A Message from Tricia

Hi everyone,

Journey  *   Trek  *   Trip * Voyage  *   Excursion * Walk

This Sunday’s first reading (Numbers 21:4b-9) begins “With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained …”  Nelson Mandela’s autobiography is “Long Walk to Freedom”. Whatever name we give it, the process  of a person or a people  moving to freedom is indeed long and our patience can grow thin. It always includes a testing or 2 or 3 or 4…….
The second reading is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians 2:6-11. Paul describes how Jesus  became obedient, even to death on the cross.   It is hard to be obedient when one is worn out.
The gospel from John 3:3-17 says that God, out of love for the world, became human, so that we might believe and thus have eternal life.  We must trade our puny and limited but precious life for an eternal life we cannot comprehend.
We have all heard this journey of life and faith stuff before. We have  heard about being obedient and  picking up our cross.  We have heard that death leads to eternal life. Yet, I, for one, find myself at  moments when my feet are blistered, my aging knees are aching, trail food tastes like sugared cardboard and my companions are annoying me.  I feel burdened already with crosses. Patience has worn thin. Or, I look about me and see others who are struggling with illness, financial woes, crushing loneliness, teens who feel they do not belong anywhere and young adults tired of waiting for doors to open.
Questions arise.  If we desire a faith that joyfully embodies eternal life, a faith that carries us through times of pain and testing must  we always be obedient?  Must we always  pick up the cross?  Well…..yes. But maybe not as we imagine.
Archbishop Hunthausen spoke  that obedience comes from the Latin word “obidare”   which means “to hear all that is being said.”  It is not blindly following but carefully listening and responding to the whole message. We are called to hear the voice of God wherever and whenever it is spoken. There are many many voices.  As Bishop Eusebio said last Sunday, each of us is a prophet.
What about picking up our cross?  Erik Law, Episcopal priest and writer, describes a model of the constant “journey”  of cross and resurrection.  Imagine you are standing at one end of an ellipse. At one end is  the  the Holy Cross and at the other end the Empty Tomb. The cross is a time or place of suffering, it is a place of death. It could be death of a dream, a relationship, a way of life, a future etc. we have all been there. The  Empty Tomb  is the place where life is eternal and all is possible. It is hope, success, birth, new relationships, life is eternal and we have amazing strength. We have been there too. When we are on the cross it is a time to come off the cross (or be taken off), to be comforted, and protected and invited to rest. We do not need to pick up our  cross as we are already there. When  we are at the empty tomb (i.e. the Resurrection) it is time to  pick up our cross.   We have the means and disposition to carry our cross for the good of all.
As individuals, as a parish, a nation or community our lives have both Empty Tombs and the Holy Cross. This is life: journey, trek, voyage, trip, excursion, walk……. The one constant is faith  that God is always with us because as we say in the St Mary’s prayer:

We believe in God who creates the universe and gives us life.

We believe in a God of love and therefore we believe In the power of love.

We believe in Jesus Christ who showed by his life, death, and resurrection God’s love for us and for each individual person.

We believe in Jesus who listened to the poor, who, during his Journey, walked and talked with the powerless so that they might have life and live it to the fullest.

We believe that each human being is called to greatness in Christ.

We believe that we are called to build up this kingdom of Christ- this kingdom of equality and love, of justice and mercy.

We believe that together, as Christ’s body, we can form community.

We believe in the Spirit, the Spirit who re-creates us every day.

We believe in the Spirit who binds us together with all who are suffering and with all who are yearning to hear the liberating message of Christ.

We believe in the Spirit who frees us from racism, from sexism, from the powerful whose actions speak against the kingdom.

We believe in the Spirit who indeed binds all of us together as brothers and sisters. God gives life, God renews life, God is life.

We celebrate and proclaim the life within us, We commit ourselves to share this life with others. Amen.

St Mary’s news

Bishop Eusebio will return to work on Monday, September 15.  All the weekend Masses at St Mary’s will be covered by a visiting priest.
Sunday school meeting for all parents after 9:30 Mass this Sunday sept 14 in Fr Tony Parish Center. Please be prepared to register your child, including $15.00 registration fee (for materials)  for each of  first 2 children  and $10.00 for all subsequent children.
Compassion and justice committee will meet after 9:30 mass in day chapel. Further discussion of the migrant children at the border and other topics will be discussed.
Finance council with Bishop Eusebio  5:30pm Monday Sept. 15.
Liturgy committee meeting with Bishop Eusebio 5:30pm Wednesday Sept. 17.
Confirmation registration for adults and teens  is still open ( gatherings begin Monday Sept. 29 6:30-8:30pm). Please contact Nick Reynolds or Tricia Wittmann-Todd. Forms are available in the back of the church.

