Bulletin (November 18, 2007)

Today is our third of three Sundays with a special focus on Stewardship. Deacon Ted and Deacon Abel will speak about the meaning of Stewardship at our English and Spanish Masses. I hope that this year’s focus on Stewardship will help all of us appreciate how vital Stewardship is to living as a Disciple of Jesus. Stewardship is the recognition that all we have and all we comes from God – and that God wants us use our time, abilities and financial resources for his glory and the good of our brothers and sisters.

Last Sunday we had beautiful testimonies from Alex Sheng, Reggie Fernandez and Maria de Jesus Castellanos. Many of you responded by filling out the commitment pledges of Time, Talent and Treasure. I thank you for that. Many took a step toward the biblical standard of tithing – giving the first ten percent back to God. They are doing this by committing five percent of their income to support Holy Family Parish and five percent to other works which incarnate Christ’s saving love. Some are not in a position to make a financial commitment, but have returned their pledge sheets with the commitment they can make. Remember that the most precious gift we can give to God – or to fellow human beings – is time.

We will wrap up our formal Stewardship drive with Thanksgiving Mass, this Thursday at 9 a.m. At that Mass we will say this year’s Stewardship Prayer for the last time. I welcome any helpful suggestions for improving our Stewardship effort. Some of you received Spanish materials by mistake. I apologize for that and assure you that we will be more attentive next year. If you have any observations for improving our Stewardship effort, please contact Mary French (206-767-6220) or communicate directly to me.

I am sure you have noticed the beautiful statue of Our Lady of La Vang on the west side our church. It comes to us as part of our Vietnamese community’s participation in the parish Capital Campaign. Next week’s bulletin will contain a brief history of Our Lady of La Vang and information about its formal dedication. This wonderful image of Our Lady will help all of us grow in our love for Jesus and his Blessed Mother.

This past week the U.S. Bishops met for their fall general assembly. They approved a statement called Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility. "In this statement, we bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote," a statement from the bishops explained. "Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God's truth. We recognize that the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience, and that participation goes well beyond casting a vote in a particular election." The Church's role in helping Catholics to form their consciences is a central theme of the document.

"With this foundation," the bishops explained, "Catholics are better able to evaluate policy positions, party platforms, and candidates' promises and action in light of the Gospel and the moral and social teaching of the Church in order to help build a better world." The bishops affirmed their legitimate role in public life. "The obligation to teach about moral values that should shape our lives, including our public lives, is central to [our] mission," they stated. "Our nation's tradition of pluralism is enhanced, not threatened, when religious groups and people of faith bring their convictions and concerns into public life."

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued this statement this morning regarding the bishops' statement, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility," approved today:

"Priests for Life welcomes the bishops' statement providing concrete guidance to Catholics and other Americans about their responsibilities in the political arena. The bishops' statement calls us to avoid two extremes in considering the many important issues that voters must consider. One is to ignore the distinctions among the issues; the other is to ignore some of the issues when making the distinctions. Today's statement is a helpful tool in achieving the right balance. The bishops point out, as we echo, that the direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life - by abortion, for instance - is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. If we do not welcome and protect the tiniest children, how can we welcome immigrants and the poor? If cannot protect our children from the abortionists' forceps, how can we protect ourselves from the terrorists' bombs?"

Finally I want to encourage teenagers and adults to see the movie Bella. It has opened at a number of theaters in the Seattle area. I attended on Friday evening with priests of my Jesus Caritas group and recommend this highly acclaimed film. Sacred Heart Radio is sponsoring a Free Showing of Bella this Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. at the Meridian 16 Cinema. Call 1-800-949-1050 to get your tickets.

Quisiera agradecer a la Sra. Maria de Jesus Castellanos por su testimonio sobre Mayordomia de Tiempo, Talento y Tesoro. Muchos de ustedes ya han llenado sus hojas de compromiso de que parte de su tiempo, habilidades y recursos economicos quieren dedicar a Dios por medio de la parroquia de Holy Family. En las misas de español el Diacono Abel nos dará una presentación sobre la importancia de Mayordomia (o sea, la Co-Responsabilidad, Generosidad, Diezmo, la Limosna Dominical) en nuestras vidas como Discipulos de Cristo.

Tambien quisiera animarles a ver la película Bella que está en muchos teatros locales. Bella narra la historia de amor de un inmigrante y los valores de honestidad e integridad de los hispanos. “La película es básicamente una historia de amor”, aseguró Eduardo Verástegui, protagonista del filme mexicano, ganador del premio del Público en la edición de 2006 del festival de cine de Toronto y que sirvió de apertura al Festival Internacional de Cine Latino de Los Ángeles. Bella enseña el amor más fuerte, que no es sólo el romántico, sino el que te hace sacrificarlo todo por la otra persona”, añadió Verástegui, que acudió a la proyección de su película en el programa “México en el Smithsonian” organizado por la prestigiosa institución cultural.

La historia tiene como protagonista a un inmigrante de carne y hueso retratado por Verástegui, cuya historia personal también habla del inmigrante que un día se fue a EE.UU. para hacer realidad su sueño. “La película resalta los valores latinos de honestidad, integridad, lealtad y amistad, pues, durante mucho tiempo el cine estadounidense sólo nos ha puesto como villanos, infieles y traidores”, dijo el actor.

En el filme, se cuenta la historia a través de la cual José (Verástegui), un cocinero latino con un pasado incierto que se descubre a lo largo de la película. Por su parte, Nina (Tammy Blanchard) es una camarera estadounidense, que construye una relación con él, que durará un sólo día y que cambiará la vida de ambos para siempre.

Finalmente les invito a la Misa de Thanksgiving, este jueves a las 9 a.m. Favor de traer una donacion de comida para los pobres. Habrá una sola colecta en la misa e irá a Madre Teresa y el grupo San Vicente de Paul para ayudar a los necesitados en los barrios de nuestra parroquia.

Mother Mary, Our Lady, present us to Jesus, Our Saviour. Mother Mary, lead all souls to Jesus, our Dear Lord who alone redeems and saves. Dear Jesus, free us from the bondage of sin and govern us with Your Love. Amen

The first apparition of the Lady of La Vang to the Vietnamese people was noted during this great persecution in 1798. This was the year, when King Canh 'Minh issued an anti-Catholic edit and an order to destroy all Catholic churches and seminaries. Many Christians took refuge in the jungle situated in proximity of Quang Tri, a village in central Vietnam, where they experienced hunger and sickness, and prepared themselves for martyrdom. Many Catholics from the nearby town of Quang Tri sought refuge in the deep forest of La Vang. A great number of these people suffered from the bitter cold weather, lurking wild beasts, jungle sickness and starvation. At night, they often gathered in small groups to say the rosary and to pray. Unexpectedly, one night they were visited by an apparition of a beautiful Lady in a long cape, holding a child in her arms, with two angels at her sides. The people recognized the Lady as Our Blessed Mother. Our Blessed Mother comforted them and told them to boil the leaves from the surrounding trees to use as medicine. She also told them that from that day on, all those who came to this place to pray, would get their prayers heard and answered. This took place on the grass area near the big ancient banyan tree where the refugees were praying. All those who were present witnessed this miracle.


We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin. We call on them to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public roles and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching. No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can responsibly advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life.