We Reverence the Cross

Front view of Crucifix before restoration

Front view of Crucifix before restoration

This Good Friday as we celebrate the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at the St. Joseph site, parishioners might want to look twice before reverencing the cross with a kiss or caress.
The crucifix should look familiar to long time St. Joe attendants, as it was the one which hung in the sanctuary for years before the current mission crucifix took its place. Some dedicated volunteers found the old crucifix while digging out the Lenten decorations from the basement. It was in the “to be burned” pile with other scraps of wood. Though we estimate it has only been in the basement for about 10 years, there was water damage to the wood of the cross and some corrosion on the bronze pieces. The corpus was chipped, cracked, and even chewed through, probably by a squirrel. It hurt many of us to look at a parish treasure in that shape. I made some inquires and a generous parishioner offered to do the work of restoring the crucifix. Unfortunately, we could not salvage the corpus. A new one was purchased by the parish. While I would like to hang it somewhere in St. Joseph, there are a few reasons that make it impractical. First, liturgical law would have us only have one crucifix in the main body of the church. That is the reason the crucifix went to the basement in the first place. Second, if we were to swap it with the mission crucifix it would be half the current size, and then we would have to find someplace to keep the much larger crucifix. Third, the remaining places for the restored crucifix would be in one of the sacristies which only a handful of people are in. Therefore, after its use in the Good Friday Liturgy we will hang it in the main office so that everyone who comes in will be able to see it up close and appreciate it. We hope you will stop by!

Have a blessed Holy Week! -Fr. Sal

Side view of Crucifix before restoration

Side view of Crucifix before restoration

Buildings Update

From Fr. Sal

The purchase of OLG Mission building continues to move forward. Paperwork for the sale has been drafted by the Archdiocese on our end and given to the buyer for inspection.

We await any clarifications or questions that will come from their end before finalizing the purchase agreement. We are holding a $5000 deposit on the $225,000 sale price.
We do not have a closing date as of yet, but feel confident that everything will be settled by June. No more rentals will be booked at OLG after the end of this month because of the uncertain closing date. Tables, chairs, kitchen supplies, etc. will all be negotiated. All liturgical items will go either to St. Joe’s, St. Stephen’s, or to the Archdiocese who will give them to other Catholic churches in need. The Executive Committee of OLG will be working with me to determine how we might reinvest some of the sale money into Hispanic outreach, which is only fitting given the mission’s work.

A decision is yet to be made on the replacement of St. Joe’s roof. The roof is almost 100 years old and the tiles have become brittle. Much of the felt lining is decomposed, and some decking replacement will be required. The estimates have ranged from $200,000 – $400,000. We have to choose materials that 1) will hold up to the test of time 2) are historically appropriate. In order to have a more accurate idea on the potential cost of this project we have paid for design documents to be drawn up so that we can solicit 4-5 contractors to bid on the project. We are hoping to have bidding done by the end of this month, but are still identifying potential contractors. I will update you when we know more.

Children Caring

Starting with the first Sunday of Lent and going forward there will be some changes to the Children’s Liturgy of the Word.

After the opening hymn the children will be called up and dismissed. Then the Mass would begin with the sign of the cross, greeting, etc. and go on as usual.

The children will then return before the offertory occurs. While the collection is being taken, children are invited to come to the foot of the altar and donate a can of food for the poor.

They may give a dollar or even just some change if they forget their can good. Fr. Jeff or I will give a hug, or handshake, or high five, or fist bump as the child wishes, in order to thank them for their participation. They return then to their seats. Since the collection occurs after the children return from Children’s Liturgy of the Word none of them should feel like the two are connected. In other words if they don’t bring a can they are still most welcome to the Children’s Liturgy. The children’s offertory is just one more way for them to participate at mass, get to feel welcomed and comfortable with their priests, and learn to give. Jesus said ‘To such as these belong the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Peace, Fr. Sal

Holy Communion For Those With Gluten Allergies

From the Pastor

Hello, I have for a few months now been promising some of you that we would get hosts to accommodate those with gluten allergies and we have!

