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.
Dear Faith Family,
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!
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Dear friends on the journey, Here we are on day 31 and 5th Sunday of quarantine. What we’re living right now seems like a movie doesn’t it? For our family, comedy might be the best description and I suspect there’s not too many living a romance. I’ve heard several people compare their experience to a science fiction film and even Groundhog Day. Perhaps for others it might parallel horror, suspense, adventure, crime, drama, fantasy, mystery or satire. No matter the movie genre, this pandemic and our stay-at-home response is something surreal, unbelievable and unprecedented. We’re all wondering if this is for real. Everyone is locked in their homes in comfy clothes, only going out for groceries. Masks and gloves are wardrobe musts. Essentials are the basics for survival. School and graduations canceled. Telecommuting to work. And our liturgy is now on YouTube! It’s certainly an emotional roller coaster with ups and downs, fears and joys, calm and frenzy, tears and laughter, and everything in between. We are living moment to moment, not knowing what will happen next.
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.
The IRS will soon be issuing Economic Impact Payments to every eligible American. More information is available IRS.gov/coronavirus.
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.
Also visit: COVID-19
The coronavirus has gripped us in its teeth, and within only weeks, left many with the sense that it would never end. We remember the pleasures of everyday life, often take so much for granted: trips to the store without fear, time spent in crowds, the hugs of friends, our children’s soccer games, crowded concerts, noisy restaurants. Is it possible to miss crowded restaurants? We can’t pretend it’s not happening, yet…
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!
The Elect are those who are very near to being initiated into the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The current social distancing due to COVID-19 has prevented them from being initiated at the usual time during the Easter Vigil. Please pray for our 16 Elect, and for all the Elect of the world, as they patiently await the day when they will join us fully as members of the Body of Christ.
This is written for submission fourteen days before it will be published. What a significance that number of days has become for us and for our global community. We have only to look across The Pond to see where we will be two weeks from the day you read this. Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. It is something many of us have never seen, many are not now seeing, and many will not see.
“See you on the other side” is a phrase I have seen in print among the Tweets I follow in my attempt to understand from the epidemiologists, immunologists, historians and others who analyze factual data in my quest to confront FEAR, which I see as False Evidence Appearing Real. The ambiguity of whether the phrase pertains to the other side of this crisis or the other side of a transformed life; yes, even a resurrected life does not escape me. However, for me having knowledge of what is ahead allays fear. Both the angel [28: 5] and Jesus [28: 10] say, “Do not be afraid,” then they follow up with information as to what is ahead of the listener. So, it is with the Gospel readings of this day. The followers are told what lay ahead.
In the Gospel of the Procession, “... you will find an ass tethered ...” and instructions as to where to go and what to do. Throughout the Passion Jesus is telling his people what to do, who will do what, and what is to come. A drama unfolds. Certainly, I jumped ahead to Easter in the preceding paragraph, but the conclusion of that drama is important to me in the passion in which we are today involved. I quote from the Gospel reflection offered in Living Liturgy,
“There is a mob mentality at work and it should give us pause, not only for what happened in Jesus’ day but for how such actions continue today. False testimony, deceit, betrayal, even physical force and violence leading to death are prominently on display. The crowd, humanity itself, is only too eager to believe the worst, to mock, taunt, scourge, and kill the incarnation of love itself ... The response demanded by God of humans is faith. When faced with deceit, lies, violence, and death, God has another way, and we are invited to enter into this new way of life.”
In the unprecedented absence of an Easter Vigil, we pray especially for our Elect, whose initiation has been delayed, yet are invited into this new way of life in Baptism. May our faith lived out exemplify this new life to them.
I sense The Way of the Cross will be unprecedented for us even beyond Easter. May the LORD be present in our kindness and compassion. May we all be Cyrenians and live out the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy. May we heed and give credence to the experts in the areas of health, safety, and security of our collective well-being.
Pray for Father Patrick, all spiritual and civic leaders that they convey a global community, compassion, humility and hope. Pray for those who put themselves at risk for the sake of our health and security. Pray for the sick and dying we know and those no longer strangers due to our common suffering. Pray for those who have died before us. Continue to love one another as Jesus loved.
New public health comments about masks
Ventura County Public Health Press Release
Contact: Ashley Bautista, Public Information Officer, (805) 654·2640
Ventura, CA – Ventura County Public Health Officer changes position on face masks, no longer advising against wearing them in public. Instead, he supports those residents who wish to cover their nose and mouth when leaving home for essential travel to doctor appointments, grocery shopping or pharmacy visits. The face coverings should not be hospital grade at this time because there is a shortage and our health professionals need them. Masks should be homemade and cover the nose and mouth. There are numerous sites online which demonstrate or give patterns for how to make fabric masks. The Camarillo Sewing Brigade provides video instruction at the following link. Additional instruction at the following link. Fabric masks can be washed and used again.
For decades, Public Health officials nationwide and locally have said that wearing a mask for protection against the flu is unnecessary for the general public. Now, Ventura County Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin says circumstances have changed. “There is growing evidence that people can have COVID-19 without any symptoms and that they can pass it to others at this stage. Many people wear masks thinking it will protect them from a virus, and in certain cases it may. That may also be true for COVID-19 especially if accompanied by good hand hygiene and social distancing, but now there may be a better reason to wear a mask; it will decrease the chance of you spreading it to someone else if you have the infection asymptomatically.”
This is particularly important if decreasing spread means not infecting a senior or someone with other chronic conditions. “In light of building evidence, I support those who wish to wear a mask in public. I don’t think everyone must do so, but I look upon those who do as making a responsible decision. I never thought I’d say that.” It is imperative though, that the use of masks by members of the public not contribute to the shortage of personal protective equipment needed by first responders like health care workers. If someone chooses to wear a mask in public, it should be home made, at least until there is no more shortage. “I’m not ready to wear a mask yet but I will respect those who do. It’s going to be hard for me to not start wearing one,” said Doctor Levin. “Covering your face doesn’t change the orders everyone must abide by to stay home as much as possible and maintain social distancing, but it’s an extra layer of protection that I think is reasonable to add.”
The rationale for covering one’s face comes from the belief that transmission occurs primarily through droplets from an infected individual, which fabrics may filter. This not only helps to reduce the risk a well person can breathe those droplets in, but also protects others around someone with mild or no symptoms who may not yet realize they have the COVID-19 infection. Face coverings may be worn anytime a person is outside of their home, even in offices of essential businesses.
“We must work together to stop the spread and save lives in our County,” said Doctor Levin. “That means that flattening the curve may benefit from another layer of protection against the virus. Consider the additional step to cover your face.” Health officials continue to stress that frequent hand washing, social distancing and staying home are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Stay in your place, maintain your space and cover your face.
Public Information Officer
County of Ventura, CEO
Office: (805) 654·2640
Mobile: (805) 212·9484
We were asked not to distribute palms to you, as always for health reasons. But...
I have it on good authority that in Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Austria, where there are no palm trees, willow branches are used instead of palms. So I invite you, go into your yard, or with your neighbor’s permission their yard, and find your own worthy substitutes for the palm branches we would have distributed. Bring them to wherever you are going to watch Mass this coming Sunday, 10:00 am. Together, we’ll recall our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the royal city, before we
experience the spiritual whiplash, from praise and glory to deep suffering, proclaimed in the two Gospel readings of the day.
If you happen to have a palm tree in your yard, all the better.
Also, consider wearing red, even at home (and yes, if you’ve been wearing your pajamas to Mass these last weeks, let them be red jammies), as an outward sign of our identification with Jesus, as his disciples, in his greatest act of fidelity and selflessness.
I’ll be with you at 10:00 am.
Love from your priest,
Residents are advised that phone scammers have been targeting residents impersonating Ventura Police Employees. The scammers are using a device that makes it appear to the victim that the phone call is coming from the Ventura Police business line of (805) 339·4400. The scammer is telling residents that they have an out of county warrant and need to pay a fee or face arrest. Please be advised that the Ventura Police Department does not request personal information over the phone and would not solicit this type of information.
