Bulletin (November 6, 2005)

On behalf of the children and families of our parish, I would like to thank our Knights of Columbus for the great Halloween party. It was a wonderful family event with the biggest turnout I have seen in my years as pastor. At the end of the party, we drew the winners of our parish raffle. The third prize ($500) went to Mark Sandoval, a parish volunteer, with a special skill in landscaping. Recently, he has gone through some difficult times, including an operation on his foot due to a diabetic condition. Mark was not present, but said that when he heard the congratulation message, it gave him a great lift, especially the children cheering him. Mark has no children of his own.

Christina Estigoy, a graduate of Holy Family School, who is currently completing her university studies, won the second prize ($1000). Christina said she would use the prize to help pay some of her bills. The first prize winner, Javier Perez, was present when we drew his name. The three thousand dollar prize will be a great help to Javier and his wife, Tina, who have two children in our parish school: Alicia, in third grade, and Javier, in pre-kindergarten.

We had an embarrassing oversight in relation to this year’s raffle. The tickets sold after the Spanish Masses were given to me on Sunday afternoon. I put them in a secure place – but it turned out too secure. They did not get placed in the October 31 raffle. On November 13 we will have a make-up drawing with a proportional prize. Regulations require that we keep all raffle ticket stubs for one year in case anyone has a question about their ticket. I would like to thank all those who worked so hard to make the raffle a great success. Special thanks goes to Betty Weller and Rogelio Rodriguez – and all who worked with them.

The raffle will help our parish finances. Of course, the mainstay of our parish is your Stewardship of Time, Talent and Treasure. This Sunday we will hear testimonies at all of the weekend Masses. At the English Masses we will have these speakers: Mrs. Anca Wilson, fourth grade teacher and Holy Family parishioner; Steve Hance, who together with his family, joined the Catholic Church at last year’s Easter Vigil and James and Julieann Donohue who are Holy Family School parents.

Regarding Stewardship, I received a beautiful written testimony from a parishioner. It inspired me, and this Sunday, I offer the first part of his testimony:

I'm a parishioner at Holy Family who grew up a Protestant PK (that's short for Preacher's Kid). I was taught the importance in my formative years of donating not only my time and talents to the church, but also that it was a sacred duty to tithe (a full 10% of one's gross income!) and give offerings for the Church's upkeep.

Upon leaving Protestantism, I spent several years living a rather self-centered and hedonistic lifestyle, so by the time I became Catholic, I was out of the habit of tithing. And since the Catholic Church didn't require it, I only gave what I felt I could afford. And in the last several years that's meant very little money: I concluded that, since I was giving generously of my time and talent (and especially since I was having a hard time making ends meet), that was all I needed to do.

But I kept feeling called to give more. The passage from Malachi 3:8-10 that I'd learned as a child kept haunting me:

 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (to be continued)

This weekend Fr. Ramón is visiting his brother in Tennessee. He will return on Tuesday. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, we will have Word and Communion Services at 8:30 a.m.

A special congratulations to Joseph and Margaret Unser, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend. It is a great joy to bless those who give such a beautiful example of fidelity and love.

Such celebrations bring back memories of my own parents’ golden anniversary in 1991. Five years later my dad passed away. He had his faults and weaknesses, but I believe that when he died, Melvin Bloom heard these beautiful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” On November 20 I will be offering a Mass, commemorating the tenth anniversary Mass of my dad’s death.

Also, on November 20, which is the Feast of Christ the King, we receive new members into our parish community by a profession of faith and the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion. Join us at the 11 a.m. Mass for that celebration. On the following Thursday (November 24), we will celebrate our parish Thanksgiving Day Mass at 9 a.m.

This last Tuesday I got a “sneak peek” of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It looks like it will be a blockbuster movie. I will write more about it later.

Our prayers for the family of Gabriel Nicholas Chirko, a baby who died before birth. We extend our condolences to his parents, Jason and Monica. Gabriel’s funeral was Friday. He had a twin brother, Colin Michael, who is doing well. Again, our prayers to the parents, grandparents and all family members. During this month of November we remember in a special way all children who died in their mother’s womb – and we pray for healing and strength for those who have tragically lost an unborn child.

El domingo pasado tuvimos una linda celebración de las vísperas de Todos los Santos (Halloween). Niños de nuestra comunidad llevaron trajes de santos: Santa Teresa, San Martín de Porres, San Judas, Santa Verónica, Beata Teresa de Calcuta, San Martín el soldado y otros santos. Fue una linda celebración.

Muchos de Vds. participaron en la Fiesta de Halloween de los Caballeros de Colon. Al final sacamos los boletos de los ganadores de la rifa. En la parte en inglés, mencioné los ganadores, dos de ellos (primer y tercer premios) de la comunidad hispana. También mencioné un error que era culpa mía. El día domingo, Rogelio Rodríguez me entregó los boletos vendidos después de las misas en español. Los puse en un lugar seguro, pero desgraciadamente era tan seguro que no fueron puestos en la rifa del 31 de octubre. El 13 de noviembre vamos tener otra rifa con un premio proporcional para los boletos que no eran parte de la rifa del día lunes. Pido su perdón y entendimiento. Las reglas nos obligan a guardar los boletos por un año en caso de cualquier pregunta o duda.

Estoy muy agradecido a todos los que participaron en la rifa, especialmente los que trabajaron en la venta de boletos. La rifa ha sido una gran ayuda para las finanzas de la parroquia. Por supuesto, el mantenimiento de nuestra parroquia depende de su Mayordomía de Tiempo, Talento y Tesoro. Este fin de semana habrá testimonios de familias de nuestra comunidad:______________________, ____________________, y______________________. Les agradezco su apoyo de nuestra parroquia.