Bulletin (December 23, 2007)

First, I want to thank you for your generosity last weekend in the two-bit collection for the Mary Bloom Center in Peru. The Mary Bloom Center is a medical clinic and educational center, named for my mom. For almost fifteen years, it has served children and families in the Altiplano of Peru, which is one of the poorest regions of the Western Hemisphere.

Below, is a picture of a child I met when I visited Peru in October. His name is Joni Checalla Ale. Joni was born with a condition called achondroplasia. As you can see, the condition is characterized by “abnormal bone growth” that results in short stature with disproportionately short arms and legs, a large head, and “characteristic facial features with frontal bossing and mid-face hypoplasia.” The Mary Bloom Center is helping his mom, Catalina Ale, get the necessary resources to be able to care for this beautiful child. In the week after Christmas, the Mary Bloom Center will help Catalina obtain the plaster casts needed to begin straightening Joni’s feet.


Joni reminds us that, because of Christmas, every child is precious. On Christmas we celebrate the fact that God assumed our human nature, became a little Child. Every child is beautiful and precious beyond imagining. To care for a child is both a great privilege and a great joy. By your donations to the Mary Bloom Center, you enable its staff and volunteers to care for children such as Joni.

This Monday we begin our celebration of Christ’s Birth. I encourage you to come to the church at 4:30 p.m. for some reflective Christmas music: There will be three classical guitar pieces, two classical flute pieces, and two choral ones. The congregation can join in on the Silent Night. This beautiful music will be followed by the 5 p.m. Children’s Mass. The full schedule of Masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is found in another part of the bulletin. The word “Christmas” comes from the combination “Christ-Mass.” For us the Mass is the center of our celebration of this great Holy Day.

We have some special two-bit collections during these days. This Sunday the two-bit collection will go to our parish Birthright. This will enable our trained volunteers to reach out to those facing a troubled or crisis pregnancy. As we follow the Blessed Virgin Mary in the final days of her pregnancy, we could hardly have a more appropriate collection. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the two-bit collection will go toward our parish St. Vincent de Paul Society. During this time of year, the needs of the poor in our parish neighborhoods are particularly evident. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Next Sunday – Holy Family Sunday – we will have a two-bit collection for a parish project not covered by the Capital Campaign. We want to improve the acoustics in the Tice Hall and in our church. The first step is a professional Acoustical Analysis. The analysis will take about thirty hours and will result in a detailed report to provide solutions for the acoustics in the Tice Hall and in the church. The professional will cost about two thousand dollars, but I think you will agree that it will be well worth it. We have about half this amount from a previous two-bit collection and your donations next weekend should provide the other half. Besides these special collections, I would ask that if you are considering a year-end financial contribution, please consider our parish Capital Campaign and/or a donation for the long term needs of our parish school through the Randy Terlicker Endowment Fund.

If you are doing some last minute Christmas shopping, I would like to recommend a book: There Is a God by Anthony Flew. The subtitle says: “How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind.” In one of the biggest religion news stories of the new millennium, the Associated Press announced that Professor Anthony Flew, the world's leading atheist, now believes in God. Flew used to be an icon for modern atheism. His famous paper, Theology and Falsification, was first presented at a meeting of the Oxford Socratic Club chaired by C. S. Lewis and went on to become the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last five decades. Flew earned his fame by arguing that one should presuppose atheism until evidence of a God surfaces. He now believes that such evidence exists, and There Is a God chronicles his journey from staunch atheism to believer. The book explains how advances in physics and biology led Flew to reconsider his disbelief in God’s existence. Flew is a trained philosopher, but the book avoids much technical language and presents the case for God’s existence in a clear and accessible manner. The book is also available through the King County Library (I will be returning my copy this week).

Of course, for us as Christians, the greatest evidence for God’s existence is what he has done for us in Jesus – particularly the gift of the Christ Child, who came to liberate us from our sins and guilt, and to give us a new life in Him through the sacraments. As we enter the wonderful season of Christmas, I want to take this opportunity – on behalf of the entire parish staff – to wish you a Blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with God’s grace.

On December 6, the Holy Family seventh grade class attended the Nutcracker Ballet at the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in the Seattle Center. It was an especially memorable occasion since one of our seventh graders performed in the ballet. The picture shows the seventh grade class, together with Fr. Bloom and Principal Glen Lutz. Also in the picture are seventh grade teachers, Mrs. Katie Hart and Mrs. Christine Hokenson, as well as Ginnie Hance and Maribel LaForga, who are part of the school staff. The pictures were taken by one of the parents who accompanied us, Mrs. Laura Ruiz-Velasco.

Holy Family Eighth Grade Class with Mrs. Emily Schau:

Posadas, Casa Ramon Sainz, December 21, 2007
Gracias por sus contribuciones al Centro Mary Bloom en la segunda colecta del domingo pasado. Como ustedes saben, el Centro Mary Bloom es una clinica medica y un centro educativo que sirve a la gente de Puno, Peru. En la parte en inglés he puesto una foto de un niño que el Centro está ayudando. Sufre de acondroplasia y después de Navidad necesita un yeso para enderezar sus pies.

