Our saint for this week is the Cure D'Ars - St. John Marie Vianney. He is the only saint in our upper West windows who is not holding something in his hands, rather he has them folded in prayer. This represents the long hours he spent before the Blessed Sacrament. A parishioner asked him what he does during all that time. St. John Vianney responded, "He looks at me and I look at him."
Besides prayer the Cure D'Ars was known for his life of penance. Tucked in his right arm is the flagellum which he used in literal imitation of St. Paul, "I beat my body and bring it into subjection - lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." (1 Cor 9:27)
The third aspect of St. John Vianney's life was the sacrament of Confession. Some days he spent sixteen hours or more in the confessional. Like Blessed Padre Pio he would often know people's sins before they opened their mouths. (Do not worry. Neither Fr. Gallagher nor I have that ability.) In our stain glass window you can see a nineteenth century style confessional behind the saint. It has a curtain in the front and on either side a grill and kneeler for penitents.
St. John Vianney wears a black cassock with knee length white surplice surplice and light purple stole.
During the last ten years of his life, he spent from 13 to 18 hours a day in the confessional. His advice was sought by bishops, priests, religious, young men and women in doubt as to their vocation, sinners, persons in all sorts of difficulties, and the sick. By 1855, the number of pilgrims to Ars reached twenty thousand a year.
The irony is that at 29, Jean-Marie Vianney was ordained over the objections of many Catholics in his area, and only after his superiors decided that his zeal and devotion compensated for his "academic under-qualification." He was thought to be so incompetent that he was put under the direction of Fr. Balley, who first recognized and encouraged his vocation. After Fr. Balley's death, Fr. Vianney was appointed parish priest in the small and obscure village of Ars. There he began visiting his parishioners; ministering to the sick and poor; championing campaigns against drinking, dancing and immodest dress, and establishing an orphanage for destitute girls, which became a model for similar institutions throughout France.
In the process of being declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, miracles were attributed through his intercession. However, some feel the greatest miracle was his life, itself. For forty years his food and sleep were insufficient to sustain life. Yet he labored incessantly, with unfailing humility, gentleness, patience, and cheerfulness, in service to the people of God. His life is a reminder that everyone, no matter what their status in life, is capable of doing great things in God's name.
Fr. Vianney was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, and made patron saint of clergy throughout the world in 1929. His feast day is August 4th.
The next meeting of our parish Respect Life 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. For those who wish to car pool or caravan to Everett that morning, we will leave from Holy Family at 6:15 a.m. 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.
The Sacrament of Confession is celebrated in Holy Family every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. as well as Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and the first Thursday of each month from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Please avail yourself of the grace of this sacrament especially during the Jubilee Year 2000.
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.