A Return to Mayberry?

06-28-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the problems with the current state of policing is, well, policing. And the problem isn’t really so much with the police as it is with the politicians who direct the police on how to police. At some point, I think it was around the time when the “war on drugs” began, but the manner of policing went from having police function as Community Peace Officers to being strictly Law Enforcement Officers. So, for those who don't have criminal contact with police the contact is about tickets, fees and fines. And the more police are pushed by politicians to sell quotas of tickets, fines and fees the more the municipalities are able to supplement their tax revenues.

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Lose in Order to Win

06-26-2020The Sisters Corner

t’s a natural experience to desire winning as most of us do not don’t like the experience of losing. Trying to live our faith can be truly challenging. We need to go through a constant conversion so it may change our way of seeing things.

In today’s Gospel we are invited, not to win but to lose, in order to win: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Jesus invites us to win by losing! Prior to hearing Jesus’ words we may ask ourselves: What and why should I lose? What will I find or win when I lose? Following Jesus certainly will imply losing many things in order to win greater ones: losing selfishness to win self-giving or charity, letting go of resentments to live forgiveness, give up trying to control things and grow in our trust in God to take control.

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06-21-2020The Sisters Corner

In today's Gospel the Lord mentions "not to fear" several times. Being afraid is a common feeling. Everybody has experienced fear at least once in their lives. We fear when we feel threatened by something or someone. There is also a good type of fear and is actually one of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit: FEAR of the Lord; this is a type of fear that instead of drawing us away it drew us closer to God because we fear being away from Him.

What type of fear is the Lord talking here?

Obviously He is taking about the first one. "Do not be afraid" - He says, but, afraid of who? - Of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. God has created us and has given us a body and a soul. Sometimes it is easier to forget about the "soul part" and look more at the body part because is what we can see. However, the Lord is asking us to look a little bit deeper on what is really is important. He is asking us to see the world with different eyes, the type of eyes that not only see what we can touch or feel but the type of eyes that see beyond.

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Tack in the Foot

06-21-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Phrases such as “systemic racism” and “institutional racism” are being used a lot lately. But what exactly do they mean? The more blatant types of racial discrimination such as employment or housing discrimination are not so hard to spot and we do have a legal system to fight against it. But there are other more insidious and harder to spot forms of racism that often infect our institutions and social systems. Consider this example:

In one school system on the East Coast, upwards of 80% of the students are placed on methylphenidate, brand names Ritalin and Adderall, prescribed to treat ADD/ADHD. Now in those same communities there is also a massive drug addiction problem, drug overdoses, and drug related crime. The drugs of choice in those same communities is methamphetamine, (crystal meth), crack cocaine and cocaine. It just so happens that methylphenidate is in the same drug family as methamphetamine and cocaine, namely stimulants. Can it be that these children are being set up to be drug addicts as young adults?

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The Beauty of Sharing Our Faith

06-14-2020The Sisters Corner

We have the beautiful tradition of receiving Catechumens and Candidates into the faith of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, which is a very significant liturgical feast to us. Those preparing to be received into full communion to the Church look forward to it the whole year. But this year, with the Covid Pandemic, those going through RCIA had to face the uncertainty of not knowing when their sacraments would take place. When we finally got the dates scheduled, we discovered that God really thought this one out.

Last Sunday six baptisms were celebrated during 5pm Mass. It was a beautiful ceremony where our Catechumens were Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit on none other than at the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

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U's -Turn Needed

06-14-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

No doubt most of us are still scratching our heads asking, “how did this happen?” How was it that a medieval-like Pandemic hit in 2020 with all our Public Health and Medical sophistication? And how was it that racism and police brutality are still part of our justice system and our society at large after years of pushing civil rights forward and going over policing practices and policies like the Use of Force policy with a fine-tooth comb again and again?

The long answer is the human condition, specifically that which Christians label as original sin. It’s right there at the beginning of the Bible. After Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden, sin begins to divide the human family, Cain kills his brother Abel and every murder since is just a variation on an old theme. The solution is the Gospel: Repent and Believe. Repent of hatred for your brother and believe that God is Father of us all and we are all brothers and sisters. Admittedly it's a long-term strategy and not so much a quick fix.

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RCIA & Rescheduled Sacraments

06-07-2020The Sisters Corner

It is always a great gift to be able to help those who are seeking to join the Church and receive their Sacraments. Never has the date for the Sacraments been as anticipated as this year. With all the uncertainty of the Covid pandemic, those going through RCIA were unable to receive their Sacraments at the Easter Vigil as is the tradition. We were just patiently waiting for the reopening of the Church. So when we finally got a date for the Sacraments, it was an occasion for great joy, as you can imagine.

Please pray for our Catechumens and Candidates who will be receiving their Sacraments and joining the Church during this month. June 7 at 5pm Sunday Mass we will have our Catechumens receive the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation.

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The Red-head Down the Street

06-07-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Envision yourself as a twelve- or fourteen-year-old kid again. You come home and your mother says, “I don't want you playing with that red-head down the street.” You say, “why not?” And all she says is, “because she is a red-head that’s why.” What do you do? You have only two choices as young kid: either disobey your mother and get punished for it or buy into her craziness.

That’s basically the choices we have at this point as so many of our overlords play the role of the crazy mother. The Salon owner in Dallas chose not to buy into to the craziness and opened her business. She did it after her employees told her they were going to serve customers in their private homes so they could earn a living and take care of their families. The owner told them not to as it was unsafe during the Pandemic. So, instead she opened her shop so her staff could work in a safe environment, social distancing in place, face masks, proper sanitizing after each customer etc. She chose to play with the red-head down the street. She was arrested and sent to jail.

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