Bulletin (June 6, 2004)

A few weeks ago I put in the bulletin some basic priorities (areas for working together) for the next five years. They are the result of listening to the Parish Council and other consultative bodies to try to identify the basic goals we need to pursue here at Holy Family. I organized the priorities under four categories: Sacramental Celebrations, Holy Family School, Hispanic Ministry, and Stewardship. This week I want to mention two levels on which these priorities come together.

The first is the basic material requirements of our parish. We are blessed with some fine buildings and grounds which we all use and enjoy and which serve to inspire us. We must continually maintain and improve them, or we will not have the necessary spaces for worship, education, social and service activities. While we have done repair and maintenance over the years (the school porch, completed in 2000, is an outstanding example) we have not been able to tackle these needs in a systematic way. In recent years our Building Committee, headed by Parish Administrator Tom Weber, has formulated a Master Plan based on a series of Listening Sessions and the December Feasibility Study. On May 17 we presented the Master Plan to the Archdiocesan Parochial Revolving Fund and asked their approval for a Capital Campaign. This Campaign will address the most basic needs of the church building, school, Ailbe House and grounds, as well as the remaining debts we have from the purchase of the Bradley property, the replacement of school and Ailbe House boilers, etc.

I have asked Tom Weber and a member of our Building Commission to give an update this Sunday. As they will explain, there is one area of deferred maintenance which really cannot wait, namely the replacement of the school roof. As you remember, it burst last October causing serious damage – and making evident that it has very little life left. The Building Committee, after input from a number of people who work in construction, advised me that it would be most prudent to ask the Archdiocese for an advance loan on the capital campaign in order to repair the roof this summer – and at the same time do the seismic reinforcements connected to the roof. I am asking for this loan because I have confidence in your commitment to this project. You expressed it in the Listening Sessions and Feasibility Study. The school building serves all the parish, the 250 students who attend our school and also as the social hall and meeting area for all of our parishioners.

Sometimes it seems like Holy Family Parish is composed of various groups who do not always have a lot in common. While we bring together a tremendous diversity, we do in reality have a great deal in common. We must work together to maintain our common inheritance and to pass it on to those who come after us. That inheritance is not just the buildings and grounds. Much more significantly, it is our common faith and desire to follow Jesus.

That is the second and most important level where our priorities come together. This summer we will have some notable events which focus on our unity of faith. Next Saturday, lay evangelist Mark Shea will return to Holy Family. Around seventy people heard his presentation during Lent entitled, Why Be Catholic? Mark captivated all those who attended the Conference. This Saturday he addresses a very important theme: How to Read the Bible as the Early Christians Did. This presentation will lead into a year-long Bible Study Program which I hope many of you will participate in. All of us need a deeper understanding of God’s Word if we grow in our relationship with Christ and understand his mission for us today.

In July we will have a presentation which will also help us understand the sources of our faith. I have invited Monsignor James Kelly to give a presentation regarding the popular novel The DaVinci Code. I read myself and found it great fun – but was amazed that so many people have taken seriously its view of Christian origins. This indicates that we have a great opportunity to help people understand early Christain history, especially how the Bible came about. Recently George Weigel wrote an insightful column about the DaVinci Code. Here is part of what he had to say:

“If, over the past thirty-some years, you've absorbed the idea that the New Testament is really elegant, inspired fiction, it's but a short step to buying Dan Brown's storyline, which is that this whole Church business has been a vast, lie-driven conspiracy from the git-go. That's certainly not what mainstream historical-critical scholars intended to teach Catholics. The disturbances caused by DaVinci suggest that that's what a lot of people learned, however: they learned to be suspicious about the integrity of Christianity's basic text.

“DaVinci is a problem that could become an evangelical possibility. Pastors and adult education directors might want to ensure that the parish pamphlet racks are full of an admirable brochure, The DaVinci Code: The facts behind the fiction of the bestselling novel, available from Our Sunday Visitor (www.osv.com). The brochure briskly identifies the numerous errors and historical implausibilities in the book while inviting readers to encounter the story told in the Gospels: "the story in which the truth is, if not stranger, certainly more interesting and life-giving, than fiction." (I carry the OSV brochure in my briefcase, to hand out on planes and trains when I find someone reading DaVinci.)”

I have made some copies of the OSV brochure available on the pamphlet rack. It was written by Amy Welborn, who also has an excellent little book called DeCoding Davinci. You can order it from Aquinas Bookstore, 425-828-4413. And come to Monsignor Kelly’s presentation on July 12 at 7 p.m. It will be proceeded by Confessions at 5 p.m. and Mass at 6. Summer is a good time for deepening our understanding of what unites us on the deepest level – our faith in and love for Jesus Christ.

Hace unas semanas metí en el boletín unas prioridades (áreas para trabajar junto) para los próximos cinco años. Son el resultado de escuchar al Consejo Parroquial y otros grupos consultivos para identificar metas básicas debemos seguir aquí en Holy Family. Las organicé bajo cuatro categorías: Celebración de Sacramentos, Escuela Parroquial, Ministerio Hispano y Mayordomía.

El domingo pasado Marcelo Re y Tom Weber (Administrador Parroquial) dieron una presentación sobre un aspecto importante de este plan: la urgencia de reparar el techo de la escuela y al mismo tiempo hacer los refuerzos sísmicos. Como expliqué en la homilía, estoy pidiendo un préstamo de la Arquidiócesis para poder hacerlo este verano. La escuela está al servicio de toda la parroquia – todos la usemos para diferentes actividades como convivencias, bailes, etc. Pido el préstamo con confianza que Uds. apoyan este proyecto – como han expresado en las Sesiones de Escuchar y el Estudio de Probabilidad.

Vamos a tener unas presentaciones en inglés que pueden ser de interés a miembros de la comunidad hispana. El evangelista laico Mark Shea dará una conferencia sobre Como Leer la Biblia Como los Primeros Cristianos la Leyeron. Será el 12 de junio de 10:30 a.m. hasta 4:30 p.m. En julio vendrá el padre James Nelly para dar una presentación sobre el libro muy popular (pero muy equivocado) El Código DaVinci. Es una oportunidad de aprender mas sobre los orígenes de la Biblia y la Iglesia en los primeros siglos. Finalmente quisiera invitarles a leer el librito “Guiá a la Pasión” que se vende por solamente $2.50.