Let Us Go to Jerusalem

02-26-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Our old 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. One of my favorite obfuscations is “preembryo.” 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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Meet Sr. Maria Christina

02-26-2017The Sisters CornerSr. Maria Cristina

I am Sr. Maria Cristina. I’m 22 years old and I entered the community when I was 19 years old. All my life God has been taking care of me and guiding me so that I could answer His call. Sometimes when I look back at my story I am surprised to see the cry of the love of God that said to me: “Follow me, I have chosen you”. If I had to summarize my testimony I would do it in one phrase: “all of myself and forever”.

“All of myself”: because my entire life is for God and to serve Him in the needy, in the ones who suffer and in those who are in need of consolation, counsel and love.

“Forever”: because as I started to discern my vocation, I fell in love with the fact that I understood my yes as a yes to anything He wanted to ask of me. Any mission He wanted to give me in any country He wanted me to be serve in. In a full apostolic life open to His Plan with other sisters who share the same joy as mine and who also will proclaim the wonders of God to everyone.

I’m extremely happy to be a Servant of the Plan of God. Every time I talk about it, I feel like I have won the lottery!

Grave Concerns

02-19-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Many people have expressed to me their grave concerns and outright fears about the new administration in Washington, DC. At this point, such fears and concerns are still in the realm of the hypothetical since, as of now, no one’s liberties have been taken away or restricted. I will admit that if the shoe were on the other foot, I would be reacting the same way, if not more so. Let me explain what my grave concerns and fears were prior to the election. I will use one example to illustrate my point.

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Being a Servant of the Plan of God

02-19-2017The Sisters Corner

A young women’s discernment process starts as she begins to perceive “the call” from God as well as getting to know our order in a more personal manner.

The process proceeds when she expresses verbally the yearning; to know more about our vocation and mission. During this time, we invite and assist her with going into a deeper spiritual prayer life, self- knowledge, spending more time getting to know the community and our mission. This is our way of support, thus giving her the necessary tools that she will need for the discernment.

After a period of personal time and witnessing certain signs that are going towards the direction of the consecrated life, the next step is getting to know the community, living with us for a period of time, which helps to confirm her original sense of “the call” . This is called the “Communitarian Experience.”

We receive three years of formation. Part of the formation includes an apostolic experience, which happens towards the end of formation. The sisters are assigned to one of our apostolic communities to live out our mission of living among the people before returning to the formation house.

We then enter the permanent formation. Continuing our college courses and our studies in pastoral and theology formation. During this very important period, we continue our personal growth as part of the community. We engage through different ministerial opportunities as we move forward toward our temporal profession until our perpetual profession.

Our Mission...

02-12-2017The Sisters Corner

HEALTH
Serving our brothers and sisters who are ill, in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, hospices, and similar services.

FORMATION IN THE FAITH
Evangelizing through the care, management and the proclamation of the Word, in retreat houses and formation centers teaching the faith of the Church and leading spiritual exercises.

EDUCATION
As Christians educating and offering formation to the needy and the poor, announcing the Good News of the Lord Jesus, and communicating with fidelity the faith of the Church.

ASSISTANCE AND HUMAN PROMOTION
Living in loving solidarity with the needy. Working and assisting towards the promotion of the human condition, within the spirit of the Gospel and utilizing the social teaching of the Church. Keeping in mind that out of service to our brother the evangelizing dynamism is born and with the perspective that both proclaiming the Gospel and service are intimately linked.

An Iraqi Speaks

02-12-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This interview with Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop, gives an inside perspective on the recent Executive Order issued by President Trump:

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Servants Around the World

02-05-2017The Sisters Corner

We have received many blessings over the years and with the grace of God many doors have opened in different countries around the world.

Our headquarters are in Lima-Peru and for this reason we have several Apostolic Communities serving in the various missions we have. We are also in two provinces in Peru: Ayacucho and Ayaviri.

