Hospitality aboard the Steward Ship

05-01-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The first characteristic of Stewardship is hospitality. Having a welcoming and generous spirit however should not be confined to how we treat the visitor at Church. Simple acts of friendliness can go along way. Case in point: last weekend, a wonderful weekend with lots of activity. Eddie James and his Gospel Singers were at the 9am and 11am and Fr. Neil from Scotland was visiting for the 11am Mass as well. An unlikely combo for sure! I noticed a group of religious Sisters attending the 11am Mass. Afterwards I asked them where they were visiting from and they replied that they were from Washington, DC and visiting to attend a Graduation at Grand Canyon University.

Mt. Carmel was not the closest parish from where they were staying so I asked why they chose to come here for Mass. One of the Sisters told me that the night before they were out to dinner and a nice man came over to their table and welcomed them and in the course of conversation told them he attended Mt. Carmel. After their meal when the Sisters asked for the check it had already been taken care of by this man (nice touch). So they decided to come to Mt. Carmel for Mass next day. The Sisters also told me that their religious community was founded on the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Whoever our anonymous friend is who showed hospitality in a restaurant to the Sisters gets the Steward of the Month Award! Hospitality is simple but can go along way at making another feel invited, wanted and cared for. So don't miss the many opportunities that happen in ordinary events to exercise hospitality. As we read in the Scriptures live an act in a way that others ask us the reason for our joy.

As we continue to sail on the Steward Ship, ALL ABOARD, this week is the third of four People Raiser's this year. PR to the Fourth Power as we are calling it this year, "The Force Awakens". Of course you are the force and I hope you awaken to the many ways you can be a good Steward. This People Raiser focuses on two of the Spiritual Works of Mercy: Instruct the Ignorant and Counsel the Doubtful. These two are critically needed in our world today. There is lots of confusion and doubt and just plain ignorance of what Christianity is all about and why it is necessary for salvation.

Some of the ministries that you can engage in at Mt. Carmel to help educate others about our Faith or assist them in finding answers to the questions life poses include: the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the formal process by which adults are baptized or received into full communion with the Catholic Church. A lot goes on before, during and after the process and we always could use your assistance as a team member. This would include the Inquiry Sessions for those just dipping their toe in the water and exploring the possibility of conversion, the Tuesday Night RCIA teaching sessions in which Sponsors are needed for each new person to help guide them along their journey. So consider being a Sponsor and giving faith as a your gift. In the process you will learn a lot more about the Catholic Faith and how to share it will conviction.

Our Elementary School, Preschool and Religious Education Program are ways that we help our young people form a relationship with Christ. Stop by the tables after Mass and see how you can help as a volunteer, a catechist, or a mentor at either the School, Preschool or RE Program.

Our Men's and Women's Groups are ways you can both grow in your faith and share your faith with others. By taking time to study the details of our faith you can become much more proficient in sharing and explaining the faith to the ignorant or doubtful.

Finally our Pro Life Ministries and partnerships with 40 Days for Life, Aid to Women's Center and First Way are ways we help others understand why the Church teaches what it teaches about the dignity and sanctity of human life. These ministries help others at critical moments in their own lives to find the emotional, spiritual and material support needed to make an informed decision for their lives and the lives of the unborn.

This Holy Year of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis is calling us each to live and practice the Works of Mercy. PR4 can help you live out two of the more challenging Spiritual Works of Mercy: Instruct the Ignorant and Counsel the Doubtful.

Love, Fr. John B.