Disdain and Delight

03-29-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends, 

The overriding emotions of this week for me, have been disdain and delight. I had written a long diatribe on my disdain for some of our elected officials who have held up the Congressional legislation that would give us all some direction on how to proceed in these uncertain times, at least in terms of employees, payroll and healthcare. But I decided to erase that and in the spirit of Lent to practice extra charity. As is so often the case, whenever there is a free-for-all, someone will try to pick your pocket and take advantage of the situation for their selfish purposes. I understand now why St. Thomas Aquinas said that the highest levels of heaven were reserved for politicians since the temptation to self-aggrandizement and corruption is so great for them that if they can resist, it amounts to heroic virtue on their part. Doesn't look like many of them can resist the temptations. Sad.

That being said, delight far surpassed disdain. Delight at how creative so many of you are in finding ways to cope and make the best of this situation. And delight at how many businesses are stepping up and retooling to manufacture needed supplies. The My Pillow Guy has converted his pillow making plant to making face masks, many booze producers have converted to making hand sanitizer, Auto manufacturers are trying to make ventilators and lots of other creative ideas are helping us get through this.

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Jesus Cures Our Blindness

03-22-2020The Sisters Corner

Lent is a special time of conversion, of healing to grow closer to God. It’s a special time of grace to ask ourselves what attitudes, sins or attachments that draw us away from God. Today’s Gospel relates the story of the man blind from birth to whom Jesus gave sight. Healing comes first of all because we recognize ourselves sick. Jesus came for the sick or the sinners, not for the healthy or the just. It is a favorable time to turn to Him and allow Him to cure the blindness that we have: selfishness, indifference, pride, resentment. Let us ask Him with deep humility and simple hearts knowing that if we do this, we recognize that Jesus truly came personally for us, that Jesus came to heal our own personal wounds. Jesus came to be our Light so we won’t have to live in darkness!

This is REALLY retro!

03-22-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A friend of mine recently said to me, “you realize we are living at a point in history when there are two popes and a plague. Medieval, huh?”  That sounds right. You would have to go back to the 1300’s for the last time that convergence of events occurred. Of course, back then there were popes and anti-popes and the Black Plague. So, if you ever wondered what it was like to be a medieval man, well you’ve gotten your taste. The good news about living in 2020 despite a pandemic that seems medieval is that we will get through it quicker and with less lethality than past pandemics. But we have to get through it. And that is the challenge we all face.

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Self-service humanity?

03-15-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Maybe not my finest moment… I was in the Supermarket and at check-out time there were no Cashiers, just the Self-Service Kiosks. I do not use the Self-Service Kiosks simply because they put people out of a job. There are four kiosks and one staff person supervising the checkout process. So that means there are today, three less cashiers, three less jobs. And if we continue to use the kiosks then the store will get the message and hire even less staff.

Another problem with the kiosks is that after about three or four items there is nowhere to put additional items, except on the floor. If you try to put them back in the cart the camera sees it and tells you to “put it back in the bagging area”. So, I asked to speak with the Manager. I told him, rather strongly, that I resented having to do this self-service check-out because it puts people out of jobs. Just my principle. And since I had more items than normal my stuff was all over the floor. Not only me, but the lady behind me was holding a baby and scanning items at the same time and her stuff was all over the floor as well. Though she had a smile on her face, don't suppose I did.

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Transfiguration

03-08-2020The Sisters Corner

Eight days before His Transfiguration, Jesus told His disciples about the suffering and death He would go through and that He would be raised the third day. He promised glory and eternal happiness but He never hid the reality of the cross or sufferings. Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we should deny ourselves and take our cross every day. However, sometimes we fail to remember this reality, especially when we are in the middle of difficulties: maybe in our families, our relationships, our work place, personal struggles, or suffering of our loved ones.

Following Christ is certainly not the easy path: choosing Christ means giving up our selfishness, pride or sinfulness, it means selflessness, forgiving, loving even our enemy. It is the narrow path that we should follow but it is The Way, the only way to eternal glory, the only way to be truly happy. Let us keep in our minds that the story doesn’t end on the cross but in His glory. And sometimes, all we need to do is to be faithful day by day and look for the little and simple moments of “lights”, when we “hear” His voice and “see” His Plan clearer.

