Summer of 2020

06-27-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Summer of 2020! I remembered earlier in the year, most of us were excited when we were told that the Coronavirus will not survive the Arizona summer heat. Unfortunately, the virus has surprised us with the recent increase of new cases even as we move toward the peak of the summer heat. This virus has not given us any time to catch our breath since the outbreak in March, hitting us on all sides. The financial impact on our parish has been significant, as you can see from our weekly offertory report in our bulletin. In the midst of all these, the Lord has not abandoned us. He has surprised us with a reason to keep our hope high.

I’m pleased to share that a generous Catholic family from outside our parish has come forward and offered to help St. Benedict Catholic Church with a matching gift up to $29,700 through August 31!

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Happy Father’s Day!

06-20-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

I wish all fathers - biological fathers, adoptive fathers, foster fathers, grandfathers and Godfathers - a Happy Father’s Day and God’s blessings! We are thankful for the sacrificial love our fathers and father figures share with us throughout our lives. On this day, we honor and celebrate the indispensable role fathers play in our families and communities. Our relationship with our fathers and father figures is often a reflection of the nature of our relationship with God.

The joy of fatherhood is facing unprecedented challenges in our time, especially with the new redefinition of marriage. One can hardly talk about fathers this day without sounding “old fashion.” or offending someone. Someone once said that it is easier these days for fathers to have children than for children to have fathers. Let us remember to pray for all fathers and father figures who are facing different challenges in their personal and family lives. I encourage all fathers to look up to St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Mother, as their role model. Despite his holiness, he experienced challenges as he sacrificed his own personal dreams in order to fulfill God’s will by protecting his wife and child, Jesus. I pray again for God’s special blessings upon you through the intercession of St. Joseph on this day.

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Corpus Christi

06-13-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

This weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, meaning the Body and Blood of Christ. Traditionally on this day, the Eucharist is honored by carrying the Blessed Sacrament in a solemn procession through the town, stopping several times for Benediction. This custom is still encouraged and practiced in many countries throughout the world. With the celebration of Corpus Christi, we now begin the full Ordinary Time of the Liturgical Calendar, which will last until the season of Advent begins in November.

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The Most Holy Trinity

06-06-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is difficult for many people to understand or accept. The Church teaching states that there are three distinct persons in one God but with one nature. Not three Gods, but one God, manifesting himself in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a mystery; a mystery is something we cannot fully understand. We may have an idea or awareness, but we cannot truly explain it to ourselves or others. One of the most common analogies that illustrates the nature of three persons in one God is water. Water can exist in the form of solid ice, liquid or vapor. Each form can be converted to the other, but it remains the same water. Although not a perfect analogy, this gives us an idea of the nature of the Trinity.

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Pentecost

05-30-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

Happy Pentecost! With the celebration of Pentecost today, we have now concluded the Eastertide (50 days) which began Easter Sunday . At the end of the 5pm (Sunday) Mass today, we will remove the Paschal Candle from the altar as a symbolic end of the Season. Pentecost reminds us of the rich history of our faith. We often refer to it as the “Birthday of the Catholic Church.” We are told in our first reading today, when the Holy Spirit came and rested on the Apostles, they were all filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and were then able to boldly leave the Temple and preach in the streets without fear of anyone. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles to speak in tongues, a symbolic manifestation of the unity and universality of the church, for which Jesus prayed on the night before his passion. Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit will remain with the Church, to lead and guide her until the end of time. We pray for the intervention of the Holy Spirit to bring an end to the current viral pandemic.

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Welcome Back

05-23-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Parishioners,

I was so delighted to see many of you during Masses last weekend. I am grateful for everyone who was able to participate online or in-person. I thank you all for your patience and understanding during the whole period of this crisis. My special thanks to the parish staff and volunteers who helped with the liturgical planning and services.

This past weekend, as I stood on the Altar during Mass, the image that came to my mind from the Bible was the experience of the Israelites returning back from exile (Nehemiah 8:1-9). On returning back from exile, the priest, Ezra, gathered the people and read the Scriptures to them from morning until evening. All the people stood, raised their hands and praised God, then they knelt down and wept upon hearing the Scriptures for the first time after so many years in exile. In a similar way, I saw how most of us were moved to tears of joy during the Mass for now being able to participate fully in the Eucharistic celebration as a community after nearly two months. What a memorable Homecoming for all of us!

