My Dear Fellow Disciples,
One of my greatest privileges at Padre Serra Parish is welcoming people who wish to learn more about the Catholic Church. They are school-aged children, teens, and adults who come to us from many different backgrounds and situations. Some are not baptized or have been baptized in another Christian community. Some were baptized in the Catholic Church as infants but were not raised in the faith. Some have been attending Mass with a Catholic spouse for many years and others do not know any Catholics but admire some aspect of our Church. Some seek doctrinal truth, others long for community and a sense of belonging. Many are impressed by our sense of reverence and dignity as we celebrate Mass. Whatever their situation, they all have been touched and called by God who has led them to us.
Because of the varied backgrounds of the seekers, there are various paths to becoming Catholic. We do not have a one-size-fits-all process. During an initial meeting, the seeker and I determine particular needs and set out a plan for them to discern their call, and then perhaps to prepare to be received into the Church. Those who are not baptized or who, although baptized were not brought up in the Christian faith, will take part in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This is a gradual process of conversion which includes rites (ceremonies) with the community which mark their progress, and proceeds to the reception of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
We do not re-baptize fellow Christians but, honoring their baptism, offer them a path to full communion with us. For those who have an extensive relationship with us, the process may last a few short months. Those who are less familiar with Catholicism or who have many questions or concerns may need a longer period of discernment before they are ready to make a Profession of Faith in the Catholic Church. The high point for all those becoming Catholic, by whatever path, is the first reception of Eucharist which is the sign of unity with Jesus and with us, his community of disciples.
Catholicism is not merely a set of beliefs to which we give assent. It is a way of life rooted in a love relationship with God and with each other. Therefore, one does not become Catholic simply by attending classes. Rather, it is an apprenticeship which involves rubbing shoulders with ordinary Catholics as we worship together, play together, serve others, and support one another during life’s ups and downs. It takes every one of us, not just the RCIA team, to bring people into our beloved Church.
Some parishioners are called to support the seekers in a special way as sponsors, sometimes called “journey companions.” Not everyone is able or has the time to fill this role, but we can all do our part in “making disciples” simply by modeling behavior: greeting those sitting near us at Mass, participating fully (that includes singing!), introducing ourselves to the newcomers in the courtyard, and perhaps inviting them to join us at an upcoming parish event. These are simple ways to become “disciples making disciples.” All it takes is a spirit of hospitality and a small step out of our comfort zone.
Dear friends on the journey,
As I write this, I am preparing to visit the Holy Land. On May 13, Fr. Patrick and 41 parishioners departed for a week-long journey, visiting the holiest of places, the land where Jesus was born, lived, died and resurrected. I’m wondering what it will be like to see, feel, taste, and smell all of Israel. Will we encounter Jesus there like the people of his time did?
In today’s gospel, at the Last Supper, Jesus sums up his mission and message with one commandment… love one another as I have loved you. As the apostles journeyed throughout Israel with Jesus, they witnessed firsthand his examples of love and we see it for ourselves in the stories of Jesus’ healing the blind and the lame, touching lepers, welcoming children, forgiving sinners, being with the outcast of society and laying down his life on the cross. This is the mission Jesus charged his apostles and its our mission too as 21st century disciples.
So what does that look like for us now?
Love one another is a simple statement but not always simple to live. Our discipleship is lifelong, complicated and challenging but when we don’t love well, we have the gift of starting again in the next moment, the next day. Thank God for that! Jesus’ mission field was Israel. Our mission is Ventura County.
This week as I travel through Israel, I will be praying for all of you and your journey of discipleship so that we too may love others as Jesus loves us and that all those who meet us will see and feel Jesus’ love through our actions and words!
Faith Life Minister
Dear Parish Family,
Today is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because each year of the liturgical cycle on this 4th Sunday, the Gospel is always taken from the 10th chapter of John where Jesus speaks of himself as the “Good Shepherd.”
Today’s Gospel challenges us to TRUST in God and never be despaired no matter the ugly events of our lives, because
our Shepherd is always there to lead us to greener pastures. He knows us and our needs, much more than we know ourselves. That is why the responsorial psalm reminds us that “We are his people, the sheep of his flock.” That means, as a shepherd never departs from his flock or allows them to be endangered, Jesus will never depart from us or allow us to be endangered. As a shepherd leads his flock to greener pastures, Jesus is leading us to a better life here on earth and to an eternal life there in heaven.
