Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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A Harmful Transition

01-30-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the very first executive orders President Biden issued was on the topic of transgenderism. How is it that this issue has risen to the top of our society so quickly and with such force behind it? Maybe I am misreading the US public but it doesn't seem like an issue that majorities were clamoring to be addressed by the new President in his first hours in office.

The issue of transgenderism or more specifically gender dysphoria affects about .03% of the population. Those who struggle with it deserve our love and care and the best medical sciences can offer them as well as emotional, mental and spiritual support. For some reason the current push is all in one direction: finding ways, medically that enable a person to transition from one sex to the other. This includes the use of hormones and surgeries such as mastectomies and hysterectomies for biological women and removal of the penis for biological men. This is being done despite the clinical and medical evidence that these treatments are physically harmful, have long-term negative health outcomes and based on long term research as well as the experience of those who have undergone such treatments, do not offer long term and lasting solutions.

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I Have a Dream

01-23-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When the MLK Holiday comes around I always like to read Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It always blows me away. It is one of the greatest speeches in American history, right up there with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. The part of the speech that struck me this year was this:

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

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A Mob by Any Other Name Is Still a Mob

01-16-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Maybe it’s that I have been desensitized to the mob, but watching the events in the Capital Building I was pretty much unfazed. Not that I condone any of it, I don’t and I would not join in or encourage anyone to do so. But I thought, “another group of angry people with grievances acting out in unacceptable ways.” Even as I watched Arizona guy, horned and bare-chested standing in the Speaker’s spot, it seemed to me that he was at least, in all his weirdness, being honest about who he is, unlike so many of the pols that often stand in the same spot.

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Tear down this wall?

01-09-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Recently, while driving, I saw a truck with the words “Tempe Traffic Enforcement”. I thought why do we need that? After all there are traffic signals and signs, yellow and white lines on the road all indicating how we should drive. Isn’t that enough? Why do we put the force of law behind those signals and signs? And why then do we need some form of law enforcement personnel to enforce the driving rules? Can’t we just be allowed to drive and trust that it will all work out just fine?

“It doesn't work that way”, you say. Some people will abuse the system and put us all in jeopardy. Even with the rules and the enforcement of the rules and penalties and fines we still have problems. Accidents which clog up traffic, injuries which use up medical resources and of course the ever-increasing car insurance rates. Speaking of which, Arizona has one of the highest-in-the-country car insurance rates, despite traffic enforcement, which shows you how many people still abuse the driving rules even with enforcement. So no, removing traffic enforcement most likely will not make driving any better or safer or quicker.

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These are the Good Old Days

12-26-2020Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“We can never know about the days to come…But we think about them anyway… And I wonder if I’m really with you now or just chasing after some finer day.”

So sang Carly Simon in her hit song Anticipation. After living through the Year of our Lord 2020 I happen to agree strongly. I’d be a fool to think I know what 2021 will bring. But the experience of 2020 has certainly highlighted the question, “will we trust in God’s providence or not?” And just as importantly, do we believe that God is still guiding us to where He wants us to be? And do we trust that despite the apparent setbacks, wrong turns, uninvited interference, God can still use those circumstances and events to make things work out for our best possible advantage?

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Vaccine Hierarchy

12-19-2020Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The COVID-19 Vaccine has arrived. And many of you have questions about it. First let me say the development of this vaccine occurred in near miraculous time. Most vaccines can take ten to thirty years to develop. One of the reasons for the speed of development of some of the COVID-19 vaccines is because of the use of a new way of getting the vaccine into cells in the body. This method called mRNA was first developed by two Catholic physicians in Germany, who invented the procedure to try to fight cancer. When the novel coronavirus showed up this husband and wife team sat down at their computer and figured a way to use mRNA to develop this vaccine. (This process was used in the development of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.) The next step was the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed which paid the Pharmaceutical companies to manufacture the vaccine in advance of testing, win or lose. Fortunately, testing demonstrated it was a winner. Which is why the companies have been manufacturing the vaccine since March or April.

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Pandemic Time: The Best of times or the worst of times?

12-12-2020Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Pandemic 2020 continues to be the best of times and the worst of times. It certainly brings out either the best in us or the worst in us. That’s why I like hearing your COVID-19 Stories and how the Pandemic brought out the best in you in big and small ways. But still for some the Pandemic has been the worst of times and for others it has been the best of times.

Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and the Washington Post, has seen his wealth increase from $48 billion to an estimated $183 billion. The Pandemic has been a boon for Wall Street but a nightmare for Mainstreet. Big tech and big business have reaped record profits while small businesses are threatened with extinction. Maybe some of it is unavoidable considering the nature of a Pandemic and how we need to respond to it. But too many elected officials seem callous to the plight of blue-collar workers and private businesses. In so many ways the Pandemic has brought out the worst in some of our leaders.

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A Hard Candy Christmas

12-06-2020Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As COVID Time wears on, life seems to have become one dimensional, rather flat. Part of the reason for that is the usual “look-forward-to’s” are in short supply. Whether its vacations or trips or other types of get togethers that we look forward to, their absence is felt more and more as the Pandemic marches on. Which is all the more reason for us to tap into what we can to bring life back from black and white to living color.

So, I hope you were able to tune into our Advent Parish Mission with Tom Booth. It certainly helped nudge me into the Advent Season and start to look forward to Christmas time. If you haven’t yet seen the Advent Mission just go to our App and click on the OLMC TV icon and you can watch the previous week’s episode or tune into the Live Stream at 2pm or 7pm on Sunday for the current episode.

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