In last week’s gospel, the Sadducees tried to trap Jesus by asking if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. In this week’s gospel the Pharisees, having heard how Jesus had “silenced” the Sadducees (remember the episode about the coin?) decided to test him by asking which commandment of the law is the greatest. By the way, not all Pharisees nor all Sadducees were “villains,” though that’s how they’re often portrayed in the gospel. Many were devout and faithful though some did try to trip up this Galilean rabbi, Jesus, whose answer was, of course, beyond reproach: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
In any case, the question begs reflection. It’s one thing to know the answer to what the greatest commandment is and quite another to examine our own lives to see if we are obedient to it.
In the second reading, Paul writes to the Thessalonians about their “receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers ...”
One could say that we are in a time of “great affliction” having had to adjust to the pandemic since last March. Judging by the atmosphere at “mass on the grass” these last months, I think we have received the word “with joy from the Holy Spirit.” The gospel and first reading give us the signposts to become “a model for all the believers.”
In the first reading, the chosen people are commanded: “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.” The reading continues with a warning against usury and that the Lord will hear the cry of those wronged, and “my wrath will flare up.” I like to imagine what may happen to certain credit card companies...but I digress.
Wednesday, October 28
Dr. Paul Ford offers a weekly reflection and study of the upcoming Sunday scriptures so we can better understand the good news message of Jesus Christ and how He is present in our lives.
Until we can meet in person again, he will email a pre-recorded lesson each week.
or visit this page for each week's recording:
Christmas Gift Giving
Thank You from Angel Tags!
Sincere gratitude to everyone who helped make our Christmas Gift Share a success. We supplied gifts to 1200 kids & adults on 2019.
Appreciation to all the Confirmation candidates and volunteers who helped sort & bag the gifts and to those who delivered the gifts to Fillmore, Piru, and RAIN.
But most of all, thanks to everyone who took their time & resources to selflessly give gifts to these kids & adults who wouldn’t have a Christmas without your help. Merry Christmas!
This program meets a critical need in assisting our local community of families who have experienced a greater than usual financial hardship due to the pandemic. We are looking for families, who have been blessed this year and want to give back in gratitude, to participate by purchasing Christmas gifts for the family members they adopt. Your support will bring joy to your family as well as to the family you adopt during this holiday season.
Questions or to participate:
Annette Prosser (805) 558·7134, firstname.lastname@example.org
Also visit: St. Vincent de Paul, Groups, Outreach
Life Centers help women make healthy and informed decisions. Your generous support provides free testing, ultrasounds, counseling, resources, referrals, education and baby supplies for women and men who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. They provide emotional support and practical needs free of charge in a completely confidential setting for those in crisis pregnancies.
Learn more www.vclifecenters.com
We are gathering via Zoom until the current COVID19 situation is resolved and we’re allowed to meet again. We will be doing a Bible Study with some other activities mixed in. See our Instagram @pspyoungadult or Facebook
@PadreSerraYA for other events!
For more information please contact email@example.com
Everyone 18 to 39ish is welcome!
For those who want to grow deeper in their Catholic faith through discussion, community building, spiritual activities, and service projects. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dive in the Psalms
Wednesdays, 9:30 - 10:30 am
Beginning levels are welcome to learn and practice Spanish.
Each session will include a proclamation of the weekly Psalm in English and Spanish, a discernment of its meaning, and learning more vocabulary by focusing on key Spanish words in the Psalm.
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Meeting ID: 845 2489 5877
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Monday, November 30
Dear friends on the journey,
As individuals we have many identities and titles. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, neighbor, co-worker, and a pastoral minister. I am a woman, a Gen X, Catholic, citizen of the United States, resident of Ventura County, and according to 23 and Me, I am 57% British/Irish and 27% French/German.
In today’s gospel, the Pharisees are determined to undermine Jesus by asking if the Jews should pay taxes to Caesar. While they are opposed to paying the tax, the Pharisees quickly produced a coin upon Jesus’ request which seems to imply their use and acceptance of its benefits. Sidestepping a direct answer about lawfulness issue, Jesus instead directs them to “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” He’s saying if you’re going to use Caesar’s coin, then repay him, but more importantly give to God what belongs to God.
