Howdy and Merry Christmas to all of you.
Let me speak for all of our priests and our staff in wishing each of you a Holy Christmas and a Blessed New Year. You are a gift to all of us! For most of us, Christmas is a time for family and friends. It is a time to celebrate the gift of life and our many blessings. It is a time of joy. Let us also remember that for some, it is a time of loneliness and loss. Let us include these in our prayers in this season of celebrating that we are all God's sons and daughters by adoption. I pray that this coming year is a time of growth in our unity in the family of God. That will mean getting to know God better and learning even more to love all of His family. Think of what our world, our community would be like with a little more love...well, maybe a lot more love! It can start with us here at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale.
Today we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent; Advent is almost over. Are you ready? No, I don’t mean are the gifts bought, the decorations up and the cookies baked. Are you ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and are you ready for Him to come again in glory?
Remember that our last confessions before Christmas are this coming Tuesday; we will not have confessions on Christmas Eve. Are you ready to celebrate the gift of life; the life of Jesus, your own life, and the life of all others? We will pray the rosary with Bishop Olmsted at the Glendale abortion mill Saturday morning at 11am. We pray it in both English and Spanish.READ MORE
Let me share with you from an Advent letter by St. Charles Borromeo:
"Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation: the great season of Advent. This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see. This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love he has shown us in this mystery.READ MORE
In both the Old Testament and the New Testament God continually warns us against following false prophets; false prophets who act as if they are speaking God's word, but are actually giving their own opinions. There are false prophets among us today and we need to be careful lest they weaken our faith sowing seeds of fear and hatred.
These false prophets sit on thrones in "newsrooms" giving their opinions about what is going to happen as if they had some special inside knowledge. Remember, they are the ones who said that Hilary Clinton was definitely going to win the election. Now, many are sowing seeds of division and fear prophesying what President-elect Trump will do. Remember, all candidates speak "promises" that are often forgotten or changed when they get into office.READ MORE
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."READ MORE
"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."READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE