July 8, 2001

I want to thank you for your beautiful response to the two-bit collection for earthquake victims in Peru. In our seven weekend Masses, $3688 were donated! Your contributions will help alleviate some of the immediate stress. This very weekend volunteers from the Mary Bloom Center are visiting a remote mountain village with aid in the form of blankets and food. Luz Marrón, director of the Mary Bloom Center, will be sending us a detailed report. From talking with her and other friends in Peru, I put together the following description:

Centered off the Peruvian coast, the 8.1 magnitude quake created a tidal wave, three stories high. A woman in the coastal town of Camaná was with her infant daughter and four-year son when the tsunami struck. She held her baby tight but could not hold on to her son. His body was found on the beach the next day. He was one of about a hundred people who lost their lives as a result of the June 23 earthquake.

Other parts of southern Peru witnessed equally terrible tragedies: loved ones trapped under collapsing buildings and a great loss of property. Luz Marrón contacted the Peruvian Civil Defense to find out areas of greatest need. They told her about remote mountain villages in dire straits. With homes destroyed, they are exposed to the elements.

In the southern hemisphere seasons are reversed, so they are now entering winter. I can testify that, at high altitudes, the winter there can be bitterly cold. Of course, I almost always had shelter and sufficient blankets. For people whose homes have been destroyed in the earthquake, their distress is very great at this moment.

In the best of time these people live a subsistence, hand to mouth existence. When a disaster like this strikes they have limited means to defend themselves. Besides providing immediate assistance, the Mary Bloom Center will try do something extra for the most needy families. Your donations will have a direct impact on people’s lives and I thank you for that. More important you will have the gratitude and prayers of those you assist. The Bible teaches that the prayers of the poor are most effective. Psalm 34:6 states, “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him…” The book of Proverbs assures us, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” (19:17)

Closer to home I wish to thank you for your ongoing support of Holy Family Parish. The past fiscal year (July 1, 2000 – June 30, 2001) a total of $586,771 was given in the first collections of our weekend Masses. This represents 99.4% of our year-end goal of $590,550. I know many parishioners have been affected by the economic downturn of the past twelve months. I appreciate your faithfulness to Holy Family Parish, despite those difficulties. To move ahead with our apostolic programs and to maintain our parish buildings, we have no support beyond the sustained generosity of our parishioners.

We have a beautiful event next Sunday – the ordination of Armando Perez to the transitional diaconate (that is, next year, God willing, he will be ordained a priest). Archbishop Alexander Brunett will be here to celebrate a 10 a.m. ordination Mass. The Mass will celebrated part in English, part in Spanish and will replace the normal 9:30 and 11 Masses. It will last a bit longer than an ordinary Sunday Mass, but I promise that those attending will be richly blessed and moved by the marvelous ordination ceremony. Following the Mass there will be a reception to which all are invited.

The diaconate is the first of the three Holy Orders: deacon, priest, and bishop. As you know from observing Deacon Ted Wiese, part of the functions include reading the Gospel and preaching, as well as celebrating the sacraments of baptism and marriage, and conducting funerals. Plan on attending the ordination Mass next Sunday, July 15, at 10 in the morning.