Bulletin (February 8, 2009)

I want to thank those who came to the presentation of our parish Stewardship Plan (Jan. 29). For the past eighteen months, the Parish Council has been working with me to develop this three-year plan. It could not come at a more opportune time. Because of the economic crunch, many people are re-evaluating their priorities – where they want to invest their resources of time, abilities and finances.

For us as Christians, the economic situation is a call to solidarity. If we pull together, we can accomplish great things. I will continue to work with our Parish Council for the implementation of the Stewardship Plan. Mary French – our parish Stewardship Coordinator – has developed a brief power-point presentation that summarizes the plan’s mission and four pillars: spirituality, hospitality, service and finances. We hope to present this summary to various groups in our parish.

Speaking of solidarity, Holy Family Parish stood strong with our bishops in resisting the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA). In spite of its euphemistic title, FOCA presents a threat to basic freedoms – especially freedom of conscience. By establishing abortion as not just an unfortunate legal option, but as a “right,” FOCA could force doctors to participate in abortion – or lose their license to practice. Some people say that could never happen. Something similar, however, is happening to our pharmacists. A number of states now require pharmacists to dispense “Plan B” (the “morning-after pill”) – or lose their license.

Plan B is a powerful dose of hormones that can be effective up to three days after “unprotected sex.” Fertilization – the creation of a tiny human life – can happen within minutes of intercourse, so Plan B clearly can act as an abortifacient. Some argue that destroying an embryo at this point is no problem because it is only a “blueprint.” It would be more accurate to say the embryo is a tiny construction crew (each with its blueprint) working furiously, day and night. If allowed to implant, the embryo will quickly build a tiny heart, brains, eyes, arms, legs, digestive system, lungs – everything that makes the wonder of a human person with his or her unlimited potential. It is no surprise that many pharmacists do not want to be party to the destruction of those tiny humans.

Not only as Christians, but as believers in a free society, we must do all we can to defend freedom of conscience – especially in the medical profession. Some people try to trivialize this by talking about vegetarians holding a job at McDonalds or a Moslem working for the Hormel Corporation. These are red herrings. There is no problem, for example, with a Catholic serving hamburgers on Fridays of Lent. We are not interested in imposing our religious practices on anyone. Our opposition to abortion (and Plan B) is based on something all human beings can recognize: that it is wrong to take an innocent human life. That principle is the bedrock of any decent human society. History testifies to the horrors that follow when a society rejects that principle – and begins to trample on consciences.

We are involved in a spiritual battle. You can see it on the level of our society, our families and our individual hearts. Regarding that battle, I am pleased that we have completed our St. Michael Chapel with the installation of its beautiful grill gate. The gate will protect the statue (which you remember was vandalized a few years ago) and will allow for visibility and prayer, even when the chapel is closed. On Sundays we will normally have the chapel open. I am pleased to see so many people using it for prayer.

Your support of the 2007 Annual Catholic Appeal made possible the renovation of this chapel. Last year’s Annual Catholic Appeal also had a special goal: the rebate will be used for beautification of our grounds, especially toward the purchase of a new reader board. The Archdiocese informed me that we have reached our required amount for the support of archdiocesan ministries and that any further moneys received will be returned as a rebate to our parish. If you made a pledge to the 2008 Annual Catholic Appeal, your follow-through will directly benefit Holy Family Parish.

Finally, a few parish notices: Fr. Red will be at the Palisades from Tuesday through Friday for training for new priests in the Archdiocese. February 25 is Ash Wednesday: English Masses will be at 8:30 and 6 p.m. with a bilingual Mass at noon. During Lent a number of special activities are planned, including Soup Suppers and Stations of the Cross, a workshop for liturgical ministers (March 7) and a very special presentation on the Mass by Dr. Tom Curran (March 31). On March 21, we will have the annual Cathedral Walk. Now is the time to get legs and feet in condition for this seven-mile pilgrimage. On April 19 (Divine Mercy Sunday) Fr. Frank Pavone – National Director of Priests for Life - will be with us at the 8, 9:30 and 11 p.m. Masses, here at Holy Family. That afternoon we will have the Hour of Mercy Prayers, beginning at 3 p.m., in front of the Madison Street Planned Parenthood (2001 E Madison Street). Mark your calendars now for this and other important parish events.

