I write to thank you for your many kindnesses during this holiday season. I very much appreciate them.
On Sunday I will be flying to the Bay Area to spend some time with my family and returning to the office on Thursday, January 2, 2020.
God's many blessings on you and your family in the New Year!
Father Robert FambriniREAD MORE
What follows is the Christmas letter I sent out to family and friends. Merry Christmas!
Surprise! I’ve moved to the desert! (Check that return address!) Full disclosure: last year at this time when I wrote, I knew I was being transferred but could not say anything. When I told my family at our Thanksgiving dinner 2018, their collective response was a nonplused: Oh, spring training.
I am now the pastor of the only Jesuit parish in all of Arizona, St. Francis Xavier in Phoenix. I arrived here four months ago in the midst of tremendous summer heat. The very welcoming parishioners were so apologetic as if they were somehow to blame! But they promised cooler weather and eventually, it arrived toward the end of September, first with morning coolness and then throughout the day. I’m looking forward to those 330 days of sunshine.READ MORE
One of the reasons I refer to the Jesuits as family is the simple fact that from his entrance day, the novice is a member of the Society of Jesus. Should he die in the novitiate (and one of my novices did die in his second year), his family has the option of burying him as a Jesuit. This sense of family is best reflected by the fact that from our entrance we refer to each other by our first names. Provincial or novice, we are a family.
Most religious orders celebrate anniversaries from the date of their profession of vows. We Jesuits celebrate our anniversaries from the day of entrance.
God gave me a very special gift during my golden jubilee year, 2017. First some background. Each year we are privileged to receive eight full days for our annual retreat. Most Jesuits I know look forward to that time of “vacation with the Lord.” Confession number one: in the years leading up to my jubilee my retreats resembled more “vacation” than “with the Lord.” I would check into a retreat house in San Diego, spend some time praying and then more time socializing. I was looking for a bit more structure in 2017.READ MORE
The position of Novice Director does not come with a term limit. But after five years as director, I decided to ask the provincial what plan he had in mind for me: would I continue or be reassigned? He told me that he’d get back to me after speaking with his consultors. Within a few weeks, he told me that it was his desire that I remain on for another three years (it ended up being four). I was fine with that. He told me that had he not asked me to stay in Culver City, he would have asked me to be the pastor of Most Holy Trinity in San Jose. My response? Whew, dodged a bullet! Now to be clear, this reaction did not come from anything negative I had heard of the place but rather from what I knew, namely, that MHT was very large and complex.READ MORE
Beloved Parishioners of St. Francis Xavier,
Since my arrival here at St. Francis Xavier now nearly four months ago, I have been asked to share a vision as I continue in my role as pastor and for us as a community.
A couple of visits I made in May during my sabbatical have helped me to focus my thoughts. I spent a week in Valle de Bravo in the state of Mexico with former parishioners who have a house there and extended family. Valle de Bravo is your typical small Mexican town: much noise, activity, bustle, charm, grit and grime. But most importantly, people. People everywhere and at all times: driving, walking, sweeping, eating, chatting. In a word: alive!READ MORE