Sunday, July 17, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart.” — Mencius.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

This familiar saying sums up the scriptures today. The word of God is a word not just to be spoken, but to be heard and lived.

Throughout the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament), whenever God’s word was not lived, problems and disasters always followed. When people listened to God and were obedient to him, their lives were good. When they refused to listen, or got out of alignment with God in their lives, things tended to fall apart.

In the first reading today, God intends and promises to send Abraham a child in his old age. When Abraham went about it his way — fathering a child (Ishmael) with Hagar, the handmaiden of his wife, Sarah — the consequences prove disastrous for his family.

In a very short time, Sarah and Hagar were at each other’s throats, and happiness and peace deserted their household. But when Abraham followed the ways of the Lord, and acted in accord and alignment with God in his life, all things improved. Now he received a proper son born of Sarah.

Similarly, in the Christian scriptures (New Testament), Martha and Mary were showing hospitality to Jesus, as was proper. But when Jesus began to teach, Mary sat at his feet to listen, to hear, to be a disciple.

Martha continued to carry out the acts of hospitality that were proper to a Jewish home with guests. Jesus, however, spoke the same message of old to Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Mary aligned herself completely with the Lord Jesus, as he began to teach and open up to her and others the mysteries of God’s love.

What could be more important than listening and being present to God in the person of Jesus?

Mary got it! Hospitality is very important, but being focused and completely present to God is even more important: “Mary has chosen the better part.”

In this modern day, with all of the noise, distractions, business, texting, cell phone availability, constant interruption and interaction, we make Martha look lazy and inactive. We are constantly on the move, at it, doing, accomplishing, occupied — constantly.

The Abraham and the Martha in each of us would be blessed to learn from the Mary in the word today. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” and “the experience of God’s abundant life is in the hearing and the living of the Word.”

We can do no better than to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen.

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, July 16, 2016

'I pray'

Gabriella Isabel
By Gabriella Isabel Maynetto 

I ask myself, why do people want to kill each other?

Would our social reality be any different if we had more doctors and nurses running for office, people who have seen and dealt with the traumas of violence, of tragedy?

Would we find ways of preventing the sort of chaos we are witnessing across nations scattered across our shared Earth?

Show compassion, show kindness, show care for your neighbor, for your friends, and for your loved ones and family.

Why do we push each other toward violence? Why do we subsidize building national armaments domestically and abroad instead of sending materials for schools and hospitals, clinics and universities?

I pray that our world finds healing past the many social traumas we are enveloped in.

I pray that more people engage in dialogue and understanding.

I pray that more people will intervene before something tragic happens.

Show compassion, show kindness, show care for your neighbor, for your friends, and for your loved ones and family.

Gabriella Isabel Maynetto is a St. Bernard Church parishioner.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “If and when were planted. Nothing grew.” — Turkish saying

“Hawthorne — city of friendly neighbors!”

That is the inscription on signs all over the city of Hawthorne, a city adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport.

How beautiful and how dangerous to post such a sign. If you bear the title, you are responsible for living it! “Do you walk the talk?”

There is no attempt here to denigrate the fair city of Hawthorne, but rather to state how dangerous it is to claim a title.

The danger is that the words could remain merely words without real meaning. But isn’t that so also true when we claim the name “Christian”?

We say, by that title, we are followers of Christ. That means that his words and actions — his teachings and example — are meant to become our own.

Just how difficult that can be is revealed in the Gospel narrative today.

A scribe, a good and outstanding religious leader and practitioner of the law, claimed to be a true follower of the law. In trying to claim what he had to do in order to gain everlasting life, he answered Jesus’ question about the law and stated the Shema or, “Hear, O Israel.”

Loving God and loving neighbor as yourself always will be for the Jews the call of how to live everyday, always.

This is recited frequently throughout the day as THE way to show that God is at the center of one’s life. Loving neighbor is inextricably united and flows in and out of our love of God.

John’s first letter (1 John 4:20b) said it even more bluntly and straightforward: “For whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

The only wiggle space or loophole which might help one escape this call would have to be justified by the law itself. So when the scribe asked Jesus “who is my neighbor?” it is evident that he was looking for that space where perhaps one could wiggle away from walking the talk.

As usual, Jesus took the challenge head on. He told a story of a neighbor robbed and beaten, lying on the road to die. A priest and Levite walk by and, because of ritual purity laws, they justified their actions to pass the man without responding to his needs or showing compassion.

The one who proves himself to be neighbor, angel, savior, friend, doctor, and man of compassion, is the one who placed neighbor ABOVE the law — a Samaritan.

He acted with love. He took care of ALL of the needs of a stranger at his own expense and went far above and beyond the call of duty.

The Gospel today asks us: Who is my neighbor? What is compassion? How does one love?

