Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Words from Fr Ed (From August 1st, 2010 Bulletin)

Young Parishioner Gives Two Years as Missionary
St. Stephen’s parishioner, Kyle Senn, is giving two years of his life to minister to college students through the outreach called FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. He will be here this weekend (July 31/August 1) to share his experience of FOCUS and his call to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. FOCUS‘s mission statement is “To know Christ Jesus, and to fulfill His great commission by first living and then communicating the fullness of life within the family of God, the Church.”

As you know, college students are at a crucial crossroads as they weigh the values given to them by their families against the marketplace of ideas and religions that they are exposed in the university atmosphere. It is an important place for the Catholic Church to be present to young people and their desire to grow in truth and charity. Please consider supporting Kyle through your prayer especially, as well as financial resources if God so moves you and you are able.

Who appointed me as your judge…?
Typical Jesus question. In our gospel this weekend, someone asks Jesus to intervene in an inheritance dispute. Typical humans! But Jesus, as was his custom, responded with a question about the source of this person’s confidence in Jesus. Why turn to Him for such trivial matters? We know, especially from family experience, that these can be very contentious matters. Sadly, inheritance questions can divide (and conquer) a family as it processes the death of a loved one.

If we go back to Jesus’ question, “Who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” the answer is simple - His Father in heaven. We believe as Catholic Christians that Jesus will “come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” He will be our judge. That might frighten us if we are not in touch with His infinite mercy for our failings. A relationship with His mercy restores us to friendship with the God and Father of us all. That’s why confession is such a gift, giving us assurance that we are forgiven.

Deacon Bill & Barb Eckert
Please see Deacon Bill and Barb Eckert’s letter inserted into this bulletin. After 25 years in the parish it is hard to see such a wonderful couple and two servants of God leave our community. We will miss them dearly, but pray for God to continue to bless their path in Tacoma. We will be planning a going-away celebration for them as soon as possible. We also offer our condolences to both of them for the loss of Barb’s father, Harold Williams. May he rest in the peace of Christ.

Doctor of Philosophy Coming to St. Stephens
Dr. Douglas Fortner, professor of philosophy at the Josephinum Seminary in Ohio will be here the next two Wednesdays to offer us a philosophical foundation for faith. Say what? The Greek word ‘philo-sophia’ means literally, ‘lover of wisdom’. Wisdom means ‘knowledge of the first causes of things’. Which means that wisdom leads us to God, or one could say, given these definitions, that philosophy, rightly understood, leads us to God. Sadly, modern philosophy has often done the opposite, leading to skepticism rather than certitude. One of my philosophy Profs at a local Catholic university once said, “Philosophy asks questions, it doesn’t give answers.” Socrates would disagree with that professor.

Thomas Aquinas would say, “Faith builds on reason just as grace builds on nature.” Faith and reason are not opposed. They complement one another. Dr. Fortner will offer a condensed overview of philosophy and lay a foundation for how our reason supports our life of faith. Please come on the next two Wednesdays (August 4 and 11) for Mass at 6:30pm, followed by snacks and then a wonderful presentation by Dr. Fortner beginning at 7:30pm in the church.

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