Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From June 3rd, 2012 Bulletin)

Trinity Sunday

When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
The first Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. Our Gospel returns to the Ascension scene, where Jesus is giving his last instructions to the disciples. Here in Matthew 28:16, the eleven (the apostles without Judas, before choosing Matthias), are depicted as going to Galilee to a mountain that Jesus indicated. It’s not clear if this is Mt. Tabor or perhaps a mountain on the road to Galilee, even on the outskirts of Jerusalem. What’s more important is their reaction to the presence of Jesus.

It says, as I quote above, "…they worshiped, but they doubted." Can we see ourselves in this? "They worshiped" means they had a belief in Jesus, yet it wasn’t complete, it lacked certitude. Their virtue of faith was somehow compromised and diluted. Typically Jesus is quick in other scenes to rebuke any lack of faith. But here He moves straight to His authority. "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Has He learned in His humanity that His rebukes aren’t as effective as a positive word? Or is He simply shoring up the exact area of doubt? Has the Resurrection not cured these men of the scandal of the cross? The Resurrection alone has not been enough to make these disciples fully confident in their faith.

Jesus goes on to give them the Great Commission, to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." He says all this knowing that they will need the Holy Spirit, about to be given at Pentecost, to carry out this heroic mission. They need a Divine Person to fulfill a Divine act.

This Holy Spirit, which we celebrated last week at Pentecost, will, as Jesus said, lead us into all truth. He will remind us of all that Jesus taught us, including His relationship with the Father. This would be crucial for Christians to be Christians. Belief that Jesus is the Divine Son of God is unique to Christians. All other faiths may honor Him as a prophet or a holy man, or a Buddha, an enlightened one. Only Christians say that Jesus is God.

Going further, we believe that there are three Persons in our One God. I know that is hard to understand. We can’t grasp it with our reason alone. It takes a real gift and virtue of faith to accept this reality. It takes the revelation of Jesus Christ. Do we believe Jesus when He says, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me"? (Jn 14:10) Jesus often refers to the Father as a unique person. It is not a semantic mind game that Jesus is playing here. When Jesus prays to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane He is really praying to the Father, the God He is simultaneously united with, all the while united with His own humanity.

Jesus’ Divinity is key to belief in the Trinity. If there are two persons in the Godhead, then what is to stop us from believing that there are three? Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." (Jn 8:58) The radicality of this statement can be seen in the Jew's reaction, "So they took up stones to throw at him." To know Jesus fully is to know Him as Divine. This takes intimacy.

Strangely, the route to Jesus’ Divinity is His humanity. It is through His humanity that we best get a glimpse of the one who was and is and ever will be one with the Father. He is also the one who with the Father sends the Holy Spirit. Because of Jesus, we can know the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is primarily in Jesus, the Son that we can know more fully the reality and indwelling of the Holy Trinity. It is considered a sign of great holiness for a saint to receive a profound insight into the presence and inner life of the Trinity. Let us pray for that great grace.

New Stephens Ministers Commissioned at 8:30am Mass

We are receiving 8 new Stephen Ministers this weekend who will be serving our community after a rigorous training course that includes grief counseling, listening skills, and formation in pastoral care. We welcome ________. They join ________________Thanks to all who so generously give their time and talent for others. If you would like to know more about Stephens Ministry, please contact Deacon Marshall Denby at 253-631-1940, ext. 103.

Viva Cristo Rey! - "For Greater Glory" Coming Soon

"For Greater Glory" is opening June 1st in theaters, hopefully near us. It depicts the Cristeros war for the freedom of the Church in Mexico. Few are aware of how the Church was persecuted in the late 1920s in Mexico. It became illegal for the Church to function freely. Priests were hunted down and executed. Catholic schools were forbidden, monasteries were closed, foreign clerics and religious were expelled. Before 1926 there were 4500 priests in Mexico. In 1934, there were only 334 for 15 million people. In the state of Chihuahua there was only one priest for the whole state. In other states there were none and all churches were closed by the government. This caused a popular uprising amongst the peasants and landowners alike who cherished their faith. The Cristeros, as they were called, shouted, "Viva, Cristo Rey" as their battle cry. Eventually the U.S. government with the advocacy of the Knights of Columbus recognized their cause. See for more information.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From May 27th, 2012 Bulletin)

The Descent of the Holy Spirit Upon the Apostles
  …when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.

