Bulletin (July 29, 2001)

It is great to see the work going forward on the permanent canopy for our school porch. When completed I am sure you will agree that it greatly enhances the overall building. Having a translucent canopy will be especially beneficial during the winter months. I appreciate you contributions last weekend for the school renovation project. $488 were given at our three English Masses and the Sunday evening Filipino Mass. Earlier this month a two-bit collection for that project was taken up at the Spanish Masses bringing a total of $632.

I am most grateful to those who are using the School Renovation envelopes, which are part of the bimonthly packet sent to all registered parishioners. Although we are not making as great progress as we would like, still we are advancing little by little. Our goals for the coming years are to be able to install an elevator at least to the main floor and to do the inner seismic strengthening of our school building which is used by all parishioners of Holy Family.

As you probably know, the Archdiocese has been supportive of this work by giving us (in addition to the long-term loan for replacing our boilers) a short-term loan for the school porch. Thanks to the commitment of school parents in seeking grants and the auction of last November (plus of course the ongoing fund raising such as two-bit collections, as well as a major bequest) we are close to retiring the debt on the school porch. It has been a major project (over a half million dollars) but I believe everyone recognizes it was well worth the effort, especially after the Ash Wednesday earthquake. Your ongoing support will enable us move ahead with our maintenance and building needs.

Holy Family has not only received from the Archdiocese, but has made significant contributions back to the Archdiocese. The most important is certainly in terms of vocations. On July 15 a seminarian of our parish, Armando Perez, was ordained to the permanent diaconate. Two other seminarians from Holy Family are doing their theological studies, Thanh Dao and Peter Mactutis. We have a great opportunity to pray for them and for all those God is calling to the priesthood by participating in the novena for priests. It will conclude next Saturday, which is the feast of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests. Of course, I ask your prayers for me and for all the priests and deacons of the Archdiocese.

Last Sunday after giving the homily mentioning the moral dilemma of stem-cell research, I had a number of interesting conversations with parishioners. Some asked what morally could be done with the hundred thousand frozen embryos in our country. I do not have any complete answer, but it seems to me the first step is to recognize that each one of them has a mother and a father. For sure they made a very grievous mistake by allowing their child to be conceived outside of the mother. But that does not mean they do not have a serious responsibility for their own child. The moral burden on their consciences should cause anyone tempted by in vitro fertilization to reflect on its full implications – and to never participate in such immoral practices. When this practice was just getting started, Pope John Paul called upon scientists and doctors to halt the production of human embryos. Their failure to heed that call is the reason we now have so many “disposable” human embryos. It is not to late to change our course. That is what we must pray for.

The media have portrayed the present controversy as an attempt by Catholics and other Christians to impose our moral values. Just the opposite is the case. Embryonic stem cell research is already going on – with the use of private funding. They are not asking President Bush to allow stem cell research, but rather to use federal funds to promote such research. If that happens, it will mean a fraction of all of our taxes will go for the destruction of tiny human beings. In effect it would require us to pay for something repugnant to our most basic Christian – and human – values.

To conclude on a more upbeat note, I want to encourage you to attend the presentations by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, which will take place next Friday and Saturday in Everett and Auburn. Also you may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Thursday, Aug 2, from 4 to 8 p.m. in church. Both Fr. Ramón and I will be available for confessions. Finally if you wish to have a beautiful experience of prayer, come to the celebration of Vespers and Benediction every Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.