St. Andrew's Blog

September: a Month to Focus of Stewardship of Time

09-15-2019Weekly Bulletin LetterFr. Robert Seraph Aliunzi, AJ

In previous articles, I have written a lot about the Stewardship of Time, Talent, and Treasure. In order to deepen our understanding of the stewardship of Time, the Stewardship Council and I have decided to dedicate this month of September every year to reflect on the spirituality tied to this tenant. This will involve workshops on Time, homilies by the pastor on Time, Witness talks, and a commitment drive of our Time to Prayer. This is because, time is so invaluable a resource that its value can not be emphasized enough in the context of stewardship, since it permeates literally all the other aspects of stewardship.

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Til Death Do We Part

09-08-2019Weekly Bulletin LetterBarb Lishko

It's been a roller-coaster kind of year so far, with thrilling highs, unexpected jolts and surprises. At the end of a roller-coaster ride after being yanked to and fro, it just seems to come to an abrupt stop and it's time to get off. You are not quite sure if you want to ride again or run for the door. I guess I'm sort of feeling that way. Not knowing quite what to do, yet aware of the necessity to go on despite the unpredictability of what comes next.

2019 started out so hopeful, with the anticipated birth of a new grandson. On the day he came home and I would have held him in my arms, I began a rapid downward spiral which landed me in ICU. Fungal Meningitis was the culprit and I had almost delayed too long in seeking help. The recovery was slow and long, like the uphill trek of a roller coaster. Cranking along one link at a time, struggling and gasping as the summit draws closer.

Then, as if almost suspended in midair, a temporary pause, and with bated breath, the exhilaration of the descent. The anticipation and realization that what comes next, might not be what one expects.

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The Catechetical Formation Year is Back! What can we Expect?

09-01-2019Weekly Bulletin LetterFr. Robert Seraph Aliunzi, AJ

After almost three months of relative quiet and a hot summer, our much longed for bee-hive of activities and joyful noises from our kids are finally coming alive! This is the time of the year I always look forward to because it breaks the "boredom" resulting from the absence of the noises of our children running around our beautiful campus. I realized that I was not the only one missing the Kids when I heard Fr. Teilo confessing to Fr. Edward how he too missed the noises of the kiddos soon after closing the religious education program for the year in May. He was visibly bored!

Yes, there is something unique about children that simply melts the heart. Their simplicity, innocence and readiness to learn new things is a disposition we must all guard and guide with unrelenting diligence. This is because it is at this age that children are curious and ready to absorb anything. If they are not given them the right formation, they are damaged for life. Here at our parish, we strive to provide this formation through our well structured children's religious education programs that caters for all age-groups including both their typical and special needs. Fr. Teilo and his team of highly motivated administrators and catechists are already busy preparing to kick off this new catechetical year this coming week on September 8.

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Cry with Me and Let Us Pray for Respect for Life in our Country

08-11-2019Weekly Bulletin LetterFr. Robert Seraph Aliunzi, AJ

Nothing has occupied my mind more, since last Sunday, than when in a spate of less than twenty-four hours that day, at least twenty-nine bodies lay lifeless and scores of others left wounded, when heartless shooters unleashed lethal bullets on them in Texas and Ohio. May the souls of the dead rest in eternal peace and may those wounded be healed soon.

First, I must admit that I become very emotional and occasionally cry when I discover that a fellow human being, or indeed a living creature, is unnecessarily deprived of life, tortured or denied justice. Or, when vulnerable orphans, children or elderly people are tortured and denied the basics of life simply because they have no one to protect them. I cried when I watched on Television Pope John Paul II shot, just as I cried when I read about Nelson Mandela and his life imprisonment and also watched when he was released from Robin Island. I cried when Idi Amin was overthrown because of joy and when Joseph Kony a brutal rebel leader in Uganda (who abducted over twenty thousand children and made the young girls sex slaves and young boys, soldiers), was chased out of Uganda. Also, I have always been moved to tears when watching epic films such as, "The Man of all Seasons," "Surviving the Holocaust," and "Jesus of Nazareth."

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Put those phones in the basket!

08-04-2019Weekly Bulletin LetterFr. Robert Seraph Aliunzi, AJ

This past week, I was in Atlanta for the National African Conference of Catholic Clergy and Religious in the United States (ACCCRUS). A few incidences there with phones ringing during the convention, and they reminded me of an experience I had at a board meeting which I attend once a year while in Africa. One day, that particular meeting almost turned sour when phones of some of the members kept either ringing or beeping and were being given more attention than the agenda on the meeting. Those members kept smiling and laughing, but not at anything anyone in the meeting had just said, rather, at what someone had texted from miles away. Some even received the calls and proceeded to respond to them.

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Stewardship: Sharing the Treasure with the Poor

07-28-2019Weekly Bulletin LetterFr. Robert Seraph Aliunzi, AJ

In my last article on stewardship entitled: "Stewardship as a Way of Life: Treasure – The Poor," I ended up by promising to continue with our obligation to the poor as a mark of good stewardship of our treasure. Drawing from the scriptures, I used the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Lk16:19-31. I pointed out that the rich man was condemned not because he was rich but because he neglected to take care of the poor Lazarus. We noted too that God has given us what is sufficient to take care of our needs and also to tithe a portion of it back to Him through the poor. We further noted that we still have the poor among us, which is proof that we still have the obligation to give our 10% back to God through our Church, St. Andrew.

It is important to remember that 10% of our treasure is not ours to keep, it is to be shared with the poor. I bet the rich man did not even notice the scraps that fell from his table nor would he have even missed it if he had given the first and best 10% to Lazarus. Moreover, I believe, by giving this 10%, he would not have ended up with less. On the contrary, God would have given him more.

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Introduction to Diocesan Campaign- Let Us Go Forth

07-14-2019Weekly Bulletin LetterFr. Robert Seraph Aliunzi, AJ

After much prayer and planning, I am excited to share with you an historic effort of the Diocese of Phoenix: the Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante Campaign. This campaign will respond to the needs of our mission community and throughout the Diocese of Phoenix, strengthening our efforts of Evangelization and Discipleship.

We can draw inspiration from missionary saints who were faced with challenges of their time while establishing the church in Arizona. Padre Eusebio Kino and St. Junipero Serra both planted their cross here and worked tirelessly to spread the joy of the Gospel. Saint Serra was known for his motto: "Siempre adelante! Keep moving forward!"

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Reflection on Sin and Our Response

07-07-2019Weekly Bulletin LetterBill Marcotte

“I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” -John 15:5

When I was a Youth Director at a neighboring Catholic parish, I would teach the teens the difference between a venial sin and a mortal sin. I would liken it to friendships. When we commit a mortal sin, we destroy the relationship between ourselves and our former friend; the relationship is no longer there. It is dead. When we commit a mortal sin, that is what happens between us and our Lord. Fully understanding what mortal sin is: we decide, in our actions, to end that relationship.

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