        Today we celebrate the birthday of the Church with all the apostles and disciples who received the Holy Spirit on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, or Shavu’ot.  Remember how our Easter Season began with the lighting of the Paschal flame and we sang the praises of the Easter Candle, a symbol of Christ’s light and power over death. On that Easter Vigil night it was us who lighted candles and held them as a sign that we bear the light of Christ in our hearts. Today we celebrate God lighting us with a fire that burns without consuming. Let us surrender to the power and goodness of the Holy Spirit who desires to fill us with Divine gifts.

Pope Benedict on the Holy Spirit
        Saint Augustine’s experience of the love of God present in the Church led him to three particular insights about the Holy Spirit as the bond of unity within the Blessed Trinity: unity as communion, unity as abiding love, and unity as giving and gift. These three insights help explain how the Spirit works. In a world where both individuals and communities often suffer from an absence of unity or cohesion, these insights help us remain attuned to the Spirit and to extend and clarify the scope of our witness.
        Augustine noted that the two words “Holy “ and “Spirit” refer to what is divine about God; in other words, what is shared by the Father and the Son – their communion. So, if the distinguishing characteristic of the Hoy Spirit is to be what is shared by the Father and the Son, Augustine concluded that the Spirit’s particular quality is unity. It is a unity of lived communion: a unity of persons in a relationship of constant fibbing, the Father and the Son giving themselves to each other….True unity could never be founded upon relationships which deny the equal dignity of other persons. Nor is unity simply the sum total of the groups through which we sometimes attempt to “define” ourselves. In fact, only in the life of communion is unity sustained and human identity fulfilled: we recognize the common need for God, we respond to the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit, and we give ourselves to one another in service.
        Augustine’s second insight [is that of] the Holy Spirit as abiding love. Reflecting on the lasting nature of love – “whoever abides in love remains in God and God in him” – he wondered: is it love or the Holy Spirit which grants the abiding? This is the conclusion he reaches: “The Holy Spirit makes us remain in God and God in us; yet it is love that effects this. The Spirit therefore is God as love!”…God share himself as love in the Holy Spirit…Love is the sing of the presence of the Holy Spirit! Ideas or voices which lack love – even if they seem sophisticated or knowledgeable – cannot be “of the Spirit.” Furthermore, love has a particular trait: far from being indulgent or fickle, it has a task or purpose to fulfill: to abide. By its nature love is enduring. Again we catch a further glimpse of how much the Holy Spirit offers our world: love which dispels uncertainty; love which overcome the fear of betrayal; love which carries eternity within; the true love which draws us into a unity that abides!
        The third insight: the Holy Spirit as gift. The Spirit is “God’s gift” (Jn 4:10) the internal spring (cf. Jn 4:14), who truly satisfies our deepest thirst and leads us to the Father. From this observation Augustine concludes that God sharing himself with us as gift is the Holy Spirit…Again we catch a glimpse of the Trinity at work: the Holy Spirit is God eternally giving himself; like a never-ending spring he pours forth nothing less than himself…We begin to understand why the quest for novelty leaves us unsatisfied and wanting. Are we not looking for an eternal gift? The Spring that will never run dry?...
        Inspired by the insights of Saint Augustine: let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!
                                                                                  -  Pope Benedict XVI

Manninos’ Going Away Concert!
        Our Dear Manninos, Jim, Denise, and Aaron have decided to move to Florida for various good reasons. We will miss them after 15 years of providing beautiful prayerful music at our 11am Mass and other liturgies. This Sunday, May 27th, the Manninos' music group “The Priest and the Publicans” (including Fr. Armando Guzman), will be playing at our first multicultural lunch in honor of Pentecost. It will follow the 11 am Mass, all are welcome. Please come and say goodbye to these great friends who were so generous with their time and talent. A free-will offering will be taken to help in their moving if you would like to express your gratitude to them in that way. May God bless them abundantly in their new home and parish.              

