FEBRUARY 27, 2009
Bill Goldsby, Erich Dark and Father Ken Sales of the Knights of Columbus, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, serve up dinner during the church’s annual six-week Friday Fish Fry last year.
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Photo courtesy of Michele Spring Fajeau
Ushering in Lent with faith, fellowship, fish This year, the season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 25. Like Jesus, who fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days before beginning his ministry, more than 5,000 Brentwood Catholics also observe the Lenten season with fasting and prayer in preparation for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, followed by the Easter celebration. But unlike Jesus, who spent 40 days alone, we are not asked to do the same. At Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Catholic Church in Brentwood, there are several public observances of the season in which we can prepare as a community – including
the church’s annual Friday Fish Fry. As Catholics around the world give up something they enjoy as a spiritual gesture, doctrine dictates that they abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent because Jesus was crucified on Friday. Fish Fridays are a long-standing tradition for generations of Catholic families. Drawing on this tradition of family and community, IHM hosts an annual Fish Fry each Friday during the Lenten season – open to the entire community. Sponsored by the Catholic men’s see Lent page 9A
What a wild week! The ink was barely dry on the federal stimulus package, and then President Obama comes out with his housing plan. Then a few days later the California budget was passed, and they threw in some items designed to help address our real estate problem. All this is tentative at the moment until I can confirm the hard details, but here is what has leaked out so far. First, here are the highlights of Obama’s plan. This plan only addresses principal residences. Homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae who still have equity in their homes may be allowed to refinance at attractive rates and terms. The plan also allocates $75 billion to help lenders modify loans for those people who are upside-down on their homes. The lender and the government would share the cost of reducing payments to 31% of the homeowner’s income. The good news is that the homeowner does NOT have to be delinquent for this plan. The government will also pay lenders and servicers $500 to $1500 for each
loan modified to further incent them to modify loans. Obama’s plan also attempts to lower mortgage rates by throwing more money at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Because of all the fine print, it’s estimated that less than 5% of homes around here will qualify for the refinance/modification part of his plan. Then in the California budget, there are two items of interest. A tax credit of 5% of the purchase price or $10,000 (whichever is less) if you buy a home that has never been occupied, and occupy it as your principal residence. Obviously geared towards buying a brand-new home. Must buy between 3/1/09 and 3/1/10. And lenders that don’t have a loan modification program in place for their borrowers will have to wait an extra 90 days to foreclose. If you have questions on this or any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240MOVE (6683). To search the MLS for free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty – Advertisement
Chris Christopherson MBA, EA, Tax Consultant
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Published on Feb 26, 2009