Be as Rich as Croesus!

02-28-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the Precepts of the Church is to provide for the temporal needs of the Church. We call that Stewardship of Treasure or Resources. While it is an obligation that is proper to all the baptized it can only be personally fruitful if it comes from a generous heart. One of the wails that go up when ever money is mentioned is that Jesus did not talk about it much. Except that he did, around 60% of the time in the Gospels. Jesus knew well the grip that material goods can have on us, how it can become idolatrous and mostly how it chokes the heart and causes a disciple to be fruitless. So we do well to practice Stewardship so that we have the right relationship with God and mammon.

READ MORE

Disagree but don't be Disagreeable

02-21-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The USSR-California branch in January enacted a law that requires Crisis Pregnancy Centers that offer alternatives to abortion to post the following:

"California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number]."

READ MORE

Anti-life Super Bowl

02-14-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The President has requested 1.8 billion dollars to help fight the Zika virus. That is serious pocket change so this virus must be a real threat. The virus is carried by a certain type of mosquito just as dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus are carried by mosquitoes. It was first identified in the 1960's in Africa but nobody much cared. Now that it has spread to North America it's all hands on deck. Through the use of DDT we successfully eradicated malaria from Western countries and then because of the negative side effects of DDT the UN banned its use leaving Africans to suffer from malaria. Even though there are ways to apply DDT that greatly minimize its negative side effects on people and the environment its use is still outlawed. Which means if Africans want to help their people to stop being sick or dying from malaria they are out of luck. The hypocrisy of Western leaders sometimes is appalling: we can use it to make our society safe but you can't. If we have a widespread outbreak of the virus in the West and the only way to stop it is to use DDT, you can bet we would re-permit its use.

READ MORE

What do to these 40 Days?

02-07-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This Wednesday we crash into Lent having just put away the Christmas decorations. Easter comes early this year (March 27) for that same reason it comes late some years. The date of Easter is not fixed like Christmas but calculated much the same way that Passover was calculated in the first century. Easter for the Catholic world is the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. So for instance this year the first day of spring in the Northern hemisphere is March 19/20. The first full moon occurs on March 23 and the following Sunday is March 27 therefore Easter. If there had been a full moon on March 18 we would have had to wait another lunar cycle for the next full moon and that would push Easter into the middle of April.

READ MORE

Catholic Schools

01-31-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We enter into our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We are blessed to have a school that has been in continuous operation for over 70 years. The pastor who first started the school in 1945, Fr. Bernard Gordon intended for the school to educate the children of the parishioners who sought a Catholic education for their children. He did not want the school to be an elite institution, or and an Academy as we would say, so the school was and is a ministry of the overall Parish of Mt. Carmel. Which is a way of reminding all of us that the education of our children is the responsibility of every one.

READ MORE

43 and Still Going Strong

01-24-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Double extra points to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for actually finding a way to send a bill to the President to defund Planned Parenthood. The bill was vetoed but we knew it would be, still it was the first serious attempt by legislatures to live up to their promises. A surprise to no one was that Planned Parenthood endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. What's annoying is that despite the cries from PP that loss of taxpayer funding will seriously damage its ability to offer services they still come up with millions to support political campaigns.

READ MORE

Sister Act: Part 2

01-17-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

It's important to take note of answered prayers. When we celebrated our Parish 75th Jubilee back in 2007 our theme was taken from the prophet Haggai: "Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former and in this place I will grant prosperity" Haggai 2:9. One of my prayers was that God would send us once again a community of religious sisters as we once had with the Dominican Sisters of the BVM. And so the prayer has been answered with the arrival of the Servants of the Plan of God, coming to Mt. Carmel this summer. It may have seemed that for 8yrs nothing was happening but during all that time God was working on the unseen plane, raising up these women and bringing about the convergence of circumstances to get us to this point. Back in 2007 God knew what he would do and what was required of us was patient trust.

READ MORE

Woody Woodpecker or Wiley Coyote?

