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.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be true peace.” — Sufi Wisdom.

At first sight, these readings seem to be quite a downer.

In the first reading, David sins to the point of causing the death of Uriah the Hittite, whose wife he essentially steals and eventually marries.

In the Gospel, a woman (known to be a public sinner), makes her way (uninvited) into the home of a well-to-do Pharisee in the middle of a dinner.

Both sinners recognize and confess their sin.

David does so openly and directly to Nathan; the woman does so openly, yet in an intimate expression by cleaning Jesus’ feet with her tears, and anointing and kissing them in public.

Although the scenes and the sins are different, the admittance of sin, guilt and sorrow are very much the same.

What is essential to true repentance is the acceptance of responsibility for the sins one has committed and a desire to change. In our faith, we have a tool that is enormously helpful to this process.

In the sacrament of reconciliation (more commonly known as confession), a person goes before the priest (both sinners) and tells his or her sins.

Accepting responsibility for one’s sins by openly, directly and simply admitting one’s guilt is required. By opening to let the sin out or telling it one finds themselves open even more to receiving forgiveness and actually experiencing a reconciliation deep within.

The woman in today’s Gospel does it publicly — and yet it is so intimate and so revealing. Many were aghast!

Jesus, however, defends her actions and notes how deep was her love.

A great truth is being expressed today which has to do with being imperfect, sinful, yet capable of true repentance.

How human! How encouraging! How filled with the mercy and love of 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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

St. Bernard Catholic School Class of 2016 Baccalaureate

During the baccalaureate ceremony, students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and exemplary character throughout the course of the school year will be conferred awards of merit. 

Let us acknowledge all the members of the Class of 2016 who, through their continued effort, now stand before the community of St. Bernard Catholic School as individuals of faith, academic excellence, and who are committed to service.

As the graduating Class of 2016 completes its final steps into the next chapter of their journey of faith, may you, O Lord, send down your spirit and consecrate the hearts and minds of all those present here.

May we continue to rejoice and be inspired by the accomplishments of all of your graduates.

St. Bernard Catholic School Class of 2016 baccalaureate ceremony

St. Bernard Catholic School Class of 2016 students share their thoughts on graduation, life, and academic achievement.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Fear grows out of the things we think; it lives in our minds. Compassion grows out of the things we are; it lives in our hearts.” — Michael Garrison.

The word on Sunday presented to us two widows separated by hundreds of years but who share a common story.

One has an only son who is “sick unto death,” and another son who has already died.

Each also has a person who intervenes in their lives and connects them with God’s healing powers.

Elijah, guest of the widow in the first story, appeals to God to save the child. The child comes back to perfect health and is returned to his mother.

In the Gospel Jesus halts a funeral and tells the corpse — the dead son of the widow of our second story, to “arise.” The boy sits up, speaks and is returned to his mother.

The obvious reality that is played out in these stories is that God’s tremendous mercy is experienced by these widows as they have their children given back to them.

These are miracles of the highest order. Most of the attention in the stories goes directly to the miraculous moment of restoration. But the moment that “sets up” the miracle is worthy of attention.

Elijah is catapulted into action by the women’s hurt and their angry plea; he calls out to God passionately and with great faith: “O LORD, my God, let the life breath return to the body of this child.”

Jesus, too, is moved and thrust into action by his own compassion for the widow who was a complete stranger who just happened into his pathway because of this funeral procession.

By his “Godly authority” he cried out: “Young man, I tell you, arise!”

Both widows and their children meet men of God” who profoundly change lives through this encounter.

Both scenes are true experiences of profound faith and love. Both scenes are moments of profound restoration of life, relationship, peace and faith.

How could these women and their children ever be the same? What would they think of God from that moment forward until the day they die?

What would they now think of the “gift of life”?

And what do these stories do to us and our understanding of God and appreciation of life?

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, May 29, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Everything can be taken from us but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Viktor E. Frankl.

This feast today focuses sharply on Jesus Christ as the bread of life and cup of salvation.

This feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is the central mystery of our faith as a sacramental community. The reason we gather each week as church is to share at the table of the Lord — to eat and drink of the Lord.

The readings today open up many levels of meaning, as does the Eucharist itself.

Jesus spoke to the crowds and healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the issue of so many people and so little food came up. Jesus told the disciples to “give them some food yourselves.”

Clearly, they could not. So Jesus, as generously and lovingly as he did everything, fed the multitude — the men alone numbered about 5,000.

When all was said and done, all were satisfied, and they also filled 12 extra baskets with leftovers.

