Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Words dfrom Fr Ed (From July 29th, 2012 Bulletin)

There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?

An attitude of scarcity pervades our outlook when we are deprived of faith. Reason naturally asks the question above; mathematically, how can five loaves be divided for 5000 men and their families? But the context of the meal is a gathering around Jesus. One would hope that the crowd was coming for something greater than a great feast provided through earthly riches. We know from Jesus’ words elsewhere that for some it was simply a matter of being temporally satisfied. He says in John, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled." Then he admonishes them, "Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." He says this in John 6 where he goes on to speak of His body as "real food" and His blood as "real drink". The truth at stake here is whether we are dealing with an uncreated reality beyond the aspect of our senses, what we can see and measure with our natural sciences.
I grew up in a time when there was a great "over-population" scare and a corresponding emphasis on birth control out of love for our planet and a sufficient supply of resources. Time and reason has taught us that in fact we are facing a "demographic winter", a complete collapse of the human population, especially in the west where the theory of over-population was spread with great zeal. The truth then, as it is today, is that the greatest problem is not too many people for too few resources; rather, our most pressing problem is a simple lack of love. Love gladly shares with others who are in need, both in material goods as well as intellectual property and spiritual riches. When we love we are no longer in competition with our neighbors, even when they are enemies.
Along with the virtue of love, the virtue of faith helps us see beyond the physical and logistical obstacles to providing for those who really don’t have enough of this world’s resources. How do we get food, shelter, clothing and other human essentials to people, even in Renton, who lack these basics? This question alone can stretch us beyond our comfort zone of dependence on temporal solutions. There is a beautiful story in the life of St. John Vianney, the Cure D'Ars, who established an orphanage in his parish for the many girls in that area of France who were without family and a safe place to live and grow. They lived on providence, day to day reliance on God providing for their needs. At one point they had run out of food for the 30+ girls. There was only a handful of corn up in the attic. The good Cure placed a relic of St. Francis Regis in the corn and then asked his children to beg God for their daily bread. One of the servants went to check the attic and could barely open the trap door. Grain poured out. The attic was full of new corn.
We should begin each day prepared to face new challenges with an attitude of abundance. God provides for His will to be done. Normally He prefers to work through natural law and the virtuous cooperation of humanity to care for one another. We start there, seeking to be vessels of grace, conduits, not cesspools. God’s grace is meant to give life to ourselves and those we are responsible to. To do that we need great faith, hope and love. May Jesus heal us of any fears or doubts that keep us from following Him. Like the boy in today’s Gospel, we bring our five loaves, our two fish, and see what God can do with them. We stand to be amazed.

Ignatian Exercises
Some of the core principles in the Spiritual Exercise of St. Ignatius that are most practical are the Rules for Discernment. While they pertain to the first two weeks of the 30-day retreat, I think they are of perennial value. I found myself referring to them late in my retreat and they provided immediate consolation. I hope to begin copying a few of them here each week to share with you. Ignatius begins:

[314] The First Rule. In the case of persons who are going from one mortal sin to another, the enemy ordinarily proposes to them apparent pleasures. He makes them imagine delights and pleasures of the senses, in order to hold them fast and plunge them deeper into their sins and vises.
But with persons of this type the good spirit uses a contrary procedure. Through their good judgment on problems of morality he stings their consciences with remorse.
[315] The Second Rule. In the case of persons who are earnestly purging away their sins, and who are progressing from good to better in the service of God our Lord, the procedure used is the opposite of that described in the First Rule. For in their case it is characteristic of the evil spirit to cause gnawing anxiety, to sadden, and to set up obstacles. In this way he unsettles these persons by false reasons aimed at preventing their progress.
But with persons of this type it is characteristic of the good spirit to stir up courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations, and tranquility. He makes things easier and eliminates all obstacles, so that the persons may move forward in doing good.
I will try to continue these rules in future columns. If you would like to see them online, see:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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

