Bulletin (October 16, 2005)

We continue to receive positive feedback from Dominic Parmantier’s financial presentation, especially his challenge to consider an increased giving of two dollars a week. Many parishioners have responded to that challenge. At the Spanish Masses last weekend, Victor Ramirez presented a translation of Dominic’s talk. At the conclusion he made a bold challenge to the congregation. He asked everyone who would support Holy Family Parish with an increase of two dollars to please stand up. At first there was a hushed silence. Then an individual or family, here and there, began standing up. Pretty soon, about two thirds of each congregation was on their feet. Victor thanked them, and then asked the others to prayerfully consider their giving to Holy Family Parish. We will of course be asking all parishioners to do that in our Fall Stewardship Campaign.

It is not just that Holy Family Parish needs your support: your gift of time, prayer, talent and economic resources. You also need to support your parish. By doing so, you will bring a blessing upon yourself and your family and, more important, will be making a return to the Lord for his generosity – which can never be outdone. The theme of this year’s Stewardship is: God owns it all; we are called to share.

Speaking of Stewardship, this past week I received a beautiful surprise. Someone made an anonymous donation of $15,000 to our Capital Campaign. I do not know who it is, although several people have tried to take credit!  As far as I know, it could be any parishioner, so I have made the resolution to try to treat each one as our guardian angel. I ask you also to keep that in mind as you give the Sign of Peace during Mass. We have many beautiful people who sacrifice in order that we might serve the needy – and raise our children to follow Jesus.

To me each gift of time, talent and treasure is like the water that flows into Puget Sound raising the overall level. All the boats rise as the tide comes in. Something like that happens in our parish. I know that different aspects of our parish life appeal to different members, but by working together we make a better parish for everyone.

During this month of October, there are small, but important ways in which you can support Holy Family Parish. Our school families are selling Innisbrook products (wrapping paper, candy, gift items). The raffle, which we will hold at the Knights of Columbus Halloween Party, will help support the needs of the entire parish. We have Christmas wreaths and other items for sale.

Speaking of the raffle, I would like to apologize for all the typos in the letter I sent out to our identified donors. When I sent out a similar letter to school parents, Mr. Lutz helped me with proofreading. I have placed a few copies of that letter in the vestibule.

Also, in the vestibule and entrances of the church, I have placed the fifth essay from the U.S. Bishops’ Conference on human life issues. Previous essays have treated topics of Genetic Enhancement, Contraception and Abortion, Dying with Dignity and Capital Punishment. This essay by Dr. Richard Stith, law professor at Valparaiso School of Law, analyzes the issues around Roe vs. Wade. We hear so much about Roe vs. Wade that we tend to think we have already heard everything possible about that Supreme Court decision. Oftentimes it is reduced to catch phrases such as “a woman’s right to choose” or “reproductive freedom.” As Dr. Stith points out, there is a lot more at stake. Here is an excerpt from his essay:

How could the U.S. Supreme Court leave viable unborn children with virtually no possibility of legal protection? Its reason is found in the passage above: Even just before birth, the child is supposedly only the “potentiality of human life.” Our highest court claims not to know that any unborn child is actually human and alive. This judgment doesn’t come from the Constitution or the law; the Court is making a non-legal claim about the nature of human development. Roe holds that a change in location, passage through the birth canal, can turn a potential human being into an actual human being. An unborn child overdue at nine and one-half months is considered only a potentiality, while a cousin at seven months is an actual human life if he or she emerges prematurely from the womb. An abortionist must be very careful to make sure every child he removes from the womb is dead beforehand. If he does anything that causes the child’s death a moment after it comes out, he may be guilty of murder.

But this makes no sense. What something is does not depend on where it is. How something is perceived may change with location, but not what it is in itself. We can relate to a baby in many new ways (holding, gazing, etc.) after it is born, but we know it is the same being that was alive and kicking in its mother’s womb just a short time before. The Court didn’t just reason poorly in Roe. It abandoned reason altogether, in favor of a wholly arbitrary stipulation of when actual human life must be considered to begin.

We might not mind the Supreme Court drawing a willful line in some minor procedural area of law. But Roe concerned the most fundamental of all issues, the question of who belongs to the human community. A plausible concept of “who counts” as a human being is the necessary starting point for all legal (as well as all ethical) reasoning.

