Medical or Recreational?

09-20-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Since the previous ballot proposition for medical marijuana passed several years ago, many of you obviously voted in favor of it. You did so, I imagine since much of the campaigning was designed to pull on your heart strings and elicit your compassion, not that you yourself intended to make use of it. So, you reasoned, “if someone can be helped by using marijuana and receive relief for a medical condition, who am I am to stand in the way?”. At this point some of you still hold to that position, others may have changed your minds seeing that medical marijuana has caused more problems than it solved.


Everyday Stewardship

09-06-2020Stewardship Reflection

Today’s readings are all about relationships. Among the many lessons we have learned from the global pandemic is the deep importance of the relationships and communities in our lives. Our families, neighbors, friends and parish family need us, and we need them to be our best selves.

St. Paul gives us simple instruction in our second reading from Romans to guide us in our dealings with others, reminding us what Christ Himself taught: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is the overarching principal that guides us to be good stewards of our relationships.

In our Gospel passage from Matthew, Jesus further refines this instruction on good stewardship of our relationships, even when they involve conflict. He says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”


Fear Factor Revisited

09-06-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

My letter of 05/31/20 was entitled, “Fear Factor” and it was all about some of the fears that were being hawked by the hucksters of fear regarding the coronavirus. So, let’s see how those Fear Factors are holding up.

I listed as Fear Factor #1: asymptomatic people can transmit the virus. Of course, with that assumption we would need to fear just about everyone. Of the six million people in the US who tested positive, how many actually got sick? We’re not given that information. But this past week the CDC announced a change in its testing policy, namely that not everyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 needs to be tested but only those who have symptoms of the virus. Why the change? Large numbers of people who test positive for the virus never develop symptoms and never get sick from the virus. The reason for this is that the PCR test can detect very small levels of the virus, levels that are insufficient to make a person sick or be a transmitter of the virus. In order to transmit the virus a person needs a certain level or viral load. This is similar to the way the TB testing works. If you get the prong test for TB and it shows a positive result, it does not mean that you have TB but rather that you were exposed to TB, further testing is needed to diagnose if a person actually has the disease. For COVID-19, the newer rapid tests require a much higher viral load and will most likely, more accurately diagnose those who have the disease as opposed to those who were merely exposed. Think of it this way, sometimes you feel like you are getting a cold but you never develop symptoms. Most likely you had a low level of the virus and your immune system stopped it in its tracks. The same thing seems to be happening with this version of coronavirus. With this change in testing protocols, the CDC seems to be tacitly admitting that asymptomatic people don't transmit the virus.