Pandemic Passion

03-27-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A few months back as I was becoming increasingly irritated at the Pandemic restrictions and what I saw as the lack of logic in many of those restrictions, I received an e-mail from a parishioner that stopped me dead in my tracks. She and her husband have raised and cared for a disabled child, though now an adult, still very childlike in her needs. She wrote:

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45 > 2300

03-20-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Strange how it’s more of a heavy lift to move 45 miles west, from Tempe to somewhere north of Rt. 303 than it was to move 2300 miles west, from PA to AZ, at least emotionally and psychologically. But when I think about it, you all have done a good job of working your way into my heart. And considering that Mt. Carmel has had a very good track record with Pastors, basically only three since 1955 (Msgr. McCready for 37yrs, Fr. Tim Davern for 10yrs and me for 21yrs), I shouldn't be surprised at my reluctance to leave here.

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"Come Out"

03-20-2021Stewardship Reflection

We face death every day. Whether it comes with the actual death of someone we love (or someone we don’t even know), a failed relationship, the loss of a job, a broken dream, or pondering our own mortality, death is always around us. What does death say to us? What we believe about our death experiences is going to say volumes about how we live our lives. Jesus comes to us today just as he did many years ago to people who were struggling with loss and death and wondering what to do. He calls us out of our tombs, where we have been closed up in fear and despair, and shouts, “Come out!” Jesus leads us out of death and gives us hope. There is always hope. There is always transformation. Although we may not always see where the road of life is taking us or see God’s presence with us on our journey, we will be brought to a new place and be given new life. Walk with God and listen to Him call you. Tomorrow, there awaits another surprise.

The Day the Music Died

03-13-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Do you recall what was revealed the day the music died?” American Pie sung by Don McLean

It’s now one year since the curtain came down on the country and most of the world started the “15 Days to Flatten the Curve”. Longest 15 days ever. Since it was one hundred years since the last Pandemic, none of us had any experience with Pandemics or how to respond. So, we all found ourselves as characters in a 21st century version of Camus’s “The Plague”. One of the characters in the novel, when confronted with the question about why God could allow such suffering, simply responds: “It helps men to rise above themselves”.

Looking back over the past year then, did it help us rise above ourselves? The answer seems to be a resounding yes and disheartening no.

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Looking into the Heart

03-13-2021Stewardship Reflection

Seeing is much more than just a function of our eyes. We can look at something with clear vision but not really see it. Often what we think we see is colored by our presuppositions, prejudices, assumptions, and needs. We judge things by appearance, but God looks into the heart. God’s sight has a much wider range and far greater depth. Receiving things or people just based on appearance can lead us to erroneous and hurtful judgments. We think we are seeing clearly, but we are not. Allowing God to restore our sight so that we can truly see is a worthy goal for our Lenten journey. Look within and look without. What do you see? Allow God to complete the picture for you. Ask Him to give you the insight to look into someone’s heart. Don’t draw hasty conclusions or presume you know the truth. Be open and humble enough so that you can receive the sight that only God can give.

Our Readings Call us to Roll Up our Sleeves and Persevere Through the Remainder of Lent by Committing to a More Faithful Life With Christ

03-06-2021Stewardship Reflection

In today's Gospel, Jesus purifies the temple area because it is being misused as a marketplace. He becomes angry at their lack of reverence for God. He spills the coins of the money changers and overturns tables, saying, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”

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Cultural Chaos

03-06-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

So, who needs women? That’s not a complaint of a misogynist. And specifically, I mean biological women. Researchers are already promising a future where biological women are not needed for reproduction. And phrases like “women who are born female” and “women who are not biological males” are now part of our lexicon. And yes, many of you are getting into trouble because you incorrectly used the wrong pronoun or got philologically tripped up with this new vocabulary.

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Today's readings are a powerful testimony to God's profound love for each of us. It is a reminder for us, as Christian stewards, to surrender all that we have to the Gracious Giver.

02-27-2021Stewardship Reflection

The First Reading from Genesis is the infamous story of God putting Abraham to the test. God commands Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, to the Lord as a sacri#ce. Abraham obeys the Lord. Yet, a messenger of the Lord cries out at the last moment to stop him. Because of Abraham’s faithfulness and surrender to the Lord, he is blessed abundantly.

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Are Your Assets Toxic?

02-27-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Our dear friend norma loquendi says that the term “toxic asset” is an oxymoron that you can bank on! It is amazing at what speed we distort the meaning of words or just outright change the definition of a word to make it seem like it is something it is not. George Orwell would be proud. My favorite current obfuscation is “pre-embryo”. It is a nonsensical and non-scientific redefining of the meaning of embryo to describe an embryo that is not yet implanted in a womb but is rather in a Petri dish. Of course, no matter where the embryo is it is still an embryo. By describing it as a “pre” embryo makes experimenting on it or destroying it a little more palatable. We do the same with baby and fetus. It is easier to stomach “aborting a fetus” than killing a baby in the womb. Confronting the language that empowers the culture of death is the first step in defending equality for all human life.

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Litany of St. Joseph

02-20-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

For those who are making the Consecration to St. Joseph, listen on our Parish App, reprinted is the Litany of St. Joseph so you can pray along.