Sometimes this gospel story has been used to argue for the separation of religion and politics. But Jesus is saying it’s not that simple. There’s a danger in compartmentalizing our lives, religion from politics and the spiritual from the worldly, because, like Caesar’s imprinted image on the coin, God’s image is imprinted on our hearts. At the core of our being is our creator God. We belong to God and his imprint should inform and influence every part of us, everything that makes us who we are. Before our secondary identities, we are children of God. Before we are spouses, parents, friends, co-workers, citizens, residents, liberal or conservative, we are children of God and as such, we are whole persons called to give back to God by living the gospel values, values that influence how we live, work, play, vote, make decisions, and interact with others and the world around us.
2020 has been quite the year with so much sickness, loss, devastation, change, and division. As we approach the election, the end of this weird year and the unknown of 2021, let us remember our core identity as children of God and may this identity see the core identity of the other in front of us, especially those with opposite opinions, distant citizenships, different skin color and language, and diverse backgrounds.
Faith Life Minister
1935 - 2020
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Padre Serra Parish
Friday, October 23, 2020
Padre Serra Parish
Griffin Family Funeral
Isaiah writes for people in the king’s court. Food would have been abundant there under almost all circumstances except, perhaps, in time of war and siege. Matthew’s Gospel, written five to seven centuries later, was addressed to ordinary people, most of whom would have lived very close to hunger. Most people seldom had meat, except on special feast days, and survived on a diet of bread with the fruits and vegetables of the season. The food would either require hours of preparation, or purchase from a tavern or restaurant with high prices. Bad weather like drought or flooding, field pests and warfare made famine an ever-present possibility.
If you recall when, out of his compassion for the hungry crowds, Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, and everyone ate their fill and there were baskets of food left over, people continued to follow Jesus for days, hoping for a repeat of the feasting. Jesus tried to redirect their attention to the eternal questions and the bread of heaven – see John, chapter 6 – but his followers’ bellies got the best of them. They had lived so long with hunger it was hard for them to shift from that focus.
Even today, access to food depends on where you live. Although the statistics I’m giving vary from one version to the next, the following seems to be in the middle of the scholarly offerings. In the United States, average Americans spends roughly 6.4% of their income for food. In 1900 AD, only 120 years ago, providing food for a family consumed as much as 43% of wages, whereas housing was only 23%. Things certainly have flipped.
In Nigeria today, on the other hand, each household spends only half of what we would on food in a year. There, however, that lesser amount consumes 56.4% percent of most household’s earnings. Food is a much greater concern for the average person in Nigeria than it is for us in the United States.
I share these stats just to give us an idea of how different the whole question of feeding one’s family can be from time to time, and place to place.
In both Isaiah and Matthew, there is a banquet prepared of rich food and pure choice wines, of slaughtered calves and fattened cattle. For their audiences, these images are very suitable metaphors for heaven where, finally, there would be enough for everyone. The wonderful thing is that we’re all invited.
We live in such abundance that we may have to reach a little to understand how these feasts would have affected the original audiences. In Jesus’ parable, in particular, it would have been disturbing that people bypassed the opportunity repeatedly offered them. The incomprehensible behavior of the invited, but unwilling, guests deeply offends the king.
The parable is actually speaking of the history of God’s chosen people, always invited into an eternal relationship with God, but often distracted by the world’s affairs. Can we honestly say that it is any different with us? The invitation still stands; the feast is still ready; the king has dispatched his servants to bring us together. The experience is going to be rich; the king offers the best of what is possible; the reward is eternal. Is it possible that we, too, are too busy to respond?
I encourage you to spend some time in contemplation of what God wants for you, and with you. We are invited, even now, to set our busy and important affairs aside, to attend to our Lord who wants our company. Perhaps, in this time of quarantining, we might actually have time to spend with the Lord?
Fr. Patrick Pastor
Join in a nationwide praying of the rosary, organized by America Needs Fatima, for world peace, for the leaders of our nation, for victims of disasters, for our families and for personal intentions. Let us join together to be a living witness of the power of prayer.
Fr. Patrick, Marcia Galles, Catherine Shadduck.
Photo by Julius Acero
I hope that you are all doing well.
The Faith Formation year has started! And while it looks vastly different from our previous years, I just wanted to take time to assure you that the parish staff and volunteers are still committed to sharing the glory of our faith to the children and teens of the parish.
