Saturday November 29, 2014
English Chinese (Simplified) Filipino French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

The Stewardship and Development Office would like to especially thank every pastor, parish staff, and volunteer who put so much time and talent into this important effort. Because of your commitment and leadership, the Annual Catholic Appeal was a success! Everyone who participated with their time, talent, and treasure should be proud to be part of this important effort.

Thank you!!

Congratulations to Toppenish, St. Joseph-Yakima, Warden, and Benton City for meeting your goal! We also had Prosser, St. Joseph-Sunnyside, and Grandview within 95%-99% of meeting their goal.

Thirty-six of the 41 (88%) parishes met and/or exceeded their 2014 ACA Goal. Below is the Summary Highlights. The ACA goal in 2010 was 1.4 million, rebates $164,883, Shortfall $151,126 and the goal in 2014 was 1.5 million, rebates $393,920 and shortfall $9,417. In 2010, we had 6,122 donors and today we have 7,536 (an increase of 1,414). This is good news for our local Church. The Church has the pastors, staff, and parish ACA volunteers to thank for it.

Summary Highlights (October 31, 2013 vs. October 31, 2014)


Last Year


This Year



2013 ACA


2014 ACA
























Total Rebates







Actual Income to Diocese







Shortfall to Diocese














The Final Monthly Report for ACA 2014 is available on the Website: Please click here for the latest ACA Monthly Report. The report is also attached.  

Our ACA 2015 launched on October 18 and 19. The Pledge Weekend was on November 8 and 9. This weekend is the Second Follow Up Weekend. Our theme for this year is “You are members of the family of God...with Jesus Christ as the Capstone.”  (from Eph 2:19-21) Don’t forget, parishioners will not have the opportunity to express this belief in the mission of our local Church if they are not asked.


2015 ACA Update:  Thank you to the parishes that have submitted their ACA Reports! The parishes have been doing a great job, and we appreciate all your hard work!  We have had 19 of the 41 parishes submit at least one report.  If you have not submitted a report for your parish yet, please do so as soon as possible.  It is especially important that we receive credit card pledges right away as some people want their withdrawals to start in November or December.  As a reminder, please do not put more than about 100 pledges into one report.  If you have received a large amount of pledges for one weekend, simply divide them between two reports and send them together with one check.  Smaller batches of pledges help to streamline processing.


November 20: Second Report Due to Development Office

       Assure Bookkeeper/Appeal Secretary submits second report to Sandra at 5301-A Tieton Drive, Yakima, WA 98908-3493. This includes 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal Donor List, Parish Report Transmittal Form, Pledge Cards and Parish Check.

        Reports are due on each Wednesday of each week during the Appeal.


November 22/23: Second Follow-Up Weekend

       Assure Appeal envelopes and pencils are available in the pews.

       Before each Mass make certain that each pew pocket is replenished with envelopes and a sufficient number of pencils.

       Use ACA suggested Prayers of the Faithful at all Masses.

       Place announcements in bulletin and make pulpit announcements at all Masses.

Donate Online (ACA): https://yakimadiocese.thankyou4caring.org/

Should you have any questions regarding the ACA, please do not hesitate to contact Alma Benitez, Director of Stewardship and Development, or Sandra Boguslawski, ACA Bookkeeper, at (509) 965-7117. Our e-mail addresses are This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Diocese of Yakima Pastoral Center will be closed Wednesday, November 26, for a staff retreat led by Bishop Joseph Tyson, and will remain closed November 27-28 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Normal office hours resume Monday, December 1.  Please note that the offices of Catholic Family & Child Service, Catholic Charities Housing Services, and the Carroll Children's Center will be open November 26, but closed also November 27-28 for Thanksgiving.  Bishop Joseph Tyson and Bishop Emeritus Carlos A. Sevilla, S.J. wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.  The following prayer was written by Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, first bishop of the United States, on November 10, 1791 and is often prayed on civic holidays.  It has been updated with the names of the our present pope and bishop, as well as the other leaders mentioned in the prayer.

Prayer for Government

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope Francis, the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, Joseph, all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, Barack Obama, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his excellency, Jay Inslee, the governor of this state, for the members of the legislature, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Open Enrollment For Diocesan Employees

Each year we have employees who notify me themselves or through their bookkeepers wanting to make changes.  Please be sure to make ALL changes NOW.  Especially if you are wanting to cancel a benefit or sign up.  It is too hard to do after the closing date of November 26th.  Please have to your bookkeepers by November 21st, Friday.

Bookkeepers please share with your employees.



Dear Friends:
This is a fine article that summarizes a bit of our outreach for migrant and farm worker housing for our folks here across Central Washington. Our gratitude goes out to all the people at Catholic Family Housing Services as well as our many partners who make good housing a reality and thus uplift the Church's foundational principle of Catholic Social Teaching: the dignity of the human person. Click here to read full article.
+Bishop Joseph Tyson

ACA Assistant

The Diocese of Yakima is seeking a full-time, temporary ACA Assistant to provide data entry and management reporting support, using Raisers Edge application, for the Annual Catholic Appeal.

The individual will provide assistance with online donations and electronic payments in a professional and friendly demeanour in representing the diocese. The candidate will serve as an advocate and train volunteers in the active participation of the Annual Catholic Appeal while embracing and inspiring the meaning of treasure, time and talent within the community.

The individual must be flexible with schedules, have a positive attitude, be reliable, detail oriented and trustworthy.  Job applications and a complete job description are available at the Pastoral Office of the Diocese of Yakima, 5301-A Tieton Drive in Yakima, WA, and also at www.yakimadiocese.org (select Ministries under the black menu bar, then select Human Resources).

For questions please contact Alma Benitez, Director of Stewardship and Development, at (509) 965-7117. 


           Click on image to read                        Haz clic en imagen para leer

The Annual Catholic Appeal launched on October 18 & 19, 2014. You should have received the in-pew envelopes by now; if you have not received the material, please contact me as soon as possible at (509) 965-7117.

The theme of this year’s ACA is:  “You are members of the family of God...with Jesus Christ as the Capstone.”  (from Eph 2:19-21). This theme, taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, reveals our intimate membership in God’s Family, and suggests that as disciples of Christ, we are urged to live our life of faith with an evangelizing spirit; generously sharing ourselves and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.

I also urge you to carefully review the check off list for the Pledge Weekend November 8 & 9, 2014. Attached are Word and PDFs of in-pew pledge cards and ACA Information Card; these can be helpful if using projector to walk parishioners step by step through filling out pledge cards.

As last year, a list of parishioner account numbers, names, and addresses has been emailed to you by the Development office instead of mailing pre-printed labels. You may either print the labels at your parish or hand-write the information on the pledge card. Please make sure the account number is printed clearly and completely on the pledge card. If the parishioner has written a new address from the one that is on the label, please do not cover the new address when placing the label on the pledge card so that we can update their profile.  We are also providing an Excel Spreadsheet with the similar information. They were emailed on 10/29/14 to the contact email listed on the ACA parish reports turned in last year.  If you did not receive the list for your parish, please contact us.

Please visit our ACA Website “ACA Resources for Parish Staff.” i.e.  Manual, Check Off List, Timeline, Goals, Donor List in Excel, Transmittal Form in Excel.


Closely review the check of list for this weekend.

November 8/9: ACA Pledge Weekend

  • Use ACA suggested Prayers of the Faithful at all Masses.

  • Place announcements in bulletin and make pulpit announcements at all Masses.

  • Confirm with those who will distribute in-pew pledge envelopes/pencils at each Mass. If these are not going to be hand distributed, then, assure that the pencils are inserted in all in-pew envelopes during the week before ACA Pledge Weekend.

    • Pastor/Associate Pastor Homily on Annual Support.
    • Make In-pew Appeal – Help parishioners complete Pledge Card* in envelope. Assure Pledge Card are completed thoroughly take parishioners step by step. Making sure they indicate the language they prefer mailing to be received. Also have them include their email address. To clearly print Name, Address, Home Phone #, Email Address, Parish Name.
      • Let them know about the materials inside in-pew envelopes: ACA Information Card and Pledge Card
      • Let them know the different ways to donate by Cash, Check or Credit/Debit/EFT. If they check Credit/Debit/EFT they must complete the backside of the pledge card. 
      • Online Donation: https://yakimadiocese.thankyou4caring.org/
      • Attached are Word and PDFs of in-pew pledge cards and ACA Information Card.  Helpful if using projector to walk parishioners step by step.
  • Before each Mass on Pledge and Follow-Up Weekends, make certain that each pew pocket is replenished with envelopes and a sufficient number of pencils.

Last Weekend - November 1/2: All Saints/All Souls Weekend

  • Use ACA suggested Prayers of the Faithful at all Masses.

  • Place announcements in bulletin and make pulpit announcements at all Masses.

  • Confirm with those who will distribute in-pew pledge envelopes/pencils at each Mass. If these are not going to be hand distributed, then, assure that the pencils are inserted in all in-pew envelopes during the week before ACA Pledge Weekend.

  • Please remind those who participated in past will receive a letter from Bishop Tyson and a pre-printed pledge card. Encourage them to bring pledge card on November 8 and 9 Pledge Weekend.

Should you have any questions regarding the ACA, please do not hesitate to contact Alma Benitez, Director of Stewardship and Development, or Sandra Boguslawski, ACA Bookkeeper, at (509) 965-7117. Our e-mail addresses are This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


If you haven’t already, now is the time to send in your Confirmation Request form for the 2015 Confirmation season. Please remember that these dates will not be given by a first come, first serve basis, but rather by region in order for Bishop Tyson to travel more efficiently from parish to parish. Forms can be found attached to this memo as well as on the home page of the diocesan website, www.yakimadiocese.org. Once filled out and signed by the Pastor they can be returned via fax, mail or email to Rebecca Garza at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please have to Rebecca by Friday November 21st 2014.

Dear Friends:
In light of our parish visitation process I thought you'd find these comments by Pope Francis noteworthy. Click here to read. 
+Bishop Joseph Tyson
 Pope at Santa Marta: Rivalry and vainglory weaken the Church (Click here)

Hispanic Catholics will comprise the majority of Catholic Americans soon, but experts in Latino ministry say it’s crucial to implement measures to keep them engaged with their ancestral faith.

by JONATHAN LIEDL 11/03/2014

Facebook/Catholic Extension

Latino Catholics participate in a celebration Dec. 12, 2013, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska.

– Facebook/Catholic Extension

HOUSTON — Against the backdrop of dire statistics showing large numbers of U.S. Latinos are leaving the Catholic faith, U.S. Church leaders are making efforts to better reach the country’s youngest and fastest-growing population.

In a speech delivered Aug. 19 in Houston to leaders in the Latino community, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia stated, “Demography equals destiny,” noting that Hispanics are projected to make up the majority of U.S. Catholics in the near future. Because of this reality, Archbishop Chaput said the Church needs to place added emphasis on catechizing the Latino community and developing leaders from within it.

Archbishop Chaput’s remarks come in the wake of a Pew study on American Hispanics’ religious affiliation that was published earlier this year. The study found that the percentage of Latinos who are Catholic had dropped by 12 points in the last four years alone, from 67% to 55%. One in four American Latinos, the study adds, are “ex-Catholics.”

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/reaching-latinos-how-should-the-u.s.-church-respond/#.VFkPHrz5Uco.mailto#ixzz3I9FEllRZ


Dear Friends:
I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that Sister Kathleen Ross had a great talk on Catholic faith formation during the recent "Celebration of Faith" dinner this last October 11, 2014 at the Yakima Convention Center.  I asked her for a copy. It's well worth the read because it reminds us of the broader historical context in which we are uplifting both our religious education programs in so many of our parishes, as well as our Catholic schools across Central Washington.  We stand on the heritage of great teachers who have shown us the way.  This talk is a strong reminder of this so read and share!  Thanks to Sister Kathleen for sharing this talk and thanks to you for "clicking here" to read the talk!  