To me as a priest, one of the tragic aspects of the unrestricted abortion license is how it has affected so many women and men. Earlier this month, I attended a rally by Silent No More. It was held in a very public place: Westlake Park on Saturday. About five women held signs saying, “I Regret My Abortion,” and each one gave a moving testimony how her abortion had drastically altered her life. They also witnessed to the hope found in forgiveness and healing, for example, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation or a Project Rachel Retreat. Most of the shoppers in downtown Seattle hurried by, but a good number stopped to listen to these women and their stories. I encourage anyone whose life has been affected by abortion to come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation – and to consider a Project Rachel Retreat. Men as well as women, grandparents as well as parents, may attend. Jesus’ mercy and healing knows no limit.

Next weekend is Mission Sunday. Please do not forget the needs of our brothers and sisters in poorer countries. Some of the donations will go toward places like Pakistan, which has been so terribly ravaged this week with the earthquake and subsequent rainstorms.

Finally: as I write this, I received the news of Joe Cortes’ death. He was a beautiful, faithful parishioner of Holy Family. We offer our prayers for his eternal rest and for the consolation of his wife, Theresa, and their children.

Hemos recibido muy Buenos comentarios sobre la presentación financiera del Sr. Víctor Ramírez en las tres misas en español. Víctor nos presentó el mismo informe que el Sr. Dominic Parmantier había dado en las misas de ingles y filipino. Al final, él mencionó que podemos tener un nivel adecuado de servicios (educación religiosa, mantenimiento, limpieza, administración, cursos sobre música en la escuela, etc.) si todo miembro diera un promedio de dos dólares más por semana. Víctor pidió que los que quisieran, que se pararan para indicar su compromiso. Al principio, nadie movió, pero poco a poco unas familias e individuales se pusieron de pie hasta que dos tercera parte de cada congregación indicó que iban a hacer este compromiso. Personalmente estoy muy agradecido por el apoyo de todos – tiempo, talento, oración y recursos económicos. Yo sé que algunas familias están en situaciones económicas muy difíciles en este momento, pero si remamos juntos, podemos avanzar como comunidad y parroquia.

No es solamente que la parroquia necesita su apoyo sino que Vd. necesito ofrecer a Dios una parte de lo que ha recibido como bendicion de él. El Señor es generoso y el bendice a los generosos. Van a escuchar más sobre esto en la campaña de Mayordomía. Este año su tema es: Todo es de Dios. Estamos llamados a compartir.

A parte de la colecta dominical, que es la forma principal de apoyar a la parroquia, hay otras maneras de ayudar, por ejemplo, con venta de comida, con trabajo voluntario, con oración ante el Santísimo, etc. Durante este mes estamos vendiendo boleto de rifa para apoyar a la parroquia. El gran premio es $3000 y será sacado en la fiesta de Halloween, patrocinada por los Caballeros de Colon (Knights of Columbus) para todos los niños de la parroquia. Este año invitamos a los papás que sus hijos lleven un traje de santo. Por ejemplo: Santa Rosa de Lima es con vestido blanco y chaqueta negra – llevando flores; San Juan Diego con su tilma; San Pedro con llaves; San Pablo con su espada; San Jorge con escudo y casco de soldado, etc. Durante la fiesta del 31 de octubre (lunes) vamos a sacar los boletos para los ganadores de $3000, $1000, $500 y otros premios.

Si trabajamos juntos en estos proyectos va a beneficiar toda la parroquia. Es verdad que diferentes aspectos de la parroquia atraen a diferentes personas. Pero toda donación de tiempo, talento, oración y tesoro mejora la situación para todos. Es como el agua que entra el Puget Sound: cuando el mar sube todos los barcos suben. Así es con nuestra parroquia.

Y no nos olvidamos las necesidades más allá de la parroquia. El próximo domingo de Domingo Mundial de las Misiones. Sus contribuciones en la segunda colecta ayudarán a personas en países lejanos como nuestros hermanos en Paquistán que han sufrido tanto a causa del terremoto. Somos parte de la Iglesia Universal y tratamos de ayudar a nuestros hermanos, lejanos y cercanos.