Father Thanh’s Mailbox

MESSAGES FROM FATHER THANH 

August 6, 2020

YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,

Across my 25 years of priestly ministry, I have become convinced that many parishioners hold back in their service to God and humanity because of their sense of inadequacy.  They take inventory of their resources and it seems there is so little they can give or do.

Is that mood descriptive of someone here in this parish?  Rise above it!

Our responsibility is to give what we have, however small and unworthy it may seem.  For those who will do that, a happy discovery awaits…  God will accept and use it.

Some time ago, a parishioner told this story to his pastor: On a Saturday afternoon in August, he was out in the backyard mowing the lawn.  His small son and the family dog were playing in the shade nearby.  It was a hot day, so the parishioner called to his wife in the house to bring him a drink of water.  Because of the roaring of the lawnmower, his wife did not hear him, but his little boy did.  He went inside, pushed a chair up to the sink and filled a glass with water.  The parishioner said his first awareness of the situation was when he saw the boy coming toward him, holding a glass by the rim with both hands, his pudgy fingers in the water.  The parishioner took the glass, and then he made a mistake—he looked in it. There was dirt and a bit of dog hair swimming around.  Then he looked back into the beaming face of his boy, smiling from ear to ear, so proud that he could do something to help his dad.

The parishioner said to his pastor: “Father, I did the only thing I could do.  I turned it up and drank it, dirt, dog hair and all.”

The pastor made his application like this:  If a mere parishioner can feel that way about the imperfect gift of his child, how much more must God feel that way about us.”

You are important, my friends, don’t ever forget it.

God bless,

Father Thanh

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July 29, 2020

THE ART OF INVESTING

Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,

You do not have to be an economist to know that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought hard times to investors because of the low price of gasoline, the trouble with the stock market, the unsettling business of the real estate industry, and multiple bad financial reports from the media about this subject matter. Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds recently took a nosedive as a result of this whole economic situation. A few weeks ago, the Dow Jones got its worst day of the year…so far!

To avoid financial losses and, at the same time, reap spiritual gains, I would like to recommend to you a good investment counselor: His name is Jesus. You may wonder how a poor man like Jesus could possibly know about financial matters since the only thing he had was a robe on his back when he died on the cross! But wait, let us try to hear what he had to say. This is his investment advice to you and me:

”Get purses for yourselves that do not wear out…nor any moth destroys” (Luke 12: 33).

Many of us will find it difficult to think of life as a process of investing.

We do not consider ourselves investors. This is a domain reserved for the rich. Many of you and I may not have much money to invest. But we need to remind ourselves that investing does not need to be limited to real estate, certificates of deposit, savings, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. It can also include food, clothing, and shelter—the necessities of life. We also invest our time, our energy, and our devotion.

Security is the most important thing in any investment!
__Is your investment secure?
Jesus had a strange solution to the problem of financial security.
Here is his advice:

”Sell what you have and give alms.’’

His solution is so radical, but it provides security! Yes, the most secure investment that we will ever make is the money we give away. A wise investor plans for his living and for his retirement.

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June 3, 2020

    Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,
Greetings from your home parish, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in Southport!
I would like to drop a few lines to keep you posted of what is going on at our parish
during this uncertain and challenging time.
First of all, to my knowledge, by the grace of God, none of our parishioners has succumbed
to the coronavirus.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued support to the parish
by mailing in your offertory envelopes and by online donations.
The parish has been able to maintain all the administrative and charitable activities as it has done before the arrival of the pandemic.
With the mid-Phase Two of Re-Opening, we slowly began our daily and weekend Mass schedule.
This coming weekend, June 6/7, we will have 2 Masses: one on Saturday at 5:00PM and one
on Sunday at 10:00AM. Due to social distancing and safety precautions, we limit the number of
attendees to 150 people for each Mass. The church has been professionally sanitized and is ready
to welcome you back.  You may preregister at the link below:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040a44aea922a6ff2-weekend

We thank Mrs. Anne Benedict for setting up the Sign-Up Genius App and our technicians for the
Sunday Mass streaming.
May God continue to bless and keep all of us under his constant protection and loving care.
Peace,
Father Thanh

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     Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,

