Bulletin (October 2, 2005)
On September 22 we had an important joint meeting of our Parish Council, Finance Council and School Commission. You may have already read the minutes, which I posted last weekend. The central topic was our parish, its mission and finances. Dominic Parmantier gave a concise report from the Finance Council, which I have asked him to present during the announcements this weekend. The essence of our situation is that during the past several years our overall income has been somewhat flat while our expenses (especially medical and other benefits for employees) have increased considerably. This has led to a reduction of personnel and services in our parish school and overall parish. The reductions have included school staff for foreign language study, physical education, music and art. We have also reduced staff in the areas of youth ministry, religious education, liturgy, maintenance and administration. Volunteers have picked up some of this work. Of course for volunteers to serve effectively, it requires parish and school staff to coordinate their efforts. Even with the reductions in staff and greater use of volunteers, we still had an operating deficit last year (about fifty thousand dollars). The only real solution to our financial problems is an increase in income to support needed parish ministries. Dominic will indicate what we require to have a more effective parish and how you can participate by stewardship of time, talent and financial resources.
If you have been reading the Parish Council minutes, you will have noticed that last year we discussed the sale of our rental property. Though it has brought some income for the parish, it is also a liability in terms of taxes, upkeep and administrative headaches involved in being landlords. In light of the purchase of the Bradley property (contiguous with our main parking lot) we approached the Archbishop about the possibility of selling the rental property. The fact that it is across the alley and in a different jurisdiction (King County vs. City of Seattle) makes its development for parish use less likely. After some consultation the Archbishop gave the go ahead for the sale. The Archdiocese has a department which administers properties and they are helping us with the sales process. Say a prayer that it is sold soon. The immediate effect is that instead of paying interest (6.75%) on our loans, we would actually be earning something on savings (the Archdiocese pays 5% on moneys deposited in the Parochial Revolving Fund). The parish and finance councils would advise me regarding the use of the funds, that is, how they would fit into our overall Capital Campaign for the renovation of buildings and existing parish property. Considering our upper parking lot and field, we still have significant property for parish use.
The property sale, in itself, will not solve our basic financial challenge. The solution is stewardship, that is, each of us recognizing the Source of who we are and what we have and placing our gifts before God for the service of our brothers and sisters. This year’s parish stewardship enunciates this theme: God owns it all – we are called to share.
Besides the focus on Stewardship, October is Respect Life Month. The most basic gift we receive from God is life itself. During the past two weeks I have made available articles from the U.S. Bishops dealing with the issues of Genetic Enhancement and Dying with Dignity. This Sunday I offer the third article: Contraception and Abortion: The Underlying Link. We often hear that the solution to abortion is greater use of contraception. However, as this essay points out, during the past fifty years, the development and promotion of contraception has not prevented, but rather has accompanied staggering rates of abortion (1.3 million a year in the United States). Why is that? This article connects the dots.
Last week I was interviewed by Fr. Bob Camuso for his radio program Conversations with Fr. Bob. He asked me about being pastor of Holy Family, about social justice issues such as abortion and immigration, and about my own spiritual life. Fr. Bob is a great interviewer, and I enjoyed the conversation with him. The half hour interview will be broadcast this Saturday (Oct 8) at 8 a.m. on KKNW radio, 1150 AM.
Next weekend our teachers will serve as lectors at our seven weekend Masses. This is appropriate since, as catechists of our children, they present the Word of God to them. Also, school families will be involved in the collections and offertory procession. Speaking of catechists, we are praying for them in a special way this weekend as we have the blessing of catechists at our 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Masses.
Finally, join fellow parishioners and others this afternoon at 2 p.m. at 16th and Roxbury for the Life Chain. This is part of a peaceful, nation-wide witness for the dignity of each human life. It involves silent prayer and holding signs with simple messages such as “Abortion Hurts Women.”
En la sección en inglés hay información sobre la situación económica de la parroquia. El próximo domingo habrá una explicación en las misas en español, junto con la participación de profesores y familias de nuestra escuela parroquial que es el apostolado de mayor inversión financiera de Holy Family. Hoy quisiera invitarles a participar en la Cadena de Vida a las 2 p.m. en Roxbury y 16 Avenida SW (cuatro cuadras del templo). Es parte de una campaña nacional para dar testimonio a la dignidad de toda vida humana. Incluye oración en silencio y pancartas con mensajes sencillos como “El Aborto Daña a Mujeres.” También son invitados a la vigilia semanal ante Planned Parenthood en 28 Avenida. Sale cada viernes a las 7:15 a.m. desde la Ailbe House. Como Vds. saben, Planned Parenthood es el mayor proveedor de abortos en los Estados Unidos (y el mundo). A veces usa decepción (por ejemplo en relación a la “contracepción de emergencia” y en no reportar violaciones de menores) y enfoca en minorías como hispanos para promover aborto y contracepción. Tiene una historia larga de racismo contra grupos que su fundadora Margaret Sanger consideraba como inferiores. El mes de octubre es una oportunidad de levantar la voz para la dignidad de todo ser humano y rezar por una verdadera cultura de vida.