Bulletin (Jan. 21, 2001)

This coming week I will be making my annual retreat. I am very much looking forward to the days of prayer at the Benedictine Monastery in Mission, B.C. I used to go up there with Fr. Sarkies back in the 70's and later when I became pastor in Ferndale. This time I will be going with Fr. Kurt Nagel, pastor of Queen of Angels Parish in Prt Angeles.

While I'm gone, Fr. Ramon Velasco will be available for daily Mass as well as any emergencies which might come up. Fr. Ramon has received an extension from his superior to serve in the Archdiocese until the end of March. He is doing jail ministry as well as helping out here in Holy Family. This week end and next Fr. Ramon is saying Mass at Immaculate Parish in Mt. Veron, but he will be here during the week.

Next Saturday I will be going to Stanwood to celebrate a First Anniversary Mass for my mom who died January 27,2000. It will be the occasion of a small family reunion of my brothers, sister and cousins.

Last weekend our parish administrator, Tom Weber, gave us a helpful financial report for the fiscal year 1999 - 2000, as well as the first six months of our Current fiscal year. I hope this is an encouragement in your support of Holy Family. Several people, who had not done so in November, filled out Financial Giving slips. Please feel free to turn in your Sacrificial Giving form at any time. We will be making those forms available at the Spanish Masses this weekend.

Speaking of reports, I woul like to give a report on baptisms, marriages and funerals for the year 2000. Here in Holy Family 307 infants, children and adults were baptized; 42 couples joined their lives in holy matrimony and 52 received the final rites of Christian funeral. I am grateful to Fr. Gallagher, Deacon Ted Wiese, Abel Magana, Sr. Mary Clare, Sharon Carriere, Cynthia Ramirez- and all of those who work with them - for enabling so many people to experience the grace of Christ here in our parish through these and other sacraments.

Last Sunday evening five couples attended the first session of the Evenings for the Engaged. I am most appreciative of the married couples who have volunteered to help our young couples prepare for marriage. Something which helps married people live the fullness of their commitment is Natural Family Planning. This Saturday morning (January 27) at 10 a.m. Darcy Hemstand, R.N., will be here to meet with couples who would wish help recognizing and charting signs of fertility. Natural Family Planning is fertility appreciation and, unlike birth control, it can be used both to achieve or postpone a pregnancy.

During this month when so much attention is focused on the issue of abortion, it's important for us to remember the link between birth control and abortion. Birth control creates a mentality which makes recourse to abortion easier. A Guttmacher Institute study showed that most women who have abortions were using some method of birth control the previous month. But perhaps more significant is the recognition that chemical means of birth control (Depo Provera, Norplant, "the pill", etc.) have an abortifqacient potential. One of their mechanisms is to prevent implantation of a newly conceived child . We all started out small as the dot at the end of this sentence, but relative size does not make one any less human. A microscopic triangle still has 108 degrees and a newly conceived child has all the genetic makeup of a full grown adult. If welcomed, he will become one.

Dr. James McMahon, an abortion doctor, was interviewed in American Medical Association News (July 5, 1993). Struggling with the morality of abortion, he asked himself, Who owns this child? "It's got to be the mother," he answered. This is one of the clearest pieces of evidence that abortion is rooted in the same mentality that brought us slavery and is, in fact, simply a new version of the same. The Gospel message, on the other hand, is that we belong neither to our parents (in absolute sense), nor to the state, nor to ourselves, but to God. (From Priests for Life, Jan - Feb 2001 newsletter)