Bulletin (January 1, 2005)
I feel a deep gratitude to all who worked on our Advent and Christmas celebrations. Particular mention goes to Pat Waite, who directs our beautiful children’s choir, and Paul Grady, who has done such unflagging work developing our adult choir. The harp, guitar and other instruments added to the beauty of our traditional organ. A special word of thanks goes to the soloists and cantors. It obviously takes some extra work to prepare those parts. I also want to thank those who did the decorations for Advent, The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Christmas itself. In another part of the bulletin you will find a list of those who worked on the Christmas decorations. Gary Samaniego and Cliff Macareg trained the servers for the Christmas ceremonies. I thank all of them, as well as the sacristans, lectors, ushers and extraordinary ministers of Communion for all they do to enhance our worship of God. I cannot name all those who participated, but you know who you are. Thank you for serving God and the people of Holy Family Parish. While thanking those who enhance our Sunday worship, I want to mention the new Communion chalices, donated by a lady who, while most generous toward the poor, desires that Jesus has the very best for his Precious Blood.
This year I was particularly struck by the Christmas reading from the Letter to the Hebrews:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son… (1:1-2)
God cannot give a greater gift than his Son. The Bible teaches that we are now in the “last days” because with the coming of Jesus, God has given us the greatest possible revelation of Himself. As St. John says, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (1:14) The Church has always taught that “Revelation ended with the death of the last apostle.” This teaching shocks people today because we are conditioned to always look for the latest news and latest product. We imagine that everything will just keep getting better and better. What Christmas means is that it does not get any better than the Child Jesus, God-made-man, in the arms of his Blessed Mother. This Child, by his teaching and miracles, would enlighten mankind. By his death and resurrection he saves us. We can ask for nothing greater than that.
Of course, according to their specific cultures and particular needs, people of every age would have new insights into the meaning of Jesus. These insights, helpful as they are, do not add anything “new” to Jesus, but simply help us see some different aspect of Him. And we always have to be careful that we don’t make our limited culture the be-all and end-all, causing us to distort or deny some central aspect of who Jesus is. For that reason, Jesus founded a visible Church and endowed it with divine authority to teach in his name. The English martyr, St. Thomas Becket expressed it this way:
No matter who plants or waters, God gives no harvest unless what he plants is the faith of Peter, and unless he himself assents to Peter’s teaching. All important questions that arise among God’s people are referred to the judgment of Peter in the person of the Roman Pontiff. Under him the ministers of Mother Church exercise the powers committed to them, each in his own sphere of responsibility. (Letter 74)
Speaking of different ministries, I would like to say a word about our adult choir. Besides their hours of practice and hard work, many have expressed appreciation for the treasure of traditional music they have opened for us. It does of course take effort to appreciate it. I would use this comparison: Many people have been brought up with a diet of meat and potatoes, which for sure is fine. However, if offered something different – say salmon and quinoa (KEE-no-ah) – they might respond, “Please, just give me meat and potatoes.” I can sympathize, but at the same time, I regret they are missing something tasty and nutritious. Salmon and quinoa nourished people in the Americas for centuries. They can continue to do so. So it is with the music our adult choir presents for our spiritual nourishment.
During this past year, many people have received nourishment from the sacraments. When we did our annual report (fiscal year 2004-2205), it turned out we had 526 baptisms here at Holy Family Parish. That so many young parents come to us for the baptism of their children indicates that we have a great responsibility to live our faith and help others understand Jesus’ teachings. We also confirmed 54 youth and adults, celebrated 46 weddings, 208 First Communions (and First Confessions), 60 quinceañeras and 27 funerals.
Something that all of us can do for the spiritual welfare of our parish is to spend time before Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. You will notice that our adoration chapel (Ailbe House) has been repainted and is most beautiful. But most beautiful of all is Our Lord who waits for us in the Divine Mercy Chapel.
In conclusion I would like to thank all those who have financially supported Holy Family Parish during this past year. Your financial support makes possible the maintenance of our buildings and all the various activities that take place on our parish campus. May God bless each of you in this New Year.
(The picture of our Nativity scene was taken by Khoi Duong, who also maintains our parish website: http://www.holyfamilyparish.net.)
Quisiera expresar mi gratitud a todos los que trabajaron en las celebraciones de Adviento, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y Navidad: a los coros que cantaron con tanta devocion, a los que hicieron las decoraciones del templo, a los ayudantes del altar (monaguillos, lectores, ministros extraordinarios de Comunión, sacristanes, etc.). También quisiera agradecer a un miembro de la comunidad hispana que donó los cálices que hemos usado en el día de Navidad para la Preciosísima Sangre de Cristo. Ella es una persona que ayuda a los pobres pero al mismo tiempo quiere que el Señor tenga lo mejor para el culto a El.
En la parte inglesa mencioné algo sobre la vida sacramental de nuestra parroquia y el número de personas que han sido bautizados, etc. en nuestra parroquia. Para este ministerio y para la educación religiosa dependemos de su apoyo de tiempo, talento y tesoro. Al comenzar un Año Nuevo, quisiera agradecer a todos que hayan apoyado a la parroquia económica y espiritualmente. Que Dios los bendiga con las bendiciones de la Sagrada Familia de Jesús, María y José.