Fr. John's Letter Archives

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

Papa Ratzinger

02-24-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded to do, say, “we are unworthy servants, we have done only what we ought to have done.”
—Luke 17:10

On February 28 at Noon (MST) we will lose our German Shepherd. Maybe history will remember him as the little pope from Bavaria with a big mind. But right now he is seen as the first pontiff in 600yrs to abdicate. Not withstanding the reasons why, this act is one of profound humility. Pope Benedict is saying to us “this is not about me but about the Church”. This is a lesson our culture can certainly use. Just as John Paul II taught us to affirm the dignity of every person even the most debilitated and the dying through his own suffering and death, Pope Benedict is teaching us a different lesson in his abdication. We are so used to the cult of the personality, the celebrity culture where we promote ourselves to the point that we think the earth will fly off its axis without us so it is refreshing to see a world leader that actually puts principles before his ego.


The Prophecy of the Popes

02-17-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

St. Malachy (1094-1148) was an Irish priest who became Bishop of Armagh and was noted for his leadership, education and mystical experiences. Almost 900yrs ago while in Rome on a visit to Pope Innocent II, Malachy received a disturbing vision in which he saw the next 112 popes beginning with Pope Celestine II (1130 A.D.) the successor of Innocent II and ends with the Pope of the last days. This has become known as "The Prophecy of the Popes". Afterwards St. Malachy wrote down short Latin phrases that give some clue to the identity of each pope. Mostly these clues involve something of the pope's personality, character, birth, place of origin, coat of arms or motto. As is often the case with mystical visions translating them into humanly understandable language is difficult and hence cryptic and symbolic in description. After almost 900yrs we are now coming to the end of the list of popes as foretold by St. Malachy.


Why do we send children to school?

02-10-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

This past week Law Enforcement officers were able to rescue the 5-year-old Alabama boy who was snatched off a school bus after the perpetrator killed the bus driver and then held the boy hostage for one week. Add this to the heartbreaking slaughter of young children in Newton and ask yourself what do parents today tell their children when they send them to school? Do they say, "well I am sending you to school where you'll learn all sorts of fun things like how to read and write and the history of the world and make new friends and oh, well you might be shot and killed." We even apply prison terms to our schools: they go on "lockdown" and students have "early release." Many of our schools are patrolled by Police officers and even more use metal detectors. Is this just the cost of doing business? Have we just accepted this is the way it is going to be?


Equal not Exactly the Same

02-03-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Anything you can do
I can do better.
I can do anything
Better than you

— From "Annie Get Your Gun"

The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that since women now smoke like men they have lung cancer rates the same as men. This is what gender equality is all about, right? I know that I am hopelessly out of touch with the present day view of gender roles but I guess this is the logical next stop on the march toward gender equality. The underlying rationale of gender equality is that women must take on the roles of men in order to be equal. That in itself suggests that women are intrinsically unequal. 'Only by imitating a man can a woman really be a woman' is the message our young girls are being taught.


Equal but not the Same

01-27-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Looks like the school children of France had a very Joyeux Noel as French President Francois Hollande announced before Christmas that he wants to do away with homework. It seems homework is too bourgeoisie. Only the children of the rich have parents who have time to actually assist with homework and children of the lower classes have parents who have no time to help with homework thus creating an inequality. First let me ask, WHERE WAS THIS MAN WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL!

Here's the trouble with this Progressive notion of equality in all things, including outcomes: rather than trying to raise the bottom to the middle or the middle to the top they insist on pulling the top to the middle and the middle to the bottom. So in effect equality = mediocrity.


Subverting the Legacy of MLK?

01-20-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A few years back on a trip to London I had the amusement of attending a production of Monty Python's "Spamalot". The play, a rip-off of "Camelot" lampoons all things about Broadway musicals and in typical Monty Python fashion pokes fun at just about everything including religion. So as expected here were jokes about Jews and Christians, which elicited plenty of laughs. But when a joke about Hindu's involving a cow showed up there was an audible gasp of discomfort from the audience almost as if to say, " can you believe they just said that?" Even with humor we tend to apply different standards for different groups which is sad as humor can be a great equalizer. Certain groups, according to the current norms of satire and humor are just off limits. Jews, Christians, and Mormons however are fair game but not so much with Hindus, Muslims, Buddhist monks or those who believe in global warming.


40 yrs post Roe V Wade

01-13-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

During the "Fiscal Cliff" debates Senate Majority leader Harry Reid stated on the Senate floor that House Speaker John Boehner was running a "dictatorship" and cared more about retaining his Speaker position than the American people. This apparently inspired Speaker Boehner to tell Senator Reid to "go #$@% himself". Just the latest in the bloodletting sport of politics.

