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The Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday)
April 22, 2018


    I hope you noticed the image of the Good Shepherd that is on the cover of today’s bulletin. That little statue sits on my desk over in the rectory. Sometimes it’s nearly buried under stacks of paper, phone messages, and other desktop debris, but I can always see it, and it’s always a nice reminder to me of my calling. Sometimes, after reading a hostile letter, or during a difficult telephone conversation, or while preparing a homily, I’ll glance over at the statue and be reminded of my calling to be shepherd.

     Of course, priests aren’t the only ones who are called to be shepherds. Parents certainly have that calling. In fact, I think that there are no better shepherds than parents who willingly and constantly lay down their lives for their children. Twenty-four seven!

     And then, there’s a sense in which every disciple of Christ is a shepherd – called as we are to love and care for one other, especially for the poorest and the most forgotten.  In our better moments, we do this pretty well.  We in this Cathedral parish community, for instance, show the loving face of Jesus the Good Shepherd to countless people day after day:

  •  some of them are poor and hungry and they come here for food; others of them are homeless and friendless and they come for a listening ear and open heart.

  •  Some are newcomers to this land and don't know our language or customs; others are elderly and need a reminder of how valued they are.

  •  Some are young and come here to learn about Jesus; others are sick and need to feel the healing hand of Jesus.

     So many people meet Jesus the Good Shepherd here thanks to you who have listened to the gospel and taken it to heart: taken seriously his call to lay down your lives in the service of others.

     But even this is not enough.  Today we are reminded that there are some things we as a parish community simply cannot do by ourselves no matter how hard we try.  We are reminded that we are part of a Church that is larger than our own parish - the Catholic Church here in the Archdiocese of Seattle whose calling is the same as ours: to be Good Shepherds like Jesus.

     This is Annual Catholic Appeal Sunday - the Sunday each year when we are asked to look beyond our parish’s needs to the needs of the Church all over Western Washington from Canada to the Columbia, from the Cascades to the Pacific, and to do what Jesus did: care for the flock in loving ways.

     A couple of years ago on this Sunday, I made a deal with you. I told you I would not harangue you about the Annual Catholic Appeal if you would step up and give. And you did!  Generously!  Not all of you, but a great number of you, and once again you put our parish in first place among all the parishes of the archdiocese.

     So I’m thinking: can I do that again this year?  I’m sure you would like it if I did but I might be pressing my luck.  So how about a little compromise?  I will make this very brief - very brief - if you will be very generous. Do we have a deal?

     Here goes: the Annual Appeal exists because the Church is bigger than our parish. Our parish cannot prepare and form young men for the priesthood; our parish can’t run and supervise our large network of Catholic grade and high schools; our parish can’t do the work of Catholic Community Services, providing housing and shelters and basic human services all over Western Washington; our parish can’t reach out to the growing number of ethnic communities and language groups; our parish can’t staff all the hospital and prison chaplaincies around the archdiocese; and our parish can’t run the CYO camps for kids. And that’s just a sampling. We do a lot as a parish but we can’t do those things. That’s why there’s an Annual Catholic Appeal.

     It’s a good cause, my friends, and a necessary one.  And it’s part of what it means to be Catholic. So, if being Catholic is important to you (and I know it is), then you will give to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Simple as that.

     The archdiocese has set an overall goal this year of 11.7 million dollars and our parish’s share of that goal is just shy of $388,000. That’s the amount we need to raise but we actually need to raise more because, as you know, our parish gets back every dollar we raise over and above the goal. And why go over and above?  Well, this year we intend to use the rebate to help offset the cost of some major maintenance and restoration work on the beautiful and iconic Cathedral towers: we need to do extensive mortar repair and tuck pointing as well as waterproofing of the cupolas. As you might imagine, work done at that altitude doesn’t come cheap!  The total cost of the work is about $300,000 and our hope is that the rebate from the Annual Appeal will cover $200,000 of that. Ambitious? Definitely. Possible? Considering your generosity in the past, Yes!

     Thank you for listening. I hope I’ve kept my part of the deal. Now it’s up to you!

Father Michael G. Ryan

Click here to make a gift of pledge to the Appeal now





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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303