Bulletin (November 2, 2003)

This year All Souls Day, because it falls on Sunday, replaces the ordinary readings. This gives us a beautiful opportunity to reflect on our relation to the Communion of Saints. Often we say to one another, “Please pray for me,” or “I will remember you in my prayers.” But what about those who have died? Do we ask the saints in heaven to pray for us? And do we pray for our departed loved ones who may be in the state of purification known as Purgatory?

If you are like me, you probably have certain departed loved ones whom you think about often. For me, not a day goes by that I don’t think about my mom and dad – and in remembering them, a lot of others come to mind: their parents, their brothers and sisters. We were not always “one big happy family” here on earth. There were some conflicts, bad words, even alienation. To be eternally together in heaven will require a healing and forgiveness that did not happen in any complete way here on earth. There will be pain in that process. The prayers, sacrifices, Mass which we offer for our departed loved ones can ease some of that pain. It is a great act of love to remember those who have died.

Deacon Ted and I have asked you to bring pictures of departed loves and place them in front of or upon the sanctuary rail. If you did not bring a picture, remember them in your heart. You may also write their names upon an All Souls Day envelope and place it in the collection or drop it by the rectory. All this month we will remember them by having the envelopes on the high altar.

One beautiful person whom many of us will remember in a special way is Steve Antonow. This Wednesday evening, November 5, at 6 p.m. we will be offering a “six month Mass” for him. You might recall that Steve was member of our Courage group who died of pancreatic cancer on May 5. Steve worked closely with the RCIA and donated part of his estate. The choir which leads singing at the 11 a.m. Mass will provide some special music at the six month Mass for Steve. All are welcome to attend.

If you have not voted by absentee ballot, be sure to vote in this Tuesday’s general election. I spent several hours on my day off last week filling out my absentee ballot. When I finished, it seemed to me like time well spent because there are some important issues, especially in regard to Seattle schools. Those elected to the school board will be facing a monumental task on behalf of our children.

At the same time we face great challenge in maintaining our parish elementary school. It would be a great help if our parents – who themselves are taxpayers – could get some kind of vouchers to help them pay tuition. A lot of families would like to send their children to parish schools, but they just cannot afford it. When I hear people say they are “pro-choice” I sometimes want to say, “fine, but are you working to help parents have a real choice where they will educate their children?”

The first phase of our overall building project is mainly centered on the school. Our Parish Building Commission projects that the seismic upgrade will cost about $260,000. Also we need to fix the roof which will be in the neighborhood of forty thousand. There are smaller costs in regard to the roofs on the church and Ailbe House, repair of water damage to the church interior, etc. bringing the total to around $380,000. These are in phase one because our Building Commission considers them the most urgent needs. The next phase (II-A) would require a much smaller amount and would deal with problems in our lighting, plumbing and electrical systems – and rest rooms – principally in the church.

If you are a registered parishioner, you should have received a letter from me regarding Stewardship. I send this not just because we have many needs in the parish. Much more important is that we recognize the gifts God has given us and his call to utilize them for the benefit of our brothers and sisters. I have invited a family from parish to share with us how they are doing that. They will speak at our three English Masses next weekend.

Este año la observancia de Todos los Fieles Difuntos cae en el día domingo. Es importante recordar a nuestros seres queridos que se nos han fallecido. Muchos de Uds. han traído retratos de familiares difuntos. También se puede poner sus nombres en sobres para recordarles en las misas durante este mes de noviembre.

Como sacerdote, he estado con muchas familias que tuvieron que hacer decisiones difíciles en cuanto a parientes gravemente enfermos. El Catecismo dice que no tenemos que usar tratamientos médicos que son “onerosos, peligrosos, extraordinarios o desproporcionados a los resultados.” (#2278) Podemos y debemos rechazar ‘encarnizamiento terapéutico.’ Mi papá decidió no tener una operación que podía haber prolongado su vida. Acompañé a mi mamá cuando hizo su testamento. Hablamos con el abogado sobre el tipo de cuidado que ella querría al término de su vida. Al final murió tranquilamente cuando dormía, pero formular su último testamento era algo responsable y amoroso.

Cada domingo decimos que creemos en la “comunión de los santos.” Significa que tenemos lazos continuos con los que han muerto. Lo experimento en una forma suave cuando visito la tumba de mis papás. Rezo por ellos y sé que sigue su amor por mí – y por mis hermanos y sobrinos. Jesús nos dice hoy que “todo aquel que me da el Padre viene hacía mí.” (Jn 6:37) Es tan significativo poder decir, “Que sus almas y las de todos los fieles difuntos, por la misericordia del Señor, descansen en paz.”

Los que están inscritos como miembros de la parroquia deben haber recibido una carta de su servidor en cuanto a la Mayordomía. La envío no solamente porque tenemos muchas necesidades como parroquia. Más importante es el hecho que todos debemos reconocer los dones que hemos recibido y utilizarlos para el bien de nuestros hermanos. El diácono Abel y unas familias de nuestra comunidad van a compartir el desafío – y la alegría – de ser buenos administradores de los dones de Dios.