Category Archives: Parish News

Our Sacred Heart Lenten Mission with John Angotti

Enrich your Lenten journey with an evening of uplifting music and reflection with renowned Catholic music artist, John Angotti. The Sacred Heart Lenten Mission is open to all in the parish and offers something for all ages.

John Angotti is a full-time Catholic music missionary who travels the world sharing inspirational music and witness to all ages through concerts, missions, and liturgies. He’s visited hundreds of parishes, traveled to 10 different countries on four different continents, and received Male Vocalist of the Year from the United Catholic Music and Video Association.

View his special message and plan to join us for an evening of music, reflection, and Lenten inspiration.  You won’t want to miss it!

Sunday, March 11th
7:00 pm
Sacred Heart Church

Get your FREE ticket here!

Make the Most of Lent

Are you looking to do more this Lent beyond giving something up? If whatever you give up makes more room in your life for God, then let’s be intentional about dedicating that space for God.

Sacred Heart has several ways you can get involved during this Lenten season, and we encourage you to join us in one or more of the suggestions below. Happy Lenten journey!

Dynamic Catholic: Best Lent Ever
What is Best Lent Ever? Its a free email program that will guide you on an incredible 40-day journey to become the-best-version-of-yourself, making this a truly life-changing Lent.

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Formed: Watch, Read, and Reflect for 10 Minutes a Day
Watch a beautiful video reflection from Ahava Productions’ ECHO series, featuring Bishop Hying, read an inspiring passage from the Catechism, and reflect on how God’s truth applies to your daily life.

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Diocesan: Reflections and Challenges Delivered Daily to your Inbox
As we walk with Christ through these daily reflections, there will be simple sacrifices suggested for you to complete. Reflecting on these will help us on our journey to return to Him. Both reflections and challenges are also offered in Spanish.

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There are also two wonderful Lenten program offered through our parish subscription to  Consider using one of these in your daily life, a small Lenten group, or with your family.

Formed: A Lent to Remember
A Lent to Remember explores the ways God reaches out to each of us with his mercy. Through Christ’s suffering on the cross in the Paschal Mystery and his perpetual reception of his people in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God makes his love, his very self, present to us in the world. By reflecting on the Paschal Mystery and making a step-by-step examination of the Rite of Confession, A Lent to Remember communicates God’s invitation to each one of us to come experience his indescribable love this Lent.  Access here.

Formed: Forgiven
Forgiven explores the grace and healing offered in Confession and shows how this sacrament of mercy reveals the depth and bounty of God’s love. By looking at God’s revelation of his mercy in Scripture and making a step-by-step examination of the Rite itself, Forgiven communicates God’s invitation to each one of us to come experience his indescribable love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Access here.

And here at Sacred Heart, we have our own Lenten traditions that we would love for you to be a part of this year.

Soup Suppers & Stations of the Cross
Every Friday night during Lent, come join us in the St. Francis Hall for Soup Suppers followed by Stations of the Cross. The Soup Supper begins at 6:30 pm and Stations of the Cross start at 7:30 pm in the church.

What are Stations of the Cross?





Sacred Heart Lenten Mission with John Angotti
Join us this Lent with a music mission here at Sacred Heart featuring John Angotti, a full-time Catholic music missionary who travels throughout the world sharing inspirational music and witness to all ages through concerts, retreats, and missions.

Sunday, March 11th
7:00 pm in the church

Plaza Art Project: The Wolf of Gubbio

Since the arrival of the Franciscan Friars at Sacred Heart in 2005, the church has taken on several projects – most notably our plaza renovation in 2013 – which truly brought to life the sense of welcome and engagement for which the parish has become known.

The project extended the “front porch” to the very edge of Florida Avenue and Twiggs Street. In its own way, the “Wolf of Gubbio” project is a continuation of the basic renovation, with artwork that is inviting and tells a story about our community. Among the most beloved and popular stories about St. Francis is that of the Wolf of Gubbio. At the heart of the story is the willingness and capacity of the Saint to enter, with humility, into the heart of conflict in order to create a place that is holy, hospitable, and healing, and where hope can grow and take root in the lives of all people. We hope you take a moment to read the story, as well as learn a little bit about the artist commissioned to undertake the work.

The Story
The story of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio is a story that has been told and retold throughout the ages. There are several books dedicated to the legend, a whole host of toys and hand puppets, and even a three-part play. The variety and breadth of the re-telling and reimaging speaks to the universality and appeal of the story. The basics of the story is that a lone wolf appeared around the town of Gubbio, “terrifying in physical size and ferocious with rabid hunger. This wolf not only destroyed other animals but even devoured men and women, keeping all the citizens in such danger and terror that when they went outside the town, they went armed and guarded as if they had to advance towards deadly battles.” This is the picture of the antagonist who will come face-to-face with St. Francis – at least as told by the citizenry of the town who, consequently, lived in fear behind the barricaded walls of the town. The town, people, and the wolf were in need of holiness, healing, hospitality, and hope. St. Francis, upon hearing about the incidents, responded in great compassion for the town, its citizenry, and the wolf – for all God’s creatures. He understood that every side has a story, every side has erred and been harmed, and both sides want the hope and possibility of peace. Francis went into the forest and called out to the wolf to come and meet in peace. Francis’ call was a call to holiness and began the process of healing in the moment of listening to the other, of inquiring why there was such aggressive and brazen behavior.

The wolf was starving and when it sought food among the flocks, the wolf encountered shepherds seeking to protect the flock. From there, tension and aggression escalated on both sides, with fear and hunger dictating the next steps. Francis calls the wolf to remorse and healing for his part in the growing conflict, but also offers a path to hope. Francis proposed a plan in which the wolf would no longer terrorize the town, and the town would open its door in hospitality taking care of the wolf. The Saint asked the wolf for a sign of acceptance and “putting out his hand he received the pledge of the wolf; for the latter lifted up his paw and placed it familiarly in the hand of St Francis.” Holiness, healing, hospitality and hope – the two sides were reconciled. “Finally, Brother Wolf grew old and died. The citizens grieved greatly at his absence.” Some historians have concluded the story is simply fanciful. Others conclude it is a telling of peacemaking that obscures the names of the conflicted parties in order to let the narrative’s power not be interrupted. According to tradition, Gubbio gave the wolf an honorable burial and later built the Church of Saint Francis of the Peace at the site. During renovations in 1872, the skeleton of a large wolf, apparently several centuries old, was found under a slab near the church wall and then reburied inside.

The Artist
Fiorenzo Bacci was born in 1940 in Perugia, Italy, where he learned the art of sculpting from the local craftsmen. However, his first career was with the Italian Army. He served and retired at the rank of Colonel. In his retirement, he dedicated himself to his first love: sculpting. Bacci’s career has encompassed religious and secular works, not only sculpture, but also altars, altar pieces, and cathedral doors, covering an amazing array of commissions. Within Italy his works are well-known and on display in Cathedrals, churches, palaces, public squares, municipal parks, and a variety of public areas. Bacci also has works permanently displayed in Australia, Egypt, Austria, Germany, and the United States. Currently the sculptor is engaged in two major projects. The first, “Walking the Canticle of Brother Sun,” by St. Francis of Assisi consists in the creation of 10 sculptures for the Saint Francis Literary Park. Founded by the writer Stanislao Nievo, it is a virtual “park” honoring the poem known in English as “Canticle of the Sun” or “Canticle of Creation.” It is the first-known poem written in Italian and is studied by all school children as part of their linguistic patrimony. The second project, titled “Totus Tuus. Towards the House of the Father,” memorializes St. Pope John Paul II through a life-size sculpture which has toured the cities that the pope visited when he was alive. A copy of this sculpture has been permanently placed outside of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. To learn more about Bacci and his amazing sculptures, please visit his website.

How Can You Be Part of the Story?
We are all called to be part of the story – to live out holiness, hospitality, healing, and hope in our lives – a way of living out the charism of St. Francis in the way in which he followed Jesus. There is also an opportunity to help by making a donation, large or small, to this project. There will not be a campaign or a continued call for funds. If you would like to contribute, simply place your contribution in an envelope marked “Wolf of Gubbio” or visit our website and follow the links to donate via our Online Giving to “Wolf of Gubbio Project” (under Give a New Gift). We are ever grateful for your generosity.


Mass & Parking Announcement for Gasparilla Weekend

Please be advised there will be two events affecting downtown Tampa this weekend, the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates on Saturday and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday.  Because of the pirate invasion on Saturday, January 27th, the church will be closed all day and there will be no 5:30 pm Mass. The Sunday Mass schedule remains unchanged.

Due to the increased traffic in and around downtown Tampa for both events, parking may be more difficult to find.  Parking options in and around Sacred Heart can be found here.

Please note: The 717 Parking lot at the corner of N. Florida Ave. and W. Kennedy Blvd. will not be available for parishioners during any Masses on Sunday, January 28th.

Franciscan Statement at the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

As Franciscans, our approach to social issues is always to seek deep solidarity with those who are vulnerable or on the margins of society. This stance was embodied by our founder, St. Francis of Assisi, who ignored the norms of his society and made direct encounter with the most despised and vulnerable of his time a priority. When we embrace our world, we seek to repair broken relations that lead to a variety of social issues and maladies: turning away the stranger/the immigrant; the challenge of climate change; lack of care for the elderly and disabled – both physically and mentally; a dis-ease with the dying process; the death penalty; and, as we mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, a particularly tragic one, abortion. Our approach is in line with the leadership of the Catholic church in that we utilize the rubric of the consistent ethic of life.

