Bulletin (April 17, 2005)

Cardinal Arinze (with Cardinal Josef Tomko)

We have all heard the phrase “where the rubber meets the road.” It applies to our parish as we enter the “redemption phase” of our Capital Campaign. I am currently sending out letters to those who made a pledge. The letters will go first to those who have pledged on a monthly basis, then to those who made quarterly, semi-annual or annual pledges. I am most grateful to all who have supported me and our parish in this vital effort.

At the same time we are beginning the Annual Catholic Appeal. Next weekend we will hear a testimony from a family in our parish that faced a crisis on account of a serious illness – and how the prayers and support of parishioners helped them. We will not be conducting the Appeal in a high pressure manner, but will simply present the need and ask each family in the parish to respond in some manner (even if it means simply saying that one will not be contributing at this time). As a parish we are a vital part of the Archdiocese and the Archdiocese in turn enables us to carry out our various parish ministries.

Likewise, we are part of the universal Church. It is important to continue praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the cardinals meet in the Conclave to elect a new pope. Some have asked if I have a favorite candidate. I do, but he is from a country which makes his selection impossible. I am referring to Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. Even the Italians say, peccato che lui è un'americano"("too bad that he's an American")…perche sarebbe un'bel papa ("because otherwise he'd be a great pope"). I had a few opportunities to converse with Cardinal George when he was bishop of Yakima. What a brilliant and compassionate man he is, but to choose a pope from the world’s most powerful nation would not make good sense. Among the realistic candidates my favorite is Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments under Pope John Paul. I met him at the Eucharistic Congress last October in Guadalajara. He seems to be a man of great strength and clear vision, which the Church needs at this time.

Obviously, my own knowledge of papal candidates is quite limited – and none of the cardinals will be reading the Holy Family bulletin as part of their discernment. But I do ask you to join with me in praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that they might choose the right person to lead the Church.

The new pope will have the responsibility of carrying forward the great legacy we have received, especially through the papacy of John Paul the Great. Before he died, he gave us one last gift in his remarkable book, Memory and Identity. I read through it quickly this week and I can see that it is a book that deserves a careful, slow reading. It is packed with history, theology and philosophy which Pope John Paul applies to thorny issues such as abortion, homosexuality, church and state relations, patriotism vs. nationalism, freedom and responsibility, the problem of evil and the dialogue with other religions.

Returning to a local level, we have a beautiful event this coming Saturday: the Mass of First Communion for our children. Below is a First Communion picture from a few years back. No doubt you will recognize some of the children, who are now seventh and eighth graders.

Esta semana estamos entrando en la “fase de redención” de nuestra Campaña Capital. Enviaré una carta, primero, a los que han hecho un compromiso mensual, luego los que han hecho una promesa de cada tres meses, seis meses o anual. Estoy agradecido a todos que me han apoyado a mi y la parroquia en este esfuerzo vital.

Al mismo tiempo, el próximo domingo, comenzamos la Petición Anual Católica. La Petición no es de “alta presión,” sino información sobre las necesidades y la importancia de apoyar la Arquidiócesis que por su parte hace posible la existencia de nuestra parroquia. Pido que cada familia responda, aun si no puede contribuir en este momento.

En un nivel internacional estamos rezando por el Conclave que escogerá el nuevo papa. Abajo es una foto de mi candidato favorito: el Cardenal Francisco Arinze de Nigeria. A su lado es el Cardenal Josef Tomko que representó al Santo Padre en el Congreso Eucarístico en Guadalajara el año pasado. Es importante que todos oremos al Espíritu Santo que guíe a los cardenales en este momento tan importante para nuestra Iglesia.