Dear friends on the journey,
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” These are Jesus’ final words in today’s gospel and also known as the Great Commission to his apostles. With the Holy Spirit upon them, the apostles traveled beyond Jerusalem to share the good news of salvation. Like a net gathering fish, they and their followers gathered others, baptizing and teaching them the message of God’s love. In the centuries that followed, women and men of faith have continued to answer the call to go out, baptize and teach, including our patron saint Junipero Serra whose motto is Siempre Adelante, Always Forward.
This weekend we honor the feast day of St. Serra, a Spanish Franciscan priest who preached the good news of salvation along the coast of California in the 18th century. The net of his missionary work has gathered thousands more disciples, extending to the little plot of the vineyard that is now Padre Serra. As we also celebrate our parish anniversary this weekend, we recognize the hundreds of disciples who, since 1988, have been baptized, catechized, evangelized, who have prayed, built strong families, fed the hungry, visited the sick and imprisoned, comforted the bereaved, and witnessed God’s love in their homes and communities. Siempre Adelante!
Last weekend, we announced the June 30 retirement of two disciples, our longtime receptionist and liturgy assistant Jane Riggio and RCIA coordinator Catherine Shadduck. Many years ago they answered the call to go, baptize, and teach, and their nets have overflowed! In preparation for their retirement, they have mentored other disciples to take the nets. Siempre Adelante!
I’m happy to announce that Mary Huebner is taking on the role of liturgy assistant and coordinator of adult initiation. Mary is a long time parishioner and staff member, having coordinated the children’s First Communion program and currently supports the administration department. Children’s initiation will now be coordinated by Jennifer and David Gutierrez. Jennifer is currently our first and second grade coordinator and Dave has been a catechist for many years most recently in children’s initiation. Catherine has also mentored Martha Rodriquez to coordinate adult confirmation. Martha will continue supporting the middle school and high school ministries. Siempre Adelante!
Our new parish receptionist is Lana Chang CSJ, a sister of St. Joseph of Corondolet. Sr. Lana emigrated with her mother from Hong Kong to Los Angeles where she grew up attending Catholic school. As a CSJ, she has been a teacher or principal in the Los Angeles area since 1972.
1935 - 2022
Funeral Liturgy - Cremains
Saturday, August 6, 2022
Padre Serra Parish
I have the suspicion that we aren’t nearly hungry enough to truly appreciate what Jesus is doing for us. Things have changed so very much for us since his day.
In 2020, the USDA calculated that we spent 8.6% of our income, on average, for food. Consider that in 1900, just 120 years earlier, we spent 43% of our income on food. It was harder to produce, even though half of the country worked in agriculture, because mechanization of farms hadn’t happened yet. A horse and a plow to sow, a team of horses and a combine to harvest, home production and yet other horses and wagons to move to market just couldn’t compete for efficiency with our tractors, combines, food factories and trucks. Food preservation also was expensive. Many of our modern methods of lengthening the shelf life, and safeguarding from bacteria and spoilage hadn’t been discovered. Pickling, smoking, drying and salting, all available at the time, were labor intensive and required expensive ingredients.
For most of human history, life was hard and food was expensive. People were shorter, much thin- ner and vulnerable to sickness, and lived shorter lives. We duly credit advances in the medical field for our longer lifespans now. Many medical anthropologists, though, recognize that the greatest positive advance in lifespans was due to readily available and affordable calories.
Yes, the very bane of our modern waistlines, ready access to delectable, sweet or salty, crunchy or creamy calories, relates to our expanded lifespans. For the overwhelming majority of us there simply is no need to be hungry. We are far less likely to starve because of famine, than dieting. I’m not sure we can appreciate how topsy-turvy this is from earlier ages.
What Jesus did for the crowds in today’s Gospel was a stunner for the people involved. It’s amazing enough that a crowd that included 5,000 men all had a bite to eat. It’s something else, altogether, to say that this hungry, emaciated sickly crowd all “ate and were satisfied.”
