Bulletin (November 4, 2007)

Thank you for your prayers last month while I was in Peru – and your good wishes on my return to Holy Family last weekend. Besides my time at the Mary Bloom Center, I had the opportunity to pay two visits to Pisco, the city closest to the epicenter of the August 15 earthquake. The damage seemed almost total: the earthquake destroyed about half of the homes and other buildings – and most of the structures, which remained standing, were damaged beyond repair. These included the rectory of the principal parish and a twelve-year school run by the Vincentian Daughters of Charity. A large part of the population continues to live in tents or crowd into buildings that are still somewhat safe.

Beyond the physical damage, the people are suffering terribly from loss of loved ones (children, parents, relatives and friends). Fr. Alfonso Berrade, C.M., pastor of San Clemente Parish, told me that around 500 people perished in Pisco and the surrounding area. Besides stories of terrible suffering, there were also accounts of great heroism. Sister Elizabeth Ore (one of the two Vincentian Sisters who died when the roof San Clemente collapsed) saved the life of a young woman named Solange. I wrote up the story on my website. As you can see from the picture, Solange is a lovely young woman who represents the faith, gratitude and joy of the Peruvian people as they rebuild their lives. In the background are a Vincentian Sister and their school, which was subsequently torn down.

Thanks to your generosity – and the generosity of Holy Rosary Parish which also took up a collection for earthquake victims – I was able to bring some assistance. The collections, along with donations from family members and friends, totaled over fifteen thousand dollars. Although small in relation to the overall needs, the Vincentian priests and Sisters are able to use your generosity to effectively help people rebuild their lives. I will write more next week about how your donations were – and are – being used.

It was good to come back to Holy Family, especially to see the progress during my three-week absence. The church boiler is now connected and seems to be operating well. Also new lights illuminate our main parking lot – a great help to security during the night hours. Lights are also partially installed in the area around the Ailbe House and School. The soccer field looks great and, thanks to Larry Dominico’s donation of time and equipment, the Bradley lot has been cleared. As part of the Capital Campaign, we are building a shrine to Our Lady of La Vang. It has been a long effort to collect the funds and finalize the plans for this project, but you can see the beginnings of the shrine on the west side of our church. The Archdiocese is helping us with the plans for the room (former baptistery) at the Roxbury entrance. Also we will be doing a study on the acoustics of the Tice Hall and our church. And we are working on determining the source of the leaks that have bedeviled our church in the past years. Parish Administrator Gary Samaniego is overseeing these projects and I will keep you informed as they advance.

As Principal Glen Lutz mentioned in his column, this week we will be focusing on the School Improvement Action Plan. Your prayers are appreciated. Next Sunday, at all Masses, we will hear testimonies from fellow parishioners on what Stewardship means in their lives and for their families. Stewardship, as you might know, is another word for salvation: our response to God’s grace, his free gift. Mark Shea will be with us on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. Mark will explain how to interpret the Scriptures, especially the Book of Revelation. If you want help in reading the Bible, don’t miss Mark’s presentation. Also to grow in your faith, I encourage you to pick up one of the Lighthouse CD’s in the vestibule. Two excellent CD’s are Becoming the Best Version of Yourself by Matthew Kelly and Why God to Mass: The Blood of the New Covenant by Bishop Alexander Sample. Finally, I ask for your gift of time on Thanksgiving Day. Set aside one hour to attend the 9 a.m. Mass. Make this month a time of gratitude for God’s great gifts.

Estoy contento de haber regresado del Perú y estar otra vez con ustedes. En la parte en inglés, he escrito algo sobre mi tiempo en el Perú, especialmente las visitas a Pisco, la ciudad mas cerca al epicentro del terremoto del 15 de agosto. Tambien he dado un resumen de unos logros del mes pasado en relacion a la Campaña Capital y mantenimiento en general de la parroquia. Agradezco su apoyo de ustedes. El domingo pasado tuvimos una linda celebracion del Señor de los Milagros, con la presencia del Obispo Eusebio Elizondo. Mike Simpson (esposo de una linda señora peruana) tomó unas fotos que están juntas con este mensaje.

El proximo fin de semana habrá un testimonio sobre Mayordomia en todas las misas. Mayordomia es realmente otra palabra para Salvación. Significa nuestra respuesta a la gracia, bondad gratuita de Dios. Mayordomia es ser generoso, dar el diezmo, la primera parte de nuestras ganancias (sueldo) a Dios por medio de la parroquia. Sugiremos 5% a la parroquia, 1% a la arquidiocesis (Petición Annual) y 4% a otras obras de Dios. Que Dios, por medio de la intercesión de la Virgen Maria, nos bendiga en este mes de Agradecimiento (Thanksgiving).