Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ICOLPH School Annual Gift Campaign

We're in the final stretch of our Annual Gift Campaign at Immaculate Conception - Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish School in Everett, Washington. Please watch these videos and if you find it in your heart please give.  And Thank You!

Click here to find out more

Video 1
Video 2 Video 3 Video 4

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Memorial of Life Homily - Ray Campbell

Revelation 14:13
Romans 6:3-9
John 14:1-6
What’s the measure of a good life? 
I believe a good life is measured by the people we touch and the love we share in this life.  And it lasts for all eternity.
Jesus showed us all by example how to live a life deserving of the resurrection reality.
Ray Campbell shared the love Christ modeled with his family and friends throughout his lifetime.  It’s this love that now propels him to his new heavenly home.  It’s the only luggage he brings as he moves in.
Ray’s taken up residence in the Father’s house and now dwells there for all eternity with his wife Ruby and son Dick.
            But from what I know about Ray, his entrepreneurial gift is now blessing heaven and I’m sure it will keep him busy until the day he welcomes us all home, too.
            During his lifetime, Ray’s entrepreneurial talents blessed our region with such notable gems as Campbell’s Drive-In and Ray’s Drive-In. Ray created wonderful gathering places for friends and families to break bread together.
I think our first reading from Revelation reflected nicely the resurrection reality of Ray’s life, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord… let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.”
            Ray was a member of the greatest generation, living a lifestyle forged by the hard times of the Great Depression. 
Pope Francis is famous for his frugal lifestyle.         
Ray was frugal, too. I mean very frugal. There was no better coupon-clipping, bargain-hunting person in all of Snohomish County.  Ray didn’t waste a thing 
I need you all to know that the saltine crackers found at today’s reception are from the ample supply in Ray’s cupboard.  No joke.
This frugality allowed him to retire with his beloved wife Ruby when Ray was in his late 40s. 
            Even with all of his success, Ray lived a Christ-filled life, always looking out for others and sharing what he had with others. 
He was well known for his time at the St. Mary’s Parish food bank in Marysville.  In fact, Ray and his family are encouraging all of us to donate to our local food banks as a way of remembering him.
Ray and his family are famous in our parish community for their annual donation of 50-pounds of grease for Sausage Fest every year.   

In his heart, Ray clearly understood the meaning of today’s Gospel.
When Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me,” Ray knew just what Christ meant.
            For us who are left behind, we must go on in this life without Ray.  But we are given a promise that his death, and our own future death, will not be the end, but a new beginning to everlasting life.  This is the promise Jesus makes to all of us who believe in Him.  This is the resurrection reality.
            Christ made that promise at our Baptism. 
And Christ makes that promise again today right here in this Church where Ray’s own children were baptized many moons ago.
As we heard from Romans in our second reading, We were indeed buried with (Jesus) through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
Ray was preparing for that day, as should we all, by living a good life, filled with a love of Christ and a love of others, and is now being given his reward of the Kingdom of heaven.
That’s living a life deserving of the resurrection reality.
One day, we look forward to seeing Ray again.  And he will greet each and every one of us, and welcome us home to the Father’s house when our time on earth is over.
That’s our hope.  That’s what sustains us now and forever.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homily - Epiphany - New Year's Resolutions - Pope Francis Edition

Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:2-3-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

I have a favorite TV commercial right now.  It has a funny, smart-alecky guy interviewing a bunch of kids. 

              He’s asks, “Is it better to be more reliable or less reliable? “

The kids answer in unison, “More!”

              To which he asks, “Why?”

One kid says, “So you can keep your New Year’s revolution.”

“A New Year’s revolution.  Oh no, what are you gonna do?” the guy asks.

To which the kid says, “I would have more jelly beans this year.”  

Then the smart-alecky guy says, “Oh, so it’s not much of a revolt.  Just like you eating things that are bad for you.”

The kid answers, “Yea.”

“I can deal with that,” the man says.

It’s that time a year again when we ponder whether to make or keep a New Year’s resolution. Or should we be thinking about making and keeping a New Year’s revolution?

In our world today, our cynical culture would have us acting in ways that are not in keeping with the Gospel values. 

Perhaps we should consider revolting against our culture and embrace New Year’s resolutions that are truly aligned with God’s plan for each of us.

           A popular website came up with a list of New Year’s resolutions that are quite revolutionary.  They come from the teachings of Pope Francis over the course of the past year. 

Pope Francis is known for his frank, daily advice on living the life of Christ in the modern world. 

What lessons can we learn from our new Pope?

I would like to offer these New Year’s Resolutions – Pope Francis Edition for us all to consider in the coming year.

