My Interview on “Catholics Matter” with Fr. Rob Clements

Over the summer, I was interviewed on Catholics Matter with Fr. Rob Clements. We spoke about Marian Devotion. Fr. Clements is a friend and a great priest here in the Diocese of Phoenix. I enjoyed my time with him on the show. Below is the YouTube video from the show. I hope you can watch it and share with others. 

If you are a local Arizona resident, you can catch “Catholics Matter” on AZ-TV 7/Cable 13 after the 9:00am Mass on Sunday Mornings.

Thank you Jesus and Mama Mary for giving me the talents to share my faith with others.

Phoenix Ordinations and the Catholic Priesthood

Yesterday morning at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Avondale, AZ, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix ordained four men to the Catholic Priesthood – Rev. Mr. Sheunesu Utete Bowora, Rev. Mr. Daniel James Connealy, Rev. Mr. Ryan Christopher Lee, and Rev. Mr. David Michael Loeffler. It was a joyful day here in the diocese as these men were added to the ranks of the Holy Priesthood – “You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 7:17).

vocation boom is happening in the Church – many young men are hearing God’s call to discern and eventually enter the Catholic Priesthood. It’s not as if God stopped calling men to the Priesthood, but what seemed to happen was that young men stopped listening to the voice of God. Many dioceses around the country and around the world, especially in Africa and Asia, are seeing an increase of men entering seminary. Please continue to pray for an increase to vocations to the Priesthood, so that we have more workers in the vineyard for the years to come.

The Catholic Priesthood is a topic that I have written on many times over the past 4½ years. When you witness on a daily basis the great example of holy men from different walks of life, and at different times in their priesthood, you want to share that with others in the hopes that they can experience the beauty and sanctity of the Catholic Priesthood that you see frequently. Although completely and totally human, the men I work with truly live their vocation day-by-day, always seeking to serve the parish/diocese and the culture as Jesus Christ. It is an honor to be around such individuals. For more of my writings from the past, I would encourage you to click on the link at the top of this paragraph to read more about the Catholic Priesthood.

To conclude today’s post, below are short testimonies from fellow Catholics speaking on what the Catholic Priesthood means to them. If you would like to add your own short testimony, I encourage you to do so in the comment section at the bottom of this post.

“Priesthood means allowing God to lead you to where he needs you. It means having a strong enough faith and support system to truly trust fully and give yourself to the Lord in service of him and his church. We need more good, holy, strong men for this vocation. I’m proud if those who answer the call!” – Dena

“My first time [yesterday] attending an ordination mass. It was incredible! Like Jesus, they give up everything for us! To serve us and bring Jesus to the world! I think all priests should forever be in our prayers. We should continually give thanks to God for our priests and follow their example and give everything to God.” – Cindy

“The priesthood is the ultimate example of dying to one’s self a vocation whose motto is “I am Third”. For me they stand as a benchmark in my relationship with Christ. Am I being as compassionate in my relations as Father is with those he comes in contact with? Is my prayer life anywhere near where Fathers is? I learn so much about what I should be doing in my vocation of married life from watching Father in his vocation.” – Chris

Diocese of Phoenix Ordinations 2016

Bishops Thomas J. Olmsted and James S. Wall (Diocese of Gallup) with the newly ordained.

“The Catholic priesthood means we have more workers in the vineyard to help us find or way to true happiness.” – Sandy

“Catholic priests give us the blessing of the sacraments and guidance. It makes sense that we call our priests “Father” because they shepherd us on our spiritual journey. I pray that we will always have priests available to say Mass, give us the sacraments, and guide us closer to Jesus.” – Helen

“As a convert I have a profound sense of gratitude for the priesthood, as I know decades of Christianity without a priest. I have both sides of the coin to compare. When I see a priest I see Christ, the visible reality of living out our vocations. In Holy Communion, in confession, in confirmation and the rest of the sacraments there are my brothers in Christ being Christ for me and ministering to me. In laying down their lives for the sake of the flock they not only provide a holy example, but strengthen my resolve in my vocation and my pursuit of holiness.” – Dave

“Catholic Priesthood means that our Catholic tradition will be carried on by good and godly men…who ascribe to be true followers of Christ. In a time when there are so many assailants to our faith.” – Kathy

“No Priests means no Eucharist and no Sacrament of Reconciliation or other Sacraments. Our salvation depends on them.” – David

“I used to be very critical of priests. I have since, through grace, come to see them as super heroes. Not without human faults, but heroically living out a vocation that is countercultural and contains challenges I will never know. I marvel at their gift of self and hope to imitate them through my own vocation of motherhood.” – Amanda

“Through the Catholic priesthood, I am able to receive the Sacraments instituted by Christ, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation. Catholic priests show an intimate love of Jesus, and through their humanity show that we are all able to have this relationship with our Lord. The priesthood relationship with the members of the church is a living example of the love we should all have for our family.” – Mike

“To me the priesthood means Christ representatives on earth who are able to sanctify the people of God through the power of the sacraments. As our shepherds they radiate the goodness, mercy, and love of God. And they bring us the greatest gift ever Jesus in the Eucharist! I am eternally grateful for all the men who have answered the Lord’s call and have given their Fiat!” – Nicole

St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests…Pray for our Priests.

This blog post is dedicated to Fr. Sheunesu Bowora, Fr. Daniel Connealy, Fr. Ryan Lee, Fr. David Loeffler, and all the other priests who were ordained this year in the Universal Church, including Fr. Mark Bristol. 

Newly ordained, Fr. Ryan Lee, blessing Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup.

Newly ordained, Fr. Ryan Lee, blessing Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup.

“Mondays with Mary” – 40th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Phoenix, Arizona

Yesterday I attended the 40th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Phoenix, Arizona, with my mom and cousin. I felt the need to attend this year’s Rosary celebration for two reasons: first, mom and my cousin both lost their husband’s this year. For our side of the family, losing Dad has been pretty rough, but we definitely have been able to see God’s hand in all of it. I wanted both of them to have the chance to spend a couple of hours in prayer with the particular church of Phoenix. The second reason why I wanted to attend was simply because I hadn’t been in a couple of years. As the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis, it’s important for me to attend these events.

The Arizona Rosary Celebration is one of the largest events that shows honor to the Blessed Mother and the Holy Rosary in the United States. This year, the celebration displayed devotion to our Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of – Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Many of the parishes from the Diocese of Phoenix are in attendance as well as the Marian ministries that find their home in these parishes. This year, there were three bishops in attendance – Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix, Eduardo Nevares, and Gerald N. Dino, Bishop of the Holy Protection of Mary Eparchy of Phoenix. The keynote speaker was the Redemptorist Priest, Rev. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

One of the big attractions of this event is the massive procession that walks around the civic center hall. Participating are the parishes, ministries, Arizona Knights of Columbus Councils and Assemblies, and Los Matachines. The parishes and the Knights of Columbus carry and wave their banners, while Los Matachines dance to the beat of the drums. I love being Catholic in general, but being Catholic in the Southwest United States has a whole different element to it. Many of the Los Matachines have a great devotion to the Blessed Mother under her title of – Our Lady of Guadalupe.

After Fr. Billy’s teaching on the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, everyone in the hall prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese while we adored the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration. We concluded Adoration and 40th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration with Solemn Benediction.

As we made our way back to my vehicle, we stopped outside to watch the Los Matachines dance and venerate an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I realized how very blessed we are to live here in Phoenix. We have such faithful and holy Bishops who are willing to attend such events and lead us in prayer assisting us to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ and Blessed Mother.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help…Pray For Us. 

175th “Mondays with Mary” 

Into the Breach – Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted’s Letter to the Catholic Men in the Diocese of Phoenix

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…” is a line spoken by Henry V at the beginning of Act III from William Shakespeare’s aforementioned play. This was the first thing that entered my mind yesterday afternoon after seeing the title of the newly published Apostolic Exhortation, Into the Breach, written by the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix. Just as King Henry V rallies his men to battle, so too has Bishop Olmsted sought to rally the Catholic Men of the Diocese of Phoenix with this letter.

Knowing that it was about to be released, I was excited to read it quickly, not realizing that I was going to read in within hours of its initial release for the simple reason – I could not put it down! As a Catholic man, this letter says to me that there is so much more that I should be doing in my daily life. It makes me realize that some of the decisions I chose in my youth were not the best for me. It helps me realize that I am not alone, that other men, “bands of brothers,” are fighting just as I am fighting. Finally, it makes me realize that even in dark times, the light of Christ’s hope shines for all to see.

This Apostolic Exhortation is truly a rallying call to not only the Catholic men of the Diocese of Phoenix, but to all Catholic men in every diocese in the Universal Church. The two words that came to mind when I read this letter are – Boldness and Fortitude. Bishop Olmsted speaks to his “spiritual sons” in the way that we need to hear it. Using analogies such as an athlete, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the British Spy Agent, James Bond, the Ordinary of Phoenix articulates what true and real masculinity should look like today.

Using the words of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Francis, and other Popes and Saints, Bishop Olmsted examines all aspects of the masculine nature. In a time when the culture is trying to destroy masculinity and femininity like never before, this letter stands as a direct order to the men of this diocese, and all dioceses, to stand up, to speak up, to be boldly Catholic, and to do battle against Satan and all his allies. The opening paragraph of the letter states,

“I begin this letter with a clarion call and clear charge to you, my sons and brothers in Christ: Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual, but it is progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes.”

This opening paragraph mirrors what I have been telling my now RCIA Catechumens and Candidates since the beginning of August. The Church has always been at war with spiritual forces, and at times, physical forces, but for us today in the early years of the 21st century, we are engaging in a specific battle that is part of the overall war. To place it in context of the Second World War, we are in the Battle of the Bulge. Just as the Battle of the Bulge was a German offensive, the battle we fight today finds its offense in the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s. As the Allies fought the offensive; so we must do the same today.

With this all being said, let me entice your spiritual appetite a little more to personally pick up and read this Apostolic Exhortation by quoting some points that stand out for me, although there are many more that I could share –

“A true Catholic man stakes his life on this proposition – that all is made new in Jesus Christ.”

“Be confident! Be bold! Forward, into the breach!

“We truly encounter Christ at Mass when we receive the very gift of Himself in the Eucharist. For this reason, I call upon my brother priests to awaken the sense of transcendence in the hearts of men through reverent and beautiful liturgy, helping men to rediscover Jesus in the Eucharist each and every Sunday…Teaching men to understand the fullness and power of the Mass must be a top priority.”

“Men, we must never believe that holiness and courage are things of the past! You and I are called to a holiness that shows Christ to the world as our forefathers have done countless times throughout history, following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”

“Do you, my sons, have true brothers in Christ in your life?”

“Next, let us seek to understand more deeply man’s calling to spousal love. Every man is made to live as a husband and a father in some way: “God assigns the dignity of every woman as a task to every man.” Each man is called to commit and give of himself completely.”

To read the Apostolic Exhortation, Into the Breach, click on the link and you will be brought to the main page where you find English and Spanish translations. I would also encourage you to watch the trailer as well. It looks like there is going to a video/film aspect of this letter. When I find out more about it, I will write about it on my blog.

Pray that this letter is well received here in the Diocese of Phoenix and that Catholic men will have the courage to subtract the things in their lives leading them away from Jesus, and add those things that will bring them closer to Him. Pray for Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and all the Bishops of the Catholic Church. Amen.

St. Jerome…Pray for Us.

Job Openings in the Diocese of Phoenix

At the request of my friends, here are three jobs that are currently open in the Diocese of Phoenix. Two are teaching positions at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix and the other job is at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Phoenix. Check out the listings below and apply if you feel called. The Diocese of Phoenix is a growing diocese with one of the best Bishops in the United States – Thomas J. Olmsted.

Spanish Teacher – 2015-2016 school year. All applicants must compete application available on-line at http://www.catholicschoolsphx.com

Biology and Anatomy Teacher – 2015-2016 school year. All applicants must compete application available on-line at http://www.catholicschoolsphx.com

Coordinator of Family Evangelization and Catechesis — Under the direct supervision of the Director of Evangelization & Catechesis, the Coordinator of Family Evangelization & Catechesis will be responsible for helping to build up a cultural of life within the parish boundaries, and for supporting the New Evangelization through the coordination of specific catechetical, social, and devotional apostolates, directed to the needs of the entire parish, but with a special emphasis placed on the Hispanic parish. Additionally, significant energies will be expended on evangelizing and catechizing entire families, beginning with parents. This will include catechetical instruction, catechetical methodology and assistance with rectifying nullity-related matters.

Essential Job Functions:Coordinate and implements Spanish/English language Children’s Religious Education process; coordinate Spanish/English language Ongoing Parent Religious Education; coordinate annual Vacation Bible Camp; engage in ongoing professional development; maintain a good working relationship with the wider civic community.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required: Must demonstrate knowledge of the diversity within the Hispanic community; should possess basic theoretical knowledge and skills in planning, organizing, communicating, administering, managing and training; should be thoroughly familiar with established Diocesan polices affecting catechesis; must be bilingual and bi-literate in English and Spanish; must be flexible and willing to work evenings and weekends, as required; must have a valid driver’s license and the ability to travel as required; must have an ability to engage in ongoing professional formation, be able work well with people of diverse backgrounds; must have exemplary organizational and data inputting skills.

Minimum Qualifications:Must be an active, practicing Catholic in full communion with the Church; Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, Religious Education or a related field from a bona fide Catholic University; must have at least two years experience working in Religious Education at the parish or diocesan level, either as a paid staff member or volunteer.

To apply, please send application, cover letter, and resume to:
Mr. Michael Garibaldi
Director of Catechesis and Evangelization
mgaribaldi@stjoanofarc.com
Fax: (602)482-7930

The John Paul II Classic for Vocations Awareness

On Wednesday, August 5, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale, the first ever JP2 Classic for Vocations Awareness will be played. The seminarians of the Diocese of Phoenix will be taking on the Priests of the Diocese of Phoenix. Admission is free. T-shirts and Concessions will be available. Tip-off is set for 6:30pm.

For those of you who follow my blog consistently, you know how much I appreciate and love the Catholic Priesthood and have written on it many times. To read my previous posts, check out the link above. In recent years, the numbers of seminarians have continued to grow not only here in the Diocese of Phoenix, but throughout the United States. Let us continue to pray that young men will answer the call to give their lives to the Catholic Priesthood. To learn more about the Priesthood in the Diocese of Phoenix, check out the Vocations Page.

If you are in the Phoenix metro area on August 5, I would highly encourage you to attend this game. To get more information, find out who is playing, and to RSVP, check out the Facebook event page here.

I will be there in support of my priests, who are playing in the game – Fr. Will Schmid, Fr. Ishaya Samaila, and Fr. Chris Axline.

My prediction, which you heard here first – Priests Win by 5, even though Ian Wintering is predicting a blow out by the seminarians.

Happy Birthday, Bishop Olmsted!

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

I would like to personally wish the Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, Thomas J. Olmsted, a very happy and blessed Birthday. We are beyond grateful and blessed to have you as our Shepherd in the Diocese of Phoenix. Your leadership inspires many and your desire to unite yourself with Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church brings others closer to Our Lord and Savior each day. You are truest example of the Christian and pro-life warrior. Thank you for your unconditional prayers and love you show each and everyone of us in the diocese.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and all the Angels and Saints be with you on this day of your birth.

For more information on Bishop Olmsted, I would encourage you to check out his page on the Diocese of Phoenix website. Check out the Catholic Sun’s page for Bishop’s views and other writings.