Last words can mean so much to us. When I sit down with a family to talk about a deceased family member, they will occasionally tell me they thought their mom or dad waited for someone to arrive before passing on. Sometimes they tell me the deceased’s last words. It seems so significant when a family member or friend says, just before dying, “I love you,” or “I forgive you,” or “I’ll still be with you from the far side.” We cherish these kinds of last things. They resonate like tympani in our hearts.
In that spirit, it is so very important for us to attend carefully to Jesus’ last words: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
His communication starts with power – if the Father gave all authority to him, then we must attend to his last command. “All authority” includes power over us. We’re left free, but if we’re wise, we’ll listen carefully and obey. We are told to “go.” We’re not to be static, but on the move. Complacency is insufficient. Sleepiness can only be temporary. Naps may be cherished, but they can’t rule our lives. The camino of fidelity to our Lord is calling, and we have to follow.
And then we get to the heart of Jesus’ last directive: “Make disciples of all nations.” He doesn’t ask us either to be, or to make, demanding consumers who come to church expecting to be entertained. He doesn’t look for blind obedience. He doesn’t seek people who will say that they are Christian, or who will choose only the most shallow forms of observance. He’s looking for people who will take their faith to heart and act. Disciples work to grow in their understanding and application of their faith. Disciples are active doers, servants of the Lord, and ministers to the broken world around them. Ultimately, if we accept that Jesus has all authority, as he claims, then we can’t be content until “all nations” have been taught to observe all that he has commanded, until “all nations” are caring, active and living as disciples, imitating Jesus’ words and actions.
The parish mission statement embraces this Gospel with enthusiasm: “Encounter Jesus. Be disciples.” The first invitation, “encounter Jesus,” stands on the truth that everything begins and ends with Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega. Encountering him is much more than simply “knowing” him. I knew many people in my doctoral studies, who knew all kinds of facts about Jesus, but in spite of their academic pursuits, lost their faith. All their knowledge was for naught. “Encounter Jesus” means to dive into the experience of the sacraments. It requires us to pray, and invites contemplation. It leads to a relationship that is real, accompanying Jesus in all our activities. This will inevitably lead us into a loving bond, for to encounter Jesus is to love him. When we, in fact, love him, we make it about him, and not ourselves.
And there is where we become disciples, actively imitating Jesus in our daily lives. He fed people; so do we. He healed, taught, and answered his world’s questions; so do we. He accompanied others and comforted them in their struggles; so do we. He laid down his life for the sake of a broken world that crucified him; so must we, hard as this one is.
Pope Francis invites Catholic communities around the world to celebrate Laudato Si’ week from May 16 to May 24, 2020. At noon, your local time, on 24 May, say this prayer.
Also visit: laudatosiweek.org
Twenty eight years ago, at just about this time, I was out in the garage looking for something when I came across some of Terrie’s things. She had died that January and I was still struggling with her loss. It triggered what was a persistent questioning and struggle for me at that time. Life was not supposed to be like this. Why did she have to suffer with and die of cancer? Why do I have to go through this? The grief group that I was a part of helped me to navigate through this pain and suffering. We were a diverse group of individuals of similar ages, different backgrounds, different faiths or none at all. Although the suffering we experienced was not equally distributed, in this community the one thing that that we all had in common, however, was the loss of a spouse. We were able to remind each other that we were not the only broken hearted people in the world and the pain of loss so present in our lives was not ours alone. As I looked into the box I found some of the crafts Terrie had made. There were hair bows and other things she had made that helped her to rediscover the beauty in the world and in her own life in the midst of incredible struggle with cancer over which she had no control. In the midst of her own suffering she found a way to find joy and beauty. She found a way to share that joy and beauty with others around her.
I find that the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shelter in place restrictions bring back some of those same feelings. Why do so many have to suffer with and die of as a result of this virus? Why do I have to go through this isolation and being closed off from so many of the things that I find life giving? The gentle reminder from so many years ago returns as well: We are not the only broken hearted people in the world and the pain of loss so present in our lives is not ours alone.