Congratulations to White Swan, Leavenworth, and St. Joseph-Kennewick for meeting your goal! We also have Toppenish, Warden, Prosser, St. Joseph Yakima, St. Joseph-Sunnyside, and Grandview within 90%-99% of meeting their goal.  Thank you everyone for all your hard work!

ACA Moment: What would the world be like without volunteers?  With the 2014 ACA quickly drawing to a close and making way for the 2015 ACA Campaign to begin, now seems like a perfect time to thank the many people who gave their time and talents to ensure the success of the 2014 ACA.  From the volunteers who gave the Lay Witness Talks to the parish volunteers who spent hours counting money and filling out reports, your contributions are invaluable to making the Annual Catholic Appeal happen each year.

Two volunteers who have touched the ACA here at the Pastoral Center are Elaine Perko and Deena Dufault.  Both Elaine and Deena are members of Holy Family Parish in Yakima.  Once a month from February through October, these ladies would come to help prepare the monthly ACA statements to be sent to pledgers throughout the Diocese.  They would manage the machines that would stuff and seal the statements and keep them organized by ZIP Code so that the Diocese could receive a bulk mail discount.  Their willingness and enthusiasm throughout the many paper jams and hours of standing is much appreciated!  Throughout the course of the year, over 22,000 statements were sent out with their help.

Thank you to both Elaine and Deena for their hours of volunteer time to bring the ACA to every part of the Diocese! (click here)

ACA Training Day (Fri. September 19):

Thank you for those who attended the 3rd Annual Training for ACA on Friday, September 19. The material that was presented is available on-line. (click here)

Summary Highlights (September 30, 2013 vs. September 30, 2014)


Last Year


This Year



2013 ACA


2014 ACA







$153, 596

















Total Rebates







Actual Income to Diocese







Shortfall to Diocese













The Monthly Report for September is available on the ACA Website: Please visit the link below for the latest ACA Monthly Report.  http://yakimadiocese.org/index.php/ministries/annual-catholic-appeal.

Should you have any questions regarding the ACA, please do not hesitate to contact Alma Benitez, Director of Stewardship and Development, or Sandra Boguslawski, ACA Bookkeeper, at (509) 965-7117. Our e-mail addresses are This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Christ – the "Cornerstone" of our Teaching

Presentation for the 2014 "Cornerstone Conference" at the Tacoma Convention Center
by the Most Reverend Joseph J. Tyson, Bishop of Yakima
(haz clic aqui para leer en Español)


First off, I want to thank Archbishop Sartain for setting the table this morning on some key theological and catechetical themes tied to this kick off state-wide "Cornerstone" event. In a beautiful way, he reminded us that Jesus – himself – is the "Cornerstone" in all we are and all we do in uplifting the gift of life.

Knowing that Jesus IS the "Cornerstone" I'd like to shift and name how all of us – together – form the "living stones."

The first "living stone" I want to name is Archbishop Sartain himself. He represents for all of us Jesus who is "Cornerstone" because Archbishop Sartain is not only "Archbishop of Seattle" but as "Archbishop" he serves all of us as the metropolitan of the Ecclesial province of Seattle – a province to which the Spokane and the Yakima Diocese belong.

This is a fine point and one often overlooked, but under the Church's structure of governance the metropolitan Archbishop gathers the bishops of his province together to discuss key common issues. As such he chairs the Washington State Catholic Conference – the bishops of Washington State along with some key lay advisors to monitor and support the Church's activity in public policy matters – especially with regards to the Washington State legislature. It was in this capacity that Archbishop Sartain asked me to anchor the conversation among our three Catholic Charities Directors as well as among us bishops on creating a more robust response to the challenge posed by the many life issues affecting public policy here in Washington State.

