Bulletin, April 29, 2001
As followers of Jesus we are called to work for social justice. The basic principle that guides us is the dignity of each human being. From the point of view of faith, a person terminally ill has the same incalculable worth as a baseball star. A tiny embryo is as valuable a human person as Bill Gates. And those newly arrived have the same dignity as natives.
The principle of welcoming the immigrant goes back to the Old Testament and has been enshrined in Catholic social teaching. That has been true especially in the United States since the great majority of U.S. Catholics are children or grandchildren of immigrants. Holy Family has been blessed by the presence of immigrants during our eighty-year history. Recently we have received large numbers from Asia and Latin America as well some beautiful families from Africa and Europe.
One of the sad realities is that many of our immigrant families live with a certain fear. A mom caring for children never knows if the INS will descend upon her husband’s workplace. Or she might fear that she will be stopped while taking her children out for a walk. On May 1 there will be a March for Amnesty from Occidental Park to Westlake Park to promote the passage of HR 500, which would do so much to solve these problems facing undocumented workers in our society. If you are able to join that March, I encourage you to do so.
Some people fear that the immigrant will have a negative economic impact. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal showed just the opposite. Largely because of immigration, the U.S. had one of its greatest population growths last decade. It was also a time of record economic growth. Real median household income now stands at $40,816, its highest level since the census started tracking in 1967.
Of course we welcome the immigrant apart from questions of economic impact. We know that God created the world for all his children and that immigration is an inherent human right. But it is interesting to note that when a person does the right thing, material blessings will often follow. As Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice and everything else will be added.”
Speaking of material blessing and their source, this weekend is Education Sunday for the Annual Catholic Appeal. John Walicki, with the support of his wife Angela, will be giving the presentation at our English Masses and Mario Recinos at the Spanish Masses. Our parish goal is $90,000 with a participation goal of 900 families. If we achieve this goal we will be able to meet our archdiocesan support ($48,217) and have a forty thousand dollar rebate, which can be dedicated to our building needs. As you know we are in the process of doing the necessary seismic retrofit for our school. The Ash Wednesday earthquake has made us all very aware of the importance of this renovation.
This Sunday afternoon we begin our classes for engaged couples. If you are planning on marriage, please come to these five sessions, 4-6 p.m. in the rectory. German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer beautifully expressed the exalted meaning of marriage. From his prison cell in Nazi Germany in 1943 he wrote this to a young bride and groom:
“Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal – it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”
Please pray for our engaged and young married couples. They are so dear to Jesus – and so important to his Church. And one final prayer request – for the unity of the Church. A schismatic group has established a chapel near us. Let’s pray that they will return to unity with and obedience to our Holy Father. The problem is not that they are celebrating the Tridentine Mass in Latin. With proper permission that is possible within the Catholic Church. The problem is that they have separated themselves from the Body of Christ. Jesus clearly wills that there be “one flock with one shepherd.” We must constantly pray for that unity.
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