The gospel today calls out to remind us of the presence of the Spirit. “You know the Spirit, because the Spirit remains with you, and will be in you.” The fact is that hardly anything in life turns out the way we expected it to, and we are so often ready to write life off as too difficult and retreat. But we all must be willing to take a moment to recognize the presence of the Spirit that remains with and in us. Stretch to find the beauty that surrounds us in the midst of suffering and struggle. This may be in simple things like finding some rocks and painting them and adding our own design; perhaps it’s playing a musical instrument; maybe it is spending some time in prayerful silence and deep listening. It doesn’t matter that we lack any artistic talent, musical ability, or even a sense of deep spirituality. It is a willingness to be open to the spirit within.
Dear Family in Christ,
My late mother was everything a mother should be—loving, caring, watchful, protective—until I reached adolescence and started having opinions of my own. From that point on she was incapable of releasing me to make my own decisions, and our adult relationship was difficult. Our society’s ritual of selecting Mother’s Day cards put me in an annual moral dilemma. I could spend an hour searching through the card selection at Target or CVS trying to find a message that didn’t make a liar out of me. “The best mother in the world” and “You were always there for me” just didn’t cut it. One year I sent her flowers instead, and she refused delivery. Sometime during my youth, I discovered I was better off relying on God for my motherly nurturing.
My mother and I never abandoned our relationship, as difficult as it was. Near the end of her long life it became necessary for me to mother her, but along the way I found others who lovingly nurtured me. Older and more experienced friends gently coached me how to be a wise mother to my own children, and members of the church taught us all by example how to hold one another close and to let go when appropriate.
But the one who has constantly held me and truly mothered me from my birth has been God. Scripture, Christian tradition, and our own experience teach us that God’s love, comfort, and care know no bounds. In Isaiah 66:13, the Lord tells Jerusalem, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem illustrates a mother’s concern as he says, “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.” (Luke 13:34 and Matt. 23:37) Early Christian mystics speak of the maternal nature of God. Julian of Norwich describes God as both Father and Mother: “As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother.” Anselm of Canterbury describes Christ as “the great Mother” who comforts the frightened with gentleness. And every recent pope since John Paul I has made some reference to the value of understanding God as a mother.
We are God’s children, and God knows how to protect us, where to correct us, how to guide us, and when to let us learn from mistakes. God wants us to explore and learn and love, and God is always there to kiss our booboos and put bandaids on our knees when we fall off our bikes. Give thanks to God—the source and embodiment of motherhood!
SVDP is open to both men and women who wish to grow in their faith by serving God and their neighbor. Members are united in their efforts to conduct their ministry with compassion and confidentiality, while promoting human dignity and respect. To learn more about volunteering, contact: Terri Korell firstname.lastname@example.org
From a current member of the ministry:
"Being a volunteer is a blessing. It makes me aware of the blessings in my own life. Viewing the world through the eyes of the less fortunate keeps me grounded and more aware of the people around me. Our parish conference very special. The love and support we receive from our fellow Vincentians is wonderful and the service itself keeps faith in front of everything you do. Come and join us and count your blessings."
Ways to help in the good work of St. Vincent de Paul:
SVDP relies on donations to support their efforts. Ongoing simple fundraising opportunities include:
The donation truck is onsite twice a year to accept your donations of gently used clothing, books, games, DVD/CDs, sports gear, toys, and small household items such as lamps, small appliances, frames, etc.
One Can Makes a Difference
Every Monday food is bagged and distributed to families in need. Remember our friends and neighbors in Camarillo served by our food pantry. All the items you place in the boxes in church are taken over to our centralized storage at St. Mary’s Chapel on Sunday afternoon.
A fellowship ministry where LGBTQ brothers, sisters, and their families and friends in Christ are welcome in a safe harbor to explore spirituality and share experiences, strength, and hope.
