The Award Goes to...

09-30-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The First-Place award for how NOT to handle an allegation of sexual assault goes to: Sen. Diane Feinstein of CA. Congratulations Senator for demonstrating extreme self-centeredness in using an alleged victim of sexual assault as a political prop. Someone in her leadership position is required by law, when they receive an allegation of this nature that includes the name of the alleged victim, alleged perpetrator and approximate location and time frame, to report the allegation to law enforcement, in this case to the Montgomery County, Maryland Police. By not reporting it she is probably guilty of the crime of failure to report (and so is the counselor to whom this allegation was first made in 2012 if it included the same information). Every one of you who have completed our Safe Environment Training knows this is the procedure to report an allegation. How is it that a lawmaker who helped make the law for mandatory reporting doesn't herself follow it? If the Senator loses her upcoming re-election bid she could always try her hand a being a Bishop.

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Everyday Stewardship

09-30-2018Stewardship Reflection

Our Gospel passage and the Second Reading from the letter of St. James urges us to examine our lives for anything that is keeping us from loving God above all else. Jesus says, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off… If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.”

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Siervas in concert!

09-30-2018The Sisters Corner

This past week our Sisters from the music band Siervas have been visiting and giving concerts in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. It's been a blessing to spread the Gospel to so many people and in so many different countries and cultures.

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Picking Real Winners

09-23-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite novelists, Graham Greene wrote a short novel entitled, Monsignor Quixote. It's a humorous story of the adventures of a Spanish Priest from a small town who through a fluke is named a Monsignor by the Vatican much to the chagrin of his Bishop. The Bishop eventually suspends him as it’s just too much for the Bishop to have this lowly, unimportant, small-town priest to wear the robes of a monsignor. The irony is that Quixote is a very delightful, humorous man who is very well versed in Catholicism and ultimately is mortally wounded trying to save a statue of the Virgin Mary from being desecrated. The story is an ecclesiastical version of The Man of La Mancha in many ways.

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Everyday Stewardship

09-16-2018Stewardship Reflection

Sometimes the Sunday readings bring peace and consolation. Other times they come as a swift kick in the pants. Today’s readings definitely fall in the latter category.

In the Gospel from St. Mark, Jesus begins to instruct the Apostles in what was ahead for Him – and for them. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” In Peter’s worldly way of thinking, Jesus should not have to suffer — and for that matter, neither should Peter.

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Necessary Clarifications

09-16-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In 2017 there were 1,207 allegations of child abuse by Pennsylvania public school employees. There were 280 reports alone in Philadelphia. In 2017, in the Catholic Church in all 50 US States and its territories, there were 24 allegations of abuse by Catholic priests. Six of the twenty-four allegations were determined to be substantiated and of those six, four were against the same priest. It would seem that child abuse by a priest is a thing of the past. But what about child abuse by Public School teachers?

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Our mission in Ayaviri (Peru)

09-16-2018The Sisters Corner

Last Sunday we celebrated Grandparents Day, a beautiful day to remember and to celebrate who they are for each one of us in our families but also for the world. They have incredible wisdom and richness to share - fruit of lived experiences.

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Everyday Stewardship

09-09-2018Stewardship Reflection

Today’s readings offer beautiful illustrations of two of the “Four Pillars of Parish Stewardship”   —  hospitality and service — and the joy that a life lived for others can bring.

Our second reading, from the letter of St. James, teaches that all are equally worthy of our hospitality. We must welcome and serve everyone who walks through our church’s doors, extending warmth and a dignified greeting to all. The person who wanders in late to Mass, who is not dressed to our personal standards, may be just the person who is most in need of Christ’s love. Sometimes we can offer that love simply with a smile and offer to come and sit next to us in “our” pew.

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Who will be strong and stand with me?

09-09-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Do you hear the people sing,
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.

Will you join in our crusade
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see
?

Les Misérables: Final Lyrics

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Mission Trips

09-09-2018The Sisters Corner

These past weeks our sisters and volunteers from Chile, Ayacucho, Ayaviri and Lima (cities in Peru) have been serving in very poor places. They are very distant from the big cities and sometimes the help that they receive is not as much as they need. The faith of these people is very strong, especially in Ayacucho and Ayaviri.

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Let the Little Children Come to Me

09-02-2018The Sisters Corner

“ Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Mt 19:14)

During these almost two years that I have been serving at OLMC, God has asked me to serve in the Religious Education program. This has been a blessing for me, and I’m honored God has trusted me with this mission. One of the things I like the most about working in RE is being able to witness God’s love for the children. He loves them very much! And it is beautiful to see how the children open up their own hearts to receive this love.

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Double Standards?

