|Sacred Heart is a Catholic Parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle.|
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Welcome to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bellingham, WA.
Sacred Heart Parish is a Spirit-filled community of persons who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ through the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
As Parishioners of Sacred Heart we witness the presence of God in our community as a family, bound together by the Word and Eucharist. We journey together through worship, education, service, social activities and stewardship. We use our gifts and talents to reach out to others.
Regular Mass Schedule
Brothers and Sisters, we are entering into what I am sure for many of you is the best time of the year, especially here in Bellingham, the summer season. Having grown up in the area I know personally how beautiful this season is in this region and how this is one of the few times of the year that clear skies outnumber the clouds. Whenever someone wants to visit the area I always tell them to make sure and come during the summer, first of all because it is when we are at our most beautiful, and secondly because there is a better chance of clear skies. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you got snookered into moving here because you once visited during the summer, saw how beautiful the area was and moved, only to find that the clouds move in around October and often sit through July. At least the temperature is mild all year and I like mountains no matter what the sky looks like.
Summer also brings with it a shift in the life of the parish as most programs cease and we sort of go into rehabilitation mode. Most of us will be taking vacation at some point and traveling all over. Just remember that Jesus lives everywhere and appreciates the visit whether you’re in Bellingham, Washington, or upstate New York; He’s got outposts all over the globe. If for some reason you are so far away from a Church that you can’t go to Mass, talk to me ahead of time and we’ll see if a dispensation from your Sunday obligation might be in order. This is a relaxation of the obligation for a legitimate reason. For instance if you’re backpacking on the Olympic Peninsula for five days over a weekend, obviously there are no churches right off the trail and it’s a legitimate pursuit that you don’t engage in often, a dispensation is probably in order. On the other hand, if you’re at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in a little cottage for the same amount of time, I know from personal experience that there is a church about ten minutes away. In this case a dispensation probably isn’t legitimate, and it doesn’t matter that you might be staying with Uncle Joe and Aunt Lulu who don’t practice the faith anymore. It’s good for them to see that in this day and age people still find faith important, especially if you have to make a sacrifice and get up early to do it; this is most certainly bonus points in Heaven.
If you do receive a dispensation it is always good to explain it to your kids, if they are old enough to understand, because believe it or not this will be one of the major factors in determining whether they practice the faith after leaving home or not. If we witness to them that there are times when Mass isn’t attended they will form their own reasons why this is and can easily come to the conclusion that when it’s inconvenient then it’s appropriate to miss. Well guess what happens when they are up until 3:00 a.m. working on a paper in college? It’s pretty inconvenient and so they miss, and before they know it they are out of the habit. As in many other things it is often the little details that make the most difference so be conscious about your actions.
I would also like to remind all of you that the summer means a shift in my schedule as well. I am a little more open for appointments because the college is out so if you have been waiting for a good time to sit and talk with me this is it. Also, if you want to invite me over for dinner or, for all you players out there, if you want to maybe go golfing now is the opportune time, as it is basically not possible with the schedule during the rest of the year. Finally, I would like to remind you that this is also the time of year that the Priests all go on retreat together so I will be out next Monday through Thursday, with Mass only on Thursday and Friday. Also, although the college is out it doesn’t mean my work there doesn’t exist and I will have to be at a number of events this summer, including Quo Vadis days, not this week but the next, and also one later in the summer. I hope you all enjoy the weather when it shifts, and stay safe on any trips you might take.
Fr. Joseph Altenhofen