The community is urged to be vigilant and aware of these scams to avoid falling victim. Never follow directions from someone on the phone that requests personal information or money. If you believe you have been the victim of a scam in which you have suffered financial loss, contact the Ventura Police Department at (805) 339·4400. If you have not suffered financial loss and you have not provided any personal information by phone, please report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at 1 (877) FTC·HELP or visit ftc.gov/complaint
The community is also advised to be aware of additional phone scams that have impacted residents:
Also visit: Warning! Fraudulent Text & Emails
Life may have kept you from attending Holy Week services in the past. This might be the year for you to do a deep spiritual dive into Holy Week, either by watching our lifestream or by viewing the services at a time that best works for you. Keep God at the heart of things.
You can also watch Mass on YouTube at www.youtube.com/psptv/live
Please subscribe to the parish YouTube channel.
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
We will be having Bible Study every Thursday from 7:00 to 9:00 pm until the current COVID-19 situation is resolved and we're allowed to meet again. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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Like most of you, I had no idea the circumstances under which I’d be writing this. Even two weeks ago, we thought our masses would continue on their regular schedule even if fewer of you could be there. Now we find ourselves under order to stay home and practice distancing in order to protect ourselves and one another. Our mass is being celebrated in an empty church and shared digitally with you. Many of you have sent us notes of appreciation and we are grateful and uplifted by them!
Today’s Scripture Readings have passages that can serve as prompts for reflection on where God is in our current reality. Since they are God’s Word, they bring hope and light, precious gifts that are sorely needed.
The first reading from the prophet Ezekiel where the LORD says that he will “open your graves and have you rise from them” is partly metaphorical, dealing with the future end of the Babylonian exile. But the notes of promise, restoration and God’s faithfulness are unmistakable. I say ”partly metaphorical” because in today’s Gospel reading an actual resurrection from the dead occurs when Jesus calls Lazarus out of the grave.
Friends, the pandemic through which we are living is scary, and on many levels. In addition to fear of the virus and for our own health, there is fear that we may lose someone we love. On top of that there is economic fear, fear of being cooped up, fear of things changing irrevocably, fear of shortage and scarcity, fear of civil unrest and any number of others. Where is God in this? He is right here, with us. The shortest verse in the Bible is in today’s gospel: “And Jesus wept” [at the death of his friend Lazarus, and at the pain of his family and friends].
On the other hand, there are many examples of courage and resilience, generosity and charity. If we are to be, as St. Teresa of Avila says, the hands and feet of Jesus Christ; if we are to look with his eyes of mercy on the world, then are not these stories of first responders and healthcare professionals; of families sharing with those in more dire straits than their own; of scientists and civic leaders collaborating reasons for hope and even for joy? Are these not the Body of the Risen Christ ministering to the Body? And what is that if not light in darkness?
Psalm 130 from which this Sunday’s responsorial psalm is taken expresses this duality well:
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.
I trust in the LORD; my souls trusts in his word. More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the LORD.
For with the LORD is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption; and he will redeem Israel.
When this pandemic has run its course and passes, and we are released from enforced isolation, as we first emerge and begin reordering our lives, maybe it will be a little like Lazarus emerging from the grave. And maybe we will live differently. Maybe we will be more patient, more grateful, more loving, and more attuned to God’s presence among us. May it be so.
Daniel Cox, MD, Palliative Care
Nessa Meshkaty, MD, Infectious Disease
Melissa Barger, MD, Infectious Disease
In the near future, we are going to experience a coronavirus surge here in Ventura County. We don’t know exactly what it will look like or feel like, but it will affect all of us.
Here’s what we all need to understand: this virus is dangerous. For many of us – including younger people who are indeed contracting the virus at a high rate – coronavirus will feel like a bad flu. With luck, rest, and fluids, one could ride out the fever, cough, and body aches and start to improve over a period of weeks. However, if our experience in Ventura County is similar to other areas, up to twenty percent of confirmed cases will have a different experience.
Let’s put this in perspective for our county, population ~850,000. In a worst-case scenario, 1 in 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 will progress to serious illness requiring hospitalization. One quarter of those hospitalized patients with COVID-19 will further decline to the point where they need a ventilator and life support to survive. Using an epidemiologic model recommended by the California Department of Public Health, we find that without strict social distancing, we will need 18,000 ventilators to take care of the sickest patients at the peak of the surge on day 58 of the outbreak. Yet we have only an estimated 180 ventilators across the 8 hospitals in Ventura County. Hospitals in Italy, Iran, and now New York City have been overwhelmed when the infection rate spiked, and many have died that would otherwise have had a chance at surviving.