The first resolution:

Don’t Gossip or Judge. 
We all do it.   Yes, even this deacon.  After all, we’re human.  But is it what God would have us do?  Is it what Jesus would have us do?

            Pope Francis says when we gossip, we “are doing what Judas did,” and “begin to tear the other person to pieces.”  

            “Every time we judge our brothers (and sisters) in our hearts or worse when we speak badly of them with others, we are murdering Christians… There is no such thing as innocent slander.”

            The next Pope Francis inspired New Year’s resolution:  Choose the more humble purchase.

            Remember, this guy drives in a 29-year-old car instead of a brand new Mercedes limo. He rails against materialism in all forms (the urge to have the latest high tech gadget, the desire to live in a bigger home or drive a luxury car, etc., etc., etc.), saying, “Certainly possessions, money, and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want more, never satisfied.”

            Cars are necessary, he says, but buy a more humble one and dedicate the savings to helping the poor.  That’s his advice.

            He urges us all to live a “sober and essential lifestyle.”

            Another resolution to consider:  Make time for others.
            In our fast paced world, this is not an easy one.  To make time for others, we have to slow down the pace of our lives and carve out time in our busy schedules to be with or help or encourage others.

            Pope Francis does this every day when he carves time out of his busy schedule to call people who have just lost a loved one or suffered some tragedy to offer his love and prayers.  Or he does this every time he pens a handwritten letter to someone he doesn’t know. 

            It’s a part of his daily routine.  We should make it a part of ours, too… to reach out and spend time helping and encouraging others.

            I love this next Pope Francis inspired New Year’s resolution:   Meet the poor “in the flesh.”

            Every Monday and Wednesday, and every other Saturday, many of our parishioners do that very thing by serving at the St. Vincent de Paul food banks in our two parishes. 

            A hundred parishioners did it on Christmas Eve Day, when they assembled and then delivered stockings for the homeless living at Everett Gospel Mission. 

Just listen to the stories of their encounters.  These stories bring tears to the eyes of many participants for what “the least of our brothers” said to them in gratitude.

            Commitment to the poor must be “person to person” and “in the flesh.”

            Sure, we have institutions that are there to help people in need, but, Pope Francis says, “They do not excuse us from our establishing personal contact with the needy.”

            Pope Francis says this MUST be “a long term commitment.”  Not just a one-time act of charity. 

            Another resolution inspired by our Pope:  Make Commitments, such as marriage (and Holy Orders).

            Don’t be afraid to say, “Forever.”  In a world riddled with crumbling marriages, Pope Francis asked young people at World Youth Day in Rio this summer to embrace “forever” commitments like marriage and Holy Orders.

            He told the young people, “I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries (there’s that word again: revolution).”  He encouraged young people “to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love.”

            This “true love” can extend to a young man becoming a priest or a young woman becoming a nun. 

            Who can forget one of the most poignant pictures from World Youth Day when a young boy broke through a security barrier and ran toward the Papal vehicle, jumped in and whispered in Pope Francis’ ear something that would move the Pontiff to tears?

The boy told the Pope, “I am going to be a priest.” In a tearful embrace, Pope Francis told the boy, “I’ll pray for you, please pray for me, too.” 

            As the boy walked away from the encounter, he buried his face in his hands and sobbed.

            I would encourage you to Google this moment online and see the pictures for yourself.  They will move you to tears, too. 
             Story on the boy Nathan de Brito
          Another resolution:  Make it a habit to ask the Lord. 

Make time for prayer in our daily lives and ask God for help, ask God for advice, ask God what to do about a difficult situation, and then in the stillness of your heart, listen.  You might be surprised by what you hear.

And one final Pope Francis inspired New Year’s resolution:    Be happy.

Pope Francis has said a lot about a true Christian exuding great joy always.  He says joy cannot be held in, it must be let out. 

In the first major document of his Papacy, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis says this joy should always remind us of loving our neighbor.
           He actually scolds “melancholy Christian faces” as having “more in common with pickled peppers than the joy of having a beautiful life.”

               The epiphany of all these Pope Francis inspired New Year’s resolutions (oh, you knew I had to go there on this the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord), the epiphany in all these resolutions is it’s exactly what Christ did during his earthly ministry.

            Don’t Gossip or Judge
            Choose the more humble purchase
            Make time for others
              Meet the poor “in the flesh”
              Make Commitments, such as marriage (and Holy Orders)
              Make it a habit to ask the Lord
            Be happy

            The epiphany is Christ did all these things two-thousand years ago.  This is why Pope Francis rings so true in our world today. 

            Maybe there is one or two of these that ring true in your heart.  I would encourage you to have the courage to make them your New Year’s Revolution.