Updates and Resources

April 3, 2020

There is a lot of information in this update, including Holy Week times, readings, and Faith Formation information.


Distribution of Palms with the order to Stay at Home, now in effect through April 13, 2020, will not take place. Palms will be blessed and stored for distribution after the Stay at Home order is cancelled.

Please consider hanging an evergreen branch or other kind of branch on the front door of your home in a way of being in solidarity for Palm Sunday. Branches can remain throughout Holy Week.

Stay at Home/Stay Safe

Beginning this Monday, April 6, the parish office will be closed. With the importance of the “Stay at Home” order we do not want to promote stopping by the office. Mary will have calls forwarded to her phone. If there is essential business, please call 231-264-8087. Father Bob will continue to be available at 231-264-8115.

Parish staff will continue their work at their flexible discretion. Please do not compromise the office building with unnecessary admittance. Weekly Bulletins will continue and remain available on the homepage of the website. If you would like a printed copy please call the office at 231-264-8087 to have a bulletin mailed to you.

The church will remain open as it always has been. Please do not try to enter the church during the designated celebration times.

The Holy Week and Paschal Triduum times are posted but will be celebrated in private. We will be able to live stream at these times and encourage you to participate in your homes. Please copy and keep the Spiritual Communion Prayer (below) to say as the priest receives communion and unite with his prayers. Please note that the Chrism Mass that was to take place on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at the Cathedral, will be rescheduled for sometime in May.

Beginning with the Octave of Easter and continuing through the duration of the Stay at Home order all weekday Masses will be at 12:15 pm and will be private, closed door Masses. These Masses will not be live streamed. See below for information about daily masses that are being live streamed in the Diocese of Gaylord. Sacred Heart will, however, try to live stream the 10:00 am Masses on Sunday. Please watch our website (www.sacredheartelkrapids.org) or follow us on facebook (www.facebook.com/elkrapidssacredheart) for more information about participating in the online liturgical celebrations of Holy Week and beyond. These will also be your best resources for the most up to date information.

Spiritual Communion Prayer

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
Come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
And unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen. 

Daily Masses in the Diocese of Gaylord (Also available on the websites for later viewing.)

7:00 a.m. – Private (closed door) Mass from St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord, MI on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

8:45 a.m. – Private (closed door) Mass on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Traverse City, MI.

5:00 p.m. – Private (closed door), on Wednesdays, Mass from St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord, MI.

6:00 p.m. – Private (closed door) Mass on Wednesday from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Traverse City, MI.

7:00 p.m. – Private (closed door) Mass on Monday from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Traverse City, MI.

4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday – Benediction from Father Joe & Father Scott of All Saints Parish, Alpena

Liturgy Information for Palm Sunday and Holy Week

SUNDAY, APRIL 5 Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Mt 21:1-11; Is 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Phil 2:6-11; Mt 26:14—27:66
10:00 am    Mass intention remembering all parishioners and benefactors both living and deceased

Is 42:1-7; Ps 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14; Jn 12:1-11
12:15 pm     Mass remembering Emily Dillon by Ed and Jan Boettcher.

Is 49:1-6; Ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6,15,17; Jn 13:21-33,36-38
12:15 pm    Mass remembering Rev. Eustace Faucher, former pastor

Is 50:4-9a; Ps 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34; Mt 26:14-25
12:15 pm    Mass remembering Rev. Andrew Buvala O.F.M.

The Paschal Triduum will be celebrated in private. Please do not try to enter the church during the designated celebration times. Live stream available at www.sacredheartelkrapids.org

THURSDAY, APRIL 9 Holy Thursday
Ex 12:1-8, 11-14; Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Jn 13:1-15
7:00 pm    Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

 It is our desire to do everything we can to support the government issued orders to remain at home. Therefore, we will not have the cross displayed for public veneration this year.  You may display a cross in your home with candles as an act of veneration.

