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.READ MORE
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!READ MORE
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Phase One of “Rising with Christ”, the Diocese of Phoenix’s plan to restore parish life. Beginning this week, Bishop Thomas Olmsted has given permission for parishes to welcome parishioners back to daily and weekend Masses on a limited basis. Although the state and diocesan guidelines permit pastors to admit up to 25% of the seating capacity of each church, we have decided to remain cautious for now and limit our Mass attendance to 20% (approximately 100 people per Mass). Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Once this capacity is met for each Mass, no others will be permitted to enter the church. We appreciate your cooperation with this as we work together to keep our community safe.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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