We now have low gluten hosts (20 parts per million). There does have to be some gluten for it to be wheat flour, which is a requirement for valid consecration.

We cannot use rice flour or other substitutes in the Catholic Church. Since it is too cost prohibitive to use low gluten hosts for everyone, we will offer them just for those who are gluten intolerant. This necessitates a special procedure. What I would ask is that all those who need a low gluten host purchase their own pyx (communion vessel).

You can find them at religious goods stores, or online. If you need help finding or getting one please contact the office.

You might want to put a small sticker on the bottom side with your name on it so we can get it back to the right person more easily.

Before mass, come back to the sacristy, and get a low gluten host out of the mini-fridge. They are individually wrapped and labeled. Take off the wrap, put the host in your pyx, and then set them on the credence table. The servers will bring them up when they set the altar, and they will be consecrated with the other hosts.
When the extraordinary ministers of holy communion come up to receive communion, so should those with a pyx on the altar.

We will hand you your pyx saying, “The body of Christ”, and after responding, “Amen”, you can then open it and receive. This way, no one touches your host but you limiting the possibility of cross contamination. You may then return to your seat as mass continues as usual. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

I hope that receiving the Body of Christ in this way will be a wonderful experience for those who have had to abstain thus far.

God bless you. -Fr. Sal

Our Parish Survey Summary

By: Fr. Sal

I would like to begin by saying thank you to all who participated in the parish survey this past year. It is helpful to hear directly from so many of you, that we may “take the temperature” of the parish. I do believe the best way to operate the parish is both a “top down” and “bottom up” approach. While the staff and I are knowledgeable and “do this for a living” we cannot serve you well without your feedback. The results will inform and mold decisions that the staff, the commissions, and I make in the next few years. Your time and response do matter.

While it is not helpful to share all the raw data with the parish at large, I would like to draw a profile of who, those of us who took the survey, say we are:

  • 90%: pray daily, allow our faith to guide our life choices, & go to mass 3-4 times a month
  • 30% of us attend mass one other time per week or more.
  • 40% of us have invited a guest to mass.
  • 95%: say our spiritual needs are being met, believe their priests care about them, and feel called to grow as disciples.
  • 85% of us feel that we have sufficient ways to be heard and have made friendships in the parish.
  • Most of us are female (65%).
  • Most of us are over 60 years old (68%).
  • More than half (55%) have belonged to the parish for 10 years or more.
  • A surprising 16% are not registered.

Already, some suggestions from the survey have been implemented or are being put in place. These things are: shorter announcements at the end of mass, forming a welcome / hospitality team, and creating a children’s choir.

Some of what we hope to do in the future is based off the survey as well. Those things include increased opportunities for devotions especially the rosary and Eucharistic adoration, more helping of the poor / homeless, increased opportunities for scripture study, and more activities for youth. If we do not get an associate pastor after Fr. Jeff leaves at the end of June, mass times will be affected, and the survey will also help in determining those changes.

While we will be consulting the survey on and off for the next few years, know that we also are working hard to put a strategic plan in place for the parish. This overall plan will include a: financial plan, buildings and grounds plan, and pastoral plan. This will be the “top down” to the survey’s “bottom up”. Thanks again for your participation and know that I am happy to meet or speak with any of you who have ideas/concerns/questions about our parish. God bless you!

Fr. Sal’s 10/16/2016 Homily

As we move closer to November and the election for our next president I am making a more and more intentional effort to sort through the issues, what’s at stake, and to whom to give my vote. What a difficult and gut wrenching time it has been.

Undoubtedly many of you are struggling through the same decision, so I thought it might be best for us to go over the moral teachings of the Church and how they are applied to voting.

