Updates and Resources

July 3, 2020

A letter to the faithful of the Diocese of Gaylord from Apostolic Administrator, Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley

Dear Friends:

It is with a sense of joy and peace that I find myself with you here, embarking on a journey in the most northern region (of the lower peninsula) of the state that I have been blessed to call home for many years. You are likely aware by now that I have been appointed as the apostolic administrator of this diocese during this season of transition—I want you to know that I feel very honored to serve you alongside my brother priests here, particularly, as I have expressed to them,during these troublesome and challenging days. I look forward to serving in the Diocese of Gaylord and am grateful for the warm welcome I have received in the short time I have been here. The hospitality and generosity have been overwhelming, a true reflection of the love our Lord asks us to pour out on neighbor!

In this time between bishops, I want you to know of my hope and desire to be a source of support to your priests in their ministries, and to you, in any way possible. To that end, I met informally yesterday with the priests consultors over lunch, and I want to share with you some reflections on their thoughts and suggestions to me.

In these unprecedented times, I recognize the sacrifices everyone has made and the extra challenges our priests and clergy face in providing pastoral care to their “flock.” As demanding as it is to remain vigilant in observing the health protocols and safety measures in our parishes, it is critical that we must continue, together, to do so in order to protect and safeguard the health of others.

After discussion with the consultors regarding the safety issues associated with returning to public Mass, there seems to be a lack of clarity of the protocols and expectations for attending Mass on Sunday and other days. The consultors strongly feel it is important to clarify, prior to this Sunday:

•  The use of masks is expected in our parish churches.
•  Social distancing should be the norm in our parishes and at parish and diocesan events.

The consultors and I feel that it is very important to take these measures for the safety and well-being of all, particularly given the large number of visitors in this diocese. These safety measures are also the strong recommendation of the medical professionals. A number of priests and bishops in other dioceses have contracted COVID-19 ,as well as individuals in our own diocese. Among those who have contracted the coronavirus is Archbishop Gregory Aymond, the Archbishop of New Orleans, who has written a very powerful article on this matter that is worthy of our reflection: https://clarionherald.org/news/wearing-a-mask-displays-true-love-of-neighbor. Bearing all this in mind, I am requesting that you continue to wear a mask when you attend Mass, so long as you are medically able to do so.

Because the CDC has indicated COVID-19 is spread orally by water droplets, I encourage singing be done by the music directors and cantors during this time. Robust singing by the congregation should be very minimal, if at all.

These have been challenging times for the parishes financially, amplified by the recent kickoff of the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). After discussing the matter with the consultors, we will not have the Seminarian Collection this year (August) so that you can continue, to the extent that you are able, your support to your parish and the CSA. If you are able to make a contribution to the seminarian fund, it will gladly be accepted of course! Your parish will forward these gifts to the diocesan office.

The Diocesan Pastoral Center will reopen on Monday, July 6, with staff returning to the office. Visitors are expected to wear masks.

As the Apostolic Administrator, you might note that, beginning this weekend, my name is included in the Eucharistic prayer—I am grateful for your prayer sand your support.

I look forward to making visits to your parishes, visiting in the upcoming weekends throughout the remaining time that I am with you. Each parish community is a unique family whose differences are unified by our commonality as children of God, and it will be a joy for me to meet you and witness the special vibrancy of your church. I will be at the Cathedral this Saturday evening, at St. Mary/St. Charles this Sunday, and I will continue to visit parishes each weekend thereafter. Please know that no special arrangements need be made other than the usual arrangements for Mass.

I am grateful to be here with you and look forward to all that God has in store. With thanksgiving, may we keep our eyes fixed on our Lord during this season of transition, recalling that He is the unchanging and immovable anchor of our soul.

God bless, and stay tuned!

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley
Apostolic Administrator of Gaylord


June 24, 2020

Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley Appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord

JUNE 23, 2020Bishop Walter A. Hurley

Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley Appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord

His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley, Bishop Emeritus of Grand Rapids, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord, effective immediately. As the newly appointed apostolic administrator, Bishop Hurley will serve as the provisional shepherd by addressing the spiritual needs and governing the diocese during this time of transition until the installation of the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord.

