Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Funeral services set for longtime teacher and coach Sister Joan Maga

Sister Joan Maga, B.V.M.
Sister Joan Maga, B.V.M. (Joanice), died Friday, April 13, 2018, at her home in Glendale surrounded by family and friends.

A Mass of Christian burial for the educator, principal and coach will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on May 5 at St. Bernard Catholic Church.

Burial is at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

Sister Joan was born in Los Angeles on May 9, 1937, to Peter and Virginia Baudino Maga.

The future nun entered the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary congregation Sept. 8, 1955, from Incarnation Parish in Glendale.

She professed first vows on Feb. 3, 1958, and final vows on July 16, 1963.

Sister Joan taught elementary school in Butte, Mont., San Francisco; and Los Angeles, where she was also a vice principal at St. Bernard Catholic School. In Glendale, she taught elementary school and served as vice principal.



She was preceded in death by her parents.

The longtime teacher and coach is survived by a brother, Frank Maga, and the Sisters of Charity with whom she shared life for 62 years.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

His presence was more than just catching up with old friends

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

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” — Buddha.

Failing to recognizing someone you haven’t seen in years is a common experience. It usually includes embarrassment, confusion, frustration, then surprise and delight, as we recognize the person again.

Not recognizing someone because they have gotten older is one thing.

But now knowing someone on the inside is much more difficult; it requires having a close relationship with someone.

Our liturgies over the past two weeks have contained stories of “non-recognition” turned to “recognition.”

Each time, Jesus takes the disciples through the steps: “Look at my hands and my feet”; “Touch me and see.”

Jesus showed the apostles his wounds; he invited them to touch and experience him as real. He proved he wasn’t just a vision or a ghost: After all, he ate food which ended up in his stomach and not on the floor.

But this was more than just a scene of simple recognition or catching up with old friends.

Jesus was acutely aware of and concerned with what was happening inside his disciples’ minds and hearts.

He began again: “Peace be with you.”

Then, observing their shock, terror and confusion — they thought they were seeing a ghost — he asked them directly and simply: “Why are you troubled, and why do questions arise in your hearts?” 

Then as he had done on other occasions, he explained how the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, had to be fulfilled in him. This included his death and resurrection.

Jesus is equally concerned with our recognition.

Recognizing the stories and words of Jesus is the easy part.

But Jesus seeks for us to experience and recognize in our hearts his presence, call, love, forgiveness, invitations to grow, and promptings of our spirit, every day.

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

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Through Thomas, Jesus's love, care and gentleness comes alive

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

“Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it has been tested.” — David Magee 

Thank you God for the gift of Thomas the doubter.

Such honesty and straightforwardness is refreshing and epitomizes the person of Thomas.

He insisted he would not believe if he did not see with his own eyes.

But the Gospel now comes alive as Jesus’s love, care and gentleness reaches out to Thomas.

Jesus knew what he needed: “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

He invited and called forth faith and trust in Thomas who did not disappoint. Only Thomas is recorded as uttering these words of faith: “My Lord and my God!”

He receives this invitation from Jesus the Christ and sees, understands and professes faith.

Do we ever doubt? Are we seekers of faith? Do we hand over doubts and questions to the Lord?

Are we willing to allow him to call us to faith? Are we open to discovering, seeing, understanding and professing deeper faith?

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, perhaps we will experience the love and mercy of God in a way that transforms our faith and gives to us new life.

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

RCIA, RICA elect receive the grace of baptism

Oh, God, who by invisible power accomplished a wondrous effect through sacramental signs, and who in many ways have prepared water, your creation, show forth the grace of baptism. 


Look now, we pray, upon the face of your church and graciously unseal for her the fountain of baptism. 




During the 8 p.m. Holy Saturday Easter vigil Mass on Saturday, March 31, 2018. we celebrated the rites initiation for the elect who are admitted to the Sacraments of Initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.



In this video, Nathan Castillo, Veronica Jaramillo, Alyssa Jaramillo, Fredrick Florentino, Darlene Florentino, Amberlynn Florentino, Sigrid Aragon, Sebastian Cetina, and Andres Ortega, receive the sacrament of baptism.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

We joyfully sing our Easter song

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

Quote of the Week: “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” — St. Augustine.

The “Easter Song” is sung out repeatedly in our liturgies today.

This is the first time we have heard these words for the last 40 days.

Today Jesus truly becomes the Christ – the anointed one. He enters into his glory resurrected and transformed.

As God raises him from death and into glory he also gave to us the pattern of our own immortal destiny. We, too, share in the glory of the Lord and are given life eternal.