Likewise I want to acknowledge the many "living stones" all across Washington State. Because of your wonderful ministry, the gift of life is supported all across Washington State. Allow me to name just a few of these "living stones."

We have "living stones" who collect diapers and baby bottles for the newborn in Ellensburg. We have "living stones" in Monroe who make sure the families of prisoners have a place to stay when visiting their loved ones. We have dedicated parishioners opening their churches and providing care to the homeless in Olympia, Seattle and Spokane. The list could go on!

Across the state our Knights of Columbus, our Catholic Daughters of America, our Young Ladies Institute as well as our Councils of Catholic Women have individual and local projects occurring in their chapters that support young moms, support local aid efforts for women in emergency situations, support the unborn and support women and their children in those early years of life. They are wonderful "living stones" shaping and forming the ministry of their local parishes and faith communities.

Similarly, animated by our Catholic faith, we have wonderful housing for migrant workers in Granger and Quincy. Thanks to Catholic Charities we have new homeowners who put in sweat equity and creating new property taxpayers in Sunnyside, Mattawa, and Tieton. We have wonderful mentoring programs for new moms as well as new dads in the city of Spokane. We have expanded care for families who need a professional to help their loved ones with mental illnesses in Wenatchee and Walla Walla. Our Catholic hospitals in Bellingham, Olympia, Walla Walla, Spokane, Tacoma and Longview often provide the first health care response for the poor, the indigent, and the undocumented. All across the state we have a wide spectrum of counseling services that help keep families together and intact. All of these people serve as "living stones" of the Church's charity and care.

Having names just a few of the many living stones allow me to propose two challenges at this Cornerstone Conference as we build for the future.

First Challenge: Connecting the Life Issues

The first challenge is this: Can we draw the connections? Can we draw the connections between our commitment to the unborn and our commitment to the undocumented? Can we draw our connection between our commitment to the unborn and our commitment to combat child poverty? Can we draw a connection between our opposition to euthanasia and our opposition to the death penalty?

You are all aware of our bishops' teaching document issued every four years titled "Conscience Formation for Faithful Citizenship." Very simply put the document notes that beginning- and end-of-life issues such as abortion and euthanasia are weighted more heavily because without that basic right to life everyone else's life can be endangered: the unemployed and the undocumented, those lacking basic food, clothing, shelter and health care; those needing education, mental health and social supports.

Pope Francis – himself – stresses the importance of drawing connections and giving proper weight to Church teachings as he states in his apostolic letter, "The Joy of the Gospel."

" ... it needs to be said that in preaching the Gospel a fitting sense of proportion has to be maintained. This would be seen in the frequency with which certain themes are brought up and in the emphasis given to them in preaching. For example, if in the course of the liturgical year a parish priest speaks about temperance ten times but only mentions charity or justice two or three times, an imbalance results, and precisely those virtues which ought to be most present in preaching and catechesis are overlooked. The same thing happens when we speak more about law than about grace, more about the Church than about Christ, more about the Pope than about God's word ... " (38)

When we talk with folks about our particular ministry do we also draw the connections with other key moments on the life spectrum? How do acknowledge the serious weight given to beginning- and end-of-life issues such as abortion and euthanasia – and at the same time – help those around us understand that whatever particular volunteer activity in which we are engaged is also part of a larger witness to the gift of life that begins in the womb and ends with a reverent death?

Even more do they know the love, the mercy and the forgiveness always available to them that comes from Jesus Christ? If we're on the picket line praying for an end to abortion, how do we acknowledge the good work of those making sure that children continue to be wanted and loved through adoption services and early childhood services?

If we're a dedicated member of "Just Faith" so that our witness to social justice is anchored in the timeless truths that come from scripture and our faith tradition, how are we acknowledging the more heavily weighted teachings around beginning- and end-of-life issues?

And whatever our passion, whatever our cause, whatever our ministry, do we reflect in word and deed the overwhelming love and mercy of God that is always the starting point for a conversion of life?