St. Mary’s Youth Group: Girl’s Retreat / Retiro de la Niña

The Girl’s Retreat us coming up! This weekend, September 13 – 14; from Saturday at 8 am to Sunday at noon we will be having a retreat for middle school and high school girls. The theme is: ‘Say what’s in your heart, what God is calling you to say.’ The permission slips are below. I hope you come!

Retiro de la Niña nos! Este fin de semana, 13 y 14 de septiembre, a partir del sábado a las 8 de la mañana hasta el domingo a mediodía vamos a tener un retiro para escuela media y chicas de secundaria. El tema es: “Decir lo que en su corazón, lo que Dios está llamando para decir.” El permiso se desliza por debajo. Espero que venga.


FormadeConsentimiento_girls retreat_9_9_2014

Girls Retreat_Written Consent Form 2014_9_8

A Reflection from Tricia, Pastoral Associate

Hi Everyone,

            This Sunday we celebrate the 115th Anniversary of our Parish, it is our Feast Day: Birth of the Blessed Mary. We will also welcome Bishop Eusebio as our newest Pastoral Leader and Fr Bryan as Parochial Vicar.

There are so many images of Mary in the world-pregnant, joyful, sorrowful, teaching the disciples, nursing, blessing, with infant and with child, glorious. On our windows in the body of the church, we have the litany of Mary-images that express who she is in our faith and our lives: Gate of Heaven, Seat of Wisdom, Star of the Sea, Morning Star, Mystical Rose, Granter of Heavenly Gifts, Tower of David, House of Gold, Honorable Vessel, Cause of our Joy, Holy Spirit, Mirror of Justice. Check them out. The list starts at the first one on the northeast corner.

Mary was the first apostle, the one most faithful to Jesus. As humans, we see her witness as giving us a path to follow Jesus-saying yes to what God is asking us to do, birthing healing salvation into the world, struggling along as best we can, standing in sorrow at the foot of the cross, burying our dead, sharing or wisdom, speaking out, rising in glory and reappearing as needed.

This Sunday’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans tells us that all the commandments, including no adultery, killing, stealing or coveting, is summed up in love one another. Now, most of us can avoid the first 4, at least most of the time. But the call to love is to turn these narrow commands into a life like Mary’s: from just no adultery to faithfulness, just no killing to nurturing all life, just no stealing to generosity beyond limits, just no coveting to gratitude and peace in all that one has been given.

This is challenging. But just as Ezekiel was called to be the “watchman for the house of Israel”, we, continuing the work of our parish ancestors, are called to be the guardians of the house of St Mary’s. How can we do this impossible task? We are given very human help. Our Pope Francis is the guardian for the whole house of the church. Here is how he describes it: “And we Christians must ask the Lord for the grace of docility to the Holy Spirit. Docility in this Spirit, who speaks to us in our heart, who speaks to us in all of life’s circumstances, who speaks to us in the Church’s life, in Christian communities, who is always speaking to us.” He challenges the rich- Vatican bankers, bishops and laity, calls a Synod on the Family –to listen to how the church must respond more pastorally to all, enables justice to be served on priests who are abusive and evaluates how our liturgy is life giving to the Spirit of the people. Today we are given a new Pastoral leader in Bishop Eusebio to continue the work of our past leaders.

The Gospel tells us, the people, how we can gain the strength to be, like Mary, birthers of radical love. Meister Ekart wrote in the 15th century: “What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the Son of God 14 hundred years ago if I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and culture

Matthew writes of Jesus: “for where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When Jesus shows up, birthing is at hand.  At St Mary’s we gather in the name of Jesus at Sunday school and coffee hour, writers’ groups and parent groups, circulo de mujeres and youth group, confirmation and baptismal preparation and compassion and justice, Italian dinner and Grieving dinner, Pastoral Council, Finance council and Stewardship, primera comunion and Guadalupe preparation. We gather at Eucharist each week.

Anniversaries are also times of beginning, as is the fall. Consider where will I gather with 2 or 3 or more in Jesus name?

Recent questions:

How do I reach Bishop Eusebio to arrange confession, pastoral care, ask a question, etc?  Bishop Eusebio is at 206-324-7100 ext 14. BishopEusebio@stmarysseattle.org. Fr Bryan is at bryan.dolejsi@seattlearch.org. Both will hear confessions up to 15 minutes before and after Mass.

Has Tricia’s cell changed? Yes, I am no longer using the 425-956-4733.  You may reach me at 206-719-0729. Please remember that this is also my personal cell. Please feel free to call me anytime for a pastoral emergency. My office days are generally Sunday through Wednesday and by appointment as I am now back to working 32 hours a week.

and most importantly: When is the Italian Dinner? October 18, 6:30pm. Parish Hall. Tickets on sale soon.

Coming up:

September 7,   10:30am

(there is only one Mass this week-end)  Feast Day Mass, Parish picnic and welcoming of Bishop Eusebio and Fr Bryan. (Fr Tony is also back from England). Picnic at Judkins Park to follow.

Please remember to bring:

1.  an image of Mary for the opening procession at the corner. When you enter the church, place the image on a window sill.

2. something to share for the potluck picnic. Parish will provide burgers, buns, veggie and hotdogs, plates, silverware, napkins. We bring: drinks, salads, desserts, yummy foods, games.

3.  time at the end of the picnic to help clean up.

Monday, September 8   6:30-8:00pm

Confirmation Orientation Fr Tony Parish Center: all candidates, potential sponsors and parents are urged to attend. Schedules, forms, etc will be reviewed.

Sunday, September 14 after the 9:30 mass

Sunday school meeting for teachers, parents/guardians of children ages 3-grade 6 to discuss, register and meet teachers. Parish Center.

Compassion and Justice Committee: 11:00am   follow up on Forum of children at the border. How can St Mary’s help these children directly? 130 people attended our forum last week, and a collection of $890.00 was taken to support the work of Sr. Susan Wells, CCS who is working with unaccompanied children. Day chapel.

Wednesday September 17 5:30pm

Liturgy Committee Meeting. Rectory Upstairs. All are welcome.

May God Bless you on this day,

Tricia Wittmann-Todd, Pastoral Associate St Marys



Forum on Children at the Border~Foro Sobre los Niños a la Frontera

St. Mary’s Parish
Bishop Eusebio Elizondo – Parochial Administrator

Tricia Wittmann-Todd – Pastoral Associate

Jorge Quiroga – El Comité de Amnestia y Justicia Social
611 – 20th Ave. South
Seattle, WA 98144
Thursday, August 28, 2014
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Welcome – Bishop Eusebio                                                                              Bienvenida – Sr. Obisbo Eusebio
I. Story of Moses’s mother                                                                                 I. Cuento de la Madre de Moisés
II. What caused this crisis?                                                                               II. ¿Qué ha causado la crisis?
III. What is happening to the children now?                                             III. ¿Qué pasa con los niños ahora?
a. What is the current situation?                                                                      a. ¿Cómo está la situación actual?
b. Why not just send them back?                                                                     b. ¿Por qué no mandarlos de vuelta?
c. What is the Catholic Church doing?                                                           c. ¿Qué está haciendo la iglesia?
IV. Meaningful pathways to respond                                                            IV. Vías significativas para responder
a. Compassionate care for the children                                                         a. Cuidado compasivo para los niños
b. Legal assistance                                                                                                   b. Ayuda legal
V. Questions and Answers                                                                                   V. Preguntas y Respuestas
VI. Goodwill collection for CCS border efforts                                          VI. Colecta de buena voluntad
VII. Closing prayer                                                                                                VII. Oración final

More Information/Mas Información: St Mary’s Church 206-324-7100 x10 or Tricia Wittmann-Todd ext 13

Youth Migrant Project


The teens who participated in this year’s Youth Migrant Project, were an open, cheerful, and energetic group. They were deeply moved and surprised to see the poverty right next door in the Skagit Valley. They say St. Ignatius of Loyola had the gift of tears; well, this group had the gift of laughter. From this joy and support for each other, they threw themselves into the work. You can see their enthusiasm when they are playing soccer with the children or handing out food. On Sunday (8/2), the youth told us how grateful they are for their gifts, and challenged our community to continue helping our poor farm worker brothers and sisters.

Housing crisis

Currently, the farm workers have been taking Mr. Sakuma, owner of Sakuma Brothers Farms, to court over wage theft, union busting, and refusing to allow families to stay in worker housing. They won, but it is a pyrrhic victory. Mr. Sakuma has been refusing to hire until sometime in August, which means the families are coming here and cannot stay in worker housing. To be fair, Mr. Sakuma claims the housing improvements, and court costs are endangering his business and driving his refusal to hire. In the end, the reality is that many migrant farm workers have no home. Thankfully, Washington State has stepped up and contributed $61,000 for temporary worker housing. That amount is a good beginning, but it is not enough.

