Fruit, anyone?

08-18-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“You will know them by their fruits”. Matthew 7:16

Words and appearances are one thing but “what have you done for me lately” is another entirely. So, it is good to step back once in a while and see what evidence there is that we as a Parish are bearing fruit, good fruit.

This past weekend was one of those times. We celebrated the Perpetual Profession of Sr. Sydney Moss with the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco. She is a young woman who grew up in our Parish, graduated our Elementary School and along with many other young people today are bearing much fruit. Her companions in our Youth Group back in the day were Sr. Maria Kim, now a Sister with the Daughters of St. Paul, Fr. Scott Sperry, now a priest of our Diocese as well as a few other priests who serve with Religious Orders. Then there are many others, more than I can count who are living a Christian married life and bearing much fruit, especially children and all are actively involved in a variety of Apostolates in the Parish or in the wider Church. Just come to the 9am Sunday Mass and you’ll meet lots of them.

How does that actually impact the larger Church? Well last Sunday’s Liturgy gave us some clues. A lot of the songs we sang were composed by young people who started at Mt. Carmel. These include Matt Maher, who today is one of the biggest Christian recording stars and composers, nominated many times for a Grammy Award; Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, now Prior of the Camoldelese Monastery in Big Sur and who had a hand in composing the chants that are in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal as well as composing many of the songs we regularly sing. Then of course there is Ike Ndolo, well known throughout the country for his ministry, Tom Booth and Chris Muglia, whose songs are in many Hymnals in the US and whose songs are sung in Parishes throughout the country. For some reason the Spirit has raised up many young Church musicians from among us all the while with a Pastor that can barely sing in the right key-- humbling and all the more reason I can’t claim credit. So, to God be the glory, as always.

We also have many young people who are serving on a variety of College Campuses at Newman Centers and other University outreach teams. Others have gone into fulltime ministry as Youth Leaders in Parishes in many different places, serve on Marriage Preparation Teams, teach Natural Family Planning and work at Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers as nurses or nurse practitioners. Two of our men are in the last stages of preparing for Ordination as Permanent Deacons. This week they will be instituted by the Bishop into the Ministry of Acolyte and then God willing be ordained in the Fall of 2020. These two will be the fourth and fifth deacons from our Parish in recent years. And that’s just the short list!

We have also been blessed with being the Parish that has brought the Servants of the Plan of God to open their first Convent in the US. And this summer they sent the first two young women from the US to Lima to begin their formation to become Sisters. How fortunate are we to help them begin their US ministry and to watch how and where the Holy Spirit will lead their Community in the US.

Then there is our FullCircle Program that we started to help families with teens that are struggling with a variety of issues. We are not only in Phoenix but now in Kansas City and Denver and since 2010 with have assisted hundreds of families to find hope and healing.

Don’t forget all the daily work of ministry that goes on as well: the outreach of our St. Vincent de Paul Conference to hundreds of families each year, the visits to the sick at Tempe-St. Luke’s Hospital and the Homebound. Then there is our School and Preschool. Proof of its success are the many students we have whose parents also graduated the School!

This is just a quick snapshot and certainly not exhaustive. But it is a demonstration that our stewardship is in fact bearing much fruit for the sake of the Kingdom. What we are doing is setting ourselves up to hopefully hear those words when we fully enter the Kingdom: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Love,

Fr. John B.

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