First Sunday of Advent

11-27-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Advent is such a wonderful season to pause and reflect on who we are and what we believe. The prophet Isaiah reminds us, "for the light has come to you and the glory of the Lord has risen over you." After all we have been through this past year, let us pause and remember this great light.

Many years ago, a bishop, Saint Andrew of Crete, wrote, "What kind of light is this? It is the everlasting light, the timeless light revealed in time, the light manifested in the flesh although hidden by nature, the light that shone round the shepherds and guided the Magi. It is the light that was in the world form the beginning, through which the world was made, yet the world did not know it. It is the light which came to its own, and its own people did not receive it."  

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Feast of Christ the King

11-20-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." The two thieves that were crucified next to Jesus show two very different ways of understanding who Jesus was. The first thief insulted Jesus, prodded him, mocked him. He didn't believe that Jesus had any power whatsoever. Like the sneering crowds, he thought that it was a joke to label Jesus as the "King of the Jews."

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Use your state tax dollars to help support Catholic Schools

11-13-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

I know it is hard to believe, but we are already planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even worse, I am already getting my income tax files together. Help!

That also reminds me that I need to remind you about Catholic Education Arizona. As most of you know, you can designate some of your state tax money to help support Catholic schools. You can help our parents who choose to send their children to our parish school by providing some tuition assistance.    

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This is my body

11-06-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Recently as I was celebrating Mass I almost had to stop; it felt like I was hit by the Holy Spirit. As I was speaking those most holy words, "This is my body" I was suddenly reminded of the only other time I hear those words...from a woman saying, "This is my body." The problem is, Jesus continued, "which will be given up for you."

In our increasingly self-centered society, life for others seem to get lost. I am reminded that I once read that the definition of "Hedonism" is:seek pleasure and avoid pain.

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Our Annual Financial Report

10-30-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

I write this very early...it is still September, because as you read I am currently in the Holy Land praying for you at all the holy places in the life of our Lord.

I am enclosing our annual financial report for the past fiscal year, July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016. As you will note, the past year looks very bad, losing money both in the parish and in the school. It is important to remember that this is only a one year report.

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Proper Attire at Mass

10-23-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

A few weeks ago I wrote to you about your participation at Mass, especially your use of the proper gestures. Failing to join the community in responses and gestures is a sign of not being in the community, not being in communion with the community.

Today I want to mention something else about our presence at Mass. During football season, I can always tell if the Cardinals have a home game or not, and usually I can tell who they are playing. People going to a sports event often take care about what they wear, making sure they have on the proper colors.

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St. Jose Sanchez Del Rio

10-16-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Today, October 16th, Jose Sanchez Del Rio will be canonized by Pope Francis. St. Jose Sanchez was a 14 year old boy from Mexico. Some of you may have seen the movie. "For Greater Glory", that in part told of the martyrdom of St. Jose.

Why is this important for us today in the United States? Today, more and more, our children are being taught secularism and hedonism in our public schools, especially in our universities, and by the media. Every one of our children are daily exposed to values contrary to our Catholic faith. It is therefore critically important for all of us to hold up examples of young people who were willing to put their faith in God above everything else.

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Your generosity makes a huge impact on our families

10-09-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Last week I shared with you some messages of thanks for your generosity to our parish school's scholarship funding. I would like to share one more with you.

This is from a mother of six, who decided to leave her job to be a stay at home mother. At the same time, they decided to place their children in our school. She writes, "Today in gratitude to the mercy of God, our Pastor, Priests, Parishioners and the whole community of OLPH our gratitude is over and beyond a humble Thank You from our heart. Prayers truly are heard, and God will provide as He has been to our family. Thank you for the generous scholarships to our family.

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We appreciate your generosity

10-02-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Sometimes you are not aware of how much your generosity is appreciated. Many of you help with scholarships to our school, even if you are not aware of it. When you donate to Catholic Education Arizona, the tuition tax credit organization, you are helping our families attend our school. Also, sometimes we receive a bequest following a death that goes into our school endowment fund, which helps families. There are many other smaller ways you help, including the Adopt a Student envelope.

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Gestures are Important

09-25-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Many of you may remember last summer at the Olympics that there was a controversy because a medalist did not put their hand over their heart during our national anthem. Right now there is anger because some athletes do not want to stand during our national anthem. My friends, you can see that symbols are very important; gestures are important, too.  

During Mass it is sad to see some people ignoring the gestures of the community. Some do not bother to strike their breast during the penitential rite. Some do not bow during the creed when we say Jesus "became flesh", and most do not genuflect at Christmas and on Good Friday at the appropriate time during the creed. Many people do not bow their heads before receiving holy communion.  

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Youth Group Part II

09-18-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Last week I wrote about how it is important that our high school and junior high school age children continue to grow in their faith, especially by attending Youth Group. Let me speak now to those of you who send their children to Catholic School.

Yes, they are taught about their faith; they have classes in religion or theology. But that is not enough in today's world. They need help to combat the influences of television and the entertainment industry. Our country is increasingly secular and even hedonistic. Children need help to understand how our faith is different.

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Youth Groups begin this week!

09-11-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Our high school and our junior high Youth Groups begin this week. It is my duty to remind all of you parents that at their baptism you made a solemn promise to God that you would bring them up in the practice of the faith. You were also told that you are the primary educators of your children in the faith. In fact, all studies have shown that it is the faith practice of the father that is the most important determinate of a child's future faith practice.

Simply going to church, while that is indeed important, is not enough to help your child with the public schools are promoting secularism and the music and entertainment industry are basically promoting hedonism. Parents, you need to be talking with your children about what they see and hear.

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The Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

09-04-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

On Sunday, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, will canonize Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa, soon to be St. Teresa of Calcutta). I still have great memories of her visit here to Phoenix many years ago. There will be celebrations and events to commemorate her life here in our diocese. You can find when and where on the diocesan website.

Also, next week our adult education program begins and the week after that both our children's religious education classes and our Youth Ministry programs. Please watch the bulletin for details for these very important parts of our parish programs.

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