Mid-week Message from Fr. Gerard - July 8, 2020

Masses available this weekend: SA 5:30 P.M., SU 8 A.M., and SU 11:30 A.M.

Confessions resume on Saturday, July 11 from 4-5 P.M. in the 8th grade classroom. Please wear a mask. Line up at the benches maintaining 6 feet of social distancing.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament: Wednesday, July 15, 7-8 P.M. in the church.

Greetings Parishioners,

Today is the 58th Anniversary of my Father’s (Robert O’Brien’s) passing. He was 46 and my Mother was 43; I was 3 and a half. I give thanks to God for my mother, for keeping the memory of my father alive in my heart as a young boy and as I grew into adulthood. My father gifted me my first dog, a Lakeland terrier, and ever since I have owned terriers. When that dog died in my teens, I mourned his loss as a living link to my Father.

On the day I was ordained a priest, June 4, 1995, my cousin gave me a gift of a Crucifix. When I read her card, it touched me to the heart. As a little girl she noticed the cross in my father’s carpenter workshop, and my father jumped on his bench and gifted her the cross. She told me she kept the cross all these years until she realized maybe I should have my father’s cross on the day I was ordained a Priest. This cross is so special to me now, gifted by my father to my cousin and my cousin to me, confirmation to me that my Father is with me in spirit.

Thanks for the cards and notes about the two weekly messages we send out through our parish platform called Realm to keep you all connected. I have received many notices of thanks for our online mass every weekend. Many, many thanks for your prayers for Fr. Bill and me; they are very much appreciated.

I watched a beautiful video over the weekend of twin Down Syndrome brothers on a temptation challenge by their mother. It was so sweet, but also so profound. The mom placed chocolate in front of both of them and told them not to eat or touch the chocolate until she returned in a few minutes. That’s when the interaction of the two, Ollie and Cameron, bloomed. As one weakened, the other challenged, back and forth, until the mom returned and the chocolate was eaten. https://aleteia.org/2020/05/22/watch-these-adorable-twins-with-down-syndrome-take-the-temptation-challenge/

When I reflected about this video, it gave me great hope in humanity. Often kids and adults who have mental disabilities are looked down upon in society as unproductive or a burden. Not so here with these two intelligent little boys, full of innocence and overflowing with God’s Love. A great message for all of us in our weaknesses to temptation.

During the week I heard that our seminarian Nick Russell’s dad passed. Let us all pray for the repose of the soul of John Russell. May He Rest in the Peace of Christ. I offered a mass for John on Wednesday. Let us especially pray for Nick and his family.

Justin Ordoveza, our seminarian at St. John’s, is participating in an intense spiritual retreat the month of July with the rest of his class. Please continue to pray for him. He is due back in August and I have invited him to share reflections at Sunday Mass when he returns. Please pray for Vocations for the Priesthood and Women Religious In our parish. If you know of those who may have the call, encourage them to think about their vocation.

I had my first meeting with our new Principal on Tuesday last and it was very productive. He informed me that he is very happy and impressed with our beautiful school. Mr. Green has been very busy with planning the reopening of our school. Please continue to pray for our school, the students, parents, faculty, staff, and our Principal, Mr. Green.

During the Pastorship of Fr. Bill, he had a very successful Pastoral Council here at OLR. I am presently gathering information on how we will set up a similar council again here in the Parish.

Those chosen to sit on the council will undergo training here in the parish. I have been in consultation with our Director of Religious Education, Shirl Giacomi, on how we can move forward. A description of a Pastoral Council is available below my message for you to read.

Thanks to all the members of Team Refuge for constantly keeping in touch with our elders. It is deeply appreciated by them and me.

Painting the main school office is now complete; next is the laying of the new carpet in the reception area, conference room, and the Principal’s Office. School classroom painting has begun.

Kudos to all our volunteers who sanitize our church every weekend after every Mass; you are spectacular. Thank you so much. Please volunteer. We need you! To our Ministers of Communion, Lectors, and Ushers, thank you for your presence every week at Sunday Mass.

Thanks to all who attend Mass at OLR for your compliance with all our safety guidelines; you are extraordinary.

Once again, thank you for generously giving to your parish community. I am still challenging you about on-line giving and its many benefits for the parish. Our goal is 250; we are close but not yet. It’s so easy to sign up. I DID IT!  I am so happy donating to the Parish weekly.

Be safe, wear a mask, wash your hands, and be happy.

 Lots of God’s Love,

Fr. Gerard

Pastoral councils (based on Canon Law 511) are advisory boards to the Pastor made up of 10-12 reflective parishioners who investigate and consider the pastoral activity of the parish. They help to prioritize the current realities around the 7 elements of Parish life: Evangelization, Service, Worship, Stewardship, Word, Leadership, and Community and recommend their conclusions to the pastor. This prayerful, Christ-centered group meets monthly with the pastor and is trained in the process of discernment and consensus decision-making. 

First Communion Cancellation: Fr. Gerard and I consulted with a number of parish leaders regarding First Communions.  The consensus was that we will postpone all First Communion Masses (July 18 and August 1) because of the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in our area. We want to be able to gather to celebrate this wonderful milestone in a Catholic’s life without the fear of spreading this disease.  The mini retreat/practice is also postponed. Let’s all re-commit to wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding at-risk activities.  It is a sacrifice, but also a gift to our health care workers and vulnerable populations. Stay Safe!  -Shirl Giacomi, DRE.

Parish Support: Thanks to all of you who support our parish financially. Thank you and blessings upon you. 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. To date, 202 have registered. Thank you so much. Our goal is 250 enrollees. Only 48 more to go! Can you join the challenge to help us meet our goal?

The church office is open from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M., Monday - Friday. All visitors must comply with office safety protocols: face mask required, social distancing, and only 1 person in the office at a time. You may now contact the office to request Mass intentions. We are not currently selling candles.

Volunteers: We are assembling weekend teams for each Mass, and we need volunteers in two areas: greeters and ushers (to greet and help seat people) and cleaners (to wipe down the pews and other contact areas after each of the Masses).  All supplies are provided.  Contact the church office (562) 498-6641 or betty@start.olrs.org. The more volunteers we get, the easier the task completion.

Registration for Mass: Masses available this weekend: SA 5:30 P.M., SU 8 A.M., and SU 11:30 A.M. Please register by Saturday so we can accommodate you more easily. You must register each week.

Self-registration: Go to Realm www.onrealm.org 1. Log into your account with your email and password; 2. Click on your preferred Mass time; 3. Click register by; 4. Who is attending? See your name and be sure a √ is in the box for each family member or add names of guests; 5. Click Next and Next again, then Register. (You will receive an email confirmation.) Or use the app Connect – our Church Community, ACS Technology Group (Realm Connect).

Phone registration: You must speak with someone, not leave a request on voice mail. Parish office hours are M-F, 9 A.M. – 1 P.M.

Need help? Contact Patti Strait (pattistrait00@gmail.com). She will guide you through the steps to help you register for Mass.

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

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 – 9 A.M - 3 P.M., M-F

Donnie Green, OLRS Principalprincipal@start.olrs.org

OLR School -- (562) 597-0819

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

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

Realm -- https://onrealm.org (to access to your account) Or use the app Connect – our Church Community, ACS Technology Group (Realm Connect)