Bulletin (Aug 10, 2008)

If you are like me, you probably have your absentee ballot somewhere in a stack of bills, notes and other papers on your desk. And perhaps you are wondering where you can get time to study the issues and find out something about the issues so that you can cast an intelligent ballot. Well, I can’t give you much help in that area, but this Sunday I will address the issue of what it means for us to be “faithful citizens.”

This is a good Sunday to reflect on the meaning of faithful citizenship. In the second reading, St. Paul speaks about the love - and anguish - he has for his own nation, the Jewish people. He describes what he would be willing to suffer for the salvation of his fellow Hebrews. That love of one's own people is a virtue we are also called to. It is the virtue of patriotism. It is not the greatest virtue, but love for one's own country can lead a person to noble efforts, even heroic sacrifice. The American bishops have written a document that can help us understand what it means for us to be good citizens of our country. The document is titled “Faithful Citizenship” and it is well worth reading. I will say more about it during the homily this weekend.

As you can see from the picture, the full title of the document is: "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States." It explains why the Church teaches about issues affecting public policy and lays out the seven key themes of Catholic Social Teaching. The document then applies those teachings to major issues: Human Life, Family Life, Social Justice and Global Solidarity. It concludes with some challenges for citizens, candidates and public officials. I would love it if every household had a copy of this document – and if every parishioner would spend time reading and reflecting on the Bishops’ teaching.

This Friday we are celebrating an important Feast – the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like some of the great Old Testament saints (e.g., Elijah, Enoch and quite possibly Moses), Mary was taken directly into heaven. As Pope Pius XII expressed it, “having completed the course of her earthly life, she was assumed body and soul into heavenly.” This happened because of her union with Christ. As the one who bore Christ physically in her own body, it is most appropriate that Mary’s body did not undergo corruption. Mary’s Assumption points to her queenship, which we will celebrate next week. As queen of heaven and earth, she intercedes for us.

To honor our Blessed Mother we will have a procession this Friday (the Feast of the Assumption). We will gather in the church at 5 p.m. and from there have a short procession to the new image of Our Lady of LaVang. You may bring flowers to place at the pedestal of Our Lady. Then we will pray the rosary in Vietnamese, Filipino, Spanish and English. Fr. Phoang Hoang will be with us to help guide the procession. He will concelebrate the 6 p.m. Mass and give a homily about the importance of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please plan on participating in this important and beautiful event.

As part of our prayers, I ask you to keep in mind our parish school. We are making a number of changes that are not easy, but they will improve the quality and vitality of Holy Family School. Our new principal, Mr. Frank Cantwell, is (I am convinced) an answer to many prayers. He and all those responsible for our school need your prayerful support. Catholic schools can be an important part of spiritual and cultural renewal that we so deeply need.

Speaking of cultural and spiritual renewal, Fr. Stephen Rowan is offering an interesting seminar for priests of the Archdiocese. It is titled “Flannery O’Connor’s Catholic Imagination.” I have been preparing for the seminar by reading four of her short stories: Greenleaf, Revelation, The Displaced Person and A Good Man Is Hard to Find. They are powerful and I recommend them to you. Flannery O’Connor is a magnificent example of someone who used her gifts to help others appreciate the mystery of Christ.

And finally, speaking of the mystery of Christ, I invite you to join in the Masses of Reparation this month. Last weekend I mentioned the university professor who carried out a public desecration of the Eucharist. Even worse than the act of desecration was the response of the university. In spite of many letters of protest, they simply shrugged it off as part of “academic freedom.” With such disrespect for what is most sacred to us, you wonder where our society is going. The Masses of Reparation will be an opportunity to pray for those who actively attack Christianity – but also to pray for ourselves that we will grow in a deeper faith in Our Lord, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. The first Mass of Reparation will be this Sunday at 8 a.m. The other scheduled Masses of Reparation will be: Tues, Aug 12, 7:30 p.m. (Latin), Sun, Aug 17, 8 a.m. (English), Tues, Aug 19, 7:30 p.m. (Latin), Tues, Aug 26, 7:30 p.m. (Latin).

En la segunda lectura, San Pablo habla de su pasion - y angustia - para su propia raza, el pueblo judio. Describe lo que estaria dispuesto a sufrir para la salvacion de sus hermanos hebreos. Ese amor para la propia raza es una virtud que se llama patriotismo. No es la mayor virtud, pero amor para el propio pueblo puede inspirar esfuerzos nobles, aun sacrificios heroicos. En su documento Ciudadanos Fieles, los obispos hablan de lo que significar amar nuestra patria comun.

El titulo pleno del documento es: "Formando la conciencia para ser ciudadanos fieles." Esta declaración alienta a los católicos a guiarse por los valores de su fe cuando participan en la vida política. Su objetivo es ayudar a los católicos a formar su conciencia, a fin de que puedan tomar decisiones morales responsables sobre sus opciones públicas. Ciudadanos Fieles destaca cuatro inquietudes de interés público: (1) proteger la vida humana, (2) promover la vida familiar, (3) perseguir la justicia social, y (4) practicar la solidaridad global. Me gustaria que todos lean este documento. Asi podemos enseñar mejor a nuestros niños lo que significa ser ciudadanos fieles.

Es important rezar por nuestro pais y nuestras familias en estos dias. Tenemos una oportunidad importante este viernes con la Fiesta de la Asuncion de la Virgen Maria. Habra misa en español a las 7:30. Quisiera hacer una invitacion especial a la Procesion en honor a la Virgen a las 5 p.m. Favor de llevar flores para honor a nuestra madre celestial. Rezaremos el santo rosario ante Nuestra Señora de LaVang en ingles, filipino, vietnamita y español.

Stewardship Reflection

There is an old saying that a person shouldn’t put all of their eggs into one basket. Did you know that the principle of diversifying your investments is Scriptural? Ecclesiastes 11:2 says, “Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what evil may happen on earth.”

Faith and Finances with Phil Lenahan © – www.VeritasFinancialMinistries.com

Parish Stewardship Giving Summary
Wk. 5 of Fiscal Year (July 6, 2008 - August 3, 2008)

Amt. Needed 1st Collection Each Sunday:	$  14,100.00
Aug. 3 Check/Cash Envelope:	$    9,014.00
Aug. 3 EFT (Automatic Deduction):	$       609.85  
Aug. 3 Loose Cash:			$    2,703.77
August 3 Total Offering:			$  12,327.62
Weekly Income Difference:		       (-)	$    1,772.38

Fiscal Year to Date
Goal 1st Collection FY to Date:		$ 70.500.00  
Collected 1st Collection FY to Date:		$ 51,395.48   
Difference 1st Collection FY to Date:     (-) $ 19,104.52

Some of the Gifts from the Other Half of our Stewardship
Second Collection (Radio Evangelization):	$    1,258.25  
St. Vincent De Paul:				$       360.00 
REMEMBER: Don’t forget the parish while you’re gone on vacation! Please mail your donation before you leave or go on-line at www.HFSeattle.org to make a donation using your credit card.

To make on-line donations to the Annual Catholic Appeal, go to http://www.seattlearch.org/ACA