Contact: Sue Powers (805) 390·2824 or email@example.com
Sue Powers and Margaret Vesprini
Photo By Julius Acero
Invites active and reserve military members and families to connect for fellowship, support, and engagement in our parish family for as short or as long as you're here. We'd love to hear from you.
We accompany active duty members, reserve military members and your families for as long as you’re here. Our ministers will welcome you, help you connect with the parish and ministries, discern any particular needs, support your family while you’re here or deployed, and be of assistance in any way possible.
If you’re an active or reserve member of any branch of the military, we’d love to meet you and your family.
Dave Gutierrez firstname.lastname@example.org
Also visit: Adults
This weekend, May 2 and 3, 2020, was to be the wonderful celebration of First Holy Communion for our Faith Formation children. They have been readily preparing for their sacraments for almost two years now but the current situation in our community and across the globe has rearranged our schedules. We in Faith Formation completely understand the concept of altered plans (almost daily!), and often have a Plan B or Plan C if needed. Yet, the past weeks have the formation staff taking a few steps back and allowing the Holy Spirit to influence our creative abilities so that we can continue to share the Catholic faith via the Gospel stories.
Today in John’s Gospel, Jesus portrays a true image of daily life to illustrate the depth of his desired relationship with us. He reminds us that He is the shepherd: “Amen, amen, I say to you ... Whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” (John 10:1-10) Amen, amen, truly, absolutely, yes! How emphatically He tells us that we belong to Him! “The shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out ... they recognize his voice.” Just as the relationship of a shepherd to his sheep is personal, so is our own relationship to Jesus through the Holy Eucharist. The fact that we cannot physically partake of the sustenance that is the bread and wine become body and blood does not exclude us from the First Sacrament, Jesus. Our good shepherds here on earth, Pope Francis, Bishop Gomez, Father Patrick and others, entreat us to enter a deeper spiritual communion with God, present in the Blessed Sacrament. The Lord wants to remain with us in the Eucharist, and therefore, we become the tabernacle, carrying Him with us.
And if we do not understand Jesus as our Shepherd, the Gospel continues and tells us He is also the gate. The ideal image of a good and caring shepherd becomes even more evident when we learn that it was customary for the shepherd to sleep on the ground across the threshold of the sheepfold in order to protect his flock. In other words, a watchful shepherd became, literally, the gate. Jesus is not any door, but THE door through which all people come to the Father. “Whoever enters through me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture ... I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” What a gift Jesus offers to us — the opportunity of eternal life with Him! He has created a picture of total freedom, coupled with total security. We need only to recognize his voice and desire his presence in our hearts to be truly united.
Persist in your warm prayers for our First Communion children and adults through their ongoing preparation. I humbly request that Padre Serra parishioners wear a white garment today, not only to continue celebrating the glorious Resurrection of Jesus, but as a reminder of our own Baptisms and First Communions. When our faith family returns to communal liturgy within our sacred walls, it will be as if everyone is receiving Jesus for the first time in the Eucharist!
Regardless of our jostled schedules and interrupted plans, may we continue to share our Catholic beliefs and rituals with the children, showing our kids “to rely on their faith during this time ... to set them up for a lifetime of trusting in the Lord.” (Lucy Buttell, mom of Kylie, grade 2, First Communion candidate).
With the deepest regret, but hoping to preserve our parishioners’ health, at the recommendation of the civil and health authorities, Archbishop Jose Gomez has asked all parish churches and chapels to close and remain locked.
The archbishop has suspended all confessions except for people in extreme danger.
Fr. Patrick cannot hear your confession over the phone or computer; priest and penitent must be physically present to each other. The archbishop told us specifically not to do drive by confessions.
In the absence of the opportunity to go to the sacrament, please do as Pope Francis has instructed:
Parish Office is Closed.
For both security and sanitation, the restrooms will remain locked.
