Of the 102 colonists who came across the Atlantic to the North America, only 53, just over half, survived that first year to bring in a harvest. More than anything else, this one fact tells us that the first Thanksgiving participants celebrated in spite of terrible suffering, hunger, losses and heartache. Yet, they still found room in the hearts for gratitude. It really is extraordinary.
We’ve had our own horrible year. I don’t need to remind you of everything, between pandemic and politics that we have been through. We’ve all lived through this together. Can we be as exceptional as the Mayflower passengers, finding our own reasons for celebrating what God has done for us? I know that we can!
For myself, I am endlessly grateful for everyone in the medical field. I have been cheering on and praying for researchers seeking vaccines and cures from the beginning. The brave souls who work with the sick have a most tender place of gratitude in my heart.
I have no end of appreciation for the staff of the parish who have worked so heartily, whether in their offices or from their homes, to continue our mission of encountering Jesus and serving as His disciples. Under extraordinarily tough circumstances, they do so very much to keep us together, to provide liturgies, both in person and online, to serve the needs of our children, to offer us support in our ministries and to provide us adult faith formation opportunities.
Our volunteers, sacristans, lectors, ushers, cantors, musicians, tech crew, and Eucharistic ministers have taken a hard situation and made it an amazingly beautiful experience. Who could have known that we could enjoy Mass outside as much as we have?
I am reminded by the many parishioners who serve in the military just how blessed we are that there are so many good people willing to sacrifice and serve to protect us, our country, and the values that make America a great nation.
I am grateful, in a most profound way, for the parishioners who have continued, in this stressful time, to support the parish financially. We have been weathering this storm with your amazing and much appreciated support. From my heart, I thank you!
And then there are the many small things. I am grateful for the pleasure of autumn chill in the air, the first rain, the sound of children playing on the east side of the parish campus during their recess, the hard work of teachers and parents helping children grow in knowledge and faith.
I am grateful for cooking adventures in the kitchen, the smell of onions and garlic sautéing in a frying pan, the heat of a tasty chili pepper, the taste and texture of cheese – oh how I am grateful for cheese.
I am grateful for a good book, a warm cup of chai tea, whitened with milk, for a lit fireplace when it is chilly outside, and for my favorite playlists of gentle, uplifting music.
I am grateful for my comfortable beach chair, for time on cliffs looking down on the Pacific, for pelicans and porpoises, for sea gulls and sunshine on water.
I am grateful for socially distanced dinners in backyards of friends, for any picnic, for tuna salad sandwiches with tomatoes, for a glass of wine with good conversation.
I am grateful for breath, and touch, and taste and sight, and sound and scent – how can I ever be grateful enough for any of these?
This past week was a busy and blessed one for our parish! On November 14, Ron Spooner, a baptized Christian, was received into the Church, confirmed, and joined us at the table of the Eucharist for the first time. On November 17, eleven of our Elect were fully initiated through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion: Vivian Aldapa, Dan Armitage, Adrian Avalos, Aubriella Avalos, Christian Conley, Shane Conley, Leah Cowans, Lindsey Cowans, Lily Kirksey, David Mitchell, and Christopher Thompson. On November 18, Jim Ramey was also fully initiated. We warmly welcome them all and thank God for their presence among us and the gifts they bring to our parish.
Those of us who have been Catholics all our lives take the symbols and rituals of Advent for granted. But for those who are seeking to join the Church, the pre-Christmas season presents an opportunity to immerse themselves more deeply into the Catholic way of life.
They catch the spirit of joyful anticipation as they worship with us on Sundays. They are full of questions about the Advent wreath, the liturgical colors, and the meaning of the scriptures chosen for Advent. They learn the Catholic way of preparing for Christmas by watching online Mass and participating in works of charity like Angel Tags.
The Catholic-seekers among us can be models of wonder and awe for those of us who may have become a little less enthusiastic about the season. Invite your non-Catholic Friends and relatives to attend Mass on the Grass with you. It may refresh your sense of this meaningful time of year.
If you or anyone you know is interested in finding out more about the Catholic Church, please contact Catherine Shadduck at (805) 482·6417 x331 or email@example.com
We can learn a great deal by watching young children. They are born with unconditional love and an unburdened innocence that allows them to dream without boundaries. They continue to shape their own individuality as they mature into teens and young adults. Parents observe with love as aptitudes such as artist, writer, listener, or advocate form their lives’ mission. Our children ultimately find within themselves talents that can yield big results in their chosen occupations, relationships, or ministerial roles. Some are learned but I believe most are attributed to what God has given each of us as gifts waiting to be shared.
In today’s Gospel we hear the parable of the talents. Three are provided an opportunity to grow what has been given them. Two achieve this while the third decides to accept openly what has been entrusted to him but chooses to bury it. His choice has deep personal ramifications while also limiting the growth otherwise available to others. Not unlike this parable, our own decisions and actions with small matters can indeed impact us personally as well as others we encounter.
Each of us should return to what has allowed young children to dream and develop their talents openly. We must pay close attention to small matters that can mean so much in how we support our loved ones and neighbors in need, but we cannot do it alone. Everyone has a responsibility to share his or her God given gifts. Doing so can ensure that topics we personally find most difficult to achieve or face also get the attention they deserve.
I like to think of the sum of our lives’ possibilities as a yardstick. We likely will only have enough time, talent, or treasure in our own lifetime to address just one inch of the overall thirty-six. The good news is that each of us can make a difference with our portion. Equally important is that though we are all created in the image and likeness of God, we are given individual abilities and talents. Our contribution of God’s love to the world is therefore an opportunity to grow in wisdom and holiness as inch after inch continues to build.
Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal organization founded by Fr. Michael J. McGivney in 1882 has served the Church and its parishes and communities for 130 years! Today it is the world's largest Catholic men's organization dedicated to upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church, helping people in need and fostering a bond between members.
As a Knight, men 18+ have the opportunity to strengthen our parish, give back to the community, and grow in faith. Joining our local council doesn’t mean sacrificing quality time with your family; volunteering an hour here or there with your family can make a real difference.
Our local Knights of Columbus Council #5272 is made up of men from Padre Serra and St. Mary Magdalen parishes. They coordinate and carry out fundraising and social events to support a variety of charitable causes and Catholic education.
For more information or to become a Knight, please visit Council 5272's website.
Follow the Knights of Columbus Council #5272 at Facebook @kofc5272
Can Christmas still change the world? The Christmas story is a story of love, hope, redemption and relationship. So, what happened? How did it turn into stuff, stress and debt? Along the way the best story in the world... has become a story of what's on sale.
Also visit: Faith Formation for Adults
Hello Parish Family,
We’ve all heard it, patience is a virtue. When we have this virtue, we are able to see things with clarity. We are not bound but what is happening in the present, but rather, through patience we gain in wisdom.
It’s not a coincidence that wisdom is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is through wisdom that we have the ability to see things beyond our mortal lens. Through wisdom, we are able to see with the same sight of our loving God.
When we go into this Sunday’s gospel, we see the difference between the wise and the foolish. The foolish brought no oil for their lamps, only focusing on the present (gas cans are heavy, I understand). The wise were well prepared, knowing that their path to the bridegroom would be more clear with a little more effort and understanding on who the bridegroom is.
Now, I’m not an advocate for the anxiety about the future. When we trust in our Creator, our Bridegroom, we know that His time is different than ours. If we live our lives knowing the possibility that our God may present Himself, it should actually bring peace, not anxiety.
In the same way that we should fill up our gas tank when the light goes off (I have been known to play the gas game and have failed multiple times), it simply is better to fill up your gas tank and have some reserved for a long drive. No one should ever try to calculate the exact amount of gas to put in your car for a destination, it is reckless. You don’t know when the next gas station will pop up on a long trip.
So friends, though the future may be scary, we can always find excuses to be anxious. Our God asks us the opposite. Find peace in Him. Don’t be constantly be worried about where you will encounter God, but rather, wait in joyous anticipation for the times that He will be there. We can add to that peace when we live lives in anticipation for our bridegroom.
Dear Parish Family,
Happy All Saints day! Every year on November 1st, the Church takes a pause to recall the example, witness, and prayer of the holy women and men who have been identified by the Church as Saints. On this feast day it is so perfect that the Gospel proclaimed is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in particular, the Beatitudes. We hear the words “Blessed” in some translations the words “Happy”, “Fortunate” or “Favored”. These words help us understand what Jesus is saying, that there is divine favor for the poor in spirit, the meek the persecuted.
As was expressed in the second reading, to be a Christian means that at times we live contrary to the ways of this world. The world says success is based on wealth, but Jesus says we are to be “poor in spirit.” Money itself is not bad, but “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Jesus calls us to be detached from wealth. Furthermore, the world tells us to seek pleasure. Just think of the popular phrase, “Do what you want, whatever makes you happy” Rather, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn.” The world tells us to seek power, but Jesus says be “meek.” Moreover, the world says honor and the approval of others is important, but Jesus says, “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.”
The Beatitudes can be understood as a framework for Christian living. Simply put, they are the “how to’s” of sainthood. There is a reason why in the process to declare someone a saint they are “Beatified”. Saints are “meek;” they are “pure of heart;” saints are “merciful” and “peacemakers;” they “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” God’s children are even willing to be persecuted and insulted for the sake of Christ. Therefore, if we want to be a saint, we must seek these things. On this day, we too are challenged to model our lives on the spirit and promises of the Beatitudes. If you find it difficult, just remember, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” In other words, it’s all worth it in the end.
In last week’s gospel, the Sadducees tried to trap Jesus by asking if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. In this week’s gospel the Pharisees, having heard how Jesus had “silenced” the Sadducees (remember the episode about the coin?) decided to test him by asking which commandment of the law is the greatest. By the way, not all Pharisees nor all Sadducees were “villains,” though that’s how they’re often portrayed in the gospel. Many were devout and faithful though some did try to trip up this Galilean rabbi, Jesus, whose answer was, of course, beyond reproach: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
In any case, the question begs reflection. It’s one thing to know the answer to what the greatest commandment is and quite another to examine our own lives to see if we are obedient to it.
In the second reading, Paul writes to the Thessalonians about their “receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers ...”
One could say that we are in a time of “great affliction” having had to adjust to the pandemic since last March. Judging by the atmosphere at “mass on the grass” these last months, I think we have received the word “with joy from the Holy Spirit.” The gospel and first reading give us the signposts to become “a model for all the believers.”
In the first reading, the chosen people are commanded: “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.” The reading continues with a warning against usury and that the Lord will hear the cry of those wronged, and “my wrath will flare up.” I like to imagine what may happen to certain credit card companies...but I digress.
Our St. Vincent de Paul ministry extends sincere gratitude for your generosity during Christmas. You helped make 2019 Christmas brighter for 31 families. With your support, 161 individuals experienced a Christmas they will never forget.
This program meets a critical need in assisting our local community of families who have experienced a greater than usual financial hardship due to the pandemic. We are looking for families, who have been blessed this year and want to give back in gratitude, to participate by purchasing Christmas gifts for the family members they adopt. Your support will bring joy to your family as well as to the family you adopt during this holiday season.
Questions or to participate:
Annette Prosser (805) 558·7134, firstname.lastname@example.org
Also visit: St. Vincent de Paul, Groups, Outreach