Advent 2014

11-28-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are entering a new liturgical year as well as a new liturgical season this weekend. Advent is perhaps the most countercultural of all the seasons of the Church year, especially when we consider events like "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday."

The Catholic Church explains the season this way: "Advent has a two-fold character: as a season to prepare for Christmas when Christ's !irst coming is remembered; as a season when that remembrance directs the mind and heart to await Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. Advent is thus a period for devout and joyful expectation."

Hmmm…. a period for "devout and joyful expectation" and a season to prepare ourselves to Christ's Second Coming…Is that what Advent is for you? Devout? Joyful? Preparing for Christ's Second Coming? It is so easy for the noisy expectations of the world to be in con!lict with the beauty and serenity of our faith. It can be so difficult for faith to win out and to let the celebration of Christmas inspire us to become saints!


Deacon's Corner

11-21-2014Pastor's LetterDeacon Peter Auriemma

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I was born in Chicago into a very Catholic family, and my parents were my first teachers of the Faith. Growing up I wanted to serve God as a priest, and I attended Quigley South High School, the Preparatory Seminary for the Archdiocese of Chicago. After graduation, however, I felt that God was calling me to a different vocation than the priesthood. I studied at John Carroll University, and I spent my junior year of college at Loyola University of Chicago's Rome Center. Throughout college, my love for God and my relationship with Him matured, and I loved His Church in a whole new way after living in Rome.

While I enjoyed majoring in Comparative Literature, I felt that God wanted me to serve Him and His people as a physician. I studied medicine and specialized in Urologic Oncology. I have been married to Dr. Nanette Tibbitts, a specialist in Internal Medicine, for 33 years, and we have one son, Anthony James, an aspiring lawyer. I have always actively participated in the life of the Church, but when I began to feel that God was calling me to serve Him as a deacon, I managed to "avoid" responding to His call, despite the encouragement from a very special deacon. When God's call became impossible to ignore, I opened myself to Him, and He sent a very wise and holy priest into my life, who started me on the incredible spiritual journey of Diaconate Formation.


Forming Intentional Disciples (part V of V)

11-07-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The fifth step of conversion is INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP.

You cannot seek forever. Eventually you have to "drop your nets". Our Lord invites us to let go of those things that weigh us down. Jesus invites each one of us to make a conscious commitment to follow Him. This is a deliberate act of the will. An INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP is not passive. An INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP is active and engaged in the relationship that Our Lord is calling them to. As an INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP in the Church, the obedient disciple desires to re-order their life for Our Lord. This is the final step of conversion.

The INTENTIONAL DISCIPLE has moved beyond the phase of the "exploration of Jesus and His Church" to full and complete commitment. This is what Weddell calls the "dropping the net" moment. We are all familiar with the moment Our Lord called Peter to come and follow him – to drop his nets. This moment meant the Peter was to leave behind his former life and livelihood. Dropping his net meant that Peter left behind his friends, his home and even his family. Dropping his nets and following Our Lord wherever He went no matter what the cost(cf. Lk 5:4-10).


Forming Intentional Disciples (part IV of V)

10-31-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The fourth step of conversion involves having SPIRITUAL SEEKING.

A person who is SPIRITUALLY SEEKING Our Lord moves from being passive to being one who actively seeks to know God. A typical question for one who is seeking God will ask: "Are you the one to whom I will give myself?" At this stage, the person who is seeking Our Lord is more engaged in the relationship. There is a deeper desire for spiritual things – things that relate to God. The person seeking God also wants to know if he or she is able to commit their lives to Our Lord and to His Church. Seekers seek Christ.

After a person is open to a relationship with Our Lord, they move to a more direct way of living. People who are SPIRITUALLY SEEKING do not sit idle simply waiting for things to happen. They become ACTIVE SPIRITUAL SEEKERS.


Mercy Killing is Murder

10-24-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With its usual heaping dose of secular manipulation, there was a story that spread through the secular press this past week about a 29-year old California native named Brittany Maynard. Tragically, Maynard was diagnosed last January with terminal brain tumors.

The article, complete with a softly lit photograph of a smiling Maynard with a puppy in her hands laying a hammock, is about her "heroic" decision to move to Oregon so that she can euthanize (kill) herself this Saturday. Of course, according to multiple new sources, it will be a "beautiful" event. She will be surrounded by her family and friends and her decision will help her avoid the "indignity of suffering." The article sickened and saddened me.

Interestingly, one of my closest priest friends had a dear friend who suffered from the same cancer, glioblastoma, just a few years ago. He shared with me that he knows full well the hardships that this woman and her family are enduring. This family needs lots of prayers.


Forming Intentional Disciples (part III of V)

10-17-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The third step of conversion involves having SPIRITUAL OPENNESS.

SPIRITUAL OPENNESS enables a person to acknowledge to himself or herself and to God that he or she is open to the possibility of a personal and spiritual change.

As Weddell admits, this is one of the most difficult transitions for a postmodern nonbeliever simply because it can take a person out of their comfort zone even though they do not have to change right now… they may realize that change is on the horizon. At this stage, a person who is open to God is simply admitting they are open to the possibility of change. A person who has SPIRITUAL OPENNESS may have experienced a struggle or difficulty and so they are now ready to give God a trial run so to speak.