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Today's Readings Remind us Why we Partake in this 40 Day Lenten Journey - To Prepare our Hearts for the Resurrection of Christ on Easter

02-20-2021Stewardship Reflection

St. Peter reminds us in our Second Reading of the blessings we receive from Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection — “Christ suffered for sins once… that he might lead you to God.” And again, “[Baptism] is… an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

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Today's Readings Prepare Us for the Penitential Season of Lent

02-14-2021Stewardship Reflection

In our Gospel, a leper knelt before Jesus and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched this diseased man and healed him. He then encouraged the man to show himself to the priest and offer himself a cleansing, referencing what was commanded in the Law of Moses. By completing these rituals, this man might be reinstituted into the community.

READ MORE

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

02-14-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Roses are red, violets are blue, this is what it looks like when ideology infects all you see and do:

LA Times columnist, Virginia Heffernan, who normally lives in the urban LA area but during the Pandemic decided to live in a more rural area has a big problem on her hands: her Trump-loving neighbors did something nice for her. They plowed her driveway after a snow storm! Very perplexed she writes:

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Critical Theory

02-06-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the drivers that has been framing our country’s current discussion on race is Critical Race Theory (CRT). If you’ve noticed that the talk about racial justice doesn't sound much like Dr. King’s teachings on moving towards a society where content of one’s character is the measure of judgement and that the power of non-violence best disarms oppression, that’s because CRT frames the issue and the solution very differently.

Critical Theory in general can be applied to any number of issues or topics. Marx applied it to class. For Marx, every issue, every cause of discrimination, oppression or injustice was caused by a society’s class structure. You can take the idea of class and substitute race, gender, sexual orientation and you get Gender Theory, Queer Theory and Critical Race Theory. Critical Theory in general can yield some insights into the cause and context of power imbalances in a society or in relationships. Its weakness is that it really doesn't offer much of a lasting solution other than constant struggle.

READ MORE

Today's readings are a powerful testimony to God's profound love for each of us. It is a reminder for us, as Christian stewards, to surrender all that we have to the Gracious Giver.

02-27-2021Stewardship Reflection

The First Reading from Genesis is the infamous story of God putting Abraham to the test. God commands Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, to the Lord as a sacri#ce. Abraham obeys the Lord. Yet, a messenger of the Lord cries out at the last moment to stop him. Because of Abraham’s faithfulness and surrender to the Lord, he is blessed abundantly.

READ MORE

Are Your Assets Toxic?

02-27-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Our dear friend norma loquendi says that the term “toxic asset” is an oxymoron that you can bank on! It is amazing at what speed we distort the meaning of words or just outright change the definition of a word to make it seem like it is something it is not. George Orwell would be proud. My favorite current obfuscation is “pre-embryo”. It is a nonsensical and non-scientific redefining of the meaning of embryo to describe an embryo that is not yet implanted in a womb but is rather in a Petri dish. Of course, no matter where the embryo is it is still an embryo. By describing it as a “pre” embryo makes experimenting on it or destroying it a little more palatable. We do the same with baby and fetus. It is easier to stomach “aborting a fetus” than killing a baby in the womb. Confronting the language that empowers the culture of death is the first step in defending equality for all human life.

READ MORE

Litany of St. Joseph

02-20-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

For those who are making the Consecration to St. Joseph, listen on our Parish App, reprinted is the Litany of St. Joseph so you can pray along.

READ MORE

Today's Readings Remind us Why we Partake in this 40 Day Lenten Journey - To Prepare our Hearts for the Resurrection of Christ on Easter

02-20-2021Stewardship Reflection

St. Peter reminds us in our Second Reading of the blessings we receive from Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection — “Christ suffered for sins once… that he might lead you to God.” And again, “[Baptism] is… an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

READ MORE

Today's Readings Prepare Us for the Penitential Season of Lent

02-14-2021Stewardship Reflection

In our Gospel, a leper knelt before Jesus and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched this diseased man and healed him. He then encouraged the man to show himself to the priest and offer himself a cleansing, referencing what was commanded in the Law of Moses. By completing these rituals, this man might be reinstituted into the community.

READ MORE

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

02-14-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Roses are red, violets are blue, this is what it looks like when ideology infects all you see and do:

LA Times columnist, Virginia Heffernan, who normally lives in the urban LA area but during the Pandemic decided to live in a more rural area has a big problem on her hands: her Trump-loving neighbors did something nice for her. They plowed her driveway after a snow storm! Very perplexed she writes:

READ MORE

Critical Theory

02-06-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the drivers that has been framing our country’s current discussion on race is Critical Race Theory (CRT). If you’ve noticed that the talk about racial justice doesn't sound much like Dr. King’s teachings on moving towards a society where content of one’s character is the measure of judgement and that the power of non-violence best disarms oppression, that’s because CRT frames the issue and the solution very differently.

Critical Theory in general can be applied to any number of issues or topics. Marx applied it to class. For Marx, every issue, every cause of discrimination, oppression or injustice was caused by a society’s class structure. You can take the idea of class and substitute race, gender, sexual orientation and you get Gender Theory, Queer Theory and Critical Race Theory. Critical Theory in general can yield some insights into the cause and context of power imbalances in a society or in relationships. Its weakness is that it really doesn't offer much of a lasting solution other than constant struggle.

READ MORE