Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

05-28-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Today begins the seventh week after Easter that leads to next Sunday's celebration of Pentecost. This feast highlights the apostles and disciples in the Upper Room in Jerusalem receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit and their being missioned by Jesus, "As the Father sent me so now I send you."

Today, in the Diocese of Phoenix, liturgically we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. Let me quote from the booklet Magnificat that quote Pope Benedict XVI: "The meaning of the Christ's Ascension expresses our belief that in Christ the humanity that we all share has entered into the inner life of God in a new and hitherto unheard of way. It means that man has found an everlasting place in God." The Magnificat author continues, "It would be a mistake to interpret the Ascension as 'the temporary absence of Christ from the world. Rather, 'we go to heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him. Heaven is a person; Jesus himself is what we call heaven.'"

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Sixth Week of Easter

05-21-2017Pastor's LetterFr. Dan Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Let me open my reflection with a quotation from the Creighton On-line Ministries:

"In this sixth week of Easter we continue to let the joy of the Easter Season deepen in us. Perhaps we ask bigger questions.  Perhaps we let the good news of the gift of new life enter into those places where we struggle.

We are listening to the story of the early community's recognition of the presence of the Holy Spirit with gentiles.  And, we hear the rest of Jesus' last words to his disciples at his last supper with them. In the fifteenth chapter of John's gospel we read some of the deepest things Jesus says directly to us. We can hear him now, with the faith of the resurrection and gift of the Holy Spirit.

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I will go and prepare a place for you

05-14-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioner and Friends,

Today we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter. Here is an excerpt from today's gospel:

  • Jesus said to his disciples:
  • "Do not let your hearts be troubled.
  • You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
  • In my Father's house there are many dwelling places.
  • If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
  • And if I go and prepare a place for you,
  • I will come back again and take you to myself,
  • so that where I am you also may be.
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Easter Joy for Everyday Life

05-07-2017Pastor's Letter

More than just a day, the Church gives us a seven-week Easter season to celebrate.  Yet sometimes our everyday lives feel so heavy that celebration is not a part of them.  Critical illness in the family, loss of a job, disappointment in a relationship and the burdens of everyday life can make it a challenge to feel particularly joyful – even in the Easter season.

But the joy we are being invited into this season is beyond what we see in our everyday lives.  It's true that Jesus says "Come to me and bring me your burdens" but we usually can't believe it.  Maybe we don't want to believe it.  If I really allow Jesus to come into my heart the way he wants to, will he ask me to change my life in ways that are too hard? How do I share the chaos of my life with Jesus?  If I keep him at arm's length, my life might be difficult, but at least my problems are familiar.  What would it cost me to let go and change my life?

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Third Sunday of Easter

04-30-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

We remember back to Ash Wednesday and the six weeks of Lenten preparation so that we might be more disposed to appreciate the unconditional love manifest in Jesus' passion and death. Those long days in the desert helped us to evaluate what decisions we needed to make so the sin in our lives could be eradicated and we would be worthy of Jesus giving his life for us.

Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of Easter. As the forty days of Lent helped us prepare to walk with Jesus in his passion so now in the fifty days after Easter we pray for the grace to ever more deeply experience Jesus' resurrection grace in our lives.

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Divine Mercy Sunday

04-23-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Last Sunday we had the joyous celebration of Easter. In our parish, we welcomed thirty women and men into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. It is an awesome experience to share this part of their faith journey as they make their profession of faith.

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We are Easter People!

04-16-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

On behalf of the Phoenix Jesuit Community, the faculty and staff of St. Francis Xavier Elementary School and the entire parish staff, I wish you a blessed Easter season.

Easter is a seven week season of joy and grace. Starting with the Triduum in Holy Week and ending with Pentecost Sunday, this 50 day season has been called "the radiant center of the liturgical year." We keep celebrating so that we might continue to enter into the meaning of the resurrection and to deepen the way it touches our daily lives.

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Palm Sunday

04-09-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday also known as Passion Sunday when the gospel reading for the day is the Passion of our Lord. Today also opens up Holy Week and we gradually walk with Jesus on his way to his passion and death.

