This is a long one, but I have a number of important items to pass on to you. The first is that I am praying for you, for your patience, for your confidence and fearlessness, for your generosity of spirit, and for your health and safety.
The second is that I and the parish pastoral team and staff are fine. The seniors have all gone home to work from a safe place, and most of the staff do as much from home as possible, which is quite a lot. We had some confusion as our first round of responses, limiting exposure, have all been undone by subsequent instructions, eliminating exposure. Sigh.
Dominic MacAller and I are working on next week’s liturgy. Be there at 10:00 am on Sunday.
Brett Becker, our youth minister, is doing amazing things online in Zoom meetings and the like with the teens. If you have a lonely teenager twiddling her thumbs, suggest she look in on Brett’s online gatherings (firstname.lastname@example.org). Guys too!
Tere Delgado is working with her lovely team to get lessons home to all the children in faith formation, to do with their parents. This will be a team effort, parents. Do your best!
Among Teresa’s goals at this time is to keep people in ministry connected to each other. If you belong to a parish ministry that needs to meet, please contact her (email@example.com) and ask how we can help set up a Zoom meeting. It’s fairly easy, even for this 60 year old who never attended a Zoom meeting until this last week.
Among the parish ministries that deserve particular praise is St. Vincent de Paul and members of the Young Adult Ministry, who are working very creatively to take care of households in financial crisis. Now would be a very good time to consider a donation to St. Vincent de Paul!
On that point, the parish collection this last weekend was under 1/5th of what we would normally receive. I know that many people have financial stresses. If you can contribute to your parish, now would be a very good time. Checks can be mailed or online offerings can be made at: www.osvonlinegiving.com/4191
Appointments with me:
The sacrament of reconciliation / confession:
Pastoral care of the sick
(Please read even if no one in the household is sick yet)
Sunday and weekday Mass
Stations of the Cross
Holy Week and Easter
Baptisms, weddings and funerals
If you have general questions, email the parish (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the parish number (805) 482·6417 and Jane will direct your question to the right person.
In everything, we have to keep seeking those ways in which we can experience Jesus, even in a more constrained environment, and be His disciples in these troubled times.
Love from your priest,
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:
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.
Did you know that early childhood music can…
Dear Parish Family,
Happy Laetare Sunday! “Rejoice Jerusalem.” On this Sunday, the Church expresses hope and joy in the midst of our Lenten fasts and penances. It gives us a glimpse of the Joy that awaits us for Easter, as we continue our Lenten journey.
I wonder if any of you have felt a similar experience this Lenten season. For me, with what is happening worldwide with the COVID 19, it has created an opportunity to have a more in depth Lenten experience. In our Lenten season, we are asked to Pray, Fast, and Give. With the big push to remind us to wash our hands for at least twenty seconds frequently, I found an excellent suggestion to say the Our Father and Hail Mary as I washed. As I mindfully pray the Our Father and Hail Mary with every hand washing or as I wipe down surfaces, I bring all my loved ones to mind, especially for all who are affected by this virus. I am grateful for the opportunity to add more prayer through the small things I do in my everyday life. Even some of the restrictions that are being implemented for our health and safety can be adopted as a Lenten sacrifice. The fact that we may have to sacrifice a planned trip to Disneyland, a canceled concert, or even attending a party. If we accept these sacrifices with patience and offer them up for the health and recovery of others, it makes it all more bearable and good for our soul.
Our readings this Sunday share the same common theme to SEE ... In our first reading David, by first glance, was not the obvious choice to be anointed king, yet he was the chosen one. Samuel tells us, “Not as man sees does God see because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart” (1 Sm 16:7). In our Gospel, Jesus healed the man physically by giving him sight. He healed him spiritually, revealing that Jesus is the Son of Man, the Messiah. The man became a believer and worshiped Jesus.
Let us SEE the Light, to fill us with the much needed rest and joy within the sacrifices this Lenten season, as we look forward to Easter and the end of this pandemic. We are being called on our Christian virtues of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and self control in the accepting of the changing conditions that make us feel out of control. Especially in how we treat each other, may all our works be pleasing to our God. That when he looks into our hearts, he will see how much we love him and our love for others in the way we are caring for each other. You are all loved and precious in the eyes of our Lord. Stay healthy and unafraid. “Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” Our Lord is with us always.
So...I’m certainly having a different Lent than the one I set my mind to those days before Lent. You too? The governor’s announcement has thrown my plans for keeping the parish open into complete disarray. I accept what Gov. Newsom is hoping to accomplish (flattening that curve of infections / not overwhelming the medical personnel and facilities).
As we move into this odd Lent of restrictions on our movements, and our current inability to work and support ourselves, I remember the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Ash Wednesday: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you” (Matt 6:16-17).
That has a renewed meaning for us as we deal with enforced enclosure, boredom, difficulties in shopping, loneliness etc., that we are to do it with good will, with calmness, and with a supportive attitude to others who will be having a harder time than we are.
Regarding the parish:
I will leave you these words that have been attributed to Pope Francis:
“Tonight before falling asleep, think about when we will return to the street.
When we hug again, when all the shopping together will seem like a party.
Let’s think about when the coffees will return to the bar, the small talk, the photos close to each other.
We think about when it will be all a memory, but normalcy will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift.
We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us.
Every second will be precious.
Swims at the sea, the sun until late, sunsets, toasts, laughter.
We will go back to laughing together.
Strength and courage.
See you soon!”
What challenging times!
As I hope you already know, Archbishop Gomez has waived the responsibility to attend Mass for the next three weeks, through the end of March. There may well be extensions of this decision.
