Bulletin (August 31, 2008)

Last Sunday our Boys Club had a great hike to the ice caves at Big Four Mountain near Everett. Paul Shipley sent me the photo (below) of the group. I am grateful to Dominic Parmantier and Cliff Macareg for organizing this group, which has Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati as its patron and inspiration. In another part of the bulletin, you will see the contact information for Cliff and Dominic.

I mentioned last week about my new grandniece – Esther Josephine Temba. She is the first grandchild of my oldest brother, Mike. As you can see, Mike is delighted with his granddaughter. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Esther. She is a beautiful, tranquil baby. A few years ago, I had the honor of celebrating the marriage of her parents, Julius and Sara – and I now look forward to their daughter’s baptism.

As a parish priest, one of the most beautiful things is to accompany young people as they discover God’s plan in their lives. Being in my fourteenth year at Holy Family, I have seen young couples respond to the vocation of marriage and the formation of family. It is a great gift to have some part in their journey.

For those who are in my age bracket (I will be sixty-two next Tuesday), the greatest thing is to see the birth of a new generation. I know that for my brother, Mike, the birth of his granddaughter was the most beautiful event. Since good things often come in pairs, it turns out a second grandchild is on the way! Mike and Linda’s son invited them to witness the ultra-sound exam of their grandchild. They told me how thrilling it was to see the tiny baby swimming along, moving its arms and legs. Interestingly enough, the mom felt no motion inside her. The baby was still too small to fill her womb.

We live in a time when we have wonderful technology that has given a new understanding of embryology – the development of a child after conception. It used to be thought that a child received vitality (its soul) in the third or fourth month of pregnancy. It was referred to as “quickening” and it coincided with the moment when the mother first felt the movement of her baby. These theories of biology, of course, are woefully inadequate. Some people, however, still use them to try to justify the taking of a human life during the early stages of development. They have even tried to argue that – because of these theories – the Catholic Church at one time accepted abortion. That is not true. Christian teachers, from the earliest centuries, have defended the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception. The Catechism summarizes the teaching in these words:

Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. (2271)

Then the Catechism quotes an early Christian document (Didache of the Twelve Apostles): “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.” It also quotes Vatican II (Gaudium et Spes): “God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”

Here in Washington State we are facing a major assault on the dignity of human life – at its final stages. In November we will be asked to vote on an Initiative that would implicate the medical profession in the act of suicide. Personally, I find this initiative particularly insidious. Suffering is a part of every life – and as Christians we are called to do all we can to help alleviate the suffering of others. At the same, we recognize that suffering can have a redemptive value. Jesus showed that value when he accepted the terrible suffering of the cross for our salvation. He invites us to join our suffering to his. As St. Paul says, “In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church" (Col. 1:24). Somehow our sufferings have a part in our personal redemption – and the salvation of others.

As Christians we can never say that suicide is the answer to suffering. I am convinced that even non-believers sense that suffering is not without value – and that they will join us in defeating I-1000. The Washington Coalition Against Assisted Suicide needs your support to get this message out. I have personally made a donation to this campaign, and I encourage you to do the same.

Some final notes: Thank you to those who filled out a Music Survey. They will be very helpful in planning music for Sunday Masses. And thank you for your support of Birthright last weekend and this weekend’s collection for the Mary Bloom Center in Peru. This Tuesday is the first day of school. It is not too late to register a child for Holy Family School. As you can see from the thermometer in the vestibule, we have had a good number of registrations in recent days. This past week our new principal, Mr. Frank Cantwell, has been working with teachers and school staff to prepare for the new school year. They have great enthusiasm to make Holy Family School the best in Seattle. I am personally looking forward to the beginning of this new school year.

Otra vez les invito leer la seccion en ingles para mayor informacion sobre asuntos importantes de la parroquia. Quisiera hacer una invitacion especial a los jovenes varones de participar en el “Boys Club” – Club de Muchachos. Como se puede ver de las fotos, hay participacion de las differentes comunidades parroquiales, incluyendo a la comunidad hispana.

Este martes es primer dia de escuela. No es tarde inscribir a su hijo para nuestra escuela parroquial. Se puede llamar a Monica en la oficina parroquial, 206-767-6220 o directamente a la oficina escolar, 206-767-6640.

Gracias por sus donaciones el domingo pasado para Birthright (Derecho de Nacer) y este fin de semana para el Centro Mary Bloom. Son obras para defender la vida aquí en nuestra parroquia – y en una zona muy pobre del Peru. El Centro Mary Bloom lleva el nombre de mi mamá. Tambien les pido que consideren a “Si a La Vida 2008” como parte de su generosidad (mayordomia o diezmo). Hay mas informacion en español en otra parte del boletin.

Primeras Comuniones (10 de mayo de 2008 - mediodia)

(10 de mayo de 2008 - misa de 2 p.m.)