Church Re-opening Message from Fr. Gerard - June 11, 2020

Greetings parishioners,

Today I got up early and drove to La Crescenta in the foothills to get my auto serviced. You may ask why so far away, but I have been using this auto dealership for nearly 25 years. My very first parish St. James the Less is located very close by, and for 2 hours I walked the streets all around the parish in memory of my time there. It was a beautiful morning and so good to remember my early years as a priest in Los Angeles. I was so happy to see flowers from Ireland that I planted in the parish garden still blooming after 25 years, another link to my presence there. It was in this parish my mother stayed when she visited me in 1997, her only visit to the USA -- another wonderful memory.

In our beautiful parish of Our Lady of Refuge we are on the threshold of reopening the church for Masses. I thank all involved in this process, especially our Chair Cathy Hoover. It is a mammoth task, but I have been inspired by so many people willing to help and volunteer. As I've said before, it will not be like the past, but with faith and our deep love of Jesus Christ I encourage you to participate in Holy Mass even though we will be limited as to who can attend and reservations are needed. Please read the instructions below.

This morning we began installing Wi-Fi for the Church so that we can livestream Mass in the future.

Please pray for our Parish. May Our Lady of Refuge protect us.

In peace, Fr. Gerard

Parish Support: We are grateful to those who send contributions to the church office. Thanks to all those who signed up for on-line giving with Faith Direct which is now includes a Religious Education option so that parents may pay registration fees electronically. Coming soon – Text to Give! To date, 191 have registered. Thank you so much. We are 59 from our goal of 250 enrollees. 

Team Refuge: 16-year old Maya De Los Reyes, a graduate of OLR School and soon to be a high school junior, created a collection of beautiful, uplifting cards with short scripture citations in an extraordinary show of thoughtfulness for some of the senior members of our parish. What an inspiring act of kindness! Thank you, Maya. -Father G

Registration for Mass: As we re-open the church for public Masses, you must register to attend so that we do not have more than 100 participants. We are not accepting walk-ins. You may register each week using your Realm account. (If you received this email, you have an account.) A. Unfortunately, many of you did not respond to prior Realm emails with instructions on how to activate your account. This is the time to do it! Today you received another invitation to activate your account. (Check your spam folder.) Be ready to reply to the email with a password (8 characters with 1 upper case, 1 lower case, 1 number). There is a second verification email with instructions and then you can edit your information.

  1. Or maybe you did activate your account, but can’t recall your password. Log into your account ( and follow the steps for forgotten passwords. Don’t wait until you wish to register for Mass and go through the frustration of account set-ups.
  2. Need help? Contact Patti Strait ([email protected]). She will talk you through the steps. Specific instructions on how to register for Mass will be available this weekend. Guidelines on Re-opening Church (video)


New Procedures for Attending Mass: While our Parish staff take appropriate precautions consistent with the advice of Public Health authorities, parishioners and guests should understand that they assume the risk of contracting COVID-19 anytime they enter a public space since such precautions do not eliminate the risk of infection.

Before you arrive

-Make your reservation to secure a seat.

-Check your temperature: If it is 100.4 degrees or higher, please do not come to church.

-Stay home if you are ill; have a cough, chills, muscle pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell; are caring for or have been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with or is showing symptoms of COVID-19.

-Please come with clean hands and use a restroom before arriving.

-Wear a face mask to be admitted.                                               

When you arrive

-Be 15 minutes early. Doors will be locked when Mass begins.

-Keep your face mask on at all times; put on your mask before you exit your car.

-Enter and exit only through marked doorways. Entrance will be on the Stearns side of the church (handicapped-accessible door).

-Wait patiently to be greeted, signed in, and then sanitize your hands as you enter.

-Observe 6 feet of social distancing.

-Ushers will direct you to your seat. Family groups will be seated together.

-Remain in your place once seated by the usher.


OLR Church Office (562) 498-6641 (9 A.M.-1 P.M.)

5195 Stearns Street, Long Beach, CA 90815-2901

OLR website --

Betty Guevara, Parish Secretary -- [email protected]

Shirl Giacomi, Director of Religious Education -- [email protected]

(562) 597-3102 (9 A.M.-3 P.M.)

Tricia Holmquist, School Principal -- [email protected]

(562) 597-0819 -- voice messages only

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

Faith Direct --

Realm -- to access to your account