"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." With that magnificent verse St. John opens his Gospel. He goes on to tell us that the Word, who is the eternal Son of God, did not remain in some distant heaven. Rather, at a precise moment in human history, "the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (John 1:14). That is the great event we celebrate at Christmas. But it is not just one more happening in the cataract of events we call history. Rather it is the central happening which gives meaning to everything else.
For that reason we date our calendars from the birth of Jesus. When we talk about the year 2000, we mean two thousand years since the Nativity of Christ. We are celebrating 2000 years of the Incarnation, the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.
Pope John Paul II has said that the year 2000 will usher in a "new springtime" for the Church. God wishes to extend his grace to each one of us. A sign of that grace here at Holy Family is our Jubilee Door in the northwest corner of the church. This door blessed on Christmas Eve represents Jesus who is himself the one door to salvation (see John 10:7). He invites us to come to the Father through him. As you enter through the Holy Door during this Jubilee Year, you will see the statue of the Sacred Heart, refurbished by our Knights of Columbus. Jesus with his open heart and outstretched arms wishes to receive you, to bring you into the Father's embrace.
I invite you take advantage of the special graces of the Holy Year, in particular the Holy Year Indulgence. To receive it three things are required: a complete and integral confession, prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father and a pilgrimage. Most of us will not be able to make the pilgrimage to Rome or the Holy Land, but instead we may make the pilgrimage to our own Cathedral, St. James on First Hill. Please see the posters at the entrances of our church with specific dates pilgrimage. For those who do long range planning our parish pilgrimage date is December 31, 2000 which is next year's Feast of the Holy Family.
Speaking of December 31, we will have a special Mass this year on New Year's Eve. It will begin at 11 p.m. and will be preceeded and followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Also there will be opportunity for confession beginning at 7 p.m. on December 31.
The year 2000 promises great blessings for us as individuals and as a parish family. We are embarking on important projects which will require the support of every member of Holy Family. My prayer is that God will give to us all that we need to do his holy will and that together we may be received into the embrace of his loving arms. May God bless you during these days of Christmas and throughout the coming year.
Evenings for the Engaged will begin January 9. The sessions will take place on Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. If you are planning on marrying in Holy Family Parish during the spring, summer or fall of year 2000, please attend these evenings of preparation. You may register by calling the rectory, 767-6220.
From the archives:
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
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Washington state priest brings natural family planning to Peru's highlands Catholic News Agency article about the Mary Bloom Center by Benjamin Mann
Educan en regulación natural de la natalidad en sur andino del Perú Latin American Press (aciprensa) article on the Mary Bloom Center with video