Fr. Gerard's Thanksgiving Message - November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Mass: Thursday, Nov. 26 at 9:30 A.M.

Confessions are Saturday 3 – 3:45 P.M. in the Garden of the School of Religious Education

Weekend Masses: SA 4:00 P.M., SU 8:00 A.M., SU 10 A.M.


Communion Safety Protocols: Please follow the ushers’ directions. As you approach to receive Eucharist, please maintain 6 feet of social distancing.


Greetings parishioners and friends,


We are on the threshold of the most unusual Thanksgiving in our living memory. Many people have opted to be on their own; others have decided to gather, while others are wary.


This is the reality we live in right now, but despite all that we still can be thankful of many things. I think first and foremost for the majority of us is health. My late mother always said as she grew older and more feeble, “Health is Wealth. “ So true as I grow older and reach for another year.


Over these months since March, we as a Parish have journeyed along, taking precautions and staying safe in celebrating Holy Mass  every Sunday. How thankful am I, your Pastor, for all of you the parishioners of Our Lady of Refuge. Each one of you in your own living of the Gospel has lifted up the parish in prayer, supported it financially, and volunteered with passion. I thank you all for your tremendous presence here in our sacred spiritual home in honor of Our Lady.


Last Sunday’s food drive was an  unbelievable success. Thank you all for donating food for the poor of Long Beach. When the truck arrived on Monday to collect the food, the two drivers were awe-struck when they witnessed so much donated food in the cafeteria. Shirl Giacomi, our Director of Religious Education, texted me a message, “ We have filled the truck“ and a picture to confirm this statement. Yes, OLR filled the truck for the poor, the Good News in action. THANK YOU. Shirl asked three of our youth to share their thoughts as they volunteered last Sunday at the food drive. Please enjoy their reflections below.


Tomorrow let us all reflect on those things for which we are thankful. It’s much more than a meal on a table; it goes deep into our hearts. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.


Lots of love and Happy Thanksgiving.

Fr. Gerard


It felt good serving my Community. It was a great experience to see how generous, giving, and loving my Community was in feeding the poor. I learned teamwork and human kindness in this volunteer work. I met wonderful volunteers and parishioners.


This service was very heartwarming to me because of seeing how many contributed to the drive. This service will definitely help many who need food and some supplies. That is what this service was all for. I definitely learned more about appreciating the things that I have and that I could be one that needs help to survive.  Thankfully I am not, and I thank God and my parents for all this that I have. I feel very happy knowing that many contributed, more than I would have thought. Overall, this service was a great way for me to get out and about besides staying at home all the time. After doing this, I would definitely love to do service again, having to do with helping others in need.


Volunteering impacted me because helping the community always is awesome to do. My service impacted others and the community because the people who don't have enough food, we can help them out. For the people that don't have a home, we can help feed them during the holidays. I felt accomplished in completing these hours because giving back always feels enjoyable. It was a nice experience to have done it in this current situation we are in. The parish collected plenty of food that people will enjoy.


Food Collection: Many thanks to the entire parish for the vast quantity of food donated last weekend. All of us together are really better than any one of us alone!  A special thank you to the volunteers who sorted and packed the food: George and Sydne Newberry, Rosiemarie Cruz, Doug  Alford, Kim and Bryan Nelson, Violete Diego, Marty Merino, Breceda Family, Bella Martin, Jacob Organista, Maria Shatterfied, and Shirl Giacomi plus Confirmation candidates Kailianna Breland, Valerie Martinez, Luke Ablaza, Darren Shatterfied, Manny Villa, Alexa Breceda, Camille Merino, and Nicholas Moya (apologies to anyone we may have missed). Thank you for your generosity, OLR!


Covid-19 Precautions: Mayor Robert Garcia and Dr. Anissa Davis, city health officer, both urge residents to not gather for Thanksgiving. “Our cases are going up, and it’s important even though we’re all tired, we still need to wear a mask, avoid gatherings,” Davis said. “And that includes Thanksgiving just as much as any other day.” It you choose to participate in a multi-household gathering, out of consideration for other members of the parish, please self-quarantine and participate in virtual Mass on November 28-29.


Cookbook: OLR School is compiling family recipes to make an Our Lady of Refuge Cookbook! As a school and parish community, we want to highlight how amazing and diverse our community is. Please submit your recipes via the google form ( by December 11th. We will communicate a preorder process in early January.


Reception of Sacraments: Are you a Catholic adult who hasn't received Confirmation? Our Lady of Refuge offers a special Confirmation Preparation program for all those adults who want to receive this sacrament. In order to find out if you are eligible for this special program, please contact the Office of Religious Education at 562-597-3102 to sign up for an interview. Sessions will be on Zoom until Covid-19 numbers permit in-person meetings and will be Wednesday nights from 7:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. beginning January 21, 2021, and running for 14 weeks. Space is limited, so don't wait!  


Mark your calendars:

Thursday, November 26         9:30 A.M.                    Thanksgiving Mass

Th & F, November 26-27                                            Church, School and Religious Ed offices closed

Sunday, November 29                                                First Sunday of Advent

Tuesday, December 8             8 :00 A.M.                   Mass for Immaculate Conception (Holy Day)

Saturday, December 12          4:00 P.M.                    Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe

Saturday, December 19          4:00 P.M.                    Mass for Simbang Gabi

Thursday, December 24         4:00 P.M.                    Christmas Vigil Mass

Friday, December 25              8:00 & 10:00 A.M.      Christmas Day Masses


Thanksgiving Mass: Archbishop Jose H. Gomez is encouraging Catholics to pray at home and participate in the Holy Mass via television and the Internet. Thanksgiving Mass opportunities include

  1. Video of Fr. Gerard From the homepage, select the Video icon
  2. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (live-streamed with replay available)

Mass in Spanish at 7 A.M. and in English at 8 A.M

  1. EWTN (Global Catholic television)

Charter Spectrum Channel 165, Direct TV Channel 370, Frontier Channel 285

Mass 5 A.M. (live), 9 A.M., 4 P.M., 9 P.M.


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 --

Betty Guevara, Parish Secretary --

Shirl Giacomi, Director of Religious Education --

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

Donnie Green, OLRS Interim Principal --

OLR Catholic School -- (562) 597-0819     7:30 A.M. -- 3 P.M. (M-TH), 7:30 A.M. -- 1 P.M. (F)

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

Team Refuge -- Holly Cavallaro, Coordinator (562) 822-9191

Faith Direct --  or the app Faith Direct – eGiving for Churches. To securely make a one-time gift to Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church, text a dollar amount to (562) 414-6831.

Realm -- (to access to your account) or the app Connect – our Church Community, ACS Technology Group (Realm Connect)