From the Pastor – April 24th, 2016

frmnicks_mug_smallThe last couple of weeks we talked about the vocation to consecrated life-men and women religious. Previously, we had considered the vocation to the priesthood. To round out the reflections on vocation, it is also important to touch upon the vocation and sacrament of marriage.

Before moving on to consider the married vocation, there is one other topic I wish to bring forward, precisely because it has become controversial in the last few decades. I wish to explain briefly and shed some light on the practice of priestly celibacy.

The reason that priestly celibacy has become controversial is because it is so often misunderstood and inaccurately communicated. More often than not, people will say things like “priests are required to be celibate” or that “they can’t be married.” Neither of these statements are accurate and portray a completely false vision of priestly celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church.

First, priests can be married. There are many Orthodox priests, Byzantine priests, and members of the Anglican Ordinariate that are sacramentally married. Though Orthodox priests are not in union with the Holy Father, Byzantine priests and members of the Anglican Ordinariate most certainly are.

Second, priests are not required to be celibate. To understand this point correctly we must first understand that there are only two primary vocations. On the one hand, there is the vocation to marriage. On the other hand, there is the vocation to celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Christ calls all to this latter vocation “who are capable of accepting it” Matthew 19:12.

So the first step of discernment is not between marriage or religious life. It is not religious life or the priesthood. It is not the priesthood or marriage. The first step of discernment is between either godly marriage or celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom. If, in a desire to more perfectly follow Christ, one discerns that he or she is called to celibacy, then the individual needs to further discern how that celibate vocation is to be lived. One could be a consecrated virgin, a monk, a cloistered nun, a priest, an active religious sister, etc.

Now, from those men who have discerned that God has called them to embrace celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, the Church chooses some to serve her as priests. She does not impose celibacy. She does not require that priests be celibate (as we have seen, sometimes married men are ordained). Rather, the Roman Catholic Church has normally chosen only to call men to the priesthood who have already freely resolved to follow Christ more closely through the celibate vocation.

The priesthood conforms a man in a special way to be another Christ. It is only by standing in the person of Christ that a priest can change bread and wine into Christ ’s body and blood. It is only be standing in the person of Christ that he can forgive sins. It is for this reason that the Church chooses to bestow this special conformity (the priesthood) upon those men who have already freely sought the closest conformity to him that they can, by choosing to live even as he did-celibate for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

In Christ,
frmnicks_sig
Fr. Nicks

Lumen Christi

Kathy Heineck of Lumen Christi will be having a Catholic Gift and Book sale after all the Masses as follows:

Saint Patrick’s April 30th-May 1st
Assumption May 7th-8th
Saint Francis May 14th-15th

A Catholic gift is a great choice for upcoming First Communion/Confirmation, Graduations, Mother’s day and soon to follow Father’s day. Kathy will have several tables set up with books, Bibles and various Catholic items. She has Spanish books and Bibles too.

Assumption Catholic Church Women are having an Indoor Yard Sale!

Mark your calendar for June 4-5, 2016. If you have gently used items, we will pick them up. Our Indoor
Yard sale is our Fundraiser for the year. We would like your help and prayers. Call Ester Boch at 509-520-2556.

Catholic Charities Volunteer Services

Want to help a senior or housebound person maintain their lawn this summer? 30 minutes a week is enough to help someone in our community to remain living independently. Call Catholic Charities Volunteer Services for more information at 529-9062.

LIKE us on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Catholic-Charities-Spokane/ and https://www.facebook.com/Catholic-Charities-Walla-Walla

Tri-Parish Senior Potluck

The Tri-Parish Senior Mass, Anointing and Potluck Luncheon will be Thursday, May 19th at 11:00 AM, at St Patrick Church and h all. New program schedules for 2016 will be on hand. All seniors and those who assist them are always welcome! Please bring a salad or main dish to share. Table service, beverages, and desserts will be provided.

Discovering Christ, a seven week experience

WEEKLY TOPIC

April 24th | Week 3
What Does Jesus Want Us to Know?

May 1st | Week 4
Why Do I Need a Savior?

Sunday Nights
April 10 to May 2
25:30 -7:30 pm
St. Francis Parish Hall

Social Concerns

Pope Francis: “As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil, and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.”

Celebrate Earth Day: Use cloth shopping bags. Avoid plastic whenever possible.

Birthright Giving Tree: Please take a tag from the tree, and bring new or gently used maternity clothes, baby clothes up to 18 months, tiny baby toys (rattles, etc.) diapers. NO STUFFED ANIMALS! If you are expecting or have a baby, bring in outgrown maternity and baby clothes. You can pick up items of the next size at Birthright, 609 W. Birch, 529-8678. Volunteers always needed.

Feed the Hungry: Thank you for remembering to bring non-perishable food items and/or a check to BMAC Food Bank. Your donations are much needed and appreciated.

Tri-Parish Community Garden: Join Nancy Wenzel every 3rd Saturday through October to help. Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Thesongwallawalla. Or e-mail Nancy to be placed on an e-mail list, nancywenzel@charter.net. Produce grown is shared with local food banks.

Second Harvest Food Distribution: Kay Barga is again leading the effort to distribute much needed produce, Wednesday, June 1, 11 am-1pm. If you would like to help, contact Kay, bargabk@charter.net.

Formed

God calls himself “I Am who Am”. What does this mean? Is God just another being – or is God “being itself”? Why do words fail us when trying to understand who God is? Find out more at FORMED, click on the Catholicism Program, Session 3: The Ineffable Mystery of God. (Go to FORMED.ORG , Click on “Help With Registration”, Go to “How to Register with Your Parish Code”. Our parish code is CE6DCX, Enter this and sign-in)

Upcoming School Events

WWCS Faculty Faith Formation: On Tuesday, April 26th Father Ratuiste will be guiding the WWCS Faculty through a lesson on the Paschal Mystery.

HOPE Fundraiser Dinner and Auction: Saturday, April 30, 5pm at the Walla Walla Country Club.

Did you Know?

Assumption School recently went through an extensive Accreditation process by the Western Catholic Education Association. Some of our significant accomplishments were:

Development of Catholic Identity Committee, faith-filled activities, and service opportunities

Student-led conferences and goal-setting

Special education and reading specialist teachers to address student need

Parents, alumni, and community invested in the mission of our school

Focus on building technology software and hardware to support student learning

Birthright Giving Tree

The Birthright Giving tree will begin April 30th /May 1st, and will continue through May 14/15th. “Birthright of Walla Walla deeply appreciates your new or used items for our clients! Please do not wrap the items. Return the ornament taken from tree with your item and bring back to church or take to the parish office. Thank you for helping us keep all our services free to our clients! “