                            He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick…

        Do we trust the Lord? That is something Jesus is asking of His disciples as He sends them out two by two. Do we realize who is doing the asking? If we knew we would trust.        
        Jesus is God. This fact of our faith gives us a radical freedom to trust absolutely. God is infinitely trustworthy. Often we see Jesus in the Gospels rebuking His disciples for a lack of faith or a lack of trust. Remember Peter walking on water, then losing sight of Jesus and beginning to sink. We too, like Peter, fail to trust at times when the waves of our lives begin to intimidate us.
        One of the meditations in the second week of the Ignatian Exercises is the passage about Jesus sleeping in the boat. A storm has come up and they are taking on water, about to sink by all reasonable standards of experience, especially for fishermen. How come Jesus is able to sleep?
        In Ignatian meditations, one imagines the scene, as vividly as possible, even placing one’s self into the scene and dialoging with the participants. What was Peter doing? And John? And James? Who got the assignment to wake Jesus up? What would I have done? What ought I to do given Jesus’ rebuke upon being woken up? Jesus rebuked them for their fear and lack of faith. They didn’t realize yet who they had in their boat. If the Son of God’s not worried, who are we to be afraid?
Applying this to our poverty of faith in daily life is a work of prayer. We must ask for what we do not have or have to a small degree. Jesus called the disciples men “of little faith”. He didn’t say “no faith”, but rather “little faith”. The Scriptures say, “All have been given a measure of faith”. We have to act on what little we have to obtain more. “I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.”

To wish for nothing more than need demands, Is rest supreme, with simple food and dress
To feed and clothe our bodies and to seek, no more than is prescribed by nature’s wants.
When going on a journey, take no purse, nor of a second tunic think, and be
Not anxious for the morrow, lest for food. The belly lack. Our daily bread returns
With every sun. Does any bird take thought. Of tomorrow, certain to be fed by God?

                                        Prudentius, The Spiritual Combat    Ignatius, Pt. IV

        As I write this I’m entering Week Three, the Passion of Christ. I’ve just read the Entry into Jerusalem and will begin the Temple narratives tomorrow. The Second Week closed with the Three Levels of Humility and the Making of an Election (A Decision). The Election is especially relevant as it either deals with discerning and choosing a vocation or improving on one already committed to. While I’m in the second category, I still read through the material on the first and wanted to share it with you. St. Ignatius begins by reminding the reader of the purpose of life, ‘to praise, reverence and serve the Lord and to save my soul.’ All choices ought to support that end. He warns,

        “I ought not to order or drag the end into subjection to the means, but to order the means to the end. In this way it happens, for example, that many choose firstly to marry, which is the means, and secondly to serve God our Lord in marriage, although the service of God is the end. Similarly, there are others who first seek to possess benefices (Church offices/benefits like lands that make money), and afterwards to serve God in them. Thus these persons do not go directly to God, but desire God to come directly to their disordered attachments. As a result they transform the end in to a means and the means in to the end; and consequently what they should fasten on in the first place they take up in the last.”

        This can happen in big decisions like whether to marry as well as smaller decisions, like what job to take, where to live, or simply how to spend a free hour. Too often we can place our will in the driver’s seat and then ask God to bless our direction. Are we really going to change our direction once we’ve made that decision? Not so easily. Putting God first can be as simply as saying an Our Father before we make a decision. We say in that prayer, “Thy will be done”. If we mean it, it will affect our choices. As I finish my retreat by the 20th of July, I hope to see you next weekend. Thank you for your prayers and know that you are in mine daily.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

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

"He was amazed at their lack of faith."

Our Gospel this weekend reveals both Jesus’ humanity and ours. His is recognized in that "He was amazed". To be amazed shows some kind of surprise, an unexpected happening. God the Son would not be amazed, knowing all things. It is Jesus in His full humanity that has a hard time believing people’s lack of belief. It would seem from His response that faith ought to come more naturally. That’s where our broken humanity comes in.

I have to say ‘broken’, because I believe that Jesus knows that a human being, given natural law and the gifted light of reason, should recognize the Divine at work. His own Nazarenes did not recognize Jesus’ work as Divine. They tried to explain it away by referring to his relatives that they knew. The ordinary, hidden life of Jesus, not hidden from his neighbors in Nazareth, was a reason given to not believe in Him. The thought that God would be united with a man in such a way was beyond the willingness to believe. They were not able to hold on to the faith that says,"All things are possible with God."

