This weekend, we are releasing our Financial Report from the 2020-21 fiscal year. We are so grateful for the financial support everyone has offered in this past year. It has been difficult and strange in many ways, but good and life-giving in so many more! I would like to share some highlights here at St. Joan of Arc. Our youth group, Verso l’Alto, has continued to grow and we are reaching more teens now than before COVID began! Our preschool stayed open with in-person instruction and actually increased enrollment. We have continued to have new parishioners register every week. Plate contributions are up 11%. With money from the Together Let Us Go Forth campaign we replaced four air conditioning units, including Weidner Hall. The parish endowment has continued to grow and in the last year alone it grew 55%. Thank you so much for helping us further the mission of St. Joan of Arc to spread the Gospel.READ MORE
This week, I’d like to share an excerpt from a letter I recently came across from an 11 year old girl. It’s a very powerful reminder of the beauty of every human life. I hope you enjoy it. This next week I will be on my retreat in Montana until Friday.
Please keep me in your prayers and know of mine for you!
I hope everyone has had a wonderful week. I want to share a quote from Pope Benedict XVI that I recently read. He writes, “When God disappears, men and women do not become greater; indeed, they lose the divine dignity, their faces lose God’s splendor. In the end, they turn out to be merely products of a blind evolution and, as such, can be used and abused. This is precisely what the experience of our epoch has confirmed for us.” We do not need to be theologians to notice this. It seems that more and more often our society is trying to wipe away the face of God. We know as well what has happened in our culture alongside this. Men and women lose their true identity, which is only bestowed by God, in the confusing and misleading transgender culture. We see an increase in anxiety and anger throughout society. Notice that Pope Benedict speaks of “divine dignity”. He means to tell us that dignity has some transcendental meaning because it is bestowed by God.READ MORE
This past week I was in Orlando, Florida for an educational conference hosted by the Catholic Medical Association. It’s always good to be back home and with all of you. I love seeing the parish alive with so many families and volunteers coming and going. I’m grateful especially for all those volunteers helping with Religious Education. The year is off to a great start!READ MORE
This weekend our readings take us to the beginning of the Bible, to Genesis 2. God recognizes that “it is not good for the man to be alone” and so he creates woman, his helpmate and spouse. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:
“Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh." (CCC 1605)READ MORE
It is so good to see the parish buzzing again! Mass attendance continues to increase. I want to extend a warm welcome to all of our new families. I have had the opportunity to meet many of you but know there are many more. We’re glad to have you join our St. Joan of Arc family!
Religious Education is well under way, Tuesday and Wednesday nights bring lots of life to the parish grounds! Verso l’Alto is also going and we had our largest group of teens at the kickoff night.READ MORE
Recently I ran across an article about St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It reminded me of a list that I saw while I was in college and had forgotten about. The list is 15 ways to cultivate humility. It was a list her sisters were familiar with and which I’ve found very helpful. Humility is sometimes a difficult virtue to understand. The most important thing I have learned about humility is that it is always grounded in truth. False humility is not grounded in the truth. As we strive to grow in humility it can be helpful to ask ourselves if a certain statement or action is rooted in truth. Humility does not lie about the truth or try to cover it up, but acknowledges the truth at appropriate or necessary moments. Here is the list from St. Mother Teresa. I hope and pray you find it useful.READ MORE
I am very excited to announce that we reached our matching gift! Thank you so much to everyone who signed up for recurring online gifts or who increased their gift. The Diocese of Phoenix informed me that we would receive the match of $27,060 in October. This is a wonderful accomplishment and we are very thankful for all of you in helping us reach this goal.READ MORE
From the time we are born into this world until we die, our human radar picks up signals about how to respond to life. What we picked up on when we were very young carries an even greater power. The messages we receive and process tell us what we are “supposed” to do with our feelings, how to understand and cope with disappointment, anxiety, failure, death, illness, and what to expect out of life. As life unfolds for us, these radar messages kick in and resonate in us at very deep levels. Sometimes what we have learned is helpful and sometimes it is not. The stories we have been told, especially when we are young, about how life is best lived and how to negotiate its pain carry a heavy weight.READ MORE
When the children were little it was called “nap time.” When they got a bit older it was called “quiet time,” and so it has been ever since. The idea is that everyone has to go to his or her room for at least an hour and do something quiet. On one level, we all just need a break from each other and from the noise of a busy house. For parents of little children, it breaks up the afternoon and gives the children a schedule. But even as the children get older, quiet time is important. Our college age children come home and ask, “When is quiet time?” They have learned to desire the peace and quiet; it has become a habit for them. I have said that if I were king of the world and could make it so, everyone would have to stop what they are doing and read a good book for at least one hour every day. This is because ultimately quiet time is good for all of us.READ MORE
Recently we had a reading in daily Mass from the book of Judges. It was about how the people of God turned away from the Lord and worshiped other gods. This seems incredible. After all, the people had been led out of Egypt; they had seen the miracles; they had entered into the covenant; and finally they had entered the promised land. How could they turn away after all of this? The answer is that the surrounding culture corrupted them. When they entered the promised land, they were supposed to clear out all the peoples who had been there. But they did not do this. They cleared out some of the peoples but not all of them. Those that remained worshiped false gods and it was these that lured the people astray. It was the surrounding culture.READ MORE
File this under “Getting to know Fr. Vietor Better.” I like to read literature. This probably goes back to my being an English major in college, and this probably goes back to my boyhood when I first developed a love for reading. Every day I try to get in a few pages at least. I find it relaxing and invigorating to make my way through a good book. Recently I started a walloping new book called In Search of Lost Time. It is actually six fat volumes, so this will keep me busy for quite some time. It is by a Frenchman named Marcel Proust and so I am reading a translation in English, but it is still very well done. I read it once before and thought it was worth doing again.READ MORE
Today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a wonderful reminder of our priorities in this back-to-school month. Just as we have begun again the busy school schedule, we pause to remember the great honor bestowed on our Blessed Mother. We see again what is of real value in our lives. We see again the right order of things.READ MORE
The lens through which we view life makes a difference. It also determines who we choose to learn from and what we allow to shape our thoughts and feelings. For many, life is simply what it appears to be, a given that either through evolution or some other means just came to be. There is no apparent rhyme or reason to things and things can be dissected and understood only in terms of what they empirically present. To the person using this lens, a tree is a tree and a flower is a flower. Their composition and existence can be understood only to the extent that current human knowledge allows. Through this lens, what gives life purpose and meaning? This lens has an essentially unknown beginning and definite end. Once those are accepted, the middle becomes some kind of pursuit of happiness, with values and principles being things that are self-created and found acceptable.READ MORE
Greetings in Christ!
What a joy and grace it has been to serve as St. Joan of Arc’s Youth Minister this past year. I look forward to the graces our good and gracious God has in store for our upcoming year. Two words come to mind as I reflect back on this past year of Verso L’alto youth group- those words are hope and courage. I have a tremendous amount of hope in the future of our Church. Getting to journey and walk with the teens of St. Joan of Arc has been such an authentic source of hope to me. The ways the teens have opened their hearts to dive deeper into a relationship with Christ in the midst of some crazy and unpredictable times is absolutely incredible. It is a gift to have St. Joan of Arc as the patroness of our parish and to pray for her intercession as a youth group. She modeled courage in the face of adversity and strong faith despite what the threats were. Please join me in continuing to pray for St. Joan of Arc’s intercession for the teens in our youth group, that they may have the courage from the Holy Spirit to live out and share their faith.READ MORE