Senator Reid you may recall also on the Senate floor stated gleefully that "word on the street is that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for the last ten years." That's usually called gossip but I guess in this case it was a campaign speech. Later during the presidential campaign, Sen. Reid also felt it necessary to tell us that Mitt Romney "is not the face of Mormonism" and that Romney has "sullied" the Latter Day Saints faith. Well I don't know if Mitt Romney is the poster child for Mormonism but I was surprised to see Reid, also a Mormon taking a swipe at a fellow Mormon. By and large Mormons are rather quiet about internal disagreements or criticizing one another and tend not to air their dirty laundry unlike, say Catholics. The remark passed without much media scrutiny. But I wonder what if vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, a Catholic had said that Vice President Joe Biden "was not the face of Catholicism" or that he had "sullied" the Catholic faith, what would the reaction be? I am sure all hell would break loose: "how dare Ryan judge Biden's faith" etc. And if Ryan had said that, and he did not, he would have been on solid ground. This was evidenced during the Vice Presidential debate when the two were asked about their position on abortion. Biden basically answered the question by saying that as a Catholic it is wrong for me but I would not impose that on anyone else.


2013: Were We Go Again

01-06-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Well, since the Mayan calendar didn't foretell the end of the world it looks like we are going to have to do the whole thing again. All 525,600 minutes, each 8,760 hours, all 52 weeks of all 12 months of 2013. So better to know what we are getting ourselves into:

Know dear brothers and sisters that as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, so by leave of God's mercy we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection, who is our Savior.

On the thirteenth day of February will fall Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.

On the thirty-first day of March you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the ninth (twelfth in AZ) day of May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the nineteenth day of May the feast of Pentecost.

On the second day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

On the first day of December the First Sunday of Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.


Families Wanted

12-30-2012Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

The year that was has waned and on this final Sunday of 2012 we celebrate the Holy Family. A family that had its own share of hardship including having their little child pursued by a mass murderer and their adult son executed in horrible agony. The family of Joseph and Mary and Jesus stand in solidarity with the families of:

Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Olivia Engle, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, and Allison Wyatt.

Each of these families have their own personal journeys to Egypt to make but hopefully before they do they will be visited by Magi offering them gifts of hope, healing and peace.


O Little Town of Bethlehem

12-23-2012Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

From the start the little town of Bethlehem was inhospitable to Joseph and Mary, no room at the Inn, and the city of the Savior's birth continues to be an unfriendly place for His followers. Today less than 2% of the population in the area is Christian. The spirit of Herod still haunts the place. We should not neglect to remember this as we celebrate in freedom the birth of the one born in Bethlehem. Two thousand years later the hatred towards God's people is as strong as ever.

On November 29 the United Nations passed a resolution granting "non-member observer status" to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories. Ironically this was 65 years to the date that the UN developed a partition plan creating a Palestinian state and a Jewish state. At that time the Jews accepted the plan but the Arab nations rejected it and tried to take all of Palestine by force. Hence there has never been a functional Palestinian state. Somehow the United Nations forgot about the 1947 Arab rejection of a Palestinian state and the five wars in which they tried to take all of the Jewish state.


Hanukkah Blessings

12-16-2012Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

A belated Happy Hanukkah! For the past eight days Jews throughout the world have been lighting a candle each night on their menorahs in commemoration of the days' worth of oil that lasted over a week, lighting up the Temple menorah in Jerusalem in 167 BC. Though Hanukkah is not on our Liturgical calendar we should nonetheless recall it, as Israel's history is also part of Christian History. In fact you really can't understand Christianity apart from the history of Israel and the Jewish people.

Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the few over the many; the powerless over the powerful, hope over despair and hence light over darkness. During this historical period Syrian Greeks who wanted to impose on the "backward" Jews a new, more progressive, enlightened culture dominated Israel. This would require the destruction of all things Jewish. The Greeks understand that the only way to accomplish this was to stop the study of the Torah and worship in the temple. Study of the Torah became illegal and forced faithful Jews to study Torah in secret.


All I want for Christmas

12-09-2012Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. But since I already have them, here's another list:

♦ The Parishioners at Mt. Carmel who pay taxes to the state of Arizona direct their taxes to Catholic Education Arizona by donating to CEA and then claim a tax credit on their income taxes. Santa this is a wonderful way for Arizona taxpayers to stipulate the use of their tax dollars rather than have the Legislature do it for them. This year Santa the amounts that can be claimed for a tax credit have doubled! An individual can donate $1003 and a married coupled can donate $2006 to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School. Any tax preparer or CPA will tell you "anyone with two brain cells can see how easy this is" so why do so many choose not to participate? Maybe Santa you need to give them two brain cells for Christmas too?


In Translation

12-02-2012Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

This First Sunday of Advent is an anniversary of sorts. It has been a full year since we began using the 3 Edition of the Roman Missal. In the build up to the Missal a whole lot of ink was spilled on such few words! But all in all implementation has been smooth at least in our parts. In other places the implementation was rather bumpy as little preparation was done and some congregations were caught off guard and without pew cards to help them. This was undoubtedly due to that quality that characterizes the priestly species: (to paraphrase Nietzsche) "the instinct of mediocrity." Implementation is yet occurring in many countries, others are in the translating process still. The Italian Bishops are in full revolt over the change from "all" to "many" (tutti to molti) in the words of consecration. Benedict XVI probably wishes he were back in Germany.