09-02-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The sworn memorandum by Archbishop Carlo Viganó, confirms things I wrote in my previous letter, albeit on a much larger scale. The media’s reporting on his testimony is quite curious. While this is potentially one of the biggest scandals in Church history, and we have had a few doosies over the centuries, the media is being very restrained in a lot of its coverage. (Of course, I realize that no story, no matter how big can compete with Trump-amania.) In the Reuters reporting, while they stated Viganó’s allegations they were quick to add that “no evidence was presented”. Other outlets stated that the document lacked proof or documentation to back up the claims. Fair enough. The same for the Archbishop’s recalling of a private conversation with Pope Francis in which he said he informed him that McCarrick had a very substantial file on him that the Pope should review, the media called that conversation “unsubstantiated”. Strange that the same media took as Gospel truth James Comey’s account of the private conversation he had with the President.

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Everyday Stewardship

09-02-2018Stewardship Reflection

In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus instructs us in the best way we can honor Him, teaching us the meaning of true worship. Jesus reveals that the way we truly worship Him is by giving Him our hearts. We also learn in this Gospel passage what our Lord does not want - the pious lip service that the scribes and Pharisees offer.

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Serving Christ in the Ones Who are Most in Need

08-26-2018The Sisters Corner

Our charism and mission as Servants of the Plan of God is to serve and announce God to everybody, especially to those who are most in need, those who suffer, who are poor, sick, and in every kind of need.

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Everyday Stewardship

08-26-2018All

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus continues His instruction on the Eucharist. Many of his own disciples cannot accept His teachings and instead return to their former way of life, abandoning Christ altogether. Jesus turns to the Apostles and asks them to choose with the question, “Do you also want to leave?” Peter speaks up for the Twelve responding, “Master, to Whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

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When I Wore a Younger Man's Clothes

08-26-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In light of the sordid and criminal actions of the former Cardinal, McCarrick, we are witnessing the inability of the US Bishops to hold themselves accountable and therefore the complete collapse of confidence in the leadership in the US Church. At the same time, with L’Affaire McCarrick, the homosexual cabal that infiltrated the US seminaries, chanceries and bishoprics is being exposed. Many ask, “why didn't priests tell what was going on?” Part of the reason for that is because they, the cabal, controlled the levers of power in many places and would punish anyone who dared come forward. Maybe that’s a cowardly excuse but when you are a seminarian or young priest you had everything to lose by not keeping quiet. Even now I am sure some will come after me for the things I am going to say. That’s the risk I take, the risk we all take to rid the Church of this infestation. I know there are those who struggle with same-sex attraction and remain chaste or fall through human weakness, I am not referring to them but to those who have rationalized and justified living a double life.

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Teaching in the School!

08-19-2018The Sisters CornerSister Stephanie

This is my second year teaching at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School as a Spanish Teacher for Junior High Students. It’s been a blessing be with God’s little sons and daughters for me and the sisters that I have taught at OLMC. Spanish is my first language, I love teaching Spanish and to be able to assist the children with having their minds opened to other countries, cultures and different realities as the Hispanic countries.

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Now Proscribed

08-19-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This is an enlightening juxtaposition of events: an inmate on Arizona’s Death Row for 23yrs had his conviction thrown out by a Federal Judge who ordered that he be immediately granted a new trial or release from custody; at about the same time Pope Francis issued an amended version of the Church’s teaching on the use of Capital Punishment for the Catechism.

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Everyday Stewardship

08-12-2018Stewardship Reflection

“This is enough, O Lord! Take my life.” Talk about a bad day! Haven’t we all been through this at some point in our stewardship journey, whether in the parish ministry work we are trying to do, at home with our family or in our profession - we get worn out and worn down.

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Servants for 20yrs!

08-12-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

15 August 1998 was a day the world became a better place. That is the date of the founding of the Servants of the Plan of God/Siervas del Plan de Dios of which our wonderful Sisters are a part. That means Wednesday, August 15 is their 20th anniversary.

Their community and mission were approved by Pope St. John Paul II and their foundation was a response to the late Pontiff’s call to reinvigorate the Church as we approached the Third Millennium of Christianity. A new era calls for new ways of proclaiming the Gospel. Just as Jesus said, “a good steward brings forth from his storehouse both the old and the new.”

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Our 20th Anniversary!

08-05-2018The Sisters Corner

We are very happy because August 15th, Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady is going to be 20 years since our community began. Our community started in Lima, Peru and the Holy Spirit has been sending us to different countries like: Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, the Philippines, Italy (Rome), Angola and most recently to the U.S.

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Doing What the Lord Wishes Us to Do

08-05-2018Stewardship Reflection

In the Gospel from John, Jesus advises us, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” By calling Himself the Bread of Life, Jesus is telling us by what He says, how He acts, and in fact Who He is that He is the Word of God made flesh.

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Back to School

08-05-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way, Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say,Cause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their hands, when you teach the children teach em the very best you can, The world won't get no better if we just let it be, The world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me. -Wake Up Everybody sung by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

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