Bulletin (Oct 21)
I want to share a few odds and ends with you as I prepare to go to Peru. Of course, when you read this I will already be at the Mary Bloom Center in Puno.
First of all, I want to thank you again for your good wishes and prayers these past days. They mean a lot to me. And I am also deeply grateful for your financial support to aid children and needy families in what is one of the most impoverished zones of our hemisphere. All of us are more conscious than ever of our interdependence and how important it is to help lift one another up. The people in Puno have an intensity of prayer which will benefit us greatly as we face our own crises.
As I mentioned, we have taken a number of steps to balance of our parish budget. Some are fairly large, like cutting back on certain services for our buildings and grounds and seeking volunteers to fulfill them. Others are smaller, like canceling the subscription for a daily newspaper. I have to admit that, though I appreciate getting some of the news, I have become more disappointed with the editorial content. They no longer seem concerned to even be subtle about their anti-Christian bias. Perhaps it is better that way. At least one knows where the other person stands.
At the same time, I have also cancelled the bulk subscription to the National Catholic Register. I know some of you will miss having it available. The copies have been picked up quite rapidly. I encourage you to take out your own subscription. You can receive it in your home for less than a dollar a week by calling 1-800-421-3230. Having Catholic literature in your home can be an occasion of grace when children or grandchildren visit. For example, The Register has given excellent coverage of how the September 11 terrorist attacks and how they have impacted the lives and faith of ordinary people.
The recent issue of the Register had an article which caught my attention as I was preparing the trip to Peru. It told about how the Archbishop of Lima had set up a process for the possible excommunication of public figures who support abortion. The article showed some of the complexities of the question, but also addressed what has been a great scandal in the United States: In spite of the Church’s clear teaching on the immorality of abortion, it has been Catholic politicians who made possible its legalization. Many have also supported late term abortions, including the taking of a baby’s life in the process of birth. Archbishop Brunett has written a very strong pastoral statement regarding this “massive loss of life.” For those who do not receive the Progress, it is printed on the reverse side. I encourage you read it carefully and consider the Archbishop’s message.
Speaking of the Progress, we will be having a sign-up Sunday in January. But why wait? You can start receiving the Archdiocesan paper, by calling (206)382-7313. You can also subscribe online: http://www.seattlearch.org/forms/progform.html.
It was a great joy to have the communal anointing of the sick the Sunday before last. I want you to know that Fr. Ramón and I are available for that sacrament. Also Fr. Adrian Luevano, who is living in the parish rectory, may be called upon for that sacrament of healing. If you are going into the hospital for a surgery, please ask one of the priests to give you the anointing beforehand. You will find a wonderful peace because it brings forgiveness of sins and the healing power of Jesus’ Holy Spirit. Also I encourage you to take advantage of Fr. Luevano (and Fr. Velasco) for the sacrament of confession. Both are wonderful, compassionate confessors.
Last week I reported on our parish growth, including the increased Mass attendance. Most of the increase has been in our three Spanish Masses. Still our English Masses are holding their own, even increasing slightly. Our 8 a.m. Mass has had its ups and downs, but last Sunday the count showed 293 people. Two years ago the attendance was 290, so that is a slight gain. Of course, the goal of all our Masses is to offer those who come the deepest possible experience of the saving mysteries of Jesus’ sacrificial death for us and his resurrection.
Please continue your good stewardship during this time. The parish needs your support as we face our financial needs. Sometimes people will tell me that, if they win the lottery, they will give a certain portion to the parish. That is a nice thought, but I would prefer, that instead of buying the ticket, you give it directly to the parish. A statistician has calculated that, if you drive one mile to the store to buy a lottery ticket, you have twice the chance of being killed in an accident as winning the lottery! On the other hand, if you give to God, you are sure to win a blessing.
Gracias por la linda despidida el domingo pasado. La celebración de Nuestro Señor de los Milagros, con su procesión, después de la misa de 12:30, causó una profunda emoción en todos los participantes. Cuando Uds. leen estas palabras ya estaré en el Peru. Gracias por su apoyo para el Centro Mary Bloom. Sus donaciones en la segunda colecta (que están reportado en otra parte del boletín) son un ayuda enorme para los niños y familias en una zona muy desamparada de las Américas. También quisiera agradecer a los que trayeron la rica comida para la convivencia después de la misa de 12:30. Recaudaron un total de $860 para ayudar a los necesitados del Perú por medio del Centro Mary Bloom. Gracias a todos por su participación en estos eventos. Sigan dando su apoyo al Padre Ramón Velasco y el Padre Adrian Luevano durante este tiempo. Regreso del Perú el 8 de noviembre.
From the Archbishop
A massive loss of life connects us
In the days following the terrorist attacks on the United States last month, it quickly became evident how many millions of Americans were directly and personally affected by these horrifying events.
As the massive loss of life began to be personalized with names, faces and stories, it seemed that almost everyone was connected in some way to someone who had died. A relative, a friend, an acquaintance, a neighbor, a co-worker, a parishioner, a colleague, a teacher, a classmate — someone to whom we were connected was lost. And with their death, our own life was diminished. A massive loss of life connects us as human beings in a way that perhaps nothing else does. And in that connection we often find strength, resolve, and unity. As we begin our observance of Respect Life Month, it’s important that we recognize that a massive loss of life has been taking place in this country for more than a quarter of a century. It is a loss of life to which each of us is in some way directly and personally connected.
Tragically, it is a loss of life that has been largely anonymous. Names, faces and stories do not emerge from containers of aborted fetuses and embryos destroyed for their stem cells. Names, faces and stories are irrelevant in the compilation of statistics on suicides and assisted suicides among the sick, the dying, the elderly and the poor.
Yet, just as we are in some way directly and personally connected to someone who died in the terrorist attacks, we are in some way directly and personally connected to the loss of human life through the destruction of human embryos, abortion, suicide and assisted suicide. Sadly, however, we may not be aware that our own life has been diminished as a result.
With the legalization of abortion in this country in 1973, the architects of what has become a culture of death were given license to accelerate the devaluation of all life. Indeed, one could say that the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision slammed into the heart of America in a way that has been no less destructive than the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
During this Respect Life Month, I invite you to reflect on whatever direct and personal connection you might have to the loss of fragile human life. Likewise, I encourage you to affirm your own commitment to saving and affirming life. We must celebrate all the work that is done to prevent abortions; facilitate adoptions; assist single mothers and newborns; enhance the quality of life for persons who are elderly, disabled, sick and dying; and abolish the death penalty.
“Every Human Life Has Its Origin in the Heart of God” is the theme of Respect Life Month. A few short weeks ago we were reminded that human life is indeed God’s first and greatest gift, and that it is fragile. Now, with the same determination that our national leaders have resolved to rebuild New York City, we must resolve to rebuild a culture in which every human life at every stage and in every circumstance is defended and cherished.