Our Savior wants to feed us, desires to nourish our spirits with His very Self, given in the form of simple bread, and the celebratory drink of wine. Are we hungry enough to appreciate what He wants to do? And that is before we get to the utter sacredness of God’s outreach to us in this manner. Not only is Holy Communion nourishment. It’s God.
But it all seems too easy, doesn’t it, and perhaps too often? If we spend a great deal in the presence of anything “special,” it can begin to lose its luster. I can remember a scuba trip I went on, where lobster was the main course, I kid you not, every dinner for a week. By day four, I wanted nothing so much as a chicken breast. And here we are, on a daily basis if we want it, able to receive the Creator of the Cosmos.
Frankly, we have to work on keeping the Eucharist in the place it needs to be in our lives. We have the obligation to be alert to the intention and aware of the Eternal Consciousness that accompanies Communion
We have this day every year precisely to remind us of the infinite
value of what Jesus offers us.
Let’s be attentive!
Dear friends on the journey,
Long gone are the days when I get the whole summer off. Adulting has a way of doing that. Yet, I still long for summertime. Weather that calls me to the lake and beach. Longer days for adventuring. The season that opens schedules for more carefree social time, baseball games, fireworks and BBQs, and casual gatherings with friends and family. These days are finally upon us! And don’t we need them more than ever!
No one needs a reminder of the last two years. The pandemic forced us into our homes, physically separating us but we were far from estranged. Our parish never closed. We just gathered in new and creative ways. But we’ve slowly been emerging from a blanket of uncertainty, unknowing, and fear. All Masses are again indoors, kids and teens have been onsite for formation, adult ministries are meeting in person. Future planning finally seems to be possible again so our pastoring team has planned for a normal program year just as it was pre-pandemic. But one area has been amiss and that is our parish family social time.
So, we begin the new program year with Serra Summer, a season of pure fellowship and fun for all ages. After three full years, our parish picnic is back and kicks off the summer activities:
This is what the Lord GOD showed me: a basket of...summer fruit. Amos 8:1
As I think about this weekend’s Solemnity which closes and culminates the Easter Season, I try to imagine what the outpouring of Holy Spirit must have been like for those who experienced it as it’s described in Scripture – whether it’s the Risen Jesus appearing in the locked Upper Room and breathing the Spirit and peace on his disciples, or the rushing wind and tongues of flame described in the Acts of the Apostles, or the sudden ability of Jesus’ disciples to speak and be understood in a multitude of languages. All of those stories seem both thrilling and remote.
If there was ever a time where we needed an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church isn’t now that time? I write this overshadowed by our collective sadness over yet another mass shooting – this time, at an elementary school. How can we joyfully celebrate Pentecost in light of such violence as that, or the war in Ukraine, or any of countless other occasions of violence, hunger, trauma, and grief?
While we may not have experienced it in such a dramatic way as the apostles did, or as the early church did, nevertheless our faith tells us that at our baptism we were given the Holy Spirit – none other than the One who inspired such courage, such wisdom, and such love in the apostles so many years ago. None other than the Spirit that built the church to which we belong today and whose truth we profess.
Often when we celebrate Confirmation, Fr. Patrick tells the newly confirmed (and all of us) that the grace of that sacrament is one that is quietly there for us to draw on when needed – when we need the courage to do the right thing. To stand against bullying and violence. To love the not very lovable, and not very attractive. To care for all of creation. To find the outcasts and bring them back in.
We may feel powerless to change our world, our politics, maybe even ourselves. But we can draw upon the Gifts of the Holy Spirit given to us in baptism and confirmation to be God’s love right where we are, to (as a song in the ’70s said, probably meaning something quite different) “love the one we’re with.” It might not change the world, but, then again, it might. St. Teresa of Calcutta said we are called not to success but to faithfulness. Plant the seed, tend the garden, leave the harvest to God. Here is a list of the gifts given to all of us for the good of all:
Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and piety.
Let’s support one another in drawing upon the inexhaustible supply of grace given to us by the Holy Spirit.
1921 - 2020
Saturday, July 9
Padre Serra Parish
San Fernando Mission
1942 - 2022
Saturday, July 16
Padre Serra Parish
Not at this time