What can this week of remembrance be for us? Here is a reflection from Creighton University On-Line Ministries: "We enter into a week made "holy" forever by the self- surrendering love of Jesus - for us all. All week, we remember how he loved us. Whatever we do, no matter how busy or "distracted" we might be, we can let the power of this week be in the background of our daily reflections. He entered into our life - with its profound joys and its punishing evils - that we might never experience those struggles alone.

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

04-02-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

On this Fifth Sunday in Lent we realize that Easter is just three weeks away. Jesus is moving toward Jerusalem and he has a foreboding about what will happen to him there – his passion and death.

Before we get there, this Sunday's gospel is about the raising of Lazarus. This is the third story in the series that is designed to guide and encourage those who will be baptized at Easter Vigil. The raising of Lazarus is another example of Jesus' power over sickness and death. God's power is working in and through Jesus. The sisters of Lazarus are in grief at death of their brother. Jesus was a very close friend of this family as demonstrated by mention of Jesus weeping at the death of Lazarus. Martha even lays some blame on Jesus, "If you had been here my brother would not have died."

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

03-26-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

We now enter the Fourth Week of Lent and move into the second part of the season. We ask more and more deeply to be with and like Jesus.  We desire to celebrate the approaching mystery of our salvation with greater freedom and greater joy.

"Each day's gospel will now be from the Gospel according to John.  We can't avoid the feeling of being in a court room for a grand trial.  There are "witnesses" and "testimony." It is a battle between the forces of Darkness and the Light.  The opposition to Jesus mounts.  It is inevitable that he will be killed.  But, we know that the ultimate Judgment in the trial is against Sin and Death.  We grow in gratitude and grace as we experience more deeply that this is all 'for me'". (cf: Creighton On-Line Ministries for this quotation,)

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Third Sunday of Lent

03-19-2017AllRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of Lent. The gospel for today of Jesus speaking to the Samaritan Woman at the Well has extra special meaning. Today, also, those who are in our RCIA program, "The Elect" are coming closer to the Easter Vigil when they will receive the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

The gospel today and the next two Sundays have a special message for the Elect. Jesus wants to give them the Water of Everlasting Life. The following Sunday focuses on the Man Born Blind. Jesus gives the man the gift of sight to recognize him and follow his path. And, the Sunday after that focuses on the raising of Lazarus which points toward resurrection from the dead. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

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The Transfiguration of Jesus

03-12-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Today's gospel story takes us to the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus takes his closest companions (Peter, James and John) aside with him as he seeks a quiet place for prayer. God the Father graced this moment in "transfiguring" Jesus so the apostles could reflect on this experience to sustain them in their following in the footsteps of their master.

Jesus was "transfigured" and the apostles were "transformed" by this experience and as they moved more deeply into the mystery of Jesus' saving action in the world.

As we reflect on our life's experiences in faith, we recognize transforming moments touch the core of our being. We know we are experiencing something of the divine which spurs deep feelings of gratitude for being a child of God.

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Lent has begun.

03-05-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Lent has begun. There is a somber feeling to this season and the Stations of the Cross are a devotion that helps us to focus on specific moments of Jesus' journey to his crucifixion. It is so hard to grasp the reality that Jesus gave his life for each of us so that we would be saved from darkness and evil and he would be our path to eternal life.

Pope Francis describes himself as a "loved sinner". This expression comes from the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This realization is a part of every Jesuit's identity. Because we know that we are loved unconditionally, we are able to face ourselves as sinners, take corrective action and live in right relationship with God.

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$2.9 Million Remaining to Realize the Master's Plan

02-19-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J.

January opened the year with great excitement as we celebrated the first anniversary of Anderson Hall and our Education & Community Outreach Center with the inaugural Spirit of St. Francis Xavier Gala. It was an evening of Dining, Dancing, Honoring parishioner Joe Anderson for his leadership to Realize the Master's Plan, and Celebrating the Spirit of St. Francis Xavier, where we are Jesuit Strong!

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