Bulletin (November 9, 2008)

It is good to be back home. I had a wonderful stay in Peru, and it was encouraging to see the great work of the Mary Bloom Center. The Center effectively helps children and families, especially in educational and medical needs. I am grateful for your support of this work on behalf of the most needy and look forward to taking a small delegation from Holy Family to visit the Mary Bloom Center and the orphanage that the Vincentian Sisters operate. I will share some pictures in future bulletins, but for now I want you to know the Sisters and the staff and volunteers of the Mary Bloom Center are excited that our Parish Council has taken the initiative to bring parish representatives to Peru next year.

Meanwhile, I want to say it again: It is good to be home. The warm welcome of Holy Family parishioners buoyed me up. Also, I was delighted to see our various parish programs doing well, and I have to say that I am very happy about the new roofs on the Ailbe House and rectory. These buildings are home to me, Fr. Red and some others who are in vocation discernment and who volunteer their time and talent to our parish. The new roofs were made possible by your Stewardship, and I am grateful to you for that. This month, as you know, we focus on Stewardship – especially of financial resources. The Parish Council advised that throughout the year we address ways of giving Time and Talent – and that during November we zero in on financial Stewardship. This weekend we will hear a testimony from Parish Council member, Denise Leary, and I will be asking you to “take a step.” In the vestibule you will see a display explaining what it would mean to take a step toward deeper financial Stewardship. Our parish goal this year is to have 650 families make a pledge. Remember that we do not automatically renew pledges. We ask you to take the time to reflect, pray and fill out your Stewardship pledge.

As you know, I returned early from Peru because of the death of my niece’s husband – Major Robert D. Lindenau. I deeply appreciate your prayers and all your words of solidarity with me and my family at this time. A rocket launched grenade killed Bob on October 20. He was the only one killed. His body served as a shield for the other men in his team: Julio Montenegro, Gil Zavala and Freddy de los Santos. Special prayers are requested for Freddy who was injured in the attack and is recuperating at Walter Reed Hospital. Bob had told our family that leading this team was the apex of his military career. They served the civilian population of Afghanistan in a clinic and in development. Below, is a picture of Bob treating a severely burned child. Also, I include a picture of one of my happiest moments – the day I had the privilege of blessing Bob and Tonya’s marriage and baptizing their four children: Rachael, Gabe, Sarah and Hannah. Tonya, accompanied by her mom, has returned to Fort Bragg, but plans to move permanently to Camano Island after her children finish the current school year.

Speaking of school, I am grateful to children and staff of our parish school for their wonderful prayers and concern. This last Tuesday we had a beautiful assembly at which I showed them some pictures of Peru and of Bob’s Christian tattoo (more about that at another time). On Veteran’s Day our school children will have an assembly at which they will honor and pray for Bob and all those who have served our country.

We offer special prayers for our country at this time. We pray for our new president-elect Barack Obama and for all newly elected officials. We pray that they competently fulfill the most basic purpose of our government by law: the protection of the weak and vulnerable. This prayer is important especially as we see our society narrowing the circle of those who receive that protection. Here in Washington State, sadly, we have now excluded the grievously ill from that circle. By allowing physician-assisted suicide (as has been demonstrated in Oregon) it will put pressure on the seriously ill to end their lives so they will not be a “burden on their children.” I pray that no Christian will get the idea that because suicide is now legal in our state that it is therefore a morally acceptable choice. Unfortunately, many people equate legality with moral acceptability – as has been shown by three and a half decades of abortion license. It has dulled our consciences, but it has not made the consequences of abortion less damaging – obviously to the child, but also for the parents and our society as a whole. Suicide in one sense is worse than abortion because – if done knowingly and deliberately – it cuts a person off forever from God.

We are in a time of growing darkness and more than ever we need the help of God and our prayers for one another. And more than ever, we are called to embrace a culture of life, that is, a culture where those who are strong use their strength to defend those who are weak. May I humbly say that my niece’s husband, Bob, was a beautiful example of the culture of life. I pray his example will inspire other young men and all of us to choose life.

Gracias por sus oraciones durante mi tiempo en el Peru – y especialmente las oraciones por mi sobrina, Tonya, y por el eterno descanso de su esposo, Robert Lindenau, que murio en Afganistan, el 20 de octubre. Mientras estaba en el Peru tuvimos una misa por Bob (ver foto). Fue bien emocionante porque todas las niñas huerfanas, las hermanas religiosas y el equipo de Mary Bloom participaron. Dos amigos sacerdotes (Padres Narciso Valencia y Faustino Pari) concelebraron la misa.

Es lindo volver a la parroquia. Gracias por su bienvenida. Como mencioné en la parte en ingles, estoy contento con los nuevos techos en la rectoria y la Ailbe House. Es posible gracias a su Co-Responsabilidad (mayordomia, generosidad). En los proximos dos domingos enfocaremos en la Co-Responsabilidad de recursos economicos. Despues del testimonio por la Sra. Paulina Alvarado, les invitaré a tomar un paso. En la entrada hay una grafica que explica lo que significa tomar un paso. Recuerdan que su compromiso (“pledge”) es anual. No renovamos automaticamente. La meta este año es que 650 familias hagan un compromise de Co-Responsabilidad.

Concelebrants - Frs. Narciso Valencia & Faustino Pari

Camano Lutheran Cemetery (November 10, 2008)

Bob's Grave

Melvin & Mary Bloom's Graves