Bulletin (December 21, 2008)
With this bulletin, I wish you both a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We will not have a bulletin next weekend, our patronal Feast of the Holy Family, so I want to give you a brief preview of upcoming events of January. The first weekend of January will be dedicated to the memory of Randy Terlicker – a Holy Family graduate and one of the four fire fighters who gave their lives in the 1995 Pang Warehouse fire. On January 5 (fourteenth anniversary) we will host a Firefighters’ Memorial Service and Fundraiser Dinner benefiting the Randy Terlicker Memorial Endowment Fund. Some of your fellow parishioners have already pledged almost two hundred thousand dollars to this fund, and in the January 5 event, we will reach out to the broader community. Mayor Greg Nickels, Fire Chief Gregory Dean, Councilman Tim Burgess and other civic leaders will take part in the Memorial Service. That weekend I will be inviting Holy Family Parishioners to consider a pledge to this Fund so important to the future of our school and parish.
On the following weekend, we will begin a Novena in honor of St. Michael leading to the blessing and dedication of our new St. Michael Chapel on January 18. We all face many problems – finance, health, family, etc. – but we know that the bottom line is that we are in a spiritual battle, and we need St. Michael the Archangel to defend us in that battle. Later in January we will have a Presentation of our Parish Stewardship Plan. Our parish Council has worked on this plan for over a year, and it will guide our efforts in the coming years. The final week of January we will also celebrate Catholic Schools Week – and of course have the annual Knights of Columbus Crab Dinner and Valentine’s Day Dance on Jan. 31. Get your tickets early.
I am grateful to all who have come to Masses and other parish activities in spite of the snow and ice. It seems like we native Washingtonians tend to hunker down while those brought up in the East and Midwest are undaunted by the cold weather. Even those from warmer climes like the Philippines, Vietnam and Mexico seem to do better than we natives. I have to admit, I have not ventured much beyond parish grounds. Sam and I did get out for some gingerly walks on the ice, as the picture testifies.
This year I will not be here for Holy Family Sunday. I will be in Arandas, Mexico, celebrating the wedding of Michal Yallam and Irereck Magaña (Deacon Abel’s daughter). One of the most beautiful aspects of being a priest is the celebration of the sacrament of marriage. With so much confusion (and outright distortion) on the meaning of marriage, this is a good moment to review the basics.
Let's start at the beginning. In the first book of the Bible, we read how God creates the universe, then all the plants and animals. Finally, he creates man in his own image and likeness. He gives our first parents the command to "be fruitful and multiply." When God creates the woman from man's side, the man exclaims, "This one at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." Then the Bible says, "For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two become one flesh."
Now, in the Old Testament we read about many deviations from this ideal, including polygamy and divorce. But when they asked Jesus if a man can divorce his wife, he says, "Moses allowed divorce because of your hardness of heart, but in the beginning God made them male and female - and for that reason a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife and the two become one flesh." Then Jesus adds, "Let no man separate what God has joined."
In many other ways Jesus showed the sanctity of marriage. For example, he cared so much for young married couples that he did his first miracle on behalf of the newlyweds of Cana. And when he met a woman who had been involved in a series of marriages, he told her that the one she has now is not her own. (The woman, God love her, did not take offense; she said, "This man must be a prophet.") Jesus used nuptial imagery to explain his mission. He prohibited his disciples from fasting because, "the wedding guests do not fast when the bridegroom is with them." In referring to himself as bridegroom, Jesus was hearkening to a long Old Testament tradition of comparing the relationship of God with Israel to the relationship of a groom with his bride.
Jesus’ closest followers showed a great reverence for marriage. Even though (like Jesus) he was celibate, St. Paul taught an exalted doctrine of marriage: the union of husband and wife is a sacrament (mysterion) of the union of Jesus and the Church. St. Peter devotes a good part of his first letter to instructing husbands and wives. And the Bible concludes with St. John's magnificent vision of the wedding of the Lamb (Jesus) with his bride the Church.
The Church has consistently taught the beauty and sanctity of marriage. For example, St. John Chrysostom suggested that young husbands should say this to their wives: "I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us...I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you." (Quoted in the Catechism 2365)
One other testimony to this constant teaching is the way Christian writers have used the Song of Songs. If it were a movie, that book of the Bible would be rated PG-13. It is a love poem that frankly describes the feelings of a young man and woman in love. Many of the Church Fathers (Origen, Ambrose, Gregory of Nyssa) have lengthy commentaries on it - and mystics like Bernard of Clairvaux and John of the Cross used it as the basis of their mystical theology. This shows that although the Church has often warned about distortions of human sexuality, we have constantly presented the love of man and woman that leads to marriage as something beautiful - and sacred. Holy Family Sunday is a good opportunity to reflect on the dignity of marriage and family - as foundational both to human society and to the Church – and to pray for all our married couples.
Con este boletin, quisiera expresar los deseos para una Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo. No habrá boletin el proximo domingo – Domingo de la Sagrada Familia – y por eso quisiera mencionar unos eventos del mes de enero. El primer fin de semana de enero se dedicará a la memoria de Randy Terlicker – un graduado de la Escuela de Holy Family y uno de los cuatro bomberos que dieron sus vida en el incendio Pang de 1995. El 5 de enero habrá un memorial con el Alcalde Greg Nickels y otros lideres civiles. El mismo fin de semana les voy a invitar a hacer un compromiso a este Fondo tan importante para el futuro de nuestra escuela y parroquia.
El siguiente fin de semana comenzará una novena en honor a San Miguel terminando con la bendicion y dedicacion de la nueva Capilla de San Miguel el 18 de enero. Mas tarde en enero habrá la presentacion del Plan de Co-Responsabilidad preparado por el Consejo Parroquial. En la semana final de enero celebraremos la Semana de Escuelas Catolicas y el anual Cena de Cangrejo y Baile de San Valentin presentado por nuestros Caballeros de Colon.
Como menciono el la parte en ingles, despues de Navidad iré a Arandas, Mexico, para celebrar las bodas de Mike Yallam y Irereck Magaña. Vuelvo el 30 de enero para poder celebrar la misa de Año Nuevo, el 31 de enero a las 11 p.m.
Finalmente quisiera expresar mi agradecimiento por todos que participaron en los eventos de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y las Posadas. Abajo hay una foto de la presentacion de la apariciones de la Virgen de parte de nuestro grupo juvenil.
Knights of Columbus Breakfast, December 14, 2008, with Grand Knight Macabe Mooney