Some criticize this approach, claiming that the consistent ethic of life “waters down abortion” so that it becomes just one of many issues, or that its use does not pointedly challenge persons who might be called “pro-choice.” These criticisms may be fair in some circumstances where the consistent ethic of life is not held in its entirety and, therefore, does not see and respond to attacks on life at all its stages. Nonetheless, the consistent ethic of life teaching is central to the way our Church leadership engages with the world.

The consistent ethic of life is the methodology utilized by the U.S. Catholic Bishops in their “Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities.” In the plan, they quote Pope St. John Paul II and insist, “Where life is involved, the service of charity must be profoundly consistent. It cannot tolerate bias and discrimination, for human life is sacred and inviolable at every stage and in every situation; it is an indivisible good. We need then to ‘show care’ for all life and for the life of everyone.”

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis also uses the consistent ethic of life in his teaching as reflected in Laudato Si. He writes:

The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labor on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests. It is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage. In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs, what limits can be placed on human trafficking, organized crime, the drug trade, commerce in blood diamonds and the fur of endangered species? Is it not the same relativistic logic which justifies buying the organs of the poor for resale or use in experimentation, or eliminating children because they are not what their parents  wanted? This same “use and throw away” logic generates so much waste, because of the disordered desire to consume more than what is really necessary. (emphasis added by provincials)

Our own “Franciscan stance” also reflects the consistent ethic of life in that we ground all our action in the radical interconnectedness of all creation. In authentically following Francis of Assisi’s embrace of the most vulnerable, we must view all the various “issues” we face in the context of this connectedness. When we address abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, immigration or climate change, we are first speaking out against harmful and sinful activity and, from this stance of naming the injustice, we move to work for social change and transformation. A transformation that seeks to repair broken relationships and move a world to embrace our interconnectedness and interdependence rather than living the fiction of radical individualism.

At this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we, like many people, pay particular attention to the challenge of abortion in this world. Abortion like so many other life issues is a complex one. However, we share our Holy Father’s contention that it stems, to a great degree, from a culture that ignores our interconnectedness and focuses on the individual. This “cultural norm” leaves women with unplanned or unexpected pregnancies isolated and feeling that they have few options. We must resist the culture’s overemphasis on the individual and embrace the other. This stance must be held with all issues of life: abortion, euthanasia, health care, war, immigration, racism, climate change, etc. If we consistently take a stance of radical encounter and embrace, we can bring some order to our society; overcoming the culture’s tendency to ignore our dependence upon one another and all of creation. In addition, when we embrace the most vulnerable, we discover—much like Francis of Assisi in his time—that the “other” has always been our sister or brother, and that our fears and/or rejection were terribly misguided.

In our Franciscan ministries we call upon our communities to:

  • Speak out boldly about and not shy away from the complexity of the consistent ethic of life.
  • Care for those who have felt no choice but to seek an abortion, through programs like Project Rachel.
  • Address attacks on life across the entire spectrum and all stages of life through direct care for the individual and the local community, and through public advocacy.
  • Approach the issue of abortion and all social issues in a way that clearly speaks out against the sin and injustice, but does not add to the polarization so rampant in our society.

Our world is hungering for connection. We pray that all can embrace the stance of a consistent ethic of life and, in doing so, answer God’s invitation to relationship with God, one another, and all creation.

Very Rev. Robert Campagna, OFM, Provincial
Immaculate Conception Province, New York, New York

Very Rev. David Gaa, OFM, Provincial
Saint Barbara Province, Oakland, California

Very Rev. James Gannon, OFM, Provincial
Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Province, Franklin, Wisconsin

Very Rev. Kevin Mullen, OFM, Provincial
Holy Name of Jesus Province, New York, New York

Very Rev. Thomas Nairn, OFM, Provincial
Sacred Heart Province, St. Louis, Missouri

Very Rev. Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, Provincial
Our Lady of Guadalupe Province,  Albuquerque, New Mexico

Very Rev. Mark Soehner, OFM Provincial
Saint John the Baptist Province, Cincinnati, Ohio

Our Christmas Schedule

Christmas draws ever closer, and we hope you plan to spend either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day celebrating with us at Sacred Heart.  Our schedule for the 2017/2018 Christmas season is as follows:

Fourth Sunday of Advent Vigil – Saturday, December 23rd, 2017:
– Vigil Mass at 5:30 pm

Fourth Sunday of Advent – Sunday, December 24th, 2017 (morning):
– Masses: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, and 10:30 am (There will be no 12:00 pm Mass.)

