Bulletin (August 19, 2001)

Although I was not here last weekend I heard good reports about Fr. Denis Wilde. Also I was please by the beautiful two-bit collection of $1712 for Priests for Life. A number of people told me how much they appreciated Fr. Wilde’s presence and his important message regarding the gift of chastity and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Surrounded as we are by a culture, which neglects these values, we must continually ask God’s grace to be able to witness to them by our words and our lives.

I had a great experience of those values at the Courage Conference in Chicago. As you know, Courage is an organization for Catholics with same sex attractions who desire to live Jesus’ teaching on chastity. The members shared both their wounds and their trust in Jesus’ mercy and healing power. About 200 men and women attended the conference. They gave an eloquent testimony to what we hear about in today’s second reading: to not “grow weary and lose heart,” but “rid ourselves of ever every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race.” (Hb 12:1)

Another group of people in our parish who often carry great burdens are those who have undergone a divorce. Holy Family desires to support them. Many of you are aware that Sharon Carriere who has worked in so many different roles is now dedicating herself principally to helping people with marriage cases. During my years here at Holy Family many have told me what a great healing it was for them to go through this process. At first it perhaps seemed burdensome, even scary, but it turned out to be a very great blessing.

A marriage case is necessary to investigate the possibility of what is popularly called an “annulment.” However, as my good friend, Fr. Jim Williams always points out, the proper phrase is “declaration of nullity,” that is, that no true marriage existed. The declaration is necessary so that someone who has been divorced be able to marry in the Catholic Church – or for someone divorced and remarried to be able to have their marriage blessed in the Church and thus be able to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.

Marriage existed before Jesus founded the Catholic Church. In fact, right after the creation of our first parents, the Bible states, “For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife and the two become one flesh.” (Gen 2:24) The Catholic Church recognizes the validity of marriage between two non-Catholics. That is why a non-Catholic who is divorced must obtain a declaration of nullity in order to marry in the Catholic Church.

In the case of a Catholic who marries outside the Church, it is considered an invalid marriage because of “Defect of Form.” In order to receive the sacraments, they need to have their marriage convalidated (“blessed” by a priest or deacon). A Catholic who marries outside the Church and subsequently divorces may submit a Defect of Form petition. Sharon Carriere can help with this. It is a fairly simple process as compared to a formal marriage case.

Sharon is available here at the rectory on a part time basis if you have questions regarding marriage cases. It is a great blessing for a parish to have someone on the staff able to do marriage cases, so I encourage you to take full advantage Sharon’s help. She has not only received extensive archdiocesan training for this work, but brings the qualities all of us have come to deeply appreciate in her – compassion, enthusiasm and a great love for Jesus and for Holy Family parish.

Getting back from Chicago, I was most please to see the final touch go onto our new school porch. A group of young men from the parish installed the bird guards to prevent pigeons and other birds from nesting. You have no doubted noted how their droppings have tended to build up, creating a health hazard as well as actually corroding the metal and cement. I appreciate the volunteer commitment of those who have helped with this and other projects. If you have skills, which may be useful in regard to our buildings and property, I encourage you to get in contact with our parish administrator, Tom Weber.

On Tuesday evening we had a large gathering in our school of those involved in Eucharistic Adoration. It involved a potluck and a small program. If you are able to help in this apostolate by committing yourself to an hour a week of adoration, please contact Joe Vandermark, Betty Weller or Greg Miller. You may of course come to the chapel at any hour, day or night, for prayer before Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.