Category Archives: Missions

There Are Many Good People in St. Anne – Bryan Buenger

Bryan BuengerMany of you know Bryan Buenger: that high school teacher who would spend hours and hours at St. Anne as a volunteer in various parish ministries. He was also frequently to be found in the adoration chapel, gazing at Jesus in the monstrance and silently daring to dream a great dream that would have paralyzed others with fear. But God always gives the grace to achieve something great.

Bryan Buenger – a man with a generous smile and easy good humor whose long hair would catch your attention and who loved a good movie. He’s been so impatiently waiting for episode VII of the Star Wars saga to come out this Christmas!

One day, during adoration, he heard the call to leave it all. Only those have felt that calling know what a person in that state of mind experiences. 
After a time of discernment – in silence, always in silence – he went to seek new horizons.

He put himself into the hands of God, and left to go far, far away to a place of fantasy, a natural paradise where there is a need to proclaim Christ. 
On the 4th of July, after many internal struggles, through light and darkness, tests and consolations from God, Bryan was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Palmerston North, in New Zealand.

In spite of the distance, he is one of us. He is a fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit, who at St. Anne, touched Bryan’s heart and gave him the love and the courage to leave the nets and follow Christ. 
His ordination is a sign of hope for all of us. Hope, because God continues to act in our lives. Hope, because Bryan represents all of our young men who are currently discerning their vocation. If he can, then they can, too. It is a sign of hope because a priest is always a gift to the Church, a sign that God still loves the world and cares for us through those he has given the mission of guiding His people.

As we rejoice with Bryan, I ask that you keep him in your prayers. Congratulations Bryan! 
May God bless you.

Meditation on the Pieta- Growing  Accustomed to the Extraordinary

Pieta I write these lines as I contemplate before me the Pieta we recently brought to St. Anne.  Everything about it impresses me: the perfection in each of its lines, the balance of an unmatchable finished piece, its consummate beauty, the contained and serene expression of our Mother. I think of how fortunate we are at St Anne to have a replica of this sculpture that hundreds of thousands of people view with awe in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican every year.

Many people go to Rome for the express purpose of contemplating what we are so fortunate to be able to see in our church each day.  Since the Pieta was installed in our church two weeks ago, several people have told me that when the original Pieta was brought to New York in 1962, they travelled there from Arizona to be able to appreciate with their own eyes one of the best known, majestic sculptures in the world. Pope Paul VI announced after that trip that the image would never again leave the Vatican.

In art history, Michelangelo’s Pieta is a work that describes and depicts an entire era. Thousands of papers have been written about the Renaissance, innumberable works and monographic studies, all with the sole purpose of analyzing and better understanding the perfection and transcendence that Michelangelo’s Pieta inspired in sculpting, art and spirituality. The Pieta may well be the most recognizable art piece in the history of humanity. 

 All of this is within hand’s reach at St. Anne. We can contemplate the sculpture in much more detail, much more closely and without the time constraints that the flood of people who go to Italy every year to see it for only a few moments do. And I am afraid, as so often happens, that we may grow accustomed to the extraordinary.

It’s true: the human being, after seeing miracles and wonders each and every day, is capable of growing accustomed to them in such a way that the most astonishing and magnificent events become seemingly normal, monotonous and boring. Allow me to give an example: God Himself is truly and physically present in the Eucharist! This affirmation alone should awaken in us the desire to stay close to the sanctuary. If we could understand the gift that the Lord has left for us in the Blessed Sacrament, we would wish for nothing more than to spend our entire life alongside him in the Eucharist. “He is there….”, the Saint Curè of Ars with tears in his eyes, frequently repeated! However, we value so little what we have, we have attended so many Masses in our lives, that maybe we have turned the Eucharist into something we take for granted. Something ordinary, repetitive, normal.

Every time I contemplate the Pieta. I ask God for the grace never to grow accustomed to it. I ask that each day, I may see it as if I have never seen it before. I also pray every morning that He may give me a new heart so I may be able to appreciate everything that is extraordinary in my life: the miracle of the Eucharist, the love of God and my brothers and sisters, health and peace, life and my friendship with Christ, the presence of the Holy Trinity in the soul that lives in state of grace, and so much more.

Grant me, Jesus, a new outlook. May I always be grateful for everything that you always and continually give to us.

Reflections on Mechelangelo’s Pieta – Youth

The Pieta

As much as time and parish necessities allow me, I want to share with you some of the reflections that awaken in me while contemplating Michelangelo’s Pietá. It is evident that the purpose of bringing this replica to St Anne’s is not only to beautify our church, but also to help us to encounter God – an encounter made possible by contemplation of the beauty of this image.

