Bulletin (May 30, 2004)

Fr. Ramon and I enjoyed the Priests’ Days at Ocean Shores. It was a good time to see other priests throughout the Archdiocese and get caught up on how people are doing. Some were involved in somewhat dramatic happenings, for example, Fr. Lawrence Minder from St. Brendan’s in Bothell has hosted the Tent City and is himself living for ninety days in a tent with the homeless. Archbishop Brunett and the other priests of the Archdiocese expressed strong support for this effort. Also, we were encouraged that one priest who had been charged with sexual abuse of a minor was exonerated and was restored to his parish. He received a standing ovation when Archbishop Brunett read the letter restoring his priestly faculties. All of us of course identified with the agony that he has undergone the past month while the charge was investigated.

The main speaker at the Conference was Fr. Noah Casey, a Benedictine priest who is part of a parish in Indianapolis. He had many good insights on prayer, spirituality and how to maintain a balance in pastoral ministry. Also, we heard a very good presentation from Dr. Stephen Colecchi, who works with the National Bishops Conference. He spoke about the document on “Faithful Citizenship” which describes what we can do as Catholics to practice our faith as citizens of this country. He spelled out things we can and cannot do in relation to politics. One point that sticks in my mind is that sometimes people have a misunderstanding regarding “separation of Church and state.” They think, for example, that that phrase is found in the U.S. Constitution. Actually, it is not. What the Constitution specifies is the “non-establishment” of any religion and the guarantee of freedom and a certain independence for all religions. The founding Fathers never spoke about churches “keeping out of politics.” On the contrary, they recognized the importance of that moral voice. The tricky part, of course, is the manner in which we make that moral voice heard. We certainly do not do it from a superior point of view, like we have all the answers. Rather, we present fundamental principles which apply to political decisions.

Dr. Colecchi also highlighted five foundational life issues, things which are always wrong in every circumstance: research on human embryos, cloning, abortion, assisted suicide and the targeting of civilian populations in war. By way of contrast, the death penalty would not necessarily be wrong in every circumstance. However, as a prudential judgment, the Church opposes the application of the death penalty, considering that in modern society we have the means to establish sufficient protection without applying capital punishment. These issues are obviously complex in their application. I will try, from time to time, to highlight aspects of Catholic teaching regarding faithful citizenship.

Coming back to the parish on Wednesday night, I received some welcome news. Sister Barbara Schamber, SP, who is the Superior/Team Leader for the Mother Joseph Province of the Sisters of Providence, said that they would be donating a picture of Blessed Emilie Tavernier Gamelin for the room in the Ailbe House which we will be naming in honor of Mother Gamelin. “We are deeply touched to know about your caring for the heritage of our religious community,” she wrote.

Also, a family in our parish made a donation of $500 in memory of Sharon Carriere. This is what they wrote: “Sharon touched our lives in such a loving way, helping us to be married again, in God’s grace –in his Church. We thank her for her patience, her wisdom and her encouragement. She will always have a special place in our hearts and prayers. The renamed Ailbe House Library will be a wonderful remembrance.” The First Anniversary Mass for Sharon will take place at 11 a.m. on June 20. After the Mass we will have a rededication ceremony with Duane Carriere and the Carriere children and grandchildren.

Another happy thing to come home to was the arrival of Ed White. Ed is a seminarian from the Archdiocese of Seattle, studying at Mundelein in Chicago. Some of you know Ed from his years of service in our neighboring parish, Holy Rosary. Ed will be doing the Clinical Pastoral Education program while in residence here this summer. Also, we will have a seminarian from Minnesota in residence in our parish.

Finally, let me call your attention to some things that will be happening in the early weeks of June: On June 3, from 6 to 8 p.m., First Thursday Confessions. On June 8 we will be having our school baccalaureate Mass and Graduation. And on June 12, from 10:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mark Shea will return for a conference on How to Read the Bible as the Early Christians Did. Don’t miss it. Mark’s presentation is for both teenagers and adults – and will lead to a yearlong in-depth Bible study.

El padre Ramón y yo aprovechamos de los días en Ocean Shores con los otros sacerdotes de la arquidiócesis, pero siempre es bueno volver a casa. Durante la conferencia tuvimos una buena noticia. Un padre que fue acusado d abuso sexual de un menor ha sido exonerado – es decir, depuse de una investigación han determinado la acusación contra él carece de credibilidad. Ya volverá a su puesto como párroco de la parroquia de Santa Maria del Valle en Monroe. Yo sé que algunos de Uds. han sido preocupados porque tienen amigos o parientes en la comunidad de Monroe. La Iglesia está haciendo todo posible para proteger a menores de cualquier abuso, pero al mismo tiempo evitar que un sacerdote esté injustamente acusado. El Padre Miguel Obrien recibió un aplauso fuerte de todos los sacerdotes cuando el arzobispo leyó la carta restaurando sus facultades como sacerdote de la arquidiócesis.

También al volver a la parroquia, tuvimos una alegría. Ya llegó uno de los seminaristas que estará con nosotros durante el verano. Su nombre es Ed White, conocido por muchas personas porque trabajó varios años en nuestra parroquia vecina Holy Rosary. Hay otro seminarista de Minnesota que también pasará el verano aquí en Holy Family. Ellos están tomando el curso de Educación Clinica Pastoral en diferentes hospitales aquí en Seattle.

Quisiera llamar la atención a algunos eventos en las próximas semanas: el 3 de junio de 6 a 8 p.m., Confesiones de Primer Jueves. El “Luau” será el 5 de junio de mediodía a las 4 p.m. y la misa de graduación para alumnos de la escuela de Holy Family será el 8 de junio.