Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


America, Reparations and Racism

06-30-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we head into the July 4th Holiday, the US Congress held a hearing to decide whether or not to form a Committee to study Reparations for Slavery. I heard someone say that “the US has never dealt with racism”. I would disagree with that as our history shows we have dealt plenty with racism, even if there is still more to deal with.

Many of our Founders did not want the new country to include slavery. But they soon realized that in order to get all the colonies on board they had to comprise. But many of them stated that the issue of chattel slavery sowed the seeds of future discord and division for the new nation. And so it did. A Civil War engulfed the country, in which it was the US Government that fought on the side to abolish slavery. So over 150 years ago slavery ended. But what did not end was the government’s ability to force segregation by law upon its citizens. Having “black only” sections for restaurants or restrooms was not the choice of the proprietors, it was a legal requirement.

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The Mau-mauing of the Mayor

06-23-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum, or actually the campaign for the highest seat in the land. Pete Buttigieg, the onetime mayor of South Bend announced his candidacy for the Presidential nomination alongside his same sex spouse. And everybody pretty much yawned. I am not sure if he was hoping to get extra points for having a same sex spouse but it didn't register too much. Still, he wasn't deterred in trying to use his same-sex marriage to bolster his campaign image. So he decided to attack Vice President Pence because of his support for traditional, man-woman marriage. Except that didn't garner him much sympathy either. The Vice President simply stated that while he was Governor of Indiana and Buttigieg was a Mayor in the state they got along very well. In fact, in his book, Buttigieg pretty much said the same. It's hard to win a fight when the other person won't attack you, darn Pence. THUMP. DUD!

Our society has become like the frog in the kettle, as time goes on, we don't even notice the temperature rising or the changes that have made the once unthinkable become the debatable and then the justifiable and finally the unexceptional. Same-sex marriage is pretty much now the unexceptionable. The media and Hollywood have normalized it to the point, as Buttigieg found out, gay is no longer radical chic. Come to think of it, wasn't normalization what they were aiming for all along?

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Prayer of Padre Pio After Communion

06-16-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Here is one of my favorite prayers from St. Pio:

Prayer of Padre Pio After Communion

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.

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Abortion: the End Game

06-09-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles at Pentecost the results were incredible. The Spirit would not only change hearts and minds but cultures. For the Jew that meant leaving behind a way of life that had been practiced for generations. The Acts of the Apostles narrates the struggle they had with leaving behind the practice of circumcision, the Kosher dietary laws, the Jewish Ritual Purity practices and finally animal sacrifices. But for the Gentile convert the change was no less dramatic as it entailed leaving behind the practice of polygamy, same-sex behaviors, abortion and child sacrifice. Over the next 300 years the Holy Spirit-swept world would convert the Roman Empire from a Pagan culture to a Christian one that ascribed to Biblical values and norms.

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What to do about Heart Disease

06-02-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The month of June we traditionally remember the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The image of the Sacred Heart came into sharp focus during the period that Europe experienced the Black Plague and other natural disasters and hardships that took their toll on human life. In a way it was a reminder of the merciful love of Jesus and that despite present troubles we are not abandoned. The Sacred Heart reminds us even though God does not shield us from suffering and the troubles of life, He is always there to help us through and strengthen our broken hearts.

It also reminds us that, as the Scriptures repeat over and over again, that what afflicts humanity is a "hardness of heart" and only with hearts supple and open can we connect with the love of God through Jesus. That's why it's good for us to have an image of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary on display in our homes. When we are tempted to hardness of heart or the things that make our hearts hard, like resentment, unforgiveness, anger, lack of gratitude, the image of the Heart of Jesus can call us back and remind us to soak our hearts in the love of Jesus.

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A House in Order

05-26-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Mt 5:14). Our Lord Jesus Christ calls every believer to be a shining example of virtue, integrity and holiness. All of us, in fact, are called to give concrete witness of faith in Christ in our lives and, in particular, in our relationship with others.

Above is the opening line of the Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis in which he issued procedures for dealing with Bishops or Superiors of Religious Orders who are accused of abuse of a minor or failure to deal with reported abuse cases. The new document establishes a clearer set of universal procedures for reporting suspected abuse, carrying out initial investigations and protecting victims and whistle-blowers. The directives specify that a report on a Bishop's or Superior of a Religious Order malfeasance or abuse is made to the local Metropolitan Archbishop, in our case it would be the Archbishop of Santa Fe or directedly to the Apostolic Nuncio in each country.

