Bulletin (December 9, 2007)

Last Saturday morning we had the blessing and dedication of the beautiful statue of Our Lady of La Vang. Fr. Phuong Hoang, chaplain of the Vietnamese Catholic community, joined us for the event (see picture below). The Vietnamese community’s participation in our parish Capital Campaign made this lovely shrine possible. It will draw many people to Jesus through Mary.

Pictures of Our Lady of La Vang, Holy Family, Seattle, by Khoi Duong

The Capital Campaign, which reaches its three year completion in April, has brought many benefits to our parish: the renovation of our school building; the new roof, boiler and rest room facilities for our church; the repair, re-striping and improved lighting for our parking lots – and much more. We still have more to accomplish. We have been bedeviled by chronic leaks in the church building, but once we get a resolution of that problem, we will do the repair and repainting of the church interior. If you are able to make a special year-end contribution to the Capital Campaign, I would greatly appreciate it. Capital Campaign envelopes are available in the basket attached to the Campaign update board located in the vestibule.

Speaking of contributions, I want to extend a big thank-you to those who made a pledge in our annual Stewardship Drive. Your Stewardship of time, abilities and financial resources enable us to carry the basic mission and ministries of our parish. One of the most important ministries is music at our weekend Masses. Thanks to your pledges, I am able to take the step of hiring a new choir director. Craig Nim – a man with an extraordinary musical background – is forming a parish choir. If all goes well, they will sing at the 9 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass and, subsequently, at 11 a.m. Masses. Please say a prayer for Craig as he begins this vital work. If you are interested in being part of the choir, please call the parish office.

I don’t know if you have paid much attention to the controversy surround The Golden Compass. It is a movie based on a series of books that combine atheism with the occult. The movie opened last weekend and turned out to be a box office flop. Apparently, enough families of faith paid attention to the warnings and kept their children away from the film.

Even though The Golden Compass appears to be broken, it is worth paying attention to it because it represents a larger attack on our children’s faith. Today, we face an aggressive form of atheism, which detests religious faith – especially Christian faith. I did go to see the movie this week so that I could better help parents. Others have written more incisive reviews than I could. I particularly liked Bishop Chaput’s thoughts and am making his review available at the church entrances.

I couldn’t help notice some glaring ironies in The Golden Compass. The characters tell you about fifty times that they are fighting to uncover “the truth,” but a major plot element has the heroine (a pre-adolescent girl) weaving an elaborate lie. She shows no compunction about lying and no one brings her to task for not telling the truth. This is a different moral universe than the Narnia stories, which Philip Pullman set out to attack.

A second irony was that the children - and their adult allies - declare war on the Magisterium (i.e., the Catholic Church) in order to preserve “free-will.” This is ironic because a consistent atheistic philosophy has no place for free will. If the ultimate reality is the interaction of tiny particles (“dust” as the movie says) then human beings are no more free than a barnacle or a volcano. Like them (according to a strictly materialist philosophy) we just perform our functions and erupt on schedule. Fortunately, atheists are better than their materialist philosophy and they know that freedom is something precious – even if they cannot explain where it comes from.

The third irony was the most insidious. The movie depicts the Magisterium as robbing children of their souls. But just the opposite is happening. Atheists, by and large, do not have children. Christians – and other people of faith – are the ones who have children. I sometimes feel like saying to them, “Have your own children. Leave ours alone.” Of course, they are not going to do that. For that reason we need to inform ourselves on this new form of atheism and be ready to help defend our children against this attack.

In some ways we can be grateful to Philip Pullman. At least he attacked Christian faith in a fairly open manner. Our media (television, movies, newspapers, etc.) constantly belittle Christian belief and practices in subtle and backhanded ways. That is harder to combat and it has the effect of discouraging people, especially those who have a weak formation in their faith. Still, it is better to light one candle than curse the darkness. We have some wonderful opportunities to do that as we enter these final days of Advent and look forward to the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Quisiera agradecer a todos que hicieron possible las lindas celebraciones en honor de Nuestras Señora de Guadalupe. Ha sido muy especial la procesion de Santa Bernardita a Holy Family el dia martes. Gracias a todos que participaron. Y un agradeciemiento muy especial al Padre Juan Diego y los que contribuyeron para que el estuviera con nosotros. Tambien estoy agradecidos a los que hayan contribuido para la imagen renovada. El Diacono Abel nos la traere – Dios primero – desde Mexico despues de sus vacaciones.

Un recordatorio: La Misa de NocheBuena (24 de diciembre) comenzará a las 6:30 en Español. El Dia de Navidad habrá misa a las 12:30 p.m. Como el año pasado habrá una misa bilingüe a las 11 p.m. el 31 de diciembre para recibir el año nuevo.

Finalmente, gracias a todos que hayan llenado su formulario de Mayordomia (generosidad, compartir de tiempo, habilidades y dinero). Hay una lista en la entrada de Roxbury de todos los contribuyentes. Favor de leerlo para estar seguro que tu nombre esté en ella. Dios los bendiga

Holy Family Sixth Grade, Mr. Charles Secrest

Holy Family Fourth Grade

with teacher, Mrs. Anca Wilson

Holy Family Fifth Grade, Mrs. Kathy Budde

Holy Family Third Grade, Mrs. Monica Wingard

Holy Family Second Grade, Ms. Christi Corbin

Holy Family Seventh Grade, Mrs. Katie Hart

Snowfall in Seattle, Dec 1, 2007

Dedication of Our Lady of Lavang, December 8, 2007

Samwise on Camano, December 10, 2007