Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


Let Us Go to Jerusalem

02-26-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Our old friend norma loquendi says that the term “toxic asset” is an oxymoron that you can bank on! It is amazing at what speed we distort the meaning of words or just outright change the definition of a word to make it seem like it is something it is not. George Orwell would be proud. One of my favorite obfuscations is “preembryo.” It is a nonsensical and non-scientific redefining of the meaning of embryo to describe an embryo that is not yet implanted in a womb but is rather in a Petri dish. Of course no matter where the embryo is, it is still an embryo. By describing it as a “pre” embryo makes experimenting on it or destroying it a little more palatable. We do the same with baby and fetus. It is easier to stomach “aborting a fetus” than “killing a baby” in the womb. Confronting the language that empowers the culture of death is the first step in defending equality for all human life.

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Grave Concerns

02-19-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Many people have expressed to me their grave concerns and outright fears about the new administration in Washington, DC. At this point, such fears and concerns are still in the realm of the hypothetical since, as of now, no one’s liberties have been taken away or restricted. I will admit that if the shoe were on the other foot, I would be reacting the same way, if not more so. Let me explain what my grave concerns and fears were prior to the election. I will use one example to illustrate my point.

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An Iraqi Speaks

02-12-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This interview with Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop, gives an inside perspective on the recent Executive Order issued by President Trump:

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71 Years of Excellence

02-05-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We just completed our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We are blessed to have a school that has been in continuous operation for over 71 years. The pastor who first started the school in 1945, Fr. Bernard Gordon, intended for the school to educate the children of the parishioners who sought a Catholic education for their children. He did not want the school to be an elite institution, or an “Academy” as we would say, so the school was, and still is, a ministry of the overall Parish of Mt. Carmel which is a way of reminding all of us that the education of our children is the responsibility of everyone.

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5 Saturdays Makes all the Difference

01-29-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

May 13th will be the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, and October 13th will be the celebration of the final one. While the apparition of Our Lady at Guadalupe is the most popular, the messages of Fatima were the most prescient and somber. At Fatima, Our Lady warned us of the bloody carnage that would mark the 20th century. She asked us to pray to mitigate the bloodshed. She also warned, “Russia would continue to spread her errors throughout the world.” And now, finally, we see the progressive left admitting that Russia wages a propaganda war against our democracy. For years the Popes sounded a clarion against communism and Catholics were often accused of having an anti-communist/Russian obsession. Well, who’s obsessed now?!

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Poisonous Footballs

01-22-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Our Sisters have spent a season without a summer. Some might say not a bad thing. When they left South America, it was spring turning to summer and when they arrived in North America, it was fall turning to winter. But soon enough they will be treated to life inside the yearly furnace we call summer. For me I spent a season without NFL Football. As the season was gearing up and the Kaepernick kerfuffle (asking us to judge people not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin or uniform) was going strong I decided that would be more poison than I wanted to ingest. We all have to decide how much toxins we want to be exposed to and find ways to limit that exposure. After all, our souls can only fight off so much before we lose all hope. Plus, I really find it annoying to be lectured by very overpaid athletes who know little about the issues.

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More Will Be Revealed...

01-15-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, you remember “to boldly go where no man has gone before” and the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster, which is said to be a powerful year, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward, we are entering the era of Trump. We might be going where no one has gone before in electing a person who has not held elected office or high military command and who comports himself as never coming near the middle of the road. In my letter of 18 September (The Ego vs. Lady Macbeth), which was critically acclaimed (very critical) by a local news outlet, I mentioned that Mr. Trump doesn't think twice about turning the tables on his opponents and that he would expose the lies and vacuousness of the elite ruling class. I think I was right. True to form, he has demonstrated an uncanny ability, sometimes without even trying, to do just that.

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An Open Letter to President-elect Donald J. Trump

01-08-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

President-elect Donald J. Trump
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10022

Dear President-elect Trump,

As Christians conclude the Christmas season with the celebration of Epiphany, I wish to shine a light on recent threats to Christian churches throughout the US. Just days prior to Christmas, the U.S. Government reported that ISIS terrorists were targeting Churches in the U.S. on Christmas, though no specifics were given. If it were the intention of the Federal authorities to scare Christians away from attending Christmas services, then a better strategy could not be had.

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Just for Today

01-01-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Soon it will be the year that was. But was it a year to remember, or your favorite year? Was it the best year ever, maybe a year in the life of a fool? Or was it more the days of wine and roses or a time we’d rather forget? However those 525,600 minutes of those 365 days of 2016 passed by I hope you can find many reasons for gratitude and thankfulness.

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War Without End

12-25-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the less sentimental Christmas songs is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. The song is based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day in 1863. His wife had died in a fire two years earlier and his son was a young Lieutenant serving in the Union Army and was badly injured in a battle. Added to this the nation was being torn asunder by civil war so you can understand the pensive and heavy feeling that this song brings with it:

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Climate Change

12-18-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Different news agencies have recently reported that the Vatican has issued new guidelines for the formation of future priests. Not exactly earth shattering news except that the guidelines include incorporating the teaching of Pope Francis in his encyclical letter “Care for our Common Home” (Laudato Si). Again no big news here as seminary curricula includes studying lots of Papal Encyclical letters. But somehow the news took all this to mean that the Pope is requiring new priests to preach about global warming/climate change. That doesn't seem to be the case but we will have to wait and see. It would seem odd to raise the issue to the level of doctrine especially after the Church jumped on the anti-Galileo train and suffered the longest lasting black eye in history. Still this could be messy and divisive for new priests. For the more mature among us well it can be hard to teach an old dog new tricks hence the Pope’s call for ‘ecological conversion’.

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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.

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The Land

12-04-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I’m feeling like a glass of tap water among bottles of Evian and Perrier or maybe better a bagel on a plate of Danish. We have welcomed our Sisters from the Servants of the Plan of God, two from Peru, one from Ecuador and one from Chile. Now we welcome Fr. Jerome Cayetano, SVD from the Philippines! In addition we have Fr. Ernesto in residence here and he is from Mexico (but soon to be a US citizen). I’m simply no longer exotic, unless of course you consider Philadelphia a foreign place!

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