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From May 20th, 2012 Bulletin)

  Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature

        We have a mission.  Have you accepted it? When I was young my family used to watch the old Mission Impossible series. We enjoyed the predicaments that Jim’s team used to get into along with the suspense of it all. Each show began with an assignment received in via a self-destructing tape. James Phelps was the leader of this espionage team who heard a voice on the tape giving them a potential assignment. After giving the problem, situation and risks, the voice would always close with, “Your mission, Jim, if you choose to accept it, is…” and then give the summary.
        I don’t think they ever turned down a mission, and yet the voice gave them freedom. We have a mission and a voice that speaks to us each time we hear the gospel. This week’s gospel speaks of signs that accompany believers, signs that we often see in our canonized saints. I mentioned St. Gianna Molla in my homily last week. As part of the canonization process several miracles have to be identified and confirmed by experts as having no natural cause. In her case, both miracles occurred in Brazil were her brother had been a missionary doctor and priest. Here is an excerpt from the second miracle:

Miracle for Canonization
        In mid November 1999 a 35 year old Brazilian woman, Elizabeth Comparini Arcolino, was pregnant for the fourth time. …when she developed a hemorrhage that caused a deterioration of the placenta. ..
        On February 11 …An ultrasound showed that …although the fetus was alive, there was no amniotic fluid. The radiologist testified that there was no amniotic fluid present to protect the child from exposure to the bacteria of the birth canal and from the external pressure of the uterus itself. This meant that both the child and mother were in serious danger of infection. ...In a desperate attempt to save the baby Elizabeth was put on a regimen of hydration of 4 liters of intravenous fluids per day with the intent of promoting the formation of amniotic fluid, without success… on February 15 the prognosis was that the baby would die. At the time, doctors …had studied the viability of pregnancies between 22-26 weeks with ruptured membranes…In every case examined in these studies, the pregnancy ended in spontaneous abortion within 60 days of when the membranes ruptured. …
        Dr. Bicega and other doctors …recommended an abortion to save her life and gave her some time to make the decision. Elizabeth was a practicing Catholic and later testified that she knew in her heart that she could not choose abortion as an option and that she must try to bring the child to term. She was distraught and crying when the doctor came back for the decision. Elizabeth's husband Carlos Cesar, who was faithfully at her side, said that his wife was requesting a priest. He called the local parish priest …, Fr. Ovidio Jose Alves di Andrade. Dr. Bicega said she would return in 15 minutes with the documents for their signatures authorizing the abortive procedure.
        One of Elizabeth's friends, Isabel, …overheard the recommendation about having an abortion. Isabel, inspired by her faith, hurried to the hospital chapel to pray to Mary to help bring some clarity to the situation befalling her friend. After spending some time in prayer she got up to leave and was surprised to see the bishop of the diocese, Bishop Diogenes Silva Matthes, pass by the door. … The Bishop immediately went to Elizabeth's room. After hearing the whole story he said "Betinha, (Betsy) we will pray and God will help us." … Shortly after the Bishop left, Fr. Ovidio arrived and began anointing Elizabeth with the sacrament for the sick. While he was anointing her Bishop Silva returned and brought with him a biography of Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla. The Bishop told Elizabeth "Do what Blessed Gianna did, and, if necessary, give your life for the child. … I said to the Blessed in prayer, ‘Now has arrived the opportunity for you to be canonized. Intercede before the Lord for the grace of a miracle and save the life of this little child." Elizabeth knew about Blessed Gianna and how she had died. …
… Elizabeth told Dr. Bicega she would try to carry her child to term as long at the child's heart continued to beat. Several doctors at the hospital indicated that this was madness as the child was already dying. …Elizabeth later testified that, for her, "Jesus' greatest miracle was to change the doctor's heart. She had been unmoved in her determination to perform the abortion, but one day she said to me, ‘Your faith has made me think a great deal. Even I have faith now so let's wait for the death of the fetus."
        Elizabeth left the hospital and went to the home of Carlos Cesar's aunt, Janete Arcolino, who was a nurse. Dr. Bicego lent them an ultrasound instrument so they could monitor the heart beat of the child. … Fr. Ovidio later testified that the whole community continued to invoke Blessed Gianna asking for a miracle. …Dr. Bicega followed the pregnancy very closely and noted that during the whole time there was no accumulation of amniotic fluid. ...
        Finally, when Elizabeth had reached her 32nd week of pregnancy …it was decided to deliver the baby by caesarian section. On May 31, 2000 Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter whom she named Gianna Maria after her celestial intercessor. The baby was healthy except for a twisted left foot which was later successfully corrected with an operation and physical therapy. …Elizabeth however, had serious complications. …she developed a severe hemorrhage and shock, losing more than 75% of her blood…her kidneys had shut down, her lungs collapsed, and she was lapsing into a coma. Finally, after multiple blood transfusions and three days in the intensive care unit, she recovered.
        The newborn was sent home on June 17, 2000…In July 2001, Dr. Maria Engracia Ribeiro, a pediatrician, examined the child and found her to be perfectly normal and healthy, intelligent and lively with a strong personality. A subsequent examination on January 17, 2002 found no problems of any sort with the child's development. She … was in perfect health.
         The case of the miracle was studied thoroughly by the "Consulta Medica" …and on April 10, 2003 it was determined that, despite the grave prognosis for the fetus and the mother as the result of the total loss of amniotic fluid at the 16th week of gestation, and despite medical treatment that failed to alleviate and was inadequate for such a grave situation, the positive outcome of the pregnancy, both healthy mother and healthy child, was unexplainable in medical terms. …
         Elizabeth's obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Nadia Vieitez de Almeida, stated "Contradicting all logic and science, this pregnancy continued without infection, without premature labor and without any fetal anomalies. The destiny is that God sent us Gianna, who today is the pride of us all."
        St. Gianna died as a result of sacrificing her life so that her unborn child in the womb could have the maximum chance at life. Divine Providence accepted her sacrifice and suffering and she was rewarded with Eternal Salvation. Thus it is very beautiful that her heroic virtue was acknowledged and confirmed by the Universal Church through two intercessory miracles involving two mothers and an innocent baby in the womb.

