Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


Be Transformed by the Renewal of your Minds

08-02-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

At times when our thinking gets twisted our actions can become equally contorted. Two current hot potato issues that demonstrate this are facemasks and police.

So, to mask or not to mask, that is the question (my apologies to Shakespeare). The single biggest justification for wearing a face covering that I hear repeatedly, is that when you wear a face mask (properly) you are protecting other people and therefore it is a charitable act. When it is put in that way, rather than saying, when you wear a face mask you are protecting yourself regardless of what other people do, it creates a lot of hostility and judgment towards those who are not wearing a face mask. And that has led to self-appointed mask police.

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We Don't Have Tomorrow but We Had Yesterday

07-26-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Sure seems like ‘yesterday came suddenly”. Our Parish and School Community bid a fond and affectionate farewell to three of our longtime staff heading into the bliss of retirement. Specifically, Deacon Jim Brett, Director of Stewardship and Finance for the past 20yrs (and over 30yrs of service to our Diocese as a deacon); Mrs. Edith Bowers, Elementary School Teacher for 32yrs at Mt. Carmel School and Mrs. Gina Watson, School Office Administration for our School for 26 yrs! With much gratitude we say Hail and Farewell!

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Supreme Reflections

07-19-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year when the Supremes sing once again, and this year they hit several high notes. And proof that you “Can’t Hurry Love” many of the decisions were issued in July. Some of the rulings had an unusual bit of syncopation in them. Let’s start with Sister Act Part III, that is the Little Sisters of the Poor third appearance before the Court regarding the Affordable Care Act Contraception Mandate. Yes, seven years later and it’s still not done being litigated. In the ruling, the Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters by stating that the requirement for health insurance to pay for contraception was an administrative rule and not part of the original legislation. Oddly enough, Justice Kagen concurred with the ruling but was quick to state that while this current Administration is free to rescind the rule, another Administration is free to reinstate it. All that means is that the Court will probably see the Little Sisters once again if a new Administration changes the rule. So, the “contraception mandate” lives to die another day, albeit right now it is in a judicially induced coma. According to Kagen, for the Court and the Little Sisters, it’s “Someday We’ll Be Together”.

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Grumbling and Mumbling

07-12-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We can unofficially add to the Church’s Liturgical seasons of Easter Time, Christmas Time, Ordinary Time: COVID Time. Probably not the innovation you were hoping for but as this Pandemic drags on the patience and waiting of an Advent is definitely required! We are used to hearing the Biblical stories of waiting and waiting some more for God’s Plan to come to fruition. The Hebrews had to wander 40 years in the desert before entering the Promised Land. All during that time, Moses was frequently confronted by their lack of patience. After Moses had led his people through the parted Red Sea, they no sooner started complaining that the conditions were awful and they were better off alive as slaves in Egypt than dead as free people in the desert. And when the people were running low on fresh water they complained to Moses to the point of near riot.

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A Return to Mayberry?

06-28-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the problems with the current state of policing is, well, policing. And the problem isn’t really so much with the police as it is with the politicians who direct the police on how to police. At some point, I think it was around the time when the “war on drugs” began, but the manner of policing went from having police function as Community Peace Officers to being strictly Law Enforcement Officers. So, for those who don't have criminal contact with police the contact is about tickets, fees and fines. And the more police are pushed by politicians to sell quotas of tickets, fines and fees the more the municipalities are able to supplement their tax revenues.

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Tack in the Foot

06-21-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Phrases such as “systemic racism” and “institutional racism” are being used a lot lately. But what exactly do they mean? The more blatant types of racial discrimination such as employment or housing discrimination are not so hard to spot and we do have a legal system to fight against it. But there are other more insidious and harder to spot forms of racism that often infect our institutions and social systems. Consider this example:

In one school system on the East Coast, upwards of 80% of the students are placed on methylphenidate, brand names Ritalin and Adderall, prescribed to treat ADD/ADHD. Now in those same communities there is also a massive drug addiction problem, drug overdoses, and drug related crime. The drugs of choice in those same communities is methamphetamine, (crystal meth), crack cocaine and cocaine. It just so happens that methylphenidate is in the same drug family as methamphetamine and cocaine, namely stimulants. Can it be that these children are being set up to be drug addicts as young adults?

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U's -Turn Needed

06-14-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

No doubt most of us are still scratching our heads asking, “how did this happen?” How was it that a medieval-like Pandemic hit in 2020 with all our Public Health and Medical sophistication? And how was it that racism and police brutality are still part of our justice system and our society at large after years of pushing civil rights forward and going over policing practices and policies like the Use of Force policy with a fine-tooth comb again and again?

The long answer is the human condition, specifically that which Christians label as original sin. It’s right there at the beginning of the Bible. After Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden, sin begins to divide the human family, Cain kills his brother Abel and every murder since is just a variation on an old theme. The solution is the Gospel: Repent and Believe. Repent of hatred for your brother and believe that God is Father of us all and we are all brothers and sisters. Admittedly it's a long-term strategy and not so much a quick fix.

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The Red-head Down the Street

06-07-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Envision yourself as a twelve- or fourteen-year-old kid again. You come home and your mother says, “I don't want you playing with that red-head down the street.” You say, “why not?” And all she says is, “because she is a red-head that’s why.” What do you do? You have only two choices as young kid: either disobey your mother and get punished for it or buy into her craziness.

That’s basically the choices we have at this point as so many of our overlords play the role of the crazy mother. The Salon owner in Dallas chose not to buy into to the craziness and opened her business. She did it after her employees told her they were going to serve customers in their private homes so they could earn a living and take care of their families. The owner told them not to as it was unsafe during the Pandemic. So, instead she opened her shop so her staff could work in a safe environment, social distancing in place, face masks, proper sanitizing after each customer etc. She chose to play with the red-head down the street. She was arrested and sent to jail.

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