It’s been too long since I’ve done one of my quiet hero bulletins. I’d like to give some recognition to the many volunteers who make our children’s faith formation process such a success. There are many I could point out to you, and I know I will in the future.
I’d like to take this moment to draw your attention to one of our quiet heroes, Elaine Denham. Her goodness and generosity begin at home, where she has raised 5 boys and one girl with Richard, her husband, while also looking after her mother and 97-year-old grandmother, along with her disabled brother, the latter three living in Los Angeles. Many people would consider that sufficient. Elaine has more will to love than that, though, and has cared for our parish children in Little Church. She isn’t quite certain when she began, but we think it was in 2009. For all these years she has been a key motherly presence to our little ones, sharing the faith with them. With endless creativity, she provides simple, child appropriate versions of the Sunday readings, with songs, activities and movement time to keep them eagerly coming back for more.
I remember once, standing at the doorway, observing her teach them their left hand from their right. She had a room full of little ones extend their left hand all the way to the left, and wiggle their fingers, and then their right hand all the way to the right, wiggling all the way. This innocent little gesture segued into a prayerful sign of the cross, no wiggling required. It was a precious moment, believe me wiggling fingers and all.
I’m so conscious of what a difference she makes for parents. One parent, who had dropped off one little toddler in Stay and Play, and an older sibling in Little Church, posted online that Mass that morning felt like a date with her spouse. I love the thought of a date with God too!
One of her gracious words of wisdom was that “Little Church is important because the parents need church for contemplative time. But, not fifty-two weeks a year. Some weeks it is important to take the children to Mass.” She is so right. We want both prayerful parents, and church ready children.
Because Elaine is that way, she made a point of letting us know how important her fellow volunteers, Kathleen Benson and Mary Rogers Vey, were to the success of Little Church from week to week, and how they deserve to be acknowledged. In a world filled with troubling news, it’s a pleasure to take time to remind us of the goodness and selflessness of these, our sisters at Padre Serra!
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to recognizing her for her fidelity and generosity to the Little Church process. As she and her family are moving to Ventura I felt it just to thank her publicly. Please join with me in saluting Elaine for living out her Christian commitment in tangible ways that both love and care for children, and grant respite for their parents. What a gift!
August 27, 2017
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Also Visit: St Vincent de Paul
Friends on the journey,
There’s nothing more persistent than an inquisitive toddler. Commonly heard in my house was “Mom, mom, mommy, mom” and questions like “What’s this? What’s that? Why? How?” Of course, this continued through childhood and the teenage years just with different circumstances. As nerve wracking as it sometimes was, those conversations were times of learning, sharing and growing. Now as a mother of young adults, I often miss those younger inquisitions but cherish the more complicated adult discussions today.
Today’s gospel is about persistency. The Canaanite women is a Gentile, a non-believer, and so desperate to help her tormented daughter that she’s willing to beg over and over again for this Jewish man’s help. The disciples tried to send her away and Jesus was hesitant at first. Her won’t-take-no-for-an-answer approach finally wins and Jesus honors her persistency by curing her daughter.
God’s like that with us, wanting us to be as persistent in our faith just like that inquisitive child and Canaanite woman. Our loving Lord wants nothing more than for us to have faith and trust in his unwavering care. God never tires of our prayers and wants to hear from us regularly, consistently, for mundane requests, life changing petitions for ourselves and others, gratitude, praise, and just every day conversation.
Our faith always invokes a God response and our prayers are never unanswered, though we don’t always get what we want. How often have we asked God for something, didn’t get our way and then gave up, thinking God is punishing us or doesn’t care? That’s where persistent faith comes in. Faith is what guides us to search for God’s message in any situation, difficult or otherwise. Faith is what helps makes sense of the unexplainable in our lives and in the world. Faith is what allows us to the see light in the darkness. Faith is what inspires us to find something or someone for which to be grateful. Faith is what helps us to see God at work in our daily lives through creation, people and events. Persistent faith is trusting and surrendering our will to God’s. Easier said than done, I know. But our faith journey is a lifelong marathon, not a sprint, ever changing, always evolving and only abundant with persistence.
May we always be like that inquisitive toddler, daily saying “God, God, Lord, Jesus. Where are you? Help me see you today. Thank you. I know that was you.”
Faith Life Minister
Dear Parish Family,
We recently returned home from the eastern Sierras. Everything was so fresh and beautiful. It is so easy to experience the presence of our good God in the blue skies, clear lakes, green trees, and in the many waterfalls and wild flowers. Nature is doing her thing up there. We relaxed and took in the quiet.
Today’s first reading from the first book of Kings reminds us of hearing God in the quiet. Not the only way. Elijah heard God calling him outside the cave as the Lord would be passing by. The Lord was not in the loud violent things like earthquakes, fire and strong wind. Elijah did hear the Lord in the soft whispering sound.
As summer winds down and the busyness of back to school and work, consider taking a small last vacation. Let’s find that quiet place to listen to the Lord in the whispers. Finding God in the small, much like loving in the detail.
Deacon Ike and Shari Edie
I recently had the opportunity to go to the Yosemite and Sierra Nevada mountain area. Wow, what beauty! I stood there admiring the perfection in mountains and trees, the lakes and rivers, so peaceful. I could not help but think this is a little glimpse of heaven. My eyes could see God’s glory in his beautiful creation. I too like Peter was in such awe … saying, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” I did not want to leave.
I think of the apostles Peter, James and John who were accompanying Jesus to the mountaintop to pray. There they were witnesses to Jesus’ Transfiguration. Imagine their good friend, whom they knew well, covered in radiant light, exposing his divinity, True Man and True God! There he spoke with Moses, the keeper of the law and Elijah, the great prophet. And as if more proof was needed they heard the voice of God say, “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” Though they did not fully understand what they were experiencing, this moment prepared and sustained them for the future trials.
I think of our daily lives, so busy, family, work, responsibilities and worries. Some days our burdens are so heavy, we seek respite. Coming to Mass, is our weekly mountaintop experience. It is our source and summit. We have to walk up to the hilltop to the church. We are encountered by Jesus made flesh in the loving and embracing community and worship together. Our soul is fed in the Word and in the Body and Blood of Christ. We are transformed through Jesus, and like Peter will say, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” With a renewed strength and spirit, we are ready to be sent out, to “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”
Faith Formation Minister
August 6, 2017