by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.  |  02/23/2020  |  From Fr. Fambrini

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are three traditional practices of Lent. They are meant to help us turn away from self-defeating habits and open ourselves to God so he can help us be the people we were created to become. So, why do we pray?

Thinking of prayer as a genuine relationship, or friendship, with God may be help us understand prayer better. Why do we spend time with friends? As I thought about this, I realized that I treasure time spent with good friends. If I have not had good conversations with dear friends, life seems to be out of sorts. When I spend time with good friends, I feel more whole and alive. If you want to know God, and if you want to know yourself, pray. Talk to God. There are many kinds of prayer (adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving), but in the end, prayer is simply conversation with God. This is especially true during Lent.


Faith Formation

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.   |  02/16/2020  |  From Fr. Fambrini

Dear Beloved in Christ,

As pastor here at St. Francis Xavier Parish, I am learning more about how our parish has traditionally carried out the important work of faith formation of our children and young people and prepared them to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. I have reflected on the good work being done here and have listened to the concerns and hopes of many parents, grandparents, and others who care deeply about our parish faith formation efforts.

I’ve noticed that, for a variety of reasons, parents and families are not always well prepared to pass along the Catholic faith to their children. Sometimes it is because parents themselves have not been properly rooted in the Catholic faith or feel unsure about their readiness to teach and model that life within their family. Quite frankly, it saddens me when I don’t see more families celebrating Sunday Mass together with the parish community, even those who have children in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), EDGE, Life Teen and St. Francis Xavier Elementary School.


Fr. Sean Carroll, S.J.

02/09/2020  |  From Fr. Fambrini

On Saturday and Sunday, February 15 and 16, 2020, Fr. Sean Carroll, S.J., the executive director of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), will be at St. Francis to speak about this cross-border migrant ministry in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Since January 2009, Fr. Sean has served at the KBI, which works in the areas of humanitarian assistance, education and research/advocacy. Last year, the KBI provided over 130,000 meals to deported persons in Nogales, Sonora and offered other critical services to deported persons as well as families fleeing violence and seeking asylum in the United States. The KBI also offers a variety of educational activities, including immersion experiences of direct service, dialogue and reflection for students and adults from a variety of schools and parishes. Over the years, the KBI has collaborated as well with various organizations to publish reports that address issues such as family separation in the process of detention and deportation. Thanks so much in advance for welcoming Fr. Sean to St. Francis.


My Holy Land Experience

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.   |  02/02/2020  |  From Fr. Fambrini

Ever since I returned from my pilgrimage to the Holy Land last week, I have been asked many times how my experience was. It has taken me several days floating through ten time zones of exhaustion to arrive finally at a place where I can begin to put my time there in perspective.

First some facts about the trip: it was organized out of the Tijuana/San Diego area by three very competent and patient priests from the Archdiocese of Tijuana. This was not their first rodeo but their first of such size: 150 pilgrims. The mere logistical issues would have driven anyone to distraction but they handled it all with great aplomb.

If you have ever been on such a pilgrimage you know the pace: many events crammed into a single day, going from dawn to dusk, sleeping in a new bed every other night, pushing, pulling, repacking luggage at every turn.


Catholic Education allows us to BUILD!

by Ryan Watson  |  01/26/2020  |  From Fr. Fambrini

Greetings in Christ and Happy Catholic Schools Week!

We reflect and give thanks for the many gifts the Lord has given us, and one of those very special gifts is that of Catholic education. Catholic education helps to establish a foundation, along with parent and parish partnership, that is crucial to the formation of each child. We are excited to celebrate Catholic Schools Week both locally and nationally on January 26 through February 1. It is a week where we honor our inspiring students who provide so much hope for the future, our amazing faculty and staff who commit each day to help our students grow, and our incredible parents who understand partnership and the true value of a Catholic education. Most importantly, we give thanks to the Lord for allowing us the opportunity to come together in a place where we can praise Him, love one another, and travel intentionally on our faith and academic journey.


From the Pastor

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.   |  01/19/2020  |  From Fr. Fambrini

Dear Beloved in Christ,

As we begin a new year, I thought it appropriate to acknowledge the depth of your response when asked to financially contribute to our parish faith community.

Through a variety of programs, we’ve asked much of you; and you've responded faithfully. When I stood before you as your new pastor last October, I spoke to you of my vision for the parish, and while sharing this vision, asked you to support the parish during the Annual Appeal. To date, nearly half of our registered parishioners have submitted their response card. Many of you also are registered to give through Online Giving; please complete a card for our records regardless of how you contribute.


A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.  |  01/12/2020  |  From Fr. Fambrini

As you read this, I am far away. Last summer I was offered one of those opportunities of a lifetime: a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Our large group of about 100 Spanish-speaking pilgrims is based out of San Diego and Tijuana. Please keep us in your prayers and I look forward to sharing my experiences of my time away with you in this space as soon as I get back. My first day back in the office will be January 22.

Enjoy the blessings of the new year.

In Christ,

Father Robert Fambrini


Following the Star

by Bishop Robert Barron  |  01/06/2020  |  From Fr. Fambrini

Our modern culture suggests a tension between spirituality and religion. But the Magi in today’s Gospel demonstrate that when spirituality is lifted up by revelation—when the Magi are told by the religious leaders where the Messiah is to be born—we find the object of our spiritual longing.

Let us take some time this week to review Sunday’s readings, listen to the complete homily by Bishop Barron and discover where the object of our spiritual longing is in our lives in the coming year.

Listen Here


Happy New Year

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.   |  12/29/2019  |  From Fr. Fambrini

I write to thank you for your many kindnesses during this holiday season.  I very much appreciate them.

On Sunday I will be flying to the Bay Area to spend some time with my family and returning to the office on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

God's many blessings on you and your family in the New Year!

Father Robert Fambrini


Merry Christmas!

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.   |  12/22/2019  |  From Fr. Fambrini

What follows is the Christmas letter I sent out to family and friends. Merry Christmas!

Surprise! I’ve moved to the desert! (Check that return address!) Full disclosure: last year at this time when I wrote, I knew I was being transferred but could not say anything. When I told my family at our Thanksgiving dinner 2018, their collective response was a nonplused: Oh, spring training.

I am now the pastor of the only Jesuit parish in all of Arizona, St. Francis Xavier in Phoenix. I arrived here four months ago in the midst of tremendous summer heat. The very welcoming parishioners were so apologetic as if they were somehow to blame! But they promised cooler weather and eventually, it arrived toward the end of September, first with morning coolness and then throughout the day. I’m looking forward to those 330 days of sunshine.


From the Pastor

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.  |  12/15/2019  |  From Fr. Fambrini

One of the reasons I refer to the Jesuits as family is the simple fact that from his entrance day, the novice is a member of the Society of Jesus. Should he die in the novitiate (and one of my novices did die in his second year), his family has the option of burying him as a Jesuit. This sense of family is best reflected by the fact that from our entrance we refer to each other by our first names. Provincial or novice, we are a family.

Most religious orders celebrate anniversaries from the date of their profession of vows. We Jesuits celebrate our anniversaries from the day of entrance.

God gave me a very special gift during my golden jubilee year, 2017. First some background. Each year we are privileged to receive eight full days for our annual retreat. Most Jesuits I know look forward to that time of “vacation with the Lord.” Confession number one: in the years leading up to my jubilee my retreats resembled more “vacation” than “with the Lord.” I would check into a retreat house in San Diego, spend some time praying and then more time socializing. I was looking for a bit more structure in 2017.


From the Pastor

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.   |  12/08/2019  |  From Fr. Fambrini

The position of Novice Director does not come with a term limit. But after five years as director, I decided to ask the provincial what plan he had in mind for me: would I continue or be reassigned? He told me that he’d get back to me after speaking with his consultors. Within a few weeks, he told me that it was his desire that I remain on for another three years (it ended up being four). I was fine with that. He told me that had he not asked me to stay in Culver City, he would have asked me to be the pastor of Most Holy Trinity in San Jose. My response? Whew, dodged a bullet! Now to be clear, this reaction did not come from anything negative I had heard of the place but rather from what I knew, namely, that MHT was very large and complex.


My Vision

by Father Robert Fambrini, S.J.   |  12/01/2019  |  From Fr. Fambrini

Beloved Parishioners of St. Francis Xavier,

Since my arrival here at St. Francis Xavier now nearly four months ago, I have been asked to share a vision as I continue in my role as pastor and for us as a community.

A couple of visits I made in May during my sabbatical have helped me to focus my thoughts. I spent a week in Valle de Bravo in the state of Mexico with former parishioners who have a house there and extended family. Valle de Bravo is your typical small Mexican town: much noise, activity, bustle, charm, grit and grime. But most importantly, people. People everywhere and at all times: driving, walking, sweeping, eating, chatting. In a word: alive!