Sacred Heart Church

Third Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 16, 2018


Jn 6:24-35 In Christianity, we hear often about the "Good News." We might often associate it with Jesus' compassion to the poor, his healings and miracles, and the salvation he won for us. In today's Gospel, we read of John the Baptist. "Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people." Yet, as we examine the rest of the reading, we see examples of John's preaching. If you have two cloaks, give one away. Don't cheat others out of their money, extort, or lie. And, of course, the warning that the Messiah is on the move and "his winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

Not only do John's listeners enjoy his message, but they seem to think he might be the awaited Messiah! To understand today's Gospel, it's important to understand the Jewish people. For most of their history, God's chosen people had been under someone else's heel. They were slaves in Egypt. Their kingdoms were ravaged first by the Assyrians, then the Babylonians. Now they were under the yoke of the Roman Empire. Familiar with being strangers in a strange land, welcoming the stranger, caring for the vulnerable, and enacting justice was incredibly important to them as a people. While John's words may seem odd or strong to our modern ears, this call to justice was welcome, even it was directed at the hearer.

The truth is, no one is exempt from John's call to repentance. We all have further to go in the Christian life. We can all grow in virtue and love our neighbors more generously. The Church gives us the Advent season to examine our own hearts. Did any of resonate with you? That could be a great thing to bring to Jesus this week!
Liturgical Publications, Inc


"Lost indeed are those who kill their own children out of folly, with no basis in knowledge, forbidding what God has provided for them...."

Food Pantry

Our sincere thanks to everyone for the generous donation of food items for our food pantry and the monetary donations for our needy parishioners. Your generosity, financial support, and prayers throughout the year make this ministry possible. Our gratitude is also extended to Fr. Lubo, our volunteers, and parish staff for their dedication throughout the year.

Our food pantry will be closed on Wednesday, December 26 and will reopen on Wednesday, January 2

Sacred Heart-Saint Mary Penance Service

Our Penance Service will be on Thursday, December 20 at 5:30 p.m. There will be a number of priests available to hear your confession. This will be the last Penance Service held in the Altoona area before Christmas.

Stewardship Reflections

Today's gospel tells us to SHARE! This Christmas resist the pressure to give token gifts. Instead, use those funds to give NESSESSITIES to the poor. If our impoverished brothers and sisters are not on our giving list, we've missed the point of Christmas.


We are always happy to welcome new parishioners to Sacred Heart Parish and Saint Mary Parish. Please introduce yourself to a member of the parish staff and register at the rectory. Registration, the practice of stewardship, and regular participation in the Eucharist indicate that a person is an active member of the parish and is eligible to act as a godparent or sponsor. As a Church community seeking to be faith-filled disciples and good stewards, the sacrifice of our time, talent and treasure is essential for the common good.


Do you know of a friend, neighbor or family member that might be interested in becoming Catholic? Has your non-Catholic spouse been attending Mass regularly with you? Could this be the year he or she would like to become Catholic? Do you know of any non-practicing Catholics that would like to return to the Faith? If so, please invite them to call the Sacred Heart rectory office at 943-8553 or Mike Kelleher (Sacred Heart Director of Christian Initiation) at 934-4076 for more information. For Saint Mary's Christian Initiation, contact Jim Mock at 650-7250, Joe Varner at 650-4124 or Jim Woomer at 946-0439. Thank you

Sacred Heart Liturgical Ministers

Sign up sheets for our Christmas Masses are/will be posted in the vestibule. Also , the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, December 31 at 5:30 p.m. and January 1 at 11:00 a.m. Schedules thru March 3 are available in the back of the church. If you are not available for your assigned ministry, please find a replacement.

Liturgical Reflection

Today the priest may wear a rose vestment at Mass. Christmas quickly approaches and the scripture readings speak of rejoicing in the Lord always, of the presence of the Holy One of Israel, and the Baptist telling us the Holy One will baptize in the Holy Spirit. Christians are nearing the holy commemoration of the Birth of the Savior. Our joy is obvious and, hopefully, contagious.
- 2018, Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Liturgy Office

Sacred Heart Family Christmas Tree

We are inviting you to bring an ornament to place on the Sacred Heart Family Christ-mas Tree. The tree is located near the cantor stand and you will be responsible for placing the ornament on the tree and removing it after Christmas. As a family, create a home-made ornament, purchase one that has special meaning for you or as a memorial to your loved ones. The intent is to display an ornament that represents your family. Feel free to place your family name or family member’s names on the ornament. Start a tradition-share YOUR family with OUR Sacred Heart family!

Sacred Heart Choir

The Choir will be singing the Christmas Eve Mass at 9:00 p.m. with a short program preceding Mass. We will have rehearsal on Monday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m. and on Tuesday , December 18 at 7 p.m. Please bring any Christmas music that you might have.

In Your Prayers

Please remember in your prayers, the health intention of Mark Blackie, Denise Conrad, James Conrad, Betty Dalansky, Joan Donnelly, Dana Fieni, Cindy Lytle, Cindy, Christopher Ruffing, Robert Ruffing, Tina Ruffing, Susan Sak-erak, and Cathy Skelly.

If you would like to add a sick or hospitalized person to our prayer list or re-add a person, please call the rectory office, at 943-8553. Parishioners of Saint Mary are encouraged and welcome to participate. Remember, you must have permission of the ill person/family to publish their name.



Sacred Heart Parish | 511 20th Street | Altoona, PA 16602 | (814) 943-8553
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