May 20th, 2012

See Fr Ed on Video at - In this latest installment,  Fr. Ed walks the grounds of Tahoma National Cemetery and discusses the power of Easter in our lives.

On Memorial Day, Monday May 28,  Mass will be celebrated at the four Archdiocesan Catholic Cemeteries.  All are invited to attend.

Holyrood Cemetery – 206-363-8404
10:30 a.m.- Celebrant: Most Rev. Eusebio Elzondo,Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle
2:00 p.m. – Mass in Vietnamese with the Vietnamese Community

Calvary Cemetery – 206-522-0996
10:30 a.m. Celebrant: Rev. Ron Funke, SJ

Gethsemane Cemetery – 253-838-2240
10:30 a.m.- Celebrant: Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain Archbishop of Seattle
12:15 p.m. – Mass in Vietnamese with the Vietnamese Community

St. Patrick Cemetery – 253-838-2240
10:30 a.m. Mass

Job Opening
Gethsemane Cemetery has an immediate opening for the position of Administrative Assistant. This position is classified as Regular Part-Time. General qualifications include 2-3 years administrative or general office work experience; high school or GED; bookkeeping experience; proficiency in Microsoft office suite specifically in Word and Excel; active member of the Catholic Church. Resume’s may be emailed to Faye McClain at or faxed to 253-874-5910.

Widow & Widowers Function: Wednesday, June  20th, 6:00-8:30 PM. Renton Senior Center Comedy Murder Mystery Dinner and Show ($8.00) Klondike Kapers is set in the Gold Rush Days. Carpooling will be available. Reserve tickets - Jeannie - 206-371-1876.

Kitchen Helpers Needed!  - Volunteers are needed to help clean and organize our parish kitchen each week.  This important ministry is a great way to gain new skills, meet people, and build community!  Volunteer days and times are flexible, however Kitchen Helpers are especially needed on Monday mornings.  To learn more please contact Clare Ettensohn at or at 253.631.1940 x131

Pentecost Celebration Help Needed! - May 27th is Pentecost Sunday and Saint Stephen's will be celebrating with a multicultural Mass at 11:00 am followed by a "Pentecost Potluck."  We are in need of people to share their native culture through traditional dress, language, and food.  If you would be willing to read an intercessory prayer in your native language (other than English) at the 11:00 am Mass on the 27th, or prepare a large quantity of your favorite native food for the Pentecost potluck to follow please contact Kim Anderson at or Dori Fajardo at

