E tu, Brute?

06-25-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“There’s a new world comin’, and it’s just around the bend.
There’s a new world comin’, this one’s comin’ to an end.”
New World Coming sung by Mama Cass

“E tu Brute?” The immortal words uttered by Julius Caesar, in Shakespeare’s play of the same name, as Julius Caesar realized he was being assassinated by not only his political rivals but by a man whom he thought was his friend. That play is now being performed during New York City’s “Shakespeare in the Park Series” but with a twist. The character of Julius Caesar has been replaced with a President Trump look-a-like and according to script, is unceremoniously murdered by his political foes. I would call that at the least, poor taste and at the worst, scurrilous. But what is really shameful and disturbing are the crowds coming to see it and cheer it on. Something has definitely changed in America. When did it become acceptable to stage the assassination of a sitting President or hold his severed head up in mockery? While I had not even the slightest liking for the policies of President Obama or his maudlin moralizing, I would never have wished him harm and would condemn anyone who did. Maybe I’m old fashioned but somethings are beyond the pale.

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Our Apostolate Through Music

06-25-2017The Sisters Corner

Since the very beginning of our foundation, we have recognized music as a very important way to evangelize to Catholics, non-Catholics and even those who do not believe in God.

It is for this reason that we started a Musical Ministry called Siervas. Our songs seek to communicate about human experiences, trying to illuminate those experiences from the perspective of faith.

Read more about us by visiting  www.siervasdelplandedios.org or
www.facebook.com/siervasdelplandedios/ 

To Know Him, To Love Him , To Serve Him

06-18-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

If you remember the old Baltimore Catechism taught: “God made us to know him, love and serve him…” Hence, we first must know God in order to love Him. For how can we love that which we do not know? Hence, we read the scriptures and study the teachings of our Faith. But how do we love God? For Israel this was summed up in the commandment, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one God, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your strength and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) Jesus of course added to this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” So this love of God includes love of neighbor and love of self. Authentic love then necessarily has these three objects. So in a sense when we fail to love our self or our neighbor our love of God falls short.

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Our apostolate in Rome

06-18-2017The Sisters Corner

In 2006 we arrived at the heart of the Church: Rome. It has been a huge blessing to serve there through our charisma. Since the beginning of this foundation, one of our sisters has been a part of the teamwork of the Pontifical Council for Health Care. Which offers support with projects directed to the health care of people in the ethical and moral areas related to this subject. We also do pastoral care, catechesis, prayer groups in different parishes. We have programs of evangelization for families and the youth. Additionally, we help in Caritas, specifically in programs that help the immigrants.

“and the Son”

06-11-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The Filioque Problem. I know many of you lay awake at night pondering this problem. And if you were around at the end of the first millennium of Christianity, this issue had tremendous theological and political implications. In fact, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It led to the East-West Schism, the split in Christianity between the East and West in what would become the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

In a nutshell, the controversy stemmed from the words of the Nicene Creed: I believe in the Holy Spirit, The Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son). The words “and the Son” - “filioque” in Latin - did not appear in the original version of the Creed of Nicaea (325) but were added at the Council of Constantinople in 381. Hence the Creed that we profess each Sunday is properly called the Nicene-Constantinople Creed. The Eastern Church mainly rejected this, preferring “through the Son.” Their rejection was construed as a rejection of the authoritative nature of the Council of Constantinople, as well as Papal Primacy and the exact nature of the Trinity. (If you want to learn more about the controversy, the U.S. Bishops have a good article on it:

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/filioque-church-dividing-issue-english.cfm .

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Our Apostolate in the Philippines

06-09-2017The Sisters Corner

Our apostolate in the Philippines In 2003, the Lord wanted us to open our first community out of America, in the Philippines.

Our mission there is to teach in the schools and in the university. We assist with pastoral needs through retreats, spiritual journeys, Bible groups, conferences, leadership workshops, etc.

We have been helping in the area of pastoral care by: going to the hospital and giving spiritual accompaniment. Additionally, we have a project of catechesis and feeding for children that are poor, called “Feeding program”.