Youth desire change

The youth of our parish want everyone to see the poverty in our area, help the farm workers’ immediate needs, support them financially, and advocate for change with the government. They encourage you to visit José Ortiz at St. Charles in Burlington, volunteer for his food bank, and join with him as he visits those in need. They thank you for the support that made this trip possible, and encourage you to really look at your finances and see what you can actually give. St. Mary’s has always been involved with petitions and speaking for the powerless; keep up the good work and continue speaking as prophets to the government in favor of compassionate change. As Eduardo said on Sunday, ‘this is not a Latino problem, this is a human problem.’

Meet Our Parochial Administrator


Most Reverend Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S. is a native of Monterrey, Mexico.

He received a bachelor’s degree in theology and a canon law degree from the Gregorian University in Rome. In 1984, he was ordained a priest of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, a religious congregation of men consecrated to God for the service of the Church, who provide spiritual direction for priests and consecrated religious.

He was assigned to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Bothell, Washington in the year 2000 to provide ministry to the growing Hispanic community in Western Washington upon the request of Archbishop Alex Brunett. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle by Pope Benedict XVI on May 12, 2005 and was ordained by Archbishop Brunett on June 6, 2005.

Bishop Eusebio is the first Hispanic bishop in Seattle. He is appointed Vicar General ,Vicar for Hispanic Ministries and Vicar for Vocations of the Archdiocese. He will celebrate his first mass as parochial administrator at St. Mary’s July 6th, 2014.

What is a parochial administrator? When a parish is ‘vacant,’ meaning in our case that the pastor has retired and the pastoral coordinator has fulfilled her term, the bishop must appoint as soon as possible a parochial administrator. In general, an administrator has the same duties and scope of authority as a pastor; however, these may be limited by the bishop. The bishop may decide to appoint the administrator as the pastor depending upon a number of conditions. ( see http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0807.html for more information) The typical length of appointment for a parochial administrator is 3 years.

Because the bishop will continue to fulfill his duties with the archdiocese, Fr. Bryan Dolejsi, who is also director of vocations at the archdiocese and chaplain for Kennedy High School, has been appointed parochial vicar. His biography will be posted shortly.

Town Hall Meetings June 1

After the 9:30 and noon Masses on June 1 there will be a Town Hall meeting. If you are unable to attend the meetings, you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts about the upcoming transition at St Mary’s at all masses that weekend. Please think about the following questions.

1. What do you value most about St Mary’s?
2. What worries you most about the changes?
3. What is hopeful to you?


Pastoral Change at St. Mary’s

The Jewish Tradition includes a practice of “counting Omer”.  It is a practice that includes praying the psalms and reflecting on various aspects of God.  It is done daily  from Passover to the Festival of Weeks. (the Jewish Feast of first fruits which the disciples were celebrating at Pentecost.)  I want to share a practice from the first week by Rabbi Yael Levy.

The beginning of wisdom is awe.   Psalm 111:10

 The strength of the spiritual warrior who remembers

 she is not the source of her power

She is the channel through which the Divine power flows.

Our lives are conceived in mystery,

Our strength comes from the Most High.

We bow to the Source of All

As we yield to the power that flows through us.

Practice for today:

Reflect on something you believe to be true.

Feel the rightness,

The truth of this idea, this thought.

Then say to yourself: I could be wrong.

Sit with the sensations that arise.

As we move through this time of transition over the next months, I encourage each of us to engage in this practice.  It is very important that we claim what we believe to be true, that we cherish these truths, that we are willing to share them  and not pretend or try to fool ourselves.  At the same time, I encourage each of us to accept that what is good and true for me, may be destructive or wrong for someone else.   Some of the changes that we welcome, another may find very disturbing.  Bishop Eusebio and Fr Brian will bring their own sense of truth.  Gudelia and I met with Bishop Eusebio this week to discuss how liturgy is celebrated at St Mary’s.  He shared his high value of reverence and symbolism in Eucharist.

The Transition Committee is meeting for the first time next Thursday under the leadership of Shaughn Gorman and Alfonso Blanco (co-chairs of the Pastoral Council) and Gudelia Alejo as staff.  Anyone is welcome to serve on this group that will be critical to the transition over the next 6 months.  If you would like to join, please contact Shaughn at shaughng@gmail.com or  text Alfonso at 206-830-0667 or leave a message for Gudelia at Gudelia@stmarysseattle.org.

On Tuesday evening (May 20), the Pastoral Council would like to invite you to come from 7-8pm    (the first hour  of the Council meeting)   to share your thoughts , reflections, concerns and questions regarding the upcoming changes.  Your input will provide the Transition committee (most of the Pastoral Council are members) with valuable insights. We will also share notes  from that first meeting with Bishop Eusebio.