Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


The Plan of God

04-24-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Sister Act II: Back in the Habit…

As you already know five Sisters from the Servants of the Plan of God will establish a permanent mission here at Mt. Carmel. The community is thriving and felt called to open up a mission in the US. The Cardinal-Archbishop of Peru (where the Sisters are headquartered) told them to look at Boston and Phoenix for some reason. They visited both places and many parishes including 5 parishes in our Diocese and chose Mt. Carmel. The Bishop asked me how I got them to agree to come to Mr. Carmel and all I could say was that Donald Trump is not the only one who knows how to make a deal! (Actually I know full well that it was God's doing).

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The Joy of Love

04-17-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Lately we priests hear things like, "I know Pope Francis is changing things, therefore can I do such and such or is such and such still a sin?" Of course when we tell them that yes it is still a sin and no Pope Francis did not change that, we usually get told how unlike Pope Francis we are, namely lacking compassion. But compassion does not mean becoming a partner in crime with some one's bad choices or lifestyle. Mercy and truth are connected and it is profoundly unloving to tell someone what they are doing is right when it is clearly wrong.

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An Explosive Easter

04-10-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

On Easter Sunday a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up at a playground in Pakistan killing many of the children and their mothers. He did it because they were celebrating Easter and with full knowledge that the victims would be children and their mothers. Think of that: what kind of monster targets a playground? When we execute a war or a battle we have serious rules of engagement and we even debated in our country whether something like waterboarding was too extreme even for a captured terrorist.

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The Tallest Pole in the Tent

04-03-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The former Rita Rizzo has died. No she wasn't an old girlfriend of mine. You would know her better as Mother Angelica, the Foundress of the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN). All things considered Mother Angelica was nothing more than typical of her ilk, namely Foundresses and heads of communities of women religious. That company would include: Mother Cabrini, Mother Katherine Drexel, Mother Marianne Cope, Mother Teresa, Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton to mention a few. In other words Mother Angelica was one of the tallest poles in the tent.

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What of Lent?

03-27-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Now that the Lenten Fast has turned into the Easter Feast we might want to ask ourselves how productive was our Lent? Some of us may be looking back and wondering what difference it all made if any. Did it have any effect? What was the point of all that penance and "giving things up"? It may seem like little growth was had or we just didn't get the Easter infusion of spirituality and grace. Did we make spiritual progress or just go through the motions?

The point of our Lenten practices, particularly fasting was to discipline the body so as to assert the primacy of the spiritual. Now that we have done that, we need to tend to the interior effects of fasting and see if it has helped us overcome the corrosive vices that settle quietly in the soul.

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Religion & Government

03-20-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We are gearing up for our first ever-formal course on Religion and Politics sponsored by the ASU Center for Political Thought and Leadership and co-sponsored by the University of Mary. (You can register for the class through our website). This is a great chance to clear up any confusion you might have about the relationship between religion and government and also to learn some effective ways to discuss this perennially important and often divisive issue.

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Little Sisters of the Poor

03-13-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The US Supreme Court will soon hear oral arguments in the case Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. The Sisters are requesting exemption from the contraceptive mandate (which is not a law passed by Congress but a regulation concocted by unelected bureaucrats) that requires some health insurance plans to provide no-cost birth control. I say some health insurance plans because the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has exempted one out of three health insurance plans from the contraceptive mandate. These include, Houses of Worship, Pepsi, Exxon, Chevron and many other large corporations as well as the US Military. Even though HHS is perfectly fine with making no provision for no-cost birth control for all the tens of thousands of women who have exempted plans somehow making sure a few hundred women on the Little Sisters Health Insurance get no-cost birth control is of the highest importance and magnitude to the national interest. An interest so compelling that HHS is hoping to sterilize the ministry of the Little Sisters of the Poor at the Supreme Court.

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Beyond Thunderdome

03-06-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Time counts and keeps countin', and we knows now finding the trick of what's been and lost ain't no easy ride. But that's our trek, we gotta' travel it. And there ain't nobody knows where it's gonna' lead. Still in all, every night we does the tell, so that we 'member who we was and where we came from...
—Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

In an unrecognizable land the people are preparing to elect a Dear Leader. Among the many choices are Vladimir Lenin, a charmless Eva Peron and Henry VIII.

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Be as Rich as Croesus!

02-28-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the Precepts of the Church is to provide for the temporal needs of the Church. We call that Stewardship of Treasure or Resources. While it is an obligation that is proper to all the baptized it can only be personally fruitful if it comes from a generous heart. One of the wails that go up when ever money is mentioned is that Jesus did not talk about it much. Except that he did, around 60% of the time in the Gospels. Jesus knew well the grip that material goods can have on us, how it can become idolatrous and mostly how it chokes the heart and causes a disciple to be fruitless. So we do well to practice Stewardship so that we have the right relationship with God and mammon.

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Disagree but don't be Disagreeable

02-21-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The USSR-California branch in January enacted a law that requires Crisis Pregnancy Centers that offer alternatives to abortion to post the following:

"California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number]."

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Anti-life Super Bowl

02-14-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The President has requested 1.8 billion dollars to help fight the Zika virus. That is serious pocket change so this virus must be a real threat. The virus is carried by a certain type of mosquito just as dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus are carried by mosquitoes. It was first identified in the 1960's in Africa but nobody much cared. Now that it has spread to North America it's all hands on deck. Through the use of DDT we successfully eradicated malaria from Western countries and then because of the negative side effects of DDT the UN banned its use leaving Africans to suffer from malaria. Even though there are ways to apply DDT that greatly minimize its negative side effects on people and the environment its use is still outlawed. Which means if Africans want to help their people to stop being sick or dying from malaria they are out of luck. The hypocrisy of Western leaders sometimes is appalling: we can use it to make our society safe but you can't. If we have a widespread outbreak of the virus in the West and the only way to stop it is to use DDT, you can bet we would re-permit its use.

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What do to these 40 Days?

02-07-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This Wednesday we crash into Lent having just put away the Christmas decorations. Easter comes early this year (March 27) for that same reason it comes late some years. The date of Easter is not fixed like Christmas but calculated much the same way that Passover was calculated in the first century. Easter for the Catholic world is the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. So for instance this year the first day of spring in the Northern hemisphere is March 19/20. The first full moon occurs on March 23 and the following Sunday is March 27 therefore Easter. If there had been a full moon on March 18 we would have had to wait another lunar cycle for the next full moon and that would push Easter into the middle of April.

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