01-10-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When I was a young boy I always hated the Woody Woodpecker cartoons because he always got away with being nasty and mean. On the other hand I really loved Roadrunner cartoon since Wiley Coyote always got instant consequences not matter what. That was a much better message to send to children.

One of the surest disciplines on the road to maturity is logical consequences. Whether positive or negative, consequences either reward good behavior or inhibit bad behavior. For a parent as hard as it may be to watch a child experience the consequences of bad behavior most parents know that it will help their child to avoid such behavior in the future. And of course when a parent protects a child from such consequences the child is more than likely going to engage the same negative behavior in the future. Case in point the "affluenza teen".

READ MORE

An Acceptable Year?

01-03-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Now that the spirit of Christmas present is fading into the spirit of Christmas past and we start to ponder Christmas-yet-to-come what should the New Year look like? Especially in light of the fact that this is a Jubilee Year we should consider carefully how we will spend it. It is in a sense a year for our reclamation. We can change the shadows of Christmas-yet-to-come by changing our actions today.

READ MORE

Be a "Prepper"

12-27-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

…the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming. —St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio, n. 8

In a few days 2015 will be the year that was. I have a deep sense that by the time I write my final letter of 2016 it will not have been an easy year. We are headed into a Presidential election and who knows how that will pan out, if at all. Who knows what the US will look like at the end of 2016? But with a stumbling economy, the pall of terrorism that has descended over the world and leaders who are more concerned with carbon than with dynamite, well everything is not coming up roses and daffodils.

So what do you do if our government ceases to function for an extended period of time? If the lights go out for several months? This is not a call to build a bunker or rush out and stock up on supplies. And I am not channeling Glenn Beck or rehearsing for a spot on "Doomsday Preppers" reality TV show. But asking you to think of what really would get you through such a tough period? What really do you need to survive?

READ MORE

Obama the new Bush?

12-13-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I figured it would eventually happen: one day Barack Obama would wake up and realize he was George Bush. Or maybe more like Luke Skywalker finding out Darth Vader was his father. More specifically, that the same miserable options that George Bush had to choose from to deal with terrorism are the same miserable options that Barack Obama has to choose from. History indeed has its own historical ironies in the fire.

READ MORE

Will they know you are a Christian?

12-06-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

You are hereby summoned by the order of His Holiness, Pope Francis to participate in the Jubilee of Mercy beginning on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (It is a Holy Day of Obligation in the USA.)

I put it that way because participation in the Jubilee Year is not optional but constitutive of being a Christian. This is not a matter of Christians ramping up their good deeds. Pope Francis wants to shape the way we do Church and practice religion in the 21st century.

When Jesus spoke to St. Faustina, guding her to give us the Divine Mercy teaching, He told her that he had opened up the door of His Mercy and that all are invited to walk through it while it is open. But there would come a time when the door is closed and then the only option would be to walk through the door of His Justice. Pope Francis will open the Holy Doors in the four-major Basilica's of Rome, which normally remain sealed up except when a Jubilee Year is declared. I think in many ways this is a symbolic way to visually remind us to take seriously the invitation to open ourselves to mercy and to practice mercy while there is still time.

READ MORE

Children of a lesser god

10-04-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

How to get away with murder and have your fellow citizens pay for it…

The undercover videos that the Center for Medical Progress has continued to post (you can view them here: www.centerformedicalprogress.org) reveal two things: Planned Parenthood is engaged in practices that are far more barbaric than had been known and that Planned Parenthood has our federal government firmly in its control.

The videos show clearly that what Planned Parenthood does is well beyond abortion, beyond any legal right to abortion, beyond dealing with a crisis or unwanted pregnancy and certainly not in anyway related to women's health. The videos demonstrate beyond doubt that PP has passed those lines and has entered the land of BARBARISM. The deliberate killing of a child, unborn and born for the purpose of harvesting its body parts to make a profit all under the pretext of "medical research", paid for by our tax dollars.

READ MORE