Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Be as Rich as Croesus!

02-28-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the Precepts of the Church is to provide for the temporal needs of the Church. We call that Stewardship of Treasure or Resources. While it is an obligation that is proper to all the baptized it can only be personally fruitful if it comes from a generous heart. One of the wails that go up when ever money is mentioned is that Jesus did not talk about it much. Except that he did, around 60% of the time in the Gospels. Jesus knew well the grip that material goods can have on us, how it can become idolatrous and mostly how it chokes the heart and causes a disciple to be fruitless. So we do well to practice Stewardship so that we have the right relationship with God and mammon.

A good place to start is by taking up the Rule of One: make sure to spend one hour a week in prayer (outside of Sunday Mass), one hour of service per week and give the first hour of wages in the Sunday offering (that would be 2% of your salary; the biblical goal is 10%). This is a starting point and hopefully you can increase the amount on all three as you become more disciple-ed.

Four ways I always encourage you to be Stewards of your treasure: first and foremost regular and consistent giving in the Sunday collection; secondly, participation in our annual Parish Festival, which this year is on Saturday, April 16 with a Preview Dinner on Friday, April 15 (a letter and Raffle Tickets will be arriving in your mailbox soon.). Third, donate to the AZ Tuition Tax Credit for Private Schools, preferably to Catholic Education Arizona ( This is a dollar for dollar credit and so it costs you nothing but greatly helps our families afford the cost of tuition. You have until April 15 to donate and claim it on your 2015 Income Taxes. If you need assistance stop by the H&R Block Office at Broadway and Rural, ask for Molly and tell her you are a friend of mine and she will make your feel as rich as Croesus.

The fourth way to be a good Steward at Mt. Carmel is to use our Food For Thought Gift Card Program. Dozens and dozens of vendors allow us to purchase gift cards for their businesses and give us a rebate of anywhere from 3% to 40%. Again the cost to you is nothing but just by shopping at supermarkets, department stores, restaurants, gas stations etc. you earn money for the Parish.

One big change to our Program is that Kroger Corp., which owns Fry's Supermarkets, will no longer sell gift cards to schools and non-profits. Over the 20 plus years that we have participated in the Fry's Gift Card program, Kroger Corp. has been very generous to us and you have been very diligent in using their program. Last year alone we purchased over $1million in gift cards for Fry's so it is a big loss to us. Fry's will still offer their community rewards program through their VIP Card (so if you shop at Fry's make sure to link your VIP Card to Mt. Carmel). Capitalism being capitalism I respect their decision and I hope they respect mine to move on to Safeway.

We have Safeway Gift Cards as well as Albertson's, Bashas' (which can be used at Food City and AJ's), Whole Foods and Sprouts. You can also earn fuel points at Safeway that can be redeemed at Safeway Gas Stations or Chevron (we also have Chevron gift cards).

These are four simple ways to be a good Steward of your resources and fulfill the precept to provide for the temporal needs of the Church. The first two will cost you something (Sunday collection and Parish Festival) and the second two (AZ Tuition Tax Credit for Private Schools and the Food For Thought Gift Cards) are cost free but require some intentional effort. Either way all four will increase your fruitfulness and hopefully your happiness

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.
—2 Cor. 9:6

Love, Fr. John B.

P.S. If you don't know what a Tax Credit is or how it works, you're probably being ripped-off when it comes to finances, you should attend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University that starts tomorrow and learn how to get your finances to serve you and not vice-versa. See our website for details.