Thank you for your generosity!

06-28-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

June marks the end of our fiscal year (financial year) and usually the end of many of our regular activities. What a great way to end this year--with the ordination of one of our own sons, Father Fernando Camou.

Our Finance Council and Parish Council have both approved our budget for next year. On the surface it looks bad, with a $37,700 deficit; however, this includes some capital expenses that I talked about in my letter last week. We have been saving for these so we have the money already.

As I have mentioned before, I prefer not to keep asking you for second collections to do the work we need to upgrade our parish. Rather, I trust in your generosity in giving thanks to our God with your tithe. By being careful with our expenses we have been able in the past to save some money to do the work we need done.

Thank you for your faithful generosity; God has indeed blessed us and our response to our God shows our trust that He will continue to bless us.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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Fernando Camou's Ordination and First Mass

06-21-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke writes, "the Holy Spirit spoke to them, 'Set apart Barnabas and Saul for me to do the work which I have called them.' Then, after they had fasted and prayed, they imposed hands on them and sent them off."

Next Saturday, the Holy Spirit will call, through Bishop Olmsted, our own Fernando Camou to be set apart to do the work which God has call him. On Friday evening, at the cathedral we will pray in adoration, and if you want you can fast as well. On Saturday morning the Bishop will call Fernando and along with the elders (the priests) he will lay hands on him. Then Fernando will be sent off from us, to Avondale, to St. Thomas Aquinas parish to begin his work.

First, however, Fernando will celebrate his first Masses, in English at 10:30 and in Spanish at 12:30, here at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Of course, as is our tradition, we will celebrate in the parish hall after both Masses.

Please keep Fernando and all of our seminarians, and all of our young men and women discerning vocations in your prayers this week.

Pax, Fr. Mike

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Ordination of Fernando Camou

06-14-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

The long awaited day is coming...hopefully the second coming of Jesus-yes! But I am talking about the ordination of Fernando Camou, our parish son. He will be ordained in two weeks, on Saturday, June 27, at 10am in our Cathedral. If you do not believe the Holy Spirit is working, remember that June 27 is the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help! When I reminded Fernando of this he was surprised and very happy.

Because of the ordination we will not celebrate the feast day as a solemnity in our parish, hoping that most of you will attend the ordination. We will have our regular Saturday morning mass at 8:30. Also, since the diocese has a holy hour at the Cathedral on Friday evening to pray for vocations, and because we have so many young people considering vocations in our parish, we will not have a Friday evening mass. Please plan to attend the Holy Hour at 6:30pm in the Cathedral.

Also, I ask that you begin praying for Fernando as he prepares for this important day, all for all of those discerning vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, or the consecrated life. If you have not heard, (Fr.) Fernando will be assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Avondale.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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Youth Congress “Set the World on Fire”

06-07-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Next weekend our diocese will host our first ever bi-lingual Youth Congress, "Set the World on Fire", at the Phoenix Convention Center, North Building. There will be many exciting speakers, including Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Nevares, and some great music, including our own Youth Minister, Basilio Salinas. It runs Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. This is a special time for our youth to gather to celebrate our faith and the real presence of Jesus in their midst.

Parents, please make sure that your youth know about this important event and encourage them to attend. You can get more information on our website, or on the diocesan website. The cost is only $10 for all three days.

Students, please invite your friends, even if they do not attend church regularly. This is a wonderful chance to evangelize as our Holy Father, Pope Francis, asks us to do.

Peace,
Fr. Mike

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Trinity Sunday

05-31-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity we are reminded that our God is a community of love, not just an individual. God is three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but one God absolutely united in love. We are called to be like that in our community, no, not one person, but a family of persons united in love.

This is the time of year when I ask for members of this community to help me in leading our family. We need new members for our Parish Council and our Finance Committee. Some of our members have served since I have been pastor, and even longer, because we do not have people to accept this important responsibility.

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A Pentecost Prayer

05-24-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

The Jesuit theologian, Fr. Karl Rahner wrote this prayer:

"Lord, today is Pentecost. Today we celebrate the day on which you, raised above the highest heavens and seated at the right hand of the Father, poured out the spirit of promise upon us, so that you would remain by your spirit with us all the days until the end and so that by it you might continue in us your life and death for the glory of the Father and for our salvation.

Lord, look at the spirits that press upon us (today) and grant us the spiritual gift of discernment. What a fitting gift for Pentecost this would be!

Grant us the understanding, validated by daily life, that by looking at and longing for you, we may experience your spirit emerging as the spirit of calm, of peace and confidence, of freedom and simple clarity, while all unrest and fear, narrowness and leaden pride are recognized as at most our own spirit or the one of the d eep dark.

It is Pentecost, Lord. Your men and women servants are praying that you make them capable of the boldness that you ask of them. Let it be Pentecost in us also, now and forever. Amen."

Peace,
Fr. Mike

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May God help our young people to answer His call

05-17-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Last week I wrote that Monday is our graduation for our 8th graders. This means that we enter a few weeks of many of our students graduating from high school and university as well. What an important time for these young men and women. It is also a time for us to pray for them in a special way.  

These men and women will begin to make decisions about their lives that will not only affect them, but us also. What they choose to make of their lives is important to our community and to our Church. It is important for us to encourage them as well as to offer guidance. Let us celebrate with them whatever they have already accomplished and let us dream with them what can be accomplished   by their hard work and by the use of the gifts God has given them.  

May God help each of our young people to answer His call to serve in whatever way God has chosen.  

