Holy Week

03-29-2015AllFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

OK, here we go...we have been preparing and now it is time to begin. Holy Week! This is what our faith is all about. This is like no other week in the year. I say this every year, but please do not do "business as usual". Please, make this week special.

After today, Passion Sunday, the priests of the diocese spend Monday on a day of retreat. For us, this is a time to make sure we are prepared for Holy Week. Please pray for us on Monday. Of course, Monday evening is the sacred Mass of Chrism, when Bishop Olmsted blesses the new holy oils used throughout the coming year and he invites the priests to renew their priestly promises. The Mass is at the Cathedral at 7pm, anyone can attend, but it is usually crowded so get there early.

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Preparing to begin the most Holy Week of the year

03-22-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Next weekend we begin our most Holy Week of the year with the celebration of Passion Sunday. Remember that we begin our Masses outside with the blessing of the palms and then process, as the disciples did with Jesus, into the church, our Jerusalem. With this joyful entry, we then prepare ourselves for the week ahead.

If Lent has not been a special time for you, if you have not accomplished what you hoped for this Lent, do no give up and do nothing. Now is the time to spend a week, now just a week, preparing for Holy Week.

I always look forward to celebrating this special time with you; as a community we have always had wonderful celebrations. This year will be Fr. Keith's first time as a priest which will have special significance for him, and for us.

Let us intensify Lenten week ahead together.

Pax, Fr. Mike

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Lent: a time to focus on our relationship with our God

03-08-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Our Lenten penance service is this Monday at 7pm in the church. We have invited priests to help us in both English and Spanish. Remember, if you cannot make it you can check with parishes around us because our priests will be helping them.

Also, please remember our Charity and Development Appeal. If you have not made a pledge or contributed there are envelopes in the entry of the church to use. Just place the envelope in the regular collection and we will get it to the diocese. So far, we are over half way to our goal of $64,000; please help us to meet that goal and help so many in our diocese that depend on the Charity and Development Appeal for funding their programs.

Thank you also for your generosity to our St. Vincent de Paul collection.

Lent is such a busy time with so many special events to help us prepare to walk with our Lord in Holy Week, and yet, it is also a time to slow down and focus on our relationship with our God.

Pax, Fr. Mike

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Five key points to consider during Lent

03-01-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

As we continue our Lenten journey, I hope that you are truly growing in relationship with the God who loves you...even to death. Are you prepared to go all the way with Jesus, through His Passion and Death to reach the promised Resurrection?

I wanted to share with you five key points that Bishop Olmsted recently gave us to consider; I shared these in a homily Ash Wednesday but I think they are important enough for you to have in writing. Bishop asked us to keep these five points in our minds and in our hearts, and they are great to guide us this Lent.

  1. Jesus and His disciples serve the poor. Serve is the important word here, calling us to be servants.
  2. Followers of Jesus live as though the Truth were true. That sounds obvious but think of all of the times we hear that things (Truth) depend on the situation.
  3. Jesus' body, the Church, works for peace and reconciliation. Especially in Lent we need to emphasize reconciliation.
  4. The Church proclaims God's plan for Marriage and family life. Of course, the key here is "God's plan" not some politician's.
  5. Christians are always seeking new and better ways to tell the Good News of Jesus, especially to youth and the elderly.

If we keep these in mind, I believe that we will find ourselves closer to our God, the God who loves us.

I hope you have a Holy Lent.

Pax,

Fr. Mike

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The importance of the Charity and Development Appeal

02-22-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Let me say thank you to all who have parti- cipated in this year's Charity and Development Appeal . This annual appeal is so important to our diocese and to our parish because so many of our volunteer ministers and our staff receive training from the offices funded by the CDA.

As I look at our 5 year history, we have surpassed our goal three times. Over that time period, our average goal was $56,800 and our average amounted raised was $59,352. I think it is easy to say that we have done well and have reason to be proud. Last year was exceptional with a goal of $60,000 we raised 67,599.

Of course, that means that we have a higher goal this year: $64,000 but this is within what we are easily able to accomplish. It would be great if we could surpass our goal early. Remember, I will continue to remind you until we pass our goal (this is one time when it is OK to shut me up).

Again thank you for your past generosity and for your participation in this year's campaign.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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Beginning the holy season of Lent

02-15-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Next Wednesday we begin the holy season of Lent. Calm down, this not a bad time; it is a time to be sure that we are preparing for the fullness of God's Kingdom. Sometimes we slip and or get distracted on the way, Lent is that time every year when the Church reminds us to get focused again: focused on the Kingdom of God, not our own kingdom. Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are ways to remind us to be sure we are growing towards the Kingdom and not in a different way.

