Bulletin (June 24, 2007)

I am sure that many of you prayed for the families of the nine firefighters in Charleston, SC. On June 19 a warehouse fire took the lives of those nine men. May God accept the sacrifice of their lives and receive their souls into eternal life. This tragedy brought back memories the 1995 Pang Warehouse fire here in Seattle, in which four firefighters gave their lives. One of them, Randy Terlicker, was a graduate of Holy Family School. By remembering and honoring Randy, we honor all those who sacrifice themselves for their community and their country.

Last week at our awards assembly, it was touching to see Randy’s mom give out the annual Randy Terlicker Scholarship. Many of you know Colleen Terlicker who sings in our parish choir and has been active in our parish for many years. Together with Colleen and others in the Terlicker family, we have set up an Endowment Fund in honor of Randy. In addition to Colleen, the Endowment committee includes two current firefighters who are parishioners here at Holy Family. Also Karl Kaluza, Marketing Specialist from the Archdiocesan Schools Department, has been helping us with this project. He put together the excellent brochure, which was printed free of cost to our parish. I am grateful to all who are working with Mr. Glen Lutz, Gary Samaniego and myself on this important effort. I thank all of you who have shown interest and have joined in prayer for the success of the Randy Terlicker Scholarship And Endowment Fund.

Speaking of our school, you will notice some renovation activity over the summer. Last summer we made major renovations to the ground floor, creating a medium size gathering space (the Tice Hall), new bathrooms, two new classrooms and rooms for janitorial supplies and other storage space. At the same time we renovated the four downstairs classrooms and the upper parish hall/gym, as well as the school entrance and the façade with its white cross. This summer we will be extending that work, thanks to the generosity of those who donated to the “fund an item” during the April school auction. Over twenty thousand dollars were donated and that money will be well used this summer.

This renovation work underscores the fact that our faith involves every aspect of our lives. Last week the Vatican Office for Migrants issued a document which underscores that fact. Titled Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road, the 36-page document has been referred to as Ten Commandments for Drivers or Rules for the Road. It points out something that most of us recognize: we sometimes forget our faith when we get behind the wheel. I remember once riding with a man who seemed like a perfect gentleman. All of a sudden he was swearing and even made a gesture at another driver. The Vatican document challenges us to avoid that kind of disconnect in our lives.

This Sunday we honor a saint who can help us get our lives back together. June 24 is the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist. He is the great preacher of repentance – which means to stop living an incoherent, fragmented life. Our society needs St. John the Baptist. Seldom has a society been so fragmented as ours. One of the big modern areas of disconnect is the separation of sex and procreation. Birth control devices have made this separation seem normal. The consequences of this disconnect are evident: the degradation of women by treating them as objects, ever increasing male irresponsibility and the growing lack of commitment to marriage. All of this follows when we disconnect sex from the procreation of children. On the other hand, we have not only separated sex from procreation; we have separated procreation from sex. This happens with artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Children are viewed not as gift, but as a “right.” They become like one more consumer product that the parents can utilize as they choose. Conceived outside of the protection of the womb, some are implanted in the womb of the mother or another woman. Others are frozen and gradually deteriorate until they are finally discarded. Others – may God forgive us – are being dismembered for research. There was a lot of media hype this week over the president’s veto of using federal taxes to fund such research. What is not so well known is that this type of research is happening on a large scale with state and private funds. Before it is too late, our world needs to hear St. John’s call to repentance – to end this terrible disconnect which leads to the abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Another saint who can help us is St. Josemaría Escrivá. He founded a society called Opus Dei whose purpose is to encourage ordinary lay people living in the world to aspire to heroic sanctity without changing their state of life or occupations. I have only had small contact with Opus Dei, but have been impressed by those I have met. They are responding to Vatican II with its emphasis on the universal call to holiness. Even those who are not members of Opus Dei can derive great benefit by reading St. Josemaría’s book, The Way. This Tuesday, June 26, Archbishop Brunett will come to Holy Family to celebrate a Mass (in English) for the Feast of St. Josemaría Escrivá. The Mass begins at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend.