One of the most welcome blessings of being a religious is the opportunity to spend a week of prayer and renewal each year on an annual retreat. Tomorrow I will leave to make my retreat at the Redemptorist Renewal Center, returning to the office on March 12. Since I will go completely offline for those days (another blessing!), please contact my assistant Clara Arvayo should you need help with anything.READ MORE
On Ash Wednesday, the prophet Joel proclaimed, “Blow the trumpet from Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly!... Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep, and say, “Spare, O Lord, your people!”
In ancient times, prophets would blow the trumpet and call the people to repentance – to turn to the Lord – and take action in order to rectify injustice in their community and repair relationships. Whole communities would repent of how they treated the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. Entire cities would put on sack cloth and ashes to make amends for how they had treated the least among them. The trumpet call of the prophet would help the people examine their own lives and walk a more righteous path together.READ MORE
A bit like Mr. Rogers kindly querying “will you be my neighbor?, the somewhat shy and timid little girl passes a valentine – newly created in class – across the aisle to another equally timid, shy person: “will you be my Valentine?”
Happy Valentine’s Day, good friends! Albeit a Sunday, we remember thisspecial holiday of Love dating way back in history to the days of the martyrs. What we may not fully realize as we come to church this sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time is that Jesus Christ Himself leans over and asks each of us, timid and shy though we may be: “Will you be my Valentine?”READ MORE
In light of Laura Jordan’s departure from our pastoral staff, I am happy to report that Maeghyn Thornton has been offered, and has accepted, the business manager position. Maeghyn has spent the last 2.5 years working in the business operations of the parish, and is aware of the processes, our vendors, and perhaps more importantly, our parishioners. She will oversee the day-to-day business operations and collaborate with Mark Krysiak (Boudreau Consulting LLC) as he creates the FY22 budget. Mark Krysiak will serve the parish (and school) as our accountant and the primary overseer of our finances. In addition, Maeghyn will continue to work as the manager of events in Anderson Hall.READ MORE
Today’s reading from Job gives me great consolation. Job praised the Lord when things were going right, but the angels were testing Job to see if his faith would hold up under hardship. Eventually, Job loses everything but his faith.
Our Parish, our country, the whole world is suffering from tremendous loss. We are all grieving from the effects of the pandemic. Rosaries, funerals, gravesides, isolation from loved ones and friends have been taking a tremendous toll. Many are anxious, depressed, edgy. Some are hopeless.READ MORE
Earlier this month a Chicago newspaper reported that on the weekend after the insurrection on the Capitol, a local Catholic priest went to his pulpit to apologize to his congregation for his complicity for what took place. Here is how he explained himself. A year ago, when the president proclaimed that the Covid-19 virus would simply disappear, he remained silent. When he began to push unscientific and unproven cures, the pastor did not respond. When the president reiterated over and over again how the process of voting by mail was illegal and how the results would be fraudulent, the pastor kept his mouth shut. When the president used his rallies and social media to push numerous conspiracy theories, including how the election had been stolen, the pastor said nothing. Ultimately when even small untruths go unchecked, especially in our current political climate, they can become small fires in tinder dry brush. The result is destruction and death. This is what almost happened to our democracy on January 6.READ MORE
Dear Parishioners of St. Francis Xavier:
I regret to inform you that Laura Jordan, my parish manager, has submitted her resignation, effective January 27. As you may know, Laura was hired by Fr. Dan Sullivan to bring the capital campaign to a conclusion. She successfully completed that task in June and has moved us on to the restoration of our dome. As parish manager she has helped with our many new hires during the past year and has shepherded us through tricky financial waters during the pandemic. Laura has faithfully served three pastors and, speaking personally, she has made my transition as pastor here at SFX the smoothest I have ever experienced. Because she always cleared everything with me before-hand, I had the confidence in her to state that when she spoke, I was speaking. I will miss her daily guidance, wise counsel, and many kindnesses here in the office but I know our friendship will remain. Now, along with her husband Michael, she has the opportunity to expand their restoration business. Please join me in wishing Laura all the best as she looks forward to “once again simply being a parishioner in the pew.”READ MORE
As we begin the New Year, it seems like a good time to introduce myself, the new priest at St. Francis Xavier Parish. I’m a Jesuit priest of the Jesuits West Province and was ordained in Hollywood in 2000. Before becoming a Jesuit, I worked with BBDO, a large advertising agency, in New York and Johannesburg. While I enjoyed that work very much, after about ten years it became rather meaningless and God’s goodness led me to priesthood. Most of my priestly ministry has been in healthcare, a primarily administrative but also direct patient care, in Honolulu and Los Angeles. Working with people who were sick, especially those near the end of life, was a very wonderful and privileged experience.
About six years ago, God let it be known, as He sometimes does, that He had other plans for me. I’m originally from Connecticut and my Mom was still living there. When she began to deal with Alzheimer’s, the Jesuits graciously allowed me to work at my childhood parish, St. Gregory, near my Mom. It was a difficult but blest time, and my Mom is now in God’s loving embrace. So, it was time to return to my Jesuit home province. Through God’s graces, I landed on your doorstep and am very grateful that I did!READ MORE
Arriving at St. Francis Xavier has been a long journey. In 2001, it was time for me to re-enter the workforce and my “ideal” job was to work in a Catholic Church. Preferably my home parish, but it’s small and the employees are lifers”. After 10 years with Mesa Public Schools, I felt a nudge to give working for a Church another try. I wasn’t in a position where I felt pressure to “find a job”, but more of a calm in finding the right fit for me. I expanded my reach and after several weeks of knocking on St. Francis’s doors, Fr. Wanser and Laura Jordan found a home for me. That was 2.5 years ago!READ MORE