FRIDAY, APRIL 10 Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord
Is 52:13—53:12; Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25; Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9; Jn 18:1—19:42
3:00 pm     Celebration of the Passion of the Lord

Intentions for the Great Vigil and Easter Sunday, are for all those remembered with Easter Flower Memorials

SATURDAY, APRIL 11 Holy Saturday
Gn 1:1—2:2 , Ps 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35 or Ps 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20-22; Gn 22:1-18; Ps 16:5, 8, 9-10,11; Ex 14:15—15:1; Ex 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18; Is 54:5-14; Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12,13; Is 55:1-11; Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6; Bar 3:9-15,32—4:4; Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11; Ez 36:16-17a, 18-28; Ps 42:3, 5; Ps 43:3, 4 or Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6 or Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19; Rom 6:3-11;Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Mt 28:1-10
9:00 pm    Easter Vigil

SUNDAY, APRIL 12 Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6b-8; Jn 20:1-9 or Mt 28:1-10 or Lk 24:13-35
10:00 am    Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord

Faith Formation Information

From Brett Baldwin:
I have a list of online resources for faith formation from the handbook, if you are interested in keeping up with lessons this year. I would be happy to send that to you if you haven’t already received it. Please email me: bbaldwin@sacredheartelkrapids.org so that I can get that out to you. I will occasionally send out items related to faith formation like the Last Supper quiz this week. If you did not receive the quiz, I do not have a current email address for you. Please email me your updated contact information so that you can be included in future emails.

For those who are preparing for Confirmation/First Holy Communion, please continue to work on memorizing the Basic Truths and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are not sure when we will celebrate those rites, but you will need to know this material when the time comes. As soon as I know when the rites are schedule, I will email that to you to confirm.

Take care, stay safe, and stay healthy.
Brett Baldwin
Faith Formation Coordinator


March 27, 2020

Pope Francis will gather the world together in prayer today at 1PM EDT. He will impart a special blessing called the Urbi et Orbi “to the city [of Rome] and to the world”. This blessing is usually reserved for Christmas and Easter but in these trying times, the Holy Father wishes to extend it to us now. Join in by going to: https://www.facebook.com/vaticannews or https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-03/pope-prayer-friday-urbietorbi-plenary-indulgence.html at 1PM today!

Remote Viewing Options for Masses this weekend


5:00 p.m. – Private (closed-door) Mass from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Traverse City.


8:00 a.m. – Private (closed-door) Mass from St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord, MI, with Bishop Steven J. Raica presiding, broadcast on TV on Fox Local 32/45.  (Also available on the Cathedral website, https://www.stmarycathedral.org/, for later viewing.)

8:00 a.m. – Mass from the Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale, AL.

9:00 a.m. – Private (closed-door) Mass from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Traverse City, MI.

9:30 a.m. – Private (closed-door) Mass from Holy Cross Catholic Church in Beaver Island, MI.

10:00 a.m. – Private (closed-door) Mass from the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Grand Rapids, MI.

10:00 a.m. Mass from the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw, MI.

10:00 a.m.Mass from the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay, WI.

11:00 a.m. – Private (closed-door) Mass from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Traverse City, MI.

12 Noon – Private (closed-door) Mass from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, MI at and on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Facebook page.

12 Noon – Private (closed-door) Mass from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

12:00 Noon – The 8:00 a.m. Mass from the Our Lady of the Angels Chapel is rebroadcast.

12:45 p.m.Mass from Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange, CA or at https://www.facebook.com/ChristCathedralCA/.

2:30 p.m. Mass in Spanish from Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange, CA.


March 26, 2020

Bishop Raica, upon yesterday’s announcement of his transfer to the Diocese of Birmingham this June, has written a letter to the faithful of the Diocese of Gaylord:

March 25, 2020
Solemnity of the Annunciation

Dear Faithful of the Diocese of Gaylord:

Today, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, we remember Mary’s “Fiat!” or “Let it be done to me as you say!”  to the announcement from the Archangel Gabriel to her that she would conceive and bear a son.  With this in my heart, it is with both gratitude and anticipation that I share that earlier today our Holy Father announced my upcoming transfer to the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama.  There I will be humbled to serve as the fifth Bishop of Birmingham.  Like the witness of our Lady, and with devotion to her, I too say, “Fiat!”  It is my “yes” to the Lord’s call at this moment.