Now, before anyone gets too worked up, let me say:
I am not a member of any political party.
I am not a fan of either candidate.
I am not going to tell you who to vote for,
but not because I don’t want to help you, but because I am not allowed.

The Church is recognized by our government as a non-profit, and therefore a tax exempt organization. The law prohibits such organizations from supporting political parties or individual candidates. The way the Catholic Church is organized does not allow any one parish or diocese to opt out. Either all the Catholic parishes in the U.S. are tax exempt or they’re not. All of this is way above my pay grade so until something changes, what I can talk about is political issues and stances, even as they apply to qualifying candidates for office according to our moral principles. Voting is a moral act.

We can start with voting itself. It has crossed my mind more than once to not vote. Maybe some of you are in that mindset. However, not voting is still a choice which we morally have to answer for. Neglecting our duty is the type of sin know as omission. In the first form of the penitential act we tell God we are sorry for, among other things, the good we have failed to do. We have a moral obligation to promote the common good. The common good is not just the responsibility of those in office, it’s ours, yet one important way to promote the common good is to vote for proposals or candidates who support it best.

The first and most basic moral law is to do good and avoid evil. It’s not both/and. It’s not and/or. It is do good and avoid evil.

For an act to be good, both the end and the means have to be good. In other words, the outcome or intention and the way we got there have to be morally good. We say the end never justifies the means. The circumstances surrounding a good end and good means could make the act more or less good.

For example, the intention of parents to give shelter to their family is a good end. If they buy said home with money which they earned, then the way they achieved the act is also a good. The other conditions or considerations are circumstances which to greater or lesser extent add to the good achieved, if said parents also choose a home where the children would be in a better school district, then the good done is even greater.

Unfortunately, it is easier to do evil than it is to do good. Why? An action is made evil by either the intention or the means being evil. Again, for an act to be good the intention and the means have to both be good. Only one of those two parts must be evil to make the whole thing evil. The circumstances can make an evil act more or less evil, however they can never make up for an evil intention or means, though sufficiently evil circumstances can ruin an otherwise good act.

For example, let’s take the same good intention of sheltering a family. The end is good, but if the means of sheltering the family is not buying the house but by taking it over by force and by keeping the rightful owners hostage in the basement, then the means are evil. The circumstances in this case could make the hostile family more or less culpable or guilty, but could not excuse them entirely.

There are acts which are so inherently evil, that the circumstances have zero effect on the level of guilt or punishment due to the one who chooses them. These are called intrinsically evil acts (non-negotiables).

Let’s step back for a moment now. We are able to participate in the good or the evil done by another person or group. That is, after all, why we are reviewing the moral law, to be able to apply it to our choice of proposals and candidates. We take part, in both direct and indirect ways, in the good or evil done by those we affirm, aid, assist or support, in this case in those we vote for.

As people of faith, how should we not vote?
First, we should not vote based on political party affiliation alone. One party may typically appeal to us than the other, but if we vote with respect to a candidate’s suitability we probably will not be able to vote a straight ticket. Parties change ideology and priorities, therefore, family or even your own voting tendencies should not determine your vote.

Second, please do not vote for someone for shallow reasons such as their appearance, personality on camera, or being media savvy. Those things don’t even qualify as icing on the cake. They’re the sprinkles on the icing, on the cake. They’re nice to have but we don’t need them.

Unfortunately, you are not safe voting for someone because they identify themselves as Catholic. There are a number of Catholic politicians who in my estimation, will have a lot of explaining to do on judgement day, scripture says “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Fourth, do not decide who to vote for based only on what is best for you personally. Remember, our responsibility is for the common good, not just our own good. What is best for all may not be ideal for me. It’s called sacrifice or charity.

Lastly, moral issues differ both in kind and in magnitude. We may not vote for someone who has many lesser issues right but fails to make moral decisions on greater issues. It’s like hiring someone who doesn’t have the education or experience needed for a job because they communicate well.

As people of faith, how should we vote?
First, we should evaluate each candidate which has a real chance of winning and see where they stand on our non-negotiable principals. We do not have to vote for a candidate who meets all our principals if it is clear they have no chance of winning. Why? Concern for the common good, which is both doing good and avoiding evil. Unfortunately, no write in candidate has a chance in this presidential election.

Then we rank the candidates according to how well they line up with the moral choices which are non-negotiables. We give preference to them accordingly.

If all, in this case both candidates are found to endorse positions which are at odds with non-negotiable moral choices. We vote for the one who would do the least serious harm. If that is not discernable, we then look at the issues of lesser importance.

We must also keep in mind the ability candidates will have to appoint other officials and the impact those people will have. For this presidential election, what comes to mind are the appointments that will be made for the Supreme Court. These appointments will shape the law, and our culture for years to come. That deserves consideration.

In my next homily we will dive into the issues that are non-negotiable and the role our conscience plays in making these and other moral choices. In the gospel today, the unjust judge hesitantly heeded the widow. May we not be so hesitant in heeding the Lord Jesus who speaks to our hearts, “Render a just decision for me.”


Dear Holy Trinity Family –

A few weeks ago I was able to share my joy with you in person, but in case you missed me or were at the 7:30, which unfortunately I was unable to go to, here is the good news: Just over 6 months ago I was named administrator of Holy Trinity Parish in Port Huron. Administrator is a title which more or less is equivalent to pastor but with the idea of a trial period. This period is typically around one year in length. I received a letter from Archbishop Vigneron on July 28th stating he has appointed me pastor. For me, this is a vote of confidence. For the people of Holy Trinity it promises some stability as pastors typically have a 6 year term, which can be renewed for a second 6 year term. I am very pleased to announce my becoming the pastor of Holy Trinity Parish retroactive to July 1st, and happy that I will have you and this place as my family and home. This being my first pastorate, a formal installation mass while be held on October 9th, 2016, 9:00am at the St. Stephen site. Bishop Byrnes will come to ceremonially install me into the office of pastor. The chicken dinner is that day and will start at 11:00am this year in order to continue the celebration after the installation mass. Please pray for me and know that I am praying for all of you!

My love and prayers, Fr. Sal

St. Joseph Roof Update, July 2016

While some parishioners are aware of the ongoing roof leak issues we have at St. Joe’s, many are not. The magnitude of the capital cost this presents to the parish has us facing some tough decisions. The clay tile roof is at the end of its useful life, and has already been patched and repaired a number of times. Though they’re not visible from the pews, tarps hang between the roof and the ceiling collecting water from the leaks and directing them into five gallon buckets where the water slowly evaporates. All of this is to say we need to address the roof situation soon. Below is some information on what has been done so far to resolve the issue.

  • Roofing Technology Associates (RTA), a consulting company, did a full roof evaluation in 2015. They found the roof, which is original clay tile from 1922, is at the end of its useful life, and recommended replacement.
  • The cost of clay tile replacement is prohibitive $400,000+, so we petitioned the Port Huron Historic Society to approve replacement with a metal, clay tile look-a-like roof and they gave us permission. We are now looking at a price tag of $200,000+. This is better but still very costly.
  • The Parish Buildings and Grounds Committee considered three options; replace the sanctuary roof (which is in the worst shape) and patch the remainder of the roof, or replace the remaining roof as the second stage of the project, or to replace the entire roof at one time.
  • The committee recommended that we hire RTA to prepare specifications for replacing entire roof at one time, and to then collect bids for hard numbers on the project to present to our Finance and Parish Councils. If approved here, the expenditure would then have to go to the Archdiocese for approval.

This fall when all the information is in, we will hold a town hall meeting to share details of the proposed project, discuss concerns, and answer questions. Have confidence that we will move forward together, doing what is best for all of Holy Trinity Parish.