Quisiera agradecer a todos que vinieron a la presentacion del Plan de Co-Responsabilidad Parroquial (29 de enero). Durante los ultimos dieciocho meses, el Consejo Parroquial ha trabajado conmigo para desarrollar este plan de tres años. El momento es oportuno. A causa de la crisis economica, muchos estan re-evaluando sus prioridades – donde quieren invertir sus recursos de tiempo, habilidades y finanzas. Para nosotros como cristianos, la situacion economica es un llamado a solidaridad. Si trabajamos juntos, podemos hacer cosas significantes.

Estamos en una batalla espiritual. Se puede verlo en el nivel de la sociedad, familia y el corazon individual. En cuanto a la batalla, estoy contento que hemos completado la Capilla de San Miguel con la instalacion de su puerta de hierro. Protegerá la estatua (que fue atacado hace unos años) y permitará visibilidad y oracion, aun cuando la capilla esta cerrada. Su apoyo a la Peticion Catolica Anual ha hecho posible la renovacion de la capilla.

Finalmente unas noticias parroquiales: El Padre Red estará a los Palisades desde martes hasta viernes para un programa de entrenamiento. El 25 de febrero es Miercoles de Ceniza: habrá misa a las 7:30 p.m. y servicios durante el dia. Durante la Cuaresma habra actividades especiales: el taller para todos ministros liturgicos el 7 de marzo, un retiro cuaresmal el 14 de marzo y la Caminata a la Catedral el 21 de marzo. Este año para el Domingo de la Divina Misericordia (19 de abril) el Padre Frank Pavone estará con nosotros para la misa de 9:30 – y celebraremos la Hora de Misericordia, a las 3 p.m. ante el Planned Parenthood de Calle Madison. Nota su calendario ahora para estos eventos parroquiales.

Stewardship Reflection:

Online Bill Pay: Not the Same as a Financial Plan

Think for a moment how differently most of us pay bills today compared to our parents and grandparents. It wasn’t unusual for previous generations to pay many of their bills in person. Now, with the power of computers, bills are paid on “auto-pilot.” But there is a lot more to a financial plan than online bill pay. A solid financial plan will show where you stand today, and where you are going tomorrow. Proverbs 27:23 encourages us, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.”

I recall one gentleman who asked for counsel with his finances. He had entered all of his transactions into one of the nationally known software packages, printed them out, and mailed them to me – about a hundred pages! While it was great he had captured the data, he didn’t realize the information wouldn’t do him any good unless it was put into summary form. He wasn’t taking advantage of the power of the software package he was using.

Online bill pay is great. But even more important than whatever method of bill pay you use, is making sure you summarize your information so you can see the big picture. List your assets and liabilities on a balance sheet. Develop an annual budget using common sense categories. Track your income and expenses throughout the year. Use My Veritas Plan for free at www.veritasfinancialministries.com, or one of the nationally recognized software programs you are comfortable with.

God love you!  

Faith and Finances with Phil Lenahan © – www.VeritasFinancialMinistries.com

Parish Stewardship Giving Summary
Wk. 31 of Fiscal Year (July 6, 2008 – February 1, 2009)

Envelope Users:  305	

Amt. Needed 1st Collection Each Sunday:	$ 14,100.00
Feb. 1 Check/Cash Envelope:		$   7,898.40
Feb. 1 EFT (Automatic Deduction):	$   1,064.88    
Feb. 1 Loose Cash:			$   3,595.49  
February 1 Total Offering:			$ 12,558.77
Weekly Income Difference:		          - $ (1,541.23)

1st Week  (Feb. 1)	$12,558.77
2nd Week (Feb, 8)	
3rd Week (Feb. 15)	
4th Week (Feb. 22)	
Rcvd. month to date	$12,558.77

2009 Stewardship Pledge Status (Jan. 1 –  Jan. 31, 2009)
Total Pledges Due:	$45,081.66
Total Pledges Paid:	$34,739.01

Some of the Gifts from the Other Half of our Stewardship
Corrected 2nd Collection:
Jan. 25:  Randy Terlicker Scholarship:	$   1,781.50
Feb. 1:   Human Life:				$   1,425.01

For on-line donations to parish or school: www.HFSeattle.org  
For on-line donations to the Annual Catholic Appeal: http://www.seattlearch.org/ACA