Bulletin (November 14, 2004)

At all Masses last weekend, we heard testimonies from fellow parishioners regarding their own gratitude for God’s gifts – and how they use them for His glory and for the good of their brothers and sisters. This Sunday, as your pastor, I will ask you to make a commitment of Time, Talent and Treasure.

I invite every parishioner, whether adult or child, to fill out a card stating how they desire to make a commitment of time to the parish. You will find in the pews an extensive list of opportunities for service right here at Holy Family. Also, each person who has financial resources should fill out a pledge card. This helps us in our financial planning, but it also helps you in your giving. If you are like me – and I suspect most of you are – we do not achieve goals without planning. That applies to Stewardship of Time, Talent and Treasure. If we make a vague promise, it easily gets lost in the shuffle of life’s problems and distractions. However, if we make a concrete plan, we have a much better chance of realizing our goals – always with God’s grace. Your pledge is between you and God. We recognize that sometimes circumstances change and that none of us owns the future. However, we do need to make prudent plans in the present moment. I deeply appreciate your commitment to the work of our parish.

This next week from Monday through Friday I will be in Amity, Oregon, for a retreat at the Brigittine Monastery. I very much look forward to this time. Also, I am anxious to see Brother Simon, a parishioner of Holy Family who recently professed as a Brigittine Monk. I am making my annual retreat early this year because in January I want to concentrate completely on our parish Capital Campaign. By the way, please keep that in your prayers – as I will be doing next week.

If you enjoy historical novels, I would like to recommend Pontius Pilate by Paul L. Maier. Each Sunday we mention Pontius Pilate’s name in the Creed, but most of us have little idea who he really was, beyond the Passion Narratives which we hear on Palm Sunday. Dr. Maier narrates Pilate’s life in a convincing and compelling manner. The author is a Harvard graduate and history professor at Western Michigan University. Dr. Maier wrote some books on early Church history which I found helpful, so I thought I would give his novel a try. I got the book through the King County Library.

Pontius Pilate presided over the darkest event in human history – the crucifixion of God in human flesh. A new darkness is descending over our world. Recently, a Hollywood personality described this darkness with very blunt words. At the Catholics in Media Award Brunch, Mel Gibson spoke about California’s Proposition 71 which authorized six billion dollars of tax money for experiments on human embryos. Gibson observed that this is a very ominous, dark moment in human history. "As we Californians who were just prop 71'ed into realizing," he noted (paraphrasing here), "The sign of the end of any human society is when it practices human sacrifice. We've been doing it on one level for forty years in this country, but this breeding of humans to be used for their parts, this is literally human sacrifice."

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger also spoke about the darkness which envelopes our world. He identified two dominant features of the contemporary situation. First, he noted, globalization and technological change are producing a cultural homogenization, which in turn generates a rebellion against uniformity. Second, the power of the human person over life itself has increased in dramatic fashion. Life is "no longer a gift of God but our product, something which can be fabricated or destroyed and replaced with something else." Ratzinger called contemporary society "truly ill," and asserted that our moral capacity has not kept pace with our technological skill. In such a context, he argued, there is an urgent need for religious believers and secularists of good will to join forces in an attempt to revivify moral reasoning.

There are some positive signs in our culture. Phillip Longman, author of The Empty Cradle, observed: "Where will the children of the future come from? They will come disproportionately from people who are at odds with the modern environment ... or who, out of fundamentalist or chauvinist conviction, ... reject the game altogether. The religiously minded generally have bigger families than do secularists. In the United States, for example, fully 47% of people who attend church weekly say that the ideal family size is three or more children, as opposed to only 27% of those who seldom attend church." Longman points out that, while the population of Europe is plummeting, here in the United States Evangelical Christians and devout Catholics are the ones having children. The future belongs to the fertile.

El domingo pasado, Gerardo y Bertha Galaviz Alcalá e hijos dieron un lindo testimonio sobre mayordomía como familia. Los que son inscritos como miembros de la parroquia han recibido una carta de mí explicando más sobre la importancia de la mayordomía de nuestros dones de tiempo, talento y tesoro.

Habrá una oportunidad de hacer este compromiso hoy y el domingo que viene. Es importante planear nuestra mayordomía. Si no hacemos planes, cumplimos muy poco en la vida. Pero si planeamos y hacemos un compromiso, podemos cumplir todo. Como párroco, cuento con su participación para realizar los programas de nuestra parroquia.

Esta semana, de lunes hasta viernes, voy a estar en el monasterio de los Brigitinos en Oregon para mi retiro anual. Uds. estarán en mis oraciones y les pido las suyas. Que Dios los bendiga abundantemente.