Dear Beloved of St. Francis Xavier Parish:
Happy Pentecost! Today we celebrate the Spirit of God which energizes and gives life and renewal to us as a people of faith.
Last week we Jesuits received a letter from our provincial which posed a piercing question: We are facing the greatest humanitarian and economic crisis our world has seen since the Great Depression, the largest unemployment in 100 years, and are likely on the verge of wide-spread famine. We are seeing the biggest spending packages ever passed; we are seeing who gets included, and who gets left out in response. In 20 years, what do we want to look back and say we did in this moment? How do we lead our people from a mind-set of recovery and returning to normal, to a mind-set of renewal to a better future?
I share this question with you because I feel it is important that as Arizona begins its cautious reopening, we as a faith community begin to ask ourselves: how will we be different; how do we want to be?READ MORE
Last week I went to the dictionary to find out the root meaning of quarantine. To my surprise the first definition (and root) was simply “a period of forty days”. Nothing about staying at home, social distancing or face masks.
Curiously, the number 40 appears dozens of times in the Bible, always indicating a time of testing and trial.
Our current quarantine has lasted more than forty days but it has certainly been, and continues to be, a time of testing and trial. But perhaps there is some good news when we examine the scriptural references to the number.READ MORE
Last week you heard from Simon Zachary. I’m the “other guy” in the back row. My name is Nick Russell, and I’m a novice in the Society of Jesus. Novitiate is the first step for Jesuits who are in formation for the priesthood. It’s a two-year process in which we undergo a series of different “experiments” to test out our Jesuit vocation. These experiments include making the 30-day Spiritual Exercises retreat, serving in a hospital, making a pilgrimage, performing “humble tasks” around the novitiate, teaching in a school, and preaching (usually in the novitiate and on our experiments). My teaching experiment has brought me here to Phoenix, where I am teaching Scripture to first-year students at Brophy College Preparatory.READ MORE
If you've recently been tuning into our streamed Masses, you may have wondered who some of the younger guys (without grey hair) in the back seats are. My name is Simon Zachary, SJ, and I like to call myself a teenage Jesuit. I have been in the Society of Jesus for seven years now, and am approaching my last three years of formation, aka training, before priestly ordination. My current work involves teaching across the parking lot from St. Francis, over at Brophy. I teach, and hopefully don't bore, juniors and seniors with coursework in economics and international politics. I also moderate a handful of clubs, which are basically an excuse to get to know students just a bit more.READ MORE
Where is Jesus? Is he hiding until the Pandemic is over?
After the first Easter Sunday, the early Jewish-Christians continued to worship in the Temple on the Sabbath, but they also got together again on the Lord's Day to celebrate how they had experienced Jesus present in their lives throughout the week. Some didn't recognize Jesus at first because they weren't looking for him with eyes of faith.
Long after Jesus' Ascension, we Christians continue to gather on the Lord's Day to celebrate Jesus' presence among us.
Almost 2,000 years later, looking carefully with eyes of faith, we find Jesus present among us in the Eucharist, in the Sacraments, in our prayer, and in our loving care for one another.READ MORE
“Did not our hearts burn within us as He explained the scriptures as we walked with Him?” “Did not our hearts burn within us as we met Him in the Breaking of the Bread?”
The Emmaus disciples joyfully rush back to Jerusalem to inform their companions that the Lord has truly risen: He is not dead, but alive! These two discouraged and despondent men when they walked this same road before now do a 360 in their utter happiness to announce the Good News!
My friends, we all walk alone or with another these coronavirus times as they did, but it is a depressing, lonely, joyless path, buoyed up only by small screen and phone reminders from our loved ones and the ever-so-faint hope that these days too shall pass.READ MORE
This is probably the most unexpected question to bring up the week after Easter but have you ever considered how authorities attempt to solve the mystery of an unidentified body? After the very basics of skin color, sex, approximate age, it’s those aspects which distinguish one person from another: a tattoo, receding hairline, missing appendage, a scar.
Every year the Sunday after Easter we hear the same Gospel: Jesus appears to his disciples twice. The first time Thomas is missing, the second time he is present. The obvious focus is Thomas’s lack of faith.
But I see a different message. Jesus is the only person ever to conquer death. When He makes his appearances after rising from the dead, you’d expect him to present himself with what the kids would call, a “ripped” body: strong, new, without blemish. After all, death has no claim on him. And yet, how does Jesus present himself? He shows off his wounds, the markings which distinguish him, which tell the story of his love for us.READ MORE
Dear Beloved in Christ,
There is a phrase used in monastic life to refer to the period of time between the last hour of prayer at night after which the monks retire to their cells, and the first hour of prayer, with which the monks greet the new day, called “the great silence”. On a practical level, the great silence seems to refer simply to the time when all the work of the day is done, and the monks settle down for sleep. But deeper than this, the great silence is not just a time of rest, but the time where, our day’s work is over, God remains active and working, though unseen and most often unheard, speaking in the stillness. The monks rest, knowing that God in the great silence abides.READ MORE
Solidarity means unity. When one is in solidarity with another one feels a certain kinship having experienced something in common. Jesus tells us: “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mt 12:50)
The previous four churches of which I was pastor were predominantly immigrant communities. My grandparents were immigrants to this country but I am far removed from the struggles which my congregants endured coming to this country, learning a new language, new customs and ways of doing things. I developed a kinship with my parishioners by being present to them but I knew that their experience was not mine.READ MORE
Dear Parishioners of the St. Francis Xavier Jesuit Faith Community,
As we start another day in this most unusual time, my prayers are with you, as are the prayers of the Phoenix Jesuit Community.
Some of you have asked about the enhanced protocols we’ve put in place and I am happy to share an overview:
Dear Parishioners of the St. Francis Xavier Jesuit Faith Community,
The Novel Coronavirus is a health concern for all people globally. One of the primary goals at our St. Francis Xavier Jesuit Parish and School is to keep parishioners, parents, students and visitors to our church as safe as possible. Over the coming weeks, we will provide vital updates and/or recommendations from varied sources.
Although the current risk of contracting the Novel Coronavirus remains low in Maricopa County, vigilance on everyone’s part, is of the utmost importance. The current recommendations (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/preventing.htm) for keeping safe remain similar to the recommendations to prevent the spread of influenza or flu:READ MORE
Dear Beloved in Christ,
As we near the end of our efforts toward the CDA stewardship program, I would once again like to acknowledge the depth of your response when asked to financially contribute to our parish faith community. https://dphx.org/cda/how-to-donate.
Throughout the last several months, 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 Parish Annual Stewardship Appeal, "Generations of Giving." This appeal is a combination of tithing, prayer and active participation in our parish ministries (www.osvonlinegiving.com). Stewardship at and within our parish is encouraged and invited by all parishioners. Thank you for all you do.READ MORE
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. Lent truly reflects back to Jesus’ time fasting for 40 days in the wilderness before beginning His earthly ministry.
During this season of penitence and preparation, many people think of giving up certain things such as a favorite food or a life habit they are trying to better control. It is a sacrificial act being offered up to God as a humble offering to God from your life given to Him for a time. All of this is done so we can prepare ourselves and be ready to celebrate at Easter the resurrection and new life of Jesus who offered himself for our redemption.READ MORE