Bulletin (Dec. 23, 2001)

The week before Christmas I had a few days of enforced rest – also known as the flu. The rest was welcome but along with it came an unwanted diet. I had no appetite and what I tried to eat, did not stay down very well. Another symptom, which I had never had before with the flu, was a kind of strange state half-way between being asleep and awake, such that I was not sure whether what happened was true or not. I talked later with a friend who had the flu with similar symptoms. He told me he was reassured to hear about my experience because he thought he was going crazy. I told him not to use me as a standard for sanity…

Well, I have been praying to regain full strength for this Sunday or at least for Christmas. I do look forward to the Christmas Eve Masses. With college students back home for the holidays, there is extra warmth in the church. Others are with us who do not have strong ties to the faith, but who are looking for something more in their lives. On the bookrack in the church vestibule you will find a pamphlet title “Top 10 Reasons to Come Back to the Catholic Church.” It might be worth picking up for a friend, or to simply leave on your coffee table in case some family member wants to read it. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having Catholic literature in ones home. An excellent weekly newspaper is the National Catholic Register that can be ordered by calling 1-800-421-3230. The NCR has a companion monthly magazine, Faith and Family which can be ordered at the same number for only $14.95 a year. It has a format which will attract both adults and young readers.

Thank you for your contributions last weekend in our two-bit collection for Sacred Heart Radio. The $468 donated will help our local Catholic radio station continue its mission. During this past year many people have mentioned how much Sacred Heart Radio has strengthened their faith and helped them understand it more deeply. Please tune your car or home radio to 1050 AM for great Catholic programming.

An Epiphany gift will soon arrive in the homes of those who live in the following zip codes: 98106, 98146 and 98166. It is a video about 40 minutes in length which beautifully presents the life of Jesus. Based on the Gospel of Luke, it received the blessing of Pope John Paul II and this endorsement from Cardinal Lopez Trujillo: “I hope the film JESUS will spread rapidly as a useful instrument of evangelization so that many families will give testimony that Jesus is really one and only Savior of the world.” Please pray that those who receive this video early in January will watch it and be drawn into a personal relationship with Jesus.

In January we will offer a series of Marriage Preparation classes, starting Sunday, January 13, 4-6 p.m. If you are planning on getting married in 2002, or know someone who is, please call Sharon Carriere for more information and to register.

During the final Sunday of Advent (and of course during the two weeks of Christmas) we focus on Jesus’ birth from the Blessed Virgin Mary. Belief in the Virgin birth unites us with our Evangelicals brothers and sisters. There is yet another point of unity which results from acknowledging the unique motherhood of Mary. Given our present world situation, it is of utmost importance. It turns out that Islam from the beginning has had a high regard for the Mother of Jesus. The Koran contains over thirty references to the Virgin Mary. No other woman's name is even mentioned, not even that of Mohammed's daughter, Fatima. Among men, only Abraham, Moses, and Noah are mentioned more times than Mary. In the Koran, the Blessed Mother is described as "Virgin, ever Virgin. Following are some direct quotes from the Koran:

"Behold! The angels said: "O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you - chosen you above the women of all nations." Quran 3:42

"Behold! The angels said: "O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah"; Quran 3:45

"She said: 'O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?' He said: "Even so: Allah creates what He wills: when He has decreed a Plan, He but says to it, 'Be,' and it is!" Quran 3:47

Praying: "O my Lord! Infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head glistens with gray: but never am I unblest, O my Lord, in my prayer to You!...my wife is barren: so give me an heir as from Yourself, "(One that) will (truly) represent me, and represent the posterity of Jacob; and make him, O my Lord! One with whom You are well-pleased!" (His prayer was answered): "O Zakariya! We give you good news of a son: his name shall be Yahya (John the Baptist)..." He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son, when my wife is barren and I have grown quite decrepit from old age?" He said: "So (it will be): your Lord says, 'that is easy for Me: I indeed created you before, when you had been nothing!" Quran 19:4-9

“So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk o a palm-tree: she cried (in her anguish): "Ah! Would that I had died before this! Would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight! But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree):"Do not grieve! For your Lord has provided a rivulet beneath you; "And shake toward yourself the trunk of the palm-tree: it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you." Quran 19:22-5

On the other side please read the Six Tips for Year-End Giving by Paul LeBlanc.

Esta semana no hay Palabra del Padre Felipe. He estado un poco mal con la gripa, pero espero verles todos en las misas de Navidad: 6:30 p.m. (Nochebuena) y 12:30 p.m. (Dia de Navidad)