Bulletins (Please scroll to the bottom of the page for this week's and past weeks' bulletins.)

This week on Tuesday, the people of the United States call to mind the infamous Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court that made abortion on demand legal in all states in 1973. Previous to that time, abortion was legal in some states and not in others.

Down through the decades, many pro-life advocates have worked very hard to provide legal protection for children in the wombs of their mothers. In many ways, this has been a very hard-fought battle. Progress has gradually been made legally to restrict times and places for abortion. This week we join pro-life advocates in praying for an end to legalized abortion.

At the same time, we become more and more conscious of the dignity of every human life, from conception until natural death. Every person carries the image of God into the world. Sometimes this image is not as visible as it is at other times. Sometimes humans are vulnerable and very dependent on the assistance of others. At those times, we recall that God Himself became a little baby in His mother's womb and was born with all human limitations.

It is when humans are most vulnerable and needy that they are especially in need of our help. Often this is at the beginning of life and again near the end of life. Of course, there many other conditions of life that also call upon us for assistance.

While we certainly hope and pray that abortion will be made illegal in our country, we also know that being pro-life cannot end with mere legislation. It will always be a matter of changing hearts so that abortion is not only illegal but unthinkable.

At the same time, as Christians we are called to be mindful of the many ways in which human life should be upheld and enhanced and embraced.

This past week our parish was informed that the interest rate on our loan will rise from 4.25 % to 4.5%. This rate has slid up and down occasionally over the years, and we were grateful it was very low, following market trends. Anne told me a few days ago that our principal balance is currently $3.85 million. That 1/4 percent increase will cost us about $8,000 per year.

This week marks the Christian Unity Octave. This 8 days of prayer for Christian unity culminates with the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on Fri., January 25th. When I was a young priest, this was a favored time for gathering with Christians of other denominations to pray with Jesus that "all would be one."

In those days, we often worked with other churches in joint ventures of social ministry and even in praying together from time to time. We were trying harder to understand each other's religions and points of view. In recent years, it seems our enthusiasm for ecumenism has cooled. Lately, when I hear people talk about other religions, it is too often in terms of competition.

Jesus faced these same kinds of questions in the Gospel. When the apostles complained that someone else was casting out demons in Jesus' name, he replied, "Let them be. Whoever is not against you is for you."

As Catholics, we believe that our Church was founded by Jesus Christ Himself. But we also acknowledge the goodness in other Christian traditions. We continue to pray with Jesus that one day "all will be one."

Financial Report: Last weekend we were happy to find $10, 354.51 in the offertory basket to help us toward our January budget goal. We are especially grateful to all those who have recently implemented their changes to stewardship giving, either by envelope or online.

A Stewardship Testimonial: "I find that hanging out with positive, affirming people makes me more positive too."

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