Sacred Heart Church

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

April 5, 2020

Altoona-Johnstown Dioceses suspend all public Masses

Bishop Mark L. Bartchak today announced the suspension of the celebration of all public Masses and all other liturgical celebrations in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown effective immediately and continuing until further notice. Throughout this time, the dispensed obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Masses, granted by the Bishop on March 12, remains in effect. During this period, churches will continue to be open for private prayer, and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown will continue to broadcast the Sunday Mass on television. A Liturgy will air every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. on WATM ABC 23. The Mass will also be posted on the diocesan website and Facebook and Twitter social media platforms.

You are encouraged to watch our diocesan Proclaim TV Program and Sunday Mass, as well as daily Masses and all the liturgies of Holy Week that are available on cable TV or on the internet. Pray for one another, especially those who are sick and dying due to COVID-19.


Palm Sunday Human beings are united in their suffering. When we find ourselves in a painful moment, our first reaction is "why me?" as if we are the only person on earth who ever encountered this challenge. Going through life with a "why me" attitude only finds us wallowing in the mire of self-pity and never seizing opportunities or graces. We walk in solidarity with every human being in the experience of suffering. Believing that the goal of life is the elimination or avoidance of suffering is simply an illusion that keeps us entrenched in a collective myth. This myth distorts us and limits us. There are living witnesses among us showing how courage and determination can over-come any degree of hardship, pain, loss, or tragedy. Folks finding the normalcy of their lives suddenly torn asunder are faced with options: opportunity or despair, stay or leave. Jesus stands before us as the prime example of endurance and perseverance. He is the One who showed humility through both the triumphs of life (by learning to be humble) and the tragedies and injustices (by learning how to be obedient). To secular ears, this may be perceived as nonsense. But to those with the eyes of faith, they are pearls of great price. True humility tempers the temptation we have to become complacent and prevents an excessive relishing of life's successes and affirmations. Learning obedience keeps us faithful to our relationship with God so that we can find the courage to endure any depth of hardship, disappointment, betrayal or agony. While we may want our cup of suffering to be taken away, it simply cannot be. Somehow and somewhere in the seemingly opposing experience life can deal us, God is present with His reassuring, compassionate, empowering, and persevering love. To be true to who we are and who God is, we must take up the cross of suffering, even when it's the hardest and most apparently senseless thing to do. Only our soul can understand these things, but our minds cannot, so they continue to run to secular ideas and solutions to pain and hardship. It goes without saying that we need to do all we can to eliminate as much senseless, unjust suffering as possible. Hunger, violence, abuse, exploitation, rejection, prejudice, homelessness, disrespect for life, all result in suffering that is within our control.
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To forget murder victims is to kill them twice. This certainly applies to the countless unborn babies who have been murdered by abortion in their own mother’s wombs. Pray that all who have a hand in abortion or euthanasia will see God's forgiveness and choose life.


The rectory business offices of Saint Mary and Sacred Heart will not be open on Holy Thursday or Good Friday.


The Altoona Food Bank will be open from 9:15 a.m. to 12:00 Noon, on Mondays during April to provide an emergency supply of food to clients. The Monday openings will continue through the month or until supplies run out.

Clients should go to the 21st Street door for supplies and are urged to practice social distancing while waiting. For updated information, vitsit the Altoona Food Bank Facebook page.


There will be no Religious Education Classes (CCD) as long as school districts have cancelled classes.


The RCIA Process and Your Journey of Faith. Are you curious about what the Catholic Church teaches? Or, perhaps you have already decided to become Catholic and need to know what is involved. Whichever your situation or circumstance may be, we welcome you and would like to journey with you! Where do I begin? Becoming Catholic is a joyous and communal experience. A person is brought into Full Communion with the Catholic Church through reception of the three sacraments of Christian Initiation-Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist but this process by which one becomes a Catholic can be different for each individual depending on your circumstances and where you are in your faith journey.

Before a person is ready to be received into the Church, whether by baptism or by profession of faith, preparation is necessary. The amount and type of preparation depends on the individual's circumstance. The preparation process is different between those who are unbaptized and those who have already become Christian through baptism in another church.

Those who have been baptized in a different Christian denomination become Catholics by taking instruction in the faith, making a profession of the Catholic faith, and being formally received into the Church. This is followed by Confirmation and the Eucharist. Unbaptized adults enter the Church by the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and receive the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil. If you are ready to start your journey, we would be happy to meet with you and answer any questions you may have. For more information, please contact Mike Kelleher at 934-4076 (Sacred Heart) or Jim Mock at 650-7250 (Saint Mary).


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.


It is time for Nomination of new candidates for membership on Sacred Heart Parish Pastoral Council. Please take your time to pray and to consider your personal nomination of your relative or friend, who can be a great asset for our parish serving in that capacity. The nominated lay person has to be Fully Initiated (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) member of our parish in good standing.

Stewardship Reflections

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Shouts the crowd in today’s Gospel. May we always be ready to share our blessings when we are sent in His name.

God has entrusted us with many gifts and talents, the breath of life and the means by which we can sustain our existence. As disciples of Jesus we are called to use these things to build the Kingdom of God; to make the Body of Christ strong; to change the world.

In Your Prayers

Please remember the health intention of Allan Bauer, Mark Blackie, Rod Baronner, Jack Chilcote, Brandon Conaway, Shirley Conlon, Denise Conrad, James Conrad, Kathy Corl, Joan Donnelly, Matt Dorman, Amelia Doughurty, Lois Duncan, Taylor Etters, Mary Hartsock, Phyllis Hartman, Elizabeth Hasan, Phyllis Hauser, Cindy Lytle, Edmund McConnell, Elizabeth McConnell, Charles McGrain, Lori Moschat, Cierria Naglowsky, Maureen O'Rorke, Christopher Ruffing, Robert Ruffing, Susan Sakerak, Brian Sherbine and Peggy Stauffer.

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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