Bulletin (May 19, 2002)

We had a nice surprise this week – a former parishioner remembered Holy Family in his will. Giuseppe “Joe” D’Ambrosio includes us and some other parishes in the disbursement of his estate. What he did is a nice model for all of us. He of course made provisions for various family members, but also remembered the needs of the Church. Believe me, at this moment every donation counts to keep our school, religious education, sacramental formation and other parish programs afloat. Tithing (giving ten percent or the first fruits to God) should be in our minds when we prepare our will. There is more information on the back regarding “Deferred Giving” and “Designating the Church as Beneficiary.” Remember that makings ones will is an important part of Stewardship.

I want to thank all those who filled out their Annual Catholic Appeal envelopes. The response so far has been heartening. Many feared that, because of problems in the local economy and the national scandals, giving would be down. However, throughout the Archdiocese about a thousand more people have given than at this point last year. I believe this shows the confidence you have in Archbishop Brunett’s leadership and your commitment to the mission of the Archdiocese. A lot of ink has been spilled in recent months about the Church’s “wealth” and that we should be selling off buildings, etc. To just take Holy Family as an example, our four main buildings (Church, school, Ailbe House and rectory) are used intensely by hundreds of adults and children each day. If anything, we need to increase our facilities – as well as maintain and repair the present ones. Like most entities within the Catholic Church, we are pretty much a “hand to mouth” operation. Were it not for your ongoing support, the life expectancy of our parish would be shorter than a fruit fly. The same applies to Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul, Hospital Ministry, Detention Ministry and almost all the other programs of the Archdiocese. So what I am saying is “Thanks” if you have already given, but if you have not yet filled out your Annual Catholic Appeal envelope, please do so. If you are unable to give – or if you choose not to give – I ask you to still fill out an envelope. Just put “0” in the pledge box. It will save us sending you a follow up letter – and it will be counted as one more “participant” toward our parish goal of 800.

I want to thank you in a personal way for your donations in the Mother’s Day two-bit collection for the Mary Bloom Center. $512 were given at our three English Masses. The Mary Bloom Center is also a “hand to mouth” organization which uses its funds to assist the needy in Puno, Peru. The Center has a small clinic which specializes in pre-natal care. As you can imagine, most of the needs are in terms of expecting moms and small children. However, last Christmas an elderly man named Basilio was dropped off at the Center “for a few days.” Obst. Luz Marron, director of the Center, wound up taking care of him for several months. A few weeks ago, she obtained more information about his family and made an eight-hour trip with Basilio to a very remote community. The children were fighting with each other and none wanted to take responsibility for their dad. Luz spent the night and managed to get them together and work something out for Basilio’s care. So at least he is back in his own community. Human beings – and human needs – are always complex. The Mary Bloom Center, like most Catholic service organization, winds up responding to a variety of needs.

Less complex than human beings are dogs. You probably have heard that a couple weeks ago the Damey family gave me a puppy. He is part Australian Shepherd and part German Short Hair Pointer. Given that mixture, Vernon Wells has been trying to teach him German and Australian. For my part I am attempting to teach him a few Spanish words, “Ven” and “Te quiero mucho.” However, he seems more interested in sniffing blades of grass than learning languages. I had been trying to decide on a name. I like “Gabriel” for a number of reasons: My favorite grandnephew has that name, it is biblical and it works in both Spanish and English. However, I like “Samwise.” One of my favorite characters in “Lord of the Rings” has that name. He evidenced total loyalty and great bravery in defending his master – which I hope Samwise the dog will do for me. At any rate, he is a lot of fun – and has been a great hit with the children of our parish, not to mention all those who are young at heart.

Last Sunday, for Mother’s Day, I read a poem by Philippine patriot, Dr. José Rizal. He wrote it toward the end of his turbulent life. A number of people asked for a copy. Here it is:

To The Virgin Mary 

Mary, sweet peace, solace dear
Of pained mortal ! You're the fount
Whence emanates the stream of succour,
That without cease our soil fructifies.

From thy throne, from heaven high,
Kindly hear my sorrowful cry !
And may thy shining veil protect
My voice that rises with rapid flight.

Thou art my Mother, Mary, pure;
Thou'll be the fortress of my life;
Thou'll be my guide on this angry sea.
If ferociously vice pursues me,
If in my pains death harasses me,
Help me, and drive away my woes !