Peace,  
Fr. Mike

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OLPH young men and women ready to graduate

05-10-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Next weekend is a very happy weekend for some of our community, and a sad one for a few of us. Sunday, at the 10:30 Mass, we will celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass for our 8th grade students. What a great group of young people! Then, on Monday evening, we will celebrate their graduation from our school. For some of us, who will miss seeing them daily, teachers and staff, it is a little sad.

I am very proud of these young men and women. They have done a good job in being leaders of our school, and it is an honor to watch them grow and mature over the past few years. Actually, I am very proud of the graduates from our school that I have known over these last four years. You, as parishioners, can be very proud of the good work of our parish school.

Barbara Bush reminded us, "It takes a village to raise a child." You can be proud, too, of these young future leaders in our community.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

PS: Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, grandmothers, godmothers and mothers-to-be, etc.

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Sing to the Lord in praise and love

05-03-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

In scripture we read, "Sing to the Lord a new song; his praise is in the assembly of the saints." St. Augustine preached in a sermon, "We are urged to sing a new song to the Lord, as new men (and women) who have learned a new song. A song is a thing of joy; more profoundly, it is a thing of love. Anyone, therefore, who has learned to love the new life (in baptism) has learned to sing a new song, and the new song reminds us of our new life."

St. Augustine says later, "My dear brothers and sons, fruit of the true faith and holy seed of heaven, all you who have been born again in Christ and whose life is from above, listen to me; or rather, listen to the Holy Spirit saying through me: 'Sing to the Lord a new song." In another writing, he says, "He who sings prays twice."

In this Easter season it is important for us to reflect on our worship, on our love of God. Can you love your wife, husband, or child without showing that love? How do we show our love for God? St. Augustine would say that singing is an important part of our love of God.

A friend said to me once, "God gave me this voice so He must like it, even if I don't." This Easter season, and throughout the year, let us all sing to the Lord in praise and love.

Pax, Fr. Mike

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May Crowning / "The Wizard of Oz"

04-26-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Next Friday is May 1st, the beginning of the month dedicated to our Blessed Mother. Our 8th graders will crown the statue of Mary at the 8:30 morning Mass. Because our parish and our Capilla are both dedicated to Our Blessed Mother, and because we are aware of the many blessings we have received as a community, it is important for each of us to focus this month on the gift the Mary is to us. This is a good time for families to pray together the rosary; it is a good time to be sure that our children know the rosary. Our Gift Shop has booklets to help you if you need them.

Also, May 8-10, our school children will be presenting "The Wizard of Oz" musical in our hall. The children have been practicing and they are very excited. Tickets are available at the school office for only $5. I expect the performances to be sold out, so get your tickets early.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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Celebrating the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion

04-19-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Next Saturday is a special day for our community, our faith family. We will celebrate the sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion with 230 of our children. It is not just a special day for the children and their families, it is a special day for our entire community. Please remember to pray for these young people during the week as they prepare to receive the Holy Spirit into their lives, and then to receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

Please pray for the families of these children as well. Parents are the first teachers of their children in faith, and that role does not end with Confirmation and Communion. Actually, this is just the beginning for these parents. Now they must guide their children in learning to live as Catholic Christians in a world with so many competing values. May the Holy Spirit come again on these parents so that they may be the best of teachers.

For me, this is such a special day; as "father" to all of these children, I rejoice with them as our parish family grows. Many of the children will serve with me at our Lord's altar. What a blessing they are to all of us.

Peace,
Fr. Mike

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The world is not yet a home of true brotherhood

04-12-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Having just celebrated the Solemnity of Easter I wanted to share with you from the Pastoral Constitution on the Church from the Second Vatican Council.

"Holy Scripture...teaches the human family that human progress, though it is a great blessing for man, brings with it a great temptation. When the scale of values is disturbed and evil becomes mixed with good, individuals and groups consider only their own interests, not those of others."

The result is that the world is not yet a home of true brotherhood, while the increased power of mankind already threatens to destroy the human race itself.

If it is asked how this unhappy state of affairs can be set right, Christians state their belief that all human activity, in daily jeopardy through pride and inordinate self-love, is to find its purification and its perfection in the cross and resurrection of Christ..

This is why our celebration of the Easter mysteries, and our continued celebration through the season of Easter until Pentecost is so important. Come Holy Spirit!

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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Christ is risen! Alleluia!

04-05-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

He is risen!! Alleluia!

Now the question is: will you rise with Him? Will you rise out of the temptations of consumerism and materialism? Will you rise out of the temptation to think the everything is "all about me", which is a form of idolatry. Will you rise with Jesus to the glory of eternal life with our God? This is God's desire for us, is it our desire as well?

Remember, when Jesus rose from the waters of baptism, he was sent into the desert and was tempted. Those temptations are our temptations as well: to materialism, to individualism, and to self-dependence rather than depending on our God and His was of life. Jesus resisted those temptations and spent His life in obedience to His Father. He calls us to do the same. Yes, we will sometimes fall, but our celebration of Easter is a reminder to get up and start again, to live our baptism.

Easter tells us that we are part of salvation history, part of God's saving plan of creation. The whole liturgical year leads up to this day. With those who are reborn in the waters of baptism at the Easter Vigil, we are reminded of our baptism as well into the Body of Christ. That is why we can partake of communion, we can receive His Body and Blood because we are already part of that same Body through our baptism.

So let us rise with Jesus and commit ourselves to live as members of His risen Body, present in our world today.

Happy Easter,
Fr. Mike

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