As most of us are aware, Phase Two officially begins today, May 22, 2020.
A number of restrictions have been lifted by the Governor so that the North Carolinians
may start to live their lives in a forward gear.
In terms of public gathering, with the instructions from the Bishop, we are allowed to get together for worship on weekdays in the chapel and Sundays in the main church building.
Obviously, we observe social distancing, hands sanitizing, wearing a mask and other precautions, etc.
__For this Sunday, May 24, the Solemnity of the Ascension Mass will be live streamed at 10:00AM
with a limited number of parishioners attending.
__Beginning Tuesday, May 26,  up to 25 people may attend daily Masses in the chapel.
You have to sign up with Mrs. Judy Hughes ( Email: 1945judyhughes@gmail.com ).
Social distancing must be observed. Purell hand sanitizer is available at each entrance of the church, wearing a mask.
__The official public Sunday Mass at sacred Heart Parish is Pentecost Sunday, May 31st, at 10:00AM only.  This Sunday Mass will be live streamed as well.  On Wednesday, May 27, you will receive a link and instructions on how to use Sign-Up Genius App  to sign up for Sunday Mass attendance.
Since our church building has 15,700 SF, our technicians measured all the pews yesterday with a measuring tape and reported that, with social distancing, up to 260 people may attend Sunday Masses.  Our church’s seating capacities can comfortably seat 800 people  or 1,000 elbow-to-elbow people.  Social distancing must be observed. Purell hand sanitizer is available at each entrance of the church, wearing a mask,etc.
__If everything is going well, we will resume the normal weekend Mass schedule (Sat. 5:00PM,
Sunday 8:30AM and 11:00AM) on the Trinity Sunday, June 6/7, 2020.
The same set of precautions will be obviously observed.
If you are sick, having a cold or a continuous cough or weak, please stay home.
Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama continues to waive the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to the faithful at this time.
May God continue to bless all of us and give us the courage and strength to move on
even in the midst of anxiety, fear, uncertainty and challenges.
Peace,
Father Thanh

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A NEW MESSAGE FROM FATHER THANH
May 22, 2020
Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,
As most of us are aware, Phase Two officially begins today, May 22, 2020.
A number of restrictions have been lifted by the Governor so that the North Carolinians
may start to live their lives in a forward gear.
In terms of public gathering, with the instructions from the Bishop, we are allowed to get together for worship on weekdays in the chapel and Sundays in the main church building.
Obviously, we observe social distancing, hands sanitizing, wearing a mask and other precautions, etc.
__For this Sunday, May 24, the Solemnity of the Ascension Mass will be live streamed at 10:00AM
with a limited number of parishioners attending.
__Beginning Tuesday, May 26,  up to 25 people may attend daily Masses in the chapel.
You have to sign up with Mrs. Judy Hughes ( Email: 1945judyhughes@gmail.com ).
Social distancing must be observed. Purell hand sanitizer is available at each entrance of the church, wearing a mask.
__The official public Sunday Mass at sacred Heart Parish is Pentecost Sunday, May 31st, at 10:00AM only.  This Sunday Mass will be live streamed as well.  On Wednesday, May 27, you will receive a link and instructions on how to use Sign-Up Genius App  to sign up for Sunday Mass attendance.
Since our church building has 15,700 SF, our technicians measured all the pews yesterday with a measuring tape and reported that, with social distancing, up to 260 people may attend Sunday Masses.  Our church’s seating capacities can comfortably seat 800 people  or 1,000 elbow-to-elbow people.  Social distancing must be observed. Purell hand sanitizer is available at each entrance of the church, wearing a mask,etc.
__If everything is going well, we will resume the normal weekend Mass schedule (Sat. 5:00PM,
Sunday 8:30AM and 11:00AM) on the Trinity Sunday, June 6/7, 2020.
The same set of precautions will be obviously observed.
If you are sick, having a cold or a continuous cough or weak, please stay home.
Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama continues to waive the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to the faithful at this time.
May God continue to bless all of us and give us the courage and strength to move on
even in the midst of anxiety, fear, uncertainty and challenges.
Peace,
Father Thanh

