Our Spiritual Staff Members

02-23-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed learning about the saints. Now, as a priest, I love celebrating the many saints' feasts and memorials on the liturgical calendar. I find their stories both inspiring and challenging: inspiring because God worked through them despite their human weaknesses, and challenging because they remained faithful to the Lord and His Church both in good times and in bad.  

It prompts me to reflect on my own life and whether I could make the same choice if put in similar circumstances. One thing I notice is that these heroic men and women—Catholic superheroes we can rightly call them—were not born saints. Rather, they became saints through the choices they made every day. Like us, they too made mistakes but would admit their failings and entrust them to God's mercy, thus turning their mistakes into opportunities to be drawn closer to the heart of Christ and purified by His Love.


Diocesan Campaign Update

02-09-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

I want to thank you for your generous support to the Together Let Us Go Forth Campaign for the Diocese of Phoenix. This diocesan wide campaign will provide the necessary resources for both current and future generations of Catholics to have an encounter with Christ and to develop a relationship with Him. Our Parish and Diocese can only accomplish this important work through the sacrificial gifts you have made through your pledge.

It is with great gratitude that I thank you for your commitment to fulfilling your pledge, which is so vital to our growth and our success. I would like to take a moment to update you on the progress of the campaign. While we did not make our assessed goal of $1,519,803, we did receive $752,385 in promised pledges. This is fantastic and we should not be discouraged as a parish. We did not fail. In fact, I want to acknowledge that the timing of this campaign was not ideal; especially in light of our own needs and our campaign to build the parish hall. However,


God is With Us

12-22-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

I've always been a huge fan of Christmas; there's such a great joy buzzing around that makes this time so different than any other. This joy that seems to fill every heart is so great that it is hard to describe exactly where it comes from. Some would say it comes from giving or receiving exactly the "perfect gift." Others say it comes from the acts of kindness we perform for each other. Still others might think it's all just a lie that we use to fool ourselves and hide whatever pains and hurts we've had to endure this past year. Yet, none of these three options is really able to pinpoint the source of this great joy; that is, until Christmas.

What is it, or better yet, WHO is it that motivates our gift-giving, our works of charity, and the great hope with which we look to the future? It can only be Jesus Christ, God made flesh, who breaks forth into our world on this Holy day.


On Adoration

11-24-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Having a perpetual adoration chapel where we can visit Our Lord at any time of the day or night is a great joy and privilege. It is also a great responsibility for the parish and the individual adorer. As your pastor, I am responsible for ensuring Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I must tell you with great sadness, that a recent audit of our adoration chapel indicates that we have many open hours where the Lord is alone with no assigned adorer.

In order to ensure proper vigil, and custody of the Blessed Sacrament, and to comply with the directives given by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I must ensure that our parish has: a minimum of 2 adorers are assigned per hour, and that the Blessed Sacrament is never left unattended during exposition.


The State of Our Capital Campaign

08-30-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

1. What is the For the Glory of the Risen Lord Campaign?

When this campaign was launched in March of 2017 it was laid out as the first of three phases designed to help us meet the current and future needs of St. Mary Magdalene.

Phase one (the current phase) is focused on the construction of a social hall providing additional gathering space for various programs, PLC's, social events, and other needs as they arise. We are currently in phase one, focusing on the social hall. Once this is done, then we can begin phase two and turn our attention towards the beautification/renovation of the church building.

Phase two (to begin after phase one) turns our attention towards the current church or multi-purpose building and worship space. For this endeavor, after consulting with many groups and individuals within the parish, and based on finances, the decision was made to renovate the current space rather than build a new church. Doing this will save us millions of dollars and will still meet the needs of St. Mary Magdalene. The need for a larger church building is no longer present as the Diocese has already opened one parish near us and have plans for another parish to the east.


True Adoration

07-21-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

It is with great joy that we once again celebrate the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene. For us, since she is our patron, we celebrate her feast day as a liturgical solemnity which means that we treat July 22 as if it were a Sunday, or another high holy day (such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost). This means that we can (and should) celebrate her feast day with great joy!

Recently, a priest invited me to cultivate a deeper devotion to St. Mary Magdalene in my own prayer life, and, heeding his advice, the Lord revealed two very powerful attributes about St. Mary Magdalene. First is the radical conversion and re-orienting of her life entirely to Christ. Second is her ability to surrender all things to Him.


Happy Easter!

04-21-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Happy Easter everyone! We give thanks this day as Christ frees us from the captivity of death. It is truly a time to rejoice, especially after our long Lenten journey. I pray that this season is a blessed one full of joy and new life in Christ for you and your families.

In his Easter homily in 2012 Pope Benedict wrote these words which powerfully summarize the great joy of this blessed day:

"Easter is the feast of the new creation. Jesus is risen and dies no more. He has opened the door to a new life, one that no longer knows illness and death. He has taken mankind up into God himself."


Encountering Christ in the Liturgy

03-10-2019Weekly ReflectionBishop James S. Wall

The central theme of Pope Saint John’s Paul II’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Ecclesia in America, is the encounter with the living Jesus Christ. As he points out, the Second Vatican Council identified a “manifold presence of Christ in the [sacred] liturgy,” and he insists that this presence should be a theme of constant preaching on the part of the Church. Liturgies are guaranteed encounters with the Living Christ because they spring from the will and power of God and not from our efforts. This manifold encounter with Jesus in the liturgy is central to the teaching, to the catechesis, and to the evangelization of Holy Mother Church.


I Love Lent!

03-03-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Happy (almost) Lent! I pray that this journey for us all is fruitful and leads us closer to Christ.

I remember especially well the six years I spent in seminary formation and how this time grew my appreciation for the Lenten season. Lent was a HUGE deal in the seminary (every year seminarians joked about making "I Love Lent" t-shirts and I usually scowled at them in return). Yet, the special emphasis the seminary culture gave to the penitential nature of this season was an opportunity for my own spiritual growth and helped me to focus on the ways I often drown out the Lord in my own life. One example I remember vividly was how much noise there is in my life. From the radio, television, podcasts, and my phone, I was continuously surrounded by things and people talking at me. Lent, in its simplicity, was a chance for the Lord to speak to me. In the simple and silent character of the Lenten season, the Lord's voice grew louder. However, initially letting go of many things and comforts I enjoyed each day, I began to feel like I was being thrown around like a ship at sea without an anchor. Then, the Lord made Himself known through the silence and intentional focus that I, and the seminary community, gave to Him. I was no longer being thrown around as the Lord became my anchor and sheltered from the storm. This is where the full beauty of Lent made itself known and the Lord drew me closer to Him than I had ever been before (so much so that if they had actually made the t-shirts, I would have been the first in line!).


Capital Campaign Update

02-24-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Dear parishioners of St. Mary Magdalene,  

First, I want to start out saying a few thank you's to the many of you whom I have met with over these past several months. This includes: Pastoral and Finance Council members, Capital Campaign Committee members, and many other individuals who have shared with me your thoughts, prayers, and desires regarding St. Mary Magdalene's "For the Glory of the Risen Lord" Capital Campaign. Your insights are greatly appreciated and have been most beneficial in continuing to guide the campaign; which is still progressing.  


Mary, Our Patroness and Mother

01-06-2019Weekly ReflectionBishop Thomas J. Olmsted

Following is the prepared text from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted’s homily for Honor Your Mother and the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary Year of the Diocese of Phoenix

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous deeds” (Psalm 98).

These words of Psalm 98 eloquently express what is in our hearts as we initiate the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary Year of the Diocese of Phoenix. We begin a jubilee year of remembering the fidelity of Jesus throughout the past half-century, giving thanks and praise to the Lord for remaining faithful to us even when we were not. In fact, confessing our many shortcomings and sins does not diminish our gratitude to God but rather deepens our praise of Him for His fidelity. Our sins and failings of the past have this great benefit: they remind us of our absolute need for a Savior. We know, in the very marrow of our bones, that without Him we are bound to fail. But, as St. Paul never ceased to proclaim, “If Christ is for us who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).


The Heart of Christmas

12-23-2018Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year. Everyone and everything seems so full of joy. However, what really transformed Christmas for me was something my spiritual director said to me in seminary. He encouraged me to look beyond the surface and delve into the heart of Christmas: Jesus Christ. What he encouraged me to do was to reflect and pray over what Christmas means . Through this, I was able to see how much God loves me; as He sends His son into the world for me. In other words, God's love for me is so great that He is willing to die for me so that I can be with Him for eternity. I have to say, this blew me away! I have been Catholic my entire life and it was only when I intentionally reflected and prayed upon Christmas in my 20's that I could truly see what Christmas means.