Fr. John's Letter Archives

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

Help Us Save Lives

10-29-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Over the past dozen years, our Parish has supported a variety of youth programs aimed to keep the next generation connected to the Church. One of these programs is designed to help young people who struggle with issues such as substance abuse, cutting, eating disorders, pornography and other similar issues. The FullCircle Program has grown and developed over these years, and this year we have seen a big increase in requests for assistance from families. No doubt the opioid explosion is fueling a lot of the new requests. To better manage the increased numbers, we added an additional full-time staff counselor. Additionally, we have increased our outreach to many of the area schools, including Seton Catholic and Brophy, so that they have more tools to help their students.

One of the bigger efforts we engaged in this year was to help start a Sober High School. So often the place where young people get their drugs and get high is at school. Having a safe, sober environment greatly helps their chances of staying sober and staying in school. With the help of Sun Valley High School in Mesa and the support of the Principal, Mr. Joe Procopio (a really exceptional principal), we were able to create a school within a school that custom fits the curriculum to the needs of each student.

This year, sadly, we experienced for the first time, two overdose deaths of young people who had been in the FullCircle Program. While they were with us, they thrived, were happy, and connected to their families. One of the families told us, “We love you. While she was with you, our daughter was the happiest she had ever been. Thank you for giving her that time.” Small consolation but gracious words from a grieving family. Unfortunately, after these young people left our program, they didn't continue to use the new tools we gave them. For me, it was a painful punch in the gut. One of the reasons I started this program was so that I wouldn't have to watch parents bury their child from something we could prevent. While I realize we can’t save everyone, I won’t stop trying.

Still, gratefully, there are many more success stories. Many of our kids finish the program, finish high school, go on to college or trade school, actually get a job and become self-supporting - much to their parents’ surprise! More than that, they become useful, helpful members of society and remain connected to their faith and God.

1 Peter 5:8, which I have inscribed on my paten, says, “Stay sober and vigilant. The devil prowls like a lion looking for someone to devour.” Right now the devil is devouring our young people through the use of drugs, alcohol, and other self-destructive behaviors. Because of your support, encouragement and donations, we will continue to be on the front lines of this battle.

But to continue on the front lines, I need your help and support. Please continue to patronage our FullCircle Coffee Shop on Sunday mornings. I also want to invite you to attend our Annual FullCircle Banquet on November 11 at 7PM for some well-mannered frivolity. This year it will be held right here at Mt. Carmel. Tickets are on sale on the weekends or at the Parish Office during the week. If you can’t attend, please consider making a donation to the Program. (All donations are tax-deductible.) You can donate either through Our Lady of Mt. Carmel or The FullCircle Program, Inc. Also, consider remembering the Program in your will or estate planning or end of year giving in December or become a partner with an ongoing monthly donation. Either way, you will be part of saving lives and healing families.

When you come to the Banquet, you will hear and see the success stories from some of our young people and their families. It is important for you to hear so that you know what you are part of and how your support is making a difference for so many young people and their families.


Fr. John B.

P.S.  FullCircle is qualified to receive Matching Gifts and other Employer related charitable giving. Just contact us if you need any information to make that happen with your employer