News from St Anthony’s - Mrs. Seeley is Retiring!  Mrs. Jan Seeley, one of our first grade teachers will be retiring this spring after 35 years of teaching at St. Anthony School. Please join us in honoring her for her many years of service to the school community.  All are invited to attend and wish her well in her retirement. Saturday, June 2nd 2012, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. in the St. Anthony Parish Hall. RSVP is requested by May 18th either by phone to the school at 425.255.0059 or by email to

Position Opening in Before and After School Supervision Program Do you know a teenager 16 or older interested in a great after school job?  St. Anthony School’s BASS (Before and After School Supervision) will have openings for assistants this upcoming school year.  Great pay, great hours, school holidays off! Interested?   Contact Barbara Feeley, c/o St. Anthony School, 336 Shattuck Ave S, Renton, WA 98057 or e-mail to . St. Anthony School is an equal opportunity employer.

2013 Honduras Mission - If you are considering joining us on our February 2013 Mission trip to Honduras, or would like more information about our upcoming trip, please contact Patrick Flanigan at or Debbie Dullenty at  We will let you know about our upcoming meeting to discuss our 2013 trip.

It’s time to work on renewing your annual Safe Environment certification! Please go to: and click on the link for Safe Environment Training to see what part of the program you should complete this year!

Elva Deacy Memorial - Elva Deacy, a founding member of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish, died recently.  Over the years, she was most generous in volunteering in many capacities in the Parish and for the last eight years with St. Stephen Housing Association (SSHA). A memorial has been established in Elva's name to continue the work she valued, assisting homeless families.  Donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated.  They can be mailed to St. Stephen Housing Association, 13055 SE 192nd Street, Renton, WA 98058 or brought to the SSHA office in the Outreach Annex (old rectory).

Bible Study: Adults: Have You
Registered Yet?

Bible Study Classes: Tuesday Morning or Evening starting September 25th. DVD class materials by Jeff Cavins - Witness the seeds of the Church in the foundation Christ built on the twelve apostles, with Peter as His vicar.  Discover the roots of the sacraments, and see how Jesus’ words and actions are reflected in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.  Watch Jesus re-live the life and history of Israel as the obedient Son who trusts the Father to the very end, defeats death, hell, and the grave, and rises to new life. No prior Bible Study required. For more information contact Mary Ann Cullivan at 425 413 4994 or email

May 21 Monday
8:30a – 9:00a     Morning Prayer & Rosary
10:00–12:00p     Facilities & Grounds
5:30p – 6:00p     Evening Prayer
6:30p – 7:00p     MASS
7:00p – 8:00p     Eucharistic Adoration
7:00p – 8:30p     Boy Scout Troop 714

May 22   Tuesday
8:30a – 9:00a     Morning Prayer & Rosary
9:00a – 3:00p     Eucharistic Adoration
6:30p – 8:00p     Cub Scouts
6:30p – 8:30p     Fil-Am Choir
7:00p – 9:00p     Stephen Ministry

May 23   Wednesday
8:30a – 9:00a     Morning Prayer & Rosary
9:00a – 3:00p     Eucharistic Adoration
10:00 -11:30a     beC.O.M.E.
5:30p – 6:00p     Evening Prayer
6:30p -- 7:00p     MASS
7:15p – 9:00p     Choir Practice
7:30p – 8:30p Job Assistance

May 24   Thursday
8:30a – 9:00a     MASS
9:00a – 3:00p     Eucharistic Adoration
9:30a- 10:30a Job Assistance
3:00p – 8:00p Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby
7:00p – 7:45p     Our Mother of Perpetual Help Novena
7:00p – 9:00p     Finance Council
7:00p – 9:00p     RCIA

May 25   Friday
8:30a – 9:00a     MASS
9:00a–10:00a     Reconciliation
9:00a – 3:00p     Eucharistic Adoration
7:00p – 9:00p Breath of Aire Concert

May 26   Saturday
8:00a--10:00a SSTM Men's Group
8:30a -- 9:00a     Morning Prayer & Rosary
9:00a.– 3:00p     Eucharistic Adoration
3:00p – 4:00p     Reconciliation
5:00p – 6:00p     Vigil MASS

