When I was in eighth grade, our class made a trip to the high desert to do some stargazing where there were few city lights and no smog or marine layer to get in the way of viewing the night sky. The view of the countless stars and the Milky Way galaxy was stunning. Through the telescope our science teacher brought we were able to see three of the four large moons of Jupiter. It was on this trip that my appreciation and love for astronomy began.
But what I remember most of all from that trip was something he said to us. He said something to the effect, “When I look into this telescope and am able to see the stars beyond the stars, my belief in God is strengthened.” When we pause to consider the immensity of all that God has created and put into motion, it is humbling to say the least.
When we awaken with breath in body, opening our eyes to see the sun shining and opening the window to hear the world around us, we are gifted. We do not have direct control over the very basic things of our life and our world. Miraculously, our heart beats, the sun shines, plants grow, the world moves in its perfect design without our involvement at all. This is all God’s doing.
In today’s gospel, Jesus is invited to a dinner and observes how the guests are jockeying for the places of honor. He tells the parable of the wedding banquet to challenge us to put aside seeking status and prestige grounded in the false ideals of power, authority and wealth. By telling us to “not recline at the place of honor,” Jesus is telling us to let go of only thinking about ourselves and instead consider the other. Later in the parable Jesus tells his host to not invite people who are able to return the favor, but instead invite those who are in no position to reciprocate.
Every week, we are privileged to gather at the banquet of the Eucharist. At this banquet, we are invited to love our host, the God who created all things. We are all called and equally worthy to be at the banquet. Can we quiet ourselves enough to be full of gratitude for the invitation and rejoice in all that we have? In response to that gratitude, can we humble ourselves and be present to serve those in our midst who are marginalized: the poor, the homeless and the outsider?
Deacon Joe Torti
Dear Faith Family,
This Summer has been an eventful one!
As you may know, Summer in Youth Ministry is generally busy, albeit fruitful. We have activities 4 times a week. Mondays, we have fellowship at a local coffee bean, Tuesdays we have Peer Leader Training and Wednesdays we have Bible Study (with free pizza), we also have the lounge open all day for anyone who wants to drop by.
Along with these daily activities we have various excursions as well. Our teens and Young Adults attend a Steubenville Conference in San Diego, we have a Peer Leader Retreat with 3 other parishes in the region and this year Howard Durand led us in a brand new Immersion Project in New Orleans. It’s safe to say that this Summer was a blast and it’s sad to see it come to an end.
With that said, our pursuit of discipleship isn’t limited to the Summers. In fact, part of the goal of the Summer activities is for the Youth and Young Adults to grow more comfortable with inviting others to share in their experience. Invitation is so vital for authentic for discipleship.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells us “…some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” My prayer is that through these activities that all of us learn to invite others to a life in Christ, not out of pretension (being first) but as servants to love.
With our experiences in our Church (and our wonderful experiences at our parish) we have to always makes sure that we invite others because we have the yearning to share the one who is great.
Here’s to a wonderful end to our summer but an equally wonderful beginning of the fall!
1929 - 2019
Funeral Liturgy Friday, September 13 at 9:30 am
Padre Serra Parish
5205 Upland Rd, Camarillo, CA 93012
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” - Mother Teresa
Working with patients on the oncology unit, it became evident that living in the “now” was a most important endeavor. To be present, one must make the most of their time; live their life with purpose, dignity and support; make the most of this day, rather than getting too caught up in regrets for the past or fears of the future.
But we don’t want to wait until we are sick to learn how to make “now” such an important part of our life. From the moment we are born, “now” is always what we have. The present moment is life itself.
One beautiful method of making the most of “now,” is learning to be mindful; the practice of mindfulness – a nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment.
Mindfulness, in this sense, means bringing awareness to everyday life; to daily activities such as eating, walking, or doing chores. Each of these everyday activities gives us an opportunity to be mindful. These mindful moments connect us with life’s rhythms, helping us relate more directly to our life and experience an encounter with God.
As an example, the concept of mindful eating – simply eating or drinking while being aware of each bite or sip – may be used at any time, with any meal, and regards food and its preparation as sacred. The process requires one’s willingness to shift from being on automatic pilot or scarfing down a meal, to being fully aware of the moment as you eat.
Take note of what it is like to bite into a juicy plum. Appreciate the aroma and rich taste of that freshly brewed cup of coffee. Notice the crunch of the cucumber in your salad. Revel in the burst of scent and taste as you break open the skin of an orange. Savor that square of dark chocolate melting on your tongue. The wisdom of ancient cultures shows that food has always been a tool for spiritual growth and healthy living. We are reminded to live consciously and with an awareness of how all aspects of life – from food, to actions, to spirit, to community – are connected with all of our senses.
Christian mindfulness is the practice and discipline of being aware of Christ’s presence abiding with me the moment I wake up in the morning, while I eat, as I exercise, go about my work and throughout my day. Practice the presence of Christ today by taking the time to stop, to be mindful, to fill yourself with gratitude and to hear “Be still and know that I am God.”
