Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Words from Fr Ed (From February 20th 2011 Bulletin)

Good Friday Blood Drive
The Blood Drive on Good Friday has been moved up earlier into the First Week of Lent this year to Saturday, Mar 12. There will also be other opportunities to give blood later in the year on June 11, Sept 24, and Dec 3. The reason it is being moved is threefold, beginning with the theological and liturgical. Good Friday is the one day of the year when we don’t say Mass, because the Church desires that we focus on the original and historical sacrifice of Jesus Christ. All our Masses, all our works, any good that occurs on earth throughout history owes it’s efficacy to this one act of love on the part of the Son of God made man. It’s important to give our full attention to this fact of grace, that without Him loving us first, we would not have the inspiration nor the strength to consider giving of ourselves.

A second reason that the Good Friday Blood Drive concerned me was that the Church gives us two fast days a year, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. But when one gives blood one shouldn’t fast. It’s actually dangerous and I’ve had at least one parishioner appear quite distressed because she was fainting after giving blood yet wanted to be faithful to the fast. I gave her dispensation
from the fast, but I believe she still felt conflicted. It seemed unfortunate that one had to choose between an act of charity and a rarely required act of penance. Eliminating 50% of the required penance during the Church year does not seem prudent to me. If we had 50 days of penance and eliminated one of them I would be less concerned.

The third reason is related. Giving one’s blood can be tiring and cause a lack of energy. This takes away from the liturgy and any
devotions that one might choose to do. Joining fasting to prayer is also one thing that Jesus recommended for special intentions. The Church needs our sacrifices, joined to Christ’s One, Holy, and Supreme Sacrifice.

All this is not meant to diminish the great sacrifice of giving one’s blood so that another might live. It is a great gift. There are few acts of love that can better resemble Our Saviors’ sacrifice. There is no need however to put ourselves in such a quandary if we could do both, so I explored the possibility of moving the Blood Drive to Holy Thursday or the previous Friday. Neither was possible on those days so they plan to come earlier in the Lenten Season on March 12, from 10AM-4PM. In the future, we will try to host it more closely to Good Friday. Thank you to all who have generously given their blood in the past. I hope this change does not inconvenience your giving, but rather enhances your love and generosity.

Honduras Mission Asks Prayers

By the time this bulletin is distributed (Feb 19/20) one team will be returning late Saturday night (Feb 19) and two others will have landed (Feb 18 & 19). I will be arriving on Feb 18th and would like to ask your prayers for ourselves and all the children that we will be serving. Lorie Vanderwalker served on the Medical Mission in early February. Our current teams include:

Renovation Team #1
Pat Flanigan
Debbie Dullenty
Tracy Morgan
David Winans
Steve Allen
Lise Masselotte

Prayer Team
Fr. Ed
Rebekah Cargill
Grace Daniel
Christina DeGoede
Trish Warfel
Dee Ho
Vyvyan Du
Mario Baron
George Baron
Ed Hopfner

Renovation Team #2
Pat Flanigan
Debbie Dullenty
Beth Motola
Emily Warfel
Dan Shonka
Anne Danaher
Mike Dullenty

Thank you to all who have been so supportive of our missions. People are blessed because of St. Stephen’s generosity and I pray that God abundantly bless you with every grace that you need. We are able to provide clothing, furnishings, bedding, books, Bibles, Catechisms, and rosaries, along with a lot of love. I know the children would want to give you all a big hug for what you have done. Muchas gracias por todos.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Words from Fr Ed (From February 13, 2011 Bulletin)

Jesus’ Upgrade

But I say to you…
We hear several commandments from Jesus this weekend that push Christian morality beyond the righteousness
“…of the scribes and Pharisees.” He takes the traditional commandment, such as, “Thou shall not kill,” and expands its
meaning to include anger and harsh words. Jesus says, “…whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.” Is it
that serious? What is so wrong about calling someone a fool if they might even deserve it? Here is the basic reason,
“God is love.”

God’s correction of a person is done with gentleness and encouragement. When we call someone a fool, either to their face or behind their back, we’re identifying their whole being with some action that we disapprove of. As foolish as someone’s actions may be in our judgment, imprisoning them in a condemning notion of themselves is not how God sees things. As Christians, we must strive to see things as God sees them. St. Paul says, “Put on the mind of Christ.” Jesus came to save, not to condemn.

Jesus goes further to speak about lust of the eye and adultery in the heart. To ponder or entertain a thought against our vocation, and another’s, draws the soul into a grave form of selfishness. Marriage is about giving. Like Jesus, partners in marriage lay down their lives for
one another in self-giving. Adultery typically begins with a look, proceeds to the mind, and then justifies this form of theft with various lies.

It might be especially tempting for men these days as our eyes are bombarded with lustful images in the media and on the internet. BEWARE! Pornography is addictive and produced by people without a conscience who are supported by demons. They are experts at drawing one in by degrees until one is trapped. It can destroy a marriage. What sadness I see when this steals a man’s affection for his wife. As Proverbs says,

And have joy of the wife of your youth, your lovely hind, your graceful doe. Her love will invigorate you always, through her love you will flourish continually. When you lie down she will watch over you, and when you wake, she will share your concerns; wherever you turn, she will guide you. (5:18-22)

There is hope for one caught in this snare. The principles of AA are used successfully here. I give the first six steps and a website where
you can learn more:
1) We admitted we were powerless over our problems and behaviors—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5) Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

See for more information. One must face this with brutal honesty, seeking the genuine help that one needs. God comes to our assistance if we but simply ask.

Our Lady of the Inexhaustible Cup
This icon is credited as having healed many of addiction. We ask Our Lady to free all from addiction to pornography
and other diseases of mind & body. She is a powerful intercessor and can give the help that we need. Here is one
part of the Akathist (Prayer Service) to Our Lady:
O all-merciful Mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, hear our prayer, and deliver us from all ills,
physical and emotional, and especially your servant(s) (name(s)), who suffer(s) from this disease, so that
he (she, they) may not perish, but might be saved and thus would sing to God:

For the whole story

Prayers Requested:
Orphanage Renovation Team #1 is already in Honduras, please keep them in your prayers. Teams #2, as well as the Prayer Team, are headed out later this week; please pray for them as well. I will be in Honduras from Feb 18 – 26.

St. Stephens has been chosen as the site for the Deanery Mass for our new Archbishop Sartain, on February 18th at 7pm. It is a great honor that I didn’t want to delay, simply because of my absence. All parishes in South King County are coming. Please come and welcome our new Archbishop. See flyer for more info.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Words from Fr Ed (From Feb. 6, 2011 Bulletin)

Salty Souls
“…it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.” - Mt 5:15
Our Lord gives two important aspects of discipleship in the Gospel this weekend, namely, the need to care for
one’s self and secondly, the acceptance of the public and evangelical nature of our religion. Jesus speaks first of salt
losing its taste or saltiness. We are, in His words, “the salt of the earth”. Like the seasoning, we are to bring a certain
flavor to the world. We ought to affect it in a positive way.

Fortunately, we do many works at St. Stephen’s that have a positive effect on our community at large, both in the spiritual as well as
the material arenas. From Grief Support to Terrific Tuesdays, there are over 80 ministries in our parish that address a gamut of possible
needs. But the Gospel is not just for the community, it is also for each of us personally. A community is also simply a collection of individuals.
If individuals are failing in some area, eventually it affects the whole.

So how are these Gospel verses calling us to care for our ‘saltiness’? Are we personally a positive flavoring of Christ for those
around us and how do we nourish this characteristic? One, saltiness comes from genuine prayer. Honesty is the best policy. Are we being
honest with God, both through formal, structured prayer, and spontaneous dialogue with Our Maker? Funny, even as I am writing this I realized
that I hadn’t prayed beforehand. So I’ve stopped now to pray.

Everything ought to begin with prayer. Do you pray before your work day? Do you pray before family time? Do you pray before an
important decision? Often I can find myself fretting about something until I realize that I’m not praying about it. As soon as I turn to prayer, the
anxiety disappears. Remember St. Paul’s admonition, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,
make your needs known to God. Then (and only then) the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)

One beautiful thing we can become aware of during these prayers, is that God desires to be much more than a Divine Quartermaster,
dishing out solutions to our requests. He desires a friendship with each and every one of us. Isn’t that worth discovering? Prayer about
daily things, work, relationships, finances, temptations, can easily lead us into recollection about an even greater good. God wants to give us
God, permanently, forever, in love and happiness. That is worth every moment.

When we know God’s goodness through experience, we become quite salty with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Then others
are affected by our presence, our words, and our deeds. They can see the light of Christ shining through us. They taste its warmth and healing
power. We have this not only as a gift, but also as a responsibility. If we have received freely, we must give freely. A gift truly received is
also given, knowing that God promises the greatest gift for us each week in the Eucharist and on into Eternity.

I’ll let this suffice for now to cover both aspects of discipleship, but we also have a great celebration this week on Monday night that
proclaims and empowers 70 youths and adults with the strengthening of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation imparts a power to use the gifts of the
Holy Spirit and to share one’s faith. Please join me in praying for all these candidates, that they might receive the Holy Spirit with humble and
open hearts. Here is a little prayer that will help them:

Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and
ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.