Over my years as a priest and bishop I have noticed that – among ourselves – we struggle with a certain tendency to view our faith through a political lens – be that a left lens or a right lens – with the result that those in politics and public life will cherry pick certain aspects of the Church's moral teaching in order to pander for votes and bolster their particular political party.

Our catechesis on life issues needs to do just the opposite. We need to help our people view their life – including political life – through the lens of faith. Good catechesis ought to assist our folks in drawing connections between a bookend issue like abortion and other issues of justice such as immigration.

Allow me to stay with those two issues – abortion and immigration – just as an example. You are all aware that Cardinal Sean O'Malley – who has been very articulate on the question of abortion – recently presided at a Mass on the Mexico-US border with a number of bishops including our own Bishop Eusebio Elizondo.

A reporter asked him whether this represented a shift in his thinking. The reporter – like many reporters – considered abortion an issue of the "right" and immigration reform an issue of the "left." What was Cardinal Sean O'Malley's response? Immigration reform IS a life issue.

Recently, Brownsville Bishop Daniel Flores drew the connection even more tightly – and I am not doing justice to his reflection – when he shared with a group of us bishops in Chicago that what links the unborn and the undocumented together is their lack of legal status or standing. The unborn have no status because they lack the document we call a "birth certificate" and likewise the "undocumented" lack status because they hold no papers. But – as Bishop Flores noted – "human dignity" needs no documents. In short, our catechesis on life ought to be a lens through which we can view and weigh all Catholic social teaching.

Neither abortion or immigration reform should be a "red-state" issue or a "blue-state" issue, an issue of the political "left" or the political "right," an issue simply for Democrats or Republics. No these are "life" issues.

Now friends, what I've done is but just one example – connecting immigration with abortion. Can you do that? Can you connect the issue about which you are most passionate with the bookend issues at the beginning and end of life?

Now I know that's an edgy question and "not yet" is the perfect response because that's why we're all together here at the "Cornerstone Conference."

These questions of witness go straight to the heart of our faith and the core act of our faith – the Eucharist. The great seventh century St. John Damascene noted: "If the sacrament is a union with Christ and at the same time a union of all, one with another, it must give us real unity with those who receive it as we do."

The Second Challenge: Making a Joyful Proposal for Life

That leads to my second proposition for your consideration: Can we make a joyful and attractive response to the challenges faced by the marginal and the poor that links and unifies our care for the unborn with our care for women, our care for those in poverty and our care for those needing the basics of life?

In raising this second proposal for your consideration I want to take you through a little history lesson.

Many of you know Sister Sharon Park who serves us as the executive director of the Washington State Catholic Conference. She keeps us up to date on current events and issues on the state level. She's also been the lynchpin – dare I say "cornerstone" – as we've contemplated ways in which we can draw these catechetical connections on all the life issues within our Catholic parishes, our Catholic schools, our Catholic Charities agencies, our Catholic hospitals as well as all the other Catholic organizations which we bishops so much appreciate.

Well here's what you might not know: She's a chip off the old block. Indeed, my earliest introduction to public policy issues came at the kind tutelage and instruction of Sister Sharon Park's mother! For us seventh graders at St. Alphonsus grade school in Seattle's Ballard district, Sister Sharon Park's mother had a first name and that was MRS as in MRS Park.

It was THE Mrs. Park who – in 1970 – as part of our civics class led us on a public policy practicum. The question of whether to legalize abortion came up before the Washington State legislature. Interestingly, the vote was very divided. In those years sizable numbers of both Democrats and Republicans favored legalizing abortion and sizable number of both Democrats and Republicans opposed the legalization of abortion.

Here in Washington State – and I learned this thanks to Mrs. Park – the legislature can pass a piece of legislation and then they can send the legislation as a "Referendum" to the people for their vote. Thus in 1970 we had on our ballot Referendum 20, and Mrs. Park – herself – helped organize us into little leafleting groups blanketing Seattle's Ballard district with posters and flyers opposing Referendum 20.

