¡Feliz Pascua! The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!

“The Risen Christ Meets Our Lady” by Deschwanden

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Lord is Risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia! What a glorious Holy Triduum and Easter we celebrated this year of 2021 after not having Holy Week and Easter services last year! Thank God we were able to gather again in union and love! May the joy of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ reign in your hearts, giving new life and strength.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix celebrates Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale, Ariz., March 29, 2021. (CNS photo/Billy Hardiman, Catholic Sun)

On Holy Thursday, April 1, Bishop James Olmsted’s new Apostolic Exhortation, Veneremur Cernui Down in Adoration Falling was released in English and Spanish. It is his teaching on the importance of adoring Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist. He strongly calls all of us to believe in the Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist regularly and to develop the practice of Eucharistic Adoration, cultivating a deep relationship with Our Lord, “wasting” time with Him as the woman who anointed his feet with oil, kissing them. This inspiring document explains the truth of Jesus Christ being present in the Eucharist, which we know to be His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. This writing will stir up in your hearts a great love for Our Lord and a desire to be more devoted to Him in the Eucharist. Here you will find the Apostolic Exhortation in English. The translation in Spanish can be found here. Here is a beautiful and inspiring paragraph from this magnificent Apostolic Exhortation from our shepherd:

“My dear sons and daughters in Christ, the Eucharist is the heart of our faith. It is the center of the faith of the Church for it is Christ Himself. All the concrete expressions of Eucharistic faith I mention above represent our humble response to this mystery. If done in trusting surrender to God, they are meant to draw us closer to the eternal wedding banquet to which every Eucharistic celebration is a foretaste. May we never tire of discovering that the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life! As from the source of a great river, everything that matters in life flows from it. As to a great mountain peak, all the striving and struggle of life seeks it.” (Veneremur Cernui, 108)

In the Easter Season as we contemplate the Resurrection of Christ and the superiority of His divine nature, one cannot help but reflect profoundly on the “Four Last Things”: death, judgement, heaven and hell. We are to seek the things that are above as we come to know more that the world will never satisfy us; we must be of the spirit, not of the flesh. Our hearts long to see God face to face (the beatific vision) as only then will they be completely satisfied with His love. Are you looking for a good book for spiritual reading that will nourish your soul and point you to that which is above?

Book of the Month: Life Everlasting: A Theological Treatise on the Four Last Things-Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange, OP

“Our heart can never find a durable rest except in the love of God.”

(Garrigou-LaGrange, 12)

“But if God Himself, who is infinite good, were immediately and clearly presented to us face to face, we could not but love Him… Our will, then, has an infinite profundity, in the sense that God alone, seen face to face, can fill it and irresistibly draw it. Created goods, for this reason, exercise on the will an invincible attraction. They attract it only superficially; the will remains free to love or not to love. Hence, here below, our will itself must go to meet this attraction, which in itself is incapable altogether of overcoming the will. Here lies the reason why the will must determine the judgement before it determines itself. For the same reason the will keeps the intelligence suspended in consideration as long as it pleases, suspends the intellectual search, or ceases to pursue it. This is the reason why it depends in last analysis on the will, whether such and such a practical judgement shall or shall not be the last. Hence the free act is a gratuitous response, proceeding from the depth of the will, to the weak solicitation of a finite good. Only God, seen face to face, draws our will infallibly and makes it captive even to the very source of its energy.” (p. 15)

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The Sisters of Life: “Women who are in love with Love”

“The Sisters of Life are women who are in love with Love – Love incarnate, crucified, and Risen – and captivated by the truth of the beauty of every human person, created in God’s image and likeness.

We believe every person is valuable and sacred. We believe that every person is good, loved, unique and unrepeatable. We believe that every person’s life has deep meaning, purpose and worth. In fact, we give our lives for that truth.”
Sr. John Mary, Sr. Giovanna Maria, and Mother Agnes Mary, SV.

