Pastor's Messages

May 28, 2023 - Pentecost Sunday


Greetings my brothers and sisters in the SPIRIT OF THE LORD,


Today, we come to the end of the Easter season on the great FEAST OF PENTECOST. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we put ashes on our foreheads as a sign of repentance and to mark the beginning of our journey through Lent to Holy Week. 


We continued our journey, moving through the Easter Triduum and then through all the Sundays of Easter. We have finally arrived at this wonderful Feast of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate for our life's mission here on earth.


The first scripture reading is self-explanatory, and describes the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of a strong wind and with tongues of fire on those gathered. Can you just imagine what an awesome experience that must have been for the followers of Jesus? 


I bet they had no idea what was taking place, though Jesus did tell them they would receive an Advocate who would lead them to the truth.


This same Spirit would equip them with gifts for carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world.


The beauty of the Spirit of the Lord is that all who say yes to the Lord receive this Holy Spirit. In the early church, many of the believers were converts; Jews, Arabs, and people of all different beliefs, but in their one simple YES to Jesus Christ, they all became one in the Spirit. 


This is the core of the Holy Spirit, the Oneness of God. 


The second scripture reading from St. Paul to the Corinthians says,


“No one can say, ‘JESUS IS LORD,’ except by the HOLY SPIRIT.” (1 Corinthians 12:3)


In the world we live in today we need a miracle to draw all people of different faith beliefs and ideas and attitudes to the One God. In this powerful experience of Pentecost in the early church, Arabs and Jews were singing of the mighty deeds of God together in one voice, in different languages, but all in the one Spirit.


This is definitely what we need today -- one voice, one God, one Spirit, which lead all to peace, harmony, and respect for one another.


Every day, as we listen to the news, we hear of more fighting, more killing, more murder, more strife, more destruction, more disunity, more hatred, more racism, more pain, more suffering, and more sadness! 


All for what? 


Although some would say freedom, and others power, but as the saying goes, an eye for an eye will never bring lasting PEACE. 


The Spirit of the Lord leads us all to the truth of the Lord, which is LOVE for ALL. 


How can we achieve lasting peace in our hearts for one another, particularly for those who are different than us, who have other faith or beliefs, and who are from other countries and cultures, or maybe our neighbors or here in America?


Have we the courage to stand in front of another whom we dislike, ask for forgiveness, and treat them with dignity and respect?


This is part of the great mission of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, if we are totally open to that Spirit, gives us the knowledge and willpower to do awesome acts of love. 


It all goes back, once again, to that inner voice and often silent response of “YES LORD,” YES FROM THE HEART, not from the mind. 


It is so easy to say, “I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in the Holy Spirit,” but do you TRULY BELIEVE FROM THE HEART?


If you truly believe, then why is there so much suffering and hatred even among Christians and Catholics? 


Why do people hate one another, or even condemn one another, just because of faith?


Why do we try and justify these acts of condemnation? 


The simple answer is we are not embracing the Holy Spirit of the Lord with an open heart of love. 


The great gift, which the Risen Christ gave to His disciples as they locked themselves in the upper room out of fear, was PEACE. 


It is the same gift we all want in our lives: peace in our relationships, peace with all people who seem to be different but in actual fact are also created in Gods image and likeness, peace with our neighbors, peace with our family members, peace in our great country, and peace with every country. If we all had the courage to take baby steps forward to the one we dislike or condemn, each one of us could create miracles of love in our midst by that one, simple act of Love. 


Look at American society at present. Have we reached the bottom of the barrel yet? Look at bigoted rhetoric against the LGBTQ community in the USA. Many of these citizens have parents, grandparents and siblings, but still some Christians and Catholics hate them! 


On the freeway on Wednesday, I saw a pickup truck with a flag flying proudly with a derogatory word denouncing President Biden.


Some Christians enjoy sharing this to the public in the USA. In my opinion it’s pure evil. Satan is celebrating in these people’s naivety.


This would NEVER occur in Ireland. It’s so sad that people have reduced themselves to such vile Anti-Christian behavior. 


Let’s pray for America’s conversion to the Truth of Jesus Christ’s challenge -- to love one another from the Heart. 


So many sadly are brainwashed and are NOT open to the GIFT of HOLY SPIRIT, closed and negative. Let us all pray for them with our hearts open for Love. 


How about wearing RED this weekend as the sign of Holy Spirit in our lives with our passion to proclaim and live the Gospel of Love in our lives? 


Last Sunday we had a wonderful experience at First Eucharist. It was so beautiful and the children were so good. All enjoyed their beautiful encounter for the first time with Jesus in the Eucharist. 


I am delighted to inform you we are organizing a summer dinner dance as a fundraiser for our parish community. We need your support to make this community event a successful fundraising experience for our parish. 


Since Covid, our weekly collection has not increased a lot and, as expenses rise, we need opportunities to increase funds. This event was initiated by the Santo Niño Group and I am so grateful to them for organizing the event. All you have to do parishioners is to support the event and buy a ticket. Thank you in advance of your continued support of your parish community.


June is just around the corner. May is the traditional month as we honor Mary; in June we honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 


Let us pray for one another. Our parish is very ethnically diverse. What a BLESSING that is! Let us welcome everyone with LOVE. AMEN.



Fr. Gerard 


“Every time we use religion to draw a line to keep people out, Jesus is with the people on the other side of that line.”
- Hugh L. Hollowell
Faith Direct

Enrollment in Faith Direct has continued to grow at Our Lady of Refuge. There are now more families participating in electronic giving through Faith Direct’s convenient tool.  When combined with "bill pay" donations, total electronic giving at OLR represents about 27% of the offertory collections. 


Giving through Faith Direct lowers the costs associated with our weekly collections by eliminating envelope fees and by requiring less effort to count and deposit money. Electronic giving is a secure way to transmit money while being environmentally conscious. Our parish receives your contribution when you are traveling, sick, or in a rush. Your contribution amount is flexible; as you can give by the week or month and designate donations for specific purposes. It also improves our cash flow and the ability to project our income to match our expenses.


Faith Direct enables parishioners to make contributions through either direct debit from a checking/savings account or through a credit card. Now you can apply the convenience of direct debit to your parish offerings in much the same way as you may now use it to make your mortgage, car or tuition payments. This allows you to budget with a ‘set and forget' plan, as the donations recur on a defined schedule.


Electronic giving means you do not have to stop at the bank, carry cash or checks, or remember to write a check before coming to Mass. Faith Direct also offers you personalized offertory cards (if desired) to replace your envelopes for the collection basket. You can easily track your giving and know that your donations go directly to the bank. Any time during the year, you have access to records of your donations from both the bank and Faith Direct for tax reporting purposes.


For those of you who have yet to consider online giving, enrollment will be a continuing effort.  Please visit the OLR website at or visit the Faith Direct website at There is a short video and you can read more information about this great way to simplify your giving.


As your shepherd, I encourage you to consider Faith Direct. Please help us make our parish financially strong again. Thanks to all of you for your continued support of our parish.


 In peace, Fr. Gerard