Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - September 23, 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)


Greetings my good friends in Christ, 

On Tuesday morning at the 8 A.M. Mass we gathered to say farewell to Tony and Lois McKeon who are moving to the East Coast to live. They have been parishioners here for nine years and for the last two years since I arrived, Tony has been actively involved in the renewal of our parish community. On the first day I arrived here on September 18, 2018, Ray Martinez from the rectory office informed me Tony would be an excellent parishioner to help me settle in. 

That first encounter on that day started a great friendship with Tony, who immediately set out to work in planning and advising on the way ahead with all those other parishioners who stepped forward to serve. 

Over the two years, I have witnessed unbelievable growth in our parish community thanks to Tony and many more. Tony was the leader of Small Church Communities (SCC). I recall visiting his home as his group gathered to break open the Word of God and then members shared their stories of life as a result -- a beautiful moment of grace to witness.

At Tuesday’s Mass I complimented Steve and Mary Lang for taking on the leadership of SCC from Tony. Thank you both, as you share your spirit and faith at OLR. 

During the start of Covid lockdown Tony shared a great ministry with me, with his great love of the elders in the parish he wanted to make sure they were not alone during Covid. Out of this idea came Team Refuge, a wonderful ministry of outreach to all those home alone and to the elders of the parish. I received so many compliments from parishioners who received calls of support from fellow parishioners. I also complimented Holly Cavallaro for taking leadership of Team Refuge from Tony. Thank you so much, Holly for your yes to serve. 

The above are just two examples of Tony’s faith in action from his daily Mass and reflection on the Word of God. 

I give thanks to God for Tony’s presence in my life here in the early months in OLR, I thank him for his strong Faith in Jesus Christ, for his unwavering support of me, and for his sharing of his giftedness for the good of the entire parish community. 

What a beautiful treasure he gifted me and ultimately the parish -- a replica of the Pieta, Our Lady holding her Son Jesus from the Cross. Some of you may have seen this last Sunday at the 10:00 A.M. Mass -- Mary always by the side of Jesus. 

Let us pray that Tony and Lois will have a safe drive across our nation and enjoy the wonderful sights along the route. Let us pray they find a nice new home to settle in and seek a parish that welcomes them with love. 

Let us pray for their happiness and peace of mind.


I hosted a small luncheon for Fr. Bill on Monday last to give thanks on his 85th birthday. He loved every second and enjoyed his favorite food, mashed potatoes with Irish butter, meat and veggies, with a dessert of homemade cheesecake by Johanna Raab and a delicious chocolate cake from Betty. 

Happy Birthday, Fr. Bill.

Thank you once again for supporting your parish by your presence at Mass on Sunday, watching on the website and financially giving. You are awesome and I love you all so much.

Love and blessings, 

Fr. Gerard

Message from Tony and Lois McKeon

Fellow OLR Parishioners: 

You are part of one of the most "alive" parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. 

My name is Tony McKeon and my wife Lois and I have been parishioners at OLR for the past several years. We are relocating to the East Coast.  Before we go, we wanted to express our sincere thanks to Father Gerard, Father Bill, and all the wonderful people who make OLR such a special parish.  Father Bill sums it up well for us when he says that the past two years have been the happiest of his four decades at OLR.  So many wonderful things have happened since Father G arrived in the fall of 2018.  The reverence with which Holy Mass is celebrated, is what we will miss most. The friendships we have formed are priceless.

We have loved the groundswell of excitement and there are so many ways to serve. Special thanks to Steve and Mary Lang for heading up OLR's Small Church Communities and to Holly Cavallaro for finding new ways for Team Refuge to stay in touch with the senior members of the parish.  Thanks and be well.

Tony and Lois McKeon


Our Lady of Refuge School invites the Parish community to participate in their annual Fall Opportunity drawing. School parents will be selling tickets for $5.00 each at the end of every Mass the weekend of October 3rd & 4th.  The top three winning tickets will be awarded $1,000, $500, and $250 respectively.  The drawing will take place on Friday, October 30th and the winners will be notified shortly thereafter.  GOOD LUCK!! 

Bible Study: Have you ever felt you didn’t understand God and the way He works? Perhaps you have been frustrated over unanswered prayers and in your impatience, you asked Him why. Well if we are honest, we must confess that at times it is difficult to know why God did certain things or what He meant by what He spoke. However, we are not alone. The disciples had the same problems. Yet in the Scriptures we see that His disciples discovered how to understand God, and by studying the Scriptures you can discover this, too. You are invited to join OLR Bible Study on Tuesday, October 6th at 7:00 P.M. via Zoom (until we can get back in the classroom). For more information contact Cathy Hoover, 562 688-1922

School of Religious Education: It’s not too late to sign up for Religious Education classes: we will begin the second week of October and meet the second and fourth weeks each month.  Grades 1-5 on Mondays, from 6:15 P.M. - 7:30 P.M. and Jr. High - Confirmation twice a month on Tuesdays from 7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.  Sacrament Preparation for Reconciliation and Eucharist is a two-year program and meets 6 times per year on Mondays, 6:15 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.  Calendars will be sent when you Register at https://forms.gle/cARY5qSA2cFb74X97.  Follow the prompts. If you need assistance, call 562 597-3102.  We will begin with Zoom classes at first but hope to meet in person soon!  Our catechists are ready and looking forward to a new year. 

Baptisms have resumed outdoors in the Our Lady of Refuge Chapel, under the tents. For registration information, call Shirl Giacomi 562 597-3102.

RCIA: RCIA begins with Inquiry held on Saturday evenings after 5:30 P.M. Mass. Inquiry is just like it sounds: a place to ask questions. Contact Shirl to set up an appointment, 562 597-3102.

Wanted: Zoom Producers. A volunteer Zoom producer manages the Zoom functions so that the elementary catechists can focus on presenting the faith formation lessons. Time Commitment:  3 hours per month, the Second and Fourth Monday evenings from 6:15 - 7:15 P.M. Salary: Lots of graces and deep appreciation.  Call Shirl to volunteer - 562 597-3102.

Blessing of the animals -- Saturday, Oct 3 at 11:00 A.M.   The bond between a person and pet is like no other relationship, because the communication between fellow creatures is at its most basic. Eye-to-eye, a person with their dog or cat, are two creatures of love but there are many other pets as well.   Bring your pet for a blessing on October 3 at 11:00 A.M. in the OLR parking lot.  Masks required for all humans!  

Cornerstone: Several Cornerstone Peer Ministers attended Catechetical Sunday Mass and received a blessing on their ministry from Fr. G.  Cornerstone is a peer leadership team that facilitates faith discussions and reflections, helps with technology, and assists the Catechists with the Confirmation students. 

Cornerstone team picture on Catechetical Sunday below includes l to r Jasmine Hecht (Confirmation 1) with Torrance Hecht, Joey Seaton, Vicky Sanchez, Fr. Gerard, Brittney Diaz, Sophia Sierra, Emilio Sierra (Cornerstone Peer Ministers)


OLR Church Office (562) 498-6641    9:30 A.M. -- 2 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 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 -- Holly Cavallaro, Coordinator (562) 822-9191

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