Dear Parish Family
On this Ascension Sunday, I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for the apostles to witness Jesus in glory ascend to heaven. What an amazing thing to see with human eyes. As I ponder this, I began to make note of recent moments where I have been blessed to see God’s glory in action. As I look back, I am filled with so much joy and gratitude. We began the month celebrating the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. The children coming to the table to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time, and the Holy Spirit descending over the youth and adults as they are anointed and sealed in his spirit. I am made aware of the gift our Lord has given me to allow me to witness and celebrate these spiritual milestones with the children, teens, adults and their families.
This particular year, I was brought full circle, in my ministry as a catechist. One of the young men who was confirmed, reminded me at rehearsal that I had been his catechist for First Communion, which was almost 20 years ago! When he told me his name I remembered him immediately; his group was a special one for me because it was the first time I taught middle schoolers. Which was a bit scary for me at the time because I am so short and most of the kids in the group were taller than me. They were all so great and I think in the end I learned much more from them.
As the Children’s Faith Formation Minister, I don’t always get the opportunity to directly interact in the weekly sessions with the children. This past program year, however, I had the opportunity to lead a multi-grade Spark! Zoom session for our distance learners, and when needed, filled in for a catechist who was out sick, and a team member co-leading Three:Sixteen sessions. Many of these days I ended the afternoon physically exhausted but my spirit was on fire! I am reminded why Jesus said to enter the kingdom of God we must be like little children. They are so open to receive his love and to return it. This experience has reignited my love and vocation of catechist. I am grateful to the CFF team, all the catechists, peer leaders and volunteers who tirelessly give their time and talent. Especially during the last two years with all the challenges of the pandemic, this ministry would not be possible without you.
The more I think about it, I come to the conclusion that there are moments to stare into the sky and witness the Glory of God, yet we are not meant to stay there. We are to be sent into the world to spread the good news. Even Noah left the arc, Abraham left his tent, Moses left his nation and went into the desert, as did all the prophets.
1950 - 2022
Saturday, June 18
Padre Serra Parish
1940 - 2022
Friday, June 3
Padre Serra Parish
1933 - 2022
Funeral Liturgy - Cremains
Wednesday, June 8
Padre Serra Parish
My Dear Parish Family,
During the Easter Season the Second Reading is taken from the Book of Revelation. In today’s verses we hear John describe his vision of “the holy city of [the new] Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.” Many of us have a picture of what heaven might be like. In a commentary I recently read, it was defined this way: “Heaven is being in the presence of God. Nothing else matters.” I began reflecting on moments in my life that approached this definition:
Dear Faith Family,
Any decent human being knows that it is important to care for others. We have heard it so many times, that if we were to treat others in a different way, we would feel guilty about it. We are indeed called to love our neighbor. We are made in God’s image, therefore, we are made to love.
What does it mean to love, though? While it is in our nature to love, sometimes it is difficult to articulate what it actually means to love. Pope Benedict explained the nature of love when he said, “Love is ‘divine,’ because it comes from God and unites us to God.” To give a further explanation, St. Thomas Aquinas states that love is simply to will the good of another. If we take these two quotes from two brilliant people, we can come to the conclusion that God is love, and we have the ability to love because we are made in God’s image.
With all that said, love shows itself in unique ways. I think it is intended to be that way. The idea of loving someone is not a onesizefitsall situation, but rather, it is through our creativity and nature that we show ways to love.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus gives a new commandment, to love one another. He takes it further and explains that this is how people know that you are disciples. Our parish motto is, “Encounter Jesus, Be Disciples.” It’s quite a simple statement, but it is important that this must be driven by love. Without love, discipleship is meaningless and self-serving.
I’m not naïve enough to say that loving others is difficult; our Lord even gives a bigger challenge in scripture when he proclaims that we should love our enemies as well as our neighbor. The Apostles themselves were afraid to go convert the masses before the Holy Spirit descended upon them. It’s difficult, but the endeavor is vastly important.
If you find yourself in a difficult position where it is difficult to love, remember that through God, our discipleship becomes perfect. When we find ourselves unable to love, let us pray to our God to aid us. It is through Him, and Him alone that we are perfect.
Youth and Young Adult Minister
1936 - 2022
Tuesday, May 24
Padre Serra Parish
Dear friends on the journey,
From a young age, our life’s experiences, circumstances, and relationships with people, culture, community, and church influence our images of God. One place in particular beautifully illustrates images of God. In scripture, we see that God uses created beings and inanimate objects to represent God’s self: as creator, lawgiver, judge, architect, protector, fire, tabernacle, temple, king, healer, potter, vine, lord, king, shelter, light, rock, spirit, love, father, and of course, Jesus, God incarnate. In today’s gospel, Jesus likens himself as God the shepherd, ever the protector to a flock who knows his voice and follows in trust. The attributes of the shepherd are much like that of another image, perhaps a lesser-known image of God. So on this Mother’s Day, I reflect on God as Mother.
Do you know the story of the young child who cannot fall asleep for fear of the dark and all the bumps in the night? Several times, she calls out to her mother for comfort. Each time mom’s response is, “Don’t be scared; Jesus is always here with you.” Finally, the daughter says, “But mommy, right now I need Jesus with skin on!”
Today, we celebrate mothers as God with skin. As I remember my own grandmother Doris and think about my mom with her kids and grandkids, I can see all the Godly images and attributes in each of them, especially their unconditional love, patience, and forgiveness. Mothers are creators, and life givers, selfless and generous. They listen, guide, protect, and shelter. And a mother’s voice is known to her children, even in the womb.
Now, as a Nana, I understand how God must feel about us. I feel so much joy just thinking of my two grandsons and granddaughter and, when I am with them, oh, my heart just sings! I would give my life for each one of them. My patience with them and desire to teach them is immeasurable. There is nothing better than simply being in their presence as they nap, read, eat, and play.
They say, “You either are a mother or you had one.” So, today, I invite you to reflect on your own mom, grandma, or maternal figure.
How have they been your God as mother, God with skin for you? If you are a mother, grandmother or maternal figure, how do you image God for your own flock?