-Fr. Salvatore Palazzolo

From The Pastor’s Desk

I am a priest of the Most High God, a disciple of His Son Jesus Christ, an apostle of the Holy Spirit and a servant for you, the people who seek God and are His own. I am a member of the faithful, like you, and a clergyman of the Church in Detroit, a native son of Saint Isidore parish, and now the administrator here at Holy Trinity Parish. I am unworthy of being known in all these ways but I continue to strive to live my life in accord with the Gospel and I ask for God’s grace and your prayers. Know that you have mine as we walk together in faith on the path to Life.

I was raised by wonderful parents and grew up with a really great sister and brother. My parents still live in my childhood home which they built in 1985. My siblings are both married, and so far, I have two nieces through my sister. I love my family very much and it is from them that I know how to love and be a family with you! Being the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family has meant that I learned many years ago to get along well with those who are both older (all my grandparents, aunts, and uncles) and younger (all my cousins) than me.

While I have high hopes for our time together, I am grounded by my experience and education (I have a degree in mechanical engineering). Not all of my family practices their faith which has taught me a bit about how to handle disappointment as a man of God. The Lord calls us to be faithful, that doesn’t always mean successful, and even if it does we may never see the fruit of our labor. I have also learned what it means to be a man of charity; I serve for your benefit in accord with the Divine Will, for God’s glory, and it is Him I aim to please.

While becoming a priest was never in my plan growing up, I can say that in being ordained I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I feel very blessed to know I’ve heard and responded to God’s call for my life’s work. I think the vocation to married life is very beautiful and I hope to strengthen it for you who are married as well as help those who are called to the priesthood and religious life to find their vocations.

Please be patient with me as I learn to serve in this new role. I truly desire to be your spiritual father; to provide for your spiritual nourishment, to protect you from falling into darkness, to encourage the growth and use of your spiritual gifts. I want to get to know you. I want you to be comfortable with me. I want to know what your hopes, plans, and desires for this parish. What has worked well, what hasn’t, what you appreciate most about the parish, what you can see has needed to be different. How I can better serve you. Your counsel and involvement are important to me. I am blessed to be following such a good pastor as Fr. Brian, and to have Fr. Jeff as my friend and associate. My new family, we are in this together! May God bless and keep you!

Fr. Sal

From The Pastor’s Desk

Congratulations, Rebecca Sweet! I am very happy to announce that the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council has chosen Holy Trinity Parishioner Rebecca Sweet to be a member of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s 2016 Synod. The Synod will be held November 18-20, 2016 and will have be made up of delegates from every parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit, as well as Archbishop Vigneron, our Auxiliary Bishops and the Vicars. Rebecca will be spending time in prayer, study and preparation for the next 11 months to be ready for the Synod. We can support her by keeping her, her fellow delegates, and the entire Archdiocese of Detroit in prayer as the Synod approaches.

Upcoming Events

January and February are very active months at Holy Trinity Parish. Some important upcoming events to keep in mind:

  • Our annual Marriage Prep Seminar will be Friday, January 22 and Saturday, January 23 in the school at St. Stephen. To register please call Dc. Dennis at 810-984-2689.
  • The Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner will be at 5:00 pm in the gym at St. Stephen on Saturday, January 30. Details to follow!
  • Ash Wednesday will be February 10. See the bulletin and website for Mass times.
  • The Come, Encounter Christ parish mission will be February 24-26, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm each night. You won’t want to miss this time of inspiring music, preaching and Eucharistic Adoration!

In Thanksgiving…

for allowing me to be your pastor for the last 10 years, for allowing me and my family to share in the celebrations of this parish community, for inviting me to be a part of your family, for all the words of support and expressions of gratitude for my priestly ministry here, for the wonderful farewell party, and for your prayer and friendship. Know of my love, my prayer, and my friendship as we embark upon new adventures in this Year of Grace 2016.

God Bless,
Fr. Brian