Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From April 29th Bulletin)

A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
            Jesus gives us the example of what it is to truly love. Love cares for another regardless of the consequences to themselves. The good shepherd cares more for the sheep’s safety than their own. Of course this calls us beyond our natural sense of self-preservation. That’s not easy. We need Jesus’ love to live within us. We can’t do it on our own.
            Fidelity to God is crucial here. We can have an idea about what is good and right, but only fidelity to the Father’s will can carry us through difficult times. Knowing what that will is makes it much more possible to carry it out. That’s why it is so important to frequently during the day ask, “What is your will, Lord?” He will show us if we ask.
            Priests, parents, and other leaders need to consider this example of Our Lord and ask if we have lived up to His call. Love is sacrificial. May God give us ample supply of grace to respond to His leadership.

Congratulations to Our First Communicants!
            This weekend we welcome many youngsters to their First Communion with Jesus’ Body and Blood. There is no greater gift for a Christian. Jesus promises us Eternal Life now when we receive Him a right disposition. These children have been well prepared by Shannon Battles, Pat Madison, Brenda Wallace and their team of teachers who have passed on the apostolic faith in Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist. A little excerpt from St. Justin the Martyr, writing around 150 A.D., tells us how the first Christians considered the Holy Eucharist:
   We do not consume the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, as also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.
            Let us rejoice with these children and their parents as they become living tabernacles of the Most High God. May the Holy Spirit guide them to continue in a way of life that reflects Christ’s presence within.

R-74 Referendum on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’
            As you may know, Governor Gregoire has signed a bill that redefines marriage in the State of Washington. It will go into effect on June 7th unless enough signatures are gathered to place R-74 on the ballot for a public vote on the matter. That’s why our Bishops have encouraged us to gather signatures for this Referendum to occur in November.
            Up until this moment, natural law, Divine Law as revealed in Scripture and Ecclesial Law have always recognized marriage as being between a man and a woman.  I support this teaching and am happy to gather signatures that would protect this gift of God for humanity. As ‘life’ deserving our protection has been ‘redefined’ by government in 1973, so ‘marriage’ is now being redefined. As in the case of abortion, civil law can influence conscience formation and lead to disastrous results. I encourage you to support this Referendum, which will give you the right to vote on the matter.
            I understand many of you have concerns both about compassion for those with same-sex attraction as well as the proximity of political issues and the Church. I’ll do my best to address some of these questions over the coming weeks. The first concern is addressed in part by the Archbishop in the letter we are including as an insert to this bulletin. The second concern has been addressed by the U.S. Bishops in various documents regarding ‘faithful citizenship’, including this latest one on the formation of conscience:

(Find at: Within this document on conscience it also addresses four questions:

(1) Why does the Church teach about issues affecting public policy?
(2) Who in the Church should participate in political life?
(3) How does the Church help the Catholic faithful to speak about political and social questions?
(4) What does the Church say about Catholic social teaching in the public square?

I hope that you will prayerfully consider what God is calling you to do in response to these troubling issues and concerns. He is Our Lord, Our Master, Our Savior, and true Governor. May Jesus guide us through the light of the Holy Spirit to follow Him in truth and love

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From April 22nd, 2012 Bulletin)

“Touch me and see,because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”

Jesus invites us to ‘touch’ Him ‘and see’. Jesus lives, crucified and now risen. We can touch Him, even now, two thousand years after His life, death, and resurrection. How? Just as the disciples of Emmaus related, “…how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.” The Sacraments are tangible places where we know by faith that Christ ministers to us. St. Augustine said, “When John baptizes, it is Christ who baptizes. When Peter baptizes, it is Christ who baptizes. When Judas baptizes, it is Christ who baptizes.” He said this to emphasize that when we administer the Sacraments as priests and deacons, it is truly Christ who acts through us. He is present during our Mass, our Baptisms, our Confirmations.

We were so fortunate to welcome nine new members to our community and the fullness of initiation into the Catholic Church. There were three baptisms, five Professions of Faith (baptized non-Catholic Christians becoming Catholic) and one baptized Catholic, who along with the other eight received Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. It is glorious to see such faith and the grace of God at work in the lives of these ‘neophytes’.  If you have the chance, please ask these new members of our community about the graces that led them here and what they experienced at the Easter Vigil.
+++Thanks for Holy Week +++

A special thanks to all who labored so generously to prepare our liturgy and environment during Holy Week. The Church was so beautiful and it still is. Our environment team led by Cynde Bosshart and Mary Jo Kemper do an incredible job. The atmosphere of so many of your hands that volunteered to prepare the Church was electrified. I think I even heard “The Electric” playing on the sound system! All who ministered and served during the liturgies also deserve our gratitude, including Marijean Heutmaker and all who contributed music for our worship. Beth Carter leads a magnificent group of altar servers that provide such beauty and reverence to these holy rites.

Wendell Pang and the ushers do more than make sure we have seating. They take care of the Vigil fire, parking, and much more. On Easter that includes overflow seating in the Parish Hall. Bill Swedberg provided the technical expertise to get video in the hall as well as on the big screens above, audio from the plaza and other creative contributions. OK, now I’m in the dangerous territory of thanking people and then forgetting people who helped out. All of our Pastoral Team (staff) assisted in a variety of ways, Paul Schwarz, Betty Mencke, Sara Hoffman, Candace Ochoa, Shannon Battles, Clare Ettensohn, and Eric Miller all provided support in crucial areas. Darlene Simpson has helped develop a welcoming team that is outstanding.  Jim Spencer helped get the facility ready with the help of Sheila Tulloch, Soo and Michael Kim, as well as incredible Saturday for Lent crew.

Thanks to Jane Gootherts from the Evangelization Committee for organizing special greeters for these liturgies. Others helped write and assemble the extensive scripts that are needed to keep us on track. A special thanks too to Fr. Brian and Deacon Marshall for their roles in presiding and assisting in so many ways. Thanks to Kirk Joseph and Dave Vacanti for organizing our Mercy of God Novena which runs from Good Friday to Mercy Sunday. Thanks to Rick Ryan, Eric Besel and our youth leaders for the beautiful Living Stations presentations, along with Steve Olsen and Patty Swedberg for the music. At the risk of leaving someone out, I thank all of you for all you have done to make our Holy Week, Easter and Easter Octave a beautiful time to be a Catholic. May God bless you and guide you as we worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  Again, for the persons I may have forgotten, please know I am saying a special prayer for you right now as I write this. God knows your name and will reward you.
NaPro Technology: a Major Breakthrough in Natural Procreative Technology

We are fortunate to welcome Anna Skillman, a Creighton Model presenter, on April 23rd at 7:30pm. She will be giving an introduction to this latest breakthrough in ‘Monitoring and Maintaining a Woman's Reproductive and Gynecological Health’. Anna is a trained coach and will be offering couples the opportunity to learn more about this new approach to a Catholic method of both attaining to and avoiding pregnancy.

As you may realize from the national news, the US Bishops, in communion with the bishops around the world, have not given up the Church’s teaching on the transmission of life. Sexuality remains a sacred gift designed in the image of God. Meanwhile, our world continues to corrupt this sacred gift and turns more and more to using people as things of pleasure. The way out really is the truth that the Church has taught since Humanae Vitae was written by Paul VI in 1968.

Often, Catholics don’t realize the harm that comes from contraception, both physically and relationally. Did you know that the hormonal birth control pill is a Group One carcinogen? More and more studies show a definite link between the pill and breast cancer:

“… including a 2006 Mayo Clinic meta-analysis that concluded that breast cancer risk rises 50 percent for women taking oral contraceptives four or more years before a full-term pregnancy. In 2009, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women starting the pill before 18 nearly quadruple their risk of breast cancer. Even more shocking, Swedish oncologist Hakan Olsson concluded that pill use before the age of 20 increases a young woman’s breast cancer risk by more than 1000 percent.”

Could the Church’s teaching actually be an act of love for women, their bodies, and their relationships? Come and find out Monday night. (For more information, see or

Words from Fr Ed (From April 15th, 2012 Bulletin)

He is Risen Indeed!
Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you.”
    - John 20:19

Is not this what we long for? Peace; “our souls are restless, Lord, until they rest in thee”, St. Augustine said. Peace really is resting in the Lord. He brings peace because He is at peace. God is sufficient unto Himself. He has no need but to be Himself, which is Love. Love brings peace.

We learn too through this Mercy of God Sunday that love is also forgiving. St. Paul says that love ‘bears all things’. To me this means that it suffers injury and imperfection in another but perseveres in achieving its purpose, which, as defined by St. Thomas Aquinas, is “to will the good of the other as other.” This willing the good can be challenged when the other person offends us in some way. Our will can waiver or even shift into a negative position of rejection or malice. Love holds its course in the face of sin. Just as we learn of the
suffering servant in Isaiah, “My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting…I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 50:6,7)

Forgiving others requires a substantial grounding in our own forgiveness by God. As the Latin phrase goes, “Nemo dat, quod non habet.” (‘You can’t give what you ain’t got’, Kentucky version) We must know that we are forgiven if we hope to forgive others. If we know that we are forgiven, forgiving others makes sense and we have the grace to do it. When we can receive forgiveness and give forgiveness we will know the peace that Jesus brings into the upper room, ‘where the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear…”

Come celebrate God’s Infinite Mercy with a special Holy Hour of Mercy on this Sunday (April 15) at 2:30pm in the main Church. We will adore our Risen Lord and proclaim His mercy with the Chaplet of Mercy, meditation and song. Blessed be God forever. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world!“Surrexit Christus, spes mea” – “Christ, my hope, has risen” (Easter Sequence). May the jubilant voice of the Church reach all of you with the words which the ancient hymn puts on the lips of Mary Magdalene, the first to encounter the risen Jesus on Easter morning. She ran to the other disciples and breathlessly announced: “I have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:18). We too, who have journeyed through the desert of Lent and the sorrowful days of the Passion, today raise the cry of victory: “He has risen! He has truly risen!”

Every Christian relives the experience of Mary Magdalene. It involves an encounter which changes our lives: the encounter with a unique Man who lets us experience all God’s goodness and truth, who frees us from evil not in a superficial and fleeting way, but sets us free radically, heals us completely and restores our dignity. This is why Mary Magdalene calls Jesus “my hope”: he was the one who allowed her to be reborn, who gave her a new future, a life of goodness and freedom from evil. “Christ my hope” means that all my yearnings for
goodness find in him a real possibility of fulfillment: with him I can hope for a life that is good, full and eternal, for God himself has drawn near to us, even sharing our humanity. But Mary Magdalene, like the other disciples, was to see Jesus rejected by the leaders of the people, arrested, scourged, condemned to death and crucified. It must have been unbearable to see Goodness in person subjected to human malice,
truth derided by falsehood, mercy abused by vengeance. With Jesus’ death, the hope of all those who had put their trust in him seemed doomed. But that faith never completely failed: especially in the heart of the Virgin Mary, Jesus’ Mother, its flame burned even in the dark of night. In this world, hope can not avoid confronting the harshness of evil. It is not thwarted by the wall of death alone, but even more by the barbs of envy and pride, falsehood and violence. Jesus passed through this mortal mesh in order to open a path to the kingdom of life. For a moment Jesus seemed vanquished: darkness had invaded the land, the silence of God was complete, hope a seemingly empty word.

And lo, on the dawn of the day after the Sabbath, the tomb is found empty. Jesus then shows himself to Mary Magdalene, to the other women, to his disciples. Faith is born anew, more alive and stronger than ever, now invincible since it is based on a decisive experience: “Death with life contended: combat strangely ended! Life’s own champion, slain, now lives to reign”. The signs of the resurrection testify to the victory of life over death, love over hatred, mercy over vengeance: “The tomb the living did enclose, I saw Christ’s glory as he rose! The angels there attesting, shroud with grave-clothes resting”.

Dear brothers and sisters! If Jesus is risen, then – and only then – has something truly new happened, something that changes the state of humanity and the world. Then he, Jesus, is someone in whom we can put absolute trust; we can put our trust not only in his message but in Jesus himself, for the Risen One does not belong to the past, but is present today, alive… Happy Easter to all!"

(for the full message, see:

Words from Fr Ed (From April 8th, 2012 Bulletin)

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
        John 20:1

Our patron, Stephen, is called the ‘proto-martyr’, or first martyr, of the Church. But if we look at the meaning of the Greek word, ‘martyr’, it means ‘witness’ in English. So the broader meaning of the word ‘martyr’ can mean to witness to Christ, regardless of whether we lose our life doing it or not. That would make Mary of Magdala the First Martyr because of what she saw there at the tomb on Easter morning.
 This does not mean that she believed in the Resurrection yet. In fact, our reading from John says that she ran to the apostles and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So she is still looking for the dead body of Christ. She is looking with love, however, and will be rewarded for it. Mary is also relating her experience to the apostles, the Church, and contributes to the collective consciousness of what God is trying to tell them that first Easter day.

We are rewarded too, when we search with love. None of us knows everything there is to know about God. We each have a very limited experience of who He is and what He desires from us. But look at what Mary does, she takes what little she knows, the body of Christ is missing from the tomb, and carries this information back to the community.  Here, together with the apostles, they can search anew for the living Christ. Together again, they find the evidence of the Resurrection, and John, the beloved disciple, sees the empty tomb, and believes.

 How blessed we are when we search for Christ together. I believe we find, like the first disciples, that Jesus appears in the midst of us. He said that when two or three gather in His name, He is there in their midst. Let us gather together and share our experience of the Risen Christ. I know this may feel awkward for Catholics, but it is not that hard for people who go to Mass together. All one needs to say is, “What do think of that homily today?” or “Did you enjoy the music today?” Or, better yet, make a statement and be a little vulnerable. One can say, “Fr. Ed sure was long-winded today.” Of course, then all listening will reply, “Yes, but it was worth it. Did you hear that one point about sharing our faith together?” Now we’re off to a great discussion.

As we share our faith, Christ is present. He wants to walk through walls for us, to assist us and console us. May this Easter Season be for all of us a time of renewal and growth in our faith. May the Risen Christ Himself, bless you and fill you with His Joy! Alleluia, Christ is risen indeed.

Mercy of God Devotion
 Please check the bulletin for the Novena to Divine Mercy which continues this week until this coming Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a great feast and celebration of Jesus’ mercy for us. Please come if you can and enjoy the consolation that comes from singing the Chaplet of Mercy along with other prayers that place all of our needs in Jesus’ hands and heart.

Pope Benedict on the Resurrection
Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life, which is a part of the person, is indeed answered. Through Jesus we do know the ‘room where exiled love lays down its victory’.  He himself is this place, and he calls us to be with him and in dependence on him. He calls us to keep this place open within the world so that he, the exiled love, may reappear over and over in the world…God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also
knows what it means to be redeemed.