Bishop Hurley was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1965 and was ordained the 22nd auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2003. He continued to serve in the Archdiocese until 2005, when he was installed as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. He served as Bishop of Grand Rapids for nearly eight years, until his retirement in 2013. From his leadership of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Bishop Hurley is well known for his work with Catholic Charities West Michigan, for establishing FAITH Grand Rapids magazine, and orchestrating the development and construction of Cathedral Square in Grand Rapids.

Following his retirement, Bishop Hurley returned to the Archdiocese of Detroit assisting with work in the chancery and at parishes. In October 2018, Bishop Hurley was appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Saginaw following the sudden death of Most Reverend Joseph Cistone, bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw. Bishop Hurley served the Diocese of Saginaw until the installation of Bishop Robert Gruss in July 2019. For Bishop Hurley’s full biography, please download below.

Bishop Hurley’s appointment is subsequent to today’s installation of the Most Reverend Steven J Raica, who has served as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord since 2014, as the new bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama.

Read Bishop Hurley’s Biography here.


June 21, 2020



Happy Father’s Day






June 14, 2020

We have four young people from Sacred Heart who will be receiving their sacraments this Wednesday, June 17, 2020. One will be baptized and all four will receive their first communion and confirmation. Unfortunately this will be by invitation only, as we are limited by space. However, the liturgy will be livetreamed at 6PM that evening. Please keep those young people, their families and their sponsors in your prayers.

This Friday, June 19, 2020, is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is the feast day for our parish. There will be no parish picnic as we would have normally done, and the mass for that solemnity will be at 10AM. This mass will also be livestreamed from the Sacred Heart website.

Finally, please keep in your prayers Alex Kowalkowski who is being ordained to the priesthood and Michael Linguar who is being ordained to the transitional diaconate next Saturday, June 20, 2020, at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord at 11AM. Again, this is only open to those invited, but that will also be livestreamed from the Diocese of Gaylord website.


May 26, 2020

During this time that we have spent apart from our parish and our parish family, a few singers put together a song that we would like to dedicate to the parish of Sacred Heart. The song is called “Inscription of Hope”, and is inspired by an inscription that was made by a Jewish person hiding from Nazis.

The Holocaust is a stunning reminder of the tragic results of prejudice and hate toward other people.
But is is also a reminder that hope held firm will eventually reign victorious over the greatest of odds.
The following words were inscribed on the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany,
where Jews were hiding from the Nazis during World War II.
Hope was all they had to hold on to; hope was their only bridge to a brighter tomorrow.

Many thanks to singers from our parish, from my high school choir, from my family and even a friend from Florida who came together to help make this happen. Let this be a reminder that even in the darkest of times–times like what we face during this pandemic–there is always hope in God and hope in each other. There is hope for goodness and light and love in the world.

I miss the parishioners and visitors of Sacred Heart. This is a very special parish, and I am so grateful to be able to offer this small gift to you, hoping that you will find some hope in the darkness.

Much love to you all.
Jamie Hardesty

May 15, 2020

Dearest Sacred Heart Family,

It is with great joy that I am able to announce that we will begin to reopen for public Masses in the Diocese of Gaylord and specifically at Sacred Heart. We will be returning to in-person Masses on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, at 8:30AM. Many of us are looking forward to being able to celebrate together, and there is much cause for excitement, but we are still in the midst of a pandemic, so please consider all factors in our own life as well as all of the following information in deciding if and when to return to any public gathering.

There are a number of protocols that will be put into place. While you may not personally agree with every measure being instituted, please consider that they are being implemented for the common good of all parishioners and guests. Also, please be aware that these protocols may be adjusted at any time, based on information and directives given by Bishop Raica’s office. The staff and many volunteers needed to make this all happen safely and efficiently appreciate your patience and understanding.