El Centro Mary Bloom tambien está ayudando a victimas del terremoto en reconstruir sus vidas. En octubre tuve la oportunidad y privilegio de visitar a familias en Pisco, la ciudad mas cerca al epicentro del temblor del 15 de agosto. La foto muestra una Señora llamada Rosa que perdio a sus papas e hija en el terremoto. Su hijito de tres años está mostrando los retratos de sus abuelitos y hermana. Sus donaciones ayudan a familias como esa en su tiempo de tristeza y recuperacion.

Navidad es un tiempo para dar gracias a Dios por el regalo de su Hijo y reflexionar en el don del niño. Quisiera apoyarnos mutuamente y ser solidarios con familias que están sufriendo durante este tiempo. Este boletin tiene el horario de misas navidadeñas: 6:30 p.m. el dia lunes (Nochebuena) y a las 12:30 p.m. (martes, 25 de diciembre). Quisiera tomar esta oportunidad de parte de todos que les sirven en el equipo parroquial de expresar nuestros deseos que tenga una Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo lleno de las bendiciones de Dios.

Randy Terlicker pictures

Randy in uniform

Randy with mom & dad


Stewardship Commitment Renewal – God Gives It All Then Calls Us To Share

Pledge Renewal Update as of December 19
Registered Households:  	1200
Households Pledging:      	  398

Appr. 1st Collection Budget:  $639,000.00
Total Amount Pledged:          $357,555.13

Past Giving Statistics

2007:  394 Parishioners pledged $346,006.55
2006:  442 Parishioners pledged $395,545.00
2005:  284 Parishioners pledged $249,722.50

As you can see, we are getting close to passing our 2006 statistics, which is good news.  However, we are still far from having enough pledges to meet our 2008 1st Collection budget.   Although it is true that some of that shortfall between budget and pledges will be made up through loose collections and donations from others who do not make a pledge, it also true, as you might imagine from your own household budgeting, that it does make it much easier for the parish to plan its ministries if there is more certainty concerning how much income can be expected. If you haven’t yet made a pledge, please do so as it will help us to continue our God-given mission in the most effective manner.  Pledge cards are available at the update board in the vestibule.  

No Need to Pledge?

And along that vein, the story is told of a wise pastor who went to get a hair cut.  The barber, who also happened to be a parishioner, took the opportunity to tell the pastor all the reasons why the barber was not going to complete his stewardship pledge card.

“I don’t think we should have to promise to give money to God.  We should give what our heart tells us at the time.  I like to be able to just put in the collection whatever I have that week.”

The pastor listened carefully and after his haircut he handed the barber $1 for the $10 haircut saying, “I like to give what my heart tells me – just whatever I have in my pocket at the time.”

“Father,” the barber protested, “I can’t pay my rent, take care of my expenses and run my business successfully if everyone would do that.”  “Neither can God,” the pastor replied.

Annual Catholic Appeal Update – Great News

We have currently collected 74% of our ACA pledge total!  As you may remember, all money collected over our required $58,048 will be returned to us and will be used to renovate the old baptistery into a prayer chapel to house our Sacred Heart and St. Michael the Archangel statues.  If all pledges are fulfilled, we will receive a rebate from the Archdiocese totaling close to $15,500 to go towards this project!  Thank you to all our generous donors.

(Insert Graph)

And a note from the Archdiocese concerning the Appeal:

Payments for the 2007 ACA Campaign are accepted up through mid-April, 2008. However, if you would like to complete your pledge this calendar year, all payments must be postmarked by December 31, 2007. 
If you are currently set up on a monthly credit card charge for your Annual Catholic Appeal pledge, and your expiration date or card number has recently changed or is about to change before campaign end (April 2008), please call the Annual Catholic Appeal Office at 1-800-809-4921 or 206-382-4274. Also, if you are set up on a Electronic Funds withdrawal from your bank account and have changed your account number, please notify the Appeal or Accounting office. 
Thank you for your generosity to the 2007 Annual Catholic Appeal - we greatly appreciate it!

Monica Lewis
Annual Catholic Appeal

First Collection Stewardship for Week 25 of Fiscal Year
(July 1, 2007 – December 16, 2007)
Budgeted Year to Date:			$307,225.00
Collected Year to Date:			$281,221.33
Income Difference Year to Date	       (-) $  26,003.67

Amount Needed Each Sunday:		$  12,289.00
Last Sunday’s Offering:			$  15,220.31
Weekly Income Difference:		      (+)  $   2,931.31

Delinquency Amt. for 2007 Pledges to date:	$  53,508.99

Some of the Gifts from the Other Half of our Stewardship
2-bit Collection (Mary Bloom Center)	$    2,462.52

Capital Campaign
Total Households Pledging:			674
Total Pledged:					$1,181,973.38
Total Paid:					$   947,028.89
Balance:					$   234,944.49

Delinquency Amount to Date:		$   137,455.13