While this announcement comes in these unprecedented times, I know that God has a beautiful plan that continues to unfold for the Diocese of Gaylord.  Be assured, even after my transfer, I will continue to share in your triumphs and challenges from afar, ardently praying for each of you in your journeys of faith.

I want you to know that I have treasured every moment of ministry with you.  Each bishop who has served here in the Diocese of Gaylord has spoken about the vibrant people of the diocese with admiration and esteem — I too cherish each of you.  The mosaic of your unique gifts and talents, outpouring of charity for one other, and above all, your love for the Lord has made a tremendous impact on me.  I will sincerely miss you, and always remember my service here with thanksgiving and gladness.

I would also be remiss if I did not say that it has been a joy to serve with my brother priests, sisters, and colleagues in ministry.  Their collaboration and steadfast witness for the mission of Christ and His Church has been an extraordinary gift to me.  Their dedication and zeal to the mission of Christ here in the diocese is unparalleled, and I will miss each of them.

I appreciate that this announcement of my transition may leave questions for you, such as:  Who will lead our flock here? When will this transfer take place?  To announce that I am being transferred right now might lead one to think there is an abandonment.  While a Bishop normally transitions to a new diocese within two months, I have asked that I will remain here for an additional month.  Therefore, the Mass of installation is currently scheduled in Birmingham at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

Let me close for today by saying that it is most important to seize this moment in prayer, asking that the Lord continue to guide and bless all those in the Diocese of Gaylord and in the Diocese of Birmingham.  Today on this Solemnity of the Annunciation, Pope Francis invites each of us to accompany him and our brothers and sisters around the world in praying an Our Father.  I cannot image a better way to begin this time of transition.  As we entrust our hearts to the Lord together today, know that you are in my prayers.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Most Reverend Steven J Raica
Bishop of Gaylord

March 25, 2020

Our Parish Facebook page is a great place to get the most recent updates, bits of news happening in the parish and the Diocese of Gaylord, and suggestions for prayers and devotions. If you are not following Sacred Heart on Facebook, you can do so by clicking here: Sacred Heart on Facebook.

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
(From today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38)

You can livestream mass from St. Mary Cathedral at 5PM today.

Special Announcement from the Diocese of Gaylord
March 25, 2020 / 9:00 a.m. (EDT)

This morning in Rome, an announcement of the transfer of our Bishop, Steven J Raica, to the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama was made public. He will serve as the fifth Bishop of Birmingham. While this is a loss for the Diocese of Gaylord, we rejoice with the people of Birmingham.

Our prayers accompany Bishop Raica during this time of transition for him as well as for both dioceses. We also want to take this moment to thank Bishop Raica for his dedicated and pastoral care of our Diocese, our Clergy and the lay faithful.

Bishop Raica will be presented via a press conference that will take place at the pastoral center in the Diocese of Birmingham at 11:00 a.m. EDT today. You may follow it live at www.bhmdiocese.org.

Normally the transfer of a Bishop to another diocese takes place within two months. Given the current uncertainties, Bishop Raica urged that the installation be delayed one month, thus it has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 23, 2020. It will be held at the Cathedral of St Paul in Birmingham, Alabama. In this way, Bishop Raica will remain here to accompany the people of Gaylord through this current health situation.

In servitio Christi,
Deacon Kevin Endres


March 23, 2020

Following the celebration of Laetare Sunday (the 4th Sunday of Lent) at which time we are meant to “Rejoice” as we are now halfway to the glorious resurrection at Easter, I was hoping to be able to share more joyful news, but in light of the current situation in our country and in our world, I regret that the news will not cause us to “rejoice”. We received a letter from Bishop Raica that gave parishes more guidelines to follow in order to protect each other and especially the most vulnerable among us. The letter was lengthy and included quite a lot of information, but I will provide you with the highlights and what that will mean for Sacred Heart Parish for the upcoming few weeks. Please keep in mind that this letter came out yesterday, and Governor Whitmer signed a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, which means that our directives from the Bishop’s office are likely to be adjusted to the current State of Michigan regulations and orders.

