Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


Some Children But Not All

06-24-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia) is showing itself to be less than loving. The City recently decided not to renew its contract with Catholic Social Services (CSS) Foster Care Program even though it rated CSS as number two in quality of services among the 27 Foster Care agencies the City contracts with. The reason for not renewing the contract with CSS, even though the City admits it has a shortage of foster families, is that CSS adheres to the Church’s teachings on marriage and the family and therefore does not place foster children with same-sex couples. The City has not received any complaints from same-sex couples about CSS and CSS policy states that it will refer same-sex couples to other Foster Care agencies.

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A Cake and the Court

06-17-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,Sometimes I impress, well, even myself, humbling speaking. In the run up to the Supreme Court Masterpiece Cake case (in which the owner declined to create a cake for same-sex wedding) I predicted the decision would be 6-3, it was actually 7-2 in favor of the baker. Close enough. I also said that one of the reasons Justice Kennedy did not retire was so he could write the majority opinion in the case as he wanted to shore up religious liberty that he had torn down in the Obergefell case. As predicted the Justice did just that.READ MORE

50 Life Affirming Years

06-10-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Humanae Vitae, 50 years later… One of the lasting effects of “the late and not so great 1968” was a seething dislike for authority. I don’t think I go a day without hearing someone say things such as, “who are you to tell me” or “who says I can’t do such or such”. And then there is my favorite, “who is the Church to tell me what to do”!

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The Virtual Illusion

06-03-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

During a recent meeting with the priests of the Diocese of Rome, Pope Francis made this observation in relation to a question about young people:

What is the cry of young people? The cry of young people isn’t always conscious. I link it with one of the gravest problems, which is the problem of drugs. The cry is: “save us from drugs,” but not only from material drugs, but also from alienating drugs, from cultural alienation.  They are in fact an easy prey for cultural alienation: the proposals made to young people are all alienating, all alienating — those that society makes to young people. Alienating of values, alienating from insertion in the society, alienating even from society: they propose a fantasy of life. It worries me that they communicate and live in the virtual world.  They live like this, communicating so, they don’t have their feet on the ground . . .

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Live Well, Die Well

05-27-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we remember on this Memorial Day Weekend all those who gave their lives in service to our country, we would also do well to consider our own dying. Specifically, how we die but not in the sense of the cause or the circumstance. Rather what condition will our hearts be in when we enter the last phase of our lives?

I bring this up because recently it was reported that a well-known public figure who is coming to the end of his life stated that he did not want another well-known public figure attending his funeral. I don't know whether he actually said that or it is just chatty, tabloid journalism. But for the purposes of this letter, let’s posit is as true. I don't make any judgments on this person but just use the example as something that can teach us a few things.

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Still Counting

05-20-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Half-time goes by, suddenly your wise, another blink of the eye, 67 is gone, the sun is getting high, we’re moving on.”  - 100 Years sung by Five for Fighting

Lord Jesus, Eternal High Priest, Thirty years have passed since that day when my name was called at the Cathedral and I responded: Here I am. Well Lord, here I am, still, despite myself---

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Loose Ends

05-13-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the most irritating hemorrhoids on the geopolitical posterior that the last four US Presidents have had to deal with is North Korea and its nuclear program. In fact, the problem goes way back to the Korean war itself. It is a good example of how lose ends come back to bite us. The fact that there was never a Peace Treaty negotiated has only prolonged the conflict from a hot war to a cold war and now a warm war. A good reminder to all of us to tie up our loose ends. The longer you wait to sew that tear in your shirt the worse it will become and the harder to fix. Such is the case with North Korea.

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Humpty Dumpty

05-06-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

All the Queen’s doctors and all the Queen’s judges refused to put Alfie Evans family back together again…

I’m sure you heard about the birth of the latest British royal prince and the upcoming wedding of another prince. That’s because for some reason the US Media thinks they’re really important. But not much coverage on the case of Alfie Evans and his parents, who were not allowed to seek medical treatment for their child outside the UK or even take him home to die. 

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Common Sense?

04-29-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asked for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  Luke 11:11

The Waffle House and mass murder are not things I would have ever linked. I remember in my younger days going to dance clubs and then after the clubs closed heading to a local diner to continue the fun. Then sneaking home hoping not to wake up my parents. Amazingly they never woke up. But suspiciously my mother would wake me up at 6am… During those 3am diner dates the worst that ever happened was a fight, usually over a girl. But I would have never conceived that you could be murdered for no reason at all while eating breakfast with friends. That’s all changed now and we seem to have an abundance of sick and twisted individuals that bring our civilization to new lows on a regular basis.

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A Tilted Playing Field

04-22-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The Arizona Faith Network (formerly known as the AZ Ecumenical Council) is a coalition of various faith communities including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix that collaborate on a variety of issues of social concern. They recently put forward a statement on Criminal Legal Reform (https://www.arizonafaithnetwork.org/message-on-criminal-legal-reform ). The purpose of the message is to encourage people of faith, faith leaders, and faith communities to add their voices to this call and to advocate for a "fundamental transformation of mindset about the criminal legal system." The message itself has some very worthy points that should be considered in any Criminal Justice Reform. Of particular note is recognizing the special needs of juvenile offenders, stopping the privatization of prisons and jails, fostering the reintegration of offenders into the community.

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Checks and Balances

04-15-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In the Book of Revelation John begins by writing to the seven Churches that were near Patmos, the penal island on which John was incarcerated. He writes to these living communities with a word from Jesus, a word that affirms them and also a word that challenges them. These churches or Christian communities are referred to by John as the 7 lampstands among whom Jesus walks. As lampstands they are to give light to the culture around them otherwise their light will be extinguished. Their light will burn out if they are not faithful to Jesus the faithful witness.

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Let's Make a Deal

04-08-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The NRA and Planned Parenthood don't really have much in common except one thing. They both operate using the same strategy: never give an inch. No matter how reasonable a restriction may be, the old saying applies: “if you give an inch they’ll take a yard”.  The NRA argues that since gun ownership was written by the Founders in the plain text of the Constitution and Planned Parenthood argues that abortion is a constitutional right as determined by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and therefore need to be protected against any encroachment. I find it interesting that a lot of the same restrictions we have tried to enact on abortions are the similar to the ones being proposed for firearms.

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They Came to Believe

04-01-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

And I came to believe in a power much higher than I
I came to believe that I needed help to get by
In childlike faith I gave in and gave him a try
And I came to believe in a power much higher than I

“Came to Believe” by Johnny Cash

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