Here’s a close-up of Four Peaks. My good friend Fr. Steve and I made it to the top in 90 minutes starting from Holy Cross. It’s anywhere from 20 to 25 degrees cooler than in Mesa. And it was a lovely trip. So I thought, ‘why not share the experience with a few of my parishioners?’ So here’s the plan.
Since I only have room for three adventuresome souls I’ll have to sell some tickets at $5. (All proceeds will be helping our Youth Ministry to cover expenses for the World Youth Day 2019 being held in Panama City, Panama. It is my goal to bring 30 high school students in January of that year for the event.)READ MORE
Everyone needs a guide at some point. We call guides by different names: Mother, Godfather, Nanny, Primary Care Doctor and Traffic Policeman. At the Botanical Garden in Phoenix I had the opportunity to listen a guide tell our group how Saguaros can hold up to 1000 gallons of water. I was rather suspicious so I checked my phone for the truth of this affirmation and sure enough, it matched up with what I read.
Isn't that so like our generation: 'Let's background check everything said to see if it aligns better with my perception of things'. While simplicity of heart has us trust people more readily and instinctively, there is also our desire to know and to be sure about what is being presented to us.READ MORE
May Jesus Christ our Risen Lord grant you an experience of his profound love! In looking to find some Easter photo worthy of the occasion, I came across this Palo Verde tree in full bloom just the other day. It is a tree native to our area and spoke to me of today’s celebration.
I don’t particularly care for macro photography—the art of capturing small things like insects and flowers—but I stood before this tree in full bloom attracting hundreds of bees with its life-giving nectar. Somehow it spoke eloquently in its own way about Jesus’ procession from the tomb and what it meant for all his devotees—namely His saints.READ MORE
Have you ever had a bad kitty not intended for the living room? Out of Africa Safari near Cottonwood has just such an animal. I sat in the bleachers thinking, “just as long as ‘Tigger’ keeps his eyes on the plastic dolphin and she keeps a healthy distance, she’ll be okay.”
The lesson I captured from it all is that our passions especially for nice things, rest and pleasure must all be kept in check by our cardinal virtues of moderation and prudence. Is there something significant that you need to get a handle on in your life precisely because it is controlling you? The excesses we confess up to are rooted ultimately in our egoism. This is why we take on periodic austerity so that creatures do not master us.READ MORE
The lunar moonrise is never as beautiful as when it peaks over the horizon. Unless you know where and when to look, you will miss it. Most onlookers don't realize just how fast it travels through a telephoto lens. The more one waits, the less attractive the shoot becomes.
God's grace is like that. It is time sensitive. The particular graces he gives us now are meant for now—not later. If you put off grace for later, you won't get that grace again. It is up to God to give you other graces if it be His Will.READ MORE
Saint John Paul II worked with the youth in a remarkable way as a young priest. He knew so well that young people were making very important choices in the prime of their lives. These budding young adults were facing choices that shaped their destinies, and to make those choices according to their vocational calling from God was a formula for happiness. Saint John Paul believed that vocation discernment was all about trying to understand just what exactly God has in mind for a young person’s life. I believe our youth ministers at Holy Cross understand this very well. So earlier this March our youth ministers traveled to Williams, AZ to be alongside some 500 other young persons from around the Diocese who spent the weekend in prayer and reflection. One of my teenaged parishioners shared with me how deeply spiritual this youth retreat turned out to be, and had wished for another week up in the mountains. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will move us to consider another retreat over the summer, but just for students of Holy Cross and their friends. I am definitely open to this idea.
As promised in last week’s article here are a few moments from the Fabulous 50’s Presentation at the end of February. Larry Bernach put on a beautiful evening with nostalgic recollections that I remember my own parents chuckling to years ago. Today, we must be very conscious about the entertainment we choose to enjoy, because good clean humor is not the default—you have to look for it. All too often the uplifting message is sandwiched between scenes and words we would rather not let our young children endure. To that end, www.movieguide.org provides a well thought out platform for movie reviews that takes into consideration our Christian identity and is, in my opinion, thoroughly considerate of the redeeming qualities in films for mature audiences. Take a look at this site before consulting simply the ‘what’s new’ and ‘what’s popular’ outlets.
With a great staff come great events. In the weeks ahead I’ll share a few charming moments from some of our latest Churchcommunity events. The first one of honorable mention was our Marriage is Beautiful date night in early February. My PastoralAssociate, Bridgette and her husband Steve, gave a series of beautiful reflections on Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body toover sixty couples, and I witnessed first hand the desire from our parishioners to learn more about our Church’s updated approachto addressing the topics of sexuality and married life. Now we are looking to offer more formation in this area over the next year. Ifyou’re an avid reader and want a preview of how the Church is reaching the world with this message, go towww.theologyofbody.net for a synopsis and a portal to other great Catholic websites promoting this wonderful teaching.READ MORE
My priest friend, Fr. Craig, certainly knows what he is doing on the slopes. So did Saint John Paul II. Apropos of Saint John Paul II, here's a new story I heard the other day from his life. Other bishops were concerned that the newly appointed Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (the future JPII) should give up his sportive interests, namely skiing. So he was asked, "Is it a bad thing for a cardinal to ski", to which he replied, 'It is bad for a cardinal to ski badly.' So Fr. Craig's example is someone who has got talent and has kept up his skill.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.
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.READ MORE
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.