Bulletin (April 16, 2006)

On behalf of Fr. Ramon, Deacons Ted and Abel and the entire Holy Family staff, I wish you a Blessed Easter. Today, we join those early disciples who hastened to the place where they buried Jesus, only to discover that the stone was rolled back and his body is not there. Like St. Mary Magdalene, St. Peter and St. John we ask: What does this mean? The answer contains the key to human history - and to your life and mine. Throughout the season of Lent, we have been preparing for this moment - and we have fifty days of Easter to unravel the answer.

I will be doing part of my Easter reflections in Peru. This Sunday evening I travel to that country to spend a couple of weeks at the Mary Bloom Center in Puno. I will be visiting the tombs of two great saints: St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres. I have some special intentions that I will bring to my prayer: particular individuals and families in our parish who are going through some difficult times. I will also be praying for some overall intentions of Holy Family Parish.

While I am in Peru, Fr. Ramon, together with our parish deacons and our school principal, Mr. Glen Lutz, will give some presentations and information regarding the Annual Catholic Appeal. This Appeal is very important, first of all, because it supports vital ministries of the Archdiocese of Seattle. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we have the highest number of seminarians in several decades and that this June we will ordain the largest group of priests in over thirty years. Among the seven to be ordained is Deacon Peter Mactutis. He will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving here at Holy Family on June 11. Your support of the Annual Catholic Appeal makes possible the seminary formation of young men like Deacon Peter. It also supports retired and infirm priests and sisters, as well as enabling the Archdiocese to maintain its work of charity and administration.

Besides doing our part to support the work of the Archdiocese, I am hoping that the Annual Catholic Appeal will enable us to achieve a vital parish need. If we exceed our archdiocesan goal ($59,968) we will receive a rebate which we can apply to a need in our parish. At our recent council meetings we have discussed the type of staff we would like to have here at Holy Family. We identified as a top priority having someone who could work with us on the overall development of our parish and school. It was noted how much Dan O'Connor helped us to organize the successful Capital Campaign and how much our neighboring parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe, has been helped by having a development person on their staff. A development coordinator would not only help organize our Stewardship of Time, Talent and Treasure, but would also work to obtain grants and other forms of assistance which would enable our school to have the programs it needs. I have asked our school principal, Mr. Glen Lutz, to give a presentation on the Sunday after next regarding the Annual Catholic Appeal and how it can benefit our parish. Our parish goal for the Annual Catholic Appeal is $80,000. This will enable us to fulfill our obligations to the greater church and to have a part time person to aid us in the ongoing development of our parish and school. I have set a participation goal of 800 families. I will keep asking until I have heard from everyone.

While I am in Peru, this page will not be empty. In addition to information about the Annual Catholic Appeal, I have asked one of our parishioners to address an issue which has great significance to our church and overall society: the sanctity of marriage as a life-long and exclusive union of one man and one woman. You are no doubt aware of the effort to change the definition of marriage. Some people accuse us of discrimination, even bigotry, because of our defense of the sanctity of marriage. I have asked Ron Belgau to write two columns on this question. His columns are based on a debate between him and a university professor who advocates "same-sex marriage." Ron presents some well reasoned reflections on this vital issue. It is very possible that the Washington State Supreme Court will hand down a decision legalizing same-sex marriage in this state. Without any name calling or condemnation, we need to be prepared to defend Christ's teaching on marriage and family. Ron will help us all to do that.

We will have other opportunities to defend Christ's teaching. As you are probably aware, The DaVinci Code comes out next month as a movie. On one level the book was a laughingly distorted presentation of Christian history and art. At the same time, many people have bought the book's basic premise: that, for two millenia, the Catholic Church has covered up the truth about Jesus. Rather than simply ignore the book and movie, we can use this as an opportunity to help people understand who Jesus really is and what the Catholic Church has consistently taught about him. Two weeks ago, I made available The DaVinci Deception which answers a hundred questions about the fact and fiction of the DaVinci Code. I was pleased that people purchased the book so quickly. I have ordered another hundred copies which will arrive before the movie comes out.

