Bulletin (March 3, 2002)

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

This Sunday we hear the beautiful Gospel of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Since it speaks of Jesus as the Living Water, the early Christians used it as a preparation for Easter Baptisms. On the following two Sundays we will also read lengthy sections of ST. John’s Gospel: next Sunday, the Man Born Blind and on the First Sunday of Lent, the Resurrection of Lazarus. When the Samaritan woman went back to her village, she gave this testimony about Jesus:

"This man is a prophet. He has told me everything I have ever done."

What the Samaritan woman longed for was that someone would know her thoroughly – all the good she had done and all the bad. Having gone through five husbands, she must have had plenty of the latter. She allowed Jesus to review her entire life and when he finished, he did not throw her on the garbage heap. He told her everything she ever did and then extended an acceptance and forgiveness she never imagined possible.

When people came to confession to Blessed Padre Pio (soon to be canonized as St. Padre Pio) he sometimes told them their sins before they even opened their mouths. In that sense, he was similar to Jesus. Many people, including a young priest named Karol Wojtyla (now Pope John Paul II) waited in long lines to confess their sins to Padre Pio. They wanted an experience like that of the Samaritan woman.

Now, Fr. Ramon and I do not have the gift of knowing peoples sins before they confess them. At least, I do not have that ability. But we do want to be instruments of Jesus’ total acceptance in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Lent is a good time to come before Jesus in this sacrament. Fr. Ramon and I will be available this Thursday (March 7) from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for all those who wish to receive this beautiful sacrament. Both the confessional “box” and the reconciliation room have a screen for those who wish to receive the sacrament anonymously. One side of the confessional is open for “face to face” confessions and in the reconciliation room, it is possible to walk around the screen and take a chair facing the priest.

ANOINTING OF SICK

Besides celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation, Fr. Ramon has been active in taking the anointing of the sick to the homebound and in hospitals. Deacon Ted and others have taken him to a number of homes where he has administered that beautiful sacrament of comfort, healing and forgiveness for those who are seriously ill. If you know someone who desires the holy anointing, please call Fr. Ramon at the rectory.

Both of us have been taking our turn being on night call for the large hospitals in downtown Seattle. As an initiative of priests of the South Seattle Deanery, we set up a schedule so that a priest would always be available on an emergency basis. For example, this past Thursday, at about 1 a.m., Fr. Ramon was called to Harborview Hospital to give the anointing of the sick to a young man with an aneurysm. His whole family was present and was deeply grateful for Fr. Ramon’s ministry to them.

PARISH COUNCIL

Our Parish Council met the previous week to discuss the results of the Listening Session. We have enough material to keep us busy for many meetings. Two types of problems confront us: those dealing with basic mission of Holy Family and those relating to facilities. It seemed important to the Council to concentrate first on getting some plan for the addressing needs of our facilities (leaks in the church and Ailbe house, the seismic and ADA requirements for our school). If buildings are falling down on us, it is a pretty big distraction, so that must be dealt with in some way before we address the larger issues.

The parish Finance Council is also hard at work to develop not only a basic budget for 2002 – 2003, but to also give some figures on what the costs would be for various repairs of buildings. I ask you to pray for them and for our Parish Council as they work with me on these important matters.

Ross Youngs, who was president of our past Parish Council as well as chair of the Building Discernment Commission, gave a very helpful review at our last meeting. He mentioned some of the issues the last council worked on, for example, making the parish more open to Hispanic Community by adding the weekend Spanish Masses, the hiring of bilingual staff for our parish office, etc. The Council was also working with me on the possibility of two Hispanic religious sisters who would work part time in the parish. Unfortunately, that did not happen, but it has been kept as goal for Holy Family.

BUILDING NEEDS

A major part of the Council’s energy was devoted to the utilization and improvement of facilities and grounds. From the Council came the Building Discernment Commission which took important steps. The biggest result was the replacement of the old porch with one able to withstand an earthquake. It was put to the test on Ash Wednesday of 2001 when a major earthquake struck our area. Thanks to the dedication of a number of parishioners, we received a bequest from the Gates Foundation and some other significant grants. With the dedicated work of Debbe Hirata and many others, a Gala Auction was held in November of 2000 which was a great success.

These efforts, and a bequest from the Tony Tomsit estate, enabled us to pay for the new porch without having a major capital campaign. Our original hope was to do the entire seismic retrofit and save the capital campaign for the construction of a multi-purpose facility, but costs turned out to be much greater than the original projections. Thus our new Parish Council is taking up the issue of whether to launch a major campaign and what should be its focus. Again, your prayers are urgent.

PARKING CONGESTION

A concern, which we heard loud and clear at the Listening Session, was in regard to the congestion in our parking lots. This happens especially at major feasts. Tom Weber has received many suggestions for alleviating this problem. On Palm Sunday (March 24) we will have monitors to direct traffic leaving and entering the lots after the 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses. Also on that morning, there will be no religious education classes in English or Spanish out of concern for children’s safety and because of extra congestions those classes occasion. I ask you cooperation on Palm Sunday. Also if you have specific suggestions, please call Tom at 767-6220.

VISITORS FROM PERU

A personal note: On March 11 I will be receiving a couple of visitors from Peru. Obst. Luz M. Marron, who is director of the Mary Bloom Center, will be coming here with her daughter, Melani. Both have some health problems which they were unable to fully treat in Peru. I have good friend who is an internist and will be not only donating his time to help them, but arranging for them to see some specialists. Luz and Melani will be staying here for twelve days. I hope that many of you will have a chance to meet them. I will say more about them in next week’s bulletin.