Forming Intentional Disciples (part II of V)

10-12-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The second step of conversion involves having SPIRITUAL CURIOSITY.

“We must be able to talk about Jesus because we can no longer pre- sume solid knowledge of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection” (Weddell, 143). Did you know that only 65% of all Catholics know that Easter is religious holiday and only 37% of Catholics even know that the Resurrection is the meaning of Easter!?!? Protestants were asked the same question about Easter and they were more likely to connect Easter with a religious holiday (78%) and the Resurrection (51%).

When a person is intrigued by or desiring to know more about Jesus or some aspect of the Christian faith they be categorized as having SPIRITUAL CURIOSITY. This could mean that they simply have some new awareness of Our Lord or SPIRITUAL CURIOSITY could mean something life changing. A person at the doorstep of curiosity is not yet open to personal change. Curiosity is still essentially passive, but that person has more than simple trust. A person at this stage is comfortable just knowing about Our Lord rather than being in a rela- tionship with Our Lord.


Forming Intentional Disciples (part I of V)

10-05-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The first step of conversion involves having INITIAL TRUST.

Hopefully, everyone understands what it means to have a friendship with someone else… what it means to have a really good friend. How about having a friendship with Our Lord? As a Catholic, do you have a positive relationship with Jesus Christ, the Church, and other Christian believers? IF you want to move closer to Our Lord then you MUST have INITIAL TRUST. Do you trust that Our Lord loves you and desires to be in a holy relationship with YOU?!?!

An example of INITIAL TRUST is shown in the experience of a young man who was considering the priesthood in the early 80's. He had some understanding of the most basic aspects of the Gospel and teachings of Christ. He was a life-long Catholic from a good Catholic family. He also found that he lived in a culture that was not always supportive of the Church and certainly not receptive to the idea of becoming a priest. He had heard all the rhetoric about how the Church needed to get with the times and allow priests to get married and have a family. He felt the pressure from his classmates to get a "real job" and make lots of money. Then there was the larger culture that made fun of priests and religious often depicting them as backward and out of touch with society.


Forming Intentional Disciples

09-28-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Sherry Weddell's book Forming Intentional Disciples is an excellent resource for Catholics interested in going to heaven. I strongly encourage you to read it and live it.

As a Catholic, you have a responsibility to live your life for Our Lord in an INTENTIONAL way. That means you follow Our Lord as a disciple and live your life according to Our Lord's will - practicing your faith when it is convenient and when it is difficult. As an INTENTIONAL DISCIPLE, others see you a faithful Catholic who loves Our Lord.


Extreme Generosity

09-21-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I begin by acknowledging that there are many in our parish who live as intentional disciples… who give without counting the cost. I also challenge those who could be more generous with their time, talent, and treasure to do so.

I recently read this story about woman in an airport that reminds us of God's generosity. A woman had a "red-eye" flight around midnight. She was tired, but also hungry so she bought a box of cookies. She sat down and opened her handbag, searching for a book to read. A man sat down next to her and the next thing she knew, he opened the box of cookies and was eating one of them! This upset the woman but she did not want to create a scene. Besides, she thought, "Well, he is only eating one." But then he took another one. Rather than making a fuss, the woman simply took one herself. Then he took one and she took another one. This continued until there was only one cookie left. The man picked up the final cookie and said to the woman, "Would you like to split it with me?" She was so furious that she grabbed it out of his hand, took her bag and stormed away. When she got on the plane, she was still fuming. Before she sat down, she reached into her bag to find her book. What she pulled out was the box of cookies which she had bought!


That Man Is YOU!

09-14-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would like to invite the men of our parish to prayerfully consider becoming a part of a wonderful men's group call "That Man is You!" Last year, 30 to 40 men gathered in Santa Maria Hall every Saturday morning at 6:45am to learn how to be real men in the modern world. They were exposed to some of the best research from science and the teachings of the Catholic faith. They learned about the wisdom of the saints. They were able to develop a vision of authentic men who are now capable of transforming themselves, their families and greater society.

The program is divided into two 13-week sessions. The Fall session emphasizes the development of the Scriptural vision of man, especially in his relationship to his family and society while the Spring session emphasizes the practical means of becoming that man. Our first session is September 20.


Speak the Truth with LOVE

09-07-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

God calls us to a relationship. As followers of Jesus (who is God), we are always called at all times and in all places to seek Our Lord in an intentional way. By our words AND by our actions, we are able to model for others what it means to be Christian.

Following Christ can be difficult at times. We are surrounded by tensions and ongoing conflicts. We can see the lack of respect for human beings, especially the unborn, who are created by God. Young people are worried about the future. We all know the temptations our young people face... drugs, inappropriate relationships, pornography, and on and on.

There are so many people in our world who, because of their faith in Christ, suffer discrimination that leads to persecution. Christian around the world and here in Phoenix are harassed to give up Our Lord. Many in our society are afraid of Jesus and signs of His presence in public life are not allowed. We are being asked to not even mention His holy name. One example I heard recently had to do with a 17-year-old girl who was suspended from school after telling a fellow student 'bless you' after they sneezed. Kendra Turner says a teacher at Dyer County High School in Tennessee has banned her and her classmates from using "Church speech" in the classroom..