Christmas Eve – Sunday, December 24th, 2017 (afternoon/evening):
– Vigil Mass w/ Children’s Pageant – 4:00 pm (Church doors will not open until 3:00 pm.)
– Vigil Masses: 6:00 pm, 8:00 pm
– Mass during the Night (Midnight Mass):  11:00 pm

Christmas Day – Monday, December 25th, 2017:
– Parish office closed.
– Masses: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 pm
*There will be no 5:30 pm Mass.

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017- Daily Mass
– Mass at 9:00 am

December 27th though 29th, 2017 – Daily Mass
– Mass at 12:10 pm

Sunday December 31st, 2017 – The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
– Masses: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, and 5:30 pm

Monday, January 1st, 2018- Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
– Solemnity Mass: 9:00 am
*This year, while a holy day, it is not a day of obligation.

A Servant’s Heart

Our Liturgy & Music ministries provide an excellent opportunity for you to utilize your talents and gifts in service to one another and the larger parish community. And one such ministry that falls within this category is our Altar Servers.

The primary role of an Altar Server is to assist the priest in the celebration of the Mass, but they also fulfill many roles during the liturgy, including carrying the processional cross and candles, holding the missal for the celebrant as needed, assisting the priest as he receives the offertory gifts, washing the hands of the priest before the prayer over the gifts, carrying the incense and thurible, and removing items from the altar during communion.

The server is the priest’s right-hand helper. When they serve the priests, they serve the people of God, and above all, they serve Christ. Doc Dougherty, the ministry lead, has a unique perspective of the Altar Server Ministry; not only is he the leader, but also the proud parent of five Sacred Heart altar servers. We recently reached out to the Dougherty family about their experiences with the Altar Server Ministry…

“Our children absolutely love serving at Mass,” said Doc Dougherty. Doc and his wife, Alexandrea, are the parents of Alexis 18, Micayla 16, Colton 15, Carter 13, and 12-year old Larissa. After serving for several years at Sacred Heart’s “sister church” of the same architect, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Macon, Ga., the Dougherty’s were excited to become a part of Sacred Heart Church, whose interior looks similar to the church they served for five years. Alexandrea Dougherty said, “Our children are more engaged in the Mass than when they are sitting in the pews.” Micayla Dougherty agreed by adding, “When I am not serving, I truly feel like I am missing out on something.” Servers perform their duties in a sincere and reverent manner. Attentiveness to the words and actions of the Mass will ensure that the liturgy unfolds in a smooth and prayerful manner for all. Of utmost importance, however, is not really the things they do, but the example they give. “As an altar server, I have been able to grow as a person being responsible for assisting in the Mass,” said Alexis Dougherty. “I remember not wanting to be an altar server when I was first asked to do it, but now I can’t imagine not being a server!” “We have seen all of our children show great leadership skills by altar serving,” added Doc. “Our children are the first ones to the van in the morning, always wanting to get to Mass really early, as well as serve every holiday.” The simple requirements necessary to be an altar server include: be a registered member of Sacred Heart Parish, regularly receive communion, and have completed at least 4th grade. Doc ended by saying, “It is a lot easier to develop a Catholic foundation when a child is young than when they are older, and serving at the altar is no doubt an experience and honor that will last a lifetime.”

Sacred Heart is always seeking additional children who want to become altar servers. Please prayerfully consider joining our upcoming altar-server training session on Monday, December 11th at 6:30 pm in the church.

Order Your Christmas Poinsettias

Remember a loved one during the Christmas season with a poinsettia used to decorate our sanctuary. A long-standing tradition, each plant that you see has been given in remembrance or honor of loved ones whose names will be memorialized online.

Request forms can be found on the table near the church entrance, or download one here. All forms, along with the suggestion donation of $15 per plant, must be received by noon on Monday, December 18th.



#GivingTuesday is Here!

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday…the holidays are a time for us to get caught up with the busyness and stress of the season. But Giving Tuesday refocuses our attention to the joy of the holidays and motivates us to share our good fortunes with those in need. Here at Sacred Heart, we invite you to consider making a donation to our own outreach ministries in celebration of #GivingTuesday.

– Hands of Hope – Every week we prepare a meal for the homeless in our community. The majority of the food is donated but there is still much to buy each week.

– Foster Care – Parishioners serve as mentors for foster kids. Activities and outings are important. Our mentors are using their own money to make this happen. Let’s help them in their ministry!

– Haiti Ministry – Our Haiti ministry helps the people of St. Gabriel’s Parish in Beau Séjour, Haiti. Projects include building a permanent church as well as our ongoing dental and medical missions.

Click here to register with our Online Giving program or make a quick gift.  Thank you!