Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Divine Mercy novena and celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday

On Sunday, April 23, 2017, St. Bernard celebrated the Divine Mercy novena and Divine Mercy Sunday.

The nine-day event was filled with prayer, adoration, song and worship.

Our Lord’s promise of complete forgiveness is both a reminder and a call. 

It is a reminder that he is truly present and truly alive in the Eucharist, filled with love for us and waiting for us to turn to him with trust. 

And it is a call for us all to be washed clean in his love through confession and holy communion no matter how terrible our sins.

He is offering us a new start.

In video

At the Mass

By Father Paul Bergeron

"Once we take our eyes off the Lord, our merciful Lord, we fall," Father Paul Bergeron tells us in his homily for our Divine Mercy Mass. "Sometimes it's embarrassing. Sometimes we think we get away with it. But we fall. And Jesus doesn't want that for us. So always keep your eyes on the Lord. Always know and believe that the Divine Mercy is always with us and with him. We cannot fall. Keep your eyes on the Lord. Keep your eyes on his kingdom, and everything will be given to you, all of your heart's desire, all of the joy, the peace, the love, the compassion, that we search for but cannot find in this life for eternity, which can only be found through the divine, merciful rays of Jesus."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

Quote of the Week: “We live and die. Christ died and lived.” — John Scott.

At Easter Sunday at the Mass of dawn, the Gospel proclaimed that the disciples found an empty tomb — they “saw and believed.”

Even though they did not clearly understand, they needed nothing more. They rushed back to tell the others who believed on their testimony.

It is that readiness to believe that stands in such stark contrast to Thomas. It is no surprise that he has been nicknamed “the doubter.”

Thomas always needed to see in order to understand; he needed answers and explanations. Jesus always took the time to show him and help him see.

Jesus appeared a second time and invited Thomas to put his finger in his hand and side. That was enough. Thomas made an elegant profession of faith: “My Lord and my God!”

We might be inclined to judge Thomas harshly, were it not true of us also. Are we always willing to believe what Jesus tells us? Do we accept his word, or do we also need proof?

In the beginning of today’s Gospel, when Jesus appeared to the disciples, he said to them: “As the father has sent me, so I send you.” He breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

How many of us believe he has done that to us? How many believe that they were called AND sent? How many actually believe they are filled with the Holy Spirit and have gifts to give?

How many have shared ministry within the church because they feel compelled to spread this good news to others?

This Sunday is also called Divine Mercy Sunday because of the proclamation in the second reading that God, in his great mercy, “gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Do we believe that? Perhaps, there is a little bit of the doubter in each of us? Perhaps, we need to be shown and convinced of our importance in God’s plan?

Perhaps, we need to believe that God has actually given us something, called us and is truly sending us forth? Perhaps, upon believing this, we, too, will respond with Thomas: “My Lord and my God!”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

Quote of the Week: “Easter is a time when God turned the inevitability of death into the invincibility of life.” — Craig D. Lousbrough.

Early Easter morning, while it was still dark, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb.

She saw the stone removed and ran to tell the disciples: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

Peter and John ran to the tomb, went in, and saw the burial cloths there. The Gospel says simply that they “saw and believed.”

Surely, this is one of the most simple and most profound declarations of faith: They “saw and believed.”

It is even more profound because the very next sentence of the Gospel tells us: “For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”

Is it possible to see, to believe, to trust, and not fully know? This is, in fact, the journey of faith. Does anyone ever fully know?

Is it possible that we can understand, especially the great mysteries of faith, so fully that there is nothing more to learn, to know, to appreciate?

No doubt it is the know-it-all who perhaps knows less than the person of simple faith. Or to say it in another way, there are many ways to know.

Some know with the mind, but have little connection to the heart. Some know and believe fully with the heart, but do not understand, or even have a confused or erroneous understanding. They just believe.

The mature and fully-formed Catholic knowing is to know in the spirit of the shema prayer: to know and to love the Lord “with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

The Easter testimony of the scriptures reveals an incredible experience in the empty tomb, an equally incredible response of faith, and hints at the road ahead. We are to spend a life of learning, growing, appreciating, and coming to know.

