What is a Retreat?

10-28-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Last week, I joined a section of the priests of the Diocese of Phoenix for a five-day retreat at Picture Rocks Retreat Center in Tucson. When I told my nephew, Saviour, that I was leaving for this retreat, he promptly sent me a sympathy note from Uganda wishing me a quick recovery. He thought I was seriously I’ll. Another one thought I was on a vacation. This is what inspired me to explain briefly what a retreat is.

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Give to God what is God's

10-21-2023Stewardship Reflection

Today’s readings encourage us Christian stewards to always be mindful of who we are and Whose we are in every aspect of our lives.

Jesus reminds us of this truth in our Gospel passage today as He cleverly puts the Pharisees in their place during their attempt to verbally entrap Him. They ask Him whether it is lawful to pay the tax to Caesar. But the Pharisees were thinking small. Christ, on the other hand, thinks big.

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What Do the Crosses Hanging on the Pergola on the East Side of our Church Mean?

10-21-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

For a little over a week now, you have seen our crosses hanging on the pergola on the east side of our Church as they did for the first time last year. For those who are wondering what those crosses mean, well, here at our parish, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, which is a pro-life parish, each year, we join the entire Church in dedicating the month of October to celebrating the sanctity of life as I mentioned in my article two weeks ago. During this month, we are asked to pray each single day for an end to abortion through saying special prayers, prayer intentions, posters and through symbols such as those crosses, I have mentioned.

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The Five Blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary

10-14-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Through the many eras of our Church we have encountered great evils and sufferings in and of the world. We have seen this in the various instances of war, hatred, violence, division, and the disregard for the inherent human dignity that every life possesses. As our Pastor, Fr. Robert touched on last week, we commemorate October as the month of the Rosary and as Respect Life month in the Church. These two go hand in hand as our Lady, Mary the Mother of the Church works tirelessly to guide not only those who profess the faith, but all peoples to her Son, the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ.

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October– The Month of the Rosary and Respect Life

10-07-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to certain devotions. In the month of October for instance, we focus on two significant commemorations: Respect Life and the Holy Rosary. October also includes the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary which we celebrate on October 07 and the best way to celebrate the month is, of course, to pray the Rosary throughout the month. Here in our Diocese, we have the Arizona Rosary Celebration during which all the Catholics from around the Diocese gather to say the Rosary and honor Mother Mary in downtown Phoenix at the Convention Center. This year this celebration falls on Sunday, October 15.

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"I Thirst" John 19:28

10-01-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago, more than 160 of our Priests from the Diocese of Phoenix joined Bishops Dolan, Nevares and Olmsted for a four-day Priests’ Convocation in Flagstaff. The weather there was gorgeous, the camaraderie among the priests was very uplifting and the surrounding pine trees were just beautiful, complete with trails for a leisurely walk. During one of our longest breaks one afternoon, two of my friends and I, decided to take a walk and enjoy the beauty of the pine forest. The walk was so enjoyable and conversation so interesting that soon we did not realize how far we had gone till we began to feel thirsty. Unfortunately, we realized that none of us had gone with a bottle of water. The thirst I felt that moment in my case, reminded me of an incident I experienced many years ago except it was worse.

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Father, there are two things I love about you!

09-23-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Father, there are two things I love about you: Your Sermon and your Socks! These were the words uttered to me by one of our very cheerful and faithful ushers one day after Mass and it took me completely off guard. I didn’t know how to react to this ‘complement’ because I believe that was what he meant to communicate. However, the more I came to think about it the more I realized that there are many ways we can and actually do influence others even without knowing including through mundane things like socks.

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Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel Update

09-17-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Our Divine Mercy Adoration Chapel building project about which I gave you an update this past July, is moving forward even though not at the speed we had anticipated. This is because we had to change architectural firms and update our contracts, which has caused some delays. The architectural firm we were using initially went through unforeseen changes due to which, they could no longer provide the services we were contracted for.

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If God is Good, Why Does Evil Exist?