The first thought that comes to mind when I look at the Pietá is external to the sculpture itself. It has always amazed me to think that Michelangelo sculpted this image when he was only 24 years old. Those blessed hands were capable of creating an authentic masterpiece during his youth. It seems strange: there are people who do nothing much of importance in a long life, and then there are others, grand souls they call them, that in a few years are capable of making extraordinary things.

Michelangelo defied any type of human reasoning: he lacked experience some said. In the band across Mary’s chest you will notice the artist’s own name. This is the only one of his pieces that the Tuscan artist signed. Why? Because at the time of its unveiling in Rome, it was said that a 24-year-old boy could not have created anything with such perfection. The rumor reached all the corners and alleys of the City: it wasn’t logical to believe that a sculpture so absolutely majestic could have come from the hands of an inexperienced boy. The rumor even included the name of another more likely sculptor, a so-called Christopher Solari. After all, it was said, who was this Michelangelo?

Michelangelo, angry and outraged at the lies, took the chisel and marked the Pietá with his name. In Latin, you are able to read the following inscription: “This piece was made by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine”. I think that his signature was a gesture of rebellion, a way for the genius of youth to claim that when goals are set high, it is possible to accomplish admirable feats.

The Pietá reminds me every time I look at it that we must expect a lot from our youth. We have the right to expect them to achieve great goals in the certainty that with hard work, dedication, diligence and commitment, they will produce great wonders. The sculpture reminds young people themselves what they are capable of achieving. In a world that seems to set young people aside, looking at the Pietá should remind them that they are to be the lead characters in the life of the world and the Church. Young people, you will never be our tomorrow if you do not give yourself fully now to the present! Do not spend your time gazing into an uncertain future and end up losing the time that our Lord has laid in your hands now! Strive to make your lives a “masterpiece” and be demanding of yourselves!

God obviously is counting on our youth. Mary, for example, was a young girl when she accepted the call to become the Mother of Jesus. St Dominic Savio became a saint at barely 14. St. Theresa of Lisieux died at 24. St Luis Gonzaga, 23. Saint Gemma Galgani, 25. St Gabriel of Our Lady of  Sorrows, 27. So many young people represent, to this day, the best part of the Church.

Let us pray, then, to the Lord, that he may grant us young people who are truly hungry for his glory.

Letter from the Pastor on the Pieta

Three angles of the Virgen from The Pieta
The Pieta

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For over 500 years Michelangelo’s Pietá has been a source of spiritual inspiration for millions of people who have visited St. Peter’s Basillica and countless others who have gazed upon images of this beautiful sculpture. The Holy Spirit surely guided the hands of Michelangelo as he carved this beautiful image of our Lord, Jesus Christ, lying in the arms of the Blessed Virgin Mary after his death. We have a unique opportunity to spend time before this beautiful image, contemplating the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Many artists have attempted to capture the beauty of this image and have not even come close. Michelangelo brought to life the Renaissance ideal of spiritual beauty. It is a great blessing for us to have this image visit our parish for the next several months especially during this Season of Lent. How wonderful it will be to gaze upon this image and contemplate the depth of our Father’s love for us, His love is without end.

We are blessed to have the Pieta visit our parish for the next 6 months. This beautiful recast was created and provided to us by ArteDivine. This organization has been exclusively licensed to reproduce the Pieta from an original cast. ArteDivine’s mission is to facilitate the placement of these sublime sculptures in settings where this image can enlighten the minds and touch the lives and hearts of the faithful. The Pieta is recreated in cast Carrera marble from a Vatican approved mold. This recast is the 27th cast of 100 approved casts, so as you can imagine it is a limited and rare piece.

Although our agreement with ArteDivine is to have the Pieta visit our parish for 6 months they have presented our community with an opportunity to keep the image here at St. Anne. Beginning in May 2015 we will begin a pledge drive to raise funds to retain the Pieta for the parish. The retention of this image will depend solely on the generosity of those who feel inspired to contribute to this cause. The parish will not make any financial contributions toward the Pieta. We are so very close to paying off our parish debt (approximately 1 year remaining) and we have many rehabilitation projects that need our attention. Although I would very much like to see the image become a permanent addition to our parish I am committed to eliminating our debt and rejuvenating our parish campus.

I pray that you will take advantage of this opportunity and spend much time gazing on this beautiful masterpiece.

Fr. Sergio Muñoz Fita

Pastor, St. Anne Roman Catholic Parish

Celebrate Life

Just over two years ago, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship approved a blessing for babies in the womb. It is an eloquent signof respect that as Catholics and followers of Christ, we all deserve human life in whatever state you are in, from conception to natural death. As a priest, I have been asked on numerous occasions by parents to bless their child yet unborn, for their health, and a happy birth.

In view of this, and after consulting with the clergy of the parish, we have decided to impart this blessing on 4 occasions throughout the year, coinciding with four events related to the origin of human life. Those days are:

1. Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8). The day on which we celebrate our Mother’s conception seems an ideal opportunity to bless the children already conceived but not yet born.
2. Solemnity of the Incarnation of Jesus (March 25). It is, perhaps, the most important celebration: the day that, being conceived in the womb of Mary, the Word became flesh to save us.
3. Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24), who leaped in the womb of his mother Saint Elizabeth before the arrival of Jesus.
4. Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary (September 8).

I hope these blessings serve to renew our commitment to the Gospel of Life, and serve as a chance for us to unite together as the great family of this parish to celebrate the joy that brings the mystery of life that grows and develops within all pregnant women.

May God Bless you all,
Fr. Sergio Muñoz Fita

Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Adoration Chapel

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Some of you may have noticed some of the recent changes that we have made to our Perpetual Adoration Chapel. We have been blessed with the generous donation of four new candle stands that now adorn the Blessed Sacrament. They bring such a great sense of beauty and majesty to our chapel glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ. They illuminate the presence of His Most Precious Body as He rests on his throne before us. You may have also noticed that I have had many items removed from the Adoration Chapel. My intention is to create and maintain a prayerful space that allows us to keep our focus on Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

Jesus is calling us to be with Him, to spend time together in prayer. Jesus wants to hear all of our prayers. He desires to comfort us in our affliction. Jesus simply asks us to bring ourselves before Him, to come with humble and open hearts. We need to make ourselves present to Him free from any distraction. Please do not place any images, pictures, letters, written prayer intentions or flowers in the Adoration Chapel moving forward. Any items left in the Adoration Chapel will be collected and held in the front office for you to pick up.

Instead I invite you to bring your prayer intentions before the Blessed Sacrament by sponsoring a prayer candle. It will be placed on one of the candle stands. The candle will stay lit for approximately 6 to 8 days. What a great comfort knowing that your intention will be kept so close to the Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. You may purchase a candle in the front office for $5.00 and you will be given an approximate date that your prayer intention candle will be lit.

Please visit our front office for more information. Our Perpetual Adoration Chapel is one of the most sacred spaces here at St. Anne. It provides for us the opportunity to intimately encounter Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Come, let us adore Him!

In Christ,
Fr. Sergio Muñoz Fita

The Eucharist is Christmas

Man adoring Christ in the Eucharist

We now find ourselves on the III Sunday of Advent, which is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday, meaning, “rejoice” in Latin. This Sunday is named so because, in Latin, that’s the first word of the antiphon of the Holy Mass today, from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians: “Always be joyful in the Lord” (Gaudete in Domino). The Church rejoices because Jesus is near. Within just two weeks, we will celebrate the Nativity in the flesh of the Son of God.

With Jesus, comes our salvation. We are saved! In a world dead of supernatural life, Jesus came down from heaven to give us eternity with God in heaven. This is the core of Christmas. This weekend at St. Anne we are welcoming Father Victor Warkulwiz, who has come to speak during mass in order to promote the adoration of the Eucharist. I never tire of repeating that the center of St. Anne should be Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. If you do
not love Jesus in the tabernacle, this is useless. We become nothing. In a group of people doing things, but that do not glorify God.

I hope that the presence of Father Victor helps us all to regain the love of the Eucharist. In the Lord, we find the friend who always listens to us; the father who protects us; the Mother who welcomes us and gives rest; the lover who gives himself to us; the light that melts the ice of our sins; the companion who does not abandon us; the God who strengthens us; the joy born of true love; the husband who is always faithful; the sun that gives life to everything that is doomed to die; the fountain that always flourishes with plenty of water; the glory of those who wish to do with your life something great in the eyes of God.

Let us return to Jesus in the Eucharist. I encourage you once again to register for Eucharistic Adoration, to give Jesus time, so that the Blessed Sacrament will begin to form, change, and evolve you, so that you may be purified by the love of God.

While we appreciate the presence of Father Victor with us, we pray to the Lord that is soon to be born, to help us understand that the Eucharist is already Christmas, because in it, each day Jesus comes to us and is born in the heart of those that receive Him in His grace. May we love him as He deserves, and may every parish activity be born of love for the Lord in the tabernacle.