Sadly, voters in Washington State did legalize abortion by a narrow margin in 1970. We were the first – and really the only state to do this by popular ballot. Arguably Washington State was the first political entity in the world to vote – by popular ballot – for the legalization of abortion. Other legalizations before Roe vs. Wade occurred by judicial fiat – or – as in the case of communist countries in Eastern Europe – by a dictatorial system of government.

I take you all through this history lesson because – and here's the crux of my second point – if Roe vs. Wade were reversed tomorrow here in Washington State nothing would change – abortion would still be legal.

I am going to repeat that: Even if we reverse Roe vs. Wade – and God willing we will – but even if we were to reverse Roe vs. Wade nothing changes here in Washington State because this state voted to legalize abortion by popular ballot before Roe vs. Wade.

That's why our opposition to Roe vs. Wade is not enough. Here in Washington State, we need a convincing witness to the gift of life and the demand of justice that is very local and very attractive. How do we – in mercy and charity – walk the journey with those in need whether born or unborn? How do we witness through our service the great truth that life is precious from the moment of conception to the moment of death? How do we make this "truth" about life attractive and convincing – especially to the un-churched and non-believers so they see the reasonableness of this truth to which we bear witness?

For a number of months, the bishops, their advisors on the Washington State Catholic Conference Board, key leaders among the clergy across the state, the directors of Catholic Charities across Washington State, key personnel from their agencies as well as key leaders in the Knight of Columbus have been engaged in a conversation about a more unified and systematic approach especially for those in need at the beginning of the life cycle.

This is why the bishops of the state are launching Prepares as a systematic response to women in need of our support and care as they "choose life." Prepares stands for Pregnancy and Parenting Support, a program to assist pregnant women, fathers and children from conception of the child until the child's fifth birthday. Again, good things are already taking place in many of our communities across the state. Many times our local parishes have been able to network with agencies and organizations supported by folks from a variety of faith backgrounds.

But it's also true that there are pockets across the state that lacks a systematic way of responding to the needs of women and their children especially when facing a crisis pregnancy. Sometimes we are working alone and in silos. Sometimes the fine work of Catholic Charities and Catholic organizations is not known in neighboring parishes. Sometimes the effort of local parishes is not coordinated with neighboring Catholic agencies. Sometimes the efforts of a local outreach for pregnant women in our local community are uncoordinated and sometimes unknown to our parishes.

The support network would provide resources for everything from crisis pregnancy referrals through family services through a child's fifth birthday – even reaching out to young siblings of a new baby.

We want to make sure that no child – born or unborn – is ever abandoned or alone. We want to make sure that every mother whether they are in a small rural town or a large city, whether they live in a predominately Spanish-speaking community or a predominately English-speaking community has caring people around them walking those critical first five years of their child's life. We want to make sure that the fathers of these children receiving mentoring and support regardless of their legal status or employment status. We want to make sure that extended families get the help they need as they walk with their sister or daughter as she become a mother.

What we envision is a life program to provide consistent pregnancy and parenting support services aligned with Catholic social teachings and best practices. We're currently bringing on area coordinators who will review which pregnancy and support services are already available in parishes throughout their dioceses. Once the area coordinators have completed this assessment, our three diocesan coordinators will then establish a common referral system through which interested individuals, either by phone or on-line, may seek the specific help they need within about 30 miles of their location.

This will take some time to accomplish because there are more than 225 parishes throughout the state, many of which have parishioners who speak Spanish as their primary language. We have an introductory website up and running, and more than 200 carefully screened volunteers across the state will swing into action to help in the information-gathering process by June 2015. The next goal is to make preliminary contacts in every parish in the state by July 30, 2015 and have served more than 4,000 families in Washington in some way by that time.

Conclusion: Will you walk the journey of life?

Will you walk this journey too? Friends, I'm very grateful for George Czerwonka our state deputy for the Washington State Knights of Columbus who has provided hours of conversation and advice. I'm grateful to our three Catholic Charities agency directors: John Young in Yakima, Rob McCann in Spokane, and Mike Reichert in Seattle. I'm grateful to Lisa Green our PREPARES director.