  • Public Masses will continue to remain suspended. This means there will be no assembly for Palm Sunday and Holy Week as well as all masses celebrated privately by our pastor, Fr. Bob.
    • Masses are to be completely private, and the doors to the church will be locked when mass is being offered. We are working on an option to livestream Holy Week through the Sacred Heart Facebook Page. Updates will continue to be posted here and on the Facebook page. If you use Facebook, please follow at: Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.
    • Palms will be blessed on Palm Sunday but will not be distributed until after we are deemed safe to move about in public.
    • The Chrism Mass will be celebrated privately at the Cathedral in Gaylord.
    • The Paschal Triduum will be celebrated in private, but hopefully we will be able to livestream. Please do not try to enter the church during the designated celebration times.
    • The church will remain open with the exception of when the Mass is being celebrated. Should you want to come into the church to venerate the cross on Good Friday, you are welcome, but please do not touch the cross. You may venerate by kneeling or bowing before the cross.
    • There will be NO baptisms at the Easter Vigil, and currently all baptisms are being deferred to the Vigil Mass for Pentecost.
    • The Sacrament of Reconciliation still remains available on Saturdays from 4-4:30PM or by appointment (call Fr. Bob at 264-8115). The only exception is Holy Saturday, April 11, when there will be no Sacrament of Reconciliation.
    • There will be no blessing of the Easter food this year. If you would like to have your own private blessing at home, you can find the blessing to be said here: Blessing of Easter food – at home
    • Funerals may still be celebrated in the church, but will require that only immediate family members be present.
  • As we anticipate the ability to livestream during Holy Week, we will provide more information here and on our Facebook Page. If you are unable to participate by watching online, please consider prayerfully uniting with your community from your home at the following times:
    • Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Sunday, April 5, at 10AM
    • Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Thursday, April 9, at 7PM
    • Friday of the Passion of the Lord, Friday, April 10, at 3PM
    • Easter Vigil, Saturday, April 11, at 9PM
    • Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord, Sunday, April 12, at 10AM

Thank you all for making the extra effort to stay safe and help keep your community and fellow parishioners safe during this unprecedented time. Remember the responsorial psalm for yesterday: “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.” These 40 days of Lent remind us of Jesus’ trial in the desert. We are facing our own “desert trial” now as we are called to fast from so many of our comforts, but it is our faith in God that will bring us together to “Rejoice” again.

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.


March 19, 2020

On this, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis has urged that we join an initiative promoted by the Italian Bishops to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary at 9PM Italian Time (4PM here).

For those in need of a guide, here is a link to the the Luminous Mysteries from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website. www.usccb.org also posts the daily Mass readings by clicking on the small calendar on the right side of the home page.

Additionally, Magnificat is offering the online version of this devotional at https://us.magnificat.net/free.

Sacred Heart church remains open for private prayer and devotion. There are guides available for those who would like to pray the Stations of the Cross privately. This link also provides some additional resources for those who wish to pray the Stations of the Cross, but might not be able to get to the church.

There are several parishes that are offering live stream video of daily and weekend masses.

St. Mary Cathedral

St. Joseph (Traverse City)

You can find a more complete list at dioceseofgaylord.org.

Fr. Bob will continue to celebrate mass privately each day, and requested mass intentions will be honored. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is still available on Saturday from 4-4:30PM or by appointment (call 264-8115). The office currently remains open. Please call if you find that you are in need of assistance, are available to provide assistance to others, or have questions about the current policies set in place. The office phone number is 264-8087, and office hours are 10AM-3PM, Monday-Friday.

Thank you, as always, for your prayers and dedication to your parish.


March 14, 2020

Dearest members of Sacred Heart Parish,

Following is a letter from Bishop Raica that was released last night that gives parishes in the Diocese of Gaylord instructions related to helping limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). After the letter is more information as it relates specifically to Sacred Heart. Thank you for taking the time to read the following, and please continue to pray for safety and healing throughout this time.

Most sincerely,
Jamie Hardesty
Coordinator of Liturgy and Music

Dear Brother Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Administrators, Religious and Faithful:

When the disciples were walking to Emmaus, they met up with a stranger who shared the Scripture of the Law and Prophets. What started as a disappointment – uncertainty regarding the present and future – soon became the awareness that the Lord had been with them all along. At table, they concluded so simply: “Stay with us Lord.”