Regarding the Confirmation process, we are beginning our Year 1 classes this Sunday via Zoom. We have had some experience with Zoom during the tailend of Year 2 Confirmation when the pandemic first hit, so the leaders and I have confidence that digital learning won’t deter us from effectively sharing our testimonies with the teens. We have also restarted peer leader meetings on Tuesdays so we can brainstorm to create ideas to evangelize via Zoom.
We have also continued 4:12 throughout this quarantine and it has been a huge success. There is something about the teens using their free time to rejuvenate their faith by spending time with their peers. I know it affects me tremendously. We meet most Wednesdays at 7:15.
Although things look different and we are praying that things start to look the same, I just wanted to share with you that the mission stays intact. Just because the world shut down, it doesn’t mean that we should cease “Encountering Jesus and Being Disciples.” This, in fact, is the cornerstone of our parish and it would be a failure to divert from this cornerstone.
If you have a teen who is interested in 4:12 or leadership, please add us on Instagram (@pspyouth), that is where we post the Zoom information for each meeting (we post the meeting code in the stories). If you or your teen don’t have access to Instagram, feel free to email us at email@example.com
I won’t lie, this Faith Formation year is definitely a challenge, but what gives me strength is recognizing the integrity of our mission. I am blessed to have so many people within our ministries that help me recognize it, so I am absolutely confident that our leaders will help our teens learn about our mission that during this semester.
Youth and Young Adult Minister
We gather virtually. We pray virtually. We write.
New members are welcome anytime to our friendly group.
We explore and practice different types of writing and read our work to one another each week. Some days we do “free writing” for ten minutes on a chosen topic.
Other weeks we read our prepared pieces (up to 500 words) on a designated subject. Our comments on one another’s writing are constructive and honor the deep feelings that are expressed.
We share each other resources about writing , and equally the responsibility for the successful working of the group.
Our topics are not overtly “religious,” but give us an opportunity to express the concerns of our souls. Many consider the experience to be healing. We encourage humor and playfulness; we laugh a lot. This is as much a faith sharing group as it is a writing group. We pray together. We take care of one another.
If They Knew Our Names
A poem by Dave Flood
I Was Thinking…
A blog by Theresa Schultz
How frustrating to be home bound and need to cover my face when I go out for essentials. I hate being restricted. Then I talked to a friend living in an Assisted Living home. She has been confined to one room and eating alone for about five months. The TV shared stories about people who lost financial security, some even their homes. I saw pictures of ventilators and families mourning. The whole world is engulfed in hardship and here I am complaining about the least of all problems.
Whoever thought one could be thankful in such overwhelming times. I am.
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.
Sue Powers and Margaret Vesprini
Photo By Julius Acero
1925 - 2020
Friday, October 9, 2020
Padre Serra Parish
Happy Catechetical Sunday to you all. On this day we celebrate the importance of passing on the faith and being witnesses to the Gospel. 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.
“The 2020 Catechetical Sunday theme is taken from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, “I Received from the Lord what I also Handed on to You.” This theme focuses on the essential work of catechesis, which is an invitation to a whole new life given by Christ Himself. It emphasizes that living faith necessitates movement, inspiring all those who hear the Word to share it as witnesses of the true and living God.” Bishop Robert Barron; USCCB
On this day 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. Parents are truly the primary catechists of their children. This has become even more evident this year, with the pandemic, so many of you became not only academic teachers, but with the closures of the church buildings, you became the main source of faith to the children in your life. Building the domestic church; recognizing that it’s not the building, but the gathering of believers that makes the Church.
This is why the rite of blessing of catechists used on Catechetical Sunday includes a blessing of parents and guardians. You too will be commissioned and blessed, in your vocation and mission. 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!
On September 6, 2018 Botham Jean was killed by Amber Guyger. Thirteen months later Amber was convicted of murder and sentenced to ten years in prison. The circumstances of this case are important, but not the whole story. You may recall that Amber was a white female police officer who entered what she thought was her apartment to find Botham, a young black man, sitting on her couch. Thinking he was an intruder, she fatally wounded him. Later it was revealed that it was in fact not her apartment. She entered Botham’s home where he was unarmed, sitting on the couch eating ice cream.
