Servants for 20yrs!

08-12-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

15 August 1998 was a day the world became a better place. That is the date of the founding of the Servants of the Plan of God/Siervas del Plan de Dios of which our wonderful Sisters are a part. That means Wednesday, August 15 is their 20th anniversary.

Their community and mission were approved by Pope St. John Paul II and their foundation was a response to the late Pontiff’s call to reinvigorate the Church as we approached the Third Millennium of Christianity. A new era calls for new ways of proclaiming the Gospel. Just as Jesus said, “a good steward brings forth from his storehouse both the old and the new.”

The essence of their spirituality is that having been gripped by the love of Jesus they eagerly go forward to share that same love with everyone. The image that most inspires them is that of the Virgin Mary going forth to her cousin Elizabeth to bring to her Jesus and to assist her in her time of need. Despite Mary’s own life having been turned upside down, she knew that the only thing she could do with the gift that she was given was to share it. The Servants in a similar manner share the gift of Jesus through the works of mercy to bring God’s gift of salvation to human beings.

Over these two decades the Servants have exploded across South America and also have foundations in Rome, Africa, Philippines and since 2016 here in the US. Gratefully they chose us as their first foundation in the US! Since they arrived here, well, life has never been the same! I can say for sure they are not a glum lot! Their energy, enthusiasm, kindness and joy are the best gift we could have ever received. In the midst of many administrative tasks, the Sisters remind me each day of what is really important, why I do the things I do. The love of Jesus is what matters most.

One of the realities of community life is that the needs of the community are always a priority. Which means sometimes the members get reassigned to new ministries based on the needs of the members. So, this summer we said farewell to Sr. Maria Alejandra and Sr. Veronica. I am very grateful for their service and willingness to venture into the unknown and help plant their community of consecrated women in the soil of our Parish. Their spiritual fingerprints will remain on our parish and our hearts. At the same time, we welcome Sr. Monica who will also serve as the Superior of the Community. We are still awaiting the arrival of Sr. May Lourdes, who hopefully will be here in the Fall. I am excited to have both of them here with us and to share their gifts among us.

Please plan to join us to celebrate their Twentieth Anniversary and also the holy day of Obligation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Wednesday, August 15 at the 7:00pm Mass. Bishop Olmsted will be here to celebrate with us as well.

Speaking of which, our Bishop you may have heard has been appointed the Apostolic Administrator of the Byzantine Eparchy of Phoenix, pro-tem. (An Eparchy is the same as a Diocese in the Eastern Catholic Church). It is a very unusual assignment for several reasons. First, even though the Eparchy falls under the jurisdiction of the Pope, it is unusual for a Latin or Roman Rite Bishop to be appointed an Administrator of an Eastern Catholic Church. In this case the Eparchy serves the Ruthenian Catholics in 13 states in the Western part of the US. Additionally, normally an Apostolic Administrator is appointed when a See is vacant (Sede vacante), either because of the death of a Bishop or his transferal to another Diocese. In this case, the See is not vacant (Sede plena) as there is a Bishop in place but he has stepped aside temporarily until the problems in the Eparchy can be worked out. Apparently, there are some serious divisions and problems in the Eparchy and our Bishop will serve as an objective third party to hopefully mediate the problems. So, pray for him as he takes on this extra call of duty and certainly for the Ruthenian Catholics to settle whatever ails them.

See you on the 15th to celebrate with our Sisters and our Bishop as we wish them both “felicidades”!

Love,

Fr. John B.

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