Bulletin (March 1, 2009)

In his Address to Congress on Tuesday, President Obama stated, “Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.” Whatever that meant in a political context, it is a good thought for Lent. We take charge of our future by giving God first place. The future, after all, belongs to Him. The challenge is to allow God to take charge in our lives. God allows crises to happen – whether national or personal – to call us back to Himself.

Perhaps because of these crises we had bigger than expected crowds for Ash Wednesday. It created problems of crowd management that we hopefully we will be better prepared to deal with next year. At the same time, many people used this opportunity to express a desire to let God take charge of their lives. I was encouraged by the number of people who filled out the “Stewardship of Time” cards. They will be in the pews again this Sunday. I hope everyone will check the basics: attend Mass every Sunday/Holy Day, daily personal prayer and family prayer, especially before meals. Beyond the basics, I ask you to consider praying the rosary, making a retreat and attending adult religious education classes (the March 31 presentation by Dr. Tom Curran will be a great opportunity).

As part of the invitation to give God first place, we will have a series of three witness presentations at the conclusion of Mass. This weekend Vernon Wells will speak about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our goal this Lent is that every adult and young person in our parish has the opportunity to renew their lives by making a good examination of conscience and Confession.

Next weekend Steve Hance will give a presentation on Bible reading. Besides the in-depth Catholic Bible Study, we will be offering a program to read the entire Bible (and Catechism) in a year. The starting date for this program is March 15. You can pick up one of the beautiful “Read the Bible and Catechism in a Year” brochures after Mass. The program will require a half hour to forty-five minutes each day for a year. You will never regret the time. Jesus said, “If you remain in my word, you will be My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Along with spiritual fitness, Lent is a good time to get physically fit. We easily fall into eating patterns that result in low energy and poor health. Lenten fasting begins with avoiding foods that do harm and eating foods (like fruits, vegetables and fish) that help our bodies. And with the days getting longer, it is a good time to get serious about an exercise program. In that regard, I remind you that you still have three weeks to get in shape for the annual Cathedral Walk. We will leave from Holy Family at 7 a.m. on March 21 and celebrate Mass at St. James Cathedral at 11:30. Even if you cannot walk the whole distance, you are most welcome to come for the Mass. We will have a car or two accompanying us if anyone does need to ride part of the way.

Next Saturday we have a Liturgy Workshop for ushers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Communion, sacristans, altar servers, choir members – and all others who help with our liturgical celebrations. Fr. Steve Sallis, pastor of St. Benedict’s and member of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, will give a presentation on how to participate in the Mass with greater reverence. The Workshop will begin at 10 a.m. with morning prayer and conclude at noon with a commissioning of the different liturgical ministers. Lunch will be provided for all participants. All liturgical ministers are expected to attend this workshop. If you are not a liturgical minister, but wish to attend, please notify the parish office.

A few weeks back, I received a surprise gift. At our Friday prayer vigil in front of the West Seattle Planned Parenthood, a man stopped his car and thanked us for what we were doing. He then handed my twenty dollars. I used the money to purchase St. Michael prayer cards (http://www.hli.org/st_michael_prayer.html/index.html). You can find the prayer cards in the new St. Michael Chapel. The card contains the St. Michael prayer with a special request to pray for the conversion of abortionists. In recent years a number of abortionists have given up their practice and some have become ardent witnesses for life. God does not want the death of any sinner, but his conversion. That, of course, applies to you and me as much as any other person. We are in a spiritual battle. C.S. Lewis expressed it this way:

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could 'be like gods' - could set up on their own as if they had created themselves - be their own masters - invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history - money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery - the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

The reason why it can never succeed is this: God made us, invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

One final thought: President Obama has said that the government needs to spend a trillion dollars to create an “aggregate demand” for goods and services – and thus create new jobs. Would we need to do this if we had with us the forty million children lost to abortion in the past thirty years?

En el día de Miércoles de Ceniza muchos de ustedes llenaron la Tarjeta de Tiempo. Es una manera de dar prioridad a Dios, ponerlo en primer lugar. Este domingo habrá otra oportunidad de llenar la tarjeta.

El próximo sábado, el Padre Steve Sallis dará una Taller de Liturgia para todos los ministros litúrgicos de la parroquia. Habrá traducción simultanea en español. Al final de taller, hare el rito para comisionar los diferentes ministros: acólitos, lectores, ministros de Comunión, sacristanes, cantores, salmistas, bienvenida, acomodadores (ujieres) etc. Comienza a las 10 a.m. este sábado (7 de marzo) y terminara a mediodía con un almuerzo gratis.