May 15, 2020
 Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,
It was not perfect, but most of us celebrated the Mother’s Day last Sunday with love,
gratitude and joy.
Although “Phase One of Re-Opening” has given us some light at the end of the tunnel,
there are still many restrictions that we have to observe in order to mitigate the spread
of the coronavirus.  We are looking forward to seeing Phase Two with some relaxation of restrictions!
__For daily Mass, a group of ten (10) parishioners are allowed to assemble for worship.
Mrs. Judy Hughes (email address: 1945judyhughes@gmail.com) has graciously agreed
to help with the coordination of daily Mass attendees to follow the guidelines of the Governor
and the Bishop.  If you would like  to attend daily Masses, please email her your desire and
she will respond back to you about the date you may attend daily Mass which begins always at
9:00AM. Obviously, we observe “social distancing” and other precautions, etc.
__Wednesday adoration will resume next Wednesday, May 20, right after daily Mass until 1:00PM
      when the office will be closed.
__Sunday Mass will continue to be live streamed at 10:00AM so that our parishioners may view/watch at home until we can get together in person for worship as a community of              faith.
__Outdoors Mass is not conducive because of the aging population of our parish and we do not have “outdoors concert” type of loudspeakers and microphones.
__The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confessions) is offered by appointment by calling the office
       at (910) 457-6173.
__Funeral Mass:  Due to human dignity to the deceased, according to the Governor and instruction from the Bishop, up to 50 people are allowed for the Funeral Mass.
For this 6th Sunday of Easter, the scriptural readings can be found in the bulletin (May 17),
for those of you who may want to read them ahead of Mass time.
The Sunday Mass will be live streamed again at 10:00AM. We thank the technological teamwork of Tom Parnell, Pat Dane and Rick Autry.
May God continue to bless and keep all of you and your families under his constant protection and loving care.
Peace,
Father Thanh
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May 8,2020

Dear parishioners and friends in Christ, 

Once again, I want to send out a message to all of you as means of communications and to let you know that you are not forgotten during this challenging and uncertain time! First of all, on behalf of the parish’s staff, I want to wish all mothers in our parish a blessed and happy Mother’s Day. Mothers are always important in our lives as children who have been raised, protected and nurtured by a unselfish loving care. To me, a mother is someone who truly gives and some who truly loves. These 2 verbs “give” and “love” are inseparable, not only from a Christian point of view as Saint John cleverly points out: “God so loved the world that he gave his Only Son…” (John 3: 16), but also from a secular world as expressed by Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American writer:

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

We continue to have the Sunday Mass live streamed at 10:00AM for our parishioners to view at home until the day we can get together to worship God as a community of faith. The scriptural readings for this Sunday can be found on our parish’s website:   http://www.sacredheartsouthport.org Once again, happy Mother’s Day!

Have a pleasant weekend.

Peace, Father Thanh

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April 17, 2020

Dear parishioners and friends in Christ, 
I pray that all of you and your families are doing well during this uncertain time. 
Please be assured of my prayers to you all as we continue to give thanks to God 
for the gifts of safety and protection and new life thanks to the Resurrection of our Lord. 

This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Easter also known as the Divine Mercy Sunday. Because we may not get together as a community of faith, this Sunday Mass will be live streamed at 10:00AM from our Sacred Heart Church.

You may watch it live on our parish’s website:  Sacred Heart Catholic Church – Southport, NC

Normally, we’ll get together for the Divine Mercy celebration at 3:00PM. 

But due to the coronavirus crisis, we will recite the Divine Mercy Rosary instead 
(A couple of minute before 3:00PM, simply dial  (712) 775-7100 then enter code: 654321#  and join in with your fellow parishioners).
Here is the information for the Divine Mercy chaplet you may use at home:
May God continue to bless and keep all of you and your families under his loving care and constant protection during this holy season of Easter.
God bless, 
Father Thanh 

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Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,
I just want to drop a few lines to let you all know that you are in my thoughts and prayers
when I celebrate private Masses every day due to the Bishop’s suspension of all public daily
and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Raleigh until further notice.
Because of the pandemic of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), we will not have the public weekend Masses, Saturday and Sunday, March 28/29.
You may watch Sunday Masses on EWTN that all of us are familiar with or at the diocesan website:
http://www.dioceseofraleigh.org  or at many other avenues.
Please know that “parking lot drive through” of Holy Communion and Sacrament of Reconciliation
are not allowed in our diocese.
Other sacraments such as Baptism, Anointing of the Sick  are to be administered only in cases
of “in danger of death.” More information can be found in the diocesan directive herewith attached (below).
Let us continue to lift our prayers for each other and for all medical professionals who help
to treat the sick and find a cure to this dangerous Coronavirus.
Peace,
Father Thanh

