Bulletin (December 24, 2006)

First of all, a big thank-you to the ladies of St. Martha’s Sodality and those who worked with them for the beautiful 35th anniversary celebration. They made a delicious biscuits and gravy breakfast after th 8 and 9:30 a.m. Mass and a wonderful soup after the 11 a.m. Mass. They also sponsored a raffle which involved a picture of me and my brothers, when we were children. People could put their tickets in bag A (the oldest), B (the middle) or C (the youngest). Most thought that I was the middle brother. I told them, yes, I am the middle brother, but the middle of five brothers, so it turned out I was actually C, the youngest of the first three. Anyway, the winner of the raffle was Ambry Sheng. Here is picture of her with her mom and dad and younger sister and brother.

I was grateful to God that the parish got its electricity reconnected for weekend Masses. We were without electricity for forty hours, which was an inconvenience, but I know that for others the power outage was a nightmare. All of us can sympathize with those families, especially the ones with small children and the elderly, many of whom suffered greatly. Still, the extended power outage was also a time of family solidarity and great resourcefulness. I was personally proud that I was able to cook an egg using a tin can and a couple of candles. But Fr. Ramon and the Filipino community showed very remarkable resourcefulness. In spite of complete darkness in the church, they gathered for the opening Mass of Simbang Gabi. They put the candles from Guadalupe celebration to good use as you can see from the pictures of Fr. Ramon at the altar and a part of the devoted congregation.

Last week I recommended the movie Guadalupe. I would also like to recommend The Nativity Story. It has some defects, but overall is a beautiful presentation of the events surrounding our Lord’s conception and birth. On a bit different note, I want to recommend a book that just came out. It is called The Thrill of the Chaste by Dawn Eden. As a thirty-something woman with a career in journalism, Dawn describes her struggle to live the virtue of chastity - which is a reverence for the gift of sexuality. She writes about how in her twenties she used sex to try to escape loneliness, always hoping to hold a man long enough so they would become committed to each other. It did not work. When Dawn received the gift of faith, she realized she had to take a different approach. Her book will be a help not only to other young single women, but to everyone who struggles with their sexuality and their relationship with God. I got my copy of Thrill of the Chaste from the King County Library, but it is also available in book stores and through Amazon.com. Buy it and read it - and pass it on young adults in your life.

This Wednesday I am going to Peru for three and a half weeks. I will be remembering all of you, especially at the tombs of St. Rose and St. Martin de Porres. Before leaving I want to encourage you to mark some dates on your calendar. On January 7 principal Glen Lutz will give an introduction to the Randy Terlicker Endowment Fund (I will write up something about it for next Sunday’s bulletin). January 22 is the annual March for Life. Join Holy Family middle school and other parishioners in attending this event. On February 23-24 we will have the Fr. Corapi Retreat. This may be one of his last retreats, as he plans on devoting his remaining years to prayer, contemplation and writing. Don’t miss this life-changing opportunity. In the month of March there will be an Archdiocesan Reconciliation Day at St. James Cathedral. On that Saturday, March 24, we will have our annual Cathedral Walk. Once Christmas is over, we can start working on getting in shape for that eight mile walk.

May the Lord bless all of you and your families at Christmas time and during the New Year 2007.

Quisiera agradecerles por la linda celebración de mis 35 años de sacerdocio. Después de la misa de 12:30 miembros del Grupo de Oración y otros prepararon unos ricos alimentos y el Grupo de Jóvenes presentó una pastorela sobre el nacimiento de Cristo. Aquí hay unas fotos de la obra. En la primera foto el diablo les ofrece a los pastores unas tentaciones com distracciones para que no se vayan al pesebre. En la segunda un ángel se les aparece exhortandolos que no pierdan el gran evento en Belén. Finalmente los pastores se levantan y van juntos al establo para adorar al Niño Dios, recién nacido. La pastorela fue muy linda y me dio gusto que los jóvenes la presentaron como parte de la celebración de mi aniversario.

En la parte en inglés he escrito algo sobre actividades para el año 2007. Pido a todos ustedes que pongan en su calendario el Día de Reconciliación Arquidiocesano en la Catedral de St. James. El mismo Día (24 de marzo) habrá la Caminata anual de Holy Family a la Catedral.

El día miércoles voy al Perú por tres semanas y media. Rezaré por ustedes, especialmente a las tumbas de Santa Rosa y San Martín. Quisiera expresar el deseo que todos tengan una Feliz Navidad y un Año Nuevo lleno de las bendiciones de Dios.