Bulletin (July 11, 2004)

Fr. Ramon Velasco is in the Philippines for a couple of weeks. Wednesday was the first anniversary of his dad’s death. We are keeping Fr. Ramon and his family in our prayers. I always miss him a lot when he is gone, not just for all the work he does in the parish, but for his upbeat and very prayerful personality.

During these days we are working on the Annual Report for the Archdiocese. Part of the report involves parish finances. I hope to have a summary available before I leave for Peru at the end of July. The report will include income and expenses for our school and overall parish from July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004. Also, I hope to provide a summary of parish indebtedness. We have made some progress during the past fiscal year – but we are also dealing with some major expenses. As you know, I have asked the Archdiocese for a further loan of $120,000 so that we can repair the school roof this summer and do the seismic reinforcements related to the roof. This is part of the overall project which will be addressed in our Capital Campaign this year. On July 22 we will have a meeting with representatives of the Finance Council, School Commission and with Ed Williams of the Archdiocese to review Holy Family’s overall financial situation. After that meeting I hope to be able to give you a fuller report. I am grateful for the work that Mr. Vicente Bolisig has done these past years as parish bookkeeper. However, as of July 1, we have gone to a new system that will involve “outsourcing” and the use of some parish volunteers. Working with us is Leslie Phillips, a professional CPA who has helped other institutions in the Archdiocese. Hopefully, this new approach will not only save the parish a certain amount of money, but will be helpful for record keeping and accounting.

The Respect Life Committee continues to meet on Friday mornings. This coming week we will have our first prayer vigil before the Planned Parenthood facility. I have written a letter to a number of pastors in the area letting them know what we are doing. I said to them, “Although we will be using a distinctively Catholic style of prayer, we want to invite anyone who wishes to accompany us. At the same time, we welcome common Christian prayer – and, of course, encourage any other group to pray in front of the facility. The prayer will be peaceful, lawful and completely non-violent. Our goal is not to condemn, but to call to conversion and new life.” So far, at least one other Christian church in the area has indicated they will join with us in this common witness for the dignity of each human life. The Respect Life Committee will meet on Tuesday, July 20, from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. I invite anyone who would like to help in this work of prayer, education and providing resources for young people who are tempted by abortion and the contraceptive life-style. Also, in relation to this, I remind you that on July 25, from 10:30 a.m. till noon, I have invited a doctor and his wife to give a presentation on the Billings Method of Natural Family Planning.

This Monday evening I have invited a priest to give a presentation on The DaVinci Code – not just any priest, but an Opus Dei priest! They are featured in the novel as a sinister, secret society within the Catholic Church. I thought you would enjoy the opportunity to meet one of them in person – and hear his explanation. If you have any friends or family members who have mentioned The DaVinci Code, invite them. For those interested we will have confessions at 5:00 p.m. and Mass at 6:00 p.m. in our church, and from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Monsignor Kelly will give his presentation in the parish hall. I guarantee you it will be a fascinating evening – and in the process you will gain knowledge, which you can use to help friends and members of your own family.

I read The DaVinci Code a few months back. While it was basically a fast-moving murder mystery, its hero, a college professor, did slow down at various points to give lectures on Christian origins. Essentially, he explains to his beautiful assistant that Christianity is a giant cover-up and that he possesses the secret key for unlocking the true teachings of Jesus. We, of course, are more than familiar with cover-ups today, so at first glance the argument seems to make some sense. However, one must consider that the early Church was a very small group of Jewish men and women who had a burning message. To spread that message, they were willing to accept hardship and toil – and finally torture and death, not what we normally see when people are involved in a cover-up. The early Christians have left an enormous body of literature which indicates that far from trying to cover up the truth, they were most anxious to share their message with others. And they were surrounded by numerous people who would have been eager to expose them if they were concealing something. As Monsignor Kelly will show, the thesis of The DaVinci Code will not hold up when it is critically analyzed. By coming to his presentation, you will learn the true story of Christian origins: Why we believe the Bible is God’s Word, that Jesus is the true Son of God, and that He founded the Catholic Church. As you will see, the truth is more exciting than the fiction. There is no cost for attending the presentation although we will have on sale a number of books which give an in-depth analysis of the novel in light of the historical documents. Before the presentation Monsignor Kelly and I will be available in the church for confessions at 5:00 p.m. and Mass at 6:00 p.m.

On the bulletin board I posted a couple things which I believe you will find interesting. One is a column by Eileen McNamara which appeared in the Boston Globe: It begins: "I did not know that Senator John F. Kerry believes that life begins at conception. Now that I do know, I do not understand 20 years of votes supporting a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy..." Also I have posted a copy of the letter I sent to neighboring pastors regarding our Respect Life Committee and its mission.

Finally, in the midst of the bad news this week about the Archdiocese of Portland filing for bankruptcy, the Seattle Times did report this bit of good news regarding our own Archdiocese: “All of the claims against the church are at least 20 years old.” Over the past decades we have worked hard for the protection of children.

El Padre Ramón está en las Filipinas por unas semanas. El día miércoles fue el aniversario del fallecimiento de su papá. El P. Ramón y su familia están en nuestras oraciones.

Durante estos días estamos trabajando en el Reporte Anual para la Arquidiócesis. Incluye la vida sacramental, social y económica de la parroquia. Espero tener un resumen de los gastos e ingresos del año fiscal (1ero de julio 2003 hasta 30 de junio de 2004) antes de irme al Perú fines de este mes. Hemos hecho algo de progreso pero al mismo tiempo tenemos gastos mayores. Como Uds. saben, he pedido a la Arquidiócesis un préstamo de $120 mil para reparar el techo de la escuela este verano y hacer los re-fuerzas sísmicos relacionados con el techo. Es parte del proyecto que vamos a enfrentar con la Campaña Capital.

El Comité Respetar la Vida sigue reuniéndose los viernes en la mañana. Esta semana tendremos nuestra primera vigilia de oración ante la oficina de Planned Parenthood en la Calle Roxbury y 28 avenida SW. La oración será pacifica, legal y completamente no-violenta. Si Ud. puede, favor de acompañarnos. Salimos a las 7:15 a.m. de la Ailbe House.

Relacionado con el tema de la vida, he invitado un medico para dar una presentación sobre el Método Billings de Planificación Natural – el 25 de julio, domingo, desde las 10:30 a.m. hasta mediodía. Después habrá tiempo para preguntas y consultas individuales.

Todos son invitados mañana (12 de julio) a una presentación por el Monseñor James Nelly sobe El Código DaVinci. Empieza a las 7 p.m. en el salón de la escuela. Antes el Monseñor y yo estaremos disponibles para confesiones a las 5 p.m. y misa a las 6 p.m. en el templo