Bulletin (September 17, 2006)

This weekend Fr. Ramon Velasco is down in Mexico visiting one of his Divine Word classmates. Say a little a prayer for him. You may be aware that Mexico is going through some turmoil these days on account of a disputed presidential election (we never have that problem in the United States, right?). As we pray for Fr. Ramon, this is also a good moment to pray for the country of Mexico. Perhaps no other nation is more closely linked to our country, and what happens there will have an impact on all of us. This weekend they celebrate their Independence Day.

Last Sunday I mentioned the studies regarding the consciousness of those in a state of coma. It is remarkable what they have discovered about people who have been diagnosed as being in a “persistent vegetative state.” The studies indicate clear and distinct brain activity when researchers and relatives spoke to them, asking them to imagine things like coffee with cream or playing tennis. Some people have connected these studies to the debate over the decision to end the life of Terri Schiavo by removing her feeding tube. However, we must point out that the issue in Terri Schiavo’s case was that she had no terminal illness. All she needed was food and water to sustain her life. Even if she did not have consciousness as we experience it during our waking hours, that would not justify ending her life. And, even if we are not always morally obliged to nourish a person with a feeding tube, there is a further issue. In meeting with families whose loved one is in a coma, I have asked different doctors this question: If the feeding tube were removed, would it be possible to give the person liquids with a teaspoon or sterile sponge? They have pointed out that it would be labor intensive and that some of the liquid might aspirate into the lungs, causing pneumonia. Family members, of course, could do the labor intensive part - and as far as the possibility of pneumonia, I would certainly prefer to die of that disease rather than die of thirst. Wouldn’t you?

To talk of a happier topic, this weekend we have the Open House for our new ground level parish hall (the “Tice Hall”). One of its wonderful features is that it is handicapped accessible. The picture shows Holy Family parishioner, Candelario (“Candie”) Barbosa, who requires a wheelchair to get around. Previously, people had to carry Candie up the stairs in order for him to use the hall. Now we have a gathering space accessible to him and others with handicaps, as well as elderly and others who have difficulty getting up a flight of stairs. Please come over after Mass for some food and refreshments and to see what we have accomplished thanks to your support for the Capital Campaign. This week I have invited Lou and Diane Tice, as well as other major supporters, for a blessing of this new hall.

In addition to the new hall, we have made many other improvements to our parish facilities. On September 27, we will make a small, but important change to our Divine Mercy Chapel. To provide greater protection for the Blessed Sacrament, we will place a small monstrance inside the tabernacle. This will enable adorers to close the tabernacle door, in case no one is in the chapel to take their place. Our goal, of course, is to have someone present in the chapel, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, but there are sometimes gaps. Please consider signing up for a regular hour of Eucharistic Adoration.

In the homily last Sunday, I told you about Tom Burnett, the man who led the passenger revolt on Flight 93. As seems inevitable, there are some revelations about his earlier life which indicate he is not a “plaster of Paris saint.” I have to admit, the revelations made me more interested in learning more about him and reading Deena Burnett’s book, Fighting Back. When I heard the revelations, it reminded me of the Morris West novel, The Devils Advocate. In it a British Monsignor investigates a possible sainthood case. Early on the reader learns that the proposed saint has an illegitimate son. It seems like that should close the case, but it does not. The novel is a powerful study of sin, redemption and holiness. Tom Burnett may be a real life version of that fictional character.

Here at Holy Family, we have our own St. Francis of Assisi. Handyman Todd Aylard received another stray dog. Tentatively called Otis, he followed two of our Holy Family students (Jordan and Kezia Crawley) to school on Wednesday. Unlike a previous stray dog (“Fabian”), Otis did not have a computer chip. Hopefully, by the time you read this bulletin, we will have located his owner.

Stray dog "Otis" with Jordan and Kezia Crawley, Todd Aylard

Este fin de semana el Padre Ramón Velasco está en México. Favor de rezar por él y la patria de México que celebra su Día de Independencia. Al mismo tiempo nosotros estamos celebrando la Apertura de Nuevo Salón (Salón Tice). Como se puede ver de la foto en la parte en inglés, el nuevo Salón está accesible a los que están con silla de rueda y también para personas que tienen dificultad en subir escaleras. Quisiera agradecer a todos que están apoyando la Campaña Capital que hace posible esta obra - y las otras refacciones de nuestra parroquia.

Para el 27 de septiembre vamos a hacer unos cambios a la Capilla de Divina Misericordia para dar más protección al Santísimo Sacramento. Les explicaré durante las misas. Mientras tanto quisiera pedir a todos, considerar la posibilidad de hacer un compromiso de al menos una hora cada semana para la Adoración Eucarística.

Blessed Sacrament Chapel

Sara & Julius Jacob before beginning their trip