Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - April 22, 2020

Greetings My Good Friends, 

I love the innocence of children; their beauty and smiles lift our spirits when life is difficult. Earlier today I had the privilege of chatting on cam with good friends from my former parish. Joan and her adorable special needs family -- Michael and Johnny and Julia Anne, all adopted as babies but now adults in age but kids at heart. We had a great chat and they just loved me singing to them, asking them questions about the virus, and sharing our masks. Pure innocence but just beautiful to experience, a gift from God. I asked Julia Anna, “Have you been to work? “She replied, “We got days off," and that’s it, innocence to the reality we are living in. 

This morning’s mail brought a beautiful surprise of two drawings by twins from our school’s TK class. 

As always, kids touch our hearts, but these innocent gifts of love from Clare and Luke wake us all up to those vulnerable in our society especially the forgotten poor. 

During the week one of our parishioners gifted his stimulus check to St. Vincent de Paul, another extreme gesture of love in action. Maybe there are others who might consider doing the same or a portion of their check. I have received many gift vouchers in the mail for the hungry. 

Jesus said the poor will always be with us so there is a responsibility for all us, his followers, not to forget them or abandon them. 

A homeless came to the rectory recently looking for food, and I prepared sandwiches, fruit, drinks, and a big bowl of hot soup. Next day, walking the dogs on Clark Ave, he saw me and came running across the street thanking me for the food. These encounters with the lowly, the abandoned, the rejected, the despised; the depressed give us an insight into broken humanity and society.  

In our parish we are blessed to have the St. Vincent de Paul Conference who do trojan work helping the poor and families in our locality, especially in these uncertain times. I thank them for their outreach to the poorest of the poor. I thank the parishioners who support this worthy cause through the parish collections and all the other ways you help others. I thank the generosity of our TK kids Clare and Luke and their Grandma for their generous gift of 50 dollars. 

 This is love in action from little innocents to adults, the Good News of Jesus Christ shared with one another with passion. 

Thinking and praying for all of you, missing your smiles and presence here in the parish. Please continue to pray for Fr. Bill and me as we pray for you. 

In Peace, 

Fr. Gerard and Fr. Bill  

During this difficult time, please remember in your prayers:

  • the souls of David Leverette, the brother-in-law of Gerry Boyarski, who passed away in London, United Kingdom
  • all those afflicted with Covid-19 and the sick in our parish, especially Melchiades Pangilinan Nabong, Marty Sherlock, and Ray Martinez (OLR Office staff who is in the hospital undergoing non COVID-related tests);
  • all first responders, medical personal, and essential workers, especially, Angie Lizano, parishioner recalled to active duty with the Navy to work at the Javitz Center Hospital in NYC.  

Fr. Gerard received this email from Angie: Thank you so very much, Fr. Gerard. It seems to be slowing down a bit. We’ve had way fewer admissions this week vs previous. Very sad to hear the stories of patients. The saddest for me was the 38-yr old male; he and his 33-year old wife were in the hospital at the same time; she died. He was discharged from the ICU at another hospital to us at the Javitz Center Hospital. He improved but we let him stay until he was ready mentally to be discharged. I’m working the night shift which isn’t too bad. Thanks for celebrating Mass online. I look forward to it. Take care and thanks for the prayers.   --Angie Moultrie-Lizana

Team Refuge Update:  Nearly 300 OLR parishioners 65-years of age and older are receiving masks in the mail thanks to a very gracious OLR donor, a few Yarn Barn Chicks, and the efforts of our OLR Team Refuge. Many of these seniors continue to receive personal calls to make sure they are OK. Parishioners taking care of their fellow parishioners -- how beautiful! If anyone reading this needs help with something (like getting meals or prescriptions delivered, or a quick ride somewhere), please contact our Team Refuge coordinator at (949) 874-6097. 

Parish Support: It’s very difficult to be at home and have no contact with our beautiful church. Over these weeks with our stay-at-home order, thanks and blessings to all who still support our parish financially. A special thanks to all those who registered for on-line giving with Faith Direct. We are pleased to announce another 9 parishioners joined this week, for a total of 174. We have a goal of 250 ENROLLEES. To all of you who have not yet enrolled, please consider it. At present, this is the life-line of our parish. https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/CA966 

Our Religious Education Office is closed through May 15 following local and national public health directives. We check the office phone for messages (562-597-3102). We have a new app, called Remind that will help us to keep in touch with our families (First Grade thru Confirmation and First- and Second-Year Communion preparation).  Your emails and text numbers were entered from the registration forms in the hopes that one of them is still active. You are asked to accept joining a class.  All you have to do is click the prompt to accept the class.  All of the latest religious education updates will be sent through Remind and, once you join, you can email through that app.  

OLR Church Office (562) 498-6641 -- voice messages only

5195 Stearns Street, Long Beach, CA 90815-2901

OLR websitehttps://www.ourladyofrefuge.org/

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

Shirl Giacomi, Director of Religious Education – dre@start.olrs.org

(562) 597-3102 -- voice messages only

Tricia Holmquist, School Principal -- principal@start.olrs.org

(562) 597-0891 -- voice messages only

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

Faith Direct -- Enroll at https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/CA966