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Homecoming Weekend

05-16-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

Words alone cannot describe my joy and excitement of seeing our parish community resume our public celebrations of Masses this “Homecoming Weekend!” I thank God for his blessings and protection through this time of crisis. I know it is not over yet, but I am glad we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I thank you too for your faithfulness and prayers through this trying time of nearly two months. I hope you have found time to read the email I sent to you during the week which explains the first phase of our full return to parish life, including what will be permitted during Masses this weekend and our responsibilities to help keep you safe. Please let me know if you have not been receiving email messages and announcements from me.

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Happy Mother's Day

05-09-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

Happy Mother’s Day On behalf of our parish community, I wish all mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers a Happy Mother’s Day and God’s blessings! On this day, we thank our mothers, by birth or adoption, who have nurtured and supported us through life. This year we all have an unprecedented challenge of celebrating the Mother’s Day Mass without our mothers being physically present. Together, let us lift up all mothers in prayer and ask God to protect and strengthen them.

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Good Shepherd Sunday

05-02-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

This Fourth Sunday of Easter is dedicated as Good Shepherd Sunday, also known as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In addition to our continuous prayers for the end to the COVID-19 pandemic, this weekend the Church invites us to pray for vocations and in particular, for an increase in vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life.

Powerful leaders generally have authoritative titles such as Emperor, King, Commander in Chief, President, etc., to demonstrate the magnitude of their power. However, Jesus chose to humbly identify himself as a shepherd. He does this to reveal to us the depth of God’s tender love and care for us. Following Jesus’ footsteps, the Church today calls priests in charge of parishes as pastors, which is a direct translation of the word, “shepherd” in Latin. Pastors are called to model their lives after Jesus and to be servant leaders rather than managers, CEOs or supervisors. The call to lead with a loving and caring heart also applies to parents and every Christian in a leadership position.

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Eastertide

04-25-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Eastertide! The word “Easter” is derived from the English word, “East,” which traditionally symbolizes the direction of the rising sun. The rising sun is a symbol of hope because it brings the light of the new day and warmth after the darkness of the night. These images are used in the Catholic tradition as symbols of the Risen Christ, who is the true Light of the World. The Eastertide refers to the 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. All of the Sundays within the Eastertide are considered Sundays of Easter; hence, we have the first through the seventh Sunday of Easter, and then conclude with Pentecost Sunday.

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Divine Mercy Sunday

04-18-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Friends,

This Second Sunday after Easter is dedicated as Divine Mercy Sunday. Often, people wonder why Pope John Paul II chose this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday. We find a clue in the Gospel Reading today. We are told that Jesus breathed on the Apostles and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:22-23). In doing this, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as the Sacrament of Divine Mercy, through which God forgives us our sins and reconciles us to himself.

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Happy Easter!

04-11-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

The Lenten Season this year was one that most of us will always remember for our inability to worship publicly. If someone were to tell us at the beginning of Lent, just six weeks ago, that we would all be celebrating Easter from our homes, none of us would have believed. But here we are this weekend, celebrating Easter behind our closed doors. It may seem like Lent has no conclusion this year. However, we can still make sense of the situation we find ourselves in right now, especially in the light of the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we commemorate this weekend. Now we find ourselves humbly placed in the shoes of the Apostles and the Blessed Mother during the passion and death of Jesus Christ. I imagine how they wrestled with their helplessness through the three days and nights leading to the resurrection of Jesus. I imagine them facing the unknown future, not knowing how to move forward in their lives. We all know the story well. In an instant, their sadness was turned into an unimaginable joy and happiness when they witnessed the risen Christ. Their experience gives us a reason to remain hopeful, placing our trust in God that there will be a light at the end of this tunnel.

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Holy Week, the Triduum and Easter

04-04-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

How are you holding out? I hope you and your family are doing well.

I know it is hard for any of us to accept, but we have received new Liturgical guidelines from the Vatican and the Diocese requesting that Holy Week and Easter celebrations be celebrated in private this year. I know we all have diff erent questions about what this implies. Here is the summary of the guideline regarding the Holy Week, the Triduum and Easter celebration:

Palm Sunday. The Holy Week begins this weekend with the celebration of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is allowed this year but only as a private Mass. However, Palm branches are not to be distributed to the faithful as a cautionary measure. We will have a Virtual Private Mass here at St. Benedict at 11 am, livestreamed on our YouTube Channel.

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