A big CONGRATULATIONS to Elvy, Charles and Alex Barton. On December 12, Elvy was Confirmed. Charles was Baptized and Confirmed. And baby Alex was Baptized. We were joined in celebration by friends and family of the Bartons. It was a beautiful evening.
Our reps having fun at the ECC Synod
Fr. Rick, Marie and Paul.
Celebrate the rest of Advent and continue through Christmas Time!
We continue to celebrate Advent at Guardian Angels. We are very excited to encourage you to access Following the Star a daily online advent devotional guide for your journey through Advent. Continue to use this beautiful site for personal prayer and reflection time.
Dream Act AZ - get involved!
Prop 300 requires that if someone graduates from an AZ HS but does not have documentation, they have to pay out of state tuition which is currently about $10,000 per semester. And they are not eligible to apply for many scholarships (no FAFSA forms), work-study, paid internships, or jobs. There are a few scholarships that do not ask for SSN. These students were brought here as children, had no choice in the matter, and many did not know of their status until they wanted to apply for college or apply for a driver's license.
These students are high-achievers, including at least one HS valedictorian in the present group of Loving Neighbor awardees. They have excelled academically and have done many hours of community service, including translating at a medical clinic, working as tutors, at food banks, and in their faith communities. The current group includes 11 students (although 1 graduated in December). They are all juniors or seniors and are studying engineering (5), meteorology (1), psychology (1), nursing (1), Spanish linguistics (1), and business (2).
Almost 3 years ago, Michael Crowe (President of ASU) asked what the faith communities were doing to support the students affected by Prop 300, and several of the college ministers associated with churches serving the university population started the Loving Neighbor scholarship. The scholarship was entitled Loving Neighbor because of Matthew 22:39, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" and Leviticus 19:18 "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself". Initially, it was a scholarship to award $500 for books to several students. The money is sent to the Wesley Foundation (Methodist Young Adult group) who can deposit the money in the student's account for those receiving the award. The students can then using the money for books, tuition, or fees.
Currently, parishioners from the Newman Center, First United Methodist, University Lutheran, and Guardian Angels serve on a committee to select the students. There have been donations from the Tempe Society of Friends and other people. Also, a group associated with the Dream Act received a $1000 donation from a business, and that money was also put in the scholarship fund. However, we need to raise more funds to award spring semester money. Please see LovingNeighbor.pdf.
We will celebrate a beautiful Christmas Eve Mass at our Church on Friday, Dec. 24th at 8PM. Please plan to join us.
I-HELP Meal on Friday, Dec. 31
It's our turn to provide the meal for our I-HELP guests on New Years Eve! We will need people to help with the meal, serving and clean-up. Let Pastor Sue know if you can help. Vivian is planning to bring some hats and horns for the guests to help them ring in the New Year joyfully.
A message from Fr. Rick
Six years ago on December 11th, I was ordained to the order of presbyter at Guardian Angels. Immediately, I was congratulated and asked the same questions I was asked at my graduation and my wedding, ie. "Do you feel any different?" And, my answer was and remains, "No, not really."
My ordination definitely occurred at the right place and within the right community. We had punch and cookies afterward, but in general, it was a quiet small ceremony. It was simple and fast. Other than the type of punch and cookies (I'd choose leaded punch) - I wouldn't change a thing.
The only thing that has changed in these six years is my personal theology. I think often of Matt Damon's line in Good Will Hunting: "You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library." All the books I read about God, all the Holy Scriptures, and all the Rosaries and masses basically all say the same thing. I've learned that only a fool believes God is bound by any one book. And, only the fool's fool looks for God in books and masses instead of the faces of man, the beauty of creation, and the whispers of life.
I in no way want to diminish the importance of mass and church. I'm just saying that I don't find God there. I find a GLIMPSE of God there in the community. But, mass is pointless if a mass truly ends.
I joke with Franciscans and Benedictines often that "that is just too much of the praying junk." (As to why I don't want to join) I joke with Sue that reading the Bible and praying the Rosary bore me. They all poke back at me by saying, "Why are you a priest again?" Honestly, I feel like I should to answer that, but I don’t even respond. Instead I hope that my answer is displayed in my actions.
I really do get bored reading the Bible and praying anymore. And, I'd rather not do it. In fact, as a priest I don't think I'm supposed to. I'm supposed to help you read and pray - or find the manner, that you feel you find God best. And, none of us are SUPPOSED to read books, pray, or attend mass. We are all called to live out the Gospel. We must make life our prayer. In partaking in mass, we must bring the banquet to others.
A Blessed and Joyful Christmas to All