09-10-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

I was inspired to write this article on this topic by someone I was counseling a few days ago who was angry with God after losing both parents and two siblings in an accident several months ago. Just before that he had lost his beloved grandmother after a long battle with cancer. He heard a preacher say that God is Good which riled him even more. Now, in Uganda and in most parts of East Africa, there is a common call by preachers at the beginning of their homilies which goes: “God is good”, and almost reflexively the congregation answers: “All the time!” And the preacher with greater energy continues: “All the time” and the audience responds: “God is good, and that is his nature, Wow!” But if God is good, all the time, then why is there evil wondered this friend of mine? Dear friends, this is perhaps one of the oldest and most persistent rhetorical, philosophical, and theological human questions Christian theology in particular, has struggled to answer albeit, unsatisfactorily to many. I will not claim to have a satisfactory answer myself either.

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Despite the Challenges in our Church in America, There is Still Hope

09-03-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Last Friday, August 25, 2023, five men were formally admitted by Bishop Dolan to begin their three-year formation to the permanent diaconate. This included Peter Parian, one of our own parishioners. He was accompanied to the ceremony by his lovely wife Eva and children Paula and Christian, and me. Please, let us keep Peter and his four companions in our prayers.

As I participated in that very inspiring liturgy (Rite of Admission to Candidacy for holy orders), I was struck by a very encouraging hope that despite the rough time our Churches here in the United States has been through due to among others, the Clergy sexual abuse, there is hope emerging. To be sure, the said clergy sexual abuse had a great negative impact on vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life. Also, as a result of it, many Catholics either fell away from the Church or stopped coming to Church altogether.

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Welcome Fr. Gabriel Terrill

08-26-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Gabriel Terrill

Hello, brothers and sisters in Christ!

You have likely seen me around these past two months, and perhaps we have had a chance to speak. But, for those who don’t know me, my name is Fr. Gabriel Francis Alexander Terrill, but you can just call me Fr. Gabe. I am your new Parochial Vicar, and I am excited to be with you and serve you in my priestly ministry. To give you a better idea of who I am, I thought I might share a bit of my vocation story and how I became a priest.

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I'm so Grateful

08-19-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Yes, August 21st, is my birthday but unlike all the previous ones, I was not even almost aware of it until Facebook reminded me of it last week and Kelly just asked me to write something about my birthday from my heart. But this got me thinking as to why I don’t have any excitement and mood of celebration in me about my birthdays anymore? The obvious answer is the fact that I am becoming older and I don’t like it! But the more I thought about it, the more I also realized that it is not just about getting older but that getting older has re-ordered my priorities. I came to realize that over the last couple of years of living in my new country, the United States of America, I could have been greatly influenced by some aspects of our culture that constantly wants more and faster of most everything. I realized further that the more things I acquired for myself on my birthdays, the less fulfilled I was at every birthday. This new world order created by my new culture has therefore, made me to introspect the meaning of this particular birthday, which a friend of mine described as simply a bunch of numbers.

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Why would anyone in their right mind leave the Catholic Church?

08-12-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

A few days ago, I was having a brief conversation with a priest friend about this and that in our lives as pastors who have just recently taken over parishes. Something he said about adoration during that conversation not only shocked me but also made me sad, and got me thinking. He said he had replaced the full day adoration schedule in his parish with Mass at noon because he didn’t want to give people the reason to leave the church because of adoration! To leave the Church because of adoration? What a pity! To leave the Church because of adoration would mean that even if those people he is trying to retain come to the noon Mass, they most likely have no idea who they are coming to encounter or receive. If they did, they would never have enough of Him let alone leave the church because of Him being exposed for adoration. Moreover, those who want to leave the Church will still find other reasons to leave the Church no matter what. Therefore, pampering to those few denies the many the opportunity to spend time with the Lord in adoration. However, an excerpt from Matthew Kelly entitled “Beautiful Eucharist”, gives a very good perspective to this issue of leaving the Church. Matthew Kelly says:

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What Being a Community Means to Me

08-05-2023AllFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

Since my assignment here among you, first as an associate pastor a year ago and now as your pastor a month ago, it has become increasingly very clear to me how community-oriented our parish is. We are a warm and indeed very welcoming community of believers. The concept of community means a lot to me because it has taught me precious values I can always relate with, and it has greatly influenced my leadership as a pastor over the years and here is why:

Growing up in my village in Uganda, I have always been made to understand myself as a child of my community. My life was shaped by the rural village environment where darkness brought out night runners, countless stars, and a variety of wildlife. Where every child was a child of the community regardless of whether that child was from a rich or poor family, was a biological child or child of a neighbor.

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