Pope to Engaged Couples: Prepare for your Wedding Day with Wisdom, Hope and Joy of Faith in Christ

01-31-2016Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

VATICAN CITY — In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis said the process of engagement is essential for any couple on their way to marriage, since it not only allows love to mature, but helps future spouses deepen their knowledge of one another.

“Marriage, as a vocation from God, is not just a relationship based on attraction and feelings, of a moment, of something short. It requires a journey,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square for his May 27 general audience. The journey of marriage “establishes a very strong and lasting partnership, which makes two lives one, a true miracle of human freedom and the grace of God,” he said, adding that such a partnership “is not improvised overnight.

READ MORE

Pope Francis, the Year of Mercy, and New Standards for Annulments in the Catholic Church (Part 4)

01-24-2016Pastor's LetterDeacon John D’Amico

Why does the Catholic Church require an intended spouse, who is divorced but not Catholic, to obtain an annulment before marrying in the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church respects marriage between one man and one woman and presumes that they are valid even if the marriage was performed at a Las Vegas drive-through chapel. Thus, for example, it considers the marriages of two Protestant, Jewish, or even nonbelieving persons to be binding for life. The Church requires a declaration of nullity to establish that an essential element was missing in that previous union preventing it from being a valid marriage.

This is often a difficult and emotional issue. If the intended spouse comes from a faith tradition that accepts divorce and remarriage, it may be hard for them to understand why they must go through the Catholic tribunal process. Couples in this situation may find it helpful to talk with a priest or deacon. To go through the process can be a sign of great love of the non-Catholic for their intended spouse.

READ MORE

Pope Francis, the Year of Mercy, and New Standards for Annulments in the Catholic Church (Part 3)

01-17-2016Pastor's LetterDeacon John D’Amico

How long does the process take for a formal case?
It can vary from diocese to diocese, however here in Phoenix it often takes 24 months or longer for formal cases where witness testimony is required. No respondent can prevent the annulment process from going forward even if they object to the process.

How can a couple married for many years present a case?
The tribunal process examines the events leading up to, and at the time of the wedding ceremony, in an effort to determine whether what was required for a valid marriage was ever brought about. The length of common life is not proof of validity but a long marriage does provide evidence that a couple had some capacity for a life-long commitment. It does not prove or disprove the existence of a valid marriage bond.

READ MORE

Pope Francis, the Year of Mercy, and New Standards for Annulments in the Catholic Church (Part 2)

01-10-2016Pastor's LetterDeacon John D’Amico

Why does the Church require a divorced Catholic to obtain a declaration of nullity before re-marrying in the Church?
The Church presumes that marriages are valid and lifelong; therefore, unless the ex-spouse has died, Church law requires the divorced Catholic to obtain a declaration of nullity before re-marrying. The tribunal process seeks to determine if something essential was missing from the couple’s relationship from the moment of consent, that is, the time of the wedding. If so, then the Church can declare that a valid marriage was never actually brought about on the wedding day.

What does the tribunal process involve?
There are many types of cases that may be presented to the tribunal, each reflecting different circumstances of the marriage. Depending on the type of case, the length of time for the tribunal to arrive at a decision varies from as little as two months to as much as 3 years. The information in the next paragraph reflects what is known as a formal case.

READ MORE

Pope Francis, the Year of Mercy, and New Standards for Annulments in the Catholic Church (Part 1)

01-03-2016Pastor's LetterDeacon John D’Amico

Since early September, there has been much discussion among Catholics regarding the Holy Father’s announcement that significant changes were being made to Canon Law regarding how and why the annulment process is managed. In the two documents whose titles in English are “The Lord Jesus, Clement Judge” and “Clement and merciful Jesus”, Pope Francis wrote this:

 “It is therefore the concern for the salvation of souls that, today as yesterday, remains the supreme objective of the institutions and laws, and drives the Bishop of Rome to offer to the Bishops this reform document, insofar as they share with him the task of the Church to protect unity in faith and in discipline regarding marriage, the cornerstone and origin of the Christian family.

READ MORE

Christmas Message from Fr. Bing

12-27-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

Happy Birthday Jesus!

When I was growing up, every time December arrived I looked forward to Christmas with so much anticipation. The Belen, Nativity scene in our parish church would be out on the first day of Misa de Gallo, Dawn Mass starting on the 16th of December. This nine-day novena Mass signals Christmas really is just around the corner. But there is someone missing in the Nativity scene because the Baby Jesus is not yet there. In the vigil Mass, a family is given the honor of bringing the image of the Baby Jesus and placing it into the crib of the Belen, the Nativity scene. I remember our church exploding with light and decorations (lantern stars parol, Christmas lights and trees) when the empty crib finally received the Baby Jesus.

