The Church offers us beautiful and yet difficult readings this week on the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We hear about the rich man who lived well and the poor man Lazarus who sat at his door. Upon the death of both men, Lazarus is "carried away by angels" while the rich man found himself in torment. When the rich man begs for mercy for his brothers, who lived in the same way as himself, he is denied. His request was for Lazarus to visit them from the dead. Abraham's final response is, "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead." These words are clear and yet cause us to wonder about ourselves. Truly, Jesus is the one who has risen from the dead and offers us eternal life. And we see how His invitation to our world has gone unheeded. To proclaim Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, apart from the whole of Scripture and without the entirety of His message falls short. The Resurrection is the central mystery of our faith, and yet it does not stand alone. The Church always invites us to continue to nourish ourselves with scripture, apologetics, and spiritual reading.READ MORE
The Gospel today beautifully invites us to reflect on honesty and true wealth. Jesus says, "No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon." Once again, we are invited to pledge ourselves completely to the living God. It makes a bit more sense now when we read in the Old Testament lines such as, "I am a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14). God is not jealous for the sake of being jealous, rather He is jealous for us! To think that the Eternal God desires us exactly as we are. And so, when He says we cannot serve God and mammon, He is offering us what He offered the Israelites in the desert and even more. He offers us eternal bliss with Him. And all of this begins now, wherever we may find ourselves. Jesus asks for a complete and clear "yes" to Him every day. Service to Him is not sad or denigrating, rather it is true freedom because serving Him is serving true life.READ MORE
Beginning this week all of our religious education programs will be off and running! This is a very exciting time of year as the Church campus picks up speed. Thank you again to all of our wonderful catechists and volunteers who make everything possible. Please continue to keep all involved in your prayers.
Last month we received $40,000 from the Together Let Us Go Forth Campaign. Thank you so much to everyone for keeping up to date on your pledges. It makes a huge difference. If you have not remembered to continue your pledge now is a great time to discern whether the Lord is inviting you to continue doing so. I know so many people find themselves in different situations but I am grateful for each of you and your generosity in whatever way you are able to give. As a reminder, 35% of your gift comes directly back to St. Joan of Arc while the rest supports many evangelical efforts around the Diocese of Phoenix.READ MORE
The parish staff continues their wonderful work as we prepare for fall programs to begin. Please keep our staff and volunteers in your prayers as they continue their preparation for Religious Education, RCIA Gatherings, SOLTeen Youth group, choirs, and many more. It's exciting for me to see everything getting ready in my first year. These 5 months have been full of blessings and I am so grateful to be a part of the wonderful things happening here at St. Joan of Arc.
This Sunday gospel speaks to us of carrying the cross, proper planning for endeavors, and finally the renunciation of our possessions. These flow together in an odd, yet beautiful way. First, Our Lord equates discipleship with carrying the cross. That is, to be a disciple, one must follow the Master. Without the Master, the Good Shepherd, we become our own ruler. And so this seems to be the preparation that Jesus encourages when setting out in the missionary life. To be like the Master we must prepare as He did, which means to set our hearts on the salvation of souls, and walk towards Jerusalem knowing that on this path suffering does not triumph, but becomes the means for our salvation.READ MORE
Jeffrey Morse, our new Director of Sacred Music, has some exciting plans for the music here at St. Joan. Please read the following and see where and how you and your family members can join our music opportunities.
The Adult Choir will have its first choir rehearsal of the year on Wednesday, September 18, from 7-9pm, and the Spanish Choir will meet the following evening September 19, from 7-8pm in the Choir Room. These choir rehearsals will begin the Fall Choir Term. This is an excellent time for new choir members to join. Please call Jeffrey Morse 602-867-9171 Ext 326 or email email@example.com for more information.READ MORE
The following article was written by Deacon Peter Auriemma to introduce to the parish our newly installed Acolytes who are on a religious journey towards being ordained as Deacons in the Catholic Church.
