Happy Thanksgiving!

11-24-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I really enjoy this time of the year in Phoenix and in our parish. The weather is beautiful; our programs are in full swing; and, people just seem to be more pleasant. It is a great time to stop, rest, and focus on our gratitude! Thanksgiving Day is all about giving thanks to God for His countless blessings in our life.

I have so many reasons to be thankful to God for the wonderful people of St. Joan of Arc. In recent months, our parish has made significant strides in our understanding of stewardship. Many more people are registering as parishioners and becoming more active members of our parish. More and more parishioners are realizing that we are all stewards of God's many gifts. Many parishioners have come together to give the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds of families through our St. Vincent de Paul pantry. It is so inspiring to see. Your generosity and thoughtfulness will make a beautiful difference to so many families this Thursday.


Electronic Giving

11-17-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

During difficult economic times we are ever more conscious of how we use our money.  No matter how much we have (or don’t have) in the piggy bank, we are still called to be responsible stewards with whatever God has given to us.  We are called by God to practice good stewardship.

Many of us give of our time, talents, and treasures in different ways and I want to thank all of you who have given so freely of your resources. Your gifts enable us to maintain our buildings and grounds; provide youth and adult education programs; and, support many charitable endeavors. Your offerings allow us to have a beautiful church for Mass, classrooms for teaching, religious education and fellowship. Usually when I speak with you about Stewardship, it’s about generosity. Today I would like to speak about the way in which we give.


Putting God First

11-10-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
What happens when we put God first? Today Our Lord reminds us that great blessings happen when we put God first in our life, in our family, and in our finances. In the first reading for this Sunday we hear about a woman arrested with her seven sons. The king wanted them to deny their Jewish religion by eating pork. The courageous mother encouraged her sons to endure torture rather than betray God. It is difficult for most of us to imagine the pain they inflicted on her children, but they put God first. They knew that this life is short and - no matter what we do - none of us can avoid suffering, so put your trust in God.

Our Lord calls each of us to do something similar when He calls us to be good stewards. Like the mother of those seven sons, we are asked to put God first. You may not see immediate results. It may require some suffering. But if you put God first, things will eventually work out for the best.


Hope in Christ

11-03-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What does it mean to have hope in Christ? Pope Francis recently said, "The Church offers all the possibility to walk along the path of holiness, which is the path of the Christian: it makes us meet Jesus in the Sacraments, especially in Confession, in the Eucharist, it communicates to us the Word of God, it makes us live in charity, in the love of God to all."

Pope Francis went on to say that we are not to be afraid of holiness, of letting oneself be loved by God. To be holy, he said, does not require one to do extraordinary things, but in letting God act.

"Let us not lose hope in holiness, let us all walk along this path. Do we want to be saints? All of us? The Lord awaits us with open arms. Let us live our faith with joy and let ourselves be loved by the Lord."



10-27-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The way our culture currently recognizes Halloween is more than scary… it is wrong. Let me attempt to clarify a few things. This week we will celebrate the Feast of All Saints, which is celebrated every November 1st. This celebration dates back to the fourth century. It was originally called the Feast of All Martyrs and it was celebrated on May 13th. The words "martyr" and "saint" originally meant basically the same thing — someone who is a witness to Christ even unto death.

The early Christians usually placed the body of the martyr, someone who had been killed for the faith, in a tomb that was easily accessible. Then on the anniversary of that martyr's death, the faithful would come and pray and celebrate the Eucharist on or near the tomb of this Christian hero or heroine. That is why many altars have a relic of a saint located in the altar. St. Joan of Arc altars do not have any relics. Eventually, these celebrations were held in local churches to commemorate not just one martyr, but all who had given their lives for the faith. By the fifth century, this feast of "All Saints" was held on the Friday of Easter week.


True Love + Real Sacrifice = Eternal Gift (part II of II)

10-20-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Sadly, the unwillingness to offer real sacrifices and the lack of true love has led many people to believe that life is disposable. This tragic way of thinking has impacted our world in many negative ways i.e., marriages, families, workplaces, government, the economy, communities and even the Church. Many people live with a darkened intellect and in ignorance of the love of God for all His children. We live in a world where many people fail to see that true love includes personal sacrifice. It is so easy to become puffed up with pride and a false sense of self-reliance; many selfishly choose their own path; many seek to maximize pleasure and avoid giving of themselves and therefore miss the beauty of God's creation all together.


True Love + Real Sacrifice = Eternal Gift (part I of II)

10-13-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate Respect Life throughout the month of October, Our Lord reminds us of the sacredness of every life. Catholics have always held and will always preach the value of human life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that:

"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, under any circumstance, claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being"
—CCC 2258

And "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life"
—CCC 2270


Respect Life Month

10-06-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Everyone is impacted by the evil and violence. Many Americans know of the culture of death that is so prevalent in our country.

As Americans, we are impacted and saddened by acts of terrorism (the Boston Marathon bombing), mass shootings (a movie theater in Aurora, CO; an elementary school in Newtown, CT, at a Navy base in Washington, DC), 532 murders in Chicago in 2012, and over a million children killed each year by abortion (its brutality was seen in the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion provider).

We can become frustrated. We can think thoughts like, "Why hasn't God intervened to stop the killing and why haven't we been unable to stop it ourselves through our legal system" I feel frustrated at times but frustration that is ignored accomplishes nothing. Frustration distracts us from the two things Our Lord asks of us, the two things needed to overcome violence and evil: faith in God and the loving witness of our lives. Hope in action overcomes frustration.

There are so many beautiful examples of people who choose life by not giving in to the frustration. For example, there are more martyrs today than in the early centuries of the Church. These men and women around the world go bravely to their deaths, witnessing to the faith. Their witness can inspire us to witness to the right to life and inherent dignity of every person. Be not afraid!


Is Pope Francis Confused?

09-29-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I have been asked on a number of occasions about the recent interviews with Pope Francis. There has been a bit of confusion both in the media and in the minds of those who may have read part of his recent article. Misinformation and half-truths can go a long way to confuse well-intentioned Catholics. Sadly, many in the media have settled on reporting misinformation and half-truths.

I was reminded of my seminary days when my professor would assign us term papers in which we had to use primary sources--in others words, the historical figures own thoughts and words. It was hard work because we could not just use another's opinion in the paper. Why is it important to go directly to the source? Because you tend to lose something when you hear it second hand. It's kind of like knowing about Jesus instead of knowing Jesus.

With this in mind, I challenge you to read Pope Francis' interview: www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20130919_1.htm. I think you'll be shocked, even angered by what the press has done to misrepresent Pope Francis. I read the 18-page article a few weeks ago after hearing dozens of press reports that the pope is "lightening up" about the issues of gay marriage, contraception and abortion and charting a vastly different approach than his predecessors.


Sharing Your Gifts

09-22-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today's Gospel Our Lord speaks about "mammon". Mammon in this instance can mean money. Our Lord has often reminded us that our money (and possessions) can quickly posses us. We can become slaves to money. Now money is not evil or good. As a matter of fact, Bible does not say "money is the root of all evil," but the bible does say that the "love of money is the root of all evil."

Sadly, many people are very attached to money and to making more of it. Please don't misunderstand me. Making more money is not necessarily wrong. The notion of using your gifts, your intelligence and your energy to provide and income for yourself and your family is a good thing. It is the desire to have more and more money/possessions that can quickly leads to spending more and more money. Spending more money, having more things means having more responsibility. Our Lord reminds us that "much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more" (Luke 12:48). Our Lord refers to this notion of using our resources responsibly as "good stewardship".


Altar Server – "Light of the World"

09-15-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I give thanks to God for our altar servers. Week after week, year after year, many of these servants of God have been a beautiful witness to Christ – The Light of the World! The altar server often has a candlestick in his or her hand reminding us of Christ - the One, True, Light. Their service is often times not limited to the inside of a church. Many of our altar servers let the light of Christ shine in their everyday life: in school, in the family, and in our world. Those who desire to serve Jesus Christ inside a church must be His witness everywhere. Many of people live in darkness. They do not know Christ. Let us pray for our altar servers. May they continue to be the light of the Gospel to all those who are in darkness and are living through a difficult time in their life. Blessed Pope John Paul II once said: "Altar servers are much more than simple "helpers of the parish priest." Above all, you are servers of Jesus Christ, of the eternal High Priest. Thus, you, altar servers, are called in particular to be young friends of Jesus. Be determined to go deeper and to cultivate this friendship with him. You will discover that in Jesus you have found a true friend for life.


Back to School

09-08-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I always liked this time of year. Going back to school was sort of exciting – call me weird. I liked seeing my classmates and hanging out with friends. I even looked forward to my first day of Kindergarten – just ask my mom. Recently, I have been thinking about education and religious education in particular. Today, I want to reflect on our role as parents/catechists. Our Lord wants us to take our responsibility in handing on the faith very seriously. A reminder of our role is part the baptismal rite of children in the Catholic Church where parents commit before God to the Christian education of their children. The rite reminds parents (and godparents) of their duty to bring their children up by teaching them the law of Christ and His Church. This is a very serious obligation that parents have promised to Our Lord.

As we begin this school year, I have been praying for parents of students of all ages — from preschool to post graduate — that for the sake of our culture, they will take their education seriously but most importantly, they would seek to learn and to live the Catholic faith. Teaching and living the faith is in fact, the most important thing that parents for their children. For above all else, parents must prepare their children for the journey and the road to heaven, by word and example.


Respect Life = Respect Marriage

09-01-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Marriage is a precious gift from God and a dramatic way for one to live life. For those who are called to marriage and live it according to God's plan, eternal joy in heaven awaits you. Sadly, our very confused government who are called to defend marriage as God's gift is seeking to redefine marriage in a way that is contrary to God.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has said:

"Our nation and government have the duty to recognize and protect marriage, not tamper with and redefine it, nor to caricature the deeply held beliefs of so many citizens as 'discrimination,'" His statement followed the February 23 announcement that President Obama has instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a move Archbishop Dolan called an "alarming and grave injustice."