The Plan of God

12-01-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Happy Advent. Another year to discover what the year of Grace 2020 may bring us in God’s providential plan.

Three years ago, our Parish changed in a very significant way with the arrival of five Sisters from the Servants of the Plan of God. As it often happens in the history of the Church, whenever the Church moves forward in some significant way, it is likely because of faithful women. While both men and women are often visionary, men tend to concern themselves too much with the how and women tend to concern themselves with the what. Men think, “How are we going to do that?” while women tend to concern themselves with “What God wants of us?”. I think the lesson is: don't worry about the how, God will provide that but do your best to figure out what God wants of us.

A little over twenty years ago, a small group of women, inspired by the call of Pope St. John Paul to re-evangelize the world using all the modern means at our disposal, came together and formed a new Religious Community of Women. Since then they have grown in numbers and sent Sisters to serve beyond their Motherhouse in Peru to Chile, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Rome, Italy, Angola, Africa the Philippines and most recently to the United States.

Since the Sisters arrived at Mt. Carmel, they have helped us thrive and grow. Under their leadership the candidates coming into the RCIA, considering joining the Church are up, the Religious Education Program has almost doubled in number, our School has grown and the ASU Newman Center is flourishing with students. This year they sent the first two Americans to begin formation in their Community. And there are about one hundred other things that they have their hands in both here and in our Diocese and State in which they imprint their joyful spirit.

Recently the Servants finalized their Constitution (which is the governing document for their Community structure, life and mission) and had it approved by the Vatican. If you know anything about that process, you would know it is a long process with years of consultation with the Vatican, where there is a dearth of clocks and calendars. And just as they were nearing the finish line, the Archbishop in Lima, who oversaw the process was retired and a new Archbishop appointed, delaying the process still more. But now it is signed, sealed and delivered.

This month the Servants will hold their General Assembly with all the perpetually professed sisters and elect new leadership for their Community as required by the new Constitution. And that means two of the Sisters who are here, Sr. Monica and Sr. Maria Jose are eligible for election to positions of leadership on the General Counsel.

So, here’s the challenge. While either of them would be great leaders and help their Community to continue to grow, thrive and fulfill its mission, I wouldn't want to lose either of them here. So, the selfish part of me hopes God finds someone else and the more spiritually serious side of me prays that God’s will is done. Actually, since we already had a few changes in the Sisters that are here and each one that comes is as good or better than the last, I have no worries if we are sent a few new ones but…

This is a long way of asking you to pray for the Servants as they embark on their General Assembly. For whatever reason God has connected them to us and we are now part of their history and they part of ours.


Fr. John B.

PS Our website has a new video produced by America Magazine featuring the Sisters here in Tempe. Be sure to view it at