We also visit women that are in jail; we do mission trips to different islands that are in need such as Boho, Leyte and Batayan, (an island that was very much affected by a typhoon many years ago). With a group of volunteers we offer them aid in both material and spiritual ways for all their needs.

For more information visit www.siervasdelplandedios.org or www.facebook.com/siervasdelplandedios/ 

Our apostolate in Angola (Africa)

06-04-2017The Sisters Corner

We are very happy and thankful to God, who allows us serve Him through our most needy brothers and sisters in the African continent since 2005. We would like to share with you a little bit of our mission there.

Our community is in Huambo, where we serve in the education and health areas through service in a hospital and through programs for evangelization. In these evangelization programs we have projects of spiritual accompaniment and solidarity missions. We have a kindergarten, where we teach our little brothers and sisters about faith. We conduct courses for Catholic leaders for the youth of 18 villages in the area and we also assist the local church through our participation in commissions of catechesis and areas related to health within the Dioceses.

For more information visit www.siervasdelplandedios.org or www.facebook.com/siervasdelplandedios/ 

As Satisfying as Bed-Wetting

06-04-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The Tempe City Council voted on whether or not to lift the cap, currently at two, on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in the city. The state statute gives cities the authority to enact zoning regulations and other restrictions on the Dispensaries. The result was, well, sort of like wetting the bed, a bit of relief but then cold and stinky. The Council voted 4-2-1 to lift the cap but imposed additional zoning restrictions (Dispensaries can be located no less than one-mile apart, 1500 feet from a day care or school (including ASU and residential areas). So considering the geography of the city (10miles x 4miles) and the requirements for security and the actual square footage of a dispensary and available retail space that fits the requirements, there could be up to 5 or 6 dispensaries in Tempe. So while the City council did lift the cap, the additional zoning requirements limit the actual possible number of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, which could have been upwards of 30 or more.

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Our Apostolate in Chile

05-28-2017The Sisters Corner

We want to share with you our mission in Chile. We have three different communities in Santiago de Chile with varied kinds of missions.

One of the missions, that we work in is “Fundacion Las Rosas”, a Foundation that serves the elderly. Most of who have been abandoned by their families. At this institution we have received the gift of being able to accompany them in this very integral way. We believe it’s a very special mission to serve Jesus through them preparing their hearts to the encounter with God.

In the other two communities we work with young people that are in schools and in the university. We also work in different parishes giving catechesis for the sacraments, formation in faith and formation for volunteering and pastoral care.

For more information go to www.siervasdelplandedios.org or www.facebook.com/siervasdelplandedios/ 

The Most Powerful Weapon

05-28-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Once again, the bloody fingerprints of a terrorist have been left on our society. Ever since that dreadful day in September, 2001, we have been dealing with the fingerprints of terrorism either through waging war, using drones to take out terrorists, or through an increasing acceptance of trading our liberty for security. And as the years have waned, our taste for war has grown sour. In general, western democracies have little desire to fight any more wars. As a result, our will and resolve when it comes to dealing with terrorism is greatly diminished. And while being a warmonger is not what we aspire to, protecting liberty and freedom sometimes requires a strong hand. So either we keep doing what we are doing and hence keep getting what we are getting, or ask for the terms of surrender so the killing stops, or design a new strategy.

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Our Apostolate in Colombia

05-21-2017The Sisters Corner

Our Apostolate in Colombia…In 2002 we opened our first foundation outside Peru: Colombia. Today, we are in the town of Marinilla, Antioquia. We have several missions, we feel, where the Lord wants us to serve. We would like to share some of them with you.

In the social pastoral area, we have the opportunity to help the elderly and people that are homeless. We do this ministry in coordination with “Accion Cartitativa” (Project of the Diocese).

In the pastoral health area, we visit those who lacking in this necessity of life. We also do pastoral work at the universities, accompanying the students and workers of “Universidad Catolica de Oriente”, providing formation in the Catholic faith and developing projects for the students to volunteer their services.

Through our service, we seek to be open to all the needs of the church. Nowadays, we assist in ministries in different parishes, such as: preparation for the sacraments, retreats and mission trips. We also have a project “Alegria y Esperanza” where we catechize people in human promotion in a very poor town in Marinilla.

