Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


We Need a Little Christmas

12-11-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

For we need a little Christmas right this very moment… Actually as I write this it is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas who is the basis of our Santa Claus figure. St. Nick was known to be a charitable man who had great devotion to his people. But he was also a strong Bishop who defended the Christian faith especially the truth about the person of Jesus Christ. On both accounts he gives us an example to imitate. The most amazing thing of all is that a Catholic bishop who lived in 4th century Turkey still exercises such tremendous influence on our imagination and our culture. What his life teaches us is that there is no telling how powerful one’s individual actions can be to influence others or even the course of history for the good. St. Nicholas was by no means a man of means but he used what he had to improve the lot of others.

That is the precise example that we should imitate this time of year. So here are a few ways you can expand your influence and like jolly ole St. Nick bring light and happiness to others.

  • This is one of those years Christmas falls on a Sunday. Therefore you get a 2 for 1: Christmas and Sunday Mass all in one. However when Christmas falls on a Sunday your Pastor loses sleep since our Parish budget depends on two collections (Sunday Collection and Christmas Collection). So don't forget that while you get 2 Holy days in one please make sure to give for two collections.
  • Adopt-a-Family Program is a way for you to assist area families who are in need of Christmas presents and dinner. I suggest you adopt a family as a family. This is a powerful way to show your children the real meaning of Christmas in a very concrete way. Info is available on our website: www.olmctempe.com 
  • AZ Tax Credit: you can donate to Catholic Education Arizona or one of the many Tuition Organizations in our AZ and claim the donation on your 2016 Income Tax. For details visit: www.catholiceducationarizona.org.
  • End of Year Giving: many of you are figuring out your tax liability prior to December 31 so don't forget that your donations to our Parish and/or School are tax deductible. This includes Wills and Estate Giving and other forms of Charitable Planned Giving.
  • Food for Thought Gift Cards: even if you don't have resources to contribute to any of the above you can still support the parish by using gift cards purchased from us to pay for your shopping (food, gifts, gas, clothes, restaurants etc.). The vendors give us back on the gift cards we sell anywhere from 2% to 20+%. We call it Food for Thought because you have to think before you shop and purchase the gift cards beforehand.

Unlike Santa, I don't make a list and check it twice to see who is naughty or nice. In other words I don't check how much you give individually as I don't ever want that to bias the way I treat any one. Still as your pastor I always want to encourage your stewardship so you too can bless others through your giving. And I haven’t forgotten how generous you have already been this year in so many ways but especially in the help you gave to get the Servants of the Plan of God to our Parish (and we still have one more Sister coming in January!) and that includes all your donations to cover the costs of their Immigration, the Convent, and their expenses. Don't forget that while we have a Convent what we actually purchased was a mortgage and donations to assist with payments are also tax deductible!

Sacrificial giving was at the heart of the ministry of St. Nicholas and thank God it was. What would Christmas be without the spirit of giving that is so exemplified by the happy jolly figure of Santa? Let’s face it St. Nick is one of the easier saints to imitate in his example of joyful, quiet, sacrificial giving. Why not follow his lead?

Love,
Fr. John B.

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