I believe the lesson here is forgiveness. At the sentencing hearing, Botham’s brother Brandt, in his victim impact statement, told Amber that he loved her as a person, wanted only the best for her, and offered his forgiveness for her actions that had ultimately taken his brother’s life. Brandt then asked permission to hug the defendant Amber. Gasps, tears and sniffles filled the courtroom during their oneminute embrace.
What struck me most deeply in this tragic story was young Brandt. How could someone forgive the murderer of a loved one? How could an 18yearold have such wisdom? He said it repeatedly in his statement…God. It was clear that his Christian faith has so strongly shaped this young man and his values. He understood that God would forgive her, and that he should too. I wonder if I could do the same thing. Could I offer forgiveness to someone who hurt me so deeply?
To this point in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is revealing the secrets of the kingdom of God. We’ve had the Beatitudes back in chapter six followed by his teachings on the dangers of wealth, the importance of denying oneself, and thinking as God does. In today’s parable, Jesus offers another insight: God’s mercy and the necessity of forgiveness. Grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness not only describe the kingdom of God in heaven, they are also the keys to God’s kingdom on earth and how to live a happy life now.
Today’s gospel holds us to a higher standard in God’s kingdom and teaches us about the freedom that comes with forgiveness. Nelson Mandela said it well: “Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” The resentment, anger, pain, and grudges we harbor only bind us. Only when we ask God’s forgiveness and we forgive others can we make space for God’s grace and mercy in our lives, thus in turn our transgressor’s life.
The rub is in the place of forgiving and not forgetting. Forgiveness is not forgetting nor condoning but an opportunity to learn a lesson and more about ourselves and another. This is the place of growth and transformation and to encounter Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice for our forgiveness.
Third Thursday of the month
Grounded in the gospel and Catholic social teaching, our PAX Christi ministry seeks to model the peace of Christ in our witness to the nonviolence of the cross through prayer, study and action rooted in justice for the common good of all God's children.
Also visit: Groups
I am praying for you, not simply that you weather these days, but that you triumph over adversity, that you not merely endure each other, but that your capacity for love becomes ever more like Jesus’ own, and that when faced with great financial or emotional difficulties, you find the strength you need each day.
It’s probably long past time for an update on what has been happening. So, I am sending this message because there are some coming Mass time changes, a new entrance to the parking lot, and new paving.
New Mass Schedule: The days are getting shorter, and although the summer’s warmth endures, we know that, too, will change. On the first weekend of October, we will begin the following schedule:
Saturdays, 3:30-4:30 in the courtyard (or by appointment)
- Livestream Mass
Sunday 11:00 am (not open to public attendance – Holy Communion following at the gazebo until 12:30)
- Mass on the Grass
Saturdays, 5:00 pm
Sundays, 9:00 am and 5:00 pm
As before, all parishioners, including priests and deacons, will wear masks covering their mouths and noses. State guidelines permit us to wear face shields in addition to facemasks, but not in place of them.
New parking lot entrance: At long last, our new entrance on Arboleda Road will be open this weekend. This will allow parishioners travelling east on Upland Road to turn left into the parking lot at both entrances. It will also permit both right and left hand turns, when exiting, at both gates. The new parking lot in the back is also available for parking for Mass on the Grass.
Parking lot paving: I am sorry for all the inconvenience over these months. It is not quite over. Our parking lots require maintenance. On Wednesday through Friday, September 23rd — 25th, different sections of the parking lot will be closed for resurfacing. There will always be parking available for morning Mass those days, but the walk will probably be longer than usual on some of them.
- The parish bulletin continues to include a weekly column, announcements and activities for children. Be sure to give it a good look each week
- Faith formation is beginning soon. Please make sure to sign up your children and youth.
- The offices may be closed for the time being, but the receptionist is at her desk until 5 each day to receive your calls.
- I continue taking appointments, either by Zoom, or socially distanced in the courtyard.
As you can see, the parish is not “closed.” We carry on together in spirit, even when not in the same place. The church survived the Black Death, when one in three people in Europe succumbed. We will by the grace of God, continue to encounter Jesus and be His disciples, even in our own challenging times.
1920 - 2020
Friday, September 18
Padre Serra Parish
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