Our American Gulag

05-15-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s, The Gulag Archipelago, first published in English in 1973 is now available in an abridged version that I highly recommend. In it, Solzhenitsyn describes how the omnipresent Soviet apparatus of repression infected every aspect of Russian life including the labor camps, prisons, uprooting and extermination of entire groups of people, the secret police and how the state ruled all-powerfully, degraded and brutalized just about everyone. But it also is the story of tremendous moral courage and how many individuals and small groups refused to be corrupted, violate their conscience and chose to stand against the state’s soul crushing tactics. So much of the resistance was not grand scale coup attempts but small, quieter acts of defiance or refusal to cooperate that allowed individuals to keep their moral compass intact.

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COVID Conflict Round 2

05-08-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends, Since the Pandemic began it seems we’ve become characters in the Mad Max Film: Beyond Thunderdome or maybe the Matrix or we are all participants in the Truman Show. Either way, “we don't need another hero, we don't need to know the way home, all we want is life beyond the Pandemic.” Still it drags on. And just like in Thunderdome, “two men enter one-man leaves” the fight is still on! Welcome to COVID-19 Conflict Round II.

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When Boys Become Girls

05-02-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When a parent sees their child struggling, they try to find out the cause of the struggle. And when the struggle is beyond normal childhood growing pains, a parent often seeks out guidance from others (parents can often get lots of sound advice from other parents who have traveled the same path) including professional assistance. Such would be the case when your child tells you they are the opposite gender from their biological gender.

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Christians and Culture

04-25-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In these last letters of mine, before I depart, I want to take on some topics that really rise to prominence in terms of how they will impact faith and how they will make it difficult to live as a Christian in our current climate. The issue that rises to the top at this moment is transgender ideology. It is like an 18-wheeler going downhill with no brake. I phrase it as an ideology, not because the issue of gender dysphoria is not real, it most certainly is and those who struggle with it require our love and compassion as well as the very best of therapeutic interventions. It has become an ideology because the therapeutic interventions are only being allowed to go in one direction, namely affirmation, with the force of dogma and anyone who deviates from that dogma, including well accomplished clinicians are being burned at the stake in the modern version of the Auto-de-fe known as cancel culture.

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Public Worship = Public Health

04-17-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Most preachers have topics they like to avoid or at least tread lightly around. After all the point of preaching is not to drive people out of the pews but to keep them there and keep them wanting to come back. Unfortunately, in a culture where everything is politicized, the list of hot-button topics is getting pretty long which makes it hard to avoid such topics since they start to intersect with just about everything in the Bible. A few that come to mind: abortion, contraception, marriage, transgender, immigration, and even the slightest mention of “he who shall not be named”.

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Because He Lives

04-10-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This is the greeting Jesus gave to his apostles and disciples after he had risen from the dead. And it was good that he did. The disciples were grief stricken and fearful. This year we read from Mark’s account of the Empty Tomb, Chapter 16. In verse 8, we read that after the women heard this news:

And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.

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Return of the Easter Bunny

04-03-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In my letter for last Easter when we were still “locked down”, I entitled it “A Year Without the Easter Bunny”, a spin-off of the $lm “The Year Without a Santa Claus”. Well the good news is this year the Easter Bunny returns, albeit in a socially distanced way, following all CDC, AZ Dept. of Health and Maricopa County guidelines. The said Easter Bunny will just leave the sanitized eggs on your doorstep.

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