Bishop Olmsted officially installed Mr. Andy Lambros and Dr. William Schneider to the Ministry of Acolyte on Friday, August 23, at 6:30 pm in our Cathedral of Sts. Simon and Jude. Both of these SJA parishioners have been on a five-year Formation Journey leading to their Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Phoenix. Last year, they were installed to the Ministry of Lector, and the Ministry of Acolyte is the last step before their Ordination as Deacons, a year from this November. While all altar servers are usually referred to as acolytes, there are several duties and responsibilities which are reserved only for a duly Instituted Acolyte.READ MORE
This Sunday we enter the 20th Week in Ordinary Time. In our Gospel the Lord begins with a striking greeting, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” The fire that Jesus wishes to cast is not a destructive fire, but the fire of his love. It would be false to think that just because it is not a purely destructive fire it is not violent. The love of God is indeed fierce. Jesus knows many people will reject it because it does not measure up to the standards we have set before us in society. To love as the Father loves means that we first must open our hearts to receive from his bounty. Without living in the love of the Father, we have nothing to give.READ MORE
When a man receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders as a Deacon, he is ordained to a life of service for the Church and the People of God, specifically for the Liturgy, the Word, and for Charity. In his service to the Liturgy, he assists the bishops and priests at the Mass and liturgical celebrations. In his service to the Word, the Deacon has the privilege to proclaim the Gospel at Mass, as well as to preach, and he is an Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist, along with bishops and priests. In his service of charity, the Deacon is conformed by his Ordination to the Servant Heart of Christ, "Who came to serve and not be served", and he helps carry on the Church's many works of charity in her service to all those in need. These were the reasons that the first seven Deacons of the Church were originally ordained by St. Peter and the Apostles, and the role of the Deacon has remained unchanged. There have been many Deacon saints that have faithfully served Christ and His Church. One of the most popular Deacon saints of all is the Deacon and martyr St. Lawrence, whose feast the Church celebrates on August 10. St. Lawrence personifies all that the Deacon is called by Christ to be.READ MORE
"The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus"
August 4th marks the 160th anniversary of the death of St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. His beautiful example of the priesthood has left a lasting impression on many parish priests. A typical day in the life of the Curé d' Ars was spent giving of himself entirely. With a few days a year for retreat and repose with his family, he never left the village of Ars. To have his incorrupt heart visit us here at St. Joan of Arc made his visit very special to us. Through this saint's intercession and witness, he has impacted my priesthood deeply. He taught me to love a parish, persevere in the confessional and fall more in love with the Eucharist.READ MORE
As a student in a Catholic grammar school in Chicago, one of the first things the nuns taught us was to write the letters AMDG on the top of every paper or test we wrote. The Sisters explained that they represented the Latin words, Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam, which means, "All For the Greater Glory of God". Everything we did should be dedicated to His greater glory. This simple message was taught by one our greatest heroes of the Catholic Church, St. Ignatius of Loyola. We celebrate his feast this Wednesday, July 31. He was born on October 23, 1491, in the Castle of Loyola, located in the Basque country of northeast Spain. The youngest of 13 children, he was raised to embrace a military career and became an outstanding soldier. He was also a handsome courtier who enjoyed the life of the royal court of Spain and was considered quite the ladies' man. His brilliant military career came to a sudden end at the age of 29. During the Battle of Pamplona in 1421, his right leg was shattered by a cannon ball. He was taken back to his family's castle at Loyola where it was discovered that his leg had not been set properly, and he underwent several attempts to re-break and set his leg correctly, without anesthesia, so that it would not leave him deformed.READ MORE
As we begin the 16th Week in Ordinary Time the Church presents with a famous scene from Genesis 18. Abraham encounters three mysterious visitors for whom he quickly prepares a meal. These three men, who promise that in a year Sarah will bear a child, are often understood to represent an image of the Trinity. Their relative silence as they meet Abraham is a cause of wonder, but Abraham seems to understand something special about these men. While his intuition may not be what the Church Fathers have understood, his actions bring to mind that famous line from the rule of St. Benedict, "Receive all visitors as if they were Christ." Or from the Letter to the Hebrews, "Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels." (13:2)
This Sunday, we hear the famous parable of the Good Samaritan, with the tantalizing question from the scholar of the law who asks, "And who is my neighbor?" This question is sometimes posed in our own world as a way to get around moral responsibilities. It's as if we're saying, "Does everyone really deserve to be treated as Christ teaches?" As always, the Lord presents a radical answer, the one who is my neighbor is the one who lives showing mercy. There are no limits nor boundaries, just an invitation to show mercy wherever we find ourselves.READ MORE
I pray everyone had a good and safe 4th of July. The Gospel this weekend invites us to reflect on the missionary activity of the Church. Jesus tells the disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” The harvest which the Lord speaks of is all those souls he desires to be with Him in heaven. It is not merely about forming people as Christians, but helping people along their way to heaven. Maybe you have noticed that often when we pray for vocations at Mass on Sunday we pray specifically for young people from here at St. Joan of Arc. While it is true that most young people will be called to the vocation of marriage, there are certainly some among us whom the Lord may be calling to serve Him in the priesthood or as a religious brother or sister. The prayer we make is one that asks the Lord very specifically to raise up laborers from our own parish.READ MORE