Happy New Year?

12-30-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There is no question for many of us that this has been a difficult year, one of the hardest in memory. There was a difficult and divisive election; there has been an ongoing assault on religious freedom; our economy has yet to overcome the recession and secularists continue to push us to "live as though God does not exist." During the time when we are supposed to be focusing on "peace on earth and good will," we hear stories about a fiscal cliff and the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar.

And in the midst of all of this, the Church calls us to embrace the New Evangelization? Our current difficulties beg the simple question, "Why go to the trouble of evangelizing during the New Year when we collectively seem to be going down to despair?" Why? Because our faith does not call us to a naïve optimism that "things will work out," but to authentic Christian hope!


Plenary Indulgences for the Year of Faith

12-23-2012Pastor's LetterMost Rev. Thomas Olmsted

The Holy Father has allowed the granting of Plenary indulgences for the faithful during the Year of Faith at places and dates determined by the local bishop.

An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment for sin the guilt of which is already forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful obtains under certain conditions. (Canon 992) A Plenary indulgence totally frees the soul from temporal punishment due to sin. (Canon 993).

Between now and the end of the Year of Faith (Feast of Christ the King, 2013), plenary indulgences can be obtained by members of the faithful in the Diocese of Phoenix by visiting one of the following historic Churches and praying for the intentions of the Holy Father (an Our Father and a Hail Mary). Indulgences may also be obtained by attending Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours at any sacred place in the diocese and making a Profession of Faith on feast days of American saints listed below. The person seeking the indulgence must have received sacramental confession and Holy Communion within a week of the visit. Further, in order for the indulgence to be Plenary and not partial, the individual must be free from sin (even venial). Only one Plenary indulgence may be gained on a day.


Rejoice Always

12-16-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This Sunday we lit the third candle of our Advent Wreath. You probably noticed that it has a different color: rose, instead of violet or purple. The rose color signifies "rejoicing."

St. Paul tells us to "rejoice in the Lord always." He doesn't say, "rejoice when things go your way." Or "rejoice when you are feeling good." No, he simply says, "rejoice always." Before saying how this is possible, I would like to first address why it is necessary for a Christian to always rejoice.

We are celebrating the Year of Faith. This year is a special year given to us to help us to live as committed followers of Christ. Part of being committed followers of Christ means sharing the faith. How? St. Paul reminds us today: "Your kindness should be known to all." Inner joy leads to kindness. The person who goes around sullen, angry and bitter has a hard time treating others with kindness. On the contrary, the angry person often treats others harshly. St. Paul presents joy, constant joy, as not just a good thing, but as a duty. Rejoice always, he says.


How Long Until Christmas?

12-09-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As I child, (not so long ago) I can remember counting down the days until Christmas. Mom would put up the felt Advent calendar that had one piece of candy tied to it for each day of Advent. It was a form of torture… the waiting for the days to pass seemed like forever. I wished that if I could untie them two at a time then Christmas would somehow arrive sooner. It never did. The Advent season seemed like forever.

Today we learn from Sacred Scripture that Our Lord's timing may be different from ours. Since God doesn't always give us what we want exactly when we want it, we can grow impatient with God. Patience is such an important virtue. It means waiting and sacrificing some immediate satisfaction for the sake of a greater good. Impatience is the unwillingness to wait or to sacrifice. These are words we don't like to hear since we are so used to immediate gratification.


Final Judgement

12-02-2012Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Many people have trouble accepting Jesus' teaching about the final judgment. Our Lord's teaching is difficult to believe for various reasons but one reason seems most difficult for many to understand. Our Lord's judgment is final. I'll admit, it is difficult for many to believe that something could be final and forever.

Sadly, many people live with the incorrect belief that there are "do overs" in the after we die. Many people hope for a series of "do overs" after they die until they get it right. While this may be their hope… it is not the reality. "Do overs" will not be part of the final judgment. This is why we seek to please God now by seeking to become saints now BEFORE we die. Becoming a saint means that we need repent of our sins while we are still on earth.