What a wasteful miracle of generous love — it was more than they could eat, more than they needed!

Jesus was forever giving of himself. He was forever spending his time, his life, his energy, his mind, his heart, his words. The more he gave, the more people wanted, and the more he emptied himself for them.

Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, reveals that Jesus’ example and teaching was not in vain — the disciples did finally get it.

Here we are, after Pentecost, celebrating the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Paul’s words are our words, and they couldn’t be truer: “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

The gathering of the community of the Lord each Sunday is more than obligation. It is the profound sharing of the Lord. We eat and drink of him. We become what we receive. We imitate and follow his example.

We open up the meaning of pouring out our lives. We learn generosity of love and giving. We see the fruit of our love, its over abundance; and we, too, gather up the fragments.

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is so much more than “just going to receive communion.” It is becoming one with the Lord, sharing in his life, and being transformed into the very feast that we share.

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, May 27, 2016

St. Bernard Church celebrates Father Perry's 40th anniversary of ordination

Father Perry D. Leiker, 26,
shortly after his ordination
in 1976.
On Sunday, May 29, 2016, St. Bernard Church celebrated Father Perry's 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.

Father Perry's motto has always been "Being with the people."

He did not want a fancy sit-down dinner celebration; instead, he wanted the opportunity to be with the people.

(Pictured: St. Bernard Church Pastor Father Perry D. Leiker is shown here shortly after his ordination at the age of 26 on May 29, 1976. Tall, skinny, and with thick-rimmed glassed, people used to call him a "geek," Father Perry remembers.)

"It’s because of the people that I am the priest that I am today; therefore, I want to thank the community for the opportunity to serve them," Father Perry said.

En vídeo (en Español)

Feligréses de la parroquia de San Bernardo, comparten sus pensamientos sobre el Padre Perry, con motivo del cuadragésimo aniversario de ordenación del Padre Perry.

In video

Parishioners, priests, and friends share their thoughts about Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor of St. Bernard Church, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Remy Baluyut, St. Bernard director of religious education, shares her thoughts on Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor of St. Bernard Church, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Let no one pull you so low as to make you hate them.” — Booker T. Washington.

Equally mysterious as the Trinity itself is the “how”: “How” did we discover this?

The easy answer is that God revealed it, and we hear that most clearly in John’s Gospel.

Jesus speaks clearly and directly about his relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit, especially in the great discourse after the Last Supper. The communion between them is intimate and completely transparent. Everything has been given over freely to the other, and they share all because of their love for one another.

The communion among the three persons of God forms perfect community. In the most striking language, John’s Jesus prays that they (the disciples) might be one as he (Jesus) is one with the Father.

But “how” God is three in one, and what that “looks” like, remains a mystery.

Jesus’ revelation of this is simple, but the truth of “how” it could be remains unclear. It seems, however, that simply stating this truth is in itself remarkable.

We say that God, almighty and everlasting — and always known as the “only” God — is three in one.

This conjures up the image of an atom, this particle of matter in which this electronic energy zooms around with perfect and rhythmic speed, producing energy and sustaining all matter.

The very identity of God is this union of three, sharing, giving, receiving, loving, revealing, and accepting one another always and everywhere.

This communion is love. This communion is being. This communion is what all community must be: a sharing, giving, and receiving of love and life from one another.

What distinguishes community from a mob is not the gathering of people but the energy among them.

A mob’s energy usually does not reflect love and a common purpose for good. A mob’s energy is often fueled by fear and hatred and, in an instant, can turn on anyone, even itself.

Whatever holds a mob together can easily be manipulated and at least semi-controlled.

It is always precarious to depend upon a desired outcome from a mob.

A community, on the other hand, usually generates good energy and love and actually seeks to grow in common understanding while seeking common goals together.

Jesus’ disciples were a small community of faith.

What stood before Jesus on the cross was clearly a mob.

The Trinity is not something that can be explained or solved but something that is to be encountered.

Knowing the divine community (God) can and does transform our human community.

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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

St. Bernard Catholic School May Crowning Celebration, 2016

Mary, our queen, our mother, we, the students of St. Bernard Catholic School honor you today with special reverence.

While honoring you, Christ's mother, we pray that these devotions may cause your Son to be rightly known, loved and glorified, and all his commands observed.

Mother of God, mother of men, as once you aided the beginnings of the church by your prayers, may you now, exalted as your are in heaven above all saints and angels, intercede with your Son.

May you do so until all the people of the human family are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one people of God, for the glory of the most holy and undivided Trinity.