Monday, October 29
When you hear the word, Gratitude, what comes to mind? Do you replay the thousands of times your parents reminded you to say please and thank you? Have you noticed how many times we give thanks and praise to our Lord during liturgy every week? Do you only say thank you when you’re reminded to do so?
Last week, the parish staff enjoyed a Staff Pray Day facilitated by fellow parishioner, Ann Pettit. The setting, a beautiful spot on the beach in Ventura. The theme for the day, “Gratitude.”
The staff pray day couldn’t have come at a better time for me and, honestly, I almost didn’t attend. I’m really busy with my husband and teenage kids; piles of dirty laundry that aren’t going to wash themselves; juggling two jobs with a to-do list that is over three pages long and growing … It’s not that I didn’t want to go, I just didn’t have time … I did show up, albeit late, because, well, my life’s just that hectic right now …
I walked in to find my coworkers in a very serene state of mind, quietly reflecting and so peaceful. My first thought was, “Where can I get some of that feeling? I’m too stressed to be like that!”
Ann helped me realize that I’ve been letting the wrong task list take the power position in my life. That I need to retrain myself to stop and give thanks, genuine thanks throughout the day, even for the little things. And that I should give thanks for the good times and the bad, because there’s something special in all that God has planned for us. How is that possible? Why give thanks for bad things? Take for example, a glass of spilled milk. You know the saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk?” While there’s no sense getting mad about the spill now that it’s happened, we should instead be giving thanks that we had a glass of milk in the first place…
So, as I let myself unwind and live in the moment, I was able to feel a special communion with God taking place. I stopped, looked, listened, breathed, cried, laughed and then cried a lot more as I let the world around me come into better focus. And all because I slowed down enough to truly and deeply say, “Thank you, God.”
As I write this note, I’m on day number three of my personal stop, drop and pray program. I can already feel a greater sense of calm as I reclassify some of my daily challenges into grateful opportunities. It’s hard to believe the power of simply saying thank you.
I’d like to thank all of you, my parish family, for being so wonderful to me and my family. We are truly blessed to be members of this loving parish community. I see God’s grace in all of you; how you truly care for each other and strangers; how you give of yourselves to make Padre Serra a loving and welcoming place to help our community encounter Jesus and be disciples.
Thank you, Ann for helping me find greater focus. I am forever grateful.
Parish Business Manager
A Model for Mass Goers
Sponsored by the Adult Faith Formation Team.
The quick and easy jump for us is straight to the guilt question: are we any better at responding to the Lord in his difficult journey than they were? I’d rather, though, strategize successful ways of walking with Jesus than wallow in the guilt question. You might be with me in that.
Simon of Cyrene was right there when Jesus needed him. We’re separated from him by centuries, but we’re side-by-side with any number of people stumbling under the weight of their burdens. The parishioners of the parish join with them in their needs in a number of hands-on ministries that are out in the courtyard today, not talking about how someone else should make a difference, but stepping right up, themselves, to do what they can – the good within arms reach.
Adopt a Family and Angel Tags both work to provide special assistance at Christmas time so that families and children can have a joyful Christmas. You can choose the scale of your involvement, either with an entire family or an individual child or senior. JustFaith forms small groups of parishioners seeking to deepen their commitment to care for vulnerable people and our planet through prayer, study, dialogue, and immersion experiences. Many Meals jumps right into people’s lives with a good, hot meal, served every Monday at St. Mary Magdalene’s, because people are hungry all the time, not just Thanksgiving and the other holidays. Pax Christi members advocate for personal nonviolence, promote global disarmament and the end to the arms trade, work for economic justice, and support universal human rights. The Peace and Justice Team seek to create education and service opportunities for parishioners to grow in understanding the social conditions and needs of our time. The St. Vincent de Paul Society members keep people in their homes, their cars working and the lights on before financial crises lead to homelessness and joblessness.
I focused on service ministries because of the Gospel, but I also encourage you to consider Centering Prayer, First Friday Adoration and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Novena, who invite us into deeper forms of prayerful communion with God. We also have more people helping make our Sundays possible than most other Camarillo churches have people attending, whether it’s serving as Altar Servers, caring for children in Stay and Play, providing hospitality after Mass in our Sunday Café, or in the pews as Hospitality Ministers. Eucharistic Ministers generously minister to us, while Weekend Welcome kindly receives us.
Thursday, September 20
Also visit: Children
September 17 or 18 (Attend only one)
Catechetical Sunday is a day set aside to recognize the vocation and ministry of teaching and sharing the faith with others. A wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.
On this day catechists throughout the diocese, and country, are commissioned and dedicate themselves to their vocation of teaching the faith to the children, teens and adults of our parish community.
The catechists of our parish, wonderful men and
women who answered YES to the call to be present and walk the faith journey with the adults, youth and children of the parish, are called forth to receive a blessing and be formally commissioned to continue the beautiful labor of sharing and growing in the faith.
To all catechists in our lives, parents and grandparents, priests and deacons, religious sisters, church family, all who have been encounters of Jesus in our lives, we thank you!
Also visit: Children, Youth, Adults, RCIA
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God of us all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6
Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 482·6417 x322.
On Catechetical Sunday, we not only highlight the work of catechists in parishes and schools, but we also commend parents and guardians and encourage them to take seriously their role of making their Catholic households a place where faith is passed on to the next generation. This is why the rite of blessing of catechists used on Catechetical Sunday includes a blessing of parents and guardians.
