Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship

Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship is the title of our first Lenten Video Study, and the first video series of its kind to be produced by the parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Gilbert, Arizona.

When I began working at the parish in my current position, there are were a few ideas Fr. Will and I discussed that we hoped we could eventually offer to the parish as part of adult faith formation. A video series focusing on a particular topic was one of those ideas. I am proud to say that after three years of working at the parish, we have now brought this particular idea to fruition.

This project began in a meeting late last summer, in which Fr. Will wanted to create a video series for the parish during the season of Lent. After setting the outline, which would focus on Worship, we brought in two of our co-workers to discuss their participation in the series, and then after countless hours of writing scripts, reading them to each other, tweaking them a bit, and then filming in front a two cameras and very bright lights, Journey into the Desert was born. Accompanying the videos at the beginning and the end is sacred music sung by a Schola directed by our Director of Sacred Music.

Filmed in the studio at the Diocese of Phoenix Pastoral Center, Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship is a 6-week study focusing on the different aspects of worship – how God shows us to worship, the Cross in relation to worship, change is required in worship, offering our sins, suffering together as a Church, and making Sunday a priority. For a detailed explanation of how this study will work each week, check out the trailer below of Fr. Will Schmid.

To sign-up for Journey into the Desert: Reflections on Worship – Visit from your computer or smart phone.
Click “Sign me up.” Follow the prompts to add yourself to the “Lenten Study” group and “create a password.” If you already have a Flocknote account, you can just log in.

“So my Fellow Catholics: Ask not what your God can do for you…”

In light of today’s Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America – Donald J. Trump, I found it fitting to share with you an excellent homily I personally heard last weekend at the parish of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. The homily is given by my Pastor and Boss, Fr. Will Schmid.

Focusing on the words of John F. Kennedy Jr from his inaugural speech, Fr. Will breaks open for us as Catholics the importance of what we can do for God, instead of asking what God can do for us. In his homily, Fr. Will also focuses on the Catholic Mass and the primary reason of why we attend Mass weekly. To learn the primary reason, I would encourage you to listen to the homily below.

He also focuses on the importance of discipleship and how the Catholic Mass allows us to be disciples to the world. Drawing from the readings of the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Fr. Will in a most excellent way, examines how important it is for us to give back to God instead of always expecting God to give us something.

He concludes with the words – “So my Fellow Catholics: Ask not what your God can do for you (because he’s already done it) — instead, ask today what you can do for your God.”

Fr. Will’s homily:

If you are interested, all Sunday homilies and Saturday Morning Speaker Series talks are available for download via iTunes and Google Play Music.

Fr. Will Schmid

725th Blog Post 

Happy 5th Anniversary to the Catholic Priesthood!

I want to wish a very Happy 5th Anniversary to the Catholic Priesthood to my boss and Pastor, Fr. Will Schmid. Celebrating this same anniversary with him is Fr. Robert Bolding and Fr. Thielo Ramirez. The three of them are pictured below with the Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, Thomas J. Olmsted and the Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup (N.M.), James S. Wall on the day they were ordained – June 6, 2009.

Phx Ordination

From left to right: Fr. Thielo Ramirez, Fr. Will Schmid, Bishop James S. Wall, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, and Fr. Robert Bolding.

Being in the Diocese of Phoenix is truly a blessing since we have some of the youngest and most gifted priests of the Catholic Church in the United States. From this year’s vocations poster, I will tell that the future of the particular church in Phoenix is blessed. The Holy Spirit is calling fine, young, and holy men to the Catholic Priesthood. There is a serious Vocation Boom beginning to occur here in Phoenix, around the United States, and it’s continuing to ripple throughout the rest of the world in places like Africa and Asia, as it has been for years now.

If you know of any young men in your parishes that might make good priests, I would encourage you to ask them to check out their local diocesan vocations website or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website. Since I am from the Diocese of Phoenix, here is our page. For more posts on the Catholic Priesthood, check out this page.

Also want to give a shout-out to my Parochial Vicar, and soon-to-be Chaplain and Theology Teacher at Seton Catholic Prep, Fr. Chris Axline. Fr. Chris celebrated his 1st Year Anniversary this past Sunday, June 1.

St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests…Pray for our priests, those training to be priests, and those who will be ministered by these priests.


After nearly four months of unemployment and the enduring the most difficult period of my life without a job, I give all praise and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ for finding me the ideal job. The intercessory prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints and Angels have surely helped as well.

This position potentially is the dream job for me, since it focuses heavily on the work I am already doing on this blog.  Although I loved being a high school teacher, the work I have been doing through this blog has brought me great satisfaction since I have been told that my writing has helped adult Catholics deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and come to understand the importance their Catholic faith plays in their daily lives.

My new position, beginning November 4, will be as the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, Arizona. I will oversee the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), Adult Confirmation, Adult Faith Formation (parish-wide), and be the parish staff contact between the Pastor and the faith formation ministries. Although I will be very busy, my writing will continue on this blog.

I would like to thank Fr. Will Schmid, Pastor of St. Mary Magdalene, for offering this position and giving me the opportunity to serve the parish. It’s going to be a great experience to work daily with Fr. Will. I have known him before he was a seminarian. As a seminarian, Fr. Will and others would come into my classroom at Saint Mary’s Catholic High School, when I taught theology, to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

There are already so many good things happening at St. Mary Magdalene. I hope that I can bring even a small contribution to the work the Holy Spirit is already doing in the young parish. I look forward to meeting a staff I hear many great things about as well as meet the many parishioners that call St. Mary Magdalene their home.

As Pope Francis often says to us, I say to you, please PRAY for me as I begin this new endeavor.

Thank you to everyone that offered up countless prayers for my job search and life in general. There are way too many people to list here, but I would like to say thank you specifically to my parents – Tom and Joyce Perna, without their continued support, life would be much more difficult; my sister, Carla and her family who seem to always have my back; and my extended family here (The Perna’s and Warner’s) and the Perna family in New Jersey.

I would also like to thank The Most Rev. James S. Wall, Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico; Fr. Robert Clements of the ASU Newman Center, Fr. Thaddeus McGuire of St. Daniel the Prophet Catholic Church, Bill Minton, Pat Ryan, Christina Strafaci, Michael Garibaldi, Jon Ciani, Sean Yeager, Debbie Georgianni, Ron and Kathy Klemme, and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.


“BE NOT AFRAID!” – Jesus Christ and Blessed John Paul II

Today’s “Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the New Testament, Part 2