Fr. Gerard's Lenten Message - February 16, 2021

Ash Wednesday, February 17: Masses and distribution of ashes are scheduled for 8 A.M. and 4 P.M.

Lenten Fast and Abstinence: FASTING -- On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, those between 18 and 59 are allowed only one full meal. Two smaller meals are allowed as needed, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT -- Those who are 14 years of age and older are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent.


Greetings parishioners,


An Irish priest friend who is Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Northridge sent me a picture of the Irish Pancakes he cooked from scratch this morning for himself and the two retired Irish priests living with him, one of whom is Fr. Bill’s brother Fr. Jerry. My mouth was watering when I saw them because they looked delicious and reminded me of my childhood and my mother cooking them for me. Today in Ireland is known as Pancake Tuesday, the only day in the year when we eat them just before the long Lenten fast.


Tomorrow we begin our Lenten journey in these most unusual times. We begin it with fasting and prayer, with ashes on our foreheads in the Sign of the Cross. That sign is so familiar with us every time we bless ourselves, signing ourselves with the Cross of Christ, but it’s much more than that. It’s having the courage to pick up whatever cross is given us, picking up  those struggles, fears, doubts, sins,  illnesses, worries, mourning, loss, sadness, depression; all those things of which we want to be free.


Jesus challenges us if we want to be a genuine truthful follower of Him, we’ve got to pick them up with passion like He did in His innocence with the heavy cross.


Let’s journey these weeks, reflecting and acting upon our weaker selves. Let us all have the courage to change for the good. Let us stop being judgmental over everyone and everything. Let us open up our inner selves to the unbelievable gift of Forgiveness from Jesus. Amen.



Fr. Gerard


Procedures for Ashes: Ashes will be distributed within Mass with Communion at the end as usual. You will remain at your seat and a minister or the presider will come to you. A cotton swab will be dipped in the ashes and a Sign of the Cross made on your forehead. The swab will be set aside and new one used for the next person.


Weekly Lenten Fish Fry: The Knights of Columbus sponsor a Friday Fish Fry (4:30 – 7 P.M.) during Lent at the Bellflower office. Dinners are packaged to-go; pre-order no later than 1 P.M. each Friday by calling 562-866-9105. Fish and chips or baked fish = $11; deep fried shrimp = $13; extra fish = $3; children under 12 = $7. Orders include French fries, coleslaw, pickle slice, and tartar sauce. (Begins on February 19.) Location: 9847 Artesia Blvd., Bellflower CA 90706.


Stations of the Cross: Resources for your private reflections.


Catholic Relief Services: WE ARE CALLED Join our faith community -- and more than 12,000 Catholic communities across the United States -- in a life-changing Lenten journey with CRS Rice Bowl. Pick up your family’s cardboard CRS Rice Bowl from the OLR chapel. (Look for the baskets near the hand sanitizers.) Prominently placing the rice bowl in your home so you contribute to it financially is a very effective way to donate and keep others less fortunate in your hearts and prayers as a part of your Lenten practice. During the 40 days of Lent, we will reflect on how hunger and malnutrition affect our human family and on the need to take action to end this global injustice. Visit to learn more.


Resources from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the Lenten Season:

  • The Pope’s annual message for Lent is found here:

in English (click)

in Spanish (click)

  • Anananias Training – an opportunity for clergy and key staff, leaders and parishioners in your parish to enter into a process together to form parishioners with no previous training in "the art of spiritual accompaniment." Find more information here (click):
  • University Series – a multi-parish, Catholic adult education program during the season of Lent, celebrating its 20th year, begins virtually on Thursday, February 18, and runs through Friday, March 26.  Presentations will be offered for six weeks through Zoom Webinar.  For more information, or to register online, please visit:
  • CRS Rice Bowl 2021 Virtual Events are included in this year’s Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl experience, with a variety of offerings for students, families, and individuals.  Learn more about the lifesaving work carried out around the world by CRS, their partners and the communities they serve—supported by the generosity of your Lenten offerings. To sign up or for more information about these events, visit


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