Dear Brothers and Sisters,
How did you cope with missing the Eucharistic Celebration during the weekend? The most common feedback I heard from some of our parishioners this week was that the current restriction from public parish Liturgies and events has awakened in them an appreciation and desire for the Eucharist, our parish community and a deeper relationship with God. The hunger for the Lord and longing for community celebration are feelings that can actually make us grow stronger in our faith. This is one way we can make sense of the current crisis when something good comes out of an apparent evil. To me, our faith at this time is like the parable of the mustard seed which a man took and planted in the soil. He sleeps and rises, nights and days pass and the seed grows but he knows not how (Mark 4:26-29).READ MORE
Please know that my prayers are with you as we go through this very difficult time of social distancing to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. I know most of us were very devastated when we heard the directive from the Diocese restricting all Masses and parish events involving more than 10 persons. I am sure, for most of us, this is the first time in our lives that we have experienced anything like this. I pray it will be the last time we will be told we cannot go to Mass, especially when we really want to attend. While this is a very painful experience, we can still thank God that the restrictions are not permanent and are not directed toward any particular religion. This is a stressful time for all of us. Be aware of some fake news sources out there that spread rumors and unrealistic fear about the virus. I suggest you pay attention only to the authentic news sources and authorities, such as the new diocesan website created to monitor information and directives on the pandemic (https://dphx.org/StayHealthy/) . Other reliable news sources include the Center for Disease Control, Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Department of Education and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).READ MORE
A very big thank you to everyone for a very successful Rummage Sale this weekend. Special thanks to the planning committee, those who donated items and those who participated at the sale. The turnout was very impressive this year. We also received a significantly high number of donated items beyond the capacity of our storage space this year. We are in the process of assessing the total income and expenses from the event. I will report to you when the calculations are completed.
Parish Lenten MissionREAD MORE
Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante Update
We are excited to have a parish progress report to share with you. Together we have great cause to celebrate! Thank you to all who have so generously supported our parish, the Together Let Us Go Forth~Juntos Sigamos Adelante Campaign, and the Living our Faith, Building Our Home Campaign. I am glad to inform you that this week we received our first disbursement from the Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante Campaign. Thanks to your generous support, we received $37,000. Your witness and dedication of evangelization and discipleship is encouraging.
Through your generosity, we received $654,562 in pledges to support the work of discipleship and evangelization throughout our Diocese, as well as providing funding to support: (1) the purchase of pews for our new church, (2) the remodel and reconfigure of our existing building to better fit our needs beginning with the structural expansion of the St. Vincent de Paul pantry, (3) the purchase of the main crucifix for the new church, (4) the establishment of a tuition assistance program at St. John Bosco School, and (5) upgrading the telephone system at St. John Bosco School.READ MORE
On behalf of the parish community, I would like to thank Lani Gore, Nick and Nikki, the members of the Events Ministry, Knights of Columbus and all the volunteers who helped with the Parish Picnic last weekend. Thanks for your commitment and personal sacrifices that made the event so successful. The feedback I received from parishioners indicated that it was a beautiful, relaxing, friendly and memorable occasion. My special appreciation to those who donated food and other items in support of the event.
Charity and Development Appeal (CDA)READ MORE
Welcome to the season of Lent as we begin Ash Wednesday this week. The word “Lent” is an English translation of the Latin term “Quadragesima,” meaning forty days, referring to the 40 days of Lent. We begin Lent on Ash Wednesday by receiving ashes on our forehead as a sign of repentance from our sins and to remind us that we were made from the dust of the earth and will return back to dust. The Church requires all Catholics to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Also, all Catholics from the age of 18 to 60 years old are encouraged to maintain a certain level of self-discipline such as fasting and abstinence during the season of Lent. The goal of self-discipline is not to punish ourselves but to consciously deny ourselves of certain desires, or make some sacrifices that will help strengthen our relationship with God. Apart from fasting, we are also encouraged to develop some new good habits like going to Mass, setting aside times for daily prayers, reading our Bible, watching Catholic movies, participating in charity works, etc. Please check our parish bulletin and website for the Ash Wednesday Mass schedule.READ MORE
This weekend, we observe Commitment Weekend for the Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) for the Diocese of Phoenix. During all of our Masses this weekend we heard Bishop Olmsted invite us to participate in the Appeal. Through your participation last year, the Diocese was able to fund 70 charities and ministries that serve the poor and the needy. Your gift to the Appeal has significant, real-life impact and transforms the lives of thousands of people across the Diocese.