READ MORE

The Joy of the Gospel

12-20-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

Last November 24, 2014, Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Exhortation entitled Evangelii Gaudium The Joy of the Gospel exhorting the whole church to rediscover the many joys found in the Gospel. As we approach the Christmas season after the 4th Sunday of Advent, let us review this Apostolic Exhortation and see the wonderful things it can bring us this season.

How do we share the Joy of the Gospel? The way the Gospel talks about the Kingdom of God at first seems odd; small seed (mustard seed) or like yeast (Mt. 13:31,33) both of which starts small. Meaning, the Kingdom of God starts in humble beginnings, like the coming of the Baby Jesus, the Emmanuel in a simple manger. But when properly nourished or mixed can grow to be the biggest of all trees or dough for bread. In Jesus, the Kingdom of God is the humble presence in the life of the people, a dialogue of life, between God and His people.

READ MORE

The Holy Year of Mercy

12-13-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

Dec 8, 2015, the church begins a yearlong celebration of the ExtraordinaryJubilee of Mercy, announced by Pope Francis during a Lenten penance service lastMarch. United in heart and spirit with our Holy Father, let us enter this Holy yearfull of confidence in the inexhaustible mercy of the Father.

READ MORE

Second Sunday of Advent

12-06-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

“The word of God was spoken to John son of Zechariah.” (Lk. 3:2) Meaning John was chosen, God called him from the wilderness. John did not belong to the class of higher learning; he was not a scholar, a teacher or a rabbi; he was a simple man who lived in the desert, committed to God in prayer. He prepared for this call by organizing his life in silence with God. He needed that silence to open his heart to God and to free it from all worldly influences. In the modern context, we all need our desert, maybe a place (room, chapel, church or a garden), a space or a moment with God to silence our hearts and just listen to God, so His WORDS will be spoken to us like John.

READ MORE

First Sunday of Advent

11-29-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

Advent is the time when we can look back to the first coming of Christ, the Incarnate Word (Jn. 1:14). At Christmas, through the Blessed Mother, the child Jesus came to live among us. It’s also a time to look forward to His “second Coming”, to reveal everything about His Kingdom. The first coming is an eternal gift that is still given every time we allow Jesus to be born in our HEARTS. Christmas is the time to prepare our hearts, by purifying our hearts from anything that prevents us from receiving Jesus’ 1st Coming. Advent therefore becomes that joyful anticipation of His Coming (Christmas).

READ MORE

The Solemnity of Christ the King

11-22-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

Pope Benedict XVI in his book Jesus of Nazareth says, “The Kingdom of God is not a thing, it is not a geographical dominion like the worldly kingdoms, but the kingdom of God is a person… The way Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of God, He leads men to realize the overwhelming fact that with Him God Himself is present among us, that He is the presence of God.” Jesus tried to tell this to his contemporaries especially the Scribes and the Pharisees; that the Kingdom of God is already in their midst, that the King of this Kingdom was among them but they did not recognize him.

READ MORE

Jesus' Hour

11-15-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

The Book of Daniel in the 1st reading describes the apocalyptic hour, where the prophet sees the final act of God. In the final battle between good and evil, Michael, a prince and guardian, will protect God’s people. This is probably the same Michael described in Rev. 12:7, as an angel who fought to drive the dragon out of heaven with his minions. Both in Daniel as in Revelation, the hour is the battle between good and evil, right and wrong, God’s angels and Satan’s minions.

READ MORE

On Giving

11-08-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

What is generous giving? The poor widow in the gospel might have given very little, but Jesus, knowing the heart behind the giving said, “She has given more than everyone who gave into the treasury.” (Mk. 12:43) For the poor widow, that little was everything. She sacrificed from her poverty, her whole livelihood, denying probably everything for herself. But in spite of this, her whole-hearted giving did not make her feel that she was being deprived of anything. The poor widow was not afraid of giving everything she had.

READ MORE

All Saints Day

11-01-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Bing Colasito

Once a year, we get to honor all the Saints together with a big feast day, November 1, the Solemnity of All the Saints. This year is no different except that it falls on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day, thus adds a different flavor to the Solemnity with the Lord’s Day still as the central theme.

For me, the many different saints are the best examples of how to be another Jesus in the world we live. When I want to embrace Jesus in, with and for the poor, I have the wonderful example of St. Francis of Assisi and Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

READ MORE