Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


The Graduate

05-21-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When I was young(er), I was Dustin Hoffman - or at least people thought I was. People would ask me if I was, and sometimes I would even give my autograph. Ironically, I also worked for a lady named Mrs. Robinson, strictly business relationship, of course. Actually, she was Jewish, but “Jesus loves you more than you will know.” I thought of this when I saw that it is the 50th anniversary of the film “The Graduate” with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. In the film, Hoffman, a recent college grad, is given non-stop advice on what he should do, what job, what career is the best for him and is constantly asked what he wants to do with his life. He is given advice such as “There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?” In the film he falls in love with the daughter of Anne Bancroft, who finds out he is also having an affair with her mother, and well, Hoffman’s entrance into adult life is a complicated mess.

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Fatima at 100

05-14-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we enter into the Centenary Celebration of the Apparitions at Fatima, I want to point you towards Fr. Andrew Apostoli’s book Fatima for Today. Fr. Apostoli gives a thorough account of the history, theology, and the implications of the messages for us today. I highly recommend his work and at the same time caution you that there are different groups that promote the Fatima message, and not all of them are worth your time. There are some groups that dispute that St. John Paul II revealed the full contents of the “third secret” or that the Consecration of Russia actually took place according to our Lady’s direction.

Our Lady did warn that Russia (communist) would continue to spread her errors throughout the world. She specifically asked that the Pope consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart so it would be converted. Since no Pope has been able to actually go to Russia, though both John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried, this is how the consecration took place:

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The BIG One

05-07-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The BIG ONE is coming. No, not my first heart attack - still awaiting that one, but the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions at Fatima. The First Apparition took place on May 13, 1917, when Our Lady appeared to the three children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta on the 13th of every month from May until October. Her messages were dire warnings about the coming scourges that would engulf the world: two World Wars, Communist Russia and China - all of which were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. Also, since she chose to appear in a city in Portugal named after the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, she also wanted to warn us of the conflict that is engulfing the world currently. Still, despite the warning of coming calamities, Our Lady offered hope that through prayer and penance some of the suffering could be mitigated and limited. After this period of 100 or so years, she promised that a period of peace would come upon the earth.

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Too Much Weed

04-30-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Lest we “go to pot,” I need your help. Tempe City Council is being asked to expand the number of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Tempe. Currently there are two Dispensaries in Tempe. Tempe has already expanded the hours of operation for these two and reduced the age to purchase medical marijuana from 21 to 18. While there are a little over 4,000 people in Tempe with medical marijuana cards, the two Dispensaries report that their sales are well below inventory. Which means there is no need for access to additional Dispensaries in Tempe. Also, it should be noted that a person with a medical marijuana card can purchase marijuana at any licensed Dispensary in the State. And many of them advertise “home delivery”, so you don't even need to go to the local dispensary to obtain marijuana.

Thankfully, the voters of Arizona voted down Proposition 205 in November, which called for the legalization of recreation use marijuana. Expanding the number of dispensaries is a back door way to achieve the goal of Proposition 205. Here’s why: the teens we have coming to our Full Circle Youth at Risk Program all report that they obtain marijuana from people who have a medical marijuana card. In fact, they tell us that buying marijuana is a lot easier and less expensive than purchasing tobacco! Young people today smoke more marijuana than cigarettes. Most of our teens get introduced to mind altering substances via marijuana. Many young people will tell you that they see no harm in using marijuana and, in fact, it is a sort of health food used for medicinal purposes. Expanding access to marijuana only reinforces that myth to our young people. Of course, the more people use marijuana for non-medical reasons, the more likely they will be to support legalization for recreational purposes.

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The Newest Catholics

04-23-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I’m not shouting “fire” in a theater but I do smell smoke. The culture seems to be burning itself down quicker than we can put out the flames. True enough, political wranglings give me much fodder to inveigh against. And I do seem to have this compulsion to point out foolishness that needs to be pointed out. But my overarching concern is not to opine the state of affairs but to give Christians some tools to provide the culture with Life support. But at this point in our journey it may be helpful to define what we believe our Catholic culture should look like. This is especially for the benefit of the newly baptized and confirmed. After all they are starting out their Catholic life and may need a few pointers from us so they can grasp what it means to be part of the Catholic world.

As Catholics we believe there is truth: Truth that is objective, absolute, and outside of ourselves. We also believe that human reason can discover truth; in fact it is the goal of reason to pursue truth. Truth is the fulfillment of reason and the cause of our happiness. When we detach ourselves from truth we embark on a path to illusionary freedom. Obedience to the truth is not always easy. It is therefore our obligation to fit ourselves into the truth and not the other way around. Truth is not what we say it is or what we want it to be. That’s called relativism and skepticism. The clash of an understanding of truth as absolute and truth as relative is why we as Catholics find ourselves so scorned by the wider culture.

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A Stairway to Heaven

04-16-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

If there is a highway to hell and a stairway to heaven, you should probably consider the traffic possibilities. While the highway may get you there faster, the stairs will take some effort. Taking it step by step is the nature of the spiritual life. Short cuts and half-measures generally avail results that are nil. If there were an easier, softer way, someone would have discovered it by now.

That’s why we are here: a community of disciples of Jesus who try their best to practice the spiritual life by developing and maintaining an on-going relationship with God through Jesus. A big part of being part of that community is just showing up. A certain amount of pew-mosis occurs over time as you seat yourself in a pew on a Sunday morning. That’s a big part, though not the only part of what we do. We gather Sunday after Sunday, sing songs in praise of God, listen to the biblical stories of how our ancestors in Faith came to believe, and then celebrate the mysterious presence of the risen Jesus in the breaking of the bread. At the end, after about an hour or so, the deacon dismisses us and instructs us to go forth and glorify the Lord with our lives or go and proclaim the Gospel - in others words, try to put it all into everyday practice.

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Unintended Consequences

04-09-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I noticed a new CVS Pharmacy being constructed on Apache and Rural. So let’s count’em: Rural & Apache, Broadway & McClintock, Rural & Southern; then there is a Walgreens at Broadway & Mill, a Wal-Mart Pharmacy at Rural & Southern plus large pharmacies at the Broadway & Rural Safeway and the Rural & Southern Fry’s. That is seven pharmacies in less than 2 square miles. Obviously there is only so much toothpaste and band-aids that one needs so the raison de’etre is most likely to provide prescription drugs. We obviously take A LOT of them.

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A New Strategy

04-02-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We were so close, and then defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. I am referring to defunding Planned Parenthood, (aka Murder Inc.) which was part of the promised fixing of the ACA Healthcare. Planned Parenthood was quite nervous - witness the flood of TV commercials purporting how absolutely necessary PP is for women’s healthcare in AZ. Also witness the number of counter-protesters at our 40 Days For Life Vigils at the clinic on Apache Blvd. In fact, these counter-protesters are quite the opposite of the prayerful, friendly Prolife protesters. The opposition has been out in force, and they have been nasty with their loud music, hate spewing out of their bullhorn, lots of bright pink, raunchy signs, and more. WE DESPERATELY NEED SOME REENFORCEMENTS to continue to be a viable sign of hope to those considering an abortion at the Apache PP Clinic.

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