We of varying degrees of faith may face times where we’re not sure how much we believe, if at all. No need to panic. Jesus says, "Ask, and you will receive." One of the prayers that I say five times a day during my Ignatian Retreat is, "Lord, give me an interior knowledge of you, who became human for me, that I may love you more intensely and follow you more closely." This is bound to increase one’s faith. Jesus is faithful to His promise to respond to every sincere prayer.

Ignatius is big on asking for the grace that one desires and needs. Each meditation time begins with another prayer called the ‘Preparatory Prayer’, which "…is to ask God our Lord for the grace that all my intentions, actions, and operations may be ordered purely to the service and praise of the Divine Majesty." This really could be a daily prayer intention, or shall I say, a life intention.

As I shared last week, I’m now well into the ‘Second Week’ of the exercises, which actually have twelve days attached, depending on the director’s sense of what you are ready for. I’m on seventh day, which is a contemplation on the call of the first disciples. I’ve also been asked to review the origins and graces of my own call. It is well worth it to look back on what motivated and moved one to choose a vocation. Hopefully there were clear signs and indications of the Holy Spirit guiding your choice. If not, then God is present to renew or tweak your accordingly.

One of the most helpful meditations was on the ‘Three Classes of Persons’. Each person has come into 10 thousand ducats (Spanish currency), "…but not purely or properly for the love of God."They all want to be at peace with God, but deal with the situation differently. The first person wants to be rid of the attachment to the money, but "does not take the means, even to the hour of death." This is someone who knows what is right to do, but procrastinates, even until death!

The second person is someone who wants to get rid of the attachment but keep the money. This person is someone who is blessed, but uses their blessings on their own terms, not God’s. How often we might say, "Well, I’ll do such and such and then ask God’s blessing on my endeavor." God is not invited to influence the actual decision about how to act in a given situation; He only mops up the results, so to speak.

The third person, but wants a disposition that is free from the money, whether it is kept or not. Their desire is only to do God’s will and is busy seeking that will with an open heart and mind. The goal is whatever will "be better for the service and praise of the Divine Majesty." This is freedom and happiness. It is also a grace. We need supernatural help to maintain a freedom from creatures. Our weakness would tend toward security and pleasure, but God can strengthen us to where we are indifferent as to possessions except for how they may serve God or distract us from Him.

St. Ignatius closes with a‘colloquy’, a short prayer, beginning with Our Lady, that she might "obtain former grace from her Son and Lord that I may be received under his standard; and first, in the most perfect spiritual poverty; and also, if his Divine Majesty should be served and if he should wish to choose me for it, to not less a degree of actual poverty; and second, in bearing reproaches and injuries, that through them I may imitate him more, if only I can do this without sin on anyone’s part and without displeasure to the Divine Majesty." May God grant us this grace. I continue to pray for all of you.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Words from Fr Ed )From July 1st, 2012 Bulletin)

"My daughter is at the point of death."
Ignatian Exercises, Part III

Hopefully I’ll be into my Second Week of the exercises when you read this. As I write I’m just at the end of the First Week, which is a meditation on hell. Not what we would think leads to a consolation, but the truth has its way of setting one free, including the reality of hell. Some say it doesn’t exist. An atheistic young man once shared this with St. Padre Pio, that he didn’t believe in hell. The padre replied simply, "You will when you get there."

If you don’t believe in an afterlife of misery, pain and alienation from God, just consider what hell exists on this side of the line. Consider Auschwitz, Juarez, or Baghdad; a life there could be filled with hatred and cruelty . Does God desire brutal slums, violence and injustice? Of course not, they are the fruit of human freedom to sin. It is the same with hell. While as Catholics we believe in God’s universal salvific will, He "… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim 2:4), we don’t believe that God forces people to go to heaven. Hell is simply God respecting people’s freedom to reject His love and mercy. Lord have mercy!