I am hoping that many of you join our efforts in this PREPARES initiative so at this time I ask you to reach into your bags and get out the PREPARES pledge card as well as the pen we've given you today. Let's walk through that card and fill it out together right now and then let's close with a prayer:

Loving and Gracious God
We give you thanks and praise for the gift of our lives as well as the very gift of life itself.
Help us to increase our reverence for the gift of life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.
Increase in us a concern and a care for those who stand in the shadow of society: the poor and the vulnerable, migrants and refugees,
the undocumented and the immigrant, the lonely and the forgotten, those needing medical and mental health care,
those lacking the basics of food, clothing and shelter, as well as basic education.

Grant us the wisdom and understanding to anchor these concerns into the most basic reverence for life in the womb
at the very beginning as well as life that draws to an end for without a right to life for the unborn.

Help us teach the truth that without a right to life for the unborn and the dying, all rights for all the poor and vulnerable remain endangered.
Grant us insight as we prepare to create attractive alternatives that will serve women, their children both born and unborn,
as well as their spouses and their families so that lives may be transformed and hearts might be changed and renewed.

We ask all this in the name of your Son who is our Cornerstone and our Savior Jesus Christ our Lord
who lives and reigns with you in union with the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.


Blessed Sacrament's Christmas Bazaar

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

John McDonnell Parish Hall

1201 Missouri, Grandview

Christmas gifts, refreshments, and homemade goodies!

**Vendor tables are available; tables are $15 each please contact Heidi @  (509)840-4427 for more information.

colrvr-pic2-thinIn regions afar from the Word’s place of birth,

     some ten thousand years before the Word’s birth,

     the Word in creation had forged different lands:

          a sea far inland broke through its rock dam,

          Lake Missoula went westward seeking out the Pacific

               –shattered rock that seemed solid, 
               plowed canyons in Earth,

               and gave the Willamette the richest of soil

          – left beneath and behind it a world now transformed

               –a world of new lakes and new rivers, pure waters

               a watershed reaching from meadows,
               through mountains,

               a lifeblood of life-giving waters still bearing

               in memory their turbulent flood time of birth;

               among them a great river flowed, filled with salmon

               a great singing river through Celilo splashed down

               called first by first peoples, Che Wana, Great River,

               and then called Columbia, the West’s mighty river.

                               –from Columbia River Pastoral Letter, 2001

On September 23, near the 50th anniversary of the implementation of an historic treaty between the United States and Canada regarding the management of the Columbia River, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Washington State joined other faith leaders and leaders of indigenous communities in asking U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to begin a process of modernizing the treaty.

While the treaty has no end date, changes can be implemented beginning in the year 2024, provided that 10 years' notice is given. Please see the attached letter to the president and prime minister, as well as a "Declaration on Ethics & Modernizing the Columbia River Treaty," which was developed out of a conference on the treaty held at Gonzaga University in Spokane on May 13, 2014. The Washington State Catholic Conference has received the attached response from Prime Minister Harper.

The possibility of amending the treaty provides an occasion for Catholics and others of good will to read and discuss again "The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good," an international pastoral letter of the region's Roman Catholics bishops, published on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 8, 2001.  The following links will be helpful:  Pastoral Letter – English; Pastoral Letter – Spanish; Discussion Guide – English; Discussion Guide – Spanish.  Finally, click here for the Pastoral Letter Companion Toutube Video.

Upcoming Events

November 21-22, 2014

 (Wenatchee, WA)

November 22, 2014

 (Sunnyside, WA)

 (Yakima, WA)

 (Kennewick, WA)

 (Ellensburg, WA)

Holy Family Holiday Festival (Yakima, WA)

December 6, 2014

 (Grandview, WA)

January 15-18, 2015

 (Ellensburg, WA)


bishop tyson-small

Most Rev. Joseph J. Tyson
Bishop of Yakima

Bishop's Homilies & Statements