Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


Common Sense?

04-29-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asked for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  Luke 11:11

The Waffle House and mass murder are not things I would have ever linked. I remember in my younger days going to dance clubs and then after the clubs closed heading to a local diner to continue the fun. Then sneaking home hoping not to wake up my parents. Amazingly they never woke up. But suspiciously my mother would wake me up at 6am… During those 3am diner dates the worst that ever happened was a fight, usually over a girl. But I would have never conceived that you could be murdered for no reason at all while eating breakfast with friends. That’s all changed now and we seem to have an abundance of sick and twisted individuals that bring our civilization to new lows on a regular basis.

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A Tilted Playing Field

04-22-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The Arizona Faith Network (formerly known as the AZ Ecumenical Council) is a coalition of various faith communities including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix that collaborate on a variety of issues of social concern. They recently put forward a statement on Criminal Legal Reform (https://www.arizonafaithnetwork.org/message-on-criminal-legal-reform ). The purpose of the message is to encourage people of faith, faith leaders, and faith communities to add their voices to this call and to advocate for a "fundamental transformation of mindset about the criminal legal system." The message itself has some very worthy points that should be considered in any Criminal Justice Reform. Of particular note is recognizing the special needs of juvenile offenders, stopping the privatization of prisons and jails, fostering the reintegration of offenders into the community.

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Checks and Balances

04-15-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In the Book of Revelation John begins by writing to the seven Churches that were near Patmos, the penal island on which John was incarcerated. He writes to these living communities with a word from Jesus, a word that affirms them and also a word that challenges them. These churches or Christian communities are referred to by John as the 7 lampstands among whom Jesus walks. As lampstands they are to give light to the culture around them otherwise their light will be extinguished. Their light will burn out if they are not faithful to Jesus the faithful witness.

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Let's Make a Deal

04-08-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The NRA and Planned Parenthood don't really have much in common except one thing. They both operate using the same strategy: never give an inch. No matter how reasonable a restriction may be, the old saying applies: “if you give an inch they’ll take a yard”.  The NRA argues that since gun ownership was written by the Founders in the plain text of the Constitution and Planned Parenthood argues that abortion is a constitutional right as determined by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and therefore need to be protected against any encroachment. I find it interesting that a lot of the same restrictions we have tried to enact on abortions are the similar to the ones being proposed for firearms.

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They Came to Believe

04-01-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

And I came to believe in a power much higher than I
I came to believe that I needed help to get by
In childlike faith I gave in and gave him a try
And I came to believe in a power much higher than I

“Came to Believe” by Johnny Cash

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Walk the Walk

03-25-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we enter into the week we call Holy we begin with the crowds who sing “Hosanna’s” to Jesus as he enters Jerusalem but we will end the week with them by shouting “Crucify him”. There are moments when we want a Savior of our own making and moments when we reject the type of Savior that God offers us. How much do we want a God who comes to us on our terms yet spurn the God who comes to us on His terms?

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Choose Wisely

03-18-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In an episode of The Twilight Zone, entitled “A Nice Place to Visit,” Rod Serling narrates the following story:

After robbing a pawnshop, Henry, aka, “Rocky” Valentine is shot by a police officer as he flees. He wakes up to find himself seemingly unharmed. A genial old man greets him. He explains that he has been instructed to guide Rocky and give him whatever he desires. The two travel to a luxurious apartment. Everything is free. Rocky concludes that he’s dead and believes he’s in Heaven and the gentlemen is his guardian angel.

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Free? or Free and Fair

03-11-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Trade, tariffs and tirades. International trade is definitely not my forte, nor do I pay much attention to it. But my curiosity peaked when, after the President declared he would impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, heads started popping off, editorial writers with hair on fire declared the apocalypse. The reaction was sure and swift. According to some, there is no greater sin that a president can commit than imposing tariffs. But why?

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Pistol Packin' Principals?

03-04-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

There finally seems to be a lot of willingness to come up with strategies to prevent future mass shootings at our schools. But the fact that we even have to discuss the issue at all shows how far our society has come apart at the seams. How did things change from the days of leaving your car unlocked and windows down to having to install alarm systems to prevent theft? Maybe I am just being sentimental and nostalgic but the not too distant past seemed a lot safer and saner.

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Young Killers

02-25-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

After yet another mass murder, we find ourselves grappling to find answers to why this happens and how to prevent it. So far, we have employed a strategy that insulates us from the effects of a would be terrorist, assassin or mass murderer. After 9/11 we came up with the TSA to screen out the less than one percent of travelers bent on using a plane as a weapon. In our schools we have trained staff and students in disaster drills and now how to respond to an active shooter situation. We have also mandated seat belts and airbags in vehicles to protect against among other dangers, drunk drivers. But none of these strategies, while they may reduce harm, get to the heart of the problem.

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Colluding with Dictators?

02-18-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Our beleaguered leader is really taking it on the chin these days. His election was a surprise to many, and many long for the days of his predecessor. The bureaucracy actively works against him and seems to dog him at every step. He is accused of colluding with the worst kind of dictator and even compromising with a foreign power. In fact, he has been accused of being a dictator himself. Grant it, some of the things he says leave people scratching their heads and his administration running to explain what he said. Every major news outlet from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal has recently editorialized against him and questioned his decisions. Does he deserve to be judged so harshly? I think not, which puts me in the minority position.

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Unshocked

02-11-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The great question to us is whether we are still capable of being truly shocked or whether it is to remain so that we see thousands of things and know that they should not be, and must not be, and that we get hardened to them. How many things have we become used to in the course of the years, of the weeks and months, so that we stand unshocked, unstirred, inwardly unmoved.

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Texting Too Much?

02-04-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

You are probably familiar with the infamous text messages of the two FBI employees that were found, lost, and found again. Reportedly, there were 50,000 messages between November and June. Wow, that’s a lot of texting even for two people having an intramural extra-marital affair. That works out to about 25,000 texts sent and 25,000 responses. That would be, without counting sleep hours, one text and response about every eight or nine minutes, every day for five months.

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