The disciples “saw and believed,” then spent the rest of their lives growing in their understanding and preaching what they believed.

This is the same journey we are invited to make as today’s disciples of Jesus, our risen Lord! Alleluia!

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

Quote of the Week: “Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.” — Henry Ward Beecher.

Passion Sunday (also known as Palm Sunday) is one of the most dramatic Sundays of the year in its presentation of the word.

At the very beginning of the Mass, there is a brief ceremony including the blessing of the palms; a Gospel is also proclaimed. This is the only liturgy in the entire church year that includes two Gospels.

This first Gospel is a recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem by Jesus and his apostles. It is glorious. The crowds are gathered, shouting, waving palms, and exuberantly rejoicing as Jesus enters their city. They shout out “Hosanna! Hosanna to the son of David!”

They want to make him king. Within the same liturgy, the second Gospel — the Passion of Christ — is proclaimed, and the same crowds are shouting: “Crucify him”!

This represents a week in the life of this city. Literally, they are adoring one day then condemning to a horrible death sentence just a few days hence.

Apart from the amazing drama, this sacred text reveals a frightening reality within the human condition: People are fickle; they love, then they hate, then they love, then they hate.

Are we really capable of such extremes? Are we able to be manipulated, controlled, deceived, and then deceive others so easily?

History is made in this Holy Week of long ago. History is also repeated again and again today with tyrants, cruel and controlling leaders, unjust and hate-filled governments, political parties without heart, and a world where graft and corruption run amok.

This day is our day. This day is everyday. This day reveals, in all its ugliness, the fall that has corrupted human nature to the core. This day is the reason that another day soon to follow — Easter — is even more important and even more defining.

Salvation, life, hope, newness, renewal, and metanoia are Easter. This Holy Week that is upon us is our week. We must pause, absorb, hear, feel, receive, unlock, discover, and understand what has been given to us, what has happened to us.

This is indeed drama, and it is more than drama. This is the key to finding abundant life and knowing that life forever.

The “A” word, forbidden during Lenten, returns in all its glory at the Easter Vigil and will be our Easter Song.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

Quote of the Week: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill.

Today, we celebrate the third Scrutiny with our catechumens – the elect.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises Martha –  and us – that whoever “lives and believes in me will never die.”

Obviously, he isn’t speaking about physical death, but rather about a death and life that is much more profound.

There are many people who are physically alive who have very little life within. Some of these people are rich and have abundant blessings in this life: good health, opportunity, prosperous jobs, hopeful futures, social standing, excellent education. Everything that we think of as a blessing is theirs.

Then there are some who are poor, in need, without prosperity in material things, who have little opportunity, yet they are filled with peace, love, hope, gratitude, joy, faith.

How can it be? What sense does this make? Why and how does this contradiction exist?

Jesus simply says: “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Jesus speaks of a life that exists deep within our spirit and soul; it cannot be transplanted into someone else. If we perform surgery, we can never find it inside the human body; it is not something that can be bought or sold. It is not material or a commodity, nor can we manufacture this priceless gift of life.

It is something we believe. It is something we discover. It is something that inspires and gives life, because it is in fact a life that is growing within us.

It is so profound and significant that it helped people survive the Holocaust, false imprisonment, a martyr’s death, prejudice, rejection, and being the object of hate and lies and rumors.

This life brings meaning to the days we exist on this planet. Without this life, ordinary living can become meaningless; without this life, people have been known to take their lives, which strangely means to reject their lives by suicide or a daily rejection of life through addiction, living lives of hate, and refusing to forgive.

It’s like love – hard to define, yet you clearly know when it is there and when it isn’t.

This life Jesus offers may be hard to define, but we clearly know when it is there and when it isn’t.

Jesus promises Martha –  and us – that whoever “lives and believes in me will never die.”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

Quote of the Week: “Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.” — Anonymous.

The Second Scrutiny comes alive for our elect, as they reflect with the community upon real seeing; that is, seeing what occurs even deeper than seeing with our physical, human eyes.

