When it comes to evangelization (sharing the faith with others) most of us feel like the Apostle Thomas, “Lord, we do not know the way.” (Jn 14:5) I would like to suggest two relatively painless ways we can evangelize. The first is by having Catholic literature available in our homes, not just on the books shelves, but also on the coffee table. An attractive weekly newspaper is the National Catholic Register. Loyal to the Catholic Magisterium, the Register covers national and international news, including controversial topics. For less than a dollar an issue you can have it delivered to your home by calling 1-800-421-3230 or writing to REGISTER, P.O. Box 372, Mount Morris, IL 61054.
For a monthly magazine attractive to young adults and teenagers, I recommend Envoy. If you have it in your home, I guarantee young people will pick up and will at least thumb through it, if not read several of its fine articles. You can call 1-800-55-ENVOY or write to Box 1117, Steubenville, OH 43952 to order a year subscription for $29.99.
My favorite magazine is First Things. Edited by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, a Lutheran minister who converted to Catholicism, it deals with a wide range of issues: politics, medical ethics, social justice, education reform, science and religion, world affairs, ecumenism, book reviews, etc. It can be order for $29 a year ($14.97 for students) at 1-877-905-9920 or Box 3000, Dept FT, Denville, NJ 07834.
Besides having Catholic literature available in your home, there is a way of evangelizing outside ones home. In our vestibule we have bumper stickers for Sacred Heart Radio. By placing one on the rear bumper of your car, you will be notifying hundreds of people of the existence of our local Catholic radio station. It is a simple, but effective way of promoting the faith.
Sometimes people are hesitant to advertise their beliefs with a car sticker. Those fears are unfounded. A couple of years ago, I put a bumper sticker on my car which says, “If It’s Not a Baby, You’re Not Pregnant.” Even in a “pro-choice” milieu like Seattle, I have not gotten negative reactions. Sometimes I do notice a driver squinting for figure it out, then giving a slight smile. If it causes even one person to reflect on the seriousness of human life, it is worth it. Even more, a sticker promoting Sacred Heart Radio could cause someone to tune in and hear the whole truth about Christian faith.
A friend observed that in the White Center area, people are more open about their faith – a rosary hanging on the rear view mirror, a religious medal about ones neck, etc. This is truly a good sign not only in terms of evangelization, but also in promoting an open, tolerant society. True tolerance means not hiding ones beliefs, but rather expressing them in an open, courteous way.
This weekend we observe the 40th anniversary of the consecration of Holy Family Church by lighting the candles marking the twelve spots where Archbishop Connolly anointed our church with the sacred chrism. We can proud to have one of the few consecrated churches in the archdiocese of Seattle. The requirement sine qua non for consecration was the retirement of the debt. If it were still owned by the bank, it could not have been consecrated to God. It is a testimony to the faith of prior Holy Family parishioners that the debt was retired in only eight years after the construction of the church in 1953.
That same faith continues here at Holy Family. Our sacramental life is strong with a high number of baptisms, first communions and marriages. Our weekend Mass attendance averages over 2500. In recent years our collections have increased. I am grateful to God and to each one of you for that testimony of faith. Our goal for this fiscal year (2000-2001) is $595,550. As of last Sunday we had received $559,581 in our first collections. We have this Sunday and the following two weekends to meet (and hopefully exceed) our goal for the current fiscal year.
One area we are still quite short of our goal is the Annual Catholic Appeal. As of this Wednesday we had received 579 pledges for a total of $56,626. We have met our archdiocesan goal ($48,217) but we are still a good distance from our parish goal of $90,000. The rebates this year will be used for the school renovation project. Perhaps some have a mistaken idea that the school pertains just to the children who attend and their parents. The fact is Holy Family School belongs to all us, is used by all parishioners and is the responsibility of the entire parish. If you have not yet made your pledge to this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal, I encourage you to do so this week.
A great sign of faith is the wonderful participation in Eucharistic Adoration. I have noticed at times there will be fifteen or more people in the Ailbe House chapel. If you can give an hour a week to prayer before the Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, I encourage you to do so. We especially need adorers during the early morning hours and late afternoon. You can call Joe, Betty or Greg whose numbers are in another part of the bulletin.
As a special intention for your prayer, I encourage you to remember all the young people of our parish. Many, like our eighth grade graduates from Holy Family, are facing a time of transition this summer. You are invited to attend their Graduation Mass, this Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. and Graduation Ceremony, 7:00 p.m. on June 12.
Final note for web surfers: Please check the new Holy Family Parish website at http://www.holyfamilyparish.net/. It has news of the parish and information about different parish programs. Also it has links to the Holy Family School website and my personal site (Simple Catholicism).