I keep wanting to say “as we are coming out of COVID” but that is sadly not yet the reality. With the Delta variant and now a new one, Lambda, I must once again encourage those of you who have not yet been vaccinated to please do so. 

None-the-less, I have resumed visiting parishes and communities around the Archdiocese. In the last month, I visited with one of our newer ministries in Tacoma called Next Chapter, which provides a safe and supportive place to live for pregnant women, single mothers, and their children who are experiencing homelessness in Pierce County, while helping them address their individual barriers to housing. They provide counseling and encouragement to help these individuals establish good credit, find a job and secure permanent housing. 

We have some incredibly generous and dedicated individuals in Tacoma who established this new ministry.Kathryn Hedrick, Board Member and Co-Founder and Monique Patterson, Executive Director and Co- Founder. These ladies are an inspiration and great role models for how all of us can model the life of Jesus and carry out his mission in concrete ways. I’m also grateful to the pastors and parishioners who generously support this impressive and life-changing outreach ministry.

More recently this week, I installed Fr. Cody Ross as Pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Bellingham. While he has served this parish for the past few years as Administrator, he now holds the canonical title of Pastor. The installation ceremony is quite meaningful, as it focuses on the role of the Pastor as one who leads the people to deeper faith and life in Christ. It was pretty clear the people have grown to love this young priest and appreciate his dedication and care for them.

Yesterday, I spent some time with our Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, continuing our work on Pastoral Planning and beginning to look at other current events in the life of the Church. I continue to be inspired by this group of dedicated and faith-filled lay leaders in the Archdiocese of Seattle, and am very grateful for their generous gift of self along with their unique gifts and perspectives. 

From there I made my way north to spend some quality time visiting with some of the elders of the Tulalip tribe near Marysville. Fr. Peter Mactutis was kind enough to set up this meeting and asked that I also celebrate the 5:30 evening Mass with the community at St. Anne’s church. 

As many of you know, the discovery of unmarked graves at some of the residential schools for natives in Canada this summer has opened a deep wound from this moment in history. I was grateful to visit with some of the Tulalip elders and to hear a bit of their own history and begin to develop a good relationship with them. It was a very heartfelt and encouraging visit.

At the end of Mass, the community vested me with a beautiful blanket, while praying over me. This was a powerful gift and one I will cherish. This reminded me of how much I rely upon your prayers as a pastor, and also highlighted the power of prayer which is at the heart of my ministry for all of you!

Finally, I was up early this morning to pray, and then make my way to the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal to visit Vashon Island for the Feast Day celebration of St. John Vianney parish which was August 4. It was a joy to preach on this occasion while focussing on our Pastoral Plan. There were some nice correlations between the saintly ministry of St. John Vianney and the basics of parish life to renew us in our life in the Risen Christ while at the same time empowering us to carry out the mission of the Church.

Congratulations to Fr. Dave Mayovsky and all the parishioners at St. John Vianney parish!

Lastly, I also want to express my gratitude to the 20 young men who have given themselves to seminary formation. A few weeks ago I spent three days with them as we gathered for some time of prayer and fraternity. Please continue to pray for all who are discerning God’s will in their life that they may respond with great hope, confidence and love! You may also wish to keep Fr. Justin Ryan in your prayers as he begins this new full-time vocations ministry! I am sure he would appreciate the spiritual support.