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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Two Popes, too many?

01-26-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

First there was the two Popes and then there was the movie version of the Two Popes and then a book pitting the Two Popes against each other. It’s enough to give you Two Popes, too many fatigue. The latest intrigue from our being present at this unique historical moment of having a Pope and a Pope emeritus is a film and a book.

The film, The Two Popes has been playing on Netflix as of late. What you need to know about the film is that it is FICTION. It never happened except in a writer’s creative mind. Nor is it based on pieces of actual evidence or what probably could have occurred. Just a yarn made from whole cloth. What’s good about the film is the acting. Both Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce give excellent performances and do not disappoint. What’s bad, is that it is stereotypic on many levels. The film uses a stereotypical Hollywood world view in which everything is divided into right-left, liberal-conservative categories. So, Pope emeritus Benedict is the rigid, rightwing villain and Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) is the oozing-compassion progressive. Then in stereotypical Hollywood characterization, a German personality by definition is hard, cold and unfeeling whereas the South American personality is infused with Tango tapping joy and joie de vivre.

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March for Life

01-26-2020The Sisters Corner

This past January the 18th we had the opportunity to attend the March for life here in Phoenix. We had a powerful rally with wonderful speakers such as Bishop Olmsted and Abby Johnson.

These types of events help remind us of the responsibility that we have to speak out for the unborn. The responsibility to raise our voices to defend our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We need to work together to build a culture of life. Each and every person is unique and loved by God in an immense way. One person can change the world as Jesus did on the cross where He brought us salvation.

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New Sisters are Coming to Join Us Soon!

01-19-2020The Sisters Corner

As you all know Sr. Ximena left for Peru just a few weeks ago. We are all very grateful for her time serving with us in OLMC during 2019 and we wish she might be called back to serve here in the future but we have no way of knowing that now.

Sr. Cecibel who is also from Ecuador will be joining us soon! Sr. Cecibel should be here some time in February and accompany us in our mission at least for the next six months.

Right now, in our community in Arizona, we are four sisters: Sr. Monica and Sr. Cristina from Peru, Sr. Maria Jose from Chile and Sr. May from the Philippines. With Sr. Cecibel we will be five sisters until another sister from the Philippines joins us. We will be waiting for Sr. Kathleen’s Visa papers to go through. Hopefully they should be ready by June, so please help us pray to make the paperwork run smoothly and quickly and to try to have her here sooner. When she arrives once again we will be six!

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Moving Forward on the Pro-life Highway

01-19-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

After the US Supreme Court issued the Dred Scott Decision, President Lincoln and the US Congress passed a law-making slavery illegal in any US territory or any new state that might be carved out of those territories. Lincoln refused to accept that a slim majority of the Court could impose a policy that was binding on the nation as a whole or on the voter who considered it wrong so as to remove the issue from legislatures and voters. It was a way to both undermine the institution of slavery and push back against the Supreme Court’s ruling. In a somewhat similar manner since January 1973, many Presidents and Congresses have issued executive orders or passed laws pushing back against the Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and demonstrating that abortion is not a settled policy binding upon the states. So, this week we mark another March for Life and another push to undermine the legality of abortion on demand.

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Thank you for your prayers!

01-12-2020The Sisters Corner

As we have shared with you in previous weeks, during the month of December our community held our First General Assembly, and for that reason Sr. Maria Jose and Sr. Monica traveled to Peru to meet with all the perpetual sisters from the order coming from all corners of the world. During the Assembly besides choosing our new General Superior and General Council we got to discuss and work on the future of our community by setting the priorities for the next five years. It was a lot of hard work but a time of plentiful blessings for our community. We know that many of you were praying for us and we are grateful for that, we could feel the grace of your prayers during our meetings!

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War & Peace

01-12-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In his January 1, World Day of Peace Message, Pope Francis said, “The journey of reconciliation calls for patience and trust. Peace will not be obtained unless it is hoped for. In the first place, this means believing in the possibility of peace, believing that others need peace just as much as we do. Here we can find inspiration in the love that God has for each of us: a love that is liberating, limitless, gratuitous and tireless.”

It seems that when it comes to the Middle East, we have long since given up any hope for peace. After these 20 years of war it seems like war is just the routine condition that we are expected to live with, sort of like background noise that you can do little about. I had thought that President Trump had more resolve than to get sucked into another conflict in the Middle East. His challenge to our NATO allies to step up and do more was a hopeful sign. Likewise, Trump has taken time to listen not just to the Generals but to the soldiers on the ground. In a book by Peter Bergen: Trump And His Generals: The Cost Of Chaos: “It’s unwinnable. NATO’s a joke. Nobody knows what they’re doing,” the SEALs told Trump, according to Bergen’s book. “We don’t fight to win. The morale is terrible. It’s totally corrupt.” And like his predecessor, President Obama, Trump’s instincts seemed to be to bring the wars and conflicts to a conclusion. But also like his predecessor, he got talked into more war, not less.

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The Song remains the Same

01-05-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Roaring Twenties, or so we hope. Of course, the 1920's didn't end well so let's hope the 2020's don't end with a big crash on a Black Tuesday. Right now we are possibly set to imitate the economic prosperity of the 1920's: between 1920 and 29 the nation's total wealth more than doubled and we are presently witnessing a booming economy and the Dow setting records again and again.

Back then, the extra money in people's pockets helped usher in a consumer driven economy. One of the big factors that made the 1920's roar was the introduction of the automobile. In 1924, a Ford Model T would set you back a whopping $240! Of course, along with the car came the Service Station, where a polite attendant would come out and pump your gas, clean your windshield and ask if you wanted your oil checked. As 2020 approaches on most new cars the first oil change is at 10,000 miles and filling up your tank is a rather solitary experience! The car also helped birth the Motel which allowed people to slowly discover the country outside their previous reach so you could "get your kicks on Route 66"!

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Epiphany

01-05-2020The Sisters Corner

We have celebrated Christmas where God became God-with-us through Jesus, Emmanuel. It's a very special season to allow Him to touch our hearts by His great and tender love. Seeing Jesus as a little child always invites us to come closer with confidence and a deep trust knowing that He is there, waiting as He waited to be welcomed by people with simple hearts like the shepherds. But the Child Jesus was not only found by the humble shepherds, but the wise men from the east also did.

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