Bulletin (January 6, 2002)

The new kitchen in our school looks great! Please take a look if you have not already done so. The room seems so much more spacious and of course sparkling clean. The ladies who prepare the school lunches told me everything works fine. I know our Knights of Columbus, Ladies Sodality and other parish groups will enjoy using it.

Speaking of the Knights they will be offering their monthly breakfast after morning Masses next Sunday – and their annual Crab Dinner and Valentines Dance on January 26. The full details are in another section of the bulletin. Don’t miss out on these events – and support our Knights who do such excellent work for the parish.

On January 24 we will have our parish Listening Session. It will be an opportunity to hear parishioners concerns about our different programs and building needs. This year our new Parish Council will be working on the formulation of a strategic plan for Holy Family. We need your input as we begin this process. Please mark your calendar for Thursday, Jan. 24, from 7 to 9 p.m.

When you mark your calendar, don’t forget to also circle June 8. That Saturday morning Deacon Armando Perez will be ordained to the priesthood with two other young men. The ordination will begin at 10 a.m. in St. James Cathedral. It was a beautiful surprise to have Armando with us for Holy Family Sunday and New Year’s Day. We are hoping he will be able to offer a Mass of Thanksgiving in our parish after his ordination to priesthood.

Please keep in your prayers others who are studying for the priesthood. Than Dao, who parents are active members of Holy Family, is just one year behind Armando. Also please remember Peter Mactutis, a seminarian from this parish, who is studying theology at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon.

Thank you for your contributions in last Sunday’s two-bit collection for the Mary Bloom Center. The $924 you donated will be a wonderful help for needy children and families in Peru. You may be aware the country is going through some trying times. The year 2001 ended with that terrible fire in Lima which claimed around three hundred lives – about a third of whom were children. At our New Year’s Day Masses the two-bit collection was dedicated for assisting the families devastated by that fire. If you wish to donate toward that effort, please make out your check to Holy Family with “Peru Fire” in the memo. Your contribution will be channeled through the Mary Bloom Center to help those affected by that terrible tragedy.

Basilio, the abuelito (elderly man) who was dropped out at the Mary Bloom Center is still being cared for by Obst. Luz Marron and her daughter Melani. Basilio requires the kind of care and attention a small child receives. Luz helps him with his bathroom and bathing needs, while Melani puts talc powder on his feet. Hopefully, some of his family members will arrive to take responsibility for him. He keeps talking about wanting to get back to his rural community which is a considerable distance from Puno.

Our world has many people who are abandoned or in terrible situations. During the past months all of us have seen the heartbreaking images of refugees, particularly in Afghanistan. This Sunday our two-bit collection will be for them. Above all, we wish to pray for them and other refugees. The Holy Father called our attention to the plight of refugees, many of whom are women, children and elderly, often condemned to a cruel death. Besides our contributions, the Holy Father asks us to fast and pray that peace will come to our world in 2002.

We had a beautiful response to the Rosary for Peace. After the 11 p.m. Mass on New Year’s Eve, over 100 people stayed to pray the fifteen decades of the rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I thought that in the morning there would only be a handful, but was most pleasantly surprised that ninety came to pray the full rosary. Fr. Ramon told me there was a good turnout before the 6 p.m. Filipino Mass. In fact some are talking about praying the rosary on a regular basis.

I may have made a mistake New Year’s Day at the 11 a.m. Mass when I announced that, on account of the world situation, I was going to be carrying on my person a weapon. Not everyone could see the small rosary I held up and I understand the rumor is going around that Father Bloom has a concealed weapon. As my dad used to say, “You have no one to blame but yourself.”

One rumor I would like to get circulating is about a package which many people will be receiving in the mail. It is the Jesus video based on St. Luke’s Gospel. I ask you not to discard it, but to take the time to watch it and to encourage your neighbors to do so. It is a moving presentation of the Lord’s life. You will not regret the forty minutes or so it takes to watch it. The Jesus video is an ecumenical project, which has the blessing of the pope and endorsement from several cardinals.

Speaking of movies, a much longer one – but very worth the time – is Lord of the Rings. I saw it this week with my friend Fr. Paul Koenig. It kept our attention for the three hours. I was impressed with the portrayal of characters and how well the movie communicated a somewhat complex story. Also I have to admit, the movie helped me to understand Tolkien’s great novel and made me want to read more of his work.

Next week some young men from Seattle will be walking from St. James Cathedral to Olympia as a witness for Human Life. The “Hike for Life” will begin Monday morning and conclude Thursday at noon (January 17) on the capitol steps. I plan on joining them at least for Monday morning when they will walk from the Cathedral to Holy Family. For more information please call Jim Newstrom, 206-937-6462.

In spite of everything we did not do too bad on our collections during the last six months of 2001. From the beginning of July through the end of December we received a total of $309,120 which was above the previous year and only around three thousand dollars short of six month goal. However, we have many expenses, both to maintain our parish programs and to do necessary repairs on our buildings. Both the church and Ailbe House have significant leaks. We will be talking about some of this at our parish Listening Session on Jan. 24. We do need your input and support.

Again, may the Christ Child bless you and your family as we begin this New Year.