You see (understand) that many who see (vision) with 20/20 sight are completely blind in the spirit. That kind of seeing (inner vision) requires openness of the spirit and a willingness to be children of the light.

True seeing is common to every faith. Interior blindness — lack of real sight or insight — happens when people close their spirit to the kind of truths that can only be known by the spirit.

In the story of the “Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a famous quote says it perfectly: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

The Gospel today provides us with the story of the man born blind and healed by Jesus. It is a story of seeing and blindness. The double meanings go back and forth between physical and spiritual seeing, and physical and spiritual blindness.

The blind man has both kinds of blindness, but through healing receives both kinds of sight. The Pharisees have physical sight, but once again display their incredible spiritual blindness; they never see God’s work at hand before them. They never see that Jesus is Messiah and the fulfillment.

Rather, in their spiritual blindness, they condemn, ridicule, punish, and use the law as an excuse to hate and destroy. Nothing good comes from them in this story except by comparison; they show how God-filled are the actions of Jesus.

The climactic truth is finally expressed in the Pharisees’ own question before Jesus: “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”

Jesus said to them, “If you were blind (physical), you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ (while choosing spiritual blindness/stubbornness) so your sin remains.”

Why is seeing with the heart so difficult? Why do we resist? Why can’t we surrender? Why can’t we trust love rather than to trust fear?

Jesus puts one simple question to the man whose sight is restored: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

If our answer, like his, is yes, then we will see.

That yes, however, means that we believe in his teachings, his example, his way of life, his values, his surrendering to God, his unequivocal yes to loving always, his preference for the poor and marginalized, his refusal to be blind followers of the law.

Yes to Jesus is yes to seeing!

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Holy Week and Easter schedule, 2017

During these weeks of Lent, the church has urged us to make the journey to Holy Week and Easter.

By prayer, penance, and works of charity, we seek to be ready to celebrate the saving mysteries of our redemption in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection, of Jesus.

Please join our parish family for the special liturgies by which we will enter into these mysteries and experience the great love of God for us.

We wish you and you family a blessed Easter, filled with peace and joy.

April 9 | Palm Sunday


  • 5 p.m. | Saturday vigil Mass in English
  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
    • Solemn blessing of palms and procession begins at 9:20 a.m.
  • 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish
    • Solemn blessing of palms and procession begins at 10:50 a.m.

April 10 | Monday of Holy Week


April 11 | Tuesday of Holy Week

  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English

April 12 | Wednesday of Holy Week

  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English
  • 7 p.m. | Mother of Perpetual Help Mass and novena

Holy Triduum

Called the Holy Triduum, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the three most sacred days of the year. These are days of quiet reflection and prayer for everyone, including our parish priests. 

Daily morning Mass at 8 will not be celebrated during the Holy Triduum; the 5 p.m. Saturday vigil Mass will not be celebrated on Holy Saturday. Daily morning Mass resumes at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 17.

April 13 | Holy Thursday
  • 7 p.m. | Mass of the Lord's Supper
    • Adoration until midnight in the parish hall

April 14 | Good Friday
  • 1 p.m. | Stations of the Cross
  • 2 p.m. | Solemn liturgy of the Lord's Passion, with holy communion in English
  • 4 p.m. | Living Stations of the Cross
  • 6 p.m. | Solemn Liturgy of the Lord's Passion, with holy communion in Spanish

April 15 | Holy Saturday
  • 8 p.m. | Easter vigil Mass in English and Spanish

April 16 | The Resurrection of the Lord
(Easter Sunday)

This is no ordinary day we celebrate. This is NOT just another day. "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!"

  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
  • 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish

June 4 | Pentecost Sunday
  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
  • 11 a.m. and 12: 30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish

June 5  | Ordinary Time resumes
  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “A chip on the shoulder is the heaviest load anyone can carry.” — Anonymous.

This week, the catechumens throughout the church celebrate their first scrutiny; they take a close look at their inner life (scrutinize) and notice any things that are keeping them from following Christ completely.

