Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - March 17, 2021

Our Lady of Refuge Church is now open for both daily Mass and weekend Masses.

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

Weekend Masses celebrated inside the church: SA 4:00 P.M., SU 8:00 A.M., SU 10 A.M.

Daily Mass celebrated inside the church: 8 A.M. (M, Tu, W)

Lenten Abstinence: Those who are 14 years of age and older are to abstain from meat on all the Fridays of Lent.

Masks are required for all over the age of 3 on parish grounds.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my good friends,


This year, more than any year, I have been reflecting on the importance of family, mainly because of Covid and no travel. I know for Fr. Bill and me, our annual trip home is the highlight of the year. I’m always so excited to meet family and friends and just enjoy the beauty of Ireland. Last time home for me was October 2019. Hopefully we can travel later this year.


My memories of St. Patrick’s Day as a child were the freedom to eat candy and desserts on the day, even though it was normally in the middle of the Lenten fast.


A few days before the Feast, my mother would ask me to go out and find some fresh shamrock. We all put it on our clothes for Mass on that special day: the three-leafed shamrock represented St. Patrick and his use of it to describe to the early Celts the relationship of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. My mother loved a big spray of shamrock and it was always a happy day in our family.


There’s no corned beef in Ireland, only in America. My memory of the meal in Ireland was roast chicken. When I first came to USA, I was surprised when everyone was offering me corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day; that was totally new to me. The history of corned beef in USA goes back to the early Irish immigrants who sailed from Ireland to the USA and the food had to be salted and cured for the long journey. This was the food they ate upon arrival and the tradition started.


This morning I celebrated a beautiful Mass in honor of St Patrick. All the children and teachers in our school watched it on Zoom. Afterwards I visited all the Zoom classes with Mr. Green and greeted the students and teachers. Our children in our school are so well behaved and so focused on their studies. Kudos once again to all our teachers, staff, and especially the parents. God Bless you all.


On behalf of Fr. Bill and me, I would like to wish you a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a privilege for me to live with Fr. Bill and I give thanks to God every day for the opportunity.


We moved into the church on Monday and this coming weekend will be our first inside for a long time. Thanks to all the volunteers who were trained last weekend after all the Masses. Blessings upon you.


May Our Lady of Refuge protect us.


Picture below is a rural road in West Kerry, Ireland, about 30 miles from my home.



Fr. Gerard


Mass Procedures for our re-opening on March 20-21: Our church is re-opening, but we have Federal, State, County, City and Archdiocesan regulations to follow. All procedures are intended to facilitate the safety and health of all. We must maintain capacity and social distancing guidelines. Prior to each service, the church is sanitized.

(1) Please use the restroom before you leave home.

(2) Arrive early to facilitate seating.

(3) Be sure your mask is in place when you exit your car.

(4) We will ONLY use the entrance on Stearns as we did before.

(5) Please observe social distancing as you wait to enter (see the blue tape).

(6) You will sanitize your hands before entering the church.

(7) A greeter or usher will seat you where we need you to sit; every other pew is in use and seating is marked. (Remember, we are still under social distancing and attendance protocols.)

(8) If you have a pyx, please give it to the usher for a Minister of Communion to place on the altar.

(9) Late arrivals will also be seated by an usher.

(10) At Communion, remain at your place until directed by an usher to move forward.

(11) Maintain social distancing as you approach to receive Eucharist (see the blue tape).

(12) Your mask must remain in place covering BOTH nose and mouth until you receive Eucharist; then place the Body of Christ into your mouth and reposition your mask.

(13) Exit after receiving Communion, following the instructions of the ushers.

(14) Leave the church reverently and go to your car.


Not available: Currently the church is not open for visitation. Candles for the shrines are NOT available.

Schedule for Holy Week:

Holy Thursday Mass, April 1 at 7:00 P.M.

Good Friday Liturgies, April 2 at 3 P.M. and 7:00 P.M.

Easter Vigil Mass, April 3 at 7:30 P.M.

Easter Sunday Masses, April 4 at 5:45 A.M. (outdoor Sunrise Service), 8 A.M., 10 A.M.


Catholic Relief Services: Thank you to all who have been "feeding your rice bowls" with life-saving coins for the hungriest in our world. If possible, can you count your coins and turn in a check made out to Our Lady of Refuge and, on the note line, write “CRS” so we can properly allocate the funds? Or turn you coins into folding money. Bowls with checks, folding money, or coins can be placed in the CRS basket at the altar in the church. On behalf of those who go to bed hungry, thank you. Visit http://www.crsricebowl.org to learn more.


The Sacred Heart Retreat House in Alhambra is having its first virtual St. Joseph Night on Sunday, March 21, 4:30-6:30 P.M. Come enjoy this FREE program by the Carmelite Sisters at the Sacred Heart Retreat House. Register today and you can see other opportunities to support the Sacred Heart Retreat House: virtual baking class, virtual painting class, silent auction, and more! To register or for more info, go to: www.sacredheartretreathouse.com/sjnight or contact Sr. Pia, OCD, at shdevelopment@carmelitesistersocd.com


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. Location: 9847 Artesia Blvd., Bellflower CA 90706.


Stations of the Cross: Resources for your private reflections.


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