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.

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Everyday Stewardship

10-29-2017Stewardship Reflection

In today’s Gospel Reading from St.  Matthew, A lawyer among the Pharisees again tries to entrap Jesus by asking Him the question, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest.” Jesus’ response appears multiple times in Holy Scripture, as He says, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The Lord then adds another that He cites as almost equally important, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

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It's Been a Year

10-29-2017The Sisters Corner

It's been a year since we arrived in the US, and we are so thankful that God has given us many so many blessings throughout the year. It seems like only yesterday and yet at the same time,  many wonderful things have happened in our lives and in this wonderful mission.

Since the beginning, we have felt the love of God and His unconditional love through the presence of many people. We also remember with gratitude, how some of you welcomed us at the airport and those, who in different ways, have given us the support for our needs both before we arrived and during this past year.

In the Plan of God, He has given us the opportunity to serve His mission here and to experience  beautiful encounters with Him through children, teenagers, families, and people with varied needs. 

We join our voices and hearts to the psalmist: "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good"   Psalm 107:1 He has been good with all his servants!

For more information, visit www.siervasdelplandedios.org or www.facebook.com/siervasdelplandedios/ 

Everyday Stewardship

10-22-2017Stewardship Reflection

The last line of today’s Gospel Reading from St. Matthew contains one of the more well known of Jesus’ quotes. When asked a bit of a trick question by the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Jesus responds by asking them whose image is on their Roman coins, to which they respond simply “Caesar’s.”

Jesus’ response to their reply is known to most of us, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” The Lord’s answer is far more perceptive than we might think, and it gives another message to us, one we must always remember. If we are followers of Christ, and if we work to be His disciple, the Lord might ask us, “Whose image is on your soul?” We have learned in the First Chapter of Genesis that God created us in His image.

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The Holy Spirit has been always with us!

10-22-2017The Sisters Corner

The year our foundation was formed was the year dedicated in the Church to the Holy Spirit. We have discovered in ourselves, a special relationship with Him through these 19 years of our foundation and of course now with this new foundation in the U.S.

He is the One who called us here to serve. We have seen during this first year just how He has been leading us. Thus giving us the grace to fulfill this beautiful mission here.

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We all Have One

10-22-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Nun-sense, nun-vasion, nun-the-less, is coming next weekend as we host the Annual Diocesan Vocations Event. Yes, expect an invasion of nuns, sisters, consecrated women as they are variously called. It all begins at the 9:00am. Mass where Bishop will be the Celebrant. This is also a “your parents are coming to visit so straighten up the house” kind of letter! In addition to welcoming our Bishop, we will welcome religious communities of women (a few men’s communities, too) of every flavor that serve here in our Diocese. Our goal is to expose as many young people as possible to the work of the religious in our Diocese and have them consider if it is a way of life they are being called to. For the rest of us who already have our vocations set, it is a time to pray for vocations to the religious life and to thank those who serve us here in the Diocese.

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Everyday Stewardship

10-15-2017Stewardship Reflection

Today’s Gospel from the Book of Matthew again includes parables. We have been hearing the Lord share parables with us throughout our readings in recent weeks. Interestingly Matthew contains 23 parables (or teachings classified as parables), while Luke has 28. Mark has only nine, and John has none.

The first parable we hear today is called The Parable of the Wedding Feast. In this story shared by Jesus for our benefit, a king is hosting a wedding feast for his son. He sends out invitations and people ignore them or choose not to respond. It may seem somewhat remarkable to us that people turn down an invitation to a royal wedding feast.

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How did we get here from there?

10-15-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…so goes the rhyme. But now some in our fair land want to send Columbus back to ‘the other side” as my grandmother would say. The other side of the ocean that is. But what we have once again is some who insist on judging yesterday’s behavior with today’s information.

