and theories for this practice, I do not find any of them of sufficient weight to continue this unconventional pattern. Therefore, beginning this weekend (the first weekend of September), at all weekend Masses, we will follow a new communion pattern:

Communicants in the main body of the church will walk up the center aisle in two rows, beginning with the first pew, and circle around to return to their seats along the sides of church. In the “L”, the communion minister will begin by distributing Holy Communion to those with special needs in the front pew, then to those in the chairs in the front of the smaller seating section. Next, beginning with the first pew of the smaller seating section, communicants will come forward from the smaller seating section. Then, turning left, they will return to their seats by circling around the large section of seats in the “L”. After the smaller seating section is finished, communicants from the large seating section of the “L” will come forward out of the right side of the pew (toward the center), beginning with the front pew, and circle around the large seating section to the left to return to their seats.

At weekday Masses, we have already begun this new pattern. If it seems strange to people at first, I am confident that everyone will very quickly adjust to this new pattern. Thank you for your cooperation!

-Fr. Umberg

From the Pastor’s Desk – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Monday, August 15

As mentioned in my article last week, the Solemnity of the Assumption is coming up this Monday, August 15. This is NOT a holy day of obligation this year. However, it is a special feast day, and it is the patronal feast of Assumption Parish in Mt. Healthy, a parish in our family. While we will celebrate that feast at St. Bartholomew at the usual 8:00AM Monday Mass time, there will be a special celebration at Assumption Church at 8:30AM on that day, with music and with coffee and donuts or coffee cake afterward in the Providence Room, their parish hall. Parishioners from all parishes are welcome.

FEAST OF ST. BARTHOMEW, APOSTLE, WEDNEDAY, AUGUST 24, 8:00AM

The plan is to have music and to have coffee and donuts or coffee cake in the narthex.

PROCEDURES FOR THOSE WHO BRING COMMUNION TO THE SICK

At this past Sunday’s Masses, I mentioned that we would be changing the procedures for those who bring the Eucharist to the sick. The procedures will change for both Sunday and weekday Masses. More info to come. For now, our present procedures will stay.

-Fr. Umberg