For more information go to www.siervasdelplandedios.org or www.facebook.com/siervasdelplandedios/ 

The Graduate

05-21-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When I was young(er), I was Dustin Hoffman - or at least people thought I was. People would ask me if I was, and sometimes I would even give my autograph. Ironically, I also worked for a lady named Mrs. Robinson, strictly business relationship, of course. Actually, she was Jewish, but “Jesus loves you more than you will know.” I thought of this when I saw that it is the 50th anniversary of the film “The Graduate” with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. In the film, Hoffman, a recent college grad, is given non-stop advice on what he should do, what job, what career is the best for him and is constantly asked what he wants to do with his life. He is given advice such as “There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?” In the film he falls in love with the daughter of Anne Bancroft, who finds out he is also having an affair with her mother, and well, Hoffman’s entrance into adult life is a complicated mess.

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Fatima at 100

05-14-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we enter into the Centenary Celebration of the Apparitions at Fatima, I want to point you towards Fr. Andrew Apostoli’s book Fatima for Today. Fr. Apostoli gives a thorough account of the history, theology, and the implications of the messages for us today. I highly recommend his work and at the same time caution you that there are different groups that promote the Fatima message, and not all of them are worth your time. There are some groups that dispute that St. John Paul II revealed the full contents of the “third secret” or that the Consecration of Russia actually took place according to our Lady’s direction.

Our Lady did warn that Russia (communist) would continue to spread her errors throughout the world. She specifically asked that the Pope consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart so it would be converted. Since no Pope has been able to actually go to Russia, though both John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried, this is how the consecration took place:

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Our Apostolate in South America Ecuador

05-14-2017The Sisters Corner

As we are called by the Lord to serve the most needy people, we have a Pastoral and Solidarity Center named “Nuestra Señora de la Reconciliación” (Our Lady of Reconciliation) located in Tarifa (a very poor town of Guayaquil). With a group of volunteers we assist families that live there and give them a pastoral care through catechesis, preparing them for the sacraments, with courses of faith formation. We also seek to contribute to the social development of the people through human promotion with Labor Training Workshops.

Also, in Guayaquil, we have a center for young and adult women with mental disabilities called “Jacinta y Francisco”. We seek to educate and form them (along with their families) through the Catholic faith by providing them with everything necessary to maximize their skills and abilities so that in order to be socially and professionally integrated. This apostolate is with the help of a professional staff that is dedicated to the participants.

For more information go to www.siervasdelplandedios.org or www.facebook.com/siervasdelplandedios/ 

Our Missions in Other Countries

05-07-2017The Sisters Corner

Our apostolate in Peru is called “Encuentra a Cristo”. In the city of Lima, one of the apostolic projects that we have is called “Encuentra a Cristo” (“Find Christ”) in which every week we go to visit, with a group of volunteers, those who are the forgotten, facing the hard life of living in the streets of the city.

For each one of us, as Servants of the Plan of God, it’s a pleasure to serve Jesus through them, asking us for help. We believe that God never forgets any of His children. He will do everything to have them return back to Him. We too want them to have the experience of God’s love. A love that always find us, even if we have committed mistakes. With the grace of God, we see many of them choosing the option of a better life and most importantly, a life with Jesus.

For more information go to www.siervasdelplandedios.org or www.facebook.com/siervasdelplandedios/ 

The BIG One

05-07-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The BIG ONE is coming. No, not my first heart attack - still awaiting that one, but the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions at Fatima. The First Apparition took place on May 13, 1917, when Our Lady appeared to the three children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta on the 13th of every month from May until October. Her messages were dire warnings about the coming scourges that would engulf the world: two World Wars, Communist Russia and China - all of which were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. Also, since she chose to appear in a city in Portugal named after the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, she also wanted to warn us of the conflict that is engulfing the world currently. Still, despite the warning of coming calamities, Our Lady offered hope that through prayer and penance some of the suffering could be mitigated and limited. After this period of 100 or so years, she promised that a period of peace would come upon the earth.

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