Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - April 29, 2020

Greetings Parishioners of OLR,

Today I had a long chat online with one of my good friends in Ireland. Anne lives with her husband and son in County Kerry, my home county which is in the southwest of Ireland. She was commenting to me about all the people that went on the beaches of Newport and Huntington last weekend and the irresponsibility of that action. I had no easy answer to give her, but it’s a common fact right now that people in the midst of this pandemic here in USA want their freedom back. We have already witnessed their protests.

It is much stricter in Ireland. We have freedom here to move about and even drive distances; in Ireland there is a limit of 1.2 miles one can travel. Fewer protests and more acceptance of the seriousness of Covid-19.

Living in the midst of this pandemic has changed our behavior, relationships, and family outreach. Even though we may feel more confident, the fear of contacting the virus is ever-present and it has created an environment than is on edge.

Our faith practice has also changed; what was so familiar of the past is no longer available and so we try new things to keep connected with the Holy.

I have noticed for myself that some days I am reflecting about the reality of the here-and-now; the common thought all of us have is “When will we get back to normality?” What I have learned for myself, there is no going back. We are all moving forward into a new horizon, a new reality of living, hopefully a better world with less emphasis on wars and division and more emphasis on our common humanity and how fragile we have become to a very powerful virus.

I noticed while driving on the freeway a small billboard with a very powerful message: Prayer Changes Things. How true this statement is. Let us pray that more and more people from every faith belief will have the courage to open their hearts, souls, and minds, and pray.

It is so easy to pray, rather than complaining about everything -- put your faith and trust in GOD.



Fr. Gerard

Please remember in your prayers the deceased and their families, especially parishioner Willie Miranda, Ophenia Jolley (sister of Aminta Johnson),  David Leverette (the brother-in-law of Gerry Boyarski), and Maggie Bunch and Barbara Nelson (both sisters of Paul Meiners); all those afflicted with COVID-19 and the sick, Ray Martinez, Msgr. Jim Gehl, Melchiades Pangilinan Nabong, and former parishioner Diane Kelleher; all first responders, medical personal, and essential workers.

Team Refuge: More recognition from the archdiocese https://angelusnews.com/local/la-catholics/local-volunteers-lift-up-senior-parishioners-in-covid-19-outreach-mission/

Parish Support: Counting! 3 more parishioners joined Faith Direct this weekend so we’re up to 177. We still challenge others to help us reach our goal of 250 enrollees. Thanks and blessings to all who continue to support our parish financially. https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/CA966

Renewal of Consecration of USA to Mary: Archbishop José Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop of Los Angeles, will renew our country’s consecration to Mary. We will join the bishops and faithful in Canada as they consecrate their country to Mary. This moment of unified prayer will give our Church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the sick, and wisdom for those who work to cure COVID-19. Friday, May 1 AT 12 P.M. Visit https://lacatholics.org/consecration/ or facebook.com/usccb to join the live-stream and pray as one nation. TV (live): EWTN (encore 7:30 P.M.) Charter Spectrum Channel 165, Direct TV Channel 370, Frontier Channel 285

Strong in the Face of Tribulation: The Church in Communion – a Sure Support in Time of Trial: The Vatican has released a free online prayer book to help Catholics seeking divine assistance amid the coronavirus crisis. The book is available for download in PDF format in English, Italian, Spanish, and French. (Click language to download.) The book is divided into three parts:  prayers, rituals and supplications, including prayers for the sick and for liberation from evil; explanation of how Catholics can continue to practice the faith without the support of the Sacraments; Pope Francis’ reflections since the pandemic struck. -- from Catholic News Agency, April 20, 2020 https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-04/downloadable-publication-popes-prayers-homilies-now-available.html

Virtual retreats: The Carmelite Sisters and Staff at Sacred Heart Retreat House are hosting complimentary virtual weekend retreats, offering 5 spiritual audio conferences, interspersed with videos, links to sacred scripture, musical meditations and prayers by the Carmelite Sisters. These talks are geared to help us grow in faith, hope, and love. All are welcome to join. Since its inception in late March, thousands of people have participated from six of the seven continents! For more information, please visit www.sacredheartretreathouse.com.

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

5195 Stearns Street, Long Beach, CA 90815-2901

OLR website -- https://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