The Christmas Spirit Lives on in Each of Us as We Live Jesus!

Hello, everyone! Christmas Season has ended, but this special Year has just begun!

As the Christmas Season came to an end on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, the joy of welcoming the Christ Child in this world has not ended. On this Feast day, Sunday, January 11th, we went to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix with the Franciscan Friars. The main celebrant of the Mass was Father Michael Weldon, OFM. He is a happy priest whose exuberance and depth came through as he preached about living the Christian life fully. It is by the graces of our baptism that we are incorporated into the family of God for holiness. The gift and spirituality of the Franciscans were made visible with the Christmas crèche (nativity scene) and the dignified liturgy. The beauty of St. Mary’s Basilica and the stained glass windows are also the fruits of the service of all the Franciscan Friars throughout its history.

St. Mary's Basilica was built in 1881.

St. Mary’s Basilica was built in 1881.

People coming to gather for Mass.

People coming to gather for Mass.

The creche set sheds light.

The creche set sheds light.

The dignity of the Altar uplifts the heart.

The dignity of the Altar uplifts the heart.

A catechist teaches with stained glass windows.

A catechist teaches with stained glass windows.

John the Baptist baptizes Jesus.

John the Baptist baptizes Jesus.

From within the Church, we are enlightened.

From within the Church, we are enlightened.

Father Michael incenses the Altar.

Father Michael incenses the Altar.

Franciscans really know how to preach!

Franciscans really know how to preach!

Not only a picture but a poinsetta too!

Not only a picture but a poinsettia too!

The Serra Club members of the West Valley invited us to pray a Rosary with them at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Phoenix, and the spirit of Christmas was strong and vibrant there. Serra leader Tom Castellanos led the group in prayer with the Rosary and a dinner together. The Serra Club (named after a Franciscan, St. Junípero Serra) is a group of lay people who gather regularly to pray and financially support vocations to the Priesthood and the Consecrated Life. Filled with hope and joy, these members welcomed us with warm hospitality. There are various regional groups of the Serra Club in the Diocese that gather to pray and meet every 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at noon and also to pray the Rosary monthly.

The West Valley Serra Club (Some came from East too)

The West Valley Serra Club

A Nativity Scene to Remember forever!

A Nativity scene to Remember forever!

The Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery

The Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery

Sr. Linda Campbell, OSB

Sr. Linda Campbell, OSB

Vietnamese Priest, Fr. Joseph Bui, PIME is a Religious Order Priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions founded in Italy in 1850 as an International Society of Apostolic Life which now has 500 members in 17 countries with a mission for the proclamation of the Gospel. As the Pastor of Saint Louis the King Parish in Glendale he is an example of living the joy and fullness of the Christian life as both a Religious and a Priest. Nicknamed “Fr. Happy,” he is dedicated to the spiritual needs of his Parishioners and the students at St. Louis the King School. On Wednesday, January 14th, I gave my vocation testimony to those at the 8 a.m. school Mass.

Fr. Bui celebrating Mass for the students.

Fr. Bui celebrating Mass for the students.

A student receiving Holy Communion.

A student receiving Holy Communion.

Here's a good look at the kids.

What a great group of kids!

I gave my vocation testimony after Mass.

I gave my vocation testimony after Mass.

Fr. Bui loves to make Italian food.

Fr. Bui loves to make Italian food.

He also loves to laugh!

No wonder they call him “Fr. Happy”!

On Wednesday evening, I visited Miles Jesu, an Institute of Consecrated Life with a structure as an Ecclesial Family of Consecrated Life. Founded in Phoenix in 1964 by Claretian Father Alfonso Durán, it is composed of lay people and also clerics, with community life as the norm, and professing the evangelical counsels with vows. Their witness is through a lay charism and the lay apostolate, normally through secular occupations, reaching out to people of all walks of life to bring Christ into the secular world by the witness of their lives, in a spirit of availability. They are located on Baseline Road in Phoenix. They can be assigned internationally to work in the secular world to be a leaven and evangelize people.   Miles Jesu here in Phoenix is made both of men and women who live in community. Miles Jesu members can work in any job: it could be as a Kindergarten teacher, a finance manager at Charles Schwab, an airline pilot, a special needs educator or by caring for the elderly.  They bring awareness of Jesus Christ to the secular world with joy.

The chapel at the home of the Miles Jesu Community.

The chapel at the home of the Miles Jesu Community of Women

This group is filled with light and joy!

This group is filled with light and joy!

Look, beautiful relics!

Look, beautiful relics of Saints!

The Spanish culture is part of their history.

The Spanish culture is part of their history, and they have a strong devotion to Mary.

The Christmas spirit lives on in all of us as we bring the love of Jesus Christ made visible in the flesh.

Let us rejoice as we walk in the light of Christ and journey closer to Him with each day we live!

Your Sister in Christ,

Sister Anthony Mary, RSM

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