Bulletin (April 7, 2002)

After the intensity of Holy Week, the days after Easter can be a let-down. On one level it is quite natural. However, the Church asks us to look at the Octave (eight days) of Easter as a single day. The same Preface is used at each of the Masses, the “Gloria” is recited even at daily Masses and of course the readings focus on the Resurrection appearances of Jesus.

In recent decades we have had a help to making the Octave into a “single day.” A Polish nun, Sr. Faustina Kowalska, received a series of revelations regarding the “Divine Mercy.” Although like all private revelations they do not have the binding force of public revelation (Scripture) still they have been recognized as having great value.

A few years back Sr. Faustina was canonized by Pope John Paul II and the Second Sunday of Easter was designated as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” I have provided a personal reflection on the Divine Mercy in the homily.

On the Monday after Easter I went to my brother’s place on Camano. While there I uploaded some pictures from the Easter Vigil. If you have Internet access, you can find them at: /eastervigil2002.html They are a nice memory of Fr. Tim McDonald’s presence among us during the final weeks of Lent. Also you can see Deacon Ted carrying the Pascal Candle, as well as the acolytes with incense, holy water, etc. Kirk Cieszkiewicz, who took the fotos, also got some good shots of the elect being baptized and confirmed. Standing behind them are there various sponsors.

I was most pleased and grateful for the work of the sponsors and of the RCIA team. Lin Fulwiler, and those working with her, did a magnificent job preparing the adults.

Sr. Mary Clare prepared the children for baptism, took a slight fall on Holy Saturday. She has been recovering this week and should be back to full speed for the celebration of First Holy Communion on April 20. Special thanks to Sr. Mary Clare and Lin (and all those worked together with them) for the preparation of a beautiful group of adults and children for the Easter Sacraments.

It is great to have Fr. Ramon back. The process to obtain a religious visa went much faster than expected and he returned to Holy Family on Easter. Many people prayed for his speedy return, although I don’t think anyone was praying more ardently than myself. Fr. Velasco is such a great help in the parish.

Among his many activities, Fr. Ramon will be conducting the baptism preparation class for parents of small children, beginning this Monday, April 8. If you have child (whether born or in utero) you are invited to attend those two sessions (April 8 and 15). The next baptisms will take place on April 21.

The next series of marriage preparation classes (Evenings for the Engaged) will begin Sunday, April 28. The sessions will begin at 4 p.m and last two hours. Please call Sharon Carriere for more details and to register. I was please by the number of participants in the winter Evenings for the Engaged. It looks like the Spring session will also have a high number.

Among the important themes discussed in the Evenings for the Engaged is family planning - openness to and spacing of children, the difference between fertility awareness and birth control. Recent studies have shown that couples who use artificial birth control have a higher incident of divorce as compared to couples who use natural methods of family planning. This has been the case even for couples who had no particular religious motivation for using natural methods.

There is something about artificial means which puts a barrier, both physically and spiritually, between a husband and wife – and causes them to have less confidence and openness to each other. On the other hand, natural methods (Billings, Sympto-Thermal, etc.) help promote a greater trust and communication. They do require more work and study, but the benefits are well worth it. It does not require a Ph.D. to learn natural methods. About forty million couples world-wide use the Billings Method. Next Sunday, April 14, Darcy Hemstad, R.N. will be here again to give an introduction the Billings Method and to review charts with current users. She will be here at 1:45 p.m. in the rectory.

On April 29 we celebrate the75th birthday of our parish school. There will be some special activities that Monday to mark the event. Our school building has held up well, even making it through last year’s earthquake with practically no damage. Still, internal seismic retrofitting is required and is something we will do when we have sufficient funds. Also we need to meet the ADA (Americans with Disability Act) requirements by installing either an elevator or ramp. The parish council is helping put together priorities in dealing with the various building needs, including what to do about the leaks in the church and Ailbe House. The next parish council meeting is April 18. Please keep its work in your prayers.

VATICAN CITY, APR 4, 2002 (VIS) - Made public this afternoon was Pope John Paul's Letter to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state, in which he asks the entire Church to dedicate Sunday, April 7, Divine Mercy Sunday, to prayers for peace in the Middle East. Following is the text of that Letter:

"The dramatic situation in the Holy Land induces me to once again urgently appeal to the entire Church, asking all believers to intensify their prayers for those populations now being lacerated by forms of unheard-of violence. Precisely in this period, in which the hearts of Christians turn towards the places where the Lord Jesus suffered so much, died and arose, we receive ever more tragic news that adds to the growing dismay of public opinion, provoking the impression of an unstoppable tendency for inhuman brutality.

"In the face of the stubborn determination with which both sides continue to go forth on the road of revenge and vendetta, what appears to the anguished souls of believers is the prospect of recourse to prayer to that God Who, alone, can change the hearts of men, even the most obstinate.

"Next Sunday, April 7, the Church will celebrate with special fervor the mystery of Divine Mercy, and will give thanks to He Who took upon Himself the afflictions of our humanity. What could be a more suitable occasion to raise to heaven a choral invocation of pardon and mercy that implores the Heart of God for a special intervention upon all those who have responsibility and power to undertake the necessary steps, even if they cost a great deal, to put the parties that are fighting on the path towards just and dignified accords for all?

"I would therefore, dear brother, be grateful if you could be the intermediary, in a manner you believe to be opportune, to convey this desire of mine to the pastors of the various particular Churches, inviting them all to offer, next Sunday, a unified plea in such a serious hour for all of mankind. May a message of a stable and lasting peace reach that land that is so dear to the three monotheistic religions.

"With this hope, that comes from the deepest part of my heart, I send you and all my brothers in the episcopacy a special apostolic blessing."

Quisiera agradecer a todos que participaron en las ceremonias de Cuaresma y la Semana Santa. Fue una experiencia profunda de la gracia de Dios.

Mensaje Pascual del Santo Padre:
Comunidades cristianas de todos los continentes, 
os pido, con emoción y esperanza, 
que deis testimonio de que Jesús ha resucitado verdaderamente, 
y que trabajéis para que su paz 
frene la dramática espiral de violencia y muerte, 
que ensangrienta la Tierra Santa, 
sumida de nuevo, en estos últimos días, 
en el horror y la desesperación. 

¡Parece como si se hubiese declarado la guerra a la paz! 
Pero la guerra no resuelve nada, 
acarrea solamente mayor sufrimiento y muerte, 
ni sirven retorsiones o represalias. 

La tragedia es verdaderamente grande. 
¡Nadie puede quedar callado e inerte; 
ningún responsable político o religioso! 
A las denuncias sigan hechos concretos de solidaridad 
que ayuden a todos a encontrar 
el mutuo respeto y el tratado leal. 

En aquella Tierra Cristo ha muerto y resucitado, y ha dejado 
como silencioso pero elocuente testimonio la tumba vacía. 
Destruyendo en sí mismo la enemistad, 
muro de separación entre los hombres, 
reconcilió a todos por medio de la Cruz (Cfr. Ef 2, 14-16), 
y ahora nos compromete a nosotros, sus discípulos, a eliminar 
cualquier causa de odio y venganza.

Diferentes estudios indican que el control de natalidad tiene un impacto negativo sobre el matrimonio. Los que usan metodos artificiales tienen una tasa de divorcio más alta que los que usan métodos naturales (Billings, Simpto-Térmico, etc.) La Sra. Darcy Hemstad, R.N., estará con nostros otra vez para dar una introducción al Método Billings. Favor venir a la rectoría, el día Domingo, 14 de abril, a la 1:45 p.m. (después de la misa de 12:30 p.m.)