Fr. Gerard's New Year's Message - December 30, 2020

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

F, January 1, Solemnity of Mary: Special 10 A.M. Mass

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

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


Covid-19 reminders from the Archdiocese: Masks are compulsory at Mass and on church grounds. If you participate in a multi-household gathering, out of consideration for others in the parish, please attend virtual Mass.


Happy New Year Parishioners,


We are on the threshold of a New Year 2021, and throughout the world everybody is hoping and praying that this year will be a blessing. Having experienced 2020 as a year of fear and worry and death and dying from Covid-19, let us all pray in earnest for a beautiful New Year.


I decided a few weeks ago to plant winter rye in the rectory garden for our new year. This was my first attempt and what a success. Fresh green grass in the middle of winter lifts both Fr. Bill’s and my spirits. It’s that lush feeling of new growth, life springing forth from grass seeds, nurtured with water, sunlight, and fertilizer.


Let us all strive forward into this New Year with a freshness for change in our lives, our families, our relationships, and society in general. It is so easy to constantly look back and be negative, but this New Year is nearly upon us. All of us have an opportunity to lift up rather than knock down, be positive rather than negative, go forward rather than go back. Just look at the pictures of the rectory garden. Our lives can either be in the darkness of negativity or in the brightness of positivity; the choice is ours to take.


The rains came and washed everything clean, freshened our gardens, and invigorated us all into a new energized spirit. Let us move forward with that Spirit in mind, the Spirit of the Lord Who gifts us wisdom to identify the Christ Child in our midst.


May this New Year of 2021 be a great holy year for Our Lady of Refuge Parish. May we all stand firm in the Faith of Jesus Christ and trust in Him wholeheartedly.


God Bless you all. Fr. Bill and I send our love and prayers to you.



Fr. Gerard


Christmas Outreach: Once again you showed your extraordinary compassion and generosity in giving through our Christmas Outreach. Sean, who took our gifts of toiletries (about 350 sets), white socks (about 100 pair), knitted shawls, lap blankets and caps (most made by our Yarn Barn Chicks) for the homeless, said Catholic Charities staff were pleasantly surprised. Hundreds of wonderful toys you selected and purchased were also delivered to Catholic Charities. Just imagine the smiles and delight on the faces of the children when they opened these unexpected gifts. God bless you for your thoughtfulness and kindness. 


Brushing Up on Our Traditions -- Solemnity of Mary, January 1: Growing up, I remember January 1 being the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord. I wondered again when this feast changed to the Solemnity of Mary and found this concise explanation: The honoring of Mary as the Mother of God can be traced back to the Council of Ephesus in 431. By the 7th century, January 1st was observed as a celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the 13th century, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the feast honoring Mary; however, in 1751, after a push in Portugal for an official feast day celebrating Mary’s divine maternity, Pope Benedict XIV allowed Portugal’s churches to devote a feast to Mary on the first Sunday in May. Eventually, the feast extended to other countries and, in 1914, began to be observed on October 11. In 1931, Pope Pius XI extended the feast to the entire church and, in 1974, Pope Paul VI removed the feast of the Circumcision of Christ from the liturgical calendar and replaced it with the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, bringing Mary’s feast day back to the first day of the year. The feast is a celebration of Mary’s motherhood of Jesus. The title “Mother of God” is a western derivation from the Greek Theotokos, which means “God-bearer.” On this day, we are reminded of the role that the Blessed Virgin played in the plan of our salvation. Through the Holy Spirit, God the Father prepared Mary to be the dwelling place where His Son and His Spirit could dwell among men. Christ’s birth was made possible by Mary’s fiat, or sanctioning of God’s plan, with her words, “Be it done to me according to thy word.”  Calling Mary “Mother of God” is the highest honor we can give to her. Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace,” the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace.” New Year’s Day is also designated as the “World Day of Peace,” further acknowledging the role of Mary in our hearts and in our world. (Source: Bill Chapman, Holy Family Church, South Pasadena)


2021 -- A new year. A new opportunity: Join with other adults interested in the Catholic Church for lively, informative discussions. The process for RCIA (those unbaptized or baptized in another religion or those desiring First Communion as well as Confirmation) begins January 6th at 6 P.M. All gatherings will initially be on Zoom. Adult Confirmation preparation begins on January 20 at 7 P.M. A phone interview is needed to determine the process that is best for you. Registration fee is $50 and covers the cost of the book and materials used. Call the Office of Religious Education to set up a phone interview and secure your registration. (562) 597-3102 


Baptisms are held once a month in the Our Lady of Refuge Outdoor Chapel on Saturday at 10:00 A.M. Health protocols are in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. Parents and Godparents are required to attend a pre-baptism class online. Call the Religious Ed office with any questions or to reserve a space.  (562) 597-3102


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 -- [email protected]

Shirl Giacomi, Director of Religious Education -- [email protected]

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

Donnie Green, OLRS Interim Principal -- [email protected]

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