Bulletin (November 20, 2005)

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. With St. Paul we acknowledge Jesus as the source and ruler of all creation – and we ask him to extend his gentle rule over our lives. One of the most important ways we do this is by practicing Stewardship with the gifts he has given us: time, energy, abilities, opportunities and financial resources. I am pleased that so many of you responded to our parish Stewardship drive. In our bulletin we have a separate sheet that lists those who have offered volunteer service to the parish (Time and Talent) as well as those who pledged a part of their financial resources (Treasure). If you turned in a card and your name is not included in the list, please let us know. We try to be as accurate as possible, but sometimes we miss. The lists will be updated in next Sunday’s bulletin.

My goal as pastor is that every family tithes, that is, gives back to God the first fruits, the first ten percent of their time, skills and finances. I do not ask all ten percent for the parish - although some families, God bless them, do give ten percent of their income to Holy Family Parish. The overall goal is more modest: that each household give five percent of their earnings to support the day to day mission of our parish. The next five percent should go for other charities, for example, the various fundraising efforts of our parish school, local Catholic agencies, the work of the Archdiocese (especially the Annual Appeal) and the national and international efforts of our Church. Each individual and family should use their own discernment in supporting these efforts. Allow me a personal example: to me, one of the most important new apostolates is Catholic radio. I try to give one percent of my income each month for Sacred Heart Radio to support the work they do in teaching and evangelizing. Catholic Radio, twenty-four hours a day, is reaching people with clear, Catholic teaching. Other local efforts that deserve support are St. Vincent de Paul, Madre Teresa, Hospital Ministry and Birthright, which all minister to people in crisis situations – and bring them the hope and healing which our Catholic faith offers. A major part of my own personal giving is to the Mary Bloom Center in Peru. This medical clinic and educational center serves the poor in one of the neediest areas of the Americas. Many of you have joined with me in supporting this effort and for that I am most grateful.

The Mary Bloom Center has a personal significance for me because it bears the name of my mom. It was founded while my mom was still alive, and she was a significant contributor to the Center. My dad also had a major role in the establishment of the Mary Bloom Center. This Sunday, together with my sister and brothers, I am observing the tenth anniversary of my dad’s death. The 11 a.m. Mass is being offered for the eternal rest of Melvin Bloom. My sister Melanie, as well as several of my brothers, nephews and nieces, will be present for the Mass.

My dad was a convert to the Catholic faith, and by a very appropriate coincidence, we are receiving some new members into the Catholic Church this Sunday. They have been preparing for a long time, and we decided that rather than wait until Easter, we would receive them into full communion (by Confirmation and First Eucharist) on this great Feast of Christ the King.

This is the time of year when many of our high school seniors are applying to different colleges. I received the happy news that one of our students has been accepted into Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in California. TAC is one of about twenty colleges in the United States where the theology professors have received the mandatum from their local bishop. The mandatum is like the license to practice which a doctor or dentist displays in his office. The U.S. Bishops’ Conference has made this statement: “The mandatum is fundamentally an acknowledgment by church authority that a Catholic professor of a theological discipline is teaching within the full communion of the Catholic Church.” The mandatum certifies that what they teach will be in conformity with the teachings of Christ as we find them expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is very important because sometimes parents will send their son or daughter to a college which calls itself Catholic, but find themselves deceived. I have talked with students whose theology professors have openly advocated pre-marital sex, abortion, and the homosexual lifestyle. Sending a young person to a university is one of the biggest investments a family makes. If you are selecting a Catholic university, please make sure that the theology teachers have a mandatum which they display in their office.

And speaking of Catholic teaching, Pope Benedict XVI gave a powerful reflection in a recent audience:

St. Basil, filled with wonder as he reflects upon the mystery of Creation, writes that God is "beauty greater than any that can be desired, the beginning of all beings, the source of life, the light of understanding, inaccessible wisdom": Such is the God who "in the beginning created Heaven and Earth." Let us praise the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever. I believe the words of this fourth-century Father are of amazing timeliness, when he says some, "deceived by the atheism they bear within them, imagined the universe deprived of a guide and order, at the mercy of chance." How many are these "some" today? Deceived by atheism, they believe and try to demonstrate that it is scientific to think that everything lacks a guide and order, as if they were at the mercy of chance. The Lord, with sacred Scripture, awakens the drowsy reason and says to us: In the beginning is the creative Word. In the beginning the creative Word -- this Word that has created everything, which has created this intelligent plan, the cosmos -- is also Love. Let us allow ourselves to be awakened by this Word of God. Let us pray that he clear our minds so that we will be able to perceive the message of creation, inscribed also in our hearts: The beginning of everything is creative Wisdom and this Wisdom is love and goodness: "Eternal is his mercy."

Al celebrar la Fiesta de Cristo Rey, reconocemos a Jesús como fuente y dueño de toda creación – y pedimos que extienda su dominio suave sobre nuestras vidas. Una de las formas más importantes para hacerlo es Mayordomía de los dones que el nos ha dado: tiempo, energía, habilidades y recursos económicos. Estoy contento que muchos de Vds. han respondido a nuestra campaña parroquial de Mayordomía. En el boletín tenemos una lista de todos los que han oferto servicios voluntarios a la parroquia (Tiempo y Talento) y los que han prometido una parte de sus recursos financieros (Tesoro). Si Vd. ha regresado una tarjeta y su nombre no está incluido en la lista, favor de dejarnos saber. Tratamos de evitar errores, pero a veces sucede. El próximo domingo habrá una nueva lista.

Como les dije en la homilía del domingo pasado, mi meta como párroco es que toda familia practique el diezmo. Es decir, dar a Dios los “primeros frutos,” el primer diez por ciento de tiempo, habilidades y finanzas. No pido el entero diez por ciento para la parroquia, sino que toda familia de cinco por ciento de sus ganancias para apoyar la misión constante de nuestra parroquia. Los otros cinco por ciento se puede dar a otras obras de caridad: por ejemplo, los esfuerzos de la escuela parroquial para recaudar fondos, la obra de la Arquidiócesis (especialmente la Petición Anual del mes de mayo) y los esfuerzos nacionales e internacionales de nuestra Iglesia. Cada individua debe usar su propio discernimiento en que grupo va a apoyara. Ejemplos concretos son Madre Teresa que ayuda a los pobres de nuestra comunidad, el ministerio de prisiones y hospitales, Campaña Capital, Birthright (Derecho de Nacer), Radio Católica y Misiones. Una parte mayor de mi Mayordomía va al Centro Mary Bloom en el Perú. Es una clínica médica y centro educativo que sirve en uno de las áreas de más necesidad en las Américas. Muchos de Vds. me han apoyado en este esfuerzo y estoy agradecido por su ayuda.

El Centro Mary Bloom tiene un significado personal porque lleva el nombre de mi mamá. Fue fundado cuando mi mamá todavía vivía. También mi papá tuvo un papel importante en establecer el centro. Este domingo, junto con mis hermanos, estoy observando el décimo aniversario del fallecimiento de mi papá, Melvin Bloom. Su foto estará en el santuario durante las misas.