Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - May 13, 2020

Greetings My Good Friends,

 Last Monday I got caught in a surprise here at the parish. I think it’s the second time in my life it happened to me. I was sitting in a meeting with Shirl Giacomi, our Director of Religious Education, when all of a sudden there was this great noise of honking car horns. I was totally confused and thought it may have been from Los Coyotes Diagonal for the health workers. So, Shirl encouraged me to go out and see for myself. I was not dressed for the occasion, had no shoes on, two odd socks, shorts, and T-shirt! Lo and behold to my amazement, the honking autos were all for me, congratulating me on being appointed Pastor. What a treat as I stood there in shock! I was in awe. Thank you to all the parishioners who came honking and your great signs attached to your autos. It was truly a wonderful welcoming blessing to me. Many thanks to Shirl for organizing this gathering of Love.

 As many of you know by now, we have hired a new interim principal, Mr. Donnie Green. I hope you watched his excellent video introducing himself. Let us pray for him as he prepares to leave St. Sebastian Catholic School in West L.A.

 Also, lots of prayers for our present principal, Dr. Tricia Holmquist, as she prepares for her final weeks here in our parish school. May the Lord bless them both.

 Both Fr. Bill and I are coping very well. We now do our own grocery shopping and Fr. Bill has become quite domesticated. I am very impressed. He is as sweet as ever; his welcoming smile is addictive.

 I decided to take on a mammoth project during this Coronavirus journey. For the last few weeks I have been handwriting cards to all the priests in the Archdiocese. Presently I have mailed 480 cards and I may have another 160 to write. I have received replies back and all the priests were so happy hearing from another priest with prayers. We all need one another on this journey, and prayer is the easiest thing we can share.

 Archbishop Jose Gomez will announce this week the different phases in reopening the churches. At our recent Zoom Priests’ Meeting on Monday, it was shared that the church buildings will be opened very soon during normal hours just for private prayer -- no Masses yet. Please look out for further information.

 Please be aware that scam emails have been sent out to the school faculty in my name seeking money with a false email address. If you receive an email requesting money for me, it is false and a scam, a way to steal money from you.

 If you have time, please send Fr. Bill and me emails about how you are coping on this journey. We would love to hear from you. Also, thanks to those who have mailed cards, baked cookies, and gifted groceries. Blessings upon you all for your generosity to your priests.

 We both continue to pray for all of you and please pray for us.

 In the Risen Christ,

Fr. Gerard and Fr. Bill

Please remember in your prayers all those afflicted with COVID-19 and the sick, Ray Martinez, Msgr. Jim Gehl, Melchiades Pangilinan Nabong; all first responders, medical personnel, and essential workers.

World Day of Prayer: On Thursday, May 14, people of all religious affiliations are called to participate in a day of prayer, fasting, and acts of charity for the end of the coronavirus pandemic. This worldwide day of prayer will not involve any sort of public gathering in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but invites all pray according to their own tradition. “Remember, on May 14, all believers together, believers of different traditions, will pray, fast, and do works of charity,” Pope Francis said. Following the pope’s lead, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb and the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres both backed the proposed World Day of Prayer. (Catholic News Agency)

 Parish Support: Over these weeks with our stay-at-home order and no physical church available, a huge thank you is extended to all who have supported our parish financially. Thank you and blessings upon you. Donations dropped off in the rectory mailbox are deposited every two weeks for now. Thanks to all those who signed up for on-line giving with Faith Direct. To date, 182 have signed up. Thank you so much. We have a goal of 250 enrollees. We challenge all of you who have not yet signed up to please consider it; this is, at present, the life-line of our parish. https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/CA966

 Team Refuge -- Putting our faith into practice, a group of parishioners (Team Refuge) is continuing to stay in touch with well over 100 of our seniors during these difficult times.  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.

 Realm: If you receive these emails each week, you have a record in Realm, which is the new parish data platform for all parish records. Some of you did not accept the invite to activate your account. (This is a closed system which requires an invitation.) Why should you? Activating your private account allows you to view the data we input and to edit as needed for all members of your family. Your accurate information helps Fr. Gerard and the church office respond to parish needs. Tomorrow we will once more send you an invitation to activate your account. Be ready to reply to the email with a password. There is a second verification email with instructions and then you can edit your information. (Maybe you did activate your account, but never made edits -- log into your account (https://onrealm.org) and use your password.) (1) You should be sent to a screen that says “Tasks” where you’ll see your name in the top right corner. (2) Use the > / drop down menu to select “My Profile”. You will see what we have already input about you. (3) Click EDIT. Review the contact information and make necessary changes. (4) Then click personal information (in white) and revise the fields as necessary; these are primarily drop-down menus. (5) When you are finished, be sure to click SAVE. (6) You can do the same for members of your family whose names are listed to the right, or you can add family members by clicking on the 3 dots by the word “Family” to the right. Need help? Contact Patti Strait (pattistrait00@gmail.com)

 

Fr. Gerard -- FrGerard@start.olrs.org

Msgr. Bill -- Bill2@start.olrs.org

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) 597-0819 -- voice messages only

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

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