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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Mercy Night

08-28-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

As you remember, our Holy Father, Pope Francis has called for a Year of Mercy continuing until the Solemnity of Christ the King in November. As part of our diocesan celebration, Bishop Olmsted has asked each deanery to host a Mercy Night at a parish in their deanery the first Friday of one month.

Our deanery will host a Mercy Night next Friday evening, September 2nd, at St. Helen's parish. We will begin at 7pm. The new religious congregation, the Friars of the Holy Spirit, will be leading our evening celebration, which includes confessions, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a Eucharistic Procession, and Benediction.

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Change is a Part of Life

08-21-2016From the PastorFr. Mike Straley

Howdy,

I think we all know that change is a part of life. I can also tell you that our parish is alive...very alive! Of course, that means change sometimes. Some change is good, for the best, and some is sad.

The women of our Lady’s Guild have voted to disband.  While that is sad, and I definitely want to thank them for all that they have done for our parish community through the years, it now allows us to look at what we need for our ministry to the women of our parish.  I will be asking the Parish Council to form a subcommittee to look at what other parishes are doing and to recommend a direction for us in the future.  If anyone is interested in helping with this committee, please contact our parish office.

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Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

08-14-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

On Monday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother, Mary, body and soul into heaven. Because it falls on a Monday it is not a day of obligation, but it is still a solemnity. We will not have a vigil mass, but in addition to our regular masses, we will have a bilingual Mass at 7:00pm.

For us at Our Lady of Perpetual Help this is an important feast. If our Blessed Mother had not been assumed she probably would not have the title Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Like any other saint, we could ask for her prayers, but Mary is different from the other saints because of her assumption. Obviously, God had more for her to do.

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The effects of sexual addictions in our society.

08-07-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

At the priest's spring Clergy Day of Continuing Education we had a very interesting and disturbing presentation covering from social media and video games to pornography and sexual addictions. What was very surprising was the connection between these. Many violent video games are produced by those who also produce pornographic videos. Sex is slowly introduced into the violent videos to lead children into sexual fantasies.  

As a priest who hears many confessions and does some counseling, I know the problem that sexual addiction is in our society. It is much greater than most people know or would believe. Sexual addictions not only affect the person involved, but also families and friends; it affects relationships.  

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Life is changed, not ended…

08-07-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

In this Year of Mercy, it is good to reflect on one of the greatest gifts of our God: Life. One of the documents of the Second Vatican Council states:

"In the face of death the enigma of human existence reaches its climax. Man is not only the victim of pain and the progressive deterioration of his body; he is also, and more deeply, tormented by the fear of final extinction. But the instinctive judgment of his heart is right when he shrinks from, and rejects, the idea of a total collapse and definitive end of his person. He carries within him the seed of eternity…"

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A great gift of our God: Life

07-31-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

In this Year of Mercy, it is good to reflect on one of the greatest gifts of our God: Life. One of the documents of the Second Vatican Council states:

"In the face of death the enigma of human existence reaches its climax. Man is not only the victim of pain and the progressive deterioration of his body; he is also, and more deeply, tormented by the fear of final extinction. But the instinctive judgment of his heart is right when he shrinks from, and rejects, the idea of a total collapse and definitive end of his person. He carries within him the seed of eternity…"

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"Footprints: the path of your life"

07-24-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

"Footprints: the path of your life" is a film developed by a group of young Catholics from the Diocese of Phoenix. It will soon be shown in theaters worldwide. It has been produced both in English and a Spanish, dubbed, version.

It is estimated that some 200,000 pilgrims come from around the world to walk the Camino de Santiago each year. "Footprints: the path of your life" is the true story of ten men, led by Fr. Sergio Fita, pastor of St. Anne Parish in Gilbert, sharing their experiences as they journey together on the Way of St. James.

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Thank you for supporting NPH (Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos)

07-17-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

This weekend I am in Mexico with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. Three of the young men I sponsor are graduating from high school. You can imagine how proud I am of them; I know them well and they are each very different, but great young men. Also, one of the guys I sponsor is finishing his year of service and will be leaving for the university of Monterrey. That means I will not see him very often as Monterrey is very far from Cuernavaca.

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Our Diocese is truly Blessed.

07-10-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

Last weekend I was blessed to be at the celebration of a new religious community in our Catholic Church and in our diocese. Bishop Olmsted officially declared a "public association of the faithful" (legal talk for a new religious community): the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit (FFHS).

One of the friars helped us with masses a year ago for a couple of weeks, so you may have met him, Fr. Michael. Six friars made their solemn vows, five priests and one brother, and one brother made his temporary vows.

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Thank you for your generosity!

07-03-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

Howdy,

A couple of months ago I asked all of you to consider increasing your Sunday offering; many of you did that and our collection has gone up a little. I want to thank all of you who were able to respond with whatever increaseyou could give.

With your increased giving we have been able to do some much needed work around our parish grounds. Some of that you can see and some of it is maintaining our buildings. Most importantly, we have been able to give an increase in salaries to our wonderful staff, especially to those who are paid the least.

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