We must also be “listening sheep.” Jesus emphasized the qualities of his sheep when he said: “My sheep hear my voice... and they follow me.” As the sheep of Christ’s flock, do we listen to his voice in the words of the Sacred Scripture and in the teachings of the Church? Do we have compassion for the poor as he did? Do we pray as he prayed and do we have passion for the things of God as he had? Are we answering his call?
This Sunday is also Vocation Sunday, when we pray for our priest and Church leaders who are caring for the souls, who go out and gather the lost sheep to bring them back to God’s loving embrace. And for all the many good shepherds in our lives, who are given the responsibility of caring for others. May we all be his good sheep, listening attentively to his voice, and follow his example of self-giving love. Inspiring others to follow him especially in the vocation of priesthood or religious life.
On this Mother’s Day weekend I want to wish all the mothers who so diligently give of themselves in every way for their children, a bouquet of blessings.
Faith Formation Minister
Dear Padre Serra Parishioners,
As you’ve observed, Shea Homes has been working for some time to construct a new neighborhood on the north and west sides of our parish. There will be a new street, providing access to this new development, running immediately along the west side of our property. Because It isn’t safe to have an exit immediately next to such a busy street, we have been asked to close our Western entrance, and reroute it onto that new road. We will also lose a strip of our property for a right hand turn lane onto that new road.
On the one hand, this new road would provide us with a second left hand turn lane with a signal for eastbound traffic, which will be helpful, but will require some inconvenience while Shea reconfigures our parking lot. Their plans provide us with the same number of spaces, and they have a landscape architect working on how to replant whatever is removed during construction. This construction will inevitably be very inconvenient for us, especially if the West gate gets closed for any portions of the work before the new entrance is completed.
I apologize to you in advance, and ask for your patience!
I have asked them to do all this work during Summer months. We were under the impression that this project wouldn’t start until next summer, but we just learned that they hope to complete most of our parking lot these next months.
This Monday, construction for the removal of ground cover and electrical and sprinkler systems will begin on the west entrance and exit to the church parking lot. This will include the removal of some trees – I have been promised that they will be replaced. The west entrance should remain open during this phase of construction.
If you have any questions, we will do our best to answer them.
1930 - 2019
Vigil Friday, May 17 at 7:00 pm
Griffin Family Funeral Home
1075 E. Daily Drive Camarillo, CA 93010
Funeral Saturday, May 18 at 10:00 am
Padre Serra Parish
5205 Upland Rd, Camarillo, CA 93012
Dear Faith Family,
After two years of formation, our teens have finally received the Sacrament of Confirmation. For those who don’t know, the 2 year process involves classes, small groups, ministry work and a weekend retreat. The purpose of the process isn’t to just educate our teens, but rather, it is meant to be an opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ.
While our program does conclude with Confirmation, in regards to the newly confirmed candidate’s faith, it truly is just the beginning. Throughout the classes we are taught that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are strengthened when we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. But what are the purpose of these gifts that are given to us?
In reality, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to us to bring others closer to God. The gifts of Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom, Right Judgment, Courage, Reverence and Wonder & Awe are the best tools to share God with others. And as
Dominic MaCaller reminded the newly confirmed at one of our sessions, the reality is that we are given these gifts already at Baptism, they are simply made stronger when we receive the Seal of the Spirit.
Sometimes to fail to realize that as Baptized and Confirmed Catholics, our mission is pretty straight forward: “Make Disciples of all Nations”. The gifts that we have already equip us the passion and the direction to do so. We are not alone in this commission, God wants to be with us step by step as we accomplish it.
I am so proud of our newly confirmed teens. Their willingness to break out of their comfort zones and to dedicate time to hear others is amazing to me. Holiness is needed to change this world and I’ve encountered so many holy teens within these
last 2 years. There is no doubt in my mind that our Church had become stronger on Saturday.
Youth and Young Adult Minister
1928 - 2019
Funeral Saturday, May 11 at 12:30 pm
Padre Serra Parish
5205 Upland Rd, Camarillo, CA 93012