What is the kingdom really about? How does one follow Christ and claim the name Christian?

The question we have to ask ourselves is: “Do we walk the talk?”

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.

Friday, July 8, 2016

USCCB president calls for prayers, reflection, civility and dialogue

Archbishop Joseph E.Kurtz
By Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, USCCB president 

WASHINGTON — Following the deadly attacks on police officers in Dallas, during a protest rally stemmed by the killings of two men in Louisiana and Minnesota, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops extended a call to prayer, reflection, civility and peaceful dialogue. 

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, issued the following statement July 8.

Let us gather at the cross

The assassination of Dallas police officers last night was an act of unjustifiable evil. To all people of good will, let us beg for the strength to resist the hatred that blinds us to our common humanity. To my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us gather at the cross of Jesus. Our savior suffered at the hands of humanity's worst impulses, but he did not lose hope in us or in his heavenly father. Love overcomes evil.

The police are not a faceless enemy. They are sons and daughters offering their lives to protect their brothers and sisters. Jesus reminds us, "no one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13). So, too, the suspects in crimes or routine traffic stops are not just a faceless threat. They are members of our family in need of assistance, protection and fairness. When compassion does not drive our response to the suffering of either, we have failed one another.

The need to place ever greater value on the life and dignity of all persons, regardless of their station in life, calls us to a moment of national reflection. In the days ahead, we will look toward additional ways of nurturing an open, honest and civil dialogue on issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity, and addressing the question of pervasive gun violence.

Let us pray for the comfort of everyone affected and that our national conversation will bear the good fruit of healing and peace.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.” — General Omar Bradley.

“Follow me” now becomes, “Go on your way,” as Jesus appoints and sends out 72 others to preach and cure the sick and cast out demons.

He gives training and warnings about what they will encounter. He makes it clear that some will not accept them nor the blessings that they bring.

He tells them to stay at one house, eat what they put before you. He tells them not to take with them moneybags, sacks nor sandals. He even tells them not to greet people along the way.

If they are not received in a town, they should shake from their feet the dust of that town then leave

The mission of Jesus is one of complete trust in God. This mission is one that puts faith and action before comfort and acceptance. This mission includes the possibility of judgment against those who are closed to the blessings being offered.

This mission is filled with power.

Jesus calls his disciples, then gives them a little taste of his ministry. In this ministry there is dying and rising. But there is power, too. There is power in being an instrument of God. There is power in effecting healing — both spiritual and physical.

There is power in sharing blessings and peace. There is power in inviting lives to turn around. There is even power in the shaking off of dust and taking back a blessing.

So Jesus unequivocally tells his disciples, “not to rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

To catch the spiritual power in humility and with a spirit of service is one of the most challenging pieces when one is involved in the ministry of Christ.

There is power, there is allurement, there is desire for control, there is the false taking of credit for all that occurs.

Jesus tells us to be content that there is a place in heaven for us, that the building of the kingdom — and the sharing in the life of the kingdom and one day knowing the fullness of the kingdom — is what the ministry is about.

We should be completely clear about this matter of ministry. It is not reserved only for the ordained clergy. Rather, it is EXPECTED of ALL who share in the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ.

Who are those?

Those are all who have been baptized in Christ — as prophet, priest and king. That priestly office of Christ is anointed into us; we are called and sent for ministry.

Whom have you blessed recently? With whom have you shared the peace of Christ? Who has felt healing or new life because of your spiritual gifting presence with them?

Whom have you challenged by shaking off the dust, that is, by not diminishing God’s word or grace, but by challenging them to see, hear and come to know God more deeply in their lives?

This is yet another case of the Gospel being not just FOR us, but ABOUT us!

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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Camp Mariastella summer camping program

Camp Mariastella is a ministry of the Sisters of Social Service, and has served over 65,000 girls over the past 75 years.

It is a residential camp for girls ages 7 to 15 located in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Camp Mariastella has openings in July and August.

Camp does kids a world of good — experiencing nature and exploring the out of doors in a very safe, yet exciting environment.

Scholarships are available. Camp Mariastella buses pick up in Los Angeles.

Camp Mariastella is also hiring young women as Summer Camp Counselors. Counselors must be 17 or older.

Camp Mariastella is also looking for nurses to volunteer. Bring your children with you.

For more information, call (818) 285-1555, email, or visit

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “You possess only what will not be lost in a shipwreck.” — Sufi Wisdom.

“Follow me” is spoken by Elijah and Jesus in the scriptures today.

In Elijah’s case, Elisha (son of Shaphat) asks only to kiss his parents goodbye first. Then he does something to declare his willingness to follow completely: He slaughters his oxen, burns his plow in order to boil their flesh and feeds the oxen to his people.

The message is unmistakable: “I’m not coming back!”