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Yuma to Phoenix

05-19-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I recently attended a Board Meeting where many of the members are from Mid-west and far northern states and they asked me about the immigration situation on the ground in the southwest. From their perches they don't hear much except the usual political wrangling about immigration. So, I told them this:

When the Dept. of Homeland Security announces that there were 100,000 people who crossed into the country in March and that most of them turned themselves in to Border Patrol and requested asylum, no one ever asks where exactly are these people? For most people they are just numbers unless you live in places like Yuma or Nogales, Arizona or McCallum or El Paso, Texas or across from Tijuana. The Border Patrol, by court order, can hold adults with children for no more than 20days, process them and give them a date to appear before an Asylum Judge, sometime years in the future. And then they are free to go anywhere in the US. DHS does not have the structure, funds or mandate to provide housing, medical care, and transportation for these people. So as a result, they are released into the local communities and the local communities are overwhelmed trying to assist them. Recently the Mayor of Yuma declared a State of Emergency in his city. The social services, the homeless shelters, food kitchens are completely overwhelmed in Yuma, which is seeing over 300 people a day cross the border.

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Birds of a Feather

05-12-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I was going to write something that would raise your blood pressure but I came across this and found it too rich to resist. Being the owner of a parrot, or let me rephrase that, a person who has a companion bird, this headline from the Daily Wire caught my eye:

Police Detained A Parrot For Warning Its Owner About A Drug Raid. Yes, A Parrot.

A parrot was detained by police in Brazil after the feathered fiend warned its drug-dealing owners that police were approaching. The parrot started yelling as the police approached its home Monday afternoon, The Guardian reported. The bird shouted "Mama, police!" authorities said.

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Jew-hate Junction

05-05-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Jew-hatred is the oldest bigotry on the books. As one author said, "all bigotries meet at Jew-hate Junction". The NY Times recently published a neo-Nazi cartoon in its international edition and the editors want you to believe that there would be peace in the Middle East if it weren't for the Jews. Likewise, the media outlet, Politico wants you to believe that Trump would be in jail if it weren't for the Jews who control him. Congresswoman IIhan Omar cast aspersions upon the Jews with one of the oldest Jew-hate tropes, "for Jews", she said, "it's all about the Benjamins". And when the House of Representatives tried to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, it couldn't muster the votes and instead just condemned all forms of hatred and bigotry. One thing is for sure: when the alt-right with its neo-Nazi obsessions and its anti-Semitism and the alt-left with its penchant for defending Islamo-fascists and its anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism, are on the rise, Jews die.

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A Voice from the Past

04-28-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

From the silence of retirement Pope emeritus Benedict speaks. Specifically, it was a written correspondence with a German Catholic publication on the subject of the Church scandals. And it is typical Ratzinger: crisp, clear, precise and insightful. As is his style, he steps back and takes the long view and asks the question, “how was it that such immoral and abusive behavior found its way into the priesthood and the Church?”

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Debbie Downer

04-21-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Listening to the News you can’t help but hear things like: the economy is strong, unemployment is down, labor force participation rate is climbing, GDP is up and Stock Markets are very strong--------BUUUUT, in the same breath, the News reports, “there are signs the economy is cooling” or “recession is right around the corner, the whatever bubble is about to burst or the FED has to stave off hyper-inflation.” Jeez, talk about Debbie Downers. They want us all living on the edge of the Apocalypse. I guess so we will “stay tuned” for the next Armageddon. The Media just always has to be right even when they get it wrong. No “mea culpa’s”. The same can be said for the Weather Forecasters: today there is a 10% chance of rain. And then it doesn't rain and they can say, “well we told you it was only a 10% chance” or if it does rain, then they can say, “we told you there was a 10% chance of precipitation”. The media need you to believe that the apocalypse is nigh and it’s only a matter of time before we will be reduced to cannibalism or freeze or be boiled to death so that you will vote for their preferred candidates and espouse their radical chic doctrines and prove them right. Somehow it never occurs to them that if a man could rise from the dead, his power could have a dramatic effect on the trajectory of history, including the economy and the weather.

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Overdose

04-14-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The friends of Jesus and his mother will make the journey this Holy Week to bring his lifeless body to his grave. In a similar way more families and friends than we can count are bringing their lifeless children to their graves, lifeless because of drug overdoses. Mostly but not exclusively, overdoses from opioids laced with fentanyl. You see in the world of illicit drug sales there is no quality control and satisfaction guaranteed equates with death. And now with the tightening on prescriptions for opioids and the reduction of their manufacturing, one of the unintended consequences is reduced availability of pharmaceutical grade drugs and that reduction is often being filled with heroin and fentanyl. And both are streaming across the border from Mexico at rates that could kill most of the US population.

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The Party Never Ends!

04-07-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We just finished another successful Parish Festival. Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to our Super Raffle and Auction winners! And a very heartfelt special thanks to our Festival Executive Committee who worked long hours this past year to plan and execute our annual Festival. It is no small undertaking and a huge investment in time. So, thank you!

This year we changed things around a bit at the Festival, like making the Auctions a bit smaller that is, because we want to have a party twice a year now! So, mark your calendars for Saturday, November 9 for our first Night to Soar to be held at the Hackett House in Tempe.

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