Bulletin (July 23, 2006)
A person can expect things to slow down during the summer, but that does not necessarily happen – either in our parish or our world. It seems like this summer has been a time of particular crises for families in our parish and, of course, the world situation gives us plenty to pray for. I would like to mention four areas which are in my prayers and I hope yours.
First, is the violence between Israel and Hezbollah. This area of the world has the potential for drawing other nations into conflict, including the United States. We can never abandon Israel, but at the same time, we must concern ourselves for the other nations in the Middle East. For us as Catholics, Lebanon has to be a particular focus. A small nation of four million people, Catholics make up 35% of the population, mainly adherents of the Marionite and Melkite rites. It is terrible to see the civilian population of Lebanon – and Israel – living under such terror. Pray for peace in this war torn area.
In our country, there are many issues which call for our prayer. The most horrible, in my book, is the use of tiny humans for experiments. Just like you and me, the Senators and Representatives were once that size. To force our federal government to spend public funds for these dubious experiments is a terrible crime against our common humanity. The argument for doing so is incredibly specious: Since these human embryos are going to be discarded, why not use them for experiments? The real question is why we produced those tiny humans and then froze them in liquid nitrogen. It is time to ask how we got into this hideous disregard for fellow humans - and what we can do to get back on the right track. I know no quick solution, but it must begin with a change of heart so that no mother or father would allow their child to be conceived outside the protection of the womb - and that the medical profession would not participate in such crimes against our common humanity. Prayer is our most important arm in this spiritual battle.
Regarding this week’s vote in Congress, Fr. Frank Pavone asked: “Science is clear about what an embryo is – a new human life. Either the Senators who voted to fund the destruction of these embryos don’t acknowledge the science or they don’t acknowledge that it’s wrong to kill the innocent. I’d like to know which it is.” So would I.
Besides the protection of innocent human lives, we are also in a spiritual battle regarding the meaning of marriage and family. What has been obvious since the beginning of the human race is suddenly becoming obfuscated: that we are made male and female - and that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Marriage is the basis of family and society - and for us the key to the meaning of the Bible and the sacraments. What is at stake is not merely the definition of marriage, but the salvation of souls. This is clear because the only real motive for redefining marriage is to justify a sinful lifestyle. Any two men or any two women can obtain inheritance, insurance, housing, hospital visitation and other legal rights without redefining marriage.
Finally, I ask you to join me in praying about an issue which directly impacts so many of our parishioners - the need for immigration reform. Just this last week, I had painful conversations with two parishioners who have been attempting to obtain visas for their mothers. One is a woman from Central America whose second child is soon to be born. The other is from Africa and wants her mother with her because she is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer. In the first case, the visa has been denied, and in the second, it seems trapped in bureaucracy. Our prayers can do more good than we imagine.
Other issues which deserve our prayers include freedom of conscience for Washington State pharmacists – more on that next week. Also next week, I would like to give a reflection on the Shakespeare plays which I saw recently.
Our ground floor renovation and other Capital Campaign projects are progressing well, thanks to your support. And I hope you do find some time for relaxation and refreshment this summer. Here are pictures of one of my own favorite activities: fishing with my brother Louie and Samwise:
Fishing with Samwise & Louis Bloom
Espero que todos estén gozando de unos momentos agradables durante este tiempo de verano. El lunes pasado pasé el día con mi sobrina y sus cuatro hijos (foto abajo). Su esposo, Bob, que es capitán en el ejercito, ya había regresado a Carolina del Norte para comenzar sus estudios para aprender un idioma - probablemente árabe. Para los que sufren estudiando el inglés hay que dar gracias a Dios que no es un lengua tan difícil como árabe.
El próximo fin de semana, el director de nuestra escuela parroquial, el Sr. Glen Lutz, va a hablar en todas las misas de español. Va a hacer una invitación especial a todas nuestras familias que consideren la posibilidad de enviar a su hijo (o hijos) a la Escuela Parroquial de la Sagrada Familia. También daremos la bienvenida al Padre Juan Diego.
En la parte de inglés he escrito algo sobre unos asuntos que merecen nuestras oraciones: el conflicto entre Israel y Hezbollah, el abuso de embriones humanos para experimentos, el peligro de poner uniones homosexuales al mismo nivel como matrimonio y la reforma de leyes de inmigración. Favor de leerlo y rezar sobre estos asuntos de importante vital.