I am the last person to suggest we take our liturgical obligations to God and each other lightly, but these are exceptional circumstance. We will continue to have Mass, but I ask you to consider the following concerns.
Also visit: Regarding COVID-19 at Padre Serra
I’m not much of a plain water drinker but I so love my coffee. I absolutely cherish the aroma, the sound the coffee maker makes while it’s brewing and finally that first sip. Whether morning, midday or evening, it’s never too early or too late for that wonderful cup of java. Even so, I hate to admit it, but coffee generally does not completely satisfy my thirst. I do trust there’s nothing like plain water to quench a thirst and I believe I’m not alone to think so. Nonetheless, many of us convince ourselves that the right thing for the moment is that soda, sugar-free drink, or yes even coffee...after all, it tastes so good!
Much like satisfying a physical thirst, we also seek to quench something much greater within us on a daily basis. We recognize that there’s more to life than our five senses can provide so we continue to look for that perfect answer. The real challenge is making the right selection when faced with a choice to quench our spiritual desires. Sin promises us that it can fill that need and it may appear to do so initially. Eventually though, it will certainly worsen our thirst leaving us wanting more. We must therefore reflect on real satisfaction and real hope. This internal drive is our spiritual journey and in a very special way the next three weeks for our elect.
This Lenten weekend, the elect from the RCIA process are invited to undergo the first of three Scrutinies. Their journey continues with contemplation in preparation to receive the Sacraments of Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Not only the elect but our entire assembly is also invited to prepare. Each of us is called to reflect on our own life so to ready ourselves to greet the resurrected Christ at Easter. Whether elect or already baptized, we are challenged to find and uncover all that is weak, defective, and sinful within our souls and to strengthen all that is upright, strong and good. We are invited to seek what is truly needed to satisfy our spiritual longing. The greatest news of all is that we do not have wander and look for that spiritual drink alone. Jesus provides us a pathway through his words to the Samaritan woman: “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
In just a few weeks, we’ll pray, witness and celebrate the baptism of the elect. If already baptized, we will have an opportunity and privilege to renew our own baptismal promises. Our fervent preparation in the remaining days leading to the Easter Vigil will certainly add to the clarity we will experience. I guarantee that the effort put forth now will pay off on that day; there will be Jesus, arms wide open, welcoming us home once again with a wellspring like no other ... so much better than coffee.
Deacon Luc Papillon
St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Westlake offers SHINE (Singles Having Inspirational New Experiences), a social ministry for women and men age 40+ who are divorced, widowed, and never married, and who are Catholic or interested in the Catholic faith. Learn more: stmaxchurch.org/shine or contact email@example.com
For care and support during your separation or divorce, learn more about the Padre Serra Divorce Support Group.
Also visit: Care, Groups
Persons with mental illness often suffer in silence, hidden and unrecognized by others. Consider this stark contrast: a person with a medical disease, such as cancer, will usually receive an outpouring of sympathy and support from their parish and community; a person diagnosed with a mental illness, such as depression, crippling anxiety, or bipolar disorder, frequently experiences isolation and inadequate support, often because of the unjust social stigma of mental illness. This should not be so in our civic communities and cannot be so in our Catholic communities. Those living with a mental illness should never bear these burdens alone, nor should their families who struggle heroically to assist their loved ones. We Christians must encounter them accompany them, comfort them, and help bear their burdens in solidarity with them—offering our understanding, prayers, and tangible and ongoing assistance. – from Hope and Healing
Padre Serra is committed to accompanying you and your loved one and offers these resources:
Questions: Teresa Runyon firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 482·6417 x322.
The holiest week of the year. Take part in one or all of these liturgies and devotions as we travel to the hope of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Mass of the Lord’s Supper
This Lent our parish is very blessed to have 16 members of the “Elect” – four adults, three teens, three middle schoolers and six elementary school children – who will be initiated into the Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil on April 11. On the First Sunday of Lent our parish community sent them, along with their godparents, to Bishop Barron who celebrated the Rite of Election with them and with the many other catechumens from throughout the region. During this important rite their godparents testified to the bishop about their readiness for initiation. The catechumens themselves publicly stated their desire to be baptized, and the bishop, at the high-point of the ceremony, proclaimed, “I declare you to be members of the Elect, chosen by God, to be initiated at the next Easter Vigil.”
What a joyful moment that was for all of us – newly elected, family members, friends, godparents and teachers!
Lent marks the Elect’s final period of preparation for the sacraments. They will celebrate three more rites called Scrutinies on the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent which will strengthen them as they strive to become more conformed to the ways of Jesus. They will increase their prayer life, fast and participate in charitable works along with us as they prepare for Baptism and we prepare to renew our own baptismal promises at Easter.
As they, and we, look to the remaining five weeks of Lent, it may all seem a little daunting. But I believe the readings for today can encourage all of us on our Lenten journey as well as on life’s journey. When I read in the account of the Transfiguration that Jesus’ clothes became “white as light,” I always think of the white garment we put on after we are baptized. The Transfiguration of Jesus, as well as our baptismal garment, give us a glimpse of his Resurrection which in turn gives hope of a new, transformed life for ourselves ... during Lent, throughout our lives and when we, too, rise from the dead.
The theme that God chooses and calls us is evident in all three readings. Also evident is that God guides us, blesses us and bestows grace on us that we may be holy. Our greatest guide and blessing is Jesus. At the end of today’s Gospel we are told, “Listen to him.” May our Lenten practices help us to listen to him more closely.
1929 - 2020
Wednesday, March 4
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