Boletín (25 de mayo de 2003)

Abajo he escrito algo en inglés sobre la revisión de mis seis años como párroco de Sagrada Familia. No voy a traducirlo todo en español sino explicarlo en las homilías este fin de semana. El 7-8 de junio celebraremos cincuenta años desde la construcción de nuestro templo. Aquel fin de semana habrá una presentación sobre las necesidades actuales de nuestros edificios y los planes para el futuro. Como siempre agradezco su apoyo.

Two weeks ago I mentioned that the Archdiocesan Review of my past six years as pastor contained many encouraging notes. For example, our Mass attendance and collections have increased significantly, marriages have doubled and baptisms quadrupled. There was much positive feeling about the parish staff, school, lay volunteers, new programs such as Perpetual Adoration and Courage, connection to Mary Bloom Center, priests living in parish residence, vocations and above all the tremendous Hispanic participation in Holy Family Parish.

At the same time we face some great challenges. As you might guess, the challenges are found in some of the areas of greatest strength – our parish school and Hispanic community. While everyone seems appreciative of the Hispanic presence, it has created some tensions in use of facilities and allocation of resources.

About twice as many people attend the three Spanish Masses as the three in English. In general they are young families (most of the 442 baptisms last year were from the Hispanic community) and young single men. Since many of them are just starting out in life on their own and also are helping out family members in other places, they often do not have the same financial resources as many “Anglo” parishioners. Still their level of stewardship has increased. Last year the parish received over $200,000 in the collections at Spanish Masses, as well as significant donations at the time of baptisms, marriages and quinceañeras.

Also the different Hispanic organizations (Christian Family Movement, Guadalupanos, Prayer Group, Legion of Mary, Youth Group, etc.) have contributed not only apostolically, but also by fund raising activities.

The Anglo Community is hardly homogeneous. It would be more accurate to call it simply non-Hispanic, because it includes significant numbers of Vietnamese, Filipinos and smatterings of people who have come from other nations, including Africa and Europe. (My own Croatian grandparents would be puzzled by their grandchildren now being referred to Anglos – no doubt many of you are in the same boat.) The native born members of Holy Family include people who have belonged for many decades as well as those who have joined in recent years.

People have expressed a desire to do more things together. At the same time a number noted that they do not like bilingual activities. I am hopeful that activities such as social hours, parish picnic, monthly pancake breakfasts, etc. will help folks get to know each other. I have noticed more Hispanics attending English Masses and some “Anglos” who come to Spanish Masses. We will continue to have some bilingual or multi-lingual events such as Holy Thursday liturgy and when appropriate to have some Spanish songs at English Masses, as well as some English at Spanish Masses.

Perhaps the greatest potential unifier in our parish is Holy Family School. It draws students whose parents are from Hispanic and Asian nations, as well those born here. Thanks to the great leadership of Mr. Stephen Morissette, Holy Family School has become a model for diversity. At the same time, maintaining our parish school is great financial challenge for parents and parish. In June we will be having a joint meeting with Parish Council, Finance Council and School Commission to discuss this challenge.

With the help of Mr. Ed Williams from the Archdiocese of Seattle we are putting together a budget for our school and overall parish. In doing so we are making a few more cutbacks. This is necessary so we can advance with some of the other urgent needs of the parish in terms of deferred maintenance and future building requirements. In regard to this, our parish Building Commission will be making a special presentation on the weekend of June 7-8. This corresponds with the 50th anniversary of the building of Holy Family Church. More about that next week.

Pro Life Hike for the Unborn is sponsoring a peaceful, prayerful four-day, 80 mile walk from Olympia to Kelso, WA, Thursday, June 12 through Sunday, June 15, 2003. The hike begins with the following event on Thursday, June 12: 7:30 am. Holy hour at St Michael’s Catholic church, Olympia. Procession to nearby abortion clinic (2 blocks), where a rosary will be prayed. Procession to capitol grounds (10 blocks) for concluding prayers. Event will end at approx. 9:30 am. Please pray for the hikers. Pray that many hearts will be changed through this hike. Pray that the unborn and their mothers get the emotional, spiritual and physical support they need to continue their pregnancies. For more information on other events along the hiking trail, please contact Jim Newstrom at 206-937-6462 or seminarian Ed White at ewhite@stcharlesb.org.