As the novel coronavirus ramps up with increasing health risks to the general population throughout our country and state, and especially to our faith communities, it is necessary to make some difficult decisions to do our part in stemming the spread of this pernicious virus. In order to do so, I have consulted with the Diocesan Consultors, and read the reports from medical and scientific experts about the impact of this virus. Doing the difficult part now, I pray, will reduce the time and impact this virus will have on the vulnerable people in our congregations and communities. Being concerned about the welfare of those who are sick and vulnerable is an act of charity that will not be forgotten. During this season of Lent, our prayer and penance is key as we approach a spiritual response to the pandemic sweeping our country and state.

From Saturday, March 14 through Monday, April 6, 2020, all Sunday and weekday public Masses are suspended throughout the Diocese of Gaylord. Although public Masses are temporarily suspended, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is available through the various media channels for television, radio, internet, and social media. An optimal moment to make a Spiritual Communion is at the time Mass is celebrated each day. The Sacrifice of the Mass remains efficacious and a grace-filled moment. I ask every priest to celebrate Mass in private for the intentions already determined for your parish, for those who are affected by the pandemic, for those in the medical community treating patients and for wisdom in our scientific community.

In his letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Allen Vigneron, our Metropolitan, suggested this prayer as a model to make a spiritual communion:

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
Come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
And unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.


Typically, in moments of crisis, our faithful look to their priests, their pastoral leaders, their faith and their church as an anchor of hope. To that end, I encourage churches to remain open during the day. Through private prayer and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (located to the main body of the church for social distancing) we can be reminded of the closeness of Christ and let “heart” speak to “heart.” The pastor or pastoral administrator should be mindful not to exceed the crowd size limitations and social distancing of those in attendance.
It is also our important duty to mourn with those who have passed away. Funerals may occur provided there are a limited number of persons present – immediate family and a few friends. People in attendance should sit in a way that respects the “social distancing” guidelines. If this is not possible, consider postponing the funeral or memorial Mass to a later date. Weddings should observe the same protocols.
In a similar way, Baptisms will occur outside of Mass for the time being with water blessed specifically for the rite.
As this is becoming a moment when we literally have a “field hospital,” the care for and anointing of the sick is a very important ministry for priests. Visiting the sick and health care facilities, with due regard to their safety procedures, should be viewed as an important part of our care. This allows us to be with those who are vulnerable, wounded, sick and the dying in order to provide solace, spiritual and sacramental care.
With churches open for prayer and adoration, I would ask priests to increase their time hearing confessions in the Sacrament of Penance so we may experience the mercy of Christ. Communal celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance should also be suspended.
As necessary, further updates will be provided as new issues emerge. I entrust each of you to the maternal care and protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patroness of our diocese, each and every day.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Steven J. Raica
Bishop of Gaylord
How this will affect Sacred Heart Parish:
  • Public masses, both weekly and weekend, will be suspended, as requested, through April 6th.
  • The church will remain open throughout these three weeks for private prayer and adoration.
  • At the current time, Mary Halek will continue to keep the office open, though there may be some changes to this policy as the weeks progress. Please call ahead if you are concerned about the office being open when you arrive.
  • Holy Hours and Stations of the Cross will also be suspended during this time-frame. You are always welcome to come into the church to pray these devotions on your own.
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available on Saturdays beginning at 4PM, as usual, and will also be available by appointment any time. Please call Fr. Bob directly to make an appointment (231-264-8115).
  •  The St. Joseph Meal scheduled for March 19th has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.
  • We are in the process of determining how to provide palms to the congregation, since the weekend of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord falls within the suspended time-frame. Please continue to monitor your email for more information related to this.
  • All public gatherings are suspended at this time, including Faith Formation, Knights of Columbus meeting, etc. The Communal Penance Service at Christ the King in Acme has also been cancelled.
  • The Antrim County Commission on Aging has cancelled its meal service and exercise classes. However, the tax preparation will still continue as scheduled.

Please continue your prayers for this community, our country and our world as we forge ahead through this unprecedented time.

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