To meditate on hell, its existence and any attachment that might lead there, helps one desire all the graces necessary to avoid it. Some saints had visions and mystical experiences where God revealed the reality of hell to them. They considered it a horrifying, yet singular grace. St. Ignatius of Loyola encourages the retreatant to "…ask for an interior sense of the pain suffered by the damned, so that if through my faults I should forget the love of the Eternal Lord, at least the fear of those pains will serve to keep me from falling into sin." He closes the meditation with gratitude that one who is on retreat is still alive and capable of receiving God’s mercy.

After a week of these spiritual exercises I’m grateful as well for such an opportunity. His mercy endures forever. Not only do I get to do the 30 Day retreat, I get to do it in a Trappist monastery, where praising God is their daily bread. Our day begins at 4:15am with Vigils (Office of Readings), which consists of 7 or 8 psalms, two major readings, and some sweet silence, though I have to admit, at that hour, silence is dangerously close to the nap threshold. The day continues with 6:30am Lauds followed by Mass. I usually work for two hours from 9 – 11am, gardening around the guest house.

At 12:30 we have Day Prayer followed by the one required meal of the day. There’s a great reading happening as we make our way through "The Monks of Mount Athos". One monk reads while the rest of us eat. The one exception to this was yesterday, the Feast of John the Baptist, when they played classical music instead. A solemnity in a monastery is quite a treat as special food, wine, beer, and ice cream all come out. I’m probably hitting the wildest two weeks of the monastic year with St. John, Sts. Peter and Paul, and then the Fourth of July when the monks take a picnic on the back 2000 (acres) and play a little baseball besides. I think some even light up a cigar ! How can one pray with so much partying going on?
One point from earlier in the week that is well worth repeating is the series of questions:

What have I done for Christ?

What am I doing for Christ?

What ought I to do for Christ?
I love this series because it brings the person asking into the present moment, the only moment we actually need to respond to. If one is asking these questions they are under the influence of grace and there is great hope that something good is about to happen. I encourage you to consider these for a few moments and tell me if they are not helpful.

The monastic day continues with 5:30pm Vespers and 7:30pm Compline. The great silence follows where quiet is more strictly observed until Lauds the following morning. My retreat director warned me to be careful of books for they can easily distract one from the retreat. There are fantastic libraries within the monastery so it is a reader’s paradise, but a temptation none the less. Pray for me as I try to stay moderate in my reading.
The reason I started this article with the Gospel quote above is that it reminds of how we may feel at times when we are in need of God’s grace. Have you ever felt on the ‘point of death’ because of illness, stress, or trials of various kinds? Like the ‘Talitha’ in our Gospel, may Jesus come to you and raise you up. He desires your good. Be open to His voice. I continue to pray for all of you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From June 24th, 2012 Bulletin)

Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Part II
As you may know from my column in last week’s bulletin, the Exercises of St. Ignatius are divided into four weeks, but I decided to title this column ‘Part II’ because I have no idea today whether I will be in ‘Week II’ or not next week. As I’m writing this on Sunday (June 17th), a week before you receive your bulletin, and before I’ve even begun the Exercises, I can’t predict how far along I’ll be in a week. The Exercises lend themselves to a flexibility that adapts to the retreatant and how they are making progress. One could take two weeks for the ‘First Week’ and another person might take just a few days.

Father Abbot gave me my religious name this morning for the duration of my time here, "Fr. Dismas". I was surprised by this, given that a good friend used to call me St. Dismas (the good thief). We used to volunteer at the Dismas Center in downtown Seattle together. I asked the Abbot what prompted this and he said, as if prophetically, "I just thought of it." Then he turned and pointed to the alb hook and shelf in the sacristy that I’ll use during my retreat, which was labeled, "Fr. Dismas" the last priest to have died here. Abbot Peter went further, "You have big shoes to fill." Maybe it will take me four weeks to do "Week I", but I’ll finish with a great confession like St. Dismas on the cross.