May 27   Sunday
8:30a –9:30a     MASS
11:00-12:00p     MASS
12:00p-2:00p Pentecost Potluck
5:30p –6:30p     Life Teen MASS
6:30p –9:00p     Charismatic Prayer Group

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From May 13th 2012 Bulletin)

Love one another as I love you

        The heart of Christian living lies here in this commandment to love one another, yet not in some nebulous way, but in a very specific way, ‘as’ Jesus loves us. So in order to know how to love one another we have to know first how Jesus loves us.
        We can see by Jesus’ actions how He loves us. First, He is not afraid to tell us the truth and call us to repentance. When Jesus began His public life, after His baptism in the Jordan and the temptation in the desert, Matthew records His first words as being, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17) We are all called to repentance in the face of a holy kingdom, one that does not operate according to our own agenda. God says through the prophet Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (Is 55:8) This means we have to be open to change and willing to call others to repentance.
        Jesus’ love includes a radical, actually an infinite mercy for our sins. As you may know, I work with Project Rachel, a ministry to women and men who have suffered one or more abortions. It is amazing to see the power of God’s mercy at work in a soul. I am privileged to witness people, burdened with guilt and shame, realize that God forgives serious sin. The peace, joy, and freedom that one can experience with the grace of God’s mercy is incredible and can’t be manufactured through positive thinking. No, it is supernatural and a free gift of God. Nor could it occur without a radical honesty about one’s tragic mistake. “The truth will set you free”.
        Let us pray for the grace to love as Jesus loved, with mercy and truth.

Annual Catholic Appeal
        This weekend is our primary appeal for financial and spiritual support for our Archdiocesan ministries. I try to contain this as best I can to just one weekend so as not to take away from our Easter liturgies. Our success depends in part on your help. I would like everyone to participate regardless of your financial capability at this time. That’s one reason why I say ‘spiritual’ support. Those who cannot give at this time should send in your forms with a promise of prayer for our Archbishop and the 80+ ministries of the Archdiocese.  Our Archbishop Sartain needs these prayers now more than ever.
        Some hostile voices in the press have encouraged a boycott of the Annual Appeal, given the appointment of Archbishop Sartain as Archbishop Delegate for the review and renewal of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious). His task is “…to work collaboratively with the officers of the LCWR to achieve the goals outlined in this document (“Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious”; see  Regardless of whether one agrees with the assessment, I can only imagine Archbishop Sartain being the most charitable and understanding bishop to be assigned this task, one that he did not ask for.
        One effect of a boycott would be to deprive Sisters, members of the LCWR, of the benefits given by the Appeal. The Appeal provides $50,000 a year to the National Religious Retirement Office to support our religious sisters in retirement. The total archdiocesan contribution to that fund - supported by Annual Catholic Appeal donations - is more than $1.2  million since its inception. In 2009, the most recent year for which figures are available, congregations represented by LCWR with mother houses in the archdiocese received $105,198.19 from this Annual Catholic Appeal-supported fund. A successful boycott could affect these benefits in addition to the many services that we use on a daily basis in the parish, including CYO, Marriage Tribunal, and Seminarian support just to name a few.

        In addition, if our parish were to fail to achieve our Archdiocesan goal, then the shortfall becomes an unbudgeted assessment, which would then have to come out of our operating expenses and salaries. In turn, that could impact our youth and outreach programs, liturgy support, and faith formation. While everyone must follow their conscience, I can only encourage people to consider the appropriateness of our Archbishop’s simple cooperation with the Holy See as well as the impact of a boycott. I encourage you too to read the actual Assessment rather than the media’s ‘assessment’.  It helps to know the whole truth.

Sister Sharon Parks and R-74 Concerns Monday Night
        We’ve invited Sr. Sharon Parks, Executive Director of the Washington State Catholic Conference, to be here along with Greg Magnoni, Director of the Office of Communications for our Archdiocese, to speak about formation of conscience, especially in light of the recent pending state law to change the definition of marriage. Please come and here an excellent presentation on various questions surrounding this challenging issue.  They will begin at 7:30 PM in the main church, this Monday evening, May 14th.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From May 6th, 2012 Bulletin)

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.”