Many people use this special time of year to attend daily Mass more often. Of course, we will celebrate the Stations of the Cross, walking with Jesus through His death and reminding us of His resurrection. All of Lent leas us to the greatest celebration our Church and our God gives us: Easter and the Holy Week celebrations.

Our diocese will give all of you some special help along the way of Lent. For the women in our parish, the diocesan Women's Spirituality Conference is next Saturday, February 21st. For you men, your Spirituality Conference is Saturday, March 21st. I can assure you these are both very meaningful times to prepare for the coming of our Lord.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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The Charity and Development Appeal begins this weekend

02-08-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

It is that time of year again: The Charity and Development Appeal begins this weekend. This is a very important time for our parish and for our diocese. I cannot stress enough what your pledge means for so many.

This year we will celebrate the ordination of Fernando Camou to the priesthood; Fernando's education was paid for partially by your CDA contributions. Of course, John Nahrgang continues in seminary with your help.

Also, so many of our programs at OLPH are supported by CDA help. Our catechists and our school teachers receive important training and education from the offices supported by CDA. The men discerning the call to the permanent diaconate are supported by CDA.

And on and on...you get the picture.

Please be generous, as you always are, to help the future of our parish and diocese.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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Annulment Minister Training

02-01-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Our diocese will be having classes for new annulment (nullity) ministers in May. This is an important ministry in our church; one that can help with the healing after the pain of a divorce.

Of course, there is confidentiality with this ministry, therefore, those interested must talk with a deacon or priest and get pastor approval. Those already involved in marriage preparation or RCIA would definitely benefit from this training.

Our parish community could use some help with annulments, especially in the Spanish speaking community. If interested, please talk with a deacon or priest to learn more.

Also, remember there is an inquiry session for those who might be interested in becoming a permanent deacon. If you think someone would be a good deacon, don't be afraid to remind them of this session next Saturday.

Thanks to all of you for all that you do to make our community more vibrant.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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Flu Season

01-25-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

As many of you have heard, the flu vaccine this year is not effective for the strain of flu that is going around. Over 30 states have declared the flu an epidemic already, although Arizona is not one of them...yet.

With that in mind, the diocese of Phoenix has reminded parishes that holding hands during the Our Father is not required, it is optional. Please do not feel offended if someone chooses not to hold hands, especially during flu season. The same is true for the greeting of peace during Mass.

Obviously, if you are sick with the flu you are not obligated to attend Mass. In fact, it would be wrong to attend Mass while you are sick, because you expose others to your illness.

I hope and pray that most of you avoid this year's flu and that you can celebrate with us every Sunday.

Pax, Fr. Mike

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Our school: a very important ministry in our parish

01-18-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

I don't think it is any surprise to you that I believe our school is a very important ministry in our parish. Of course, teaching the faith to our children is a responsibility that God has given to all of us. But, my joy as pastor is in being with our children and watching them grow.

Next weekend begins Catholic Schools Week in our diocese. At Our Lady of Perpetual Help we will begin with a dinner after the 5pm Mass on Saturday. Sunday our Parish Council "Spotlight on Ministry" series will feature the school ministries, please plan to come by the hall after the Masses to learn more about our school. We will have our annual Open House at the same time.

Also next week, on Wednesday evening, Bishop Nevares will host his annual Andrew Dinner for young men interested in learning more about priesthood. Any young man from age 16 up to about 30 is welcome to come. If you are interested please talk to one of the priests, or call Basilio, our Youth Minister for details.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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The Baptism of the Lord

01-11-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

The feast of the Baptism of the Lord ends Christmas season and now we move on into what we call "ordinary time" or counted time. But before we move on, there is something I want to say to you.

Of course, Christmas season is a wonderful time for all Christians. For me as pastor, especially in this parish, it is a very special time. We have our college students back and I enjoy seeing them again and hearing about their year away. Of course, I am happy to visit with our seminarians. I also enjoy meeting many of your families who are here to visit. Maybe most of all, I love to be at as many Masses as I am able so that I can greet you before and after the Mass.

This time of year I am especially aware of our being family together. Yes, you may call me "father", but we all know that it is God who is truly our Father. Thank you for all of your gifts and kindness in this holy season.

Pax, Fr. Mike

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The Baptism of the Lord

01-04-2015From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Next Sunday is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the end of the season of Christmas. We jump from looking at baby Jesus to seeing an adult Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.

Many people wonder why Jesus would be baptized; St. Maximus of Turin gives us an answer: "Christ is baptized not that he may be sanctified in the waters but that he himself may sanctify the waters and purify by his own purification the streams he touches." He goes on to say, "Christ takes the lead in baptism, then, so that the Christian people might follow with confidence."

After his baptism, Jesus begins his public ministry...leading ultimately to the cross, and finally to resurrection. In our liturgies, we will walk with him in our readings to help us follow him in our lives.

Pax,
Fr. Mike

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