We realize that what we are saying is difficult to hear, but we also want to be very clear. These patients are not going to remain abstract statistics. This may well be someone you love, someone you know. Nonetheless, as your community health care providers, we wish to share this message: we are here for you. We are preparing for the surge every second of every day. We will care for you. We take our responsibility to the community seriously. But you have a responsibility to our community as well. Ultimately, despite our best efforts, we cannot adequately care for a sick population that exceeds our capacity. If the rates of coronavirus spike and our county residents all need acute care simultaneously – there will not be enough beds, and many will be denied the care that we would all expect to receive, leading to loss of life.
We understand why most people struggle with the idea of sheltering in place. It imposes limits on our basic freedoms. We are social animals by nature and our joy is tied to our interpersonal connections. Layer on top of that the real need to earn a living to support our families and it can feel like an impossible ask to stay at home. And yet human interaction is the fuel that spreads this virus. Everything we do and everywhere we go – the sum of our normal activities – are like dry brush in a forest fire for coronavirus. But by staying home – when we deny the virus pathways and carriers to spread – the virus starves. Ironically, after weeks of sheltering in place, if we see that nothing much has happened – that’s when we’ll know that our sacrifice made all the difference.
So here is the good news. If we are able to sustainably reduce social contact by 60%-70% and improve testing and treatment, the aforementioned epidemiologic model suggests we could improve from that worst-case scenario of 18,000 ventilators needed on day 58 to a much more manageable peak of 475 ventilators on day 170 of the outbreak. That extra time is critical for our hospitals to build ventilator capacity and allow for the development of novel treatments. Thousands of lives would be saved. The key is sustaining the recommended reduction in social contact for that prolonged period of time.
As your physicians in Ventura County, we care deeply about our community and providing the best care possible to our patients. That is why we are asking you to honor Governor Newsom’s order to stay home. Each week that we shelter in place gives our health care system a chance to adapt and build our defenses to better prepare for the coronavirus surge. Your efforts and sacrifice now will save lives of people you know and love in the future. We thank you.
Public Information Officer
County of Ventura, CEO
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:
- I will be accepting online appointments with Zoom, Skype, or by phone.
- They don’t need to be emergencies. They just need to be important to you.
- Please, contact my assistant, Barbara at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- She is working from home, so be patient
- If you are homebound with no family or friend support and need help with grocery shopping, please contact Teresa at (805) 482·6417 x322 or by email at email@example.com
- You may wonder if there are any moral consequences to getting sick. Not in general, but if you get sick because you have been careless, in a time when the disease is deadly…then yes, there can be moral responsibility. This is because
- your own life is of value (and even the young have gotten very ill or died from this coronavirus);
- you may infect others;
- your caregivers are also put at risk;
- your sickness stresses an already overwhelmed healthcare system, taking sparse medical resources away from others.
- The moral implications are that we should do our very best to avoid getting sick, and that we are to follow the advice of the experts: stay home, maintain at least 6 feet, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, etc.
- Regarding hording, we are as important as others. However, we aren’t more important. Don’t let irrational fear drive you, especially when it may leave others at a disadvantage.
- The moral implications are that we should obtain, in as safe a way as possible, what we need, but that we should not horde.
- We have to treat every stranger as someone at risk. You don’t know when the person you see, who looks young and healthy, is actually compromised because of
- their smoking,
- a genetic disability, of which they might not even be aware,
- their health history, which you simply cannot know.
- The moral implication is that we are maintaining all of the recommendations given by the health community because our faith instructs us to have a general concern for everyone, including those who look healthy, but aren’t.
The sacrament of reconciliation / confession:
- The archbishop has suspended all confessions except for people in extreme danger.
- I 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:
- make your confession directly to God,
- trust in God’s mercy,
- and make use of the first opportunity you have when the crisis passes, to make a sacramental confession with a priest.
Pastoral care of the sick
(Please read even if no one in the household is sick yet)
- Apart from emergencies, the situation does not permit me to make communion or confession visits, though I will certainly speak to the sick over the phone. Please, arrange this by emailing my assistant, Barbara (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is working from home.
- If the sick have a severe case of the coronavirus, you need to tell me that before I come. I will not be able to touch them or stand close to their head. This means, to give them the sacrament of the sick, I will need:
- to wear a mask, goggles and gloves (I will bring them);
- to stand at their feet, one of which will need to be uncovered;
- to anoint them with a Q-tip or some other distancing mechanism.
- If there is a realistic fear of death from any disease or age related weakness, please call the parish emergency number, (805) 512·3208, and I will do my best to come.
- Please don’t wait to the very last moment, as it’s always better to care for the conscious, who may well desire to go to confession if they can.
- If you can call in daylight hours, please do so. In an emergency do what you need to do.
- Please hear this: In my experience, the dying most often know that they are dying (dementia aside), and though they may not want to make you uncomfortable by talking about it, they often will be very free to have a comforting conversation with me, discussing their fears and hopes – because they often have both. Don’t deny them that chance by waiting till they are unconscious.
Sunday and weekday Mass
- The current restrictions against saying Mass with a community present extend through April 18, the Sunday after Easter. This is following the request of the governor of California and the archbishop of Los Angeles.
- My guess is, having observed the crisis in other places, that this shut down will probably be extended, rather than shortened. Whatever the governor says, I believe the archbishop will follow.
- We will continue to livestream Mass. We will always maintain a link on the home page of the parish. So you will be able to find our livestream at
- The actual page will be www.padreserra.org/mass
- The best streaming experience can be found at www.youtube.com/psptv/live
- We will try to have a worship aid, if possible. I received some pictures in which people watched the Mass on their TV, while following the worship aid on their iPad. If you have to choose one or the other, I recommend the Mass livestream.
Stations of the Cross
- The Stations of the Cross Garden is available for those who agree to maintain a 6 foot distance from others. If you come as a family, please respect the 6 foot distance others need and allow them to pass.
- Please do not use the plastic sheets containing the text of the stations. We have no one to sterilize them at this point and they could become a source of contagion.
- Instead, use the online versions, found at www.padreserra.org/stations. They work really well with your smartphone.
Holy Week and Easter
- We will be trying to observe a simplified, yet prayerful Holy Week / Triduum. This will include:
- the Chrism Mass, where the oils used in anointing the sick, baptism, confirmation and ordination are blessed;
- this will be streamed by the archdiocese, not the parish, and probably at lacatholics.org/tag/liturgy -- the actual URL has not been released yet.
- the Mass of the Lord’s Supper,
- the Good Friday service,
- the 10:00 am Easter morning Mass.
- The parish will stream them on the same channels as the Sunday Mass, above.
- the Chrism Mass, where the oils used in anointing the sick, baptism, confirmation and ordination are blessed;
Baptisms, weddings and funerals
- Baptisms, apart from danger of death, and baptismal classes are postponed indefinitely.
- Weddings are permitted with restrictions.
- The couple must have obtained a marriage license.
- With priest or deacon presiding, the couple may only have 7 guests, who must observe the 6 foot distancing.
- Only the brief wedding ceremony may be done, without the Mass and without instrumentalists or cantor, unless they are included among the 7 guests.
- Funeral Masses are replaced by the simple rites at the grave with a maximum of 10 attending, including the priest or deacon.
If you have general questions, email the parish (email@example.com) 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,
We are working on creating lesson plans for families to do at home; please make sure we have your most updated email address on file. Please contact me if your child(ren) is in Faith Formation, and you have not yet received an email from us this week, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please make sure to mark as a VIP email so that they won’t accidentally end up in your junk folder.
Preschool through Grade 2
New Semester Begins
- Help develop language and reasoning skills
- Help enhance memorization skills
- Help increase coordination and strengthen motor skills
- Help develop pattern recognition
- Increase relationships and social interactions with children and adults
- Provide children with a healthy way to express emotions
- Help develop good listening skills, so important for academic achievement.
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.
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