Bulletin (May 6, 2007)

During this month of May, we are focusing prayer on immigration reform. At the Spanish Masses, Deacon Abel reminded people that we have a much more powerful tool than demonstrations – the power of united prayer. He asked them to come to the 7 p.m. Wednesday Mass and to remain after for Eucharistic Adoration. At the Mass Deacon Abel announced that on Wednesdays of May he would fast with just bread and water (no coffee, juice, etc, just bread and water). He asked how many would join him. Of the 200-300 people present, about two thirds raised their hands. Perhaps all of us could consider joining our Hispanic brothers and sisters in fasting and praying for immigration reform.

We pray first for the countries from which the immigrants come: that there will be change in their economies, an end to widespread corruption and inequality. People would not immigrate unless conditions at home were terrible. In our parish we have moms who have left their young children with the grandparents and have come here to work for their children’s future. As you can imagine, these young moms, separated from their children, suffer horribly. They would be back home tomorrow if things changed in their own country. Such change is possible. Take the example of Italy. Millions in the U.S. are grandchildren of Italian immigrants, but it is rare to see an immigrant today from that country. Why? Italy has changed. The same can happen in other countries.

Meanwhile, we also pray for our own nation: that we will fulfill our historic calling (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”) We need to pray for our legislators that they will have wisdom and courage to make good laws. Our present situation obviously cannot continue. Although immigration reform has different complexities than issues like abortion, protection of marriage and capital punishment, as Catholics we always have to start with the teachings of Jesus as expressed in our Catechism. (e.g. # 2241) Using this teaching as a starting point, our bishops have elaborated basic principles, which can be found on their website.

Last week we had some vandalism of our parish property. You may have seen the spray painting on the side of our church and on our newly finished church doors. Also, the Silent No More banner, which our Knight of Columbus installed, was vandalized. As you can see, the paint was not so easily removed from the banner. What they painted on the banner (“impeach…”) indicates a fundamental misunderstanding. The banner is not a political statement, but a pastoral outreach to those wounded by abortion. If you consider that, since 1973, one of every four pregnancies has ended in abortion, there are many people in our midst who are suffering in silence. That does not have to be the case. There is hope and healing. Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save. I know women and men who have experienced healing through the Sacrament of Reconciliation – and by attending a Rachel Retreat. Call the number on the banner or call Valerie at 1-800-822-HOPE. Rachel Retreats are scheduled for later this month and for August.

Finally, today is Commitment Sunday for the Annual Catholic Appeal. Last year about a third (353) of our registered parishioners made a pledge. The average pledge was $178. If we can increase the number who pledge and the average amount pledged, we will not only reach our parish goal ($58,048), but we will receive a rebate. The rebate will be used to refurbish the room off the vestibule (the former baptistery) as a prayer room where people can have access to the statues of St. Michael the Archangel and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I think you will be surprised and pleased with what we will be able to do with that space. It will require about $7,000 beyond our parish goal. Remember that you are encouraged to make a monthly pledge. For example, by giving twenty dollars a month, you will be making a two hundred dollar contribution over the next ten months. You can use your Credit Card or authorize an Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) from your bank account. We obviously need some larger gifts if we are going to reach our goal, but at the same time, no donation is too small. If for whatever reason you are unable to give at this time, simply write “prayers” or “I will say a rosary each day” and return the envelope with your name and address. Prayers count as a pledge, and they will be gratefully acknowledged by Archbishop Brunett – and myself. Our goal this year is to have 460 pledges, but I will not stop asking until I hear from you. “No” is a response – and I will stop bothering you. Of course, I hope you will respond, “yes”, so that we can do our part to support the work of the archdiocese – and to achieve our dreams here at Holy Family. A special thanks to Rolly and Emy Bansale, who along with their sons Ralph and Renard, gave a marvelous testimony last Sunday. This Sunday please give your full attention to Deacon Ted, who will explain more about the Appeal and ask you to fill out your envelope.

Durante el mes de mayo, estamos enfocando nuestra oración en la reforma migratoria. El Diácono Abel nos ha hecho recordar que nuestra arma mas poderosa es la oración unida. En la misa de miércoles, invitó a la gente de ayunar con solamente pan y agua todos los miércoles del mes. Rezamos por un cambio en los paises para que haya un fin a la corrupción y desigualdades que causan imigración. Tambien rezamos por este pais y sus líderes para que haya leyes justas.

En la parte de inglés hay una foto del vandalismo a la pancarta de “Silent No More.” Parece que no han entendido el propósito pastoral, el hecho que hay miles de mujeres y hombres que sufren silenciosamente a causa de un aborto provocado. Jesús no ha venido para condenar sino salvar. Hay perdón y sanación en el sacramento de reconciliación (confesión). También les invito a considerar la asistencia en un retiro del Viñedo de Raquel.

Este fin de semana voy a pedir que todos llenen un sobre para la Petición Católica Anual. El año pasado unas 353 personas hicieron un compromiso. Estoy esperando que al menos 460 hagan un compromiso este año. Así podemos alcanzar nuestra meta parroquia ($58,048) y tener algo de sobra (“rebate”) para la renovación del cuarto a la entrada Roxbury. Será un lugar seguro para las estatuas de San Miguel Arcangel y el Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (foto abajo). Estoy agradecido a Susana Orozco por su presentación el domingo pasado – y a todos ustedes por su apoyo a la arquidiócesis y la parroquia.