Fr. Gerard's Mid-Week Message - December 2, 2020

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.

Daily Mass: 8 A.M. (M, Tu, W)

 

Greetings my good friends,

 

December has arrived and now we journey towards the birthday of Jesus and all the preparations associated with that moment. I noticed lots of lights are up this year; actually, in Ireland there is a big push to put lots of lights up in rural areas to lift people’s spirits. Remember the lights of Christmas are symbols of the Star in Bethlehem signaling the birthplace of Jesus, the Light of the World. This year at the rectory we intend to put up extra lights too, to share the light of Christ with all who pass by. 

 

During the week I came across this message online which is so true.

 

NOT EVERYTHING IS CANCELLED

sunshine is not cancelled

love is not cancelled

relationships are not cancelled

reading is not cancelled

naps are not cancelled

devotion is not cancelled

music is not cancelled

dancing is not cancelled

imagination is not cancelled

kindness is not cancelled

conversations are not canceled

hope is not cancelled

 

In this pandemic many of us get frustrated at all the things we can’t have, not realizing all the beautiful things we have and often don’t value. This message is self-explanatory; maybe it’s a message we can celebrate these weeks of Advent as we prepare ourselves spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically to celebrate Christmas in a totally new way with HOPE at its heart. Hope for a New Year of 2021! Hope for a vaccine for the world’s population, Hope for Peace in the USA, Hope for happiness, health, and joy in our lives, Hope for our families  and friends, Hope for love of all, Hope for equality for all God’s people, Hope for our future ................HOPE.

 

This year we are kicking off an outreach to those who are homeless and a toy drive as one community of faith; both the parish and school will participate and items will be delivered to Catholic Charities in Long Beach. Please read the announcement attached. The toy drive has always been a wonderful success here in the parish under the inspiration and love of our late Deacon Roger RIP. Last month’s food drive was a tremendous success. May our outreach be even greater for the homeless and children this Christmas.

 

I hope all of you are reading your daily advent reflections. I read mine early in the morning and have time to reflect on the questions. Remember we are a community in unity in prayer; how beautiful is that. 

 

Thank you, Team Refuge leaders, for calling our parishioners. I was in contact with a parishioner this week who connected through Paul Buberl’s outreach; thank you, Paul. 

 

Two holy days in honor of Our Lady will be celebrated next week: December 8, the Immaculate Conception, how Mary was conceived without sin in her Mother’s Anne’s womb, and December 12, Our Lady of Guadalupe, signaling her apparition to St. Juan Diego. What a gift it is to have our parish called after Our Lady. We are privileged to be a Marian Parish. 

 

A novena is beginning on December 3 to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Why not participate like all those others here in Archdiocese and around the world together in solidarity. Please see the link below to pray the novena. 

 

If you are willing to serve the Lord as a Lector, please call the rectory to sign up as we are very short of lectors at present. Lectors proclaim the Word of God at Mass and I want to personally thank all our lectors for sharing the Word with us. 

 

Last Sunday Justin, our seminarian, shared a reflection on the gospel at the 8 A.M. Mass.  Let  us pray for him as he journeys closer to his ordination. With the help of God, he will be ordained a Deacon in 2021, a cause for great joy in our parish. 

 

At the 8 A.M. Mass this morning, our 8th grade class was in attendance; it was so good to see them. Let us all pray for them in their upcoming graduation year; bless them and keep them safe and happy. 

 

Thank you for all your prayers, cards, gifts, well-wishes, emails, texts on my birthday last Sunday; it was beautiful. 

 

Love to you all and prayers for all at home, 

Fr. Gerard 

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe: The ministry of Our Lady of Guadalupe would like to invite you to join us in praying the Our Lady of Guadalupe Novena. It begins on December 3rd and ends on December 11th. https://www.americaneedsfatima.org/Our-Blessed-Mother/novena-to-our-lady-of-guadalupe.html and https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/hispanic-latino/resources/upload/our-lady-of-guadalupe-jp-II-prayer.pdf  There will be Our Lady of Guadalupe coloring sheets and an explanation of the feast available at Masses this weekend. They are also available at the Religious Education Office on the porch in a blue container. The colored sheets will be used for decorations for the December 12 Mass. Please return them to the blue container on the Religious Education porch no later than December 9. 

 

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Tuesday, December 8) We will celebrate Mass at 8 A.M. in the Chapel; the video will be available on the website later in the day. However, you may join the Our Lady of Refuge Parish and School Community as we celebrate live on Zoom at 8:00 A.M. All are welcome! Join Zoom Meeting https://la-archdiocese.zoom.us/j/93708457973?pwd=Y2ExUGNJK05kRnlDTjJDUVE1NFhEdz09 Meeting ID: 937 0845 7973 and Passcode: olr5210  Other opportunities include EWTN with a live broadcast from the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., at 9 A.M. with an encore at 9 P.M. (Charter Spectrum Channel 165, Direct TV Channel 370, Frontier Channel 285)

 

Christmas Appeal: Fr. Gerard has brought to our attention the plight of the homeless in our community. We might think, "But what can I do?" Again, All of us together are better than any one of us alone. This year we have an opportunity to help the homeless through Catholic Charities. On the weekends of December 12-13 and December 19-20, boxes will be provided for you to drop off your donations when coming to Mass. We will collect travel size toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, lotion) and adult men's heavy white socks.  Unwrapped toys for children ages 4-10 are also needed. (If toys require batteries, please include them.) Thank you for considering how you might help. If you prefer to make a monetary donation, checks may be made payable to Catholic Charities, 123 E. 14th Street, Long Beach, CA 90813, or you may make a one-time donation through Faith Direct with Catholic Charities listed in the memo section.

 

Food Collection update: A special thank you to Woodman Life Insurance Company for their very generous donation of $500 for our food drive. Woodman Life is a not-for-profit life insurance company who likes to put money back into the community. One of our parishioners, Kim Nelson, works for them and made them aware of our drive. Thank you, Kim and Woodman Life Insurance, Chapter 146.  

 

Baptisms: Please welcome our newest members of the community, Emma Angelina Yabo Bayang, Jameson Teodoro Grinde-Herrera, and Kennedy Hellman, all baptized on Saturday, November 28.

 

Prayer Ribbon Wall: We will continue to enjoy our lovely Prayer Ribbon Wall honoring our deceased family and friends. The ribbons will remain until we are able to worship again in our church building. A very special thanks to the Filipino-American community for providing the two beautiful banners that they had made. Thanks also to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Ministry and Filipino-American community for providing the ribbon. Thanks to all who helped with the cutting of the ribbons and those who helped the parishioners with writing and hanging their ribbons.

 

Thank you to all who help make our Masses safe. Google Review of our Chapel from Alejandro Bermudez (Local Guide · 620 reviews · 364 photos) 2 months ago: Beautiful and welcoming Catholic church in Long Beach. Very well located for visitors. I was impressed by all the safety measures they took to make a very safe Mass during COVID; they really went above and beyond and should be regarded as a gold standard. And the Mass was beautiful!

 

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 (https://bit.ly/olrcbookbook) 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!  

 

Birthday Greetings: On behalf of the parish, a balloon bouquet and cake were presented to Fr. Gerard to wish him a happy birthday last Sunday.

 

Mark your calendars:

Tuesday, December 8             8 :00 A.M.                   Mass for Immaculate Conception

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

 

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-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 -- https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/CA966  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 -- https://onrealm.org (to access to your account) or the app Connect – our Church Community, ACS Technology Group (Realm Connect)