The first week is about sin and confession with an emphasis on examination of conscience. It is comparable to the ‘purgative’ stage of the spiritual life. Some authors have divided the spiritual life into three stages; purgative (repentance and purification), illuminative (learning the virtues and gifts of Christ), and unitive (experiencing oneness and joy with God). A prayer commonly said daily during the Exercises helps one enter this journey:

Anima Christi
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me.

Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me.

Passion of Christ, strengthen me.

O good Jesus, hear me. Within your wounds hide me.

Do not allow me to be separated from you. From the malevolent enemy defend me.

In the hour of my death call me, and bid me come to you,

That with your saints I may praise you forever and ever. Amen.

Fortnight of Freedom
Our US Bishops have asked for two weeks of prayer, beginning June 20 and continuing until July 4th, for the intention of protecting Religious Freedom in America. While that has already begun, every prayer is helpful. The HHS mandate is going through a constitutional challenge that may be decided by the Supreme Court. There are two major problems that concern the Bishops on the behalf of every believer in the United States. One, the Federal Government is proposing that they, not the Church, or any denominational body, determine which institutions are religious or not. For example, the narrow ‘accommodation’ that President Obama offered applied only to parishes, not schools, hospitals, or Catholic charities. This would apply as well to private businesses as well. A Catholic who owns a fruit stand would have to supply contraceptive coverage, inclusive of abortafacients, in any medical coverage offered. Which is the second major problem with the mandate, it forces a grave violation of conscience on all Americans, regardless of their beliefs. This goes against what the standard throughout our country’s history of protecting individual consciences where grave matter exists. (i.e. Quakers being exempt from military draft, etc.) I believe our Bishops are prophetic in calling for a health care plan that protects religious freedom while providing a safety net for those unable to afford basic medical care. Please join me in praying for justice for all. For more information, see:

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
O God our Creator, Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society. We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters?gathered in your Church?in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome— for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us— this great land will always be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pastoral Team Developments
As you may have heard from the pulpit two weeks ago, Cynde Bosshart has resigned from her position as Director of Faith Formation as she begins a new study and practice of Pastoral Counseling. Cynde has worked on staff for 24 years in addition to 13 years as a volunteer. Thank you Cynde for your dedication and loving sacrifice over the years. This leaves a gaping hole in our Pastoral coverage that we will only realize as we begin to pick up all the areas that Cynde is vacating, some she did silently which weren’t on her job description. May God provide. As I write this several persons on staff are considering pieces of Cynde’s former job description and our discernment will be announced shortly. Meanwhile, we will need a leader for RCIA, which will be an 8 hour per week position. An ad for that position appears in this week’s bulletin. Please pray for our reconfiguration of our pastoral team.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From June 17th Bulletin)

Ignatian Retreat
As I shared in last week’s bulletin, I will be spending the next month on a 30 Day Ignatian Retreat doing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises (written by St. Ignatius Loyola, ~1523 A.D). It is a requirement of my STL (Sacred License in Theology) graduate program that I am happy to comply with. For me, it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to more profoundly ‘Come aside awhile and pray’, as Our Lord asked His disciples to do.

I’ll try to keep you posted on some elements of the retreat, beginning with the basics of the First Week in this article. The 30 Days are broken up into 4 Weeks, each representing a unique stage of the spiritual life and the process of conversion. The four stages include meditations on 'sin, the life of Jesus, the Passion of Jesus, and the Resurrection of Jesus’. The Exercises (meditation, examination of conscience, lectio, etc.) are intended as "… means of preparing and disposing our soul to rid itself of all its disordered affections and then, after their removal, of seeking and finding God’s will in the ordering of our life for the salvation of our soul."

After a few explanations to begin the retreat, Ignatuis gives us a basic principle:

The First Principle and Foundation

The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.

All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they were created.

It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one's end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one's end.

To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition.

Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.

The First Week addresses sin and the reality of hell. This can be rather sobering. Fr. Spitzer, S.J., always begins the Exercise with a good conference on the Love of God. Without that, he would say, how can we explore, without excessive fear, the nature of sin in our lives? It is God’s merciful love that allows us to open up that door that we have kept tightly shut for fear of condemnation, rejection, and any hidden attachment to sin. God’s mercy gives us courage to let in the light of love and truth.

