Pastors Corner

December 16, 2018

From Fr. Jim
I would like to thank Rose Kinsella who has served as our Pastoral Assistant for Administration for almost twenty-two years. She has been through the ups and downs of parish life and handled them all with great equanimity. As Sue Ray put it in her exit letter last May as she stepped down as Pastoral Assistant for Stewardship and Evangelization “Rose is the glue that holds the parish together.” Rose is retiring effective Friday, Dec. 21st. A special celebration honoring her takes place on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 from noon to 4 pm in the McMullen Education Center. May our good and gracious God bless Rose with every good thing.

December 9, 2018

It never takes long before our patron John the Baptist turns up for Advent. He is the one who cries out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John well knew that his role was to point the way to Christ. He often would say, “He must increase while I must decrease.” Our role is the same. We are called to be evangelizers, to lead others to Christ. We are called to make straight the paths that people walk, to fill the valleys so many others find themselves trying to crawl out of, and making the rough ways smooth for those in difficult patches. May this Advent season be a good and holy one for you and your family.

December 2, 2018

Advenire, the Latin from which Advent is derived, translates, “to arrive” or “come to.” Advent recalls God’s first coming in Christ’s birth and looks toward his return at the end of time, while we prepare to celebrate that first coming on Christmas. We are called to prepare the way of the Lord as we follow the example of our patron St. John the Baptist. This weekend‘s readings have us look at the Cosmic occurrences at the time of the coming of the Son of Man. We hear from Luke’s gospel and will continue to do so for the rest of this new liturgical year. We are called to watch and to pray, a foreshadowing of the instructions Jesus will give them in the Garden of Gethsemane as he faces the chaos and suffering of death on the Cross.

November 25, 2018

We warmly welcome Kathryn Wickward as our new Pastoral Assistant for Administration. For the past several years Kathryn has served in a similar position at St. Mary’s parish in the Central District of Seattle which coincidentally was my first pastorate (1982-1986). She and I know many of the same people. Kathryn is eager to begin working here on Monday, Dec. 3rd. She will be replacing Rose Kinsella who has served here for nearly 22 years. Words can’t begin to express what Rose has meant to our community. We will give her a fitting tribute in the weeks ahead.

November 18. 2018

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving Day is right on our doorstep. With so much on our plate it is a good and holy thing to pause and reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. As one who tends to be a loner it is beneficial for me to be aware that I am part of a loving and vibrant community. Thank you for the many ways you show your care for me. I also am thankful for my siblings and nieces and nephews. We have always gotten along so well. I can’t help but categorize an ungrateful person as an unhappy human being. They are so tied up with themselves that they fail to realize that joy comes from giving of one self to the other. May we grow deeper in our understanding of God’s gracious love for us. Our God is a gift giver. May we always be thankful.

Please join us for our Thanksgiving Day Mass at 10 am this Thursday. If you would like dinner items to be blessed please place them on the table near the baptismal font. Also bring food items or financial donations for those in need. These will be brought up in our offertory procession. Have a blessed day! There will be NO Mass on Friday, Nov.23rd.

November 4, 2018

November is a good month to reflect on death, not in a morbid way, mind you, but in a healthy, straight forward manner.  Having just celebrated All Souls Day we have had the opportunity to reflect on our loved ones transition from this life to the next. What about our own death? Have we written our will and last testament, a power of attorney, made out a living will, and planned our funeral? I have noticed this last item gets little attention. It always surprises me when a family says, “By the way, Father, Mom/Dad picked out the scriptural readings they wanted for their funeral. What a gift that is to the family who do not have to guess what their loved ones wanted! Myself  or another parish minister would be happy to assist with planning your own funeral. I would hope that this would give you a greater sense of peace is we look to the future. As for those who have you before us marked with the sign of faith- “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.”

October 14, 2018

October is Respect Life month. We are reminded that all human life from the womb to the tomb is to be treated with dignity. One of the ways that our parish is concretely exemplifying this respect is through our safe car parking venture. After our 11:30 am mass this morning we will be blessing a site on our parking lot which will be reserved for the cars of those homeless who will be permitted to stay here from 9 pm to 8 am seven days a week. I realize that this is a first step for them to find permanent housing. Each of these individuals have been vetted by  Catholic Community Services in order to be a part of the program. CCS will continue to help them find housing. If you would like to volunteer to help out please contact Andrea Mendoza who is our outreach staff person or Nancy Huntington who has spearheaded this program from the beginning. Many thanks to her for seeing this through. Please pray for those who are in desperate need of housing. May we show respect for them by doing all we can for their well-being.

October 7, 2018

Next weekend we will be kicking off called to Serve as Christ campaign which is an Archdiocesan wide program to raise funds to help with priest pensions and retirement funds for women religious. Fifteen percent of the funds collected will come back to the parishes. Pledges are made over a three year period. The Archdiocesan goal is 100 million dollars. Our parish share of that goal is $1,482,139. I realize that this seems like an insurmountable goal especially in light of the stewardship of treasure campaign that we are in the midst of. But I have faith that the goal we ask of each of you can be achieved over a three year period. As a priest who is currently receiving a pension I am truly thankful for your prayerful and reflective response. This is uniquely extraordinary stewardship. Thank you for your response. May the Lord bless each of you.

September 30, 2018

When I was growing up my family owned two cats, Tuffy and Missy, as well as several gold fish,- not the best mix of pets. In the morning when we found one less fish in the bowl and a happy smile on a cat’s face we realized what happened. And still the fish would jump out of the bowl. I have never been a pet owner myself. When I’m asked why not I respond, “I have a hard enough time taking care of myself!” and yet I do enjoy our annual pet blessing which is held on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4th. This year the blessing takes place next Sunday, Oct. 7th at 12:45 pm near the McMullen Center. Be sure to have non-retractable leashes for dogs and carriers for cats. We will have snacks for both human and pets. May the Lord bless both the great and the small.

September 23, 2018

At the commissioning service of our catechists during the Life Teen Mass last week, I was astounded when at least forty people came forward. All I could say was “Wow!” I realized that this was but a portion of all those who are to serve in this position this year. I am so thankful for their ministry to people of all ages in our parish community. And yet they are complementing the role of parents in their roles as the “first teachers of their children in the practice of the faith” (Rite of Baptism). Once a month on Wednesday evenings, we will have different speakers for our adult faith formation series talking on various topics. I would invite you parents who drop off your children for their middle school classes to stay those evenings for some good faith formation. What a gift that would be for your children to have you pass on to them what you’ve learned! As I am fond of saying: “We are all in this together”.

September 16, 2017

The root word of disciple is the Latin word discipulus which means one who grasps. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ means that we live our life in such a way as to grasp his teaching and way of life. To live in his way is to be strong, loving, and wise. The Gospel is not complicated but it is difficult. In other words, to be a Christian in today’s society calls for more then a little daring. Our parish mission which begins tonight is entitled Dare to be a disciple. Dr. Sharon Callahan of Seattle University will lead us on Sunday evening and Monday morning and evening as to what makes up a disciple and how we might be one in our own environment. Tuesday morning and evening we will have our new staff describe their faith journey. Please join us as we continue to discover the difficult but joyful journey of disciples of Christ.

September 9, 2018

When my father married my mother back in August of 1941he had to promise that he would raise his children as Catholic. He was a young lapsed Catholic at the time (my mother was non-Catholic) like most of his siblings. He held true to his promise as well as becoming more involved in the church. When we moved from the Chicago area to Seattle in 1956 we joined the new Sr. Luke Catholic Church in Shoreline. Wouldn’t you know it?! My Dad became an usher at the 7:30 am Sunday Mass. As we left home (thankfully only two blocks away) I would often exclaim: “Why does Mom get to sleep in!” So began my learning of stewardship. My Dad’s conscientness as an usher and his consistent practice of handing in his weekly envelope opened my eyes and heart to the importance of stewardship of talent as well as of treasure. Over the years I’ve grown in my appreciation of God as gracious and generous in bestowing all that we need for a fulfilling life. I have a genuine need to share a portion of what I have for the benefit of those who have less. My favorite saying of what stewardship means comes from the late Archbishop Thomas Murphy “I am not in control.” In other words, this is God’s world and we are privileged to play a role in it. I have felt for many years that I as a pastor am called to set an example regarding living stewardship as a way of life. I too make a pledge to give a portion of my salary to ensure that our parish has suitable ministries that are life-giving for this community and beyond. We must move from a consumer mentality to one of discipleship. This means we move from a “me” mentality to one which looks to serve the other. This movement does not come overnight but is part of sustained journey of following Jesus Christ.

Thank you for being part of this community of faith. Yes, it takes faith to realize that when giving as a way of life we will not be deprived but rather will grow in our capacity to receive so much more of God’s bounty.

August 26, 2018

I imagine all of us have been dismayed by the news coming out of Pennsylvania of the more then three hundred priests who have sexually abused one thousand children dating back to the 1940’s. One would think that by now transparency would have happened. It is only when bishops are called to task for covering up these abuses that true justice will occur. When the late Archbishop Hunthausen in 1985 heard the same message that his fellow bishops heard regarding the breadth of priest sexual abuse he immediately acknowledged that he had made mistakes regarding this and set up a blue ribbon committee to advise him on the matter. It wasn’t long before a priest was convicted and sent to a correctional facility. Pope Francis recently wrote: “Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such abuses from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of them being covered up and perpetuated.” May we pray for the victims of sexual abuse throughout the world. And may the culture of clericalism which helps to create a chasm of power between clerics and laity come to an end.

August 19, 2018

I would like to thank those of you who have chosen to be volunteers in the upcoming Called to Serve As Christ Campaign. This archdiocesan Campaign aims to help with priest pensions and the retirement of women religious. For those of you still on the fence about helping with this I would have you make a firm decision to back this campaign with you becoming involved as a volunteer and/or as a financial contributor. This campaign comes right on the heels of our annual parish stewardship of treasure campaign. You might say that this is uniquely extraordinary stewardship. I have every belief that you will come through. This will take a great amount of faith that we will not be diminished but instead grow in our capacity to give. Thank you for your generosity.

August 12, 2018

On the last day of my recent road trip as I was driving past Anaconde, Montana, I  couldn’t help but think of my personal  hero, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen. I briefly hoped to visit him but wasn’t sure where he was living. Chances are that he would not have been able to do so, for he died two days later. I was the deacon at his installation as Archbishop of Seattle in 1975 and two days later I was ordained a priest by him. I would have to characterize him as the holiest person I have ever met. As Father Mike Ryan mentioned in his funeral homily, Archbishop Hunthausen lived the beatitudes. And because he did so he suffered persecution at the hands of those who were rigidly ruled by laws and regulations. In the midst of the Vatican investigation in the mid 1980’s, Dutch ( as he was nicknamed) prayerfully and gently endured it all. What a wonderful example he was to the people he lovingly shepherded! May he rest in peace.