Thank you for your prayers, cards and kind words at this time of loss for me and my family. I was deeply moved by your outpouring of support. I was touched that so many sent memorials for the Mary Bloom Center in Peru. Your love and prayers during this time mean more to me than I will ever be able to adequately express. You are a very loving community which I am proud to serve as pastor.
I wish to express special thanks to those who attended the vigil service and funeral for my mom. Mr. Steve Morissette represented our parish school whose children and teachers have offered lovely prayers and cards of support. The presence of our parish staff: Tim McDonald, Abel Magaņa, Sr. Mary Clare Hall, Sharon Carriere and Cynthia Ramirez meant so much to me. I was especially grateful to Deacon Ted Wiese who served as Deacon at the Mass reading the Gospel. A choir from the Hispanic community of Holy Family sang the powerful offertory hymn Morada Santa. Besides the Hispanic community, there was a beautiful representation from the Vietnamese and Filipino communities of our parish - and of course many, many "Anglo" parishioners. The church in Stanwood was nearly full and many stayed after for the reception and for the burial of my mom, next to my dad, on the cemetery of Camano Island.
Twenty nine priest, including our own Fr. Richard Gallagher, concelebrated the funeral Mass which was a wonderful encouragement and consolation to me and my family. I am particularly grateful to Fr. Gallagher and Fr. Manuel Ocaņa for taking the sacramental responsibilities of the parish during these days so that can have some time to spend with my brothers and sister and to be able just try to let the reality of my mom's death sink into my soul.
Bishop George Thomas spoke a beautiful word which, while I do not remember the exact quote, asked about why a life is extinguished. He said it is the same reason which we put out a lamp when dawn arrives. The dawn is the light of Christ who has come to embrace my mom.
I ask you to continue your prayers for my mom, as well as for me and the members of my family. Many people have shared with me their own sadness at the death of a parent. One of the most important things we can do is pray for our loved ones and for all of the faithful departed. We do not know the extent to which they may require our help as they go through the final purification before coming into the presence of the all holy God. They likewise can help us by their prayers for we are members of the one Communion of Saints.