The Perfect Storm
       R-74, HHS, and LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) all colliding within a few short weeks of one another, is a perfect storm by any standard.  It’s the kind of storm we probably have not ever faced as Catholics here in America.  It’s been played out in the media with lots of hateful things said of our ‘beloved’ Archbishop.  Yes, I say ‘beloved’.  One, because he is our Archbishop. Simply because of his office we should love him in a special way. St. Ignatius of Antioch said 1900 years ago, “Take care to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God, and with the presbyters in the place of the council of the apostles, and with the deacons, who are most dear to me, entrusted with the business of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father from the beginning and is at last made manifest.” (Letter to the Magnesians 2, 6:1)
       Secondly, he is one of the most virtuous Catholics I have ever met, priest, laity or otherwise, and I have met Bl. Teresa of Calcutta and Bl. John Paul II and many other non-beatified saints.  I think we need to search our hearts and minds on this one and seek the truth of these matters.  Remember what St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein) said, “Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie”.  This storm will test who is willing to live with both of these pillars of Catholic life.  Remaining on the vine of Jesus Christ necessarily includes a communion with His Mystical Body on earth. Let us cling to it.
       Someone recently remarked that they felt that Pope Benedict was closing the windows thrown open by Vatican II.  I immediately imagined the scene in the movie “Perfect Storm” with George Clooney, the fated skipper, rushing around the boat with his crew trying to nail down boards to protect the windows from the storm approaching. Everyone who has lived through a tornado or hurricane knows that there is a time to close the windows.  Interestingly, in a tornado we were taught to open the windows opposite the storm winds in order to release the pressure. Even while this perfect storm challenges our Church and our parish, the windows of prayer, dialogue, and a genuine search for truth and love remain open.

R-74 Update
       As I write this we are discerning and strategizing as to the best way to educate on this issue.  I’m trying to gather as much input as possible as I know this is very disturbing to some of you.  At the same time I do believe and agree with our Archbishop that it is an urgent and important issue for our Church and society.  The fact that marriage and family life continue to erode in the face of cultural decay should alarm us.  To add to this, the confusion of ‘redefining’ marriage, as if the state has the authority to do so, will only cause untold harm, both to individuals, (especially the young) and to institutions.
       One of the concerns that I’ve heard is that same-sex attracted persons will feel excluded if we preserve the definition of heterosexual marriage. To add to that dialogue, I include as an insert to this bulletin a letter from a ‘gay’ Catholic man.  He does not pretend to speak for all, this is simply his opinion, but it is worth hearing.  Perhaps people don’t realize that there are same-sex attracted persons living in our midst, striving to live chastity according to the Church’s teaching, and thriving in grace.  They might be far ahead of heterosexual Catholics who don’t realize the need for God’s assistance, nor the beauty of her teaching.
       I also include here a link to ‘Courage’, the ministry for same-sex attracted Catholics who are striving to live the Church’s teaching. You can read some testimonies on their website at:  A second major concern of some parishioners is around the political nature of the petition drive.  I’m sure many of you, like me, would gladly forget about politics for at least one hour a week. I certainly don’t mean to intrude on your prayer and worship time. The reality is that we don’t stop being citizens when we step inside a house of worship. In fact, I would say that our faith gives us a special responsibility to shape society according to Godly values. I do not say that we can simply impose these values and beliefs, especially in a democratic republic. But that is part of the issue, we are in a democracy, where people may gather signatures for matters of significance and have an influence on our government. Without these signatures, we abdicate our right to vote on an issue that will affect our culture and our future. In the past century we’ve seen the effect of the Church’s participation in social issues (i.e. Poland’s Solidarity movement) or the lack thereof (i.e. parts of Germany 1930s). To this question we are including as an insert to the bulletin an Update on Faithful Citizenship as soon as it arrives to us.
            The petition to place R-74 on the November ballot will be outside the office doors this week and in the office during the week.  You obviously don’t need to sign it. That is your choice. All of us need to obey our consciences as best we can with what we know and believe to be true. I respect each one of you and pray for all of us to grow in the knowledge, wisdom and love of Christ. May we all arrive in the same good place some day after politics have long since faded.