The Exercises of the First Week encourage a radical examination of conscience in regard to how we have used our faculties of memory, understanding, and will. You may recall the beautiful song of surrender, "Take, Lord, Receive", that puts Ignatius’ Prayer of ‘Suscipe’ to verse:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will,

All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace.

That is enough for me.

This is a generous disposition that we can all strive for, beginning by asking for the grace of it. We cannot do it on our own. We need God’s good help. Beginning with surrender, God can do great things with our lives. Mother Teresa’s sisters sing this at their profession Mass.

The 30 Day Retreat can be done at home in the midst of lay obligations in what is called the 19th Annotation Retreat. Tim Malone, Director of our Spiritual Companion ministry is very involved in this undertaking through St. Joseph Parish in Seattle and other locations. You can reach him via his website if you have any questions at

Another good online program is offered via Creighton University:

Know that you will be in my prayers. I bring you with me on retreat and pray that all the graces I receive will be shared in abundance with your own souls and in your lives with God and neighbor. Please keep me in your prayers as well.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From June 10th, 2012 Bulletin)

Corpus Christi

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them,

and said, "Take it; this is my body."

These words from the Gospel of Mark bring us close to the new translation of the words of institution in the Mass, The day before he suffered he took bread in his sacred hands and looking up to heaven, to you, his almighty Father, he gave you thanks and praise. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: Take this, all of you, and eat of it:?for this is my body which will be given up for you.

Notice a few slight differences, but the essence of what is said is the same. For the Church, the most important thing is that it is Christ’s essential word, said with the intention of the Church, that is transformative over the bread and the wine. A priest, as an unconsecrated man, cannot consecrate the host and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. It is Christ’s word over the priest at ordination that prepares him to say Christ’s words over the bread and the wine.

Notice too how the priest shifts into the first person at the words of institution, ‘as if’ Jesus Himself were pronouncing the consecration. Our belief about the priesthood and the ministration of Christ during a Sacrament says that it is not ‘as if’, but it is truly Christ who consecrates and offers Himself to the Father through the body of the priest.

While the priest is called to be a transparent instrument of this miraculous act, he is an organic conduit who is, like Christ, called to be both priest and victim, offering himself and his body to the Father with the Body and Blood of Christ as an oblation of love. Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist has always been attested to down through the ages. It is not a medieval invention of the Church to keep the ‘masses’ (no pun intended) under control. Listen to a few early Church fathers, writing in the first two centuries:

"Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox ( = opinions that dissent from the official or orthodox belief of the Church) in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."

- "Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

"This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."

-"First Apology", Ch. 66, inter A.D. 150. St. Justin the Martyr

"So then, if the mixed cup and the manufactured bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, that is to say, the Blood and Body of Christ, which fortify and build up the substance of our flesh, how can these people claim that the flesh is incapable of receiving God's gift of eternal life, when it is nourished by Christ's Blood and Body and is His member?

- St. Irenaeus, 180 A.D. "Five Books"

May the word of Christ, which consecrates the bread and the wine, also consecrate us, His people, as His Mystical Body, and render us as pure love poured out upon the earth.

30 Day Retreat

I will be away on a 30 Day Ignatian Retreat beginning June 16th and returning July 20th. This is part of my graduate study program in spirituality. Know that you will be in my daily prayers. Fr. Brian, Fr. Yu, Deacon Marshall, and our whole pastoral team will be available for any urgencies that arise. Please pray for me as well.

Vocation Director Here June 16th and 17th

Fr. Bryan Dolesji, who grew up in St. Stephens, is now Vocation Director for the Archdiocese and will be here next weekend. Please welcome him and pray for an increase of vocation to the priesthood and the religious life.

Congratulations to Stephens Ministers

7 new Stephen Ministers, Sylvia Dela Cruz, Helen Chaze, Dori Fajardo, Marijean Heutmaker, Clare Ettensohn, Mary Moran, and Dolly Geonanga, were commissioned this past weekend for ministry to those who are suffering grief, illness, or other hardships in their lives. Thanks to all who generously give of their time to this valuable ministry.

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