Ann Mulligan RN, PHN
I confess that the summer is my forever-favorite time of year. The longer days are such a delight. To wake up to the sun, and occasionally, to get back to my house while the sun is still up, are simple, yet sweet, pleasures. I wonder how much of that fair-going, beach-time, long-day love comes from the forty-seven years of my life spent either receiving or giving an education. The “first day of vacation” is as loud for me at 60 as it was for me at 16. And the opposite is true of the passage of the summer: “school is starting” is also loud. It can be very exciting…and yet can’t compare with the first days of childhood
freedom, can it?
But here we find ourselves, fifty-two days into the ninety some days of summer. Today is a full forty minutes shorter than that first day of summer, the 21st of the solstice. And this next week is the last full week for our children at St. Mary Magdalen School, as they will be back in the classrooms on the 21st, with our Pleasant Valley School children returning a week later on the 28th.
I myself will be returning for the last time (I think) to the seminary to teach on August 26th. At 60 years, I can feel in my bones, in my energy level, in the small changes, adding up each year, the passage of time. As a few of you know, I visited the rector at the seminary early in the summer to step down as a faculty member. I have taught there for twenty years, since the fall semester of 1999. My assignment was only for fourteen years, but it was good and important work, and I was happy to carry on, especially as I have been able to remain so close to the seminary while pastoring at Padre Serra. I will teach one last course, Beginning Greek, as it so happens, and then hang up my hat. It was a good run, a happy one, with lots to look back on with pleasure and satisfaction. I set it aside, very much at peace with the decision.
I’m also aware that its part of the human process of fading. We spend our early years focused on becoming, our middle years on trying and, perhaps, succeeding, and then our later years on stepping back again, hopefully reflecting. So when I ponder the dying of the summer, the movement towards shorter and cooler days, and the passing of months and years, it seems so timely to hear our Lord Jesus speaking, in today’s Gospel, of being “ready to open immediately when the master comes and knocks.”
Will we, can we, ever be ready for the Lord’s return? The days of our lives are numbered, though they seem limitless when we are young. But we age, and the body reminds us, without subtlety, that there aren’t so many days as we might have thought. If we are reflective people, we might well ask ourselves “What is the purpose of the time we have?”
And Jesus instructs us of a Master who returns, a keeper of our days, who hopes to find us awake and attentive to the welfare of His household. And so I ask myself, in these early fading days of summer, how attentive am I, really, to readiness for the Lord? There is an urgency in Jesus’ words: “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Luke 35:40).
Can I encourage you, in these last days of vacation, to consider that the preparation for a new school year is nothing when weighed against the readiness for the Lord? Is there a selfless act waiting to be done, a personal quirk to set aside, a lost soul needing our finding? Is there an awareness of the holy presence of God awaiting our attention? Is there a personal fault to overcome, an undeveloped talent to grant attention? Give it some thought and consider one big thing or a few small ones to grant some attention and effort.
I was very fortunate growing up. Although my parents did not have much money, we lacked for nothing nor did we as children know the difficulties they faced. We were loved, ate well, were well dressed and took vacations from time to time. Even so, my brothers and I always had that one toy we wanted more than anything else, something we could not live without.
My grandparents did not have it so easy. Sadly, they lost a child and their home to a fire in 1963 forcing them to move into very difficult living conditions. They lived a very modest life often settling for what was available to eat. They owned few possessions other than what had been given to them. They did have material desires, but these were far more needs than wants.
One summer, my brothers and I settled in with grandma and grandpa for a three-week visit. There I realized my grandparents had figured out the important things in life. The love they shared for everyone who entered their home was palpable. The appreciation they showed for what little they had was obvious. Vanity was a nonexistent word. To this day, I cherish memories made during these weeks making toys from sticks and walking through ankle deep mud fields covered with cattails. My grandparents had taught us that hope and love went deeper than earthly things. Somehow, I suspect this is where I gained greater awareness of heaven through love on earth.
At times we miss the beauty of life by focusing on thoughts of wanting ... not only ‘wanting’ but ‘needing,’ that special something. The fact is that love shared and living simply can open the door to the joy of eternal life. Paul reminds us of this reality in his letter to the Colossians writing:
“Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
In these words, Paul invites us to live life to the fullest by first seeking absolute
fulfillment found in heaven where Christ has been raised and is now seated at the right hand of God.
By placing God at the center of everything, we begin to meet this invitation, but it does not come simply. As my parents and grandparents exemplified, we must develop our own recipe to put Him first. I suggest we begin with a suggestion written by C.S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity. He wrote, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.” How can you aim at heaven first? Figure that out and you’re well on your way.
Deacon Luc Papillon
Photography by Julius Acero
Our Fridays in the Backyard were a success! Each week well over 60 adults and kids enjoyed the summer evening, eating, drinking, playing games, and each other's company.
Many thanks to the following companies who donated to our parish picnic vegetable centerpieces: Boskovich Farm (cilantro), Houweling’s Group (tomatoes), Oro Del Norte (avocados and lemons) and Smart and Final (jalapeños).
Thanks to these folks for helping: Our Confirmation candidates, volunteers, Knights of Columbus, and Establos.
These restaurants generously donated gift cards for chili contest prizes: Slate Bistro & Craft Bar, Adolfo Grill & Daily Bar, and Agave Maria Mexican Restaurant.