February 16 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
Pope Francis just issued his post-synodal apostolic exhortation titled “Querida Amazonia.” This document is an official response by the Holy Father to the participants in October 2019’s Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology. It is also addressed to the whole Church. In it, the pope did not mention celibacy nor did he accept the recommendation that women be considered for ordination to the diaconate. The pope also talked about the four dreams he has for the region. But first and foremost he is concerned with the spiritual welfare of the people of God in that remote area of the world. He is very concerned that people may not have access to the Holy Eucharist. And He proposes a very sound solution: he asks that bishops pray for and encourage more vocations and that Catholic people be inspired to offer their service as missionaries to the region. And he entrusts everyone and everything to the Blessed Mother. One thing that struck me, the task of proclaiming the Gospel is not reserved exclusively to the clergy but the lay faithful have also a large role in it.
Today, we pray for the intentions of the Holy Father for the Amazonian region and for its people!
February 9 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
In a few weeks, the Ordinary Time after Christmas will end and we will enter the great Penitential Season of Lent. Please consider ways to make your Lenten observance this year meaningful so that you may be ready to welcome Easter with great joy! One of the ways is to go to confession at the first opportunity so your heart and your conscience may be cleansed of all the things that might stand in the way of a proper discernment about a spiritual program for this Lent!
Please also consider doing something extra this year - perhaps fasting! I shall speak more about fasting in due time! Maybe you could take up a particularly inspiring book to read! I might suggest a few titles later. Maybe you could join me and others in making the Way of the Cross every Friday! Or some extra charitable deeds! Whatever it is that helps you to prepare for the great Feast and Season of Easter, please consider. Every year, my recurring regret is that my Lenten observance season has come and gone without much benefit to my soul! Hopefully this year this won't happen to any of us!
God bless you!
January 26 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
The Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal will be here in two weeks. This year the focus is on support for the retired priests of the Archdiocese. There are currently over 60 retired priests being supported by this local Church. The Archbishop prefers to call them Priests on “senior status.” That is actually better than the designation “retired,” for most of them are still actively engaged in ministry. Their support constitutes the largest chunk of the money raised from the annual Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal – it costs a lot of money to provide for a priest on senior status. But that is the one obligation the Archbishop undertakes gladly and seriously. And he needs our help!
These retired priests served the Church faithfully for many years, and now in their golden years, when their health is declining, we, as the local Church, must care for them. I am thinking of Fathers Cunniff, a bombardier of WWII, who is approaching 100 hundred years of age! I am thinking of Msgr. Don Buxman, the former Vicar for Clergy who also taught many of us at the seminary. I am also thinking of Archbishop Vlazny and Bishop Steiner, both of whom many of you still remember! Archbishop Vlazny saved the Archdiocese from bankruptcy by seeking protection from the Federal Court and he spearheaded the efforts to re-organize all the parishes. Bishop Steiner was ubiquitous in his presence with the people of Western Oregon. He cares a great deal for the retired clergy. He never turns down a request for a funeral Mass if he could do it! And Msgr. Tim Murphy of Central Catholic fame! And Msgr O”Donovan, the former Vicar General, who walked with us through thick and thin and whose presence was reassuring when we priests did not have a clue as to our future in those difficult times. The mere recalling of their names and their faces could bring a wave of affection into our souls!
Please consider participate in this year’s Appeal to assist the Archbishop in caring for these great priests!
January 19 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
Many of you have noticed I have had difficulties walking during Mass. It's because I had fallen several times in November and December. My new physical handicaps have given me a new perspective: I now realize most in a most profound personally how everything could change in an instant, and that I am healthy until I am no longer so. I know, it's a tautology, but it is true!
For now, I am coping with my disability through different means. But what has been most helpful to me is the recognition that I could offer up my little suffering for the sake of others. I am looking at my new situation with an awareness that I must slow down and take life in stride - not having to be always in a hurry! I also appreciate the suffering of others who have mobility problems. I am learning to empathize with them. Everything we have and are have been given to us by the good God. I am thankful to Him for being alive! I also thank you for having put up with me. God bless you!
January 12 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
The recent events between our country and Iran demonstrate how precarious world peace is. If anything, there are always simmering tensions kept under a lid until something triggers the explosion. Peace is what we desperately need but can't have because of our human condition. But actually there is Peace! Our Lord has said, "Peace I leave to you. My peace I give to you!" The Peace that we truly need is not the "political peace" that comes and goes, that depends on the superpowers of the moment. The Peace we need is from the Lord - the Prince of Peace. It comes from the knowledge that we are never left on our own to fend for ourselves, but He is always near us to protect us, to keep us from harm, to give us hope and reasons to go on. The Peace without which we cannot live is the Peace that comes from the knowledge that we belong to Him and we live and move and have our being from Him and in Him, and that not even a hair of our head could fall to the ground without Him knowing it! The Peace that sustains us comes from our companionship with Him, who is ever awake and ever walking alongside with us in all circumstances of life. Through the Sacraments, through daily prayers, through our constant conversations with Him, though the three Theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, Peace remains inside us and gives assurances that nothing, absolutely nothing, can destroy us. I will leave you with this quote from Roman 8, and I pray that you meditate on it!
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."