This Virus not in the Budget

03-08-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we approach another general election, polls say that one of the top concerns of voters is healthcare. And now with the outbreak of the recent version of the coronavirus, you can bet that healthcare will be even more prominent in this election cycle. It seems like we talk and argue endlessly about our healthcare system and you wonder what exactly happened that makes our healthcare system such a frustrating issue?

If you have ever been scheduled for surgery, you know that your medical provider will submit to your Insurance provider a request for “preauthorization”. Then you get a letter that states, “Your preauthorization is approved but this is not a guarantee of payment.” Then what’s the point, you think. It’s called bureaucratic-eeze. Now if you called your medical insurance provider and ask “under what conditions will you not pay for the surgery” you will not get an answer or at best some gobbledygook response. But you may be stuck with the bill or a large chunk of it if some insurance administrator decides afterwards that the doctor didn't color within the lines.

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Prepare Ye

03-01-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This was a recent headline from CNN: “Germany is currently not considering closing its border with Italy, due to the coronavirus outbreak…” Brilliant, I suppose, if there were actually a shared border between Italy and Germany. You wonder if anything this media outlet tells you is accurate or true. If they can’t proof-read maybe they should just look at a map.

Speaking of Italy and the coronavirus, things have turned rather somber. Both the Archdioceses of Venice and Milan have suspended all Masses, including funerals until further notice. Additionally, the city of Venice cancelled its annual Carnivale celebration which will have a tremendous impact on the local businesses and economy. Much of that area in Northern Italy has been placed under quarantine and photos show the supermarkets were stripped bare by panicked and angry residents. Likewise, in many areas in China, all religious gatherings have been cancelled, no funerals or even sick calls are being allowed. Let’s hope that’s not what awaits us.

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The Beauty of Our Liturgy as We Share Our Faith

03-01-2020The Sisters Corner

If you attended 9am Mass, you will have seen our Catechumens receive a special blessing. In Sacred Scripture, the Book of Revelation makes reference to the “Book of Life,” in which are written the names of those who have chosen to follow the Lord Jesus. Those who are already baptized, as Catholics or in other denominations, had their names written in the Book of Life at Baptism. In this Rite, those preparing for Baptism are invited to come forward and sign a book, as a sign of their desire to be numbered among the chosen of God.

On the first Sunday of Lent, across the entire world, Catholic Bishops welcome those sent by the Parish to gather together with their Sponsors in what is known as the Rite of Election. This symbolic book will be presented to the Bishop and will mark their Election. Please pray for our Catechumens as they start their final preparationtowards their reception to the Church.

An Unethically Sourced Virus?

02-23-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We often associate Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with Halloween or scary films. But it is also a cautionary tale about the limits of science and the intersection of research and ethics. As Frankenstein demonstrated, in the name of medical research you can unleash something for which you can not predict the consequences. Recently evidence is coming to light that the particular strain of the coronavirus was bioengineered in China as part of research for immunotherapy or vaccines but it was inadvertently released from a Lab in Wuhan. Much like the Africanized honey bees, aka “killer bees” that were released by a lab in Brazil and have made their way up to North American and are such a pest in Arizona, this version of the coronavirus may have been released through sloppy lab protocols.

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Spiritual Exercises

02-23-2020The Sisters Corner

As Sisters, one of the things we do every year are the spiritual exercises.

For one week, Sisters who live in different parts of the world, gathered together in Peru at a retreat house to meditate and pray so as to encounter in a deeper way our Lord Jesus, to whom we have given up our lives.

This month, all the Marian consecrated Sisters (which is the third step before making the temporary profession) will be having their spiritual exercises.

We ask all of you to please pray for all of them, including Sister Cristina who also traveled to Peru, as they start their retreat this week, so that our Lord, who called us to follow Him closer and giving Him our lives, continue to !ll our hearts with His grace.

Who is Our Neighbor?

02-16-2020The Sisters Corner

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, '“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

God calls us to love Him with all our being and in loving Him to love our neighbor; but who is our neighbor?

Last month we had the opportunity to go down to Nogales, Mexico and visit our brothers and sisters who are searching for asylum here in the US. We spent two days with them, heard their stories, prayed together and most importantly did as much as it was in our power to bring Christ’s unending love to them.

