Reading’ Writen’ and Rithmetic’

04-07-2024Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Every October we celebrate World Mission Sunday, which helps us remember that we are a missionary Church in keeping with the command of Jesus before his Ascension: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Every now and then it is good to pause and ask what fruit has our support of the missions produced?

Well, this weekend we have an opportunity to both witness the fruit and to reinforce our efforts to support the missions. My dear friend and current Pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Tempe, Fr. Robert Aliunzi will be with us to share how our support of the missions enabled him to receive an education and in turn pay it forward.

Fr. Robert grew up in Uganda, and the only place he could get an education was in a Leper Colony run by Christian missionaries. His education eventually led him to the seminary and to the priesthood and then he was sent on mission to the U.S. For so many places still in the world today, education is not a given but a privilege for the well connected and wealthy. But because there were Christians who were inspired to go and serve in the missions in Africa and because Christians in the US supported their efforts a young man in Uganda was able to receive an education even in an unlikely place such as a Leper Colony.

Gratitude for that gift, Fr. Robert decided in order to pay it forward he would start a school in his native country for the children who had no opportunity to attend school. He decided to call it E-3 Africa and he will tell you more about it and how you can adopt a student.

When it comes to Stewardship, I always find that it is helpful, in the light of so many good causes that ask for our support, to use two criteria to guide your choices. First, what breaks your heart? I know many of you who support the FullCircle Program, have had loved ones who are/were alcoholics or addicts or even more heartbreaking a child or grandchild that died from an overdose. That breaks your heart.

The second is: what are you most grateful for? If you are grateful for receiving an education that helped you to become successful, especially if it was a Catholic education, then supporting schools is one way to show your gratitude. Giving back the gift that you received is a true sign of a faithful Christian steward.

Pope Francis is always reminding us that we are missionary disciples. But we all can’t go and serve in foreign missions, but we can support the work of our missionaries. You never know, your support may be providing the next priest or bishop or even Pope, or scientist or inventor or medical genius that will help build a better world after you.

A good steward receives God’s gifts gratefully. Cherishes and tends them responsibly. Shares them in justice and in love. And returns them with increase to the Lord.