  1. Please keep in mind that Bishop Raica has dispensed everyone in the Diocese of Gaylord from their Sunday obligation until September 6, 2020. There are a number of ways to keep the Sabbath holy without attending Mass in person. Sacred Heart will continue to livestream the Sunday 10AM Mass indefinitely, and many other parishes in the Diocese and across the country also offer the opportunity to participate in Mass from your home. If you have ANY reservation about attending Mass in person, please STAY HOME. It is not worth putting you, your family, and others at risk.
  2. Public Masses at Sacred Heart and across the Diocese of Gaylord may not exceed 25% capacity. At Sacred Heart this means no more than 50 people in the church. We are fortunate to have our social hall, which can accommodate another 75-100 people, so our plan is to livestream the weekend liturgies into the hall. Once we have reached our capacity in the Church, families will be asked to move to the social hall. The Eucharist will be distributed to those attending in the hall. If we exceed our seating capacity in both the church and the hall, you will be asked to attend a different Mass.
  3. Do not come to Mass if you are sick or vulnerable in any way. If you still wish to attend Mass, please consider that, according to the protocols set forth by the Diocese of Gaylord, attending any weekday Mass or a broadcast/livestream of Mass are additional ways of fulfilling your Sunday obligation.
  4. Take your temperature at home. If you or any member of your family has a temperature at or above 100.4, you and all members of your household must stay home. If you have been symptomatic or have been exposed to the virus within 14 days, you and the members of your household are not permitted to enter the church. These guidelines come from the CDC and have been reiterated by our Diocese.
  5. You are encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer, as your hands should be sanitized before and after receiving Communion, which can be most easily accomplished while in the pew. There will be some hand sanitizer available as you enter and exit the church, but will not be easily accessed in the Communion procession.
  6. All attendees over the age of two are required to wear a mask for one’s own protection and to protect other people. This protocol will be strictly enforced. If you are an individual who cannot wear a mask for a medical reason, please loosely cover your mouth and nose while entering and exiting the church and while moving for communion.
  7. Please respect proper social distancing. In the church building every other pew will be unavailable. Those who live in the same household may sit together, but please maintain 6 feet (approximately the length of one kneeler) between each family/household unit. In the social hall chairs will be set up in pairs. If your household unit is more than two people, children may choose to sit on laps or on the floor. Please do not move chairs around as that will make disinfecting and preparation for the next celebration more time consuming for staff and volunteers. Thank you for this courtesy.
  8. The collection will not be taken during Mass in the usual way. Please put your donations/envelopes in the basket as you enter the church. Thank you, as always, for your generosity.
  9. In order to expedite the disinfection process and to limit touched services, there will be no books, hymnals, worship aids, or handouts available in the church. A limited number of bulletins will be available to be handed out by ushers wearing gloves and masks after Mass, and will always continue to be available on our Sacred Heart website, but you are asked to limit what you touch.
  10. Holding hands during the Our Father is NOT permitted, and the Sign of Peace is suspended.
  11. You are never required to receive the Blessed Sacrament at any Mass. If you are uncomfortable doing so, simply do not come forward. Rather, use that time for prayer and Spiritual Communion.
  12. Communion will only be offered in the form of the Body of Christ. There will be four Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at the weekend Masses–two in the church and two in the social hall. Please do not leave your pew until ushers, wearing masks, direct you. This way we can do our best to maintain social distancing while in procession. This may mean that Communion will take a bit longer, so we ask you to remain patient.
  13. In order to prevent the spread of droplets as much as possible, before the Communion procession begins the celebrant will say to the whole assembly, “The Body of Christ.” All respond, “Amen.” This will eliminate the need for speaking between the communicant and Communion minister.
  14. You are encouraged to receive Communion in the hand. To all extent possible, make a profound bow at the last pew before approaching the Communion minister. At that time you can pull your mask below your chin and present your hands. After reverently placing the Eucharist in your mouth, please immediately replace your mask and return to your pew. Those receiving in the hand will receive during the mass. Those requiring reception by mouth are asked to remain in their pew and will receive after Mass. Note: gloves may not be worn when receiving the Eucharist in the hand.
  15. After Mass, please remain in your pew until an usher has dismissed you. This may take some additional time, but will help accommodate the 6-feet distancing as you exit the church. You may be asked to use an exit door that is not the door you are used to or would prefer. We ask that you follow the ushers’ instructions for the health and safety of everyone. Thank you again for your patience.
  16. Those parishioners wishing to receive the Eucharist by mouth, as they are dismissed after Mass, should form a line (spaced 6 feet apart) in the aisle nearest the Tabernacle.
  17. In order to expedite the cleaning and disinfecting process, everyone is asked to leave the church/social hall as quickly as possible and not to gather in the buildings or on outdoor walkways to hold conversations with friends or others not from their household.
  18. Daily Masses will be very similar to those on the weekend, but will likely not have ushers guiding and directing people. This may need to be addressed as we go forward, depending on the number in the congregation those days. Note: daily Masses will not have overflow into the social hall, so if we exceed the 50 person limit, you may be asked to return the next day.
  19. Our Mass schedule will return to normal:

Weekend (all in the church with overflow streaming in the social hall):
Saturday at 5PM
Sunday at 8AM
Sunday at 10AM (also livestreamed to the public)
Weekday (all in the church only):
Monday at 12:15PM
Tuesday at 5:30PM
Wednesday at 8:30AM
Thursday at 8:30AM (Holy Hour at 3:30PM)
Friday at 8:30AM

There will be more details coming as we gain some insight and experience into our current situation, but these are the expectations that we have at this time. If you are not comfortable with or wish not to comply with these requirements, Bishop Raica has offered a dispensation from Mass until September 6, 2020. You may also continue to watch our livestreamed liturgies by visiting our website (sacredheartelkrapids.org) or our Facebook Page (facebook.com/ElkRapidsSacredHeart). Also, please be respectful to those volunteers who are working to keep all of our parishioners and guests safe and healthy. I look forward to joining you again very soon.

Yours in Christ,

Jamie Hardesty, on behalf of
Rev. Robert J. Zuchowski and all the staff at Sacred Heart


May 14, 2020

Bishop Raica has been working with experts in the medical and liturgical fields, and has developed protocols so that we may begin celebrating Mass publicly, beginning Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Of course there are a number of protocols that need to be implemented. Please be patient as the parish staff work to develop protocols based on guidelines from the Diocese of Gaylord as well as governmental authorities, allowing that the safety of all parishioners, ministers and staff are the top priority. Here is the letter released by Bishop Raica. More information about how this will look in our own parish will be released soon. The plan is to begin with a daily mass at 8:30AM on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Social distancing within the church, limitations of 25% of capacity, and wearing masks will be mandated. Just because gathering is permitted does not mean that it will be safe for everyone. In the Diocese of Gaylord, dispensation from your Sunday obligation is extended through Sunday, September 6, 2020. Sacred Heart will continue to livestream our Sunday 10AM Masses throughout this pandemic and beyond. Now that we have the technology, we will continue to use it for all of those who are homebound.

If you serve as a minister in any capacity and would be willing to serve, please email Jamie at jhardesty@sacredheartelkrapids.org. There will be a number of changes, but our lay ministers are the heart of this parish. Please do not feel that you must volunteer, but if you are willing and able to safely participate, there is a place for you.


May 8, 2020

Image may contain: one or more people, possible text that says '"No one ever followed Jesus so well as Mary his Mother. No one can help us more, by her example and by her intercession" (Behold Your Mother: Woman of Faith, no. 130). photo/ Chaz CNSphoto/ChazMuth Muth'This Sunday, May 10, 2020, we celebrate Mother’s Day. May is the month we dedicated to our Mother Mary. We seek her prayer and intercession, and we celebrate all that she has given to us through her son, Jesus Christ. Though she was given many great challenges, she had great faith. She put her trust in God, despite all of the unknowns. SHE SAID YES! We are so blessed to have her example of trust and hope in this time of so much unknown.

During the month of May we usually have a May crowning in the garden outside the church. Weather permitting, we will likely have a private May crowning this Sunday. Our equipment does not allow us to livestream the event, however, we will be able to record it and post it here on our website as well as on our Facebook page.

To all of the mothers, on behalf of the staff at Sacred Heart we would like to wish you a most blessed and hope-filled day this Sunday and throughout the year. Thank you for being an example of Mary’s love to your own families.

This Sunday we also celebrate Fr. Bob’s 48th anniversary as a priest. What a blessing he has been to our Sacred Heart community.

Image may contain: 1 person, suit, possible text that says 'Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church Elk Rapids, MI Rev. Robert J. Zuchowski, Pastor'


May 7, 2020 – National Day of Prayer

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May 4, 2020


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The month of May is approaching, a time when the People of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for Mary the Blessed Virgin - Saints & Angels - Catholic Onlinethe Blessed Virgin Mary. It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family. The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this “family” aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.

