Love God - Love Neighbor

10-29-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Jesus was not interested in rating the commandments for scholarly arguments. Instead he summarized them for; teaching us what they all have in common – love of God and love of neighbor. If we find ourselves caught up in arguments about this or that teaching of our faith, we may be avoiding the truth that loving God and neighbor is what it's all about. Elaborate arguments might make us feel smart, but they are a distraction from the hard work of putting God and others before our own selfish desires. Who can you share God's love with today? Instead of spending your time or money on yourself, spend it on someone else and pray for them.

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Let us remember the message of Our Lady at Fatima

10-29-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

The visit of the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was such an honor and grace for our parish family! I truly hope that most of you were able to celebrate with us. Someone said to me, "I thought our 70th anniversary was a great event, but now this!" Yes, it has been quite a year!

Please remember that now is not the time toreturn to "life as normal" after thevisit. With gracecomes responsibility. It is important that we rememberthe message of Our Lady at Fatima, and the wordswe heard when her image visitedus. Our lives mustbe changed so that our country and world can seethat change andfollows.

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The Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima

10-22-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

The Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be with us until about 10a.m. tomorrow (Monday) morning. The church will be open all night for your convenience to come and spend time with her. The Blessed Sacrament will also be exposed on the altar.

This is a wonderful chance for families to come together to pray the rosary or whatever prayer you would like. Some of our parish groups may want to come and pray together as well. There is no organized prayer at any time so whenever you want to come is OK.

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You Can't Trick Jesus!

10-22-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

When people try to trick Jesus into saying something they can use against him, he calls them "hypocrites." Like a parent sees right through manipulative children trying to get what they want through leading questions or emotional arguments, Jesus sees what is in their hearts. Both the Pharisees and manipulative children fail to recognize the true authority of the one they are dealing with. What about us? Do we truly understand that we owe God everything? He sees all. We might as well surrender our futile efforts at control, our flimsy attempts at self-justification. Instead, let us resolve to let go of our petty schemes and "Give the Lord glory and honor."

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Communion with God

10-15-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Today’s readings are about an invitation to communion with God and our response. Paul tells us that communion with God is possible here and now. He says he has “learned the secret” of not relying on his circumstances for contentment. What is the “secret”? It is that Jesus wants to be closely united with us in every moment of the day. When we know he is with us, we “can do all things in Him Who strengthens” us. Lord Jesus, please be my strength today. Remind me that my contentment is in you, even when circumstances change and new challenges come my way.

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Thank you for supporting NPH (Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos)

10-15-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

I think you all know how important Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos is to me; they are like family as much as you are like family. I want to thank all of you who have sponsored children in the past and those who sign up this weekend. Even if you cannot commit to sponsorship, your prayers or donations help so much.

Last month there was that terrible earthquake in Mexico. It was close to our two main houses with our schools. Thank God none of our children, staff or volunteers were hurt. However, there was severe damage to many of our buildings; it will cost millions of dollars to repair everything. As of now, many of our children are eating outside because the dining hall and kitchen are not safe. Thank you to all who donated to help NPH during this crisis.

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Consecration of our diocese to Our Lady of Fatima

10-08-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

You have heard me talk about my "children" at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, next weekend we have scheduled a Sponsorship Weekend. You will have an opportunity to talk to staff and volunteers from our local office, to see pictures of some of the pequeños, and to learn more about them. Some of our parishioners who have visited one of the homes will be there as well to talk with.

Our home in Mexico was hit hard by the recent earthquake. Thank God, none of the pequeños, staff, or international volunteers were hurt. That is not true of many of the buildings. If you would like to help us with re-building there will be an opportunity as well to donate.

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Our Call to Serve

10-08-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In today’s Gospel the Owner of the Vineyard is God, the tenants represent religious leaders, and the Son they beat and killed is Jesus. How do we treat those God sends to work in the vineyard of his community? If we think of the Church as “ours” instead of “His” we might be tempted to chase out the workers he sends us. Take some time today to talk to your family about the specific ways you feel your family is called to serve. Listen to each other’s ideas of new ways to give. When we put our faith into practice it is sure to grow!

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Sponsorship Weekend for Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH)

10-01-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

You have all heard me talk about Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos many times. I hope you have seen the pictures of the children being sponsored by members of our parish.

This week there will be children from El Salvador visiting our diocese; they are hosted this year by St. Theresa parish. On Wednesday there is a school mass for those schools involved in helping NPH and the visiting children will play the music. Our 7th and 8th grade classes will attend that Mass.

Also, the weekend of October 14-15 we will host a Sponsorship Weekend after all of our masses. You will have an opportunity to ask questions of the staff from our local office and from our parish members who have visited NPH Mexico. If you have visited and want to help, please contact Mrs. Lucero at the school office.

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What is your answer to God’s Will? Yes or No

10-01-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In today’s Gospel Jesus describes a man’s two sons. The first one refuses to obey his father’s command to work in the family vineyard, but later he has a change of mind and does the work. The father gives the same command to the other son, who answers politely, “Yes, sir,” but then he never actually does the work. Jesus asks, “Which of these two did his father’s will?” We all know that words alone don’t count.

Next come these shocking words. “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of heaven before you.” He said this to men who prided themselves on being the spiritual leaders of God’s people! Tax collectors and prostitutes were sinners, the lowest of Jewish society. So, how would they be ahead of the religious leaders? Jesus knew that the men he spoke to talked the talk, but failed to obey from the heart. In their very public offices, they said “yes” to God, but in their actions, they said “no.” Lord Jesus, you know how often I talk a good talk, but fail to obey you from the heart. Help me change my ways.

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54-day Rosary Novena

09-24-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

A few weeks ago, our Bishop asked all families to pray a 54-day rosary to our Lady of Fatima. For families with small children, he said they should pray just one decade every day. In our family, we are three adults, and since we began praying together, we've received many graces and a renewed hope and peace.

It's not too late for you to join in! Whether you're the mom, the dad, the grandma, or a child, you can decide to pray the rosary and invite other members of your family to pray with you. Who knows how your prayers will be rewarded? We know for God is generous and we can trust him with everything.

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Thank you for your faithful stewardship of God's blessings

09-24-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

We weekly print the total of the previous week's collection, and you are very generous, so it can look like a lot of money. Actually, it is. However, we have not told you what our weekly or monthly costs are, and that is also a lot of money.

Our monthly utility bills usually run over $14,000 and our phone bill is about $2000. Yes, it costs a lot to run an active parish. The benefits for our employees, retirement, FICA taxes, and health insurance runs over $30,000 per month.

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Together Let Us Go Forth

09-17-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

I hope you heard that last Thursday, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, bishop Olmsted announced a new diocesan capital campaign, "Together Let Us Go Forth, Juntos Sigamos Adelante". I know that it sounds like an incredible task, but we live in hope...and we work hard.

It is important to see how this campaign will benefit us at OLPH. Of course, it will help pay for the new Catholic high school, Pope St. John Paul II, in Avondale. Many of our students will consider the new school because it may be closer to their homes. Also, there are funds for our three Newman Centers at our universities, especially a new Center at Grand Canyon University. Again, many of our young people will directly benefit from this campaign. Finally, our parish will receive a percentage (30%) of the funds that we raise, to help us with some much needed work. I will be letting you know more about our parish plans in the future.

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Forgiveness is Not Optional

09-17-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In this week’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that forgiveness is not optional. He has forgiven our sins and we owe that same unconditional mercy to others. But forgiveness is difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to pretend like “it’s really no big deal.” The truth is, if we recognize our need to forgive, we may have to acknowledge that we are wounded. Sometimes it makes us feel weak or ashamed to admit that another has the power to hurt us. Yet, forgiveness must start with the truth about having been wronged. Perhaps we loved someone wholeheartedly and they owed us love in return, but instead they neglected us, or failed to care. Only God loves perfectly. Only with his help can we discover the truth about who we must forgive and find the strength to offer forgiveness to those who have caused us the most pain. Only he can help us to forgive again and again, without counting or keeping track. Ask our Lord for his help to forgive everyone who has ever offended you, especially those who don’t deserve it.

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Ready to help our youth grow in their faith

09-10-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Next week our Jr. High and High School youth programs begin, which always makes me very happy. It is so great to get to know better our young people. I also enjoy watching them grow in their faith.

I know that as children grown order their activities in school become more important; I was very active in my high school. However, please remember that this is an important time when young people are developing attitudes and values that will form their lives as adults. Public schools teach secular values; they are not allowed to teach religious values.

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Asking Forgiveness

09-10-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

When our children were still small, we insisted that when they hurt or offended each other they ask forgiveness. Just saying "Sorry," in that droopy-headed way children (and some grown -ups) do wasn't good enough. They had to name what it was they were sorry for and tell how they planned to do better. "I'm sorry I kicked you. I will go for a run next time I feel that angry." Or, another time, "I'm sorry I accidentally hurt you and I'll try not to do it again". The child who was offended had to shake hands or hug and say, "I forgive you." Sometimes they both needed time before they were ready to ask for and give forgiveness. Our children learned how to handle conflict. It wouldn't have worked if we, as parents, had not done it too.

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Important dates to put on our September calendars

09-03-2017From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

I can't believe it is September already: happy Labor Day. Let's be thankful for all those who labor to make our lives better and for those who are seeking employment. I say this every year, but it feels strange to honor labor by not laboring.

With September there are a few important calendar dates I want to give you. The Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre pray the rosary for our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land every first Monday of the month. Monday, Labor Day, is the first of the month and we will be hosting a group of them in the church to pray the rosary at 6:00pm. We always invite parishioners at the church we gather at, so you are invited.

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Religious Education for Adults

09-03-2017Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

On Sun, Sep 17 we begin Sunday Religious Education for children of all ages and this year we are offering classes for adults too! Parents of children in the Sunday program are required to attend, and all adults are welcome!

English adult sessions begin with the Catholicism video series with Bishop Robert Barron. It is a beautiful award winning series, chockful of information about Christ and the Church he founded. Each Sunday we will watch part of the series, taking time for reflection and discussion.

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