Many of you attended Mark Shea's presentation last Saturday. He gave a detailed exposition on the art and history which Dan Brown distorts in the DaVinci Code. I am hoping that this talk will soon be available on a CD. Mark also spoke about the so-called Gospel of Judas. It is being presented as another discovery which "shakes the foundation of Christianity." In fact, we have know about it since the time of St. Ireneus, who wrote an early refutation of the Gospel of Judas and other Gnostic "gospels." The Gospel dates from a century or more after the New Testament writings. It is like someone today writing about the Civil War. There are no eye-witnesses around to correct someone's assertion. It was different for the writers of the New Testament. When they wrote the Epistles and Gospels, plenty of first hand witnesses were still alive.

The positive thing about the Gospel of Judas and The DaVinci Code is that they are motivating people to ask questions about early Christian history. For us as Catholics, this is always a plus. The more people learn about the early Christian writings, the more it becomes clear the Catholic Church has preserved those early teachings and continues to live the sacraments and other practices of the first Christians.

We should not assume that every aspect of our popular culture goes against the Church. There is obviously much distortion and prejudice which we must be prepared to answer, but at the same time there are positive offerings. The Arts and Entertainment network has produced a series called God or the Girl. In spite of the somewhat sensational title, it is a respectful presentation of young men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

On this Easter Sunday, I want to extend a big thank you to those who are supporting our Capital Campaign. It has made possible the new roofs on our church and school, as well as many other repairs. Very soon we will begin two other projects made possible by the Capital Campaign: the renovation of the ground floor of out school and the updating of the sound system in the church. If you are not yet a supporter of the Campaign, I encourage you to do so this Easter.

I am looking forward to being back at Holy Family for our First Communions on May 13. Also that weekend we will be praying for our moms as we celebrate Mother's Day. On May 28 Bishop Tyson will be with us at the 11 a.m. Mass for Confirmations. Remember me in your prayers these next weeks, and I will be praying for you during my time in Peru. A Blessed Easter to you and your family.

De parte del Padre Ramon, Diacono Abel y todo el equipo parroquial, quisiera expresar el deseo que todos tengan Felices Pascuas de Resurreccion. Hoy nos reunimos con los primeros discipulos que corrieron a tumba de Jesus y descubrieron que estaba vacia. Como Santa Maria Magdalena, San Pedro y San Juan, nos preguntamos, ¿Que significa? La respuesta contiene la clave a la historia humana y de tu vida y la mia. Durante el tiempo de Cuaresma hemos preparado para este momento y tenemos los cincuenta dias de Pascua para desenvolver la respuesta.

Yo haré una parte de mi refleccion pascual en el Peru. Este domingo viajo a aquel pais para pasar unas semanas al Centro Mary Bloom en Puno. Visitaré las tumbas de dos grandes santos: Santa Rosa de Lima y San Martin de Porres. Tengo unas intenciones espciales de individuos y familias que estan pasando por momentos dificiles. Tambien rezaré por unas intenciones importantes de la parroquia.

Durante mi ausencia, el Padre Ramon y el Diacono Abel daran unas presentaciones e informacion sobre la Peticion Anual. Nuestra meta es $80,000 que no solamente es nuestra parte para apoyar los ministerios de la arquidiocesis, sino hará posible emplear una persona que nos ayudará el desarrollo de la parroquia y escuela. Vds. se acuedan como Dan O'Connor nos ayudó en tener una Campaña Capital exitosa. Otras parroquias han beneficiado mucho de tener tal persona ayudando en organizar la Mayordomia Parroquial de Tiempo, Talento y Tesoro - y consiguiendo ayuda de personas e instituciones mas alla de la parroquia. Al mencionar la Campaña quisiera agradecer a los que la han apoyado - y pedir la participacion de los que todavia no han donado. Esta Campaña hizo posible los nuevos techos del templo y escuela - y hará posible la renovacion del primer piso de la escuela y el sistema de sonido del templo. Pido sus oraciones durante mi tiempo en el Perú y les prometo las mias. Regresaré a la parroquia para el Dia de la Madre. Otra vez les comunico mis deseos que todos experimenten el gozo de Cristo Resucitado.

Holy Week 2006: