Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - September 2, 2020

Confessions are Saturday 4-5:00 P.M. in Garden of School of Religious Education

Weekend Masses: SA 5:30 P.M., SU 8:00 A.M., SU 10 A.M. 

Daily Mass: 8 A.M. (M, Tu, W) 

All parish facilities are closed on M, September 7, Labor Day. Daily Mass is still celebrated at 8 A.M.

Greetings Parishioners,

Yesterday I attended a priest meeting called a Deanery.  All the parishes in Long Beach were represented by their Administrator or Pastor. Our Dean or leader is Fr. George of St Anthony’s. We meet once a month, but since the pandemic all our meetings are on Zoom.

At all Deanery meetings we get updates from the Archbishop and the Council of Priests which is a central governing body of the Archdiocese on the state of the church here in LA. Each Dean is a member of the Council of Priests. Yesterday we were informed that throughout the archdiocese, enrollment in Catholic schools has dropped a lot due to the pandemic, and schools with low enrollment are in financial difficulties. In most of the parish schools in Long Beach, enrollment has dropped quite considerably, and, as a result, cut-backs in staff are common. Catholic schools depend on tuition to pay teachers’ and staff salaries. With the pandemic, expenses have greatly increased due to procurement of sanitization supplies. 

Like all local Catholic schools, digital learning has begun at OLRS. Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit some of the lower-grade Zoom classrooms. It was great to see our OLRS students again, but my hope is to see them all soon in-person at our school safe and sound.

Teaching digitally is a new experience, and kudos to our teachers and aides on a job well done under the excellent leadership of our Interim Principal Mr. Green. Every day is a new experience in learning. Thank you, parents, for your loyalty to OLRS. Your children’s presence in the Zoom classes is a joy to witness. I totally understand it’s not easy and prayers are being sent your way by me at the Masses I celebrate here in the parish. May God Bless all the families of our parish school.

I urge all our parishioners to pray for our parish school and its future. Soon they will be introducing a school fund-raising raffle, and I would encourage you to participate in it if possible.

Once again, thanks to all who support the parish financially, particularly online with Faith Direct. Yesterday I increased my weekly offering to the parish on Faith Direct; maybe you would consider doing the same.

This morning I had a frightening experience when I was opening the gate for morning Mass. My small dog, Elly, hopped out of my auto unbeknownst to me. I drove to El Dorado Park and realized she was missing. I drove frantically back and called Johanna Raab who cares for my dogs when I have appointments. When I arrived at the parish, there was no sign of Elly so I drove to Johanna’s and she told me that Elly was sitting outside her garden door. Both of us were so relieved to have found our lost sheep and gave thanks to God. 

Let us all pray for one another to strengthen our unity in our community which is centered on the Rock of Jesus Christ. Let us pray for peace with one another, peace in our hearts, peace in our thoughts, peace in our actions, peace in our relations, and peace, perfect peace.

Love,

Fr. Gerard

Mass Intentions: Requests may be made for weekend and daily Masses. Please contact the church office directly. You may request Masses by mail and enclose a stipend; you may call with your request and then make your stipend through Faith Direct as a one-time donation with the notation that it is for a Mass intention.

RCIA: Alvin Tapay made his First Communion August 30, our first outdoor First Eucharist. Alvin is part of our Adult Confirmation / RCIA process and will make his Confirmation at OLR on September 12. He recently became engaged to Eda Morales. Do you know any adults who would like to complete the reception of their Sacraments? Do you know people who are searching for meaning in their lives?  How about inviting them to come take a look at the Our Lady of Refuge Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, a process known as RCIA?  The first step is the inquiry stage, where one can check out the Catholic Church -- what She does and doesn't teach. For more information, call Shirl Giacomi, DRE, at 562 597-3102. 

School of Religious Education: It’s not too late to sign up for Jr. High Religious Education (Grades 6-8) and Confirmation. We meet twice a month on Tuesdays. Register at https://forms.gle/cARY5qSA2cFb74X97

Blood Drive: The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a blood drive on Monday, September 21, 2-8 P.M., at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 9847 Artesia Blvd., Bellflower. To make an appointment, sign up online at www.RedCrossBlood.org and enter sponsor code: BellflowerKofC or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). NEW! All blood donations are now tested for COVID-19 antibodies. redcrossblood.org/antibodytesting. Streamline your donation experience and save up to 15 minutes by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass to complete your pre-donation reading and health history questions on the day of your appointment.

OLR Church Office (562) 498-6641 9:30 A.M. -- 2 P.M. (M-F) If the office is closed, leave a voicemail message and it will be returned the following day.

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 Interim Principal -- principal@start.olrs.org

OLR Catholic School -- (562) 597-0819 7:30 A.M. -- 3 P.M. (M-F)

5210 E. Los Coyotes Diagonal, Long Beach, CA  90815

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

Faith Direct -- https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/CA966  or the app Faith Direct – eGiving for Churches 

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