“Justice, Only Justice, You Shall Pursue”: Vespers at Sacred Heart Church

Read more about this year’s theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity below:

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: News from Vatican

More about this year’s theme



Kristy Milligan, CEO of Westside CARES


Andy Barton, CEO of Catholic Charities of Southern Colorado

We began the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Friday evening with Vespers at Sacred Heart Church. Over sixty people gathered for prayer to reflect on the Christian role to work for justice and to pursue of life of combined prayer and service.

Christian unity is seldom part of mainstream thought and prayer in any Christian denomination today. We need one another more than ever. We need our common backgrounds of baptism to unite in service for the marginalized and to speak out on behalf of the weak and weary.

At Sacred Heart Church, we host the weekly Lord’s Dinner, sponsored by nine churches that are part of an alliance from Westside CARES. We also serve hundreds of families in our weekly food pantry on Mondays and Thursdays, also part of Westside CARES. We are also connected to various Catholic Charities programs with volunteers from our Tri-Community.

I was deeply inspired by our common prayer on Friday evening. I wait for us to find our common voice to love and serve in our world that desperately needs God’s compassion and tenderness.


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

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January 20, 2019

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Prayers of the Faithful

Let us pray for a new awareness of the miracles of Christ Jesus as we celebrate the gifts of faith, hope and love in our midst.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the gifts of prophecy and understanding for all who lead the Church, for Francis, our Pope, and Michael, our Bishop.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people we take for granted in everyday encounters, that we may learn a deeper gratitude for other people’s skills and talents.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to create the Church based on the gifts of forgiveness, compassion and healing and the common good. May we build our lives on gratitude.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the dignity of all human life, the support of our children and hope for people with disabilities. May we use our gifts to create a world free from violence, racism and poverty.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our beloved dead and for our loved ones who grieve on earth.

We pray to the Lord.






Fragments from the Word: Mark 2:1:12

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Audio reflection, LISTEN NOW: CLICK HERE

Gospel  Mk 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

– – –

Fragments from the Word: Mark 1: 40-45

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Gospel MK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Baptism of the Lord: Homily from January 13, 2019, Mass at 7:30am at Sacred Heart

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Gospel  LK 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

Baptism of the Lord 2019: Prayers of the Faithful

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January 13, 2019

Baptism of the Lord

Let us pray as the baptized of God to become a light to the nations, to offer sight to the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us listen attentively to the Holy Spirit as we live out our baptismal call within the delicate fabric of our families, and among the complicated relationships of our workplaces.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray unceasingly for the mission and renewal of the Church. May our baptism come alive in the world for people facing terminal disease, unexpected hardship and lasting loneliness.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray that nations may work together to protect clean water and provide adequate drinking water for all people. Let us rely on God for our basic needs so to live with hope for tomorrow.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for all of our children and grandchildren who have been baptized this past year. Let us accompany God’s beloved through moments of doubt, hardship and turmoil. May we become prophetic witnesses of hope for all people.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who have died, that the Holy Spirit may guide them into their eternal home. For all people who grieve and those who search for meaning and hope here on earth. At this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.


Text and Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

Baptism of the Lord 2019: Bulletin cover and column

jan. 13, 2019 bulletin coverDear Believers,

We celebrate the Baptism of the Lord today, a feast that marks the end of the Christmas season. This feast propels Jesus into his ministry and we will follow him into his life of miracles, healings and parables. Jesus’ baptism foreshadows our life in Christ, through his passion, death and resurrection.

Baptism is our second birth. We belong to Christ. Our relationship with Christ through baptism forms our identity as Christians. As we listen to today’s gospel, Luke 3:15-16, 21- 22, John the Baptist is leading us to Jesus’ baptism. John expresses his humility and shows us that Jesus will be baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire. We also hear the voice of the Father, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Jesus’ baptism closes out the season of the Incarnation. Jesus is already thirty years old. The message here is that the Incarnation is continually revealed within us through the Real Presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit through our baptism. We live out our commitment to Christ every day in our prayer, our actions and our posture toward justice and peace.

The Father calls Jesus his beloved Son. This message is in the depths of our own baptism. We are loved by God, called to reveal the mission of the Church in our generation, in our time and circumstances, within our lives and relationships. Each of us is the beloved of God. This message is incredibly important. Along the way, many people have received just the opposite messages from the Church. People have been told that they do not belong in the Church because of their economic status, because of the language they speak or because of the color of their skin. None of those things are our Christian identity. Our baptism tells us a different story; we belong in Christ Jesus through our baptism.

When we enter our churches, we dip our hands into the baptismal or holy water font. This action shows us that we belong to Christ. Over and over again, we live for others because of the sacrament of baptism. We live in our world striving to remain connected to God, connected to our communities that serve without reservation. The sacrament of baptism connects us to Christ, heals our divisions, forgives our sins, and shows us how to believe in God throughout our lives.

I invite you to Vespers this Friday, January 18, 2019. Friday begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The service will be at Sacred Heart Church beginning at 6:30pm. Andy Barton, from Catholic Charities, and Kristy Milligan, from Westside CARES, will speak during our prayer. I hope you can join us to celebrate our common baptism, the ways in which we all belong to the mission and healing power of Christ Jesus.

We desperately need to foster our common voice as Christians to work for our common good. We need to ponder the depth; the mystery of our own baptism lived in our world. Our common identity as Christians, no matter our denomination shows the world that Christ is alive and thriving in our world.

Blessings to you,

Fr. Ron