Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - December 10, 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.


Covid-19 reminder from the Archdiocese: Even outdoors, parishioners must wear face coverings and practice social distancing (6 feet apart, unless they are family members who live together in the same house). If you participate in a multi-household gathering, out of consideration for others in the parish, please attend virtual Mass.


Greetings my good friends, 


On Wednesday I met an elder couple, Harlow and Ana Hansen, parishioners of our beautiful parish. Ana for the last few days was trying to meet me to give me their  donations for all the months since early March. May God bless all who support our parish financially. I had no idea who Ana was until I met her in person, and it was so joyful to meet them both again because I remembered they invited me to their home for lunch in 2019.


I asked them if they received any calls from Team Refuge, and they said a few months ago they received a call. Team Refuge is a blessing in our community with its outreach to those living alone and our elders who are housebound. Thanks to all who call our elders; you are awesome! 


Our parish, even in the midst of this pandemic, is striving. What a joy it is to celebrate Mass outdoors every Sunday. I am impressed by all of you with your strong faith. What a joy to see young adults at Mass. Last Sunday there was a group of young adults together at the 8 A.M. Mass; it was so nice to see you. 


This is truly Church; sacrifice is part of this journey. To be Catholic is not easy! We have to heed to the Gospel Call to follow the Lord, having the courage to pick up whatever cross we are given and go forward with HOPE. Thank you, all you loyal Parishioners of Our Lady of Refuge. 🙏


This Saturday we celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady is always looking out for us. I give thanks to God that I am Pastor (for the second time in the priesthood) of a parish dedicated to Our Lady, Mother of Jesus. What a blessing, so beautiful. I thank you all for your devotion to Mary, Mother of God.


On a lighter note, during the week I decided to bake an Irish Christmas Cake. I honestly think it’s a first for the OLR rectory. Fr. Bill informed me not a hope in the past that he had baked a Christmas cake! On the first day (Monday) all dried fruit and nuts were mixed together and soaked in a big glass of Irish whiskey overnight. On Tuesday I baked the cake; it took 2 hours and 30 minutes and it looks so good. Check the picture below. Next is the feeding process; Irish Christmas cakes love whiskey!!! On Wednesday I poured a half glass into the baked cake, then wrapped it up in paper and sealed it. Next week I will put on the first icing called marzipan, which is similar to almond paste, and a week later, just before Christmas, I will put the Royal icing over the marzipan. That’s the plan! Pray that it tastes delicious -- small slices only. 


The aroma in the rectory reminded me of my childhood in Ireland when my mother baked the exact same cake around this time. As a small boy I loved to taste the cake mix from the bowl afterwards. How special memories are of our loved ones passed. I bet all of you have your own Christmas traditions which you hold dear. I am convinced that this year of Covid has got us all thinking of the most beautiful memories of the past and putting them into action. 


Are you reading and praying your Advent little book? I’m loving every day and yesterday was no exception! The quotation from St. Ignatius of Loyola is something we all ought to do on a daily basis, just putting our total Trust in God. 


Receive, O Lord, all my liberty; take my memory, my understanding and my entire will. Whatever I have or hold you have given me; I give it all back to you and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.


Love and blessings to you all, 

Fr. Gerard


Our Lady of Guadalupe: The ministry of Our Lady of Guadalupe invites you to join in praying the Our Lady of Guadalupe Novena. It began 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 

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels will livestream the rosary, serenata, and Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Friday, December 11, 2020, at 8:00 P.M. -- 10:00 P.M. on its social media platform (www.lacathedral.org/live). EWTN will broadcast the 9 P.M. Friday Mass (encore on Saturday at 9 A.M.) from the Cathedral of  Our Lady of the Angels and on Saturday a 10:15 A.M. Mass from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (encore at 3:30 P.M.) (Charter Spectrum Channel 165, Direct TV Channel 370, Frontier Channel 285). The parish will celebrate at the 4 P.M. Mass on Saturday, December 12.


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?"  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.


Confirmation for Adults: We have several adults considering RCIA and Adult Confirmation.  Let's all pray for them as they discern next steps. In order to find out if you are eligible for this special Confirmation program, please contact the Office of Religious Education at 562-597-3102 to sign up for an interview. Sessions begin Wednesday, January 21, from 7-8:30 P.M. on Zoom and run for 14 weeks.


Virtual Retreats during Advent: (1) Friday, December 11, 6-8:30 P.M., or (2) Saturday, December 12, 10 A.M.-12:30 “Come Lord Jesus” -- Advent Retreat for Adults -- presentations, time for quiet prayer, faith sharing offered by Sisters Devoted to the Sacred Heart https://sacredheartretreatcamp.com/advent-retreat/(3) Sunday, December 13, 5:30-7 P.M. “Bring Your Family to the Manger: Preparing Our Families for Jesus' Birth” -- Fun and meaningful Mini-Advent Retreat on Zoom includes an Advent Activity Kit sent to participating family’s home offered by Office of Marriage and Family Life -- register in advance https://la-archdiocese.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUtce6oqTgoGtCCiTYfllDCX0YNOXkxEu_6 (4) Wednesday, December 16, 11 A.M. “Advent Reflection with Bishop David O'Connell -- Join with other parish leaders for a unique opportunity to reflect and be renewed offered by Office of Life, Justice, and Peace https://mailchi.mp/la-archdiocese.org/5-things-to-know-advent-2670977?e=e6b47512ba


Cookbook: Last chance! 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.


Mark your calendars:

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

Sa-Su, December 12-13          all Masses                   Christmas Appeal for Homeless

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

Sa-Su, December 19-20          all Masses                   Christmas Appeal for Homeless

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)