From the Pastor's Desk:
The World in View from a Believer’s Perspective

God's Goodness

02-26-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

A lot of us live in or around Mesa this time of year so that we don't have to shovel it. But a few weeks ago I went looking for it since I don't have much experience shooting snow. I noticed the pine forest was eerily quiet during the few hours of broad daylight. Nature seemed to be in the grips of a soundless effort for survival. This is what I found north of Durango, CO.

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Mundelein Seminary in Chicago

02-19-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Here's a picturesque shot of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago where I had the privilege to study for a few on-going formation courses. Bishop Robert Barron was rector a number of years before being newly assigned over a year ago as one of the auxiliaries for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I have heard him compared to the Venerable Fulton Sheen. His style of addressing hot topics and news concerning the Church is most appealing to me.

If you are interested in getting a flavor of his treatment and balance on Pope Francis' encyclical letter Amoris Laetitia, type this into your search engine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5ruTwxiLqs

I will also post this link on our website for easier access.

Your Pastor,
Fr. Larry

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The Rough Riders

02-12-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

One of the finest examples of art pieces depicting mounted horsemen—so I am told—belongs on the grounds of the County Court House in Prescott. It commemorates the Rough Riders, volunteers who signed up with Teddy Roosevelt, a man who later became our nation's 26th President. The history goes they were a charismatic bunch in search of adventure that in political terms meant to curtail Spain's influence in the Western Hemisphere.

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Connecting with God

02-05-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Near Guadalupe and Val Vista is the Riparian Reserve, home to desert creatures and water foul both native to Arizona. A pleasant stroll through the area reveals the contrast of God's creation with the urbanization of our human activity found just outside the park in every direction. It's a sanctuary where the furry animals scamper here and there without much to intimidate them. The souls of peaceful persons possess a similar freedom in that there is little to hinder them from seeing God in their neighbor and the world around them. They readily connect to God to glorify him for the beauty of their natural surroundings, or when they have a problem to deal with, and when they have answers to find. God is real to the peaceful of heart in all sorts of situations. And Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

Your Pastor,
Fr. Larry

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Merciful Heart Hermitage

01-29-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

There is a special place in our Diocese where priests and seminarians can take time out for extended prayer. The Merciful Heart Hermitage for priests provides retreats and spiritual direction in a surrounding suitable for dialogue with God. This is the main chapel of the retreat center.

A priest’s most important duty is his prayer. If he does not, then he really has nothing to offer their flocks except by way of personal charm or human resourcefulness. But those things dry up after a while. Priests need to think deeply at times of prayer if they are to stay attune to where God wills to direct their priestly life. The pages of the Gospels provide several examples of Jesus’ own dedication to solitude and prayer. He made it a priority to the point that it moved the disciples to ask, ‘teach us how to pray!’ That is when Jesus revealed to us the power and beauty of the ‘Our Father’.

If you have a priest friend from out of state who would like to find a place to pray, I recommend the Merciful Heart Hermitage.

Your Pastor,
Fr. Larry

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Mentors

01-22-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Thumb through a Breaking Bread Hymnal and see if you recognize hymns 340, Taste and See and 327, Ubi Caritas. I do. I've been singing them for years. Notice that the composer of these melodies is the same—Bob Hurd, who I give you in today's photo. The melodies are uplifting but probably more so for those that composed them.

And who is the person Mr. Hurd smiles at with all the affection of a master handing down the arts of his trade to his apprentice? Why… it's Jaime Cortez! We all have a need for mentors in this life: we call them 'friends', 'sponsors', 'parents', 'godparents' and even 'guardian angels'. When we listen to them with reciprocal affection God shares what's on His mind with us. Tell me if it ain't [sic] true.

Your Pastor,
Fr. Larry

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Biosphere 1

01-15-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

I once stood in a tropical forest for about 5 minutes, and surprisingly, the drive to it is only 90 minutes from the Parish. Biosphere 2 near Oracle, AZ, began as an investment opportunity to imitate Earth's habitat in the hope that if we ever ran out of things to do down here we could make it elsewhere. My visit did deepen some convictions insofar as these are worth relating: Firstly, Biosphere 1, or planet Earth, is the best place for us while we live under the trial and blessing of God. Imagine how much good would come to pass for homeless refugees if we diverted a fraction of interplanetary research to help those with the essentials to get by on Biosphere1.

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The Epiphany of the Lord

01-08-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Stare Miasto, or Krakow's Old Town District provides a visual step back in time. As I strolled through the marketplace I came upon this sketched artwork that fascinated me. I had an epiphany right then and there: 'why not take the camera over to the same colonnade and shoot it yourself?!' That's what I did.

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The Holy Family

01-01-2017The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Holy Family Church in Jerome, AZ has a beautiful high altar dedicated to the name of its Parish. The artist beautifully conveys through the sublime poses of Mary and Joseph how Jesus is the center of their lives. They live only for their Son.

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Merry Christmas

12-25-2016The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Dear Brothers and Sisters of my Parish Family,

Happy Christmas! I picture you all, especially the children, making good on the yearly traditions: the exchange of gifts, meals served with delicious wine, the embrace of loved ones not seen in a great while.

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The Church's Mission

12-18-2016The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Many of us at Holy Cross have either visited or heard of the Franciscan Mission San Xavier del Bac just outside of Tucson. But just 17 miles south of the Mission is a decommissioned missile silo that once hid a nuclear warhead on top of a Titan Missile. Since the 1980s the Titan had given way to the Minute Man System. The creation of such missiles were justified by the war strategy MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). The strategy is simple: if full scale nuclear ensues, no one will be around to declare victory.

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Relating with our Youth

12-11-2016The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

A few months ago I ventured to Phoenix’s downtown Civic Center for the annual Hispanic Youth Convention called ‘Crisjoven’. There were perhaps a couple thousand Hispanic youths participating. More than 60 of our parish’s youth were at the event to see the sights and hear the sounds.

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Wieliczka Salt Mine

12-04-2016The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

The Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland is over 1000 feet deep and has about 178 miles of tunnels. Its excavation began in the 13th Century when salt deposits were found in the topsoil. This photo displays one of several chapels where the workers would stop and pray during breaks. Curiously enough, communist authorities left the workers alone in the shadows to sport their religious crosses and to pray on state owned property. It is one of the few places where public masses where held on state property for workers in times of persecution. Here, the Church really lived and prayed underground over the better part of last century.

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