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Rats, Choice and Credits

02-16-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This seems to fit right in with the Year of the Rat theme. The AZ Department of Education released the names and personal information of 7,000 AZ families who use Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA). The Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program is an account administered by The Arizona Department of Education that is funded by state tax dollars to provide educational options for qualified Arizona students. This also allows parents to choose from a variety of alternative educational services including private schools and home-schooling to fit the special educational needs of their child.

The information that was released included the account balances, the names and email addresses and the grade in which the student is enrolled and special needs students had their disabilities listed. To make matters worse the information was released to an organization called Save Our Schools, that opposes the scholarships and school choice in general. That’s not all. The AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman has publicly stated her opposition to ESA’s, making the release of the information to an anti-school choice group all the more disturbing. The Education Department, claimed, “oops, sorry” an honest mistake. But I can’t help smelling a rat.

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Meet Sr. Cecibel

02-09-2020The Sisters CornerSr. Cecibel

Hi to all our friends in OLMC!

I’m Sr. Cecibel, I am from Ecuador. I joined the Servants of the Plan of God 14 years ago. Before that, I worked as an engineer and had many life and career plans, but I had an uncertainty. I discovered that I wanted to do more to help in this world, but I didn't know what or how. Then I discovered that God was calling me to serve those who suffer and those in need.

During this time as a Sister God has given me a lot of blessings, just for saying Yes to His calling. I have been able to contemplate true miracles, serving to women in prison, to the sick at a Children’s Hospital and at our school for disabled children in Lima, abandoned elderly at the highlands in Southern Peru, and in my country where I served the victims of a devastating earthquake in 2016.

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The Pornification of the Super Bowl

02-09-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I remember watching Super Bowl IV with my father when the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Championship. I would bet that my father would have been very uncomfortable watching Super Bowl LXIV Half-time Porn Show with one of his young grandsons or granddaughters. While it was a super game, the half-time show was super-slutty. This year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment codifying Women’s Suffrage, with a stress on empowering girls and yet what are girls being told to emulate? Pole dancing, crotch grabbing dancers in skimpy clothing with half-naked men pawing at them. Our girls continue to get mixed messages and our boys are taught to objectify women. Have we really “come a long way baby?”

I realize the NFL has become an arm of the progressive left’s social engineering plan but they could have at least given a Parental Warning or let the viewers know that sexual and graphic content was to follow. Apparently, the NFL owners are happy to make money on whatever sells no matter how raunchy. And Porn does sell. The website, Pornhub, which traffics in HUGE amounts of Pornography reported that as soon as Super Bowl Half-time commenced searches on their site for “Shakira” and “Jennifer Lopez” skyrocketed, increasing 1,401 percent and 381 percent, respectively.

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A Misunderstood Rat

02-02-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As Jesus began his Public Ministry, the first sign of the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom was healing of the sick. Since that time, the Church has always had a primary concern for the sick. That motivation spurred the development of hospitals and clinics to care for the sick and until very recently most hospitals were run by religious organizations. Part of my seminary training included internships at a variety of institutions, including hospitals. The hospital internship required spending time in each department: Administration, Finance, Pre-Op, Post-Op, the Operating Room, Labor and Delivery etc. What I found was that the most important department in a hospital was Infection Control. No matter how successful an operation was, or how it was paid for, or how beautiful the facility was, if you got an infection your health could be seriously threatened and you could end up sicker than when you first were admitted.

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World Day for Consecrated Life

02-02-2020The Sisters Corner

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord also known as Candlemas day. In 1997, Pope John Paul II instituted on this Feast Day the World Day for Consecrated Life and it became a day of prayer for men and women in consecrated life.

In the Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, Pope John Paul II spoke about the consecrated as men and women who, obedient to the Father’s call and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, have chosen a special way of following Christ in order to devote themselves to Him with an undivided heart. They are called like the apostles to leave everything behind in order to follow Christ and serve Him and their brothers and sisters.

For us, our vocation is truly an undeserved gift given by God. It is a deep joy to follow Him closer and to serve Him in the mission He entrusts us. We are also grateful for the Lord’s invitation to serve Our Lady of Mount Carmel Community.

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