Dear Beloved in Christ,
As people of faith, through prayer and devotion, we express our gratitude for the blessings we receive.
During this season of Thanksgiving I'd like to suggest that we take time to notice our blessings more mindfully. By that I mean, to listen with greater intention to the sound of your children laughing, telling you a story from their day, or as they pray with you each night. To take a moment from your busy day-to-day rhythm to sit with a co-worker or friend and enjoy that special time -- without your phone nearby. And, start your day with a moment of quiet reflection, hands open, ready to receive what God has planned.READ MORE
COUNT EVERY VOTE!
Voting is now underway at a torrid pace, and soon we will know the much-anticipated results of our pending election. Still, we hear misguided threats and attempts to cast doubt on the election process and how well ballots will be counted.
As faith leaders of the Arizona Interfaith Network who lead congregations that claim active members of all political persuasions, we want to remind all citizens that it is important to vote, regardless of your party affiliation, and to vote with confidence.
Arizona runs elections well. We employ highly professional election officials, and the state has become a model for mail in ballots. We have personally met in the past month with county and state officials overseeing the voting process. The work of these officials will be essential for an orderly election.READ MORE
At the beginning of the month, I wrote of how we are asking for your financial support of St. Francis in a “quieter” way this year. We were intentional about this decision knowing that this year has been, and probably will be, the most unusual year of our lifetimes. As we continue to wade our way through these stormy waters, we join you in prayer asking for peace within our homes, in our faith community, the greater community of Phoenix, and our country.
Knowing that we turn to our church when feeling uncertain, I hope we have provided the nurturing environment you seek. Our ministries are now back and running and our religious education program has reached its enrollment capacity for the year. Our elementary school is thriving with the joyful sound of young voices echoing across the campus and our mass schedule has increased to include the Saturday Vigil Mass. Yes, we are in unusual times, but we strive each day to provide the security of a church that is more than a place of worship...ours is a breathing entity found in the lives of all who proclaim their Catholic faith.READ MORE
Typically we find ourselves in the midst of our Annual Offertory Appeal during the month of October. We launch with messaging from the pulpit, perhaps a video or special slogan, followed by a mailing of commitment cards to our parish families. This year, we’ve discerned that our efforts would be “quiet” -- we aren’t going to formally ask for offertory commitments. Rather, we will speak to you from the pulpit with a message of gratitude believing that your hearts have been moved and your financial support to the parish will evolve and continue.
Without question, this year has been unusual. That is why our offertory commitment request of you will be different, too. Throughout the last several months, you’ve shown your devotion to St. Francis. As you watched Mass from your homes, you contributed online. When we were able to greet you in person, you maintained your support of St. Francis through a variety of means, not the least of which was your gift collected during the Mass.READ MORE
Dear parishioners of St. Francis Xavier:
Every ten years our country is required by our constitution to count every person living in our country, not just citizens but everyone. This decennial count is essential as it determines our representation at all levels of government. Just as importantly, the census count also determines which federal funds flow back to our community. These funds (our tax dollars) provide for infrastructure, housing, the building of schools and hospitals, all vital components of our everyday lives.
I urge you to fill out the census form you received in the mail in March. It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail---all without having a census taker come to your door.READ MORE
Dear fellow parishioners of St. Francis Xavier:
A couple of weeks ago I celebrated the first anniversary of my arrival here at our parish. It has been a year of adjustment, change and challenge. As you know by now, St. Francis Xavier is different from any of the other four parishes of which I was pastor.
I am grateful for many things, first among them your warm welcome (and not simply because I arrived in July!) and cooperation. This is the longest time I have lived out of state in my time as a priest and in the process I have come to like the desert, the slower pace and the fact that, even before Covid, I hardly use my car. Nice to live so close to work! (PS: I am not missing San Jose.)
I am grateful for my Jesuit community. I could not imagine a nicer group of people to be marooned with during a pandemic!READ MORE
A week ago Thursday I tuned into the funeral service for John Lewis, the civil rights crusader and member of Congress. As with all Black Christian services, it was truly a celebration of Congressman Lewis’s life with uplifting music and stirring eulogies.
John Lewis put his life on the line for what he believed. The predominant question which guided his adult life was simply this: why can’t all people living in this country experience equal treatment? As we know, the history of racial inequality in this country is long and painful. It seems to stem from the notion that there is just so much to go around: just so much money for proper housing, proper education, proper healthcare---to name a few. It’s a mentality which implies that there might not be enough for both you and me. Resources are limited, we are told. Yet, in our heart of hearts, we know that that is not true. Our land is a land of abundance.READ MORE
In January, 2019, we were blessed as Jesuits West sent Father Joe O'Keefe, S.J. to St. Francis Xavier. Sadly, Father Joe will be leaving St. Francis at the end of the month for his new assignment at Bellarmine Prep San Jose.
His thoughtful oversight of the Pastoral Department engaged our staff and parishioners as we implemented new programs that will unveil this Fall. His benevolent nature will be missed by all who had the good fortune to work by his side.
Please join us in wishing him our very best on his new assignment.
Father Joe, we hold you in our hearts.READ MORE
With a sense of prudence we fully sanitized all public spaces, including the church, the weekend of June 26/27. We recognize that anyone may test positive due to the interaction we have with others on any given day. As we proceed in the coming weeks, we will follow these processes in accordance with Diocesan guidelines, as well as, CDC and AZ Department of Health guidelines:
1. Scheduled Mass will continue; we will practice physical distance, wear face masks. All of our sanitizing and cleaning protocols will continue as currently structured using commercial grade products.
2. Meetings outside of Mass will be monitored for physical distancing. We will keep these meetings to 10-12 persons. We will request all wear face masks and maintain physical distance.READ MORE