We rejoice also with our newly baptized and those who have received confirmation and the Eucharist for the first time.

We rejoice with those who have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit – powerful and enabling gifts.

There really is no time like Easter. This is the time of redemption. This is the time of promises made and promises kept.

God’s covenant with us is fully revealed in the death and resurrection of his Son. If he had not been raised, his death would be in vain.

Because he has been raised, we are irrevocably changed and promised life eternal.

For that reason alone we joyfully sing our Easter Song: “ALLELUIA”

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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Be a caring, faith-filled follower of Jesus Christ

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

Quote of the Week: “You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.” — Buddha.

“Hosanna to the Son of David,” shouts the crowd as the liturgy of Palm Sunday begins.

“Crucify him!” is shouted just as loudly and brings to a conclusion in the Gospel reading of the passion of Mark.

A crowd simply can’t be any more fickle than this. The crowd is a classic example of a mob — easily excited and easily manipulated. The crowd doesn’t think for itself; the crowd doesn’t know what is really happening, but only perceives the feeling welling up within itself.

If a convincing voice cries out “murder!” then the crowd must provide the one to be murdered. The crowd is so easily used to achieve even horrific ends. This scene is an old scene; it is a present scene; and it is the future.

It is, simply, human.

Although history teaches lessons, it doesn’t necessarily teach people how to think or to live moral lives. This is one reason the church believes in the need for forming of consciences.

This is why the church seeks to think through and attempt to communicate logical, thoughtful and wise ways to live our lives as Christians.

The church is not perfect; the church has made mistakes throughout history. But the church certainly makes an honest and helpful contribution to the human race in attempting to figure out how we can live — not like crowds and mobs, but rather thoughtful, caring and faith-filled followers of Jesus Christ.

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

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Gospel calls us to complete transformation

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

Quote of the Week: “The menu is not the meal.” — Alan Watts.

As we prepare to celebrate the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are confronted with the call and necessity to experience our own death and resurrection on the inside.

The Gospel calls us to complete transformation — the seed must go into the ground and die if it is to produce much fruit.

Even the Gospel for Cycle A, used for the Masses with the Elect (RCIA) this weekend, focuses on death and rising from death in the story of Lazarus.

Empty tombs seem to be the order of the day. Death will have no more power over us. With Paul we can ask: “Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory.”

We are called to embrace the process of dying within so that new life may emerge. This, of course, goes far beyond Good Friday and Easter Sunday; we are a Paschal People who embrace this not on just a couple of days, but as a way of life.

Furthermore, we are to model it so that others may discover the power of the cross, and the death and Resurrection in their daily living.

As a church, we come to these holiest of days to find the fullness of life, liturgically and spiritually.

Come to these sacred and powerful liturgies. Make use of the sacraments these days, especially reconciliation.

Let healing, renewal, and emptying of our inner tombs, be the order of our day.

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

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Discover Jesus's look of love

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

Quote of the Week: “We are here to awaken our illusion of separateness.” — Thích Nhất Hạnh.

The princes, priests, people “added infidelity to infidelity” and even desecrated the temple.

John tells us that those who live in sin hate the light and hate love and are attracted to darkness. But just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert (those who looked at it were saved from their sin), so must the Son of man be lifted up.

We must truly look to him — look at him — and discover his look of love at and for us. This is the good news of the word today.

The letter to the Ephesians today says it most succinctly: “God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ — by grace you have been saved.” 

Scriptures for our RCIA elect

The healing of blindness happens several times in the Gospel, but in John’s Gospel today a simple phrase captures the wonder of this miracle: “One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”

Sight — whether physical, emotional or spiritual — is always preferable to blindness or the inability to see.

This, again, is what the choice of Jesus Christ is really about.

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

Sunday, March 4, 2018

'Come, Lord Jesus!'

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

Quote of the Week: “The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.” — Eckhart Tolle.

God describes himself today as a “jealous” God.

The wrath of Jesus flares up as he spills over the tables of the money changers and drives them out of the temple area.

His disciples recall the words of scripture: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Angry, jealous, zealous, punishing – are a few of the negative images that many relate to when they think of God. These human terms describing God are just that: a human way to describe our reaction to events and attitudes which we then attribute to God.

God cannot be limited by feelings. God doesn’t have a thought or truth. God is all truth. He doesn’t think things; he is all things.

Therefore, the passionate response of God is not meant to be a description of God. His wrath and jealousy cries out to the significance of the laws of God and the sacredness of, in this case, the temple.

The sacredness of the temple becomes a sign of the sacