Let Our Adoration Never Cease

12-24-2023Gospel ReflectionSister Kathryn James

I can remember cherished moments as a child turning the living room lights low on Christmas eve and sitting with a cup of hot chocolate before the nativity scene. I loved singing Christmas carols on that blessed evening, uniting myself in spirit to the angels who announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds over 2000 years ago. It was a magical moment for a child.

READ MORE

Gaudete Sunday

12-17-2023Gospel ReflectionBeth Price

Rejoicing is the theme of today’s readings on this Gaudete Sunday. We are filled with joy, because the Lord is coming and is almost here! “God is the joy of my soul,” the prophet Isaiah says in the first reading. He truly is my joy, my God, my all.

READ MORE

What are the “O Antiphons?” Where do they come from?

12-17-2023Why do we do that?

The Liturgy of the Hours is an ancient form of prayer, prayed by priests, monks, nuns, and lay people all around the world. The Liturgy of the Hours is composed in a four week cycle, with prayers at multiple times of day. The most commonly prayed part of the Liturgy of the Hours are Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. Over the course of the four weeks, all 150 psalms are read, and many other prayers and pieces of scripture are included. As you might imagine, praying the same words in the same order, week after week, year after year, may begin to grow repetitive and a maybe a little bland, which is why any changes stand out.

READ MORE

Why is the third Sunday of Advent called “Gaudete?” And why is it pink?

12-10-2023Why do we do that?

In the Roman Missal, there are lines of scripture assigned to every Mass called “entrance antiphons” which can be spoken or chanted at the beginning of Mass in place of music. The entrance antiphon for the third week of Advent is: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” In Latin: Gaudete in Domino semper; iterum dico gaudete.

READ MORE

Why do we have Advent wreathes at our dinner tables and at our church?

12-03-2023Why do we do that?

The Advent wreath has a rather mysterious origin. The tradition has taken many different forms over the years. The ring of lights originates in northern Europe, and likely began with the simple need to light the family dinner table during the long nights of winter. In Scandinavia, they had the tradition of arranging candles in a wheel, representing the changing of seasons from one year to the next. Separately, the tradition of wreath-making goes back to pre-Christian Greece and Rome, where circles of leaves and flowers were used to crown the victors in competitions and brides on their wedding day.

READ MORE

Strength in Weakness

12-03-2023Gospel ReflectionTommy Shultz

Here we are at the beginning of one of the most beautiful liturgical seasons, the season that anticipates the word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. I don’t know about you, but it is typically at the start of a new season that I try to give my spiritual life a little boost. I typically try to settle on one or two things that I will do to draw closer to the Lord. Then inevitably, two or three days in I am reminded of my weakness and failures.

READ MORE

Christ Our King

11-26-2023Gospel ReflectionTami Urcia

It seems that only when our lives are turned upside down do we realize what is truly important. Only when what we deemed important is no longer there, do we understand that so many things are actually rather unimportant. So what IS important? While the answer may vary somewhat, a few things should not falter to us as Christians.

READ MORE

Thanksgiving

11-19-2023Gospel ReflectionDakota Pesce

In today’s Gospel, Luke recounts the story of the healing of the lepers. At the time of Christ, lepers were one of the most marginalized and isolated groups. In order to avoid spreading leprosy, which is highly contagious, they were not even allowed to live with their families. Those who had leprosy were without hope because their ailment could not be cured. Lepers were considered unclean and, therefore, sought purity. When they encounter Christ, they recognize Him as someone who can heal them and grant them purity. When Christ heals the ten lepers, He then tells them to show themselves to the priests so that they may be welcomed back into the community. However, only one of the ten comes back to offer praise and thanksgiving to Christ. And Christ’s response is, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

READ MORE

November: A Month to Reflect on Gratitude and Giving

11-12-2023Gospel ReflectionInternational Catholic Stewardship Council

Towards the end of each year, it is easy for us to become distracted with the busyness and planning for the upcoming holidays, starting with Thanksgiving. As Christian stewards, it is an important aspect of our faith to live each day in gratitude and to prayerfully discern and reflect on what we are giving back to God through our parish, diocese and other charitable institutions in the coming year. Now is a good time to reflect on what priority we will give to God in our spending.

READ MORE

A Message form Fr. George Teodoro...

11-05-2023From Fr. TeodoroFr. George Teodoro, S.J.

Dear friends,

Greetings from Bikfaya, Lebanon! Since arriving here in September, along with 11 other Jesuits from 8 other countries, we have begun our tertianship program here by studying the life of St. Ignatius and his first companions, while building community and seeing a bit of the country. Bikfaya is northeast of Beirut, in the mountains and in a traditionally Christian region. We have been able to see parts of the city of Beirut, along with Byblos, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on earth, and the monastery of St. Charbel, where we celebrated Mass in his tomb. It has been an enlivening and enriching time of prayer, learning, and reflection.

READ MORE

Why does everyone have to come all the way forward for communion? Why don’t we have Eucharistic Ministers halfway back in the church like we used to?

10-29-2023From Fr. TeodoroFr. George Teodoro, S.J.

Many Catholics in virtually every liturgical context prefer to sit in the back of the church. People have many reasons for doing so. Some are devotional: it can be a sign of humility, or sometimes people sit near an image or statue to which they are particularly devoted. Sometimes its practical – people who have mobility issues, or who want to avoid the direct air conditioning, or think it’s too loud in front or simply arrive late to Mass.

READ MORE

Why do we only pray half of the prayers when we are in a group – like the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross?

10-22-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

Communal prayer is one of the hallmarks of the Catholic Church. We don’t just pray as individuals, we consciously elect to gather together for prayer. And we not only gather together on Sunday for the celebration of the Eucharist, but many people gather together to pray the Rosary, or the Divine Mercy chaplet, or the Stations of the Cross.

READ MORE

A retirement letter from Fr. Dan Sullivan…

10-22-2023From Fr. Dan SullivanFr. Dan Sullivan

This letter is to let you know that I have received permission from my Jesuit provincial to retire in the next couple of months. The majority of my priestly ministry has been here in Phoenix, either at Brophy College Prep for nine years in the 1970s or Saint Francis Xavier Parish for 18 years, and 12th of those years I served as pastor. So I have deep roots here.

READ MORE

Why do Catholic churches have statues and icons, when most protestant churches avoid them?

10-08-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro

In the Ten Commandments, it says “You shall not make for yourself an idol” (Ex 20:2) and the battle against idolatry was one of the central issues in Hebrew history. In Jewish theology, God is beyond all human comprehension and can not and should not be confined or limited by worshiping an idol, in the way that the Egyptians worshiped a golden calf, or the Philistines or Baby- lonians worshiped images of clay. Therefore, the use of images is strictly forbidden in the Jewish faith, and likewise in the Muslim faith as well.

READ MORE

Why are there different Eucharistic Prayers?

10-01-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

Since our very beginnings, the Eucharist has been an essential part of what it means to be Church. After all, at the Last Supper, Jesus gave us his body and blood and said “Do this in remembrance of me.” But almost from the very beginning, there have questions about what “this” exactly is. As the Church grew and expanded, different local churches, in Jerusalem, Antioch, Damascus, Alexandria, Constantinople, Rome, and elsewhere had different variations on how to memorialize the Eucharist. These local practices evolved into rites, which most often took on the name of their geographic origin – the Byzantine Rite, the Antiochene Rite, the Roman Rite. For the first eight centuries of the Church, there was no perceived need to create a single, uniform rite.

READ MORE