Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - May 20, 2020

Good afternoon, my good friends,

On my early walk today I saw a great banner outside a home on Atherton facing the street --

             HOPE

       Will get us through this!

Hope is a beautiful word because often, even in the worst situations of life and death, hope pulls us through. We should never abandon hope even in the most difficult times. Hope lifts us up to see brighter things, more positive things along the journey of life.

I’m not sure if you know that my grandfather Tom Crean was a member of three famous expeditions to Antarctica in the early 1900s. He was a member of Scott’s two expeditions and also a member of Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition.

It was today in 1916 that Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean reached civilization for the first time in 17 months, having trekked 30 miles over South Georgia Island and sailed 800 miles from Elephant Island to share the news their ship the Endurance was crushed in the ice and 27 men were stranded on Elephant Island 800 miles away.

This epic journey of life was steeped in hope; these men endured unbelievable suffering to save the majority and they succeeded. All three mentioned that they felt a fourth presence with them as they trekked over the hazardous mountains of South Georgia Island. What was this fourth presence? God? The God Who is always by our side, the God Who leads us in the right direction, the God Who protects and saves.

Be hopeful, be strong, be positive.

During the week I experienced two virtual classes of our parish school. It was so beautiful to see the kids with their little waves and happy smiles. I visited our Kindergarten and 2nd Grade.  Kudos to our teachers and parents for your dedication to your children and to our Catholic school.


Let us pray for our parish and school community, for the children of all our sacramental programs, especially First Eucharist and Confirmation, and for our 8th Grade Graduates.

Be Strong. Fear Not.
Love,
Fr. Gerard

Please remember in your prayers parishioner Mary Jeffers who died on March 31, 2020; all those afflicted with COVID-19 and the sick, Msgr. Jim Gehl and Melchiades Pangilinan Nabong; all first responders, medical personnel, and essential workers.

Parish Support: We are thankful for all your contributions. We are so grateful that 183 of you have joined Faith Direct to provide automatic funds to our parish. Our challenge is to enroll 250. Wouldn't you like to help us meet our goal? https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/CA966

From OLR School

Kindergarten

The OLR School Kindergarten Class made beautiful cards that were delivered by Team Refuge to senior citizens living in a nearby Assisted Living Center. Masks, made by ladies in the OLR Yarn Barn Chicks ministry, were also distributed. All were very appreciative. 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.

Grade 4

The transition to virtual learning has been new territory for all, but the 25 inquisitive, lively and compassionate OLR 4th graders have taken the digital classroom frontier by storm. Our day begins just like it would have in the classroom with a morning meeting that is now held over a video conference. We begin each day with prayer together and go through the day’s agenda. Then it is off into digital study groups. Because they are so supportive of each other, we have grouped them into small study groups. These study groups provide an opportunity for students to check in with each other and help each other with their work (or just to socialize for a bit, they miss their friends). Keeping students motivated online has been a unique challenge. So, fun themed days help keep classwork exciting, and students motivated to keep working hard. A highlight of 4th grade has been learning the ukulele. Students have continued to hone their skills during distance learning, with weekly lessons recorded by our Music Teacher. For fun, last week we had Aloha Friday! We all came to our video conference wearing Hawaiian shirts, and brought our ukuleles. Students had the opportunity to practice with our Music Teacher and a special guest, a professional ukulele player. This week’s theme, selected by one of the study groups, is animals. We are having a pet show-and-tell that the students are creating by adding pictures of their pets to a shared slideshow. Other fun incentives for working hard have included a prayer art contest, a contest for the best score in math practice, and an essay contest. Nobody could have predicted this is how the school year would go, but we are impressed everyday by the hard work and perseverance of all the students. Students are becoming involved in their education in new ways, and have become experts at some life skills many of us didn’t learn until college, or as we entered the professional workforce. Seeing nine- and ten-year olds type digital assignments, create slideshows, use collaborative digital workspaces, and actively participate in video conferences independently is impressive. While we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we know our students will continue to learn and rise to the challenge of online learning. Ms. Johns  kjohns@start.olrs.org

From Gabe Reyes gabereyes81@gmail.com:

Dear Fr. Gerard and OLR parish community,

     I would like to extend my prayers to the entire OLR community. As each week passes, I miss more and more our time of prayer and worship at Mass. 

     I have created a YouTube video for everyone to pray at home. I have selected the song “Jesus, Come to Us.” The lyrics of this song remind us that we can invite the Lord into our homes so that His guiding light can remain with us through this challenging time. Although we have all experienced various types of challenges and hardships, our worship grows stronger even while we are apart.  “Jesus be with us, for we need You.”  https://youtu.be/AjAxbTDXrQM May this prayer bless your homes and may the light of Christ lead us all back together again soon. 

     Thank you, Fr. Gerard, for your prayers and support. To all the parish staff, thank you for all the ways you are continuing the good work that extends to all. To the parishioners of OLR, you are in my prayers. 

Novena in Honor of the Holy Spirit: Thursday begins the final 9 days of the Easter Season. Attached is the link to novena prayers in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. https://mcusercontent.com/d2f8fd13d03fda20f84ea2d38/files/ab456360-cfa7-4bf1-b6e4-64ed2e7bbf2c/Novena_to_the_Holy_Spirit_2020.pdf 

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