As we work to finalize our parish budget, I am keeping a closer eye on Sunday and other collections. Last weekend (July 8-9) at our six Masses at total of $10,486 were donated. Your Sacrificial Giving is vital to the well being of Holy Family, enabling us to meet our bills and to address the various needs of the parish. In the next weeks I hope to be able to give you more information on our financial situation and budget for this fiscal year.
As we face the challenge of Sacrificial Giving to maintain our parish, we have not neglected needs beyond our parish community. In our two-bit collection $519.76 were given for Operation Nightwatch, an important organization to help people here in Seattle. Also at our Spanish Masses a second collection was taken up for Holy Family 2000 Project, to make our school building safer. $324.66 were contributed. The first part of that project is advancing well as you can see from the work being done to lay the foundations for the new porch steps.
Last Saturday I received a nice surprise at a Quince Años (15th birthday) celebration. At the end of the Mass, the young men and ladies accompanying the quinceañera presented me with envelopes of individual donations for the Mary Bloom Center. The donations totaled $383. It turned out that a few days later I received news from Peru about another fifteen year old girl, Rosa Mamani. Her mom had brought her to the Mary Bloom Center because of some health problems. In the course of the examination, Obst. Luz Marrón (director of the Center) discovered a heart problem. Further examinations disclosed that Rosa will need an operation to survive. The Peruvian Public Health system will pay for part, but not all of the expense. I have already sentthe $383 donated by our young people to help Rosa obtain the operation.
Speaking of aid to the poor leads into our fifth stain glass window - St. Vincent de Paul. With him we jump from fifth century (St. Patrick) to the seventeenth. Wearing a cassock and black cloak, St. Vincent cradles an orphan baby in his left arm. With his other hand he protects a barefoot girl who holds an empty basket and reaches up to the saint. St. Vincent has a gaze of compassion for her and the near naked prisoner at his feet. He represents the fact that in 1619 Vincent was appointed Chaplain-General of the Galleys in Paris; he was able to stop many abuses to the galley slaves.
St. Vincent had an extraordinary life of service to the poor. Ordained a priest in 1600, at the age of 19, he first worked in the parish of Clichy, located north of Paris. When he described to his parishioners an encounter with a poor sick family, it lead to an outpouring of concern and eventually to the founding of Confraternities of Charity to assist them. He taught those helping the needy to view it not so much as social work, but a form of mysticism - seeing Christ present in the hearts of poor.
Recognizing that the greatest needs of the poor were spiritual, St. Vincent organized missions to rural parishes which eventually led to the founding of a new religious order, the Congregation of the Mission. At the same time he worked with a young widow, Louise de Marillac, to found the Daughters of Charity. These orders, known as Vincentian priests and sisters, continue strong today.
St. Vincent died in 1660, but over a century later he was still held in high esteem by his countrymen. Fr. John Freund, C.M. observed:
"During the French Revolution, rioting mobs broke into the Pantheon in Paris and smashed all the religious statues but one. Despite their zeal to replace, in their eyes, a repressive Christianity with the freshness of their secular heroes and heroines, they could not bring themselves to deface the image of Monsieur Vincent. He had done too much good, helped too many of their forebears, spoken too movingly about the preciousness of the ordinary person for them to throw him out with the rest."
In 1833, a layman named Frederic Ozanam founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Its members, including our dedicated group here at Holy Family, continue to serve the poor in the spirit of the great saint.
Today the most vulnerable of our society are unborn children and the terminally ill. We have formed a Respect Life Committee to promote the value of human life from conception to natural death. The next meeting of the committee will be Thursday, July 27, 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the rectory. We welcome participation from any interested parishioners.
Fr. Benedict Groeschel will celebrate a Mass for Life on August 5, 7:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Everett followed by a prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood on 3200 Hoyt. Please consider driving up to Everett that morning to hear Fr. Groeschel and participate in this witness to value of each human life - and to pray for all mothers who are facing difficult or troubled pregnancies.
Do not neglect the power of prayer to transform our parish and our world. Please consider devoting one hour a week to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. We have exposition of Jesus in the Sacrament from Monday thru Saturday morning in our Ailbe House Chapel.
Also please consider joining the pilgrimage to St. James Cathedral on Tuesday, July 25. A Mass in honor of St. James the Apostle will be celebrated by Archbishop Brunett at 2 p.m. with Cardinal Francis George as homilist. The walking pilgrimage will begin at 9 a.m., right after our morning Mass.
Please take a look at our parish bulletin board for two other great Jubilee opportunities: The Western Washington Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference, August 4-6, at the Everett Civic Auditorium and the FIRE Rally, October 14, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Portland, OR