Some of you have asked how to enter the moment of Communion, when our current circumstances make it impossible for you to receive. The centuries-long practice of making a spiritual, rather than physical, communion while sick certainly applies here. The essence of it, as St. Thomas Aquinas puts it, is to express “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in communion at Mass, and to lovingly embrace him as if we had actually received him” I have a few options for you to consider. The first, which allows you a lot of freedom to say what you need to the Lord, is good for those whose words come easy to them. Some more traditional versions give a tried and true approach for those for whom that’s helpful. Be free to do what you want here…so long as you do something at that moment.
Four worthy steps for a deep spiritual communion, to do in your own words:
- Consciously state to the Lord your belief about his presence in the Eucharist.
- Speak of your gratitude and love for the Lord.
- Acknowledge your need and hunger for him in your life.
- Invite him, with a humble heart, to come to you.
A traditional spiritual communion suggested by Pope Francis (only slightly altered by me):
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire you with all my heart. Since I cannot receive you now sacramentally, I ask you to come into my heart spiritually. I embrace you as if you were already in my heart, and unite myself to you completely. Please do not ever let me be far from you. (St. Alphonse Liguori, (1696-1787)
A spiritual communion suggested by Archbishop Gomez:
I wish, my Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints.
The prayer (taken from Matt 8:6) in the Mass just before Communion can be enough:
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
A final suggestion from me is to pray Psalm 63, vv. 2-9:
O God, you are my God — it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless, and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life, my lips shall ever praise you!
I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall be sated, as with choice food, with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!
I think of you upon my bed, I remember you through the watches of the night
You indeed are my savior and, in the shadow of your wings, I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me.
I hope you are doing well. I know times are difficult and it may be hard to find silver linings throughout the quarantine, but even if we cannot see it, God is still at work.
For years as Youth and Young Adult Minister here at Padre Serra, I have been incredibly blessed to minister to hundreds of youth and young adults. I know it is cliché, but it’s absolutely true when I say that they minister to me as much as I minister to them. They have made my faith more real and I am blessed to have encountered so many examples of young people pursuing Christ and becoming disciples.
I’m not sure about you, but I tend to fall under the trap of exploring my faith mostly at church functions.
Whether it’s Mass, gatherings with other youth ministers or the events that we run at Padre Serra. While these are important to our faith lives, this quarantine has got me thinking about the importance of the Domestic Church. I mentioned silver linings, this may be one of them; through this quarantine, I have learned to bring my faith home in a new way.
We are blessed to have Mass livestreamed, thank you to all of you who have tuned in, and in Youth and Young Adult Ministry we have been very active with digital gatherings, trying to keep to the norm before all of this mess. My challenge though, since we are adhering to social distancing, is who to share the good news with beyond the Church event. What better place to do this than at home?
I am lucky to say that my family’s prayer life at home has been more intentional than ever. Like all of you, my family and I are yearning for the day where we can gather in person again, but somehow, even without being able to physically be at church, a new spirituality has been on my heart. I truly believe that by allowing God in our homes in a more intentional way, we will continue to make disciples of all nations, even if we are stuck at home.
Again, I know things are difficult. Just the thought of the amount of Zoom meetings I’ve had make my eyes hurt. But I promise you it is not without benefit! When Christ commissioned his Apostles to spread His good news, what was the major step? To gather in homes to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within them. This is such a great opportunity to strengthen our homes with grace.
I promise when we do that, the next time we all get to receive Communion together, we will be more joined in community than ever!
Fraudulent emails and texts are being sent by scammers posing as Fr. Patrick. Perpetrators use various techniques to gain your trust and may provide specific instructions, which, if followed, could result in monetary loss. We have alerted the authorities of this continuing problem.
Do Not Become a Victim
Fr. Patrick, or any other member of Padre Serra Parish, will never request money from any parishioner by email or text.
Please do not email or text with these individuals, divulge any personal information, or provide money/credit card/gift card payments. When in doubt, contact us to authenticate the text message.