For this reason, I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May. This can be done either as a group or individually; you can decide according to your own situations, making the most of both opportunities. The key to doing this is always simplicity, and it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.

I am also providing two prayers to Our Lady that you can recite at the end of the Rosary, and that I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you. I include them with this letter so that they are available to everyone.

Dear brothers and sisters, contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial. I keep all of you in my prayers, especially those suffering most greatly, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I thank you, and with great affection I send you my blessing.

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 April 2020
Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist

Pope Francis

First Prayer to Our Lady
O Mary,
You shine continuously on our journey
as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who, at the foot of the cross,
were united with Jesus’ suffering,
and persevered in your faith.

“Protectress of the Roman people”,
you know our needs,
and we know that you will provide,
so that, as at Cana in Galilee,
joy and celebration may return
after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the will of the Father
and to do what Jesus tells us.
For he took upon himself our suffering,
and burdened himself with our sorrows
to bring us, through the cross,
to the joy of the Resurrection.

We fly to your protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from every danger,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.

The second Prayer
“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

May 3, 2020

Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter. To view the mass livestream from Sacred Heart, please click here: https://youtu.be/KpqGuCLlfEk


May 1, 2020

Let us pray together for Our Lady’s intercession! The month of May is traditionally dedicated to our Blessed Mother, and you are invited to join in a special moment of unified prayer on Friday, May 1, renewing our consecration of the United States to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Let’s join together with our brothers and sisters across the United States and Canada, as both countries pray together for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the sick, and wisdom for those who work to cure COVID-19.

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2020

12:00 PM (EDT): Join Bishop Steven J Raica as he celebrates this prayer of renewal by clicking here to view the livestream of the reconsecration. A bilingual worship aid can be found below.  Video of the consecration can be viewed at a later time by clicking here.

3:00 PM (EDT): Join Archbishop José H. Gomez for the national prayer of renewal, livestreamed from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at www.lacatholics.org/consecration. The worship aid can be found in both English and Spanish at: usccb.org/consecration.


April 30, 2020 – Update from the Diocese of Gaylord

Decree for Dispensation during Coronavirus 4-30-20

April 30, 2020

TO: Priests, Deacons, Religious, Seminarians, and Faithful of the Diocese of Gaylord

FROM: Most Reverend Steven J Raica

On April 24, 2020, Governor Whitmer extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order for the entire State of Michigan through Friday, May 15, 2020. Therefore, in cooperation with our local authorities in keeping the people of our diocese, parishes and institutions safe during this time of pandemic, I extend the validity of the decree issued on April 3, 2020, through Friday, May 15, 2020. This extension includes all dispensations previously granted. While suspension of public Masses will continue through Friday, May 15, I urge local parish leadership and communities to continue their use of social media as well as finding other creative ways to promote our Catholic faith and the bold proclamation of the Gospel of Christ.

As a sign of hope, I have established an interdisciplinary working committee to help prepare principles, norms and guidelines to assist parish leaders and communities in opening our churches to public worship, celebration of the Sacraments, and parish activities when it becomes safe to do so. This step is a great indication that we are beginning to see some light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel.

At the same time, I pray for the steadfast faith of the People of God throughout the Diocese of Gaylord. May this time of fasting from the things we hold dear be an occasion to recommit ourselves to Christ, Our Lord and become intentional disciples.

On Friday, May 1, at 12:00 Noon (EDT), I will be re-consecrating our Diocese to the loving embrace and protection of our Blessed Mother. This event will be live-streamed from St Mary Cathedral in Gaylord on social media platforms. Other dioceses throughout the United States, Canada and the world will be doing so jointly at 3:00 PM (EDT). This ceremony can be viewed on many familiar social media outlets and EWTN.

May we keep ourselves under the loving protection and embrace of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patroness of our diocese.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Most Reverend Steven J Raica
Bishop of Gaylord


April 28, 2020

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/themes/5db744a14764e8bab55cb0cf/attachments/original/1572290459/NDP_Header-Design-Verse.png?1572290459Next Thursday, May 7, 2020, is the National Day of Prayer. Every year Sacred Heart parish invites its members to join with other local churches to come to a service at the Elk Rapids City Hall for an ecumenical prayer service for our world, country, state, city, churches, and families. This year, because of the circumstances in our world, we are prevented from gathering together. Like the apostles in the upper room at Pentecost, many of us are feeling scared and alone, overcome by doubts and worry. But we must all be open to the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts. We can use our powerful prayer to ask guidance for government, neighbors, and families as we walk through these trying times together.

