All three Scripture readings remind us that every person has value. Every life matters.
Extended Love: Migration and the Church
Fr. Eric wishes to share with everyone this resource guide. “Extended Love: Migration and the Church” is a quick reference resource to help everyone reflect on Church teachings, scripture, and quotes regarding the issue of migration and how the Church is called to respond.
If you would like to dive further into this topic, you are invited to join VIP (Valley Interfaith Project) and us as we co-host a Civic Academy on the topic, Wednesday, January 16. Click here to download the flyer.
Click here to visit a webpage with all the information we currently have on our Matthew 25 Project which is the way we are answering the call to Welcome the Stranger.
Here is a special message of encouragement to parents with children living at home and to parents with children on their own. This message is on the Feast of the Holy Family.
In offering hospitality, God wants us to be open to the unknown, recognizing what others may need from us.
Recalculating – A Christmas Story
Read below or use the player above to hear the story of Zadkiel and Aniel. As angels in the Heavenly Hosts Choir, they were very excited to be heading to earth tonight for this performance of a lifetime, a performance announcing the birth of the greatest king ever!
Written By: Dr. John Konicek
Read By: Torri Winn
Music: Arrangement of “Silent Night” by Rocky Searan from his album “Synthetic Christmas.” Used with permission.
Recorded By: Michelle Harvey
Edited By: Adam G. Stein
Go Beyond the story…
Fr. Eric & Kevin McGloin will be hosting a special evening event that is open to anyone looking to reconnect with their faith. Have you taken a different path? Do you hear that voice, like your GPS, saying, “Recalculating?” Then join us for one of these two evenings.
Wednesday, January 9 or Monday, January 14
7:00 pm in the Daily Mass Chapel
Christmas Angels Take a Turn for the Worst
Zadkiel and Aniel had been practicing their music for generations. Aniel excelled at memorizing her lines for the soprano part, whereas Zadkiel had a remarkable range as a tenor. As angels in the Heavenly Hosts Choir, they were very excited to be heading to earth tonight for this performance of a lifetime, a performance announcing the birth of the greatest king ever. The lead angel [who went by his professional title, Angel of the Lord] had kept the exact location of the performance under wraps, but Zadkiel and Aniel had speculated that the announcement would be made to people who were really powerful and profoundly influential. Zadkiel was certain that the prominent Temple Priests would need to be the first to hear the important news. It was a jewish baby being born after all. Aniel insisted that the proclamation should go right to the top, to the Roman emperor. Not the nicest of persons, but none had more power than he did.
The signal came to head out. Zadkiel and Aniel as section leaders were equipped with a GPS [Gloria Positioning System]. Zadkiel confident of what he thought would be the stopping place entered the location for the Temple. Aniel, just as certain for her prediction, entered “Rome.” However, as they got closer to earth, the Angel of the Lord texted the actual coordinates. The voice on Zadkiel’s and Aniel’s GPS cried out, “Recalculating! Recalculating!” How could they both be wrong? Dismayed, they followed the directional arrow to the final destination, but it was a field with sheep and shepherds. Both Zadkiel and Aniel tapped their screens, hoping to correct the obviously bad connection. This was the wrong place with the wrong people. Shepherds were undesirables, unclean and living outside the city where dirty people belonged. They often illegally grazed their flocks on land that didn’t belong to them. And their animals were involved in a financial scheme with the Temple priests that charged high prices for exclusive sacrifices to God.
Surely they must have taken a wrong turn. Then the Angel of the Lord spoke directly to the shepherds, announcing good news of great joy for all the people. Born this day is a Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. The Heavenly Hosts Choir on cue launched into a song of praise. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” It wasn’t a wrong turn after all. These lowly ones understood the meaning of the message and immediately spread that message to others, the message of how the earth would be forever set in motion for God’s new direction for humanity. Where God is leading us is the way of embrace for the lost and the lowly, the downtrodden and the abandoned, the discarded and the dirty. God’s saving love finds us where we often don’t think it can exist. This Christmas, how will you let the Angel of the Lord recalculate where God is found in your life, especially in the places you would never expect?