During its heyday, if you can call it that, the Klu Klux Klan targeted statues of Columbus and all things that were associated with the explorer. Christopher Columbus that did not fit into their white supremacy world view. He was not English or Protestant but Italian and worse, Catholic. As those of us who had grandparents or great-grandparents who came from southern Europe, know from their stories that they were not considered white people. In fact, it would come as a shock to them that Columbus is now being derided as a symbol of white supremacy. Those who are now insisting images of Columbus be consigned to the waste bin can now partner with the KKK. Strange bedfellows.

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Everyday Stewardship

10-08-2017Stewardship Reflection

One of St. Paul’s favorite topics was prayer, and today’s reading from his letter to the Philippians is no exception to that. He says, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” For Paul all topics are appropriate for prayer because we need to share and consult with the Lord about everything.

God knows what is on our minds already, of course, but He also desires that we make a conscious effort to communicate with Him on these subjects. In addition, Paul points out that our prayers need to be infused with thanksgiving. We should not just petition the Lord and make requests. It is equally important that we think about, identify, and acknowledge our blessings.

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Our Mission in the USA!

10-08-2017The Sisters Corner

Soon it will be a year since we arrived in the USA and opened our new foundation here. We are so very thankful to God for all His blessings. Individually we have been serving in different ministries in OLMC Parish and School: Religious Education, Pastoral Care, Full Circle, Bridges, RCIA, teaching in the school and preschool and serving at the Newman Center at ASU. We have experienced the grace and love of God during this time and we ask Him to continue helping us in this mission that is His Mission.

Viva Las Vegas

10-08-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I admit, one of my “guilty pleasures” is, well, Las Vegas. The town fascinates me. There’s really nowhere like it: not Reno or Laughlin, Atlantic City or Macau nor even Monte Carlo. Where else can you have breakfast in Paris, pranzo in Venice, supper in New York and dessert in Egypt? Someone even came up with the idea to build a lake in the middle of the desert and put in it dancing fountains choreographed to music! Human imagination and ingenuity at its most entertaining. Las Vegas is a fun reality escape for most adults for a day or two unless you are prone to greed, lust or too much booze.

With all its illusions and excess, don't forget that God is also very much present in Las Vegas. Not so much for praying that you hit the progressive or win your money back. No, not in that sense. Rather the Church in Las Vegas is big and growing way beyond the Strip. My old friend, from way back when, Bishop Pepe (we were assigned together to the same Parish back in our Philly days) is in a nice competition with Bishop Olmsted to see who holds the record for the fastest growing Catholic Diocese in the US. At this point, I think Bishop Olmsted is a bit ahead!

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Everyday Stewardship

10-01-2017Stewardship Reflection

St. Paul offers a formula for living the way we are supposed to live as Christians in the Second Reading. Paul writes, “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.” Doing that is a challenge for most all of us. Yet, that is one of the secrets to being a good steward and living as Christ wants us to live.

To truly live that way requires a dramatic conversion. All of us know people who are so self-centered that they often are not even aware that they are totally unwilling to compromise or to even recognize the value of those around them. Achieving this kind of self-awareness, of what kind of a person we are, is a significant step on our faith and life journeys.

Screenwriter and playwright William Nicholson once wrote, “God does not necessarily want us to be happy. He wants us to be lovable, worthy of love, able to be loved by Him. What makes people hard to love? It is called selfishness. Selfish people are hard to love because so little love comes out of them.”

That is our challenge, to love others in such a way that we become lovable as well. Christ told us over and over that the secret to being His disciple and the secret to being a good steward is to 

“Love your neighbor.” That is how to be the kind of person Paul calls us to be as well.

One of a Kind

10-01-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When I came to Arizona, I was predisposed to not like Sheriff Joe. I had worked in Jails and Prisons for about a dozen years and “the toughest Sheriff in America” was pretty infamous in the correctional world. His use of striped uniforms, pink underwear, and bologna sandwiches always seemed to me an unnecessary humiliation that didn't add much to correctional goals.  I admit I had some liking for the chain gangs, not so much the chains but putting inmates to work, as most of them actually prefer to do something rather than sit around idle all day.

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