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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A House in Order

05-26-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Mt 5:14). Our Lord Jesus Christ calls every believer to be a shining example of virtue, integrity and holiness. All of us, in fact, are called to give concrete witness of faith in Christ in our lives and, in particular, in our relationship with others.

Above is the opening line of the Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis in which he issued procedures for dealing with Bishops or Superiors of Religious Orders who are accused of abuse of a minor or failure to deal with reported abuse cases. The new document establishes a clearer set of universal procedures for reporting suspected abuse, carrying out initial investigations and protecting victims and whistle-blowers. The directives specify that a report on a Bishop's or Superior of a Religious Order malfeasance or abuse is made to the local Metropolitan Archbishop, in our case it would be the Archbishop of Santa Fe or directedly to the Apostolic Nuncio in each country.

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5 Sisters making their Perpetual Profession

05-26-2019The Sisters Corner

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.” (Lk 1:46-48)

This coming Friday, Feast of the Visitation of our Lady to her cousin St. Elizabeth, 5 sisters of our order will make their perpetual profession. Their names are Ivonne, Mónica, Silvia, Claudia, and Elizabeth.

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Yuma to Phoenix

05-19-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I recently attended a Board Meeting where many of the members are from Mid-west and far northern states and they asked me about the immigration situation on the ground in the southwest. From their perches they don't hear much except the usual political wrangling about immigration. So, I told them this:

When the Dept. of Homeland Security announces that there were 100,000 people who crossed into the country in March and that most of them turned themselves in to Border Patrol and requested asylum, no one ever asks where exactly are these people? For most people they are just numbers unless you live in places like Yuma or Nogales, Arizona or McCallum or El Paso, Texas or across from Tijuana. The Border Patrol, by court order, can hold adults with children for no more than 20days, process them and give them a date to appear before an Asylum Judge, sometime years in the future. And then they are free to go anywhere in the US. DHS does not have the structure, funds or mandate to provide housing, medical care, and transportation for these people. So as a result, they are released into the local communities and the local communities are overwhelmed trying to assist them. Recently the Mayor of Yuma declared a State of Emergency in his city. The social services, the homeless shelters, food kitchens are completely overwhelmed in Yuma, which is seeing over 300 people a day cross the border.

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Time to Say Goodbye

05-19-2019The Sisters Corner

Time has gone so fast!! As you probably know, this May 27th I will be moving to Peru for a new mission.

These two years here at Mount Carmel have been a blessing for me. When I learned that I was going to serve here, I was so happy and excited about it. This was our "rst foundation in the States and I was very honored to start it with my Sisters.

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Birds of a Feather

05-12-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I was going to write something that would raise your blood pressure but I came across this and found it too rich to resist. Being the owner of a parrot, or let me rephrase that, a person who has a companion bird, this headline from the Daily Wire caught my eye:

Police Detained A Parrot For Warning Its Owner About A Drug Raid. Yes, A Parrot.

A parrot was detained by police in Brazil after the feathered fiend warned its drug-dealing owners that police were approaching. The parrot started yelling as the police approached its home Monday afternoon, The Guardian reported. The bird shouted "Mama, police!" authorities said.

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Happy Mother’s Day

05-12-2019The Sisters Corner

God wanted to come to the world through a woman. He wanted to have a mother and Mary accepted, with so much love and courage, to be the Mother of God. On this special day, the Servants of the Plan of God, pray for all those who have the beautiful mission of being our mothers. We pray for those that are still with us and those who are not and have already been called by God to be in His presence. May God bless all mothers and by Mary's intercession experience God's tender love for each one of them. Feliz dia de la Madre!!!

Then He said to him, "Follow Me"

05-05-2019The Sisters Corner

The Lord has brought many things into our lives during this Easter Season!! He always renews us with His grace; His voice never ceases to speak to us. His call to be Holy, to follow Him is always present. He appears in our daily lives just as He did with His apostles. He invites us again and again to be part of His disciples and apostles.

As you know, we are 6 Sisters living in Arizona right now. We have heard His voice calling us to give our entire lives to Him and to His mission, in different moments of our lives. Some of us were finishing high school or in the first year of college, some of us have been already working and with a life already "planned", but the most beautiful thing is that the Lord came to us and made us experience His love and invitation to follow Him, to leave everything behind and offer our-selves to cooperate with Him in His plan of salvation.

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Jew-hate Junction

05-05-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Jew-hatred is the oldest bigotry on the books. As one author said, "all bigotries meet at Jew-hate Junction". The NY Times recently published a neo-Nazi cartoon in its international edition and the editors want you to believe that there would be peace in the Middle East if it weren't for the Jews. Likewise, the media outlet, Politico wants you to believe that Trump would be in jail if it weren't for the Jews who control him. Congresswoman IIhan Omar cast aspersions upon the Jews with one of the oldest Jew-hate tropes, "for Jews", she said, "it's all about the Benjamins". And when the House of Representatives tried to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, it couldn't muster the votes and instead just condemned all forms of hatred and bigotry. One thing is for sure: when the alt-right with its neo-Nazi obsessions and its anti-Semitism and the alt-left with its penchant for defending Islamo-fascists and its anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism, are on the rise, Jews die.

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