St. Bonaventure

Dear Friends,

I would like to use the opportunity of these bulletin letters to examine the lives of the saints as they cycle through the liturgical calendar throughout the year.   I believe we find a wealth not only of the teachings and examples of the saints but also we can learn of our common heritage that has been handed down to us.  The saints remind us of the universality of the Church (her “catholicity”) as well as our communion with the Church throughout the world. 

This Friday, July 15, the Church honors one of the great Franciscan teachers of the middle ages, St. Bonaventure.  He was born around the year 1217 and died in 1274.   He was a master theologian and teacher in the University in Paris where he gained fame for his defense of the Church and of the Franciscan order.   St. Bonaventure entered the Order of Friars Minor of St. Francis of Assisi eventually becoming its minister general at the age of 36 and author of the Life of St. Francis.  Of St. Bonaventure it was said he was a “good, affable, devout and compassionate man, full of virtue, beloved of God and human beings alike.”  He was often sought by popes and churchmen of his time for his wisdom and his profound spirituality but was noted especially for his humility. On several occasions he refused high offices in the Church, refusing to become Archbishop and even to receive the cardinal hat from the pope.  In 1273, Pope Gregory X finally imposed on the saintly friar to become a Cardinal-Archbishop and sent an envoy to give Bonaventure his red hat.  It was said that he was found doing dishes and asked that the honored insignia be hung on a tree until his hands were free.  

One of St. Bonaventure’s famous axioms found in his opus of writings provides us a good starting point of meditation, a sort of guiding principle for our parish: “Opera Christi non deficient, sed proficient” (Christ’s works do not go backwards but forwards).    While we must never forget our Catholic heritage, we are building a parish of the 21stcentury.   The work of the Church demands a fresh approach to its evangelization and apostolic ministry.  In light of this, our parish, whose work is Jesus Christ’s, will always look towards and have our eyes set on the future.    We need to reach out to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our brothers and sisters who live in today’s technologically advanced and hyperactive increasingly secular world.  It is easy to get caught up in the “that’s how we’ve always done it” approach because it is comfortable, it is known and it is easier.  I ask, however, that as a community we be open to being challenged to broaden our horizon.   Change, while not always easy, sometimes brings new blessings to us.   In a few short months we will experience some important changes in the way we celebrate the Mass as the Church is giving us a new Roman Missal with new responses and new prayers.   This means we will all be challenged to change, but remember that Christ’s work progresses because it is organic, that means it is alive and therefore the faith challenges us to grow.   Confident in God’s love and mercy we open the doors to the Holy Spirit to breath fresh air into our parish life and truly renew us and form us for the work of Christ, always ancient, always new. 

In the Lord Jesus,
Fr. Vasquez

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