Once Again: NO

08-30-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

NO ON PROPOSITION 207 in November. We go down the road again of another attempt in Arizona to legalize recreational use marijuana. We have legal “medical” marijuana in AZ and in the last general election a ballot proposition to legalize recreational use marijuana failed. But the multi-million-dollar megacorporation cannabis industry will not give up. And neither should we give up defeating Proposition 207 in November. Make no mistake, for the cannabis industry it is all about profits. And those handsome profits are concentrated in a handful of marijuana growers and investors, all rich white folk, like former Speaker of the House John Boehner, who especially target poor and minority communities to sell their poison and maximize their profit.

I have previously written about this issue extensively but it may be time for a review of the facts versus the myths. This Proposition will be sold to you as “smart and safe”. It is neither. That of course is how legalized medical marijuana was sold to the voters of AZ. But what has happened since its legalization?

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ASU School of Magic Part II

08-23-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Call it amazing, after last week’s letter, but it’s really not amazing since we are now dealing with ASU School of Magic, but presto, an email came from ASU Human Resources stating that: ASU has partnered with the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide free drive-thru COVID-19 testing at sites around the Valley and the state to all Family and Friends of ASU. I guess with one wave of the wand (or maybe it was the fork), the Headmaster magically produced COVID-19 Saliva tests with a 48hr turn around and made them available to the community. I suspected all along that of all the University Presidents in the USA, this one had the elder wand. And he did. I guess all other Universities really should fear the fork.

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ASU School of Magic

08-16-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

By my count, as of this writing we are in day 36 of a record breaking streak of 110+ temps. The previous record was 33 days. And up we go for days to come. But what is coming down is our COVID-19 positivity rate in Arizona and even more in Maricopa County. Good news. Maybe. Except. But.

Right now, 100,000+ students are moving into Tempe, South Scottsdale, Downtown Phoenix from all over the country and the world to start a new semester at ASU. But I have been assured that they will not, will not raise the COVID-19 positivity rate in Maricopa County. You might find that hard to believe. I did. It took some convincing. But it is true. Sort of. In an underhanded way only a state-run bureaucracy could come up with.

You see Arizona State University has its own COVID-19 testing and lab. Lots and lots of it. Actually, I find that irritating. Why is it that this tax-payer funded University didn't share their testing and lab with the community when we needed it most? So much for being a good community partner. I guess ASU does not play well with others.

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Aloha AOC

08-09-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This hit where it hurt. I wrote my own take on this but my pen turned way too poisonous. It was dripping red with sarcasm, uncharity, acerbic adjectives. But as I have been saying for a while, this is the Age of Aquarius and everyone is being revealed for who they truly are. In this case the US Congresswoman from NY, who maligned, insulted, disparaged St. Damien, (my dearest patron) reveals herself as, well, see I can’t go there so I will let the Defender of all things Catholic, Bill Donohue from the Catholic League, say it much more diplomatically:

Dear Rep. Ocasio-Cortez:

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Be Transformed by the Renewal of your Minds

08-02-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

At times when our thinking gets twisted our actions can become equally contorted. Two current hot potato issues that demonstrate this are facemasks and police.

So, to mask or not to mask, that is the question (my apologies to Shakespeare). The single biggest justification for wearing a face covering that I hear repeatedly, is that when you wear a face mask (properly) you are protecting other people and therefore it is a charitable act. When it is put in that way, rather than saying, when you wear a face mask you are protecting yourself regardless of what other people do, it creates a lot of hostility and judgment towards those who are not wearing a face mask. And that has led to self-appointed mask police.

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We Don't Have Tomorrow but We Had Yesterday

07-26-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Sure seems like ‘yesterday came suddenly”. Our Parish and School Community bid a fond and affectionate farewell to three of our longtime staff heading into the bliss of retirement. Specifically, Deacon Jim Brett, Director of Stewardship and Finance for the past 20yrs (and over 30yrs of service to our Diocese as a deacon); Mrs. Edith Bowers, Elementary School Teacher for 32yrs at Mt. Carmel School and Mrs. Gina Watson, School Office Administration for our School for 26 yrs! With much gratitude we say Hail and Farewell!

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Supreme Reflections

07-19-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year when the Supremes sing once again, and this year they hit several high notes. And proof that you “Can’t Hurry Love” many of the decisions were issued in July. Some of the rulings had an unusual bit of syncopation in them. Let’s start with Sister Act Part III, that is the Little Sisters of the Poor third appearance before the Court regarding the Affordable Care Act Contraception Mandate. Yes, seven years later and it’s still not done being litigated. In the ruling, the Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters by stating that the requirement for health insurance to pay for contraception was an administrative rule and not part of the original legislation. Oddly enough, Justice Kagen concurred with the ruling but was quick to state that while this current Administration is free to rescind the rule, another Administration is free to reinstate it. All that means is that the Court will probably see the Little Sisters once again if a new Administration changes the rule. So, the “contraception mandate” lives to die another day, albeit right now it is in a judicially induced coma. According to Kagen, for the Court and the Little Sisters, it’s “Someday We’ll Be Together”.

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Grumbling and Mumbling

07-12-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We can unofficially add to the Church’s Liturgical seasons of Easter Time, Christmas Time, Ordinary Time: COVID Time. Probably not the innovation you were hoping for but as this Pandemic drags on the patience and waiting of an Advent is definitely required! We are used to hearing the Biblical stories of waiting and waiting some more for God’s Plan to come to fruition. The Hebrews had to wander 40 years in the desert before entering the Promised Land. All during that time, Moses was frequently confronted by their lack of patience. After Moses had led his people through the parted Red Sea, they no sooner started complaining that the conditions were awful and they were better off alive as slaves in Egypt than dead as free people in the desert. And when the people were running low on fresh water they complained to Moses to the point of near riot.

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07-12-2020The Sisters Corner

These past 4 months have been truly challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most common and certainly human experiences are fear, insecurity and anxiety. It’s precisely these kinds of situations that we experience that we can’t control things even if we feel a certain need to do so. This is a time when we need patience more than ever with ourselves and with others knowing that God is sweetly patient with us first. In these circumstances we have an opportunity to practice what we “already know”. Truths like: He has a purpose, He is a Good Father who is taking care of us, He is with us always no matter what. Perhaps it has been an opportunity where we realize that we truly need to grow in our trust in Him. If we think about it, it’s precisely one of the greatest occasions to actually grow. Let’s ask God to help us be patient and to transform this challenging and difficult time into a time where we learn how to trust in Him a little bit more. With deep and childlike confidence let’s ask Him: “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24).

Trust More in God

07-05-2020The Sisters Corner

As Sisters who come from poor countries, we have been in contact with people in real need most of our lives. Yet we find that those who have less or suffer more are many times the happiest ones. Why? Because they have given their burden to the Lord and trust that He will give them what they need.

Who has not felt the burden that life can bring? (And that takes very different shapes.) Many times, we just spend too much time worrying and troubling ourselves about things we cannot change. Instead, we should give this weight to the Lord and ask Him to help us handle it.

In today’s Gospel there is a very powerful message for all of us that can be of comfort if we allow it to be. God allows us to receive pain, suffering and difficulties in different forms in our lives but He only allows us to carry the weight we can handle. We need to trust more in God and learn to walk more with Him in whatever is difficult in our lives.