Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


Christians and Culture

04-25-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In these last letters of mine, before I depart, I want to take on some topics that really rise to prominence in terms of how they will impact faith and how they will make it difficult to live as a Christian in our current climate. The issue that rises to the top at this moment is transgender ideology. It is like an 18-wheeler going downhill with no brake. I phrase it as an ideology, not because the issue of gender dysphoria is not real, it most certainly is and those who struggle with it require our love and compassion as well as the very best of therapeutic interventions. It has become an ideology because the therapeutic interventions are only being allowed to go in one direction, namely affirmation, with the force of dogma and anyone who deviates from that dogma, including well accomplished clinicians are being burned at the stake in the modern version of the Auto-de-fe known as cancel culture.

READ MORE

Public Worship = Public Health

04-17-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Most preachers have topics they like to avoid or at least tread lightly around. After all the point of preaching is not to drive people out of the pews but to keep them there and keep them wanting to come back. Unfortunately, in a culture where everything is politicized, the list of hot-button topics is getting pretty long which makes it hard to avoid such topics since they start to intersect with just about everything in the Bible. A few that come to mind: abortion, contraception, marriage, transgender, immigration, and even the slightest mention of “he who shall not be named”.

READ MORE

Because He Lives

04-10-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This is the greeting Jesus gave to his apostles and disciples after he had risen from the dead. And it was good that he did. The disciples were grief stricken and fearful. This year we read from Mark’s account of the Empty Tomb, Chapter 16. In verse 8, we read that after the women heard this news:

And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.

READ MORE

Return of the Easter Bunny

04-03-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In my letter for last Easter when we were still “locked down”, I entitled it “A Year Without the Easter Bunny”, a spin-off of the $lm “The Year Without a Santa Claus”. Well the good news is this year the Easter Bunny returns, albeit in a socially distanced way, following all CDC, AZ Dept. of Health and Maricopa County guidelines. The said Easter Bunny will just leave the sanitized eggs on your doorstep.

READ MORE

Pandemic Passion

03-27-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A few months back as I was becoming increasingly irritated at the Pandemic restrictions and what I saw as the lack of logic in many of those restrictions, I received an e-mail from a parishioner that stopped me dead in my tracks. She and her husband have raised and cared for a disabled child, though now an adult, still very childlike in her needs. She wrote:

READ MORE

45 > 2300

03-20-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Strange how it’s more of a heavy lift to move 45 miles west, from Tempe to somewhere north of Rt. 303 than it was to move 2300 miles west, from PA to AZ, at least emotionally and psychologically. But when I think about it, you all have done a good job of working your way into my heart. And considering that Mt. Carmel has had a very good track record with Pastors, basically only three since 1955 (Msgr. McCready for 37yrs, Fr. Tim Davern for 10yrs and me for 21yrs), I shouldn't be surprised at my reluctance to leave here.

READ MORE

The Day the Music Died

03-13-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Do you recall what was revealed the day the music died?” American Pie sung by Don McLean

It’s now one year since the curtain came down on the country and most of the world started the “15 Days to Flatten the Curve”. Longest 15 days ever. Since it was one hundred years since the last Pandemic, none of us had any experience with Pandemics or how to respond. So, we all found ourselves as characters in a 21st century version of Camus’s “The Plague”. One of the characters in the novel, when confronted with the question about why God could allow such suffering, simply responds: “It helps men to rise above themselves”.

Looking back over the past year then, did it help us rise above ourselves? The answer seems to be a resounding yes and disheartening no.

READ MORE

Cultural Chaos

03-06-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

So, who needs women? That’s not a complaint of a misogynist. And specifically, I mean biological women. Researchers are already promising a future where biological women are not needed for reproduction. And phrases like “women who are born female” and “women who are not biological males” are now part of our lexicon. And yes, many of you are getting into trouble because you incorrectly used the wrong pronoun or got philologically tripped up with this new vocabulary.

READ MORE

Are Your Assets Toxic?

02-27-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Our dear friend norma loquendi says that the term “toxic asset” is an oxymoron that you can bank on! It is amazing at what speed we distort the meaning of words or just outright change the definition of a word to make it seem like it is something it is not. George Orwell would be proud. My favorite current obfuscation is “pre-embryo”. It is a nonsensical and non-scientific redefining of the meaning of embryo to describe an embryo that is not yet implanted in a womb but is rather in a Petri dish. Of course, no matter where the embryo is it is still an embryo. By describing it as a “pre” embryo makes experimenting on it or destroying it a little more palatable. We do the same with baby and fetus. It is easier to stomach “aborting a fetus” than killing a baby in the womb. Confronting the language that empowers the culture of death is the first step in defending equality for all human life.

READ MORE

Litany of St. Joseph

02-20-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

For those who are making the Consecration to St. Joseph, listen on our Parish App, reprinted is the Litany of St. Joseph so you can pray along.

READ MORE

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

02-14-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Roses are red, violets are blue, this is what it looks like when ideology infects all you see and do:

LA Times columnist, Virginia Heffernan, who normally lives in the urban LA area but during the Pandemic decided to live in a more rural area has a big problem on her hands: her Trump-loving neighbors did something nice for her. They plowed her driveway after a snow storm! Very perplexed she writes:

READ MORE

Critical Theory

02-06-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the drivers that has been framing our country’s current discussion on race is Critical Race Theory (CRT). If you’ve noticed that the talk about racial justice doesn't sound much like Dr. King’s teachings on moving towards a society where content of one’s character is the measure of judgement and that the power of non-violence best disarms oppression, that’s because CRT frames the issue and the solution very differently.

Critical Theory in general can be applied to any number of issues or topics. Marx applied it to class. For Marx, every issue, every cause of discrimination, oppression or injustice was caused by a society’s class structure. You can take the idea of class and substitute race, gender, sexual orientation and you get Gender Theory, Queer Theory and Critical Race Theory. Critical Theory in general can yield some insights into the cause and context of power imbalances in a society or in relationships. Its weakness is that it really doesn't offer much of a lasting solution other than constant struggle.

READ MORE