Bulletin (September 2, 2007)

This weekend we celebrate Labor Day. It is a good time to remember all those engaged in manual labor in factories, farms and the service industries. As our society becomes more complex, those jobs seem even more important and harder to fill. We also remember those who serve us in different professions such as law and medicine – and of course those engaged in management, who have the responsibility of keeping everything going and adapting to rapid change.

Back in 1946, this was a literal “Labor Day” for my mom. She spent the day giving birth to me. I was the third of her six children – and I weighed the most at childbirth, so it was hardly an easy day for my mom. Like Presidents Clinton and Bush, I was born in the first year of the baby boom. In 1946 new births in the U.S. skyrocketed from 2.8 million the previous year to 3.47 million. The baby boom reached its peak in the years 1957 and 1961, with 4.3 million births. The birth rate in 1957 was 25.3 per thousand. Today it has dropped below 14. As baby boomers approach the age of Social Security and Medicare those statistics have huge implications for our society.

On a smaller level I would like to share with you a few parish statistics. We have finished our parish annual report for the Archdiocese which includes finances, property and construction, marriage and other sacramental preparation, significant events and demographics. Parish demographics showed that in 2006 we had 530 baptisms, which included 35 youth (ages 7-18) who were also confirmed and received First Communion. Fourteen adults were received into the Catholic Church either by baptism or a profession of faith and by confirmation and Eucharist. In addition we had 59 confirmations, 54 marriages, 158 First Communions, 55 Quinceañeras, and 28 funerals. Last year was a busy year for Holy Family – and things have not slowed down in 2007.

One statistic is a bit disturbing. Of the 54 marriages, only one was between a Catholic and non-Catholic. On one hand it is great that Catholics chose a Catholic for their spouse. That is the ideal. However, the problem is that many Catholics who marry non-Catholics are not getting married in the Catholic Church. In the Archdiocese of Seattle (and throughout the country) we have had a huge drop in “mixed” marriages. It used to be that the Catholic partner had enough sense of their Catholic identity that they wanted to get married in the Church. That is not the case today. This points to a loss of Catholic identity among our young people.

The Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council will be addressing this loss of Catholic identity. I will also be asking Holy Family Parish Council to work with me in studying the issue and how it affects our families. The Parish Council will address two other major issues: the meaning of Stewardship for our parish and how the Archdiocesan Hispanic Pastoral Plan applies to us. About two thirds of our weekend Mass attendance is at the Spanish Masses, so Hispanics constitute a huge part of Holy Family. If you know someone who would be a good member for the Council, I ask you to write their name on the nomination forms which are in the pews this weekend.

My dog Samwise has been dealing with his own issues. On Sunday night my brother Louis took Sam for a short walk. On the way Sam made the mistake of trying to take on a porcupine. He got 35 quills in his chin and right paw. They did not come out easily. I discovered just how strong Sam is – and how weak I am – as I tried to hold him down while my brother extracted the quills one by one. Did Sam learn a lesson? I hope so. Animals are often better than us humans about not falling into the same trap twice.

Speaking of falling into traps and dealing with the consequences, there will be confessions this Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. The next day is First Friday of September. That morning at 8:30 a.m. we will have the opening Mass of our new school year. The following Friday we will celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. At the morning Mass we will introduce the new processional cross and that evening we will have a celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII.

Finally, a word of thanks for your great support of the people of Peru who are trying to rebuild their lives after the terrible destruction of the August 15 earthquake. I have been receiving a lot of news from the Vincentian Daughters of Charity and from the Mary Bloom Center. The picture shows a Vincentian sister inspecting the ruins of San Clemente Church in Pisco, where Sisters Elizabeth and Antonieta died. The needs in Peru are enormous and recovery will be a long process. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Feliz Dia del Trabajador. Honramos especialmente a los que trabajan por nosotros en fábricas, el campo e industrias de servicio. Jesus pasó la mayor parte de su vida trabajando en un taller de carpintería. Nos enseña la dignidad de trabajo manual.

En la parte de inglés mencioné unas estadisticas nacionales y parroquiales que nos afectan a todos. Por un lado las estadisticas parroquiales son muy positivas en cuanto al numero de bautizos, primeras Comuniones, confirmaciones, quinceañeras y matrimonios. Pero una estadistica es preocupante: que muy pocos de los que se casan con uno que no es catolico se acuden a la iglesia. Es decir que hay una tendencia entre nuestros jóvenes de no casarse en la Iglesia Catolica. En el nuevo Consejo Parroquial vamos a analizar como la pérdida de identidad catolica está afectando a nuestras familias. Además el Consejo enfocará en el significado de Mayordomía en nuestra parroquia y como aplicar el Plan Pastoral Hispano a Holy Family. Les pido usar las hojitas en las bancas para nombrar personas que pueden servir bien en el nuevo Consejo.

Mi perrito Samwise está enfrentando sus propios asuntos. El día domingo en la noche mi hermano Luis salió un rato con Sam. En el camino Sam encontró un puercoespín. Recibió treinta y cinco espinas que mi hermano y yo tuvimos que sacar una por una. Espero que Sam haya aprendido una leccion.

Parece que los animales aprenden más rapido que nosotros. Los seres humanos tenemos la tendencia de caer en las mismas trampas. En cuanto a esto, habrá confesiones este jueves (6 de septiembre) de 6 a 8 p.m.

Finalmente una palabra de agradecimiento por todo el apoyo para la gente del Peru durante este tiempo dificil. La foto abajo muestra la imagen del Sagrado Corazón que fue rescatado de los escombros de templo de San Clemente en Pisco. Como ustedes saben, dos hermanas religiosas, Sor Elizabeth y Sor Antonieta, murieron junto con unas niñas cuando se derrumbó aquel templo en el terremoto del 15 de agosto. El Centro Mary Bloom está activo en proveniendo ayuda a las personas afectadas por el terremoto. Les agradezco su apoyo y oraciones.