Bulletin (November 9, 2003)

I will let you write your own caption for the above photo. Many Holy Family parishioners have expressed a wish that we could clone Deacon Ted. Others say one is more than enough. Myself, I am grateful for all that Deacon Ted and his family do for our parish. The same could be said for our two other deacons - Joe Dunne and Abel Magaña. We are blessed!

People who saw the photo have tried to guess which one is the real Deacon Ted. I will let you figure that out. One clue: you can eliminate the ones without diagonal deacon stoles. Those two were Fr. Ramon and myself before someone clever with the computer got hold of the picture.

Speaking of Fr. Ramon, this Tuesday he will be going to the Philippines for a couple of weeks. As you remember, his mother died last year at this time, so he will be with his family for the anniversary Mass. Fr. Velasco will return to Holy Family the day before Thanksgiving.

They might have asked Fr. Ramon, but since he will be flying out on Tuesday, I have been requested to bless a “Living Nativity” scene at the Paramount Theater. It features four sheep, two donkeys and a camel. I asked them if I could bring along Samwise. After some discussion, they said it would be fine. The Living Nativity is a traditional part of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It sounds like fun – and entertainment which the whole family can enjoy. The blessing will take place Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

Archbishop Brunett has given us the go-ahead (and the funding) to do a feasibility study to determine the level of parish support for the deferred maintenance and building projects. I ask your prayers for its success.

Also I ask your prayers for the families of the four boys who were killed in the tragic car accident on the morning of November 1. We had the funeral for two of them on Friday morning. Deacon Abel has dedicated a good amount of time to ministering to the families.

Like most of you, I do not take politicians that seriously. However, one does expect some degree of consistency, especially when they are dealing with issues which deeply affect our society. When I was at my brother’s place this week, we were watching C-Span. A presidential candidate spoke about how he was against the new law which bans partial birth abortion. He said he opposed it because it involved the government in the intimate doctor-patient relationship. That’s fair enough, I thought. However, in the next breath, the same candidate said that he wanted the government to ensure that health care was provided to every citizen. Once again, sounds great. But then, how would the government do that without in some way intruding in the doctor-patient relationship? Is he proposing that the government just send a check to every licensed physician and tell them to do the best they can?

For better or for worse, the government is already deeply involved in regulating medical practice in our country. All doctors are required by law to have a license in order to practice. Government agencies determine which medications they permit or forbid doctors to prescribe. And the government does ban certain medical procedures (examples: female circumcision, lobotomy, etc.). The issue regarding partial-birth abortion is not whether government will be involved in the doctor-patient relationship. It already is. The question is whether the government should sanction a procedure which involves delivering the lower part of a baby’s body, inserting scissors into the base of the skull, then suctioning out the brain so that the skull can be easily crushed.

I did use the word “baby.” I understand the term has become controversial. A young woman told me that when she had an ultra-sound, she saw on the monitor a tiny form with a rapidly beating heart. She said, “my baby!” The doctor gruffly responded, “It’s not a baby, just some tissue.” You could chock this up to male insensitivity, except that the doctor was a woman. A more serious case involved a young woman in a troubled pregnancy. The doctor advised her that at this stage, an abortion would be no problem because what she carried was not yet a “baby.”

I would have no problem with doctors offering a medical definition for the word “baby” but they should at least tell the rest of us what it is. One minute after birth? Why not then one minute before birth? Recently I was with a couple whose child was stillborn after five months of gestation. She was tiny, but perfectly formed. Was she not a baby? How about when the heart begins to beat or when brain waves can be detected? Or is not the crucial moment when the encyclopedia of genetic information comes together which makes each of us a distinct being from our mother and father?

A final note: In this week’s bulletin you will find a registration form for the Fr. Corapi retreat. I know that March 5-6 seems like a long ways off, but it will come fast. Now is the time to set that Friday evening and all day Saturday. And please tell your friends about this life-changing event.

And a big thanks you to all who worked on the raffle. We sold 10,046 tickets for a total of $18,410. After paying for various expenses and of course the prizes, we netted $12,781! A great help toward getting our parish on a better financial footing. Special thanks to top ticket seller, Rogelio Rodriquez, who sold over a thousand tickets. And congratulations to the prizewinners: Teresa Evans ($500) Betty Weller ($1000) and Santos Gonzalez ($3000).

And to Khoi Duong for setting up the parish website at http://www.holyfamilyparish.net If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know.

Pido sus oraciones por los cuatro muchachos matados en el accidente horrible de hace una semana. El diácono Abel ha ayudado a sus familias y tuvimos el funeral por dos ellos el día viernes.

También oraciones por el Padre Ramón que va a las islas filipinas el día martes. Como Uds. saben, su mamá falleció hace un año. El Padre Ramón regresará el 26 de noviembre.

Arzobispo Brunett ha dado la autorización (y los fondos) para un estudio en la parroquia del nivel de apoyo para los diferentes proyectos de edificios. Se llama en inglés “feasibility study,” es decir, averigua las posibilidades de avanzar con estas necesidades. Vamos a tener encuestas y reuniones en inglés y español. Otra vez, pido oraciones porque es bien importante para el futuro de nuestra parroquia.

En el boletín hay una forma de inscripción para el retiro del Padre John Corapi. Es un predicador dinámico que sabe tocar los corazones de todos, especialmente a los jóvenes. Se llevará a cabo en cuatros meses no más. Ahora es el momento para separar estos días – 5 y 6 marzo, desde viernes a las 7 p.m. hasta sábado, 5 p.m. Es un evento que puede cambiar su vida y la de otros miembros de su familia.

Un agradecimiento enorme para todos que trabajaron en la rifa. Vendimos 10,046 boletos para un total de $18,410. ¡Después de pagar los gastos (incluyendo los premios) hubo un total de $12,781! Una gran ayuda para poner nuestra parroquia en mejor condición económica. Agradecimiento especial para Rogelio _______, quien vendió mas de mil boletos. Y felicidades a los ganadores: Teresa Evans ($500) Betty Weller ($1000) y Santos Gonzalez ($3000).