For the Love of Kids: Living the Beatitudes
The Beatitudes are the teaching of Jesus from his Sermon on the Mount, Mathew 5:1-10. In our ministry we see the light of Jesus in every interaction we have with the children of God. If you have not read any of our prior blogs, the For the Love of Kids Ministry works with children in group home foster care. We minister to them at least once a week, showing love and compassion through games, classes, projects, outings and retreats. We have 30 girls in three group homes ranging in age from 13 – 19 years old. When they age out, or have to leave the homes, we try to maintain contact and offer support, but sadly that usually doesn’t come to a happy ending. Less than 25% of kids in group home foster care graduate from high school, even fewer utilize the systems in place to assist them in any advanced or technical educational programs. Thus, sad to say that most will end up on the streets or in jail. We have over 20 wonderful volunteer ministers within our ministry, But we need more, with more we can do more, we can help more. You could easily affect change in a child’s life forever with just a smile, a kind hello or words of encouragement.
BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT, FOR THEIRS IS THE KINDOM OF HEAVEN
Blessed are the poor in spirit, or we could say blessed are the burdened, the downtrodden. This is a story of a wonderful young lady we met just before her 15th birthday. Amaigh had a look in her eye, a forlorn look, distant, not believing that anyone could help. That September she wanted to join the junior police force in Phoenix. She needed a ride to the initial sign up meeting so we took her, twice. She aced the testing but could never get all her paperwork together. The school let her down, they didn’t have all her records. The house mom said it would be too hard to get her there every Saturday. She was very defeated, again.
The more time we spent with Amaigh the more she opened up about her past. Bouncing from family member to foster care, back to family, only to be rejected again and sent back to foster care. Now she felt too old for any family to want her, almost 15.
On her 15th birthday she told me “Wow, I didn’t think I would make it to be 15.” This wasn’t the first time I heard this kind of statement from a child, but it never makes it any easier to hear. The feeling that they don’t have a future, and no sense of belonging is what leads so many children down the road to alcohol, drugs, and babies making babies.
Amaigh now 18 has been an integral part of the atmosphere of the home, the leader. Her calming presence is felt by everyone who lives or visits the home. She has taken part in 4 Teen Life Retreats, she has spilled her guts to the world in an effort to help others realize the pitfalls of her life have made her stronger. She has this pride, a power about her “I am going to make it”.
Amaigh will graduate this year from high school at the top of her class. She is so excited to see the future ahead of her. Already accepted into NAU, UA, but she will be attending her true first choice ASU to study Forensic Science. We are so proud of her, she has come so far, such a bright future.
Her future sure will be the Kingdom of Heaven, as long as we are by her side she has a chance. Can you imagine your children with out support or guidance at 18? We will be there.
BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEY WILL BE SHOWN MERCY
I say we because there is a collective we, 20+ ministers who give tirelessly to this amazing cause. They are the Merciful. They give of themselves, their time and their treasure for the children. An enormous thank you to all our volunteers, their dedication is amazing. One of the most Merciful of women is now an angel watching over the children now. Priscilla gave of herself more than anyone could have thought possible. The children were so moved by her. They truly loved when she was with them, their smiles would grow and her kindness would flow out in immeasurable ways. Thank you to all who help make this ministry happen, to Laurie with her unwavering dedication, she leads the charge daily. Blessed are these women and men for they are the Merciful, for they will be shown Mercy.
We will not let go of Amaigh, we will not leave her side.
We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.
That is what For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.
Todd Bankofier recently shared his story at the Men’s Mass & Breakfast. Listen to his compelling testimony as he breaks open 2 of the Beatitudes.
Being a peacemaker means that we need to weigh the hurt from offenses against us, versus what really matters in the end when we meet the Lord. Fr Eric explains in the homily.
The gift of peace is not just found when our lives are smooth and we have no worries. It is found even in our challenging moments. Fr Eric says look at St Paul’s letter to the Philippians as an example of having peace even in difficult moments.
One of the most difficult schedules in 5A, 18 players lost during the season, starting 0-3, the Sunnyslope Vikings endured adversity and forged a 5-2 mark to make the playoffs. The never say die Vikings!