Pastor's Messages

June 19, 2022 - Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

 

Greetings my brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

There is a hymn that comes to my mind when I think of the special feast we are celebrating this weekend. “This day was made for the Lord, let us rejoice, let us be glad. This day was made for the Lord, let us rejoice in salvation.”

 

What a beautiful feast day to celebrate Holy Mass, as we celebrate the great mystery of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the very core of our Catholic faith. 

 

Today’s feast day brings me back to my own first Mass celebrated on June 5, 1995. My theme for that Mass was the Eucharist, that mystery of holy bread and wine, blessed and broken for all to share. At my first Mass in my parish church of St. John’s in Tralee, Ireland, I asked two special friends of mine to bring up a freshly home-baked loaf of bread to the altar at the offertory. 

 

Kitty and her husband Jimmy were very good friends of mine; they lived on a farm a few miles from my home. I was first introduced to them by their son, Henry, who was my best friend in high school. From that first encounter we became life-long friends. Whenever I visited, the aroma of fresh bread was always in the home. Kate would say to me, immediately on my entering her kitchen, “Ger sit down and let’s have tea,” and then the age-old tradition of boiling water and brewing tea began. We always ate the fresh bread with butter on it and talked about the farm, the cows, the fowl, the family, and all the news going on at that time. 

 

Even though Kate and Jimmy are now enjoying the great banquet in heaven, that couple taught me a lot about the Eucharist, about welcoming, listening and sharing, about praying, about loving, and about living. 

 

The Eucharist is all that. It leads us to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the “God with us,” the God who calls and connects with us in all different situations.

 

It was just by a simple coincidence that the Lord connected me with Larry Revilla in one of my former parishes, St. Margaret Mary Parish all those years ago. Years later he was ordained a Priest and is now a Pastor in Pico Rivera. 

 

On one Sunday morning, just by chance, we met, or maybe it was the way the Lord calls us, totally unexpectedly. I was about to process in for Mass, the choir had started singing, the altar servers were moving and one of our ushers, called Art, came over to me and said, “Father this man needs to speak to a priest.” I had a choice to make at that very moment: should I proceed with the procession or should I go to this man who needed me? I chose the latter. From that simple encounter, Mass started later than expected but a powerful connection was sealed between Larry and me by the simple request of a concerned usher called Art. 

 

This is also Eucharist, how we live our lives for something more, something more beautiful, something more real, this Jesus in our midst, never abandoning us but always there to touch us, heal us, and strengthen us. This great Sacrament is truly God with us, always broken and shared with all who come and pray the great amen.

 

Be a Eucharistic people. Do not be afraid, but receive Eucharist with an open heart, go to the Sacrament of Confession if you need it, receive the power of forgiveness from a God Who loves you and realize how the most gentle Jesus is there for you alone, unique and beautiful.

 

God bless you.

 

After the 10 A.M. Mass this Sunday we will have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in honor of Corpus Christi. Stay a little while and pray before your Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Thanks for your presence here, Sunday after Sunday. Your faith is very inspiring and I appreciate all of you and pray for your intentions daily.

 

Happy Father’s Day! May God Bless You All, keep you safe and focused on your families and Jesus Christ.

 

Blessings, 

Fr. Gerard

 

P.S. I heard some of you received scam emails requesting money for me. Be very careful. I would never send an email request for money or gift cards. Be alert! 

 

 

“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 https://www.ourladyofrefuge.org/ or visit the Faith Direct website at https://membership.faithdirect.net/CA966. 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