Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


An Unexpected Visitation

06-05-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,
Nine years ago this June we celebrated our 75th Anniversary, which means this month our Parish will officially turn 84! The theme for our Diamond Jubilee was taken from the prophet Haggai 2:9: “Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former and in this place I will grant prosperity.” That was our prayer for the entire year and this is how that prayer is being answered today among us.

As I previously told you we were able to find a home near the parish that is large enough to serve as a Convent for the Sisters, Servants of the Plan of God. The house ironically was not on the market but the owner agreed to sell. Since the house was leased to tenets we chose as the date for the closing of escrow the end of the lease.

When Sister Carmen and Sister Veronica visited to make final preparations for their arrival I showed them the house that will be their convent. One thing that they requested was a picture of the Visitation, when Mary greets Elizabeth since that image serves for them as an inspiration for their own ministry: just as Mary rushed to serve Elizabeth bringing her Jesus the Servants seek to follow that example in their own lives. Fulfilling that request is rather simple as one of our parishioners had already painted the entire series of the Mysteries of the Rosary (and I always thought his Visitation was his best piece) and I knew he would be happy to paint one for the Sisters.

Then last week during Mass it dawned on me: the date for the closing of the house is May 31, which just so happens to be the Feast of the Visitation! Is that odd or is that God? When we picked that date for the closing I had no idea of their devotion to the Visitation nor did I remember it was the Feast of the Visitation but apparently God did!

Then there is this. As many of you know my numero uno go to saint is Father Damien of Molokai. Since I was a young boy he has inspired me and I ask his help every day in my prayers. St. Damien, who was isolated on Molokai with the lepers prayed for many years that God would send him help in his ministry, he begged the Bishop as well as the Queen of Hawaii to do the same. Finally after about 15yrs Mother Marianne Cope (now St. Marianne) showed up with some of her Franciscan sisters to help him. Well it just so happened that the day Sr. Veronica and Sr. Carmen arrived at Mt. Carmel for their visit was, you guessed it May 10, the Feast of St. Damien. Again I only realized that as I was preparing to celebrate Mass on May 10th but it sure hit me hard as a great grace that the Saint was bestowing on us. Grant it, I admit, I am no saint but just maybe in Sr. Veronica God is sending us our own St. Marianne to assist us?

Some will think this is just random coincidence, no more than a roll of the dice. But I see it clearly as one way that God is indeed answering the promise of our Jubilee Prayer and that this is part of the way that God is making our future greater than our past and allowing us to prosper.

And so what all this means and what I am saying is that we are living in the middle to the answer to our own prayers. How great is that?!

So just as Mary and Elizabeth were faithful to the plan of God in their lives, pray that we may likewise be
faithful to the plan of God as it unfolds among us.

Love,
Fr. John B.

PS As we try to practice the Works of Mercy during this Holy Year of the Jubilee of Mercy, we have an unexpected opportunity to “Shelter the Homeless” with the new Convent. I will be posting on the website a list of needed items, much like a bridal registry, so you can help purchase the needed items. The list should be up this coming week.

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