In mid to late August of 2021, the Sisters of Life will begin a new foundation at St. Agnes Convent in Phoenix. There will be a team of five (5) Sisters serving pregnant women who are in crisis, accompanying them to support them with love. The Sisters will also have a chaplaincy apostolate at ASU’s All Saints Newman Center three consecutive days each month to give presence, prayer and programs for faith formation and evangelization to impart the Gospel of Life. In March, Sister Loretta and Sister Mary Karen, SV came out to visit and prepare St. Agnes Convent for this foundation. Just last week, April 9-14, Sister John Mary, the Vicar General, and Sister Mary Karen, SV came to continue preparation. These visits were so blessed and filled the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that I am joyful and eager to share this with you!

Here are photos I took in March when the sisters were here visiting St. Agnes Convent for a few days.

Sr. Mary Loretta, SV (left), Sr. Mary Karen, SV (right).
St. Agnes Parish Convent in Phoenix, AZ.

Here are few photos from Sr. John Mary DeSousa’s visit at ASU’s All Saints Newman Center in Tempe, AZ.

Sr. John Mary, SV, Sr. Anthony Mary, RSM, Fr. Robert Clements and Fr. Dan Cruz.

Have you seen the inside recently of the most historic Church in the Diocese of Phoenix, St. Mary’s Church in Tempe? Just wait till you see how it has been transformed to serve the students at the Newman Center! It is incredible!

St. Mary’s Church in Tempe: a parish community in the 1880s. The building was completed in 1903.

When I entered the old Church and saw how it had been totally transformed, I was blown away with its beauty!

Fr. Robert Clements, Chaplain and Fr. Dan Cruz introduce Sr. John Mary, SV to the students.

A fantastic view from the choir loft…

“Heart Speaks to Heart” in Latin above a rose window shedding light.

All who come are inspired (to pray) by the beautiful sacred art in the main Chapel as well as the Adoration Chapel.

The Main Chapel at ASU’s All Saints Newman Center before the side altars were installed.

There are two new side altars that have been added since I last saw the Main Chapel as depicted in the photo above. Since then, a side altar with Ruth Stricklin’s painting of The Betrothal of Mary and Joseph on the left and another with Ruth’s painting of The Pentecost on the right. The photos below depict these two works of art and lovely side altars.

The Betrothal of Mary and Joseph by Ruth Stricklin.
The Betrothal is above a side altar left of the main altar.
The Lamb of God by Ruth Stricklin.
The Pentecost by Ruth Stricklin is to the right of the sanctuary.

The Pentecost is above a side altar to the right in the Chapel.

The Adoration Chapel is also unique and quite stunning with Adoration hours Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The spiritual fatherhood of Fr. Robert Clements is strong and palpably felt in seeing all the renovations, the beauty that inspires prayer to the Triune God with teachings of the theology of His eternal, merciful and transforming love for us. Fr. Dan Cruz’s joyful, loving way with all those he encounters is a great gift that bears fruit in gathering the community. This environment is edifying and helpful to those discerning a vocation to Priesthood, Consecrated Life and Marriage.

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Speaking of spiritual fatherhood, since March 30, I am doing the 33-Day Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC, which I will finish on May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. This book teaches a rich theology about Saint Joseph, the Husband of Mary, Foster Father of Jesus and all his titles. My love and devotion to Saint Joseph has grown exponentially since I started this Consecration, and I hope it does for you.

“Saint Joseph’s dignity springs from his privilege of being the legal father of the Incarnate Son of God. Here, then, is a man whom the Son of God calls father, one whom he [Jesus] serves and obeys and before whom he kneels for a paternal blessing.” ~ St. Peter Julian Eymard (Calloway, 37)

“Saint Joseph’s role as the “Foster Father” of Jesus might come across as something merely contractual, but the Latin provides us with a deeper insight into St. Joseph’s role. In Latin, the title given to St. Joseph to signify his role as foster father is Filii Dei Nutricie. Literally, it means “Nurturer of the Son of God.” As you can see, the title foster father is a very poor translation from the Latin original. Calling St. Joseph the foster father of Jesus is valid, of course, but it needs to be emphasized that St. Joseph’s fatherhood was more than a legal fatherhood; St. Joseph’s fatherhood was an authoritative, affectionate, faithful, and everlasting fatherhood.” (Calloway, 38)

Saint Joseph, our spiritual father, pray for us!

Your Sister in Christ,

Sr. Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, Director of the Office of Consecrated Life of Phoenix

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