More resources will be made available to you here on the Sacred Heart website and on our Facebook page about ways that you can participate in the National Day of Prayer in your own homes. But you do not have to wait until May 7th to start praying. Know that your parish leadership and staff hold you all in our daily prayers, and we ask that you do the same for us.

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. – Habakkuk 2:14


April 24, 2020

The Michigan Stay at Home order has been extended until May 15, with a few minor changes. We will share whatever directives come from the Diocese of Gaylord as they are made available, but it is good to be informed.

If you do come into the church, which remains open for personal prayer and devotion, please be sure to use the Clorox wipes available at the entrance to the church to wipe down anything that you do touch. We must all do our part to keep our church safe for those who want to enter. In addition, there are many copies of “Exploring the Sunday Readings” and other helpful guides that are available for pickup in the church. If you happen to be out and about, please feel free to stop by and pick one up.

The parish office remains closed at the current time, but we are available by phone or email. Please reach out if you need ANYTHING. And know that we hold our parishioners, their families and friends in daily prayer.


April 13, 2020 – Octave of Easter

Fr. Bob mentioned in his Easter Sunday homily that we should consider spending some time with the daily readings, especially during this Octave of Easter. Easter is not over after Easter Sunday. No, it has only begun. We have 50 days during which we celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Since many of us are home, what better way to spend our time than to reflect on the Word of God.

We have a number of resources from which to find the daily readings, but the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is very easy to navigate. Following are links to the readings for the coming week:

Monday, April 13, 2020 – Acts 2:14, 22-23; Psalm 16:1-2a, 5, 7-11; Matthew 28:8-15
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 – Acts 2:36-41; Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22; John 20:11-18
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 – Acts 3:1-10; Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9; Luke 24:13-35
Thursday, April 16, 2020 – Acts 3:11-26; Psalm 8:2ab, 5-9; Luke 24:35-48
Friday, April 17, 2020 – Acts 4:1-12; Psalm 118:1-2, 4, 22-27a; John 21:1-14
Saturday, April 18, 2020 – Acts 4:13-21; Psalm 118:1, 14-21; Mark 16:9-15

Here is a link to some short video reflections on each of the daily readings, also offered by the USCCB: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpTzvCOJa7DBazRWSYfhGFvBAEXHvO0Cq

Fr. Bob will be celebrating daily mass privately each day at 12:15PM, and the Sunday liturgy will continue to be livestreamed at 10AM each weekend. The church remains open for private prayer and devotion, but please avoid these mass times.

Wishing you and your families a blessed Easter season.


April 12, 2020 – Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

He is Risen! Risen indeed!

To view the live stream of the 10AM Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord mass from Sacred Heart, click this link:


April 11, 2020 – Holy Saturday

Tonight we begin the Easter Vigil with the Service of Light where a “blazing fire” is lit to dispel the darkness. To view the live stream of the most holy liturgy at 9PM tonight, click this link:


April 10, 2020 – Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung our salvation. Come let us adore!

To view the live stream (or replay) of the 3PM Good Friday service, click this link:

There will NOT be a blessing of the Easter food tomorrow in the church. If you would like to have your own blessing, in your home, please click this link: Blessing of Easter food – at home


April 9, 2020 – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

This evening we begin a new Church season–the Sacred Triduum (“three days”)–the shortest but holiest season.  May what God has done for us in the gift of his Son fill your heart with light. Blessed Triduum, everyone!

To view the live stream (or replay) of the 7PM Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday), click this link: https://youtu.be/tqR3yiQX4KM


April 5, 2020 – Palm Sunday

To view the live stream (or replay) of the 10AM mass, click this link:  https://youtu.be/alDPaHXFGks

Please find HERE a Dispensation Decree from Bishop Raica sharing updates on the suspension of public Masses through April 30, 2020, as well as details for this year’s Chrism Mass, Sacraments of Initiation for catechumens and candidates, and new dates for the Catholic Services Appeal kick-off.


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.