Mid-Week Message from Fr. Gerard - March 24, 2021

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-F) (No Mass on Saturday morning)

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.


Greetings my good friends,


I hope you are enjoying the beautiful day today is. Are we not blessed living in Southern California, particularly here at Our Lady of Refuge? The joy I witnessed last weekend when we celebrated Mass indoors was so uplifting. Both Fr. Bill and I, and all of you, were so happy. At the Masses I celebrated, there was a great spirit of unity as a parish community. May God bless us all to continue with a strong faith as we journey towards the glory of Easter.


Attendance at the Sunday Masses last weekend was as follows: Vigil 4 P.M. was 80, Sunday 8 A.M. was 90, and 10 A.M. was 170. As you can see, the 10 A.M. is very popular. Can any of you who attend the 10 A.M. maybe attend the 8 A.M. on Sunday or 4 P.M. on Saturday? At last Sunday’s 10 A.M., some had to stand at the Mass.


I’m am so delighted to see so many attending Sunday Masses, particularly our young adults and families. What a blessing!


Last weekend’s Masses could not have happened without our awesome team of volunteers. You are so amazing; thank you.


This parish is blessed with very active parishioners and that is what makes OLR so special. Kudos to all of you. Let’s keep the momentum going as we make preparations for Holy Week.


With fewer people attending Mass, our donations have dropped as well, so I appeal to you to consider joining Faith Direct, our online giving program. It is so easy and no hassle. This is the first parish that I decided to give online and I am so happy supporting our parish community.


I have a new goal for us as a parish to reach with online givers -- 250. At present we are at 167 regular givers to the parish on Faith Direct. Would you consider joining this group of parishioners and help us reach our goal of 250? Please view the information below about Faith Direct and thanks to all who donate to the parish regularly. Blessings. https://membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/CA966 


On Palm Sunday, the palms will be handed out as you line up to enter the church. Please wear red as a sign of the blood which Jesus shed for us on the cross.

Today I got word from our seminarian Justin Ordoveza that he has been called to the Order of Deacon. Congratulations to Justin and to his parents, Daisy and Ramon, on this wonderful announcement. He will be ordained as a deacon in the next few months and then ordination to the Priesthood the following year. Good news for the parish and its long history of vocations.


Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday. Lots of prayers your way.



Fr. Gerard


Mass Procedures: Our church has re-opened, 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. We appreciate your cooperation and patience.

(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. Form a single line, alternating from one side to another (not a whole row or family).

(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.


Easter Sunrise Service: Fr. Gerard needs volunteers to help set up for this 5:45 A.M. Mass. Please call the church office and leave your contact information.


Baptism: Welcome into our OLR Catholic community Aerin Luna and Andrew Molina who were baptized on Saturday, March 20.


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 as you enter the church. On behalf of those who go to bed hungry, thank you. Visit http://www.crsricebowl.org to learn more.


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.


What Is Palm Sunday? “Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter that begins the Holy Week. It is the day that we remember and celebrate Jesus’ entering into Jerusalem as Savior and King. As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment. The hundreds of people shouted ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’" -Excerpted from 5 Things about Palm Sunday that Remind Us Christ is King

5 Quick Things to Know about Palm Sunday (1) Everything about the scene is important (John 12:12-19Mark 1:1-11Matthew 21:1-11Luke 19:28-44). (2) Jesus fulfills the prophecy of the Messiah in Zechariah 9. (3) There is meaning behind the lowly donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem. (4) Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ humble and triumphant journey toward His sacrifice and the cross. (5) The people hailed Jesus as King and called out Hosanna, which means “save us.”

Why a Donkey? “In the ancient Middle Eastern world, leaders rode horses if they rode to war, but donkeys if they came in peace. First Kings 1:33 mentions Solomon riding a donkey on the day he was recognized as the new king of Israel. Other instances of leaders riding donkeys are Judges 5:10; 10:4; 12:14; and 2 Samuel 16:2. The mention of a donkey in Zechariah 9:9-10 fits the description of a king who would be ‘righteous and having salvation, gentle.’ Rather than riding to conquer, this king would enter in peace. Isaac, a type of Christ, rides a donkey to be slain by his father Abraham on the altar (Genesis 49:10-12).” -Excerpted from 8 Things Most Christians Don’t Understand about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry by Dr. Roger Barrier.

The Disciples and Palm Sunday What would the disciples have been thinking when this event unfolded? Christianity.com shares this statement from John Piper: “There is no doubt what was in the disciples' minds. This was the fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy given centuries earlier:
'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.' (
Zechariah 9:9-10)”

Source: Debbie McDaniel and other cited material.


When Infinite Love and Sorrow Meet (Virtual Retreat) March 26 – 28, 2021: Preparing for the holiest of all weeks this Lent? Sister Regina Marie, O.C.D. is giving a LIVE virtual retreat, sharing a Carmelite perspective on entering deeply into our Lord's Passion. Dive into the mystery and depth of the Passion and share with Jesus in His suffering and become a source of life in Him. For this special retreat, the retreat team will be engaged with YOU throughout the whole weekend. 5 LIVE conferences will be given, each leading into prayer and small group sharing time on Zoom. If you are unable to make it to all the Zooms, know that the conferences and all other retreat content will be available on demand until April 25th. (Cost $50) Prepare yourself to fully receive the gift of peace that Jesus alone can give!  Spend some time in communion with God, the Carmelite Sisters, and fellow retreatants as we dive deeper into the wondrous mysteries of God’s love. https://sacredheartretreathouse.com/events/032621/?source=500


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 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)