Our presence in Latin America is extended to other countries as Colombia, Chile and Ecuador, evangelizing people of all ages, with different needs in their lives. Serving the Church directly in Rome has also been a blessing. We have sisters serving the needs of the Church there in many different ways.

Going to other continents continues to be a challenge. However, we believe that God wants us in the Philippines and Angola because of their status’ as mission territories, with many needs. Through the years of serving the Church in Angola and the Philippines, we have experienced an existing deep hunger for God. It is believed that this hunger is partly satisfied as they continue to encounter the testimonies of people trying to fulfill that hunger and need.

And now with God we face our new challenge in coming to United States. We are open to His grace during this beautiful time. We are so grateful to God with our first community in Arizona!

71 Years of Excellence

02-05-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We just completed our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We are blessed to have a school that has been in continuous operation for over 71 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 an “Academy” as we would say, so the school was, and still 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 everyone.

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More About Our History

01-29-2017The Sisters Corner

Our community continues to grow as more women come together wanting to bear witness to HIS offering of eternal love from the cross. Women who carry other’s crosses as an offering and bearing witness to our Lord’s own giving of love, warmth, tenderness, compassion and in solidarity joyfully announcing faith and charity.

In the year dedicated to the Holy Spirit, as we were moving towards the Jubilee of the year 2000, in the Archdiocese of Lima, Peru , our community: Servants of the Plan of God was established on August 15 1998, (the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

We remain open to the influence of the Holy Spirit through a maturation process that achieves the form of a canonical society in apostolic life. Thus allowing us to continue to serve HIS people as part of the awe inspiring Mission of the Church.

5 Saturdays Makes all the Difference

01-29-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

May 13th will be the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, and October 13th will be the celebration of the final one. While the apparition of Our Lady at Guadalupe is the most popular, the messages of Fatima were the most prescient and somber. At Fatima, Our Lady warned us of the bloody carnage that would mark the 20th century. She asked us to pray to mitigate the bloodshed. She also warned, “Russia would continue to spread her errors throughout the world.” And now, finally, we see the progressive left admitting that Russia wages a propaganda war against our democracy. For years the Popes sounded a clarion against communism and Catholics were often accused of having an anti-communist/Russian obsession. Well, who’s obsessed now?!

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Poisonous Footballs

01-22-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Our Sisters have spent a season without a summer. Some might say not a bad thing. When they left South America, it was spring turning to summer and when they arrived in North America, it was fall turning to winter. But soon enough they will be treated to life inside the yearly furnace we call summer. For me I spent a season without NFL Football. As the season was gearing up and the Kaepernick kerfuffle (asking us to judge people not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin or uniform) was going strong I decided that would be more poison than I wanted to ingest. We all have to decide how much toxins we want to be exposed to and find ways to limit that exposure. After all, our souls can only fight off so much before we lose all hope. Plus, I really find it annoying to be lectured by very overpaid athletes who know little about the issues.

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Our History

01-22-2017The Sisters Corner

The Lord has his own ways. Looking at our own history, we regard our birth as a gift for the service of the Church.

In the past the presence of religious communities, was perhaps more common, in hospitals or clinics as well as far away mission places where people were deprived of spiritual support and help in the moments of pain, found a spiritual solace in those difficult moments that required a look of hope and spiritual connection.

Now a days, in the need that exists to give testimony of the Lord, showing the world His mercy and charity, (especially in various situations that are marked by the pain and suffering of the person), where the explicit presence of the consecrated life is in some places even smaller, the Holy Spirit created us to exist as a response to this need.

Our Community Life

01-15-2017The Sisters Corner

Community life is a fundamental part of the vocation of a servant. As the community of the Apostles who gathered around Mary focusing their lives in the Lord Jesus, we also seek to live, love and bear witness of Him in the world.

Each servant encounters in her community life, an excellent way to receive the grace of God and try to learn to be more like the Lord Jesus, in His love, His mercy and His unconditional surrender for others. In our community life, we find a privileged space to experience friendships in the Lord. It is also a space of knowledge and an encounter where we celebrate our faith and share the grace and the gift of our vocation as we prepare to serve better in the mission.