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear parishioners and friends in Christ,
I just want to drop a few lines to let you all know that you are in my thoughts and prayers
when I celebrate private Masses every day due to the Bishop’s suspension of all public daily
and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Raleigh until further notice.
Because of the pandemic of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), we will not have the public weekend Masses, Saturday and Sunday, March 28/29.
You may watch Sunday Masses on EWTN that all of us are familiar with or at the diocesan website:
http://www.dioceseofraleigh.org  or at many other avenues.
Please know that “parking lot drive through” of Holy Communion and Sacrament of Reconciliation
are not allowed in our diocese.
Other sacraments such as Baptism, Anointing of the Sick  are to be administered only in cases
of “in danger of death.” More information can be found in the diocesan directive herewith attached (below).
Let us continue to lift our prayers for each other and for all medical professionals who help
to treat the sick and find a cure to this dangerous Coronavirus.
Peace,
Father Thanh

Directives on Mass and Sacraments-COVID-19 OWD 27MAR20 (2) 

The Bishop has notified us that due “to the great need to further limit the numbers of people gathered, so as to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I have asked that all public daily and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Raleigh be suspended at this time until further notice.”  The full text of this notice may be read at:   https://dioceseofraleigh.org/news/suspension-all-masses

Therefore, for the duration – ALL masses at Sacred Heart have been cancelled.

Cancelled until further notice

Guidance on Masses, ministries and the sacraments

Based on updated guidance from public officials regarding the continued need to further limit the numbers of people gathered, and particularly as more local communities issue “stay at home” directives so as to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the suspension of all public daily and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Raleigh continues until further notice.

The following directives are also established until further notice in conjunction with the above:

  • All gatherings in parishes also are suspended effective immediately until further notice, including faith formation, CCD, RCIA, Stations of the Cross, Adoration, etc. Exceptions to “stay at home” orders have provided provisions allowing for the video streaming of religious services with appropriate health precautions and limitations of numbers of essential participants.

Ideally, any virtual Masses should be live when broadcast, not recorded. Please see here for additional USCCB guidance re: televising the liturgy. Celebrations of the Mass which are live-streamed may not include public distribution of Holy Communion before or after the broadcast. Masses in open areas around the property of our churches are also strongly discouraged.

  • All Penance Services, School Masses and Healing Masses are cancelled.
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation is to be suspended except for those in danger of death. All other means of providing the Sacrament should cease. In particular the practice being observed of “stational penance” via automobile “drive throughs,” etc., should be discontinued. In addition, it needs to be noted and communicated that an indulgence has been offered by the Holy See. Please educate your parishioners on this important measure provided to you and to them during this time.
  • In the current state of the pandemic, great care should be taken with the celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. While the full prescribed ritual for anointing may not always be possible given the status of an infected person, please follow the guidance outlined in Canon Law, which offers us:Can. 1000 §1. The anointings with the words, order, and manner prescribed in the liturgical books are to be performed carefully. In a case of necessity, however, a single anointing on the forehead or even on some other part of the body is sufficient, while the entire formula is said.§2. The minister is to perform the anointings with his own hand, unless a grave reason warrants the use of an instrument.If an instrument such as a cotton ball or cotton swab or gauze is used, please only use such instrument once, collecting all used instruments to destroy as conveniently as possible.In the event an anointing cannot take place, then prayer over the sick and with the family of the sick is most appropriate and will offer consolation and hope. In these instances, suggested prayers, that do not mention anointing with oil from the ritual, are selections B, E, and G under Prayer after Anointing, Anointing in a Hospital or an Institution in Pastoral Care of the Sick. In as far as it is possible, Viaticum should be administered to the dying and those in danger of death.
  • Confirmations have been suspended. Celebrations of the sacrament are being evaluated on a week by week basis. Provisions will be made for the eventual delegation of faculties for pastors to confirm candidates at the earliest convenience.
  • During the Season of Lent baptism should only be administered in danger of death. Celebrations of the Sacrament of Baptism should be suspended until after the lifting of restrictions on gatherings.
  • For the foreseeable future, funerals should be simple graveside services with a small gathering of immediate family. A memorial Mass may be celebrated at a later date.
  • Weddings should adhere to “stay at home” directives limiting gatherings. Broadly, across the Diocese of Raleigh, weddings should consist of gatherings of 10 or less and must use the Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass.
  • Additional directives on the celebration of the liturgies of Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum are forthcoming. These liturgies, however, are all to be live-streamed, with only essential ministers and ministries necessary to conduct the liturgies and rituals present.