Please forward any questionable emails/text screenshots claiming to be from Fr. Patrick to email@example.com
Phishing/Spoofing Prevention Tips
Smishing (SMS phishing)
To report potential e-scams, visit:
Today’s gospel story about Jesus’ post resurrection appearance to the disciples in the locked room is also a roller coaster of emotions from fear and worry to doubt. They are filled with disbelief and uncertainty, likely wondering if the recent events were real and what was going to happen without their teacher. Then Jesus appears to them and they rejoice, three times he offers peace, gives the Holy Spirit to them, and sends them out to be believers and to forgive. Then Jesus challenges their belief. Does it come only from their seeing Jesus in person?
This gospel’s message is for us as well. Now more than ever, we need Jesus’ peace. We need belief and the Holy Spirit to get us through this time. Only Jesus can give us this peace and he offers it every day. It’s our response that will make a difference, especially when we have no certainty of the immediate future. I have found much hope, comfort and peace in this time of quarantine and see the Holy Spirit at work. Here is where social media has shined for me. Seeing stories of courage, charity given, appreciation, gratitude, humanity at its best. I am beyond proud of our parish for acting so quickly to live stream Mass, to be willing to shop for seniors, to make wellness calls, to donate food, to give generously so the parish can stay afloat.
So today I encourage all of us to rely on our faith that Jesus has us. Rest in his peace that with him and through him, we will come out on the other side stronger and better. Lean on the belief that the Holy Spirit is working and look for even her small, simple movements in our lockdown. Celebrate them. Take comfort that the disciples who were locked in that room in fear and disbelief eventually came out stronger and better and with greater conviction.
St. Vincent de Paul is also available for questions (805) 504 · 4753,
a member is on call Monday to Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.
Our parish team of volunteers are standing by to assist seniors & other individuals at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 with their grocery shopping needs.
Jesus is risen – He is truly risen!
Every generation, throughout human history, has its own story to tell about death and rebirth, be it rooted in financial ruin,
warfare, flood or drought, tornado, violence, tyranny…or plague. Our greatest struggles all too often, betray our weaknesses: we become frightened or rebellious against restraints, we hoard, we struggle with authorities making decisions for us, we grow angry and aggravated with the people we live with, our friends, family and neighbors. Familiarity (and forced enclosure) breeds…aggravation. We can’t pretend it’s not happening, yet…
Jesus is risen – He is truly risen!
Jesus experiences the Passion first, death second, and only then renewed life and reunion with the Father in the Ascension. So, even on this otherwise joyful day, when we are experiencing a national passion, where many have died and many are still dying, there remains the hope of renewal and reunion, with family and friends, and with Jesus. This too may happen…
Jesus is risen – He is truly risen!
On the other hand, our resistance to the crisis also helps us grow immensely when, through self reflection, we refine our rough edges and recover from our relationship problems. Through our struggles, we grow stronger and find clarity as we seek new visions and purpose for our lives. How much more life giving that rebirth is when coupled with the intimate experience of God’s presence, giving renewed meaning to our sufferings, accompanying us in our struggles, and giving our hearts reason for rejoicing. This growth, too, is happening…
Jesus is risen – He is truly risen!
If I can give you any encouragement in this confused, unwell time, it would be to in the face of an uncertain future. It would be to cherish small joys, celebrate courageous actions and be grateful for the generous help of the essential services going on around us. Don’t wait for a trouble free, coronavirus free, aggravation free time to live fully. Choose happiness. Choose family and friends. Choose your neighborhood. Choose your co-workers. Choose life.
Jesus is risen – He is truly risen! And he would have us rise, too, both here and now, from our covid ridden weeks, and on into eternity.
My prayers are, of course, for your health, for a strong trust in God, and for an Easter that is joyfully full of the people who matter to you, whether in person, or on the phone, or the internet.
Jesus is risen – He is truly risen!
Behind The Scenes
Funerals & Memorials
Knights Of Columbus
Message Of The Week