Steubenville West Conference

07-28-2019The Sisters Corner

Going to Steubenville West Conference has been a blessing for our parish!

Steubenville West is a conference held every year by the Franciscan University, in Tucson, Arizona. This conference is for all entering freshman to graduated senior students. During this conference teens from all over the valley gathered together to worship God and grow in their relationship with Christ. They received different talks, had Eucharistic Adoration, received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, went to Mass, had praise & worship time and was a great opportunity to build community!

Every conference has a theme: this year’s theme was called BELONG; and it explains the desire of every human being to have a meaningful and authentic relationship with others, to love and be loved; and most importantly to have this relationship with God, who is our Father.

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The Politics of Waxing

07-28-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the ideas that underpins Identity Politics is that rights, rather than being located in the individual are located in an identity group. And an Identity Group is a group that has some history of oppression or disenfranchisement. So, whether that is based on race/ethnicity, sexual preference, biological or non-biological gender identity, the identity group by virtue of being an identity group can claim to merit special favor from the government and society at large.

A problem that often arises is that the various groups can clash or compete for that favored status position. To avoid that, the groups have to learn to practice ‘intersectionality’. That is finding common ground and supporting each other’s right to overcome grievances. This often leads to a conflict with individuals and their rights. So, for instance, we have already seen the case of Jack Phillips, the baker who declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. In the world of Identity Politics, Phillips as an individual has no right to refuse service to a member of an identity group. In other words, their rights trump his. But, according to the rules of Identity Politics, he could refuse to make a cake with the words Jesus is Lord written on it, since people from Jesusland are not part of a recognized aggrieved identity group.

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A Space Oddity

07-21-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I remember it as if it were last night. Watching Apollo 11 blast off from Planet Earth to head to the Moon. Everybody’s first thought was, “will they make it to the surface of the Moon?”. A few days later the spaceship entered the Moon’s orbit and then out popped the Lunar Module with the two astronauts aboard. We watched with great anticipation as the Module made its way down to the surface of the Moon and heard those immortal words: “the Eagle has landed”! It would be several hours before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would step out of the Lunar Module onto the surface of the moon, earning the right to the best bragging rights ever.

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Special prayer intentions

07-21-2019The Sisters Corner

We are always grateful for your prayers for us, but on this weekend we want to ask all of you for special prayers since there are so many things happening at the same time. Sr. Cristina and Sr. May will be in Tucson at the Steubenville Youth Conference with two of our youth ministers and 28 High School Teens. This will be a very special occasion for teens in our parish to encounter the truths of their faith in a youthful and joyful way. Please pray for all of them so that they may have a meaningful encounter with Jesus.

On this same weekend, Sr. Monica and Sr. Maria Jose are starting a 7-day silent retreat in Peru where they will join Sisters from around the world for their annual spiritual exercises. As Sisters we look forward to this moment of the year when God calls us to take the time to stop all of what we are doing and focus on Him. This is always a very special moment in which we renew our encounter with God and the mission He entrusts us.

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The Joy of Serving

07-14-2019The Sisters Corner

We all yearn to have a happy and meaningful life, but many times we don't really know what we need to do to be happy and to be fulfilled. We may find ourselves looking all around with no real clue of how to achieve it. No one can give you the recipe for happiness. We are all meant to find it in our own personal circumstances and in our own way. But there is something that is unfailing and only those who have experienced it will be able to understand: there is more joy in giving than in receiving.

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How to Get a Gold Star!

07-14-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Consider this a Public Service announcement. After October 1, 2020 a valid AZ Driver's License or I.D will no longer be a valid form of I.D for Federal identification purposes. Which means you will not be able to use it as a form of identification to board an airplane in the US, enter a military installation, nuclear power plants or a Federal prison (as a visitor; for inmates fingerprints and mugshot will do!). However, you will still be able to use a valid Passport, DHS Trusted Traveler card, or permanent resident card at TSA checkpoints at airports. If you desire you can obtain a new AZ Traveler I.D. (driver's license or I.D. card) but there is no obligation to do so and your current valid AZ driver's license will still be fine to use for driving and other non-federal I.D. purposes. The reason for this is that AZ has to comply with the Real I.D Act passed by the US Congress in 2005. (AZ was granted some extensions but that will end in October 2020.)

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Our Parish Logo

07-07-2019The Sisters Corner

God wanted the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be the logo of our Parish “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”. That is a big invitation from Mary to us, to have her same heart.

The heart of Mary it is an exposed heart, which means that it is called to be open every day to receive the love of God, and as a consequence to love Him back and love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

It is red because it is nourishing from the blood of Christ that loves us so much. God is the one that gives life to her heart.

The white roses invite us to live the purity in all our lives; in our minds, in our thoughts, in our way to love detached from every selfishness, purity in our intentions trying to seek the glory of God in everything, as the purity in our bodies as well.

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Contradictions & Truth

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

Dear Friends,

When we let go of objective truth or moral absolutes, well anything can happen. Two cases that demonstrate the point. This year marks the 25th Anniversary since the Rwandan Genocide. The UN had Peace Keepers, troops on the ground and when the killing broke out the commander contacted the UN Headquarters and the UN President told him to stand down, “we don't take sides”. Which was in effect taking a side. You can never be neutral when it comes to evil. You either fight it or are complicit in it.

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Immaculate Heart of Mary

06-30-2019The Sisters Corner

This Saturday, June 29th we celebrated the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We want to honor this day talking a little bit about Mary’s heart of service. When reading the Visitation’s passage, we hear, if we silent our hearts, God telling us: “Like her”. “Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea.”

Mary understood her mission, which was to communicate Christ to others. She didn’t wait for somebody to tell her what to do, she didn’t think about it twice. She hurried and went to serve.

We are called to serve like her, who doesn’t seem to realize that she sacrifices herself, who doesn’t emphasize the service provided, who doesn’t tell others but serves quietly without other people knowing about what she is doing, as if she was the beneficiary.

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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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Eucharist: The Source of Our Strength and Joy

06-23-2019The Sisters Corner

One of the greatest gifts Jesus left us is the Eucharist. He left Himself to usful"lling His promise when He said: “I am with you always; yes, to the end oftime.” (Mt 28:20). He waits for us every day in the Mass to offer us His bodyand blood and stays with us in the Blessed Sacrament. Let us welcome thisgift with deep faith and gratitude!

As Servants, one of the most important things for us is to bring Christ to others. We can’t do that without having Christ in us, unless we are united toHim. The daily mass and adoration unite us with Him and becomes the sourceof our strength and joy in announcing Him and serving Him in our mission.Mary received Jesus in her womb through her “let it be done”. Like her, maywe receive Him in Holy Communion with profound reverence and faith as wesay “Amen”. And as she took Jesus to her cousin Elizabeth in the Visitation,may we follow her example of bringing Him to others with our testimony.

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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Pray for our mission trip to Peru

06-16-2019The Sisters Corner

This weekend Sr. Monica and Sr. Ximena are being joined by eight parishioners on a mission trip to Peru where we will be serving those who are most in need and… we need your prayers!

The main focus in our mission trip this year will be serving the children of "The Joy in the Lord School", a school run by our Sisters in Peru that serves more than 100 children and teenagers with normal intelligence who suffer from different physical disabilities such as: cerebral palsy, myelomeningocele, muscular dystrophy, amputations, arthrogryposis and quadriplegia. Because most of them come from the poorest areas of the city, the school provides for them not only complete specialized schooling, but breakfast and lunch plus all the physical therapy they need.

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Come Holy Spirit!

06-09-2019The Sisters Corner

Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost when we remember how Jesus fulfilled His promise of not leaving us alone. He is the one who enlightens us with the truth, the One who sets our hearts on fire to love Him and fills us with the zeal to announce Him. The Holy Spirit builds the Church; we would not have Jesus in the sacraments without His presence in our world!

As many of you might know, our religious community, started in 1998 in Peru. That year, Saint John Paul II had declared it the Year of the Holy Spirit. As everything in the Church, we know we were born because the Holy Spirit inspired this work, but being born in a year dedicated to Him, makes us be grateful to Him and love Him even more.

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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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Ascension of The Lord

06-02-2019The Sisters Corner

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. He ascends intoHeaven and invites us to raise our eyes to it and at the same time with ourfeet on the ground. It’s our mission to announce His Word into the World,while we wait when He will come back in glory and splendor.

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