Dear Faith Family,
I hope you all are having a wonderful Easter Season!
This Sunday’s Gospel is quite interesting to me. I love how it opens with two disciples discussing their previous encounter with Jesus. A lot of us are blessed to have encounters with God; many of us have had an instance in our lives where God was present and it gives us fuel as we live our lives as disciples. But what makes this Sunday’s Gospel interesting, is that Jesus approaches them in the present and they are filled with anxiety.
I find this part of the Gospel relevant to our lives because we sometimes think of the past times where we have experienced God’s love, and also fail to realize how God reveals himself in the present.
I’ve been blessed with encounters of God on various retreats and I tend to hold these encounters close to my heart. There is absolutely nothing wrong thinking back to a time where God’s love was tangible and vibrant, and like I said, it is great fuel for our mission as disciples. Sometimes though, there is a temptation to only focus on those times and not recognize how God is calling us to mission in the present moment. In fact, when Jesus appears to the disciples, it says that they were “startled and terrified.” I think it’s common for us to feel this way as well.
It is normal to be a bit scared of what God is calling us to do in our everyday lives. But I think it should give us some sense of peace to know that His disciples felt the same way at times. It is nice knowing that we may share some insecurities that the disciples also had. In the Gospel their literal encounter with the resurrected Christ had them feeling startled and terrified. But when Jesus says “peace be with you,” to the disciples in this passage, he also is directing that toward us, His current
So faith family, I invite you all to lift each other up during this Easter Season and to help each other not only share your personal, past accounts of God’s grace, but to also show each other how God is currently present in our lives, calling us to share His loving message and to have a meal with Him.
Although discipleship can be scary sometimes, every time we encounter Christ, I pray that we allow ourselves to be at peace with the encounter and to have the bravery to go touch his wounds and have a meal with Him.
Happy Easter everybody!
Youth and Young Adult Minister
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Women’s Ministry provides opportunities for women of all ages to engage in faith formation, spiritual growth, friendship and fellowship as we seek to build our faith community.
We are the Catholic Christian men of Padre Serra Parish in Camarillo, California. We are witnesses to the potential of God's presence in our fellow men parishioners. We are involved in our liturgical celebrations and enriched in the life of our parish. We serve the needs of one another, our families, the community and those in need.
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Have you been interested in becoming a Peer Leader? The Peer Leaders help engage our confirmation candidates by acting as mentors and facilitators during our weekly confirmation sessions, our annual retreats, and at 4:12 youth nights. New peer training is coming up during the Summer. If you are confirmed and are interested in joining our team, or if you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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Every week the Pastoral Team, including me, takes turns writing the message of the week. It is generally based on the message in the gospel for the day. Often we have another point or two to incorporate. It is amazing when the gospel message, God’s message, pulls it all together.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention month and it is my turn to write the letter. How do I make it relate? Every April we generally talk about the many ways that we as a parish help to prevent child sexual abuse, through the positive use of fingerprinting and training, campus assessments, committee meetings, and teaching the children what to watch for and guard against.
I remember the first time I taught Teaching Touching Safety training more than a decade ago as mandated by the
Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. I prepared for weeks. I attended the certification training, watched all the videos, read all the material and finally, spent days writing the lesson plans for grades 1 through 12. I was well prepared and… I was angry.
I was angry that a few depraved people had changed the game for everyone else. Thousands, millions of innocent children now had to put up with angry, anxious, apprehensive middle-aged women like me who were mandated to teach them about safe and unsafe touches. I teamed with my friend, volunteer and fellow parishioner Dr. Lisa Barra to conduct the training. When I saw those beautiful, sweet faces looking at me so trusting, something clicked. I realized what I was doing was not about the perpetrators, the darkness; this was about these children, the light. I had to equip these kids. I had to empower them to keep themselves safe. It quickly became perfectly natural to tell the children that Jesus loves them so much, he wants them to be happy. To help them in life, Jesus gave them lots of loving, trusted adults to care for them. So if they are not happy, or even a little uncomfortable, they need to tell.
The apostles knew to expect Jesus to suffer and die. They were not prepared for what came next, Jesus’ appearance in the upper room. He came to them with a message of peace. He breathed on them. That same breath surrounds us still today. That same breath animates us to do the work of God, to love one another, to see beauty and sweetness in the people around us.
All of us carry burdens and heartaches of our own or those of people we love. If you are a victim of abuse, please call the Victims Assistance Ministry office (213) 637·7650. If you have a heartache of a completely different nature, talk to your “trusted adult” or please call the parish office and ask to speak with Teresa Runyon who will connect you with a support group, therapist, deacon or priest. If you need to go to confession, please come to church any Saturday at 3:45pm.
Jesus loves you so much he wants you to be happy. After the cross, there is work and there is joy.
Parish Life Minister
P.S. Thanks and gratitude to our Safeguard the Children Committee: Suzy Maraboto, Dr. Lisa Barra, Jackie Perrin, Linda Smith, Brett Becker, Deacon Neil Kingsley, Tere Delgado, Liz Vega, Nancy Jorgesen and me. If you would like to join this caring group, please contact me or Nancy in the parish office.
The new life on our hillsides comes along at just the right time this year to serve us as a metaphor, not only for the Risen Christ, but also for what’s possible in our own lives when we commit ourselves to the ancient spiritual path of the Christian life. It was always our Lord’s intent that we, too, would experience in our lives, here on earth, constant renewal and growth.
We would also like to burst forth in renewed, life giving ways:
- to be good spouses and parents
- to be individuals committed to integrity
- to succeed professionally in ways consistent with our beliefs and morals
- to develop healthy friendships
- to be respectful of legitimate authority
- to have rich and nourishing prayer lives
- to shepherd our resources judiciously, preparing well for our children’s educations and our own retirements
- to care for our own bodies through a judicious diet and regular exercise
- to be on constant lookout for beauty
- to be aware of our many reasons for gratitude
- to experience joy
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