Anticipating that our communities are sealed by an intense spirit of family, of Christian charity, of sisterhood and joy; as servants, we live happily with other sisters who also discovered the call to give their lives to the service of God and to the neediest people.

More Will Be Revealed...

01-15-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, you remember “to boldly go where no man has gone before” and the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster, which is said to be a powerful year, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward, we are entering the era of Trump. We might be going where no one has gone before in electing a person who has not held elected office or high military command and who comports himself as never coming near the middle of the road. In my letter of 18 September (The Ego vs. Lady Macbeth), which was critically acclaimed (very critical) by a local news outlet, I mentioned that Mr. Trump doesn't think twice about turning the tables on his opponents and that he would expose the lies and vacuousness of the elite ruling class. I think I was right. True to form, he has demonstrated an uncanny ability, sometimes without even trying, to do just that.

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An Open Letter to President-elect Donald J. Trump

01-08-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

President-elect Donald J. Trump
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10022

Dear President-elect Trump,

As Christians conclude the Christmas season with the celebration of Epiphany, I wish to shine a light on recent threats to Christian churches throughout the US. Just days prior to Christmas, the U.S. Government reported that ISIS terrorists were targeting Churches in the U.S. on Christmas, though no specifics were given. If it were the intention of the Federal authorities to scare Christians away from attending Christmas services, then a better strategy could not be had.

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Our Prayer Life

01-08-2017The Sisters Corner

In answering the call that God invites us to accept, we seek to put our Lord Jesus as the foundation of our lives. We aspire to live foundationally in the dimensions of personal and communal prayer.

We strive to live our lives daily as if in continuous prayer that rises to the Father giving glory and praise. We seek to live intensely our sacramental life, actively participating in the Sacred Liturgy, and nourish our spiritual life with the reading of Scriptures, Divine Lectio, praying the Rosary, among other forms of prayer. Participation in the Eucharistic Celebration along with daily visits to the Blessed Sacrament are necessary in our daily encounter with the Lord. In these encounters we are strengthened daily and we renew our participation in the Paschal Mystery, referring to our sense of our apostolic service which is the means we have to offer of ourselves.

Similarly, we are called to an apostolic life. We aspire to live our daily life with the characteristics of the spirituality of action. Looking for the unity with the Lord in everything. The inspiration of Mary, Our Lady, who preserves and ponders all the things in her heart (LK 2,19.51), guiding us to continue along the path of life in prayer.

Just for Today

01-01-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Soon it will be the year that was. But was it a year to remember, or your favorite year? Was it the best year ever, maybe a year in the life of a fool? Or was it more the days of wine and roses or a time we’d rather forget? However those 525,600 minutes of those 365 days of 2016 passed by I hope you can find many reasons for gratitude and thankfulness.

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Our Mission

01-01-2017The Sisters Corner

To accomplish our mission, we are inspired by the model of Our Lady as a Servant. In particular, in the passages of the Visitation and the Wedding at Cana. Mary goes to serve to her cousin Elizabeth carrying the Word in her virginal womb. She brings the Good News and at the same time is in solidarity with Elizabeth in service to her in times of need. At the Wedding at Cana, Holy Mary is exemplary in her attitude of prompt and effective service to the needy. Expressing in her actions the closeness with her Son. She trusts him unconditionally and that is the reason She intercedes before him for the needs of others.

Mary is our model of service. We desire to live and serve as She did in these delightful passages, with the same attitudes that She did.

Our passion is to bring Jesus to the world. Announcing with joy the Gospel through service. Arising from the encounter of the love of Christ and with the charity with which we seek to serve all of our brothers and sisters but especially, the fragile, sick, poor and needy people and our suffering brothers and sisters. Our priorities are in health service, formation in the faith, education, assistance and promoting human dignity.