Ahora es el tiempo para poner en condición los pies y el cuerpo entero para la Peregrinación a la Catedral el 21 de marzo. Salimos de nuestro templo a las 7 a.m. y habrá celebración de la misa en la Catedral a las 11:30 a.m. Para otras actividades de la Cuaresma favor ver el volante especial. Les ofrezco esta meditación cuaresmal:

Jesús vino para poner las cosas en su lugar correcto. Solo él podía hacerlo. ¿Por qué? A causa de su relación con el Padre. Él existía antes del comienzo del mundo en la unión de Padre e Hijo. De esa energía, el mundo fue creado. Pero Satanás y nuestros primeros padres apartaron de esa armonía. Como C. S. Lewis observo, siempre buscamos algún tipo de felicidad por nuestra propia cuenta. Si solamente pudiéramos encontrar una cierta persona o trabajo o vacaciones o programa de salud... En una forma muy directa, Lewis explica porque tal búsqueda desesperada al final nos deja vació:

“La razón porque no puede dar resultado esto. Dios nos hizo, nos inventó como un hombre inventa una máquina. El carro fue hecho para andar con gasolina, y no anda correctamente con otra cosa. Dios designó la máquina humana para andar con El mismo. El mismo es el combustible que nuestros espíritus fueron designados a quemar, o la comida nuestros espíritus fueron designados a comer. No hay otro. Eso es porque es inútil pedir a Dios que nos haga feliz en nuestro propio modo sin preocuparnos sobre la religión. Dios no puede darnos felicidad y paz aparte de El Mismos, porque no está allí. No hay tal cosa.”

Stewardship Reflection: The Importance of Keeping Promises

When we borrow, we enter into an agreement with another party – the lender. While it’s one thing to borrow in good faith, then have circumstances change, it’s quite another to borrow with the intent to not repay the loan. With the current economic crisis, I’m seeing such situations arise. The Catechism addresses this in a very cogent manner and it’s worth sharing here:

“Promises must be kept and contracts strictly observed to the extent that the commitments made in them are morally just. A significant part of economic and social life depends on the honoring of contracts between physical or moral persons – commercial contracts of purchase or sale, rental or labor contracts. All contracts must be agreed to and executed in good faith” (2410).

The catechism continues: “Contracts are subject to commutative justice which regulates exchanges between persons and between institutions in accordance with strict respect for their rights. Commutative justice obliges strictly; it requires safeguarding property rights, paying debts, and fulfilling obligations freely contracted” (2411).

Obviously, situations arise where terms of contracts need to be renegotiated, but such adjustments should be the exception rather than the rule. To the extent that people become accustomed to breaking promises and contracts, we can expect a breakdown in trust and the smooth functioning of society. And by living so close to the economic edge, whether it is government, businesses, or individuals, we are creating an environment where the breaking of promises becomes too easily accepted.

God love you!

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

Parish Stewardship Giving Summary:
Wk. 34 of Fiscal Year, February 22, 2009	Registered Parishioners:	   	1242	
Parishioners Using Envelopes: 	  286	
Amt. Needed 1st Collection Each Sunday:  $ 14,100.00	     Weekly Comparison		
1st Week  (Feb. 1)	$12,558.77
2nd Week (Feb, 8)	$13,054.62
3rd Week (Feb 15)	$13,032.51
4th Week (Feb. 22)	$13,675.73
Rcvd. Monthly to date	$52,321.63
Check/Cash Envelope:		       $   9,466.00
EFT (Automatic Deduction):	       $   1,064.88    
Loose Cash:			       $   3,144.85  
Total Offering:			       $ 13,675.73
Weekly Income Difference:		     - $ (  424.27)

For on-line donations to parish or school: www.HFSeattle.org  

Annual Catholic Appeal

We have reached our Annual Catholic Appeal required donation amount and are now receiving money directly for our rebate. Remember that all money received over our amount is returned directly back to the parish. We have the possibility of receiving close to $18,000 that will be used right here at Holy Family! Please stop and see the pictures in the vestibule of possible designs for our rebate project: a new hand-carved Church sign. We need the continued donations of all who pledged to help us with this project. Donations will be received through April 20. For simple on-line payment of your pledge, go to: http://www.seattlearch.org/ACA. THANK YOU!

40 Days for Life, Renton, Sara from St. Anthony

Matt with Peggy, Mary & Cecilia from St. John the Baptist, Covington

Samwise, the Pro-Life Dog

Cedar River abortion clinic

Roger and Greg - new protective leash for Sam

Parking Lot Extension, March 3, 2009

Last Snow of Season? February 26, 2009