The root of the word Catechesis comes from a Greek word meaning “to echo, or resound.” Catechism is the act of resounding or bringing the Church’s teachings to the world. A catechist is one who teaches in the name of the Church. This ministry of teaching in the name of the Church has a profound dignity, which is why catechists are formally commissioned by the Church. It is only fitting that we set aside a day to highlight this ministry and invite the entire church community to think about our responsibility to share our faith with others.
Today I would like to invite you all to consider answering the Call to become a Catechist. This call may come in the voice of our pastor or deacons, perhaps from one of our catechetical leaders, or even in this bulletin letter. But know that this calling ultimately comes from God whose Holy Spirit inspires and guides you. If this is something you have been thinking about or know someone who has the potential to serve in this role, I offer the following reasons to help you say, Yes!
Top reasons to become a catechist
- You will grow in your own faith, learn the teachings of the Church, and deepen your relationship with Jesus.
- Your Baptism calls you to share in Jesus’ ministry.
- Children, teens, and adults in today’s world, more than ever, need to hear the Good News of Jesus.
- Children, teens, and adults in today’s world, more than ever, need to encounter good role models of faith.
- You have much to share with those you’ll teach, and you’ll have opportunities to share faith with other catechists.
- Lesson plans are done for you, you are not alone, you will have the support of a coleader and the coordinators.
- You’ll be challenged, you’ll have fun, and you’ll make new friends.
- You’ll be helping people deepen their relationship with Jesus. (You’ll be evangelizing!)
- You’ll be handing on a 2,000 year old tradition that changes lives.
- It’s our job: Jesus sent us to “go and teach all nations.”
Please reach out to me or any of our catechetical leaders, to help you get started in this beautiful ministry. May the Joy of Jesus in our lives shine through and make us true Witnesses of Christ at all times.
Faith Formation Minister
Friday, September 14
What relief we feel when our ears “pop” after descending from high altitude or after being sick! We can hear again. We can speak at a normal volume again. In today’s gospel one word spoken by Jesus provides even greater relief for a deaf man: “Ephphatha” “Be opened.” In that miraculous moment, the man could actually hear and communicate with the world clearly! I can only imagine his joy and relief.
I admit though that I crave the silence the deaf man lived with. Granted his was likely not by choice but nonetheless there are moments and days when I long for just quiet and space void of pinging devices, voices (including my own), media, deadlines, rushing, juggling. Oh the joy to just be in peaceful silence! A few weeks back I reflected on a retreat experience that taught me how silence can heighten senses and increase awareness of God’s presence.
Silence can do even more. Silence is God’s language. When we stop talking at God, he can speak to us. When we close our mouths and open our ears, hearts and minds, we create a space to encounter Jesus, to have our own “ephphatha” moment, to be open to God. In this space, we can then listen to what and where God is calling or inviting us.
Over the next few weeks, we have the opportunity to consider the possibilities. Our parish covenant invites us as individuals and households to examine and reflect our discipleship – how we are living our faith in our homes, church family and neighborhood. The covenant can also help us discern what we need next on our journey.
I invite you these next days and weeks to take the covenant to prayer. Sit in silence and allow God to speak. Be open. God may just be calling you to something more. Then, visit the ministry fair. There might just be a ministry to help you take the next step in healing, learning, growing, prayer, service, action. If not, come see me.
Ephphatha and siempre adelante,
Faith Life Minister
If you were unable to attend Mass on August 25-26 liturgies, I encourage you to listen to my homily, where I addressed the issue of abuse directly. Padre Serra Parish takes the safety and security of our young parishioners very seriously.
Saturday, October 13
Our second reading two weeks ago from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians said: Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Over the years, often in the courtyard, I’ve heard a number of reasons given for why not singing at mass would be all right:
My voice is terrible.
God doesn’t think so.
I can’t carry a tune.
God doesn’t care.
My family tells me not to sing.
God tells you to sing. Who wins?
A grownup told me when I was young that
I should just “mouth the words” and not
ruin the sound by singing out.
I’m “tone deaf”.
That’s highly unlikely – science tells us that only between 2% and 5% of people truly are, and many of them can be cured if they’re willing to try to sing.
The songs are too hard.
We try to choose singable music, though I’m bound to miss the mark occasionally. With repetition, and your willingness to try, and persist, you’ll learn them.
The songs are too high.
So sing them down the octave, or skip certain notes.
I don’t know the songs.
Yes, but you can learn them. We normally sing new songs several weeks in a row to help you grow comfortable with them.
I’m not here to make noise...
I’m here to pray quietly.
There are times at Mass for quiet, inward prayer, like when the priest says or chants “Let us pray.” At other times, though, God asks us to speak out, gesture, or sing together.
Singing during communion is distracting.
Distracting from what? The point of singing during the communion procession is to pray, expressing our unity with God and each other.
I don’t want to spoil what the music
ministers are doing.
The only way to spoil what we are trying to do in music ministry is by NOT participating, so please do!
We music ministers are not here to entertain you. We are here to support your efforts to pray in song. Even when the choirs occasionally sing choral music on their own, the aim is not entertainment, but to lift your minds and hearts – along with our own – to God, often by emphasizing a particular idea or image from the day’s readings, or from the season we are celebrating. But those moments are rare and occasional, and will happen mostly at offertory or after communion. Everything else from the entrance song through the sending forth song, is meant to be sung by all present. God doesn’t need our worship but we do.
And it does delight him ... and he’s asked for it!
Liturgy and Music Minister
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