Bulletin (October 15, 2006)

This week we had the funeral of a well-known parishioner - Vicente Bolisig. He and his wife Esmenia have been long time members of Holy Family Parish - and their children Bernadette, Vicente Jr. and Bernard attended our parish school. Vicente worked several years as parish bookkeeper. As the picture indicates, he had a special affection for Samwise. Many people remember Vicente walking Samwise when he was a puppy. Once, when Samwise got lost, I spent an anxious half hour looking for him, only to find that he had made his way to Vicente and Esmenia’s home and was pawing at their door. Not only Samwise, but all of us will miss Vicente.

As parish bookkeeper, Vicente spent long hours keeping track of donations, as well as overall income and expenses of our parish and its school. Those of you who received the parish Annual Report, along with your Quarterly Report, can appreciate the amount of work involved in tracking all of this. I am grateful to our current bookkeeper, Lesley Phillips CPA, who, along with parishioner Mary French, did all the data entry. If you notice any discrepancy in your report, please call Mary at our parish office.

This past week we sent the Annual Report to about 900 families who are identified donors to Holy Family Parish. Besides expressing our gratitude to those who financially support our parish and school, the report is an expression of our accountability to you. As we ask you to be good stewards of the time, talent and treasure which God has given to you, we want to be good stewards of those gifts you have entrusted to us. The report shows how your gifts make it possible for us to realize our parish mission of bringing Christ’s love to others through the sacraments, religious education and service.

One of the remarkable things which we do as a parish is to provide a Catholic education for over two hundred children. Because of sacrifices on the part of our faculty and staff, our per pupil cost is considerably lower than public schools. At the same time, expenses for medical and other benefits have risen geometrically in recent years, causing us to have school deficits. Those who received the Annual Report will notice that in addition to our budgeted investment (subsidy) of $121,416 for our school, we had an unbudgeted subsidy of $75,958. In his letter to parishioners, Principal Glen Lutz has outlined the steps taken to address the school deficit. In the meantime, we recognize the sacrifice of Holy Family parishioners and are grateful for your continued support for our school and overall parish.

The bottom line of our parish is not finances, but our relationship to the Lord. This Sunday Jesus makes that point dramatically to a rich man who asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. That is the most important question any of us can ask. When you think about it, it is the only question which really matters: Will you and I spend eternity united in happiness with God or will we spend it eternally separated from him?

Last Sunday we heard a remarkable testimony about salvation. Liane spoke about how God brought her to forgiveness and healing after the terrible wound of abortion. On an objective level, it is hard to think of any sin worse than abortion, taking the life of an innocent human being. As Mother Teresa said, “If abortion is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Yet God can forgive and heal the mother and the others who are involved in an abortion. At the same time, we should not presume on God’s mercy. It would do us all good to reflect on these words from Sirach:

“Do not say, ‘I sinned and what happened to me?’ Do not be so confident of atonement that you add sin to sin. Do not say ‘His mercy is great, he will forgive the multitude of my sins,’ for both mercy and wrath are with him, and his anger rests on sinners. Do not delay to turn to the Lord, nor postpone it from day to day; for suddenly the wrath of the Lord will go forth, and at the time of punishment you will perish.” (5:4-7)

We should note that God’s punishment is also a part of his mercy. God allows us to experience sufferings, to go through certain trials, in order to bring us back to himself. Liane spoke about the years of anguish which she experienced and how she now understands it as part of God’s great mercy. Similarly, for you and me, now is the moment to draw near to God’s mercy made manifest in Jesus. As a help to drawing near to Jesus, this week we begin the prayer of offering (Stewardship) to God. All parishioners will receive a postcard with that prayer. I ask you not only to pray it at Sunday Mass, but daily in your home.

Durante la semana pasada hemos enviado los reportes a todos los donadores identificados, es decir, todos que han escrito un cheque a la parroquia o que han puesto su donación en un sobre con nombre y dirección. Yo sé que mucho prefieren no ser identificados cuando pongan su contribución en la colecta, pero para nosotros es una ayuda en la comunicación con los feligreses. No tenga miedo de usar los sobres. Mientras les invitamos a ser buenos administradores de sus dones de tiempo, talento y tesoro, nosotros también quisiéramos ser contables a ustedes por lo que donan para la misión de Holy Family: llevar el amor salvador de Cristo a todos por medio de los sacramentos, la educación religiosa y el servicio.

El domingo pasado tuvimos un lindo testimonio de la gracia de Cristo. Con mucha valentía Francisca nos contó sobre la sanación después del aborto. En relación con este tema tan importante, el 3, 4 y 5 de noviembre habrá un retiro de Viñedo de Raquel para mujeres y hombres afectados por el aborto. Para mayor infamación, se puede llamar a la Sra. Leticia Magaña, a la oficina parroquial 206-767-6220 jueves y viernes de 4:00 p.m. a 5:00 p.m. También la Sra. Leticia está disponible en la Ailbe House, domingo de 10:45 a.m. a 12:30 p.m. Yo voy a ser un de los sacerdotes (junto con el Padre Gary de Renton) ayudando en el retiro de Viñedo de Raquel. Con toda confianza, yo puedo escribir a cualquier persona que tiene interés en esta experiencia de pierden y sanación.

Lo que es fundamental en nuestra parroquia es la relación de toda persona con Jesucristo. Para esta finalidad les invitamos a participar en la misa y rezar ante Jesús realmente presente en el Santísimo Sacramento. Como una ayuda a la oración individual y familiar, esta semana estoy enviando a cada familia inscrita en Holy Family una tarjeta con la Oración de Ofrecimiento (Co-Responsabilidad).