Jesus, for his part, gets three different responses: “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Even Jesus recognizes how ideal and sweet it was but pops the bubble with his response: “The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Readiness to follow in word, but not in action, is not to follow at all.

The next two respondents promise to follow but lament that something must come first. It doesn’t matter what it is, the point is, they were not ready. They had other things to do first; they did not catch it that “the kingdom of God is now.”

This is Gospel writing at its best. The example is blunt and straightforward. Jesus’ preaching about hearing about God, and responding with all of our heart, is a message of such urgency. To not respond immediately is as bad as not responding at all.

To say “wait” is to miss the point. It is to not see that the kingdom is the most important thing that there is. The kingdom is an inner recognition of God’s presence, his love, and his call to accept his love and to love in return. It is not just to love him, but to love everyone.

In fact, loving everyone is loving him, and when we truly begin to love him, it will become obvious it means to love all.
This love is not an emotional Valentine’s Day kind of love, but the sacrificial, and pouring out kind.

It is unconditional. There are no strings attached here. Once one gets it, they begin to see meaning in everything that Jesus preaches.

Forgiveness is the only thing that makes sense, and it brings true peace. Serving others is the way to find life and joy within. Compassion is the most human connection to offer someone in pain or grief. Giving is receiving, and being last is being first in a whole new kind of way.

Jesus says: “follow me.” This is not a nice, friendly and informal kind of invitation. This is a “give me your all” invitation.

Jesus’ promise is that his invitation is the discovery of God and goodness and new life. That is why it is so urgent, why it must be heard, and why he is so persistent: “Come; follow me!”

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.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Diaconate Formation

The Diaconate Formation Office will host an information meeting for all men interested in finding out more about becoming a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Men must be between 30 and 60 years old.

It is important for men who are married to attend with their wives. The next information meeting will be from 2 to 4 p.m. on July 24 at St. Raphael Church, at 5444 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara.

For more more information, call Claudia Ortiz at (213) 637-7383, or email

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “No one was created to be a slave or a beggar.”  — Dom Helder Camara

In Luke’s Gospel, immediately after Jesus feeds 5,000 people, this question about identity comes up: “Who do people say that I am?” 

For the reader, it seems a bit preposterous that everyone has not already reached the obvious conclusion. 

We the readers have figured it out. We didn’t even see the miracle; we only heard about it and are stunned — Jesus did what with five loaves and two fish? 

Nonetheless, this issue is raised by Jesus: “Who do people say that I am?” 

In response to this question there are various answers but only one person gets it right: Peter. 

“You are the Christ!” This coming to know who Jesus is was more than a title or a name. Jesus begins to reveal what must happen to “the Christ” — how he had to suffer and to die. 

This pathway would never be acceptable, could barely be understood in its revelation, but would explain and reveal much more as it was experienced by all. 

This pathway would lay bare and truly reveal not just the Christ but everyone one who was intimately connected with him. This pathway would reveal traitors. This pathway would reveal hidden agendas. This pathway would unveil fears and denials: “I don’t even know the man!” 

This pathway would challenge belief in utterly senseless and completely illogical testimonies: “He has been raised up! He is alive!” 

The command — “Tell no one about this” — certainly makes sense, for who would believe this? 

Jesus reveals who he is and what must be. This Gospel not only tells us about that moment of truth and allows us to share in it, this is truly a revelation of what must be for us who follow him. 

Following Jesus as disciple is no mere trifle or a fashionable thing to do. Rather, it is a total transformation of our lives. 

To be his disciple is to acknowledge the truth he is and was and gave to us. To be his disciple is to proclaim his truth that has become our own. To be his disciple is to follow in his footsteps. To be his disciple is to come to have the face of Christ. 

Understood through this revelation of Jesus, suffering and cross are an integral part of his identity and, therefore, ours. 

But how could that not be so? To be seekers of peace among bullies and enemies, locally and globally, surely this brings suffering and cross! 

To promote justice for all when a more equal sharing means less of the pie for one accustomed to eating the whole thing, surely this brings suffering and cross. 

To mourn and show mercy in a world where greed, avarice and jealousy bring us constantly into the courts armed with arguments and lawyers, surely this brings suffering and cross. 

This revelation by Jesus of his identity and purpose is central to him and to us.

Through it, we discover the road that we will walk.   

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.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

St. Bernard Church celebrates Remy Baluyut's retirement

On Saturday, June 4, 2016, we celebrated St. Bernard Church Director of Religious Education Remy Baluyut's retirement and 20 years of service to St. Bernard Church.

Parishioners share their thoughts on the occasion of the retirement of Remy Baluyut, St. Bernard Church Director of Religious Education.

Remy Baluyut, St. Bernard Church Director of Religious Education, shares her thoughts, on the occasion of her retirement.