I invite you to consider participating in the CDA this year. Most of us might have already received the Appeal invitation directly from the Diocese within the past week. Thank you if you have already participated this year. If you have not already participated, I invite you to please pick up an Appeal envelope this weekend and fill in the pledge card. There are four ways to give your donation this year: Online, by text message, by pledge card and by phone call. The instructions on how to give using each of the four methods is described on your pledge card. The completed pledge cards will be collected during the Mass. Please feel free to take an Appeal envelope home for a family member or friend, and have them mail or return it to the parish office during the week.READ MORE
I am so excited to inform you that we are now past halfway, $1.9M (56%) in cash payment toward our goal of $3.5M for our New Church Building Campaign (Living Our Faith, Building Our Home). We are also slightly past midway in our three-year campaign. This is a very commendable achievement. With just $1.5M (44%) to go in the campaign, we are close to witnessing our dreams of the new church come true soon. To clarify to our new parishioners and visiting friends, we started our three-year building campaign in April of 2018 with the goal of $3.5M, a loan of $3.5M and a cash fl ow support of $300,000, for a total of $7.3M. Our building timeline is to break ground in the summer of 2021, and move in during 2022. Initially, it appeared like an ambitious dream, but now I am quite optimistic that it is a dream that is within our reach.READ MORE
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
This weekend, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord when the child Jesus is presented in the temple (Luke 2:22-29). The feast, observed on February 2, is also one of the five glorious mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Traditionally, the feast is celebrated with everyone holding a lighted candle during Mass. Hence the Mass in commonly known as the Candlemas Day. The candle light is symbolic of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. During all of our Masses this weekend, we will observe the holding of a lighted candle while the priest blesses them all.
In addition to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord today, the Catholic Church also celebrates the World Day for Consecrated Life. This observance was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1997 to be celebrated in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Consecrated life, also known as religious life, is a way of life in which priests, nuns and some lay people dedicate their entire life to God and publicly take the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience within a religious order approved by the Church. In professing the vows and living within community, the members strive to model the life of Jesus more closely in their service to others and the Church.READ MORE
This week we observe the National Catholic Schools Week (CSW) in all the Dioceses in the United States. Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the US, being observed beginning with the last Sunday in January. The celebration this year, running from January 26 to February 1, will mark the 46th anniversary of the event. The theme for the 2020 Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” This theme embodies the core values found in Catholic schools across the country. Those values are to train the child academically, morally, spiritually and socially so they can become future servant leaders, faith-filled disciples and good citizens. The overall goal of the CSW is to showcase what makes Catholic schools distinctively different from other schools and to help schools connect with prospective families looking to find the right school for their children, donors, educators and other community members.READ MORE
You may have noticed we have not made many announcements concerning our new church building campaign (Living Our Faith, Building Our Home) in the past six months. The main reason for the break was to enable us to focus on our participation in the active phase of the Diocesan Capital Campaign (Together Let Us Go Forth~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante) which ran from July to November last year. We also wanted to avoid any confusion of talking about two different campaigns simultaneously. Even so, a number of us have been working diligently, behind the scenes, keeping our building campaign on track.READ MORE
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support, especially during my installation as Pastor of the parish last Sunday. I am very grateful. I look forward to your continued prayers and support in this new responsibility. A number of our parishioners have asked me to explain the difference between Parochial Administrator and Pastor, and what is involved in having the Via Christi Society provide the pastoral leadership to the St. Benedict community for the next ten years.
A Parochial Administrator is a Priest who is appointed by the Bishop to take care of the pastoral leadership of a parish when the office of the pastor is vacant. He holds this position on a temporary basis until a new pastor is appointed by the Bishop. The Parochial Administrator has the same rights and responsibilities as any Pastor (Canon 539 & 540, 1).READ MORE
On behalf of the parish community, I welcome Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted to St. Benedict. He is here this weekend for my installation as Pastor during the Sunday 11:00 am Mass. I thank the Bishop for his confidence by entrusting me with the responsibility of serving the St. Benedict Parish community. I also want to thank all of our parishioners for their love, care and support throughout this past year. I continue to rely on the grace of God, your prayers, and support as I move on to the next stage of my ministry with you here at St. Benedict.
This weekend we are celebrating Epiphany. This special feast commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus. Epiphany simply means the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the gentile world. One common question many people ask about the celebration of Epiphany is: “If the Magi were called ‘wise men’ because they followed the star to find the child Jesus, is it okay then to believe in ‘horoscope’?” The answer is NO. Horoscope is a form of idolatry - a sin against the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Horoscope readers need to ask themselves whether it is the stars, or God, in charge of their lives? Believing that the stars control our lives contradicts our belief that God is in charge of our lives. The Church states clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:READ MORE