In this examination, they make the choice to tear out of their lives the obstacles to following Jesus Christ completely.

The Gospel of the Samaritan woman at the well is the story that tells of a very deep and intimate conversation between herself and Jesus.

Jesus sees the woman and her life fully; he reveals inner truths to her that convinces her that he is a prophet. When she runs home to her townspeople she shares her newly discovered faith: “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?”

Their initial curiosity turns into a convinced faith after they meet the Lord. Their own words will finally reveal their conviction: “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Is this not the journey of every Christian? Do we not have to have an experience of Jesus Christ that goes beyond liking or loving his words, his teachings, his way of life?

The woman of Samaria represents something inside each of us. When we begin to recognize God’s love for us that accepts us as we are with all of the good and bad choices we have made, then we begin to know her experience.

When who we are is more than what we have done or not done with our lives, we begin to appreciate this woman’s testimony.
Jesus shows to her understanding of her life. She experiences being known, being accepted.

Today, our catechumens take a good look at their lives; they open their lives up fully to the Lord as they admit their sins and obstacles to a full commitment of faith.

This scrutiny allows them to be like the woman at the well. They need to know that Jesus, indeed, tells them everything about their lives and still loves them, still accepts them.

They need an experience of the savior of the world that is personal, intimate and real.

This is what turns an admiration for a faith into a fully lived and transforming faith. We are all that woman at the well. This is what makes a true disciple.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Healing and reconciling during Lent

Healing and reconciliation are at the heart of our Christian life.

It is Jesus' call and gift to us.

Several priests will be available in special Penance/Reconciliation Services throughout our neighborhood during Advent so all can prepare for the birth of the Lord with a healed, reconciled and renewed heart.

This is time to clean house, to get rid of guilt and experience healing an renewal. All are welcome.

Penance services

March 31
7 p.m. at St. Dominic Church (2002 Merton Ave, Los Angeles)

April 3
7 p.m. at St. Bernard Church (2516 W. Ave. 33, Los Angeles)

April 4
7 p.m. at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church (322 N. Ave. 61, Los Angeles)

April 6
7 p.m. at Divine Saviour Church (610 Cypress Ave., Los Angeles)

Note: Confessions at St. Dominic will be at 6:30 p.m. every Friday.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” — Anonymous.

“Listen! If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts! Listen!”

The Transfiguration of Matthew sends an important message not only to the disciples who shared the moment with Jesus, but to all of us – every Christian.

Jesus took three disciples with him up the mountain, the place where sacred things occurred; there they experienced God’s presence. Moses and Elijah appeared standing near Jesus. Immediately, Peter felt the need to do something; he wasn’t content or peaceful enough to just take in the experience, and it wasn’t enough to simply receive what God was clearly giving to them. He wasn’t aware that, in that moment, God was calling him.

So while Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them all. In fear, the disciples fell face down on the ground. A voice — the voice — of God spoke: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

Jesus then touched them saying: “Get up and do not be afraid.” When they did get up, they saw just Jesus.

What a scene, what a moment! The amazing and the ordinary stood side by side. Visions of prophets, a glorified transfiguration, bright lights, and voices, all streamed together to call the disciples deeper into the mystery of God revealed in Jesus.

This scene was calling the disciples to faith. Initially, they feared, because it really was too much. But at the gentle touch of Jesus, the disciples were once again called not to fear but to have faith.

This whole experience was a very deep call to enter more deeply into the unfolding mystery of Jesus who asked for the mystery to be fulfilled before they shared it with others.

How does this story call us? Do we ever experience the voice of God clearly speaking to us in the ordinary? Do we have mountaintop experiences in church, at work, in our family, with neighbors, with friends, or with enemies?

Do we find ourselves fearing, then being touched, only to discover we are being called to faith?

Grace is, indeed, amazing. God is always at work in all things. Faith leads us to see and understand in new ways; to be open, waiting, wanting, seeking is the attitude we need to experience those little mountaintop moments again and again.
Not fear, but faith!

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.