Mid-week Message from Fr. Gerard - March 25, 2020

Greetings my good friends in Christ,
 
Both Fr. Bill and I remarked to one another after saying Mass for you all last weekend that we dearly missed you all.
For us it was a most unusual experience to celebrate Mass to an empty church.
I want all of you to know that you are much loved by your two Irish priests. You are our family here in the USA and I want to thank you for all the prayers you say for us, for the groceries you gifted us, for the soups and foods you prepared for us, for the emails of thanks and for the reviews on Facebook. They are very appreciated, thank you. 

Both Fr. Bill and I miss your smiles, your hugs and your kind words. We are praying for you on a daily basis. Please continue praying for us.

On Monday I decided to cook a chicken stew for Fr Bill and I was very surprised with the end product as it was a first for me.  Fr. Bill is raving about it; he had it for dinner Monday night, lunch and dinner Tuesday and told me there is more for Wednesday.

As you all know he is a gentle, kind, caring friend to so many and I am honored that both of us are family in the rectory with my two dogs Elly and Bones. Both Fr. Bill and I are doing the housekeeping and I think we are doing a very good job.

Remember Jesus saying so many times in the Gospels, “Do not be afraid.”

Let us trust in Jesus in the way forward. Our Faith in Him is a precious gift to be shared with whomever. Let us all have the courage to walk in the Lord’s footsteps as He leads us on the Way.

Archbishop Gomez held a webinar discussion Tuesday morning with all the Pastors and Principals of the Archdiocese.  He informed us that all churches and chapels must be closed immediately and confessions are only offered in emergency situations. He asked us to share with you to say an act of contrition in lieu of confession. A tentative date of April 19 was given for churches to reopen; this will depend on the progress of Coronavirus.

I am pleading with you if you can, donate to your parish as our Sunday collection is minimal and I want to make sure our parish staff are provided for.

We will be posting the 5th Sunday Mass of Lent this weekend once again. Also, I asked Fr. Bill to recite the Rosary for the parishioners so that also will be posted.

Many thanks to the parishioners who have advised me in this crisis. You are Angels to me. To Danny Domingo, Phat To, and Jerry Mendoza for filming us last weekend, thank you.

May Our Lady of Refuge protect us from all harm and May the Lord Jesus Christ Bless us in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Love,

Fr. Gerard and Msgr. Bill

Thank you for keeping our church alive. Please sign-up for e-giving through Faith Direct or please mail your weekly offertory contribution to the parish office. Your help makes a difference.

OLR Church Office (562) 498-6641 -- voice messages only          5195 Stearns Street, Long Beach, CA 90815

Betty Guevara, Parish Secretary --- betty@start.olrs.org

Team Refuge -- Tony McKeon, Coordinator (949) 874-6097

Faith Direct -- Patti Strait pattistrait00@gmail.com or you may leave a message at the parish office.

From Christopher Wells, Vatican News

Pope Francis on Sunday called for all Christians to respond to the coronavirus pandemic “with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness,” adding, “Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tried.”

Speaking after the traditional recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father called on all Christians to join together in prayer. “In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven,” he said.

The “Our Father” on the Annunciation

On Wednesday, 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation, he has invited “the Heads of the Churches and the leaders of every Christian community, together with all Christians of the various confessions, to invoke the Almighty, the omnipotent God, to recite at the same time the prayer that Jesus, our Lord, taught us” – the Our Father. “On that day on which many Christians recall the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word,” Pope Francis prayed, “may the Lord listen to the united prayer of all of His disciples who are preparing themselves to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ.” 

A special Urbi et Orbi blessing

The Pope also announced that on the following Friday, 27 March, he will preside over a moment of prayer on the sagrato of St Peter’s Basilica, the platform at the top of the steps immediately in front of the façade of the Church. “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication,” he said.

The ceremony will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et Orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.

The Director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed that the moment of prayer on Friday will be broadcast live from the Vatican, beginning at 6 P.M. Rome time (10 A.M. PDT). He noted that the plenary indulgence attached to the Urbi et Orbi blessing is subject to the conditions foreseen by the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary

Recognition from the Archdiocese (news release)

This past week, Our Lady of Refuge in Long Beach launched a new ministry called Team Refuge aimed at staying connected during these challenging and unprecedented times. Their growing team, which began with 15 volunteers, is reaching out to elderly seniors and individuals with special needs in the community to make sure they are receiving the care that they need.
 
With the help of their generous volunteers, Team Refuge has already reached out to over 117 seniors and fellow parishioners with special needs. They have added 162 new seniors to their call list, and they will soon be reaching out to over 250 people to check on and lift their spirits.
 
In addition to adding this new ministry, Msgr. Bill O’Keeffe and Fr. Gerard O’Brien have been quick to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. To stay connected with their community, they are sending out (semi-)weekly messages on Realm, Facebook, and the parish website. To continue bringing the Celebration of the Eucharist to parishioners, parish leadership has arranged for Mass
to be recorded (and available online).
 
….We thank them…. for their efforts in keeping their community united! It is inspiring to see the community at Our Lady of Refuge take action to support others, and we commend the volunteers for their outreach!