Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


Catholic Schools

01-31-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We enter into our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We are blessed to have a school that has been in continuous operation for over 70 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 and an Academy as we would say, so the school was and 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 every one.

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43 and Still Going Strong

01-24-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Double extra points to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for actually finding a way to send a bill to the President to defund Planned Parenthood. The bill was vetoed but we knew it would be, still it was the first serious attempt by legislatures to live up to their promises. A surprise to no one was that Planned Parenthood endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. What's annoying is that despite the cries from PP that loss of taxpayer funding will seriously damage its ability to offer services they still come up with millions to support political campaigns.

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Sister Act: Part 2

01-17-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

It's important to take note of answered prayers. When we celebrated our Parish 75th Jubilee back in 2007 our theme was taken from the prophet Haggai: "Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former and in this place I will grant prosperity" Haggai 2:9. One of my prayers was that God would send us once again a community of religious sisters as we once had with the Dominican Sisters of the BVM. And so the prayer has been answered with the arrival of the Servants of the Plan of God, coming to Mt. Carmel this summer. It may have seemed that for 8yrs nothing was happening but during all that time God was working on the unseen plane, raising up these women and bringing about the convergence of circumstances to get us to this point. Back in 2007 God knew what he would do and what was required of us was patient trust.

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Woody Woodpecker or Wiley Coyote?

01-10-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When I was a young boy I always hated the Woody Woodpecker cartoons because he always got away with being nasty and mean. On the other hand I really loved Roadrunner cartoon since Wiley Coyote always got instant consequences not matter what. That was a much better message to send to children.

One of the surest disciplines on the road to maturity is logical consequences. Whether positive or negative, consequences either reward good behavior or inhibit bad behavior. For a parent as hard as it may be to watch a child experience the consequences of bad behavior most parents know that it will help their child to avoid such behavior in the future. And of course when a parent protects a child from such consequences the child is more than likely going to engage the same negative behavior in the future. Case in point the "affluenza teen".

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An Acceptable Year?

01-03-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Now that the spirit of Christmas present is fading into the spirit of Christmas past and we start to ponder Christmas-yet-to-come what should the New Year look like? Especially in light of the fact that this is a Jubilee Year we should consider carefully how we will spend it. It is in a sense a year for our reclamation. We can change the shadows of Christmas-yet-to-come by changing our actions today.

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Be a "Prepper"

12-27-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

…the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming. —St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio, n. 8

In a few days 2015 will be the year that was. I have a deep sense that by the time I write my final letter of 2016 it will not have been an easy year. We are headed into a Presidential election and who knows how that will pan out, if at all. Who knows what the US will look like at the end of 2016? But with a stumbling economy, the pall of terrorism that has descended over the world and leaders who are more concerned with carbon than with dynamite, well everything is not coming up roses and daffodils.

So what do you do if our government ceases to function for an extended period of time? If the lights go out for several months? This is not a call to build a bunker or rush out and stock up on supplies. And I am not channeling Glenn Beck or rehearsing for a spot on "Doomsday Preppers" reality TV show. But asking you to think of what really would get you through such a tough period? What really do you need to survive?

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Obama the new Bush?

12-13-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I figured it would eventually happen: one day Barack Obama would wake up and realize he was George Bush. Or maybe more like Luke Skywalker finding out Darth Vader was his father. More specifically, that the same miserable options that George Bush had to choose from to deal with terrorism are the same miserable options that Barack Obama has to choose from. History indeed has its own historical ironies in the fire.

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Will they know you are a Christian?

12-06-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

You are hereby summoned by the order of His Holiness, Pope Francis to participate in the Jubilee of Mercy beginning on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (It is a Holy Day of Obligation in the USA.)

I put it that way because participation in the Jubilee Year is not optional but constitutive of being a Christian. This is not a matter of Christians ramping up their good deeds. Pope Francis wants to shape the way we do Church and practice religion in the 21st century.

When Jesus spoke to St. Faustina, guding her to give us the Divine Mercy teaching, He told her that he had opened up the door of His Mercy and that all are invited to walk through it while it is open. But there would come a time when the door is closed and then the only option would be to walk through the door of His Justice. Pope Francis will open the Holy Doors in the four-major Basilica's of Rome, which normally remain sealed up except when a Jubilee Year is declared. I think in many ways this is a symbolic way to visually remind us to take seriously the invitation to open ourselves to mercy and to practice mercy while there is still time.

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Children of a lesser god

10-04-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

How to get away with murder and have your fellow citizens pay for it…

The undercover videos that the Center for Medical Progress has continued to post (you can view them here: www.centerformedicalprogress.org) reveal two things: Planned Parenthood is engaged in practices that are far more barbaric than had been known and that Planned Parenthood has our federal government firmly in its control.

The videos show clearly that what Planned Parenthood does is well beyond abortion, beyond any legal right to abortion, beyond dealing with a crisis or unwanted pregnancy and certainly not in anyway related to women's health. The videos demonstrate beyond doubt that PP has passed those lines and has entered the land of BARBARISM. The deliberate killing of a child, unborn and born for the purpose of harvesting its body parts to make a profit all under the pretext of "medical research", paid for by our tax dollars.

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The Long & Winding Road

09-27-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When William Penn began his "Great Experiment" and founded the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia was to be a place based on the principal of religious freedom. Penn, inspired by his own Quaker practice wanted to establish a city where everyone was free to practice their faith without interference from government or even other faiths. The one fly in Penn's ointment was the Catholics. Catholics were suspect because they had allegiance to a foreign power, namely the Pope. While that was true, the allegiance was more spiritual than political. Still it prevented Catholics from having the same privileges as the other faiths in Penn's new city. As a result, while Penn and the Quakers would not outright ban the practice of Catholicism as the Puritans had, Catholics would have to do what they did quietly and out of sight.

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El Camino Real

09-20-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This week we welcome Papa Francisco to the USA! I want you to pay close attention to what the Holy Father actually says and not what the media says he said. This will help your blood pressure. You may have seen the Interview that one of the networks carried between Pope Francis and an audience in the USA. In one of the scenes the Pope congratulated a single mother for having courage to bring her child into the world and not kill it before birth. Well in a lot of reporting on other networks and in print that part of the story was left out. It just became "Pope Francis supports single mothers".

For some reason with Pope Francis the media act like he is the first Pope ever to smile, kiss a baby, preach about mercy and forgiveness. He's just the fluffiest Pope ev-her! It seems they really want him to be a progressive democrat. I am just waiting for someone to ask him if he would vote for Hillary. The truth is Pope Francis is very Catholic, one of the people he quotes the most is Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, whom the media framed as a neo-Nazi conservative. So brace yourself for lots of distortion in the media.

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She Fired the First Shot

09-13-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When a revolution starts someone has to fire the first shot. Kim Davis an unknown county clerk from Kentucky fired that shot. Her refusal to affix her name to a marriage license for two men and her willingness to accept the consequences has certainly upset the apple cart, or the "settled" issue of same-sex marriage. While many are arguing whether or not she has a legal leg to stand on they seem to be missing the larger point. And while it is true that many elected officials sworn to uphold the law don't, such as the marijuana laws or the immigration laws and are not threatened with jail time that too misses the point. And yes you can argue that the Supreme Court overstepped it's authority by inventing a right to same sex marriage that is clearly not in the constitution and therefore it is an illegitimate law. You can even hold the Supreme Court in contempt as I do but that is beside the point.

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Laughter, the best medicine

09-06-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of my New Years resolutions was to laugh more. Yes I realize it is September but this is as soon as I could get to it! Pope Francis often quips that too many Christians drink vinegar for breakfast or as I like to say seem to have been baptized in pickle juice. Our greatest witness at times, despite the challenges of bearing the name Christian in today's world, is the joy we have despite the hostility and opposition we often face. And one of the best ways to keep the joyful spirit active is to laugh at ourselves.

Today, in fact, thanks to the wonders of the Internet we no longer have to wait for those little vignettes in a monthly edition of the Reader's Digest. A website that is entirely dedicated to poking fun at the foibles of Catholics is called The Eye of the Tiber (eyeofthetiber.com). The Tiber being the river that runs through the city of Rome. Most of the posts are little spoofs, lampoons or satire and news parody directed towards the way we Catholics see the world.

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