Bulletin (September 5, 2004)

With all the problems in our world, church, families, parish, etc, it is vital not to lose sight of God’s love and providence. During the Babylonian Exile - which was certainly one of the gloomiest times for the Israelites - the prophet Jeremiah received this message of hope:

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope.” (29:11)

We are in a time of rebuilding. This summer we have replaced our school roof and done the seismic re-enforcement related to the roof. Our school building should not only withstand the rain, but also be safer in case of an earthquake. As we move into the fall, our various consultative bodies (Parish Council, School Commission, Finance Council, etc.) will be focusing on addressing our parish needs through the Capital Campaign. I ask your prayers as we enter into this phase of the project.

In rebuilding our parish, we also need to address those elements of our culture which threaten our future. One of the biggest problems we face is “consumerism.” Last week I read an interview with noted psychologist, Dr. Ray Guarendi. He describes how consumerism affects us as individuals and as families. Following is part of what Dr. Guarendi had to say:

“Consumerism seems to me to be the Number 1 corporate sin of Christians -- it's the sin that affects the most of us the most. We are simply so deep into it we don't see it anymore. Our desire for stuff supersedes everything. We are distracted, owned, tempted and seduced by it. We simply think less of God and more of "it" -- it consumes more of our waking moments than God. That may be why our Lord spoke more of greed in the New Testament than anything else. Part of the problem is that the American culture views consumerism and stuff as part and parcel of normal living. It just is; it's how people get by. How can that be wrong? But it goes to the core of who we are. Consumerism equates with self -- self-centeredness, self-fulfillment, self-satisfaction, selfish desires.

”Virtually everyone lives to the limit or above what they can afford. That leaves no margin to give of money, to give of time and to simply have extra. Often, when missionaries come into parishes and take a second collection, the number of $1 bills is pathetic. Catholics are the richest religious group in the country and we give the least. Unfortunately, we don't see it because we're like fish that don't sense the water around us. We need to make an effort to sense consumerism and try to resist it in our society.

”When kids go anywhere -- the store, restaurants, parties, other homes, even churches -- they get prizes. We get stuff as often as we breathe; it becomes part of our lifestyle. We have to consciously and willfully fight to recognize that this is happening.

”If we gave to the Church the amount of money we spend eating out and shopping -- or how much we pay on interest for things we don't really need -- the Church would be able to help so many more people. In our culture, being a consumer is seen as the good life -- but it distracts us from the infinitely good life. Adam and Eve had everything, except for one tree. And of course, that's what they wanted the most.”

The complete interview with Dr. Guarendi can be found at: http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=58061

Con todos los problemas en nuestro mundo, iglesia, familias, parroquia, etc., es preciso que no perdimos vista del amor y providencia de Dios. Durante del Destierro en Babilonia – que era uno de los momentos más difíciles para los israelitas – el profeta Jeremías recibió este mensaje de esperanza:

“Porque yo sé muy bien lo que haré por ustedes; les quiero dar para y no desgracia y un porvenir lleno de esperanza, palabra del Señor.” (29:11)

Estamos en un tiempo de reconstruir. Este verano hemos remplazado el techo de la escuela y hicimos los reforzamientos sísmicos relacionados con él. Nuestra esuela debe no solamente resistir las lluvias, sino ser más segura en caso de un terremoto. Al entrar en el otoño, nuestros cuerpos consultativos (Consejo Parroquial, Comisión de la Escuela, Consejo de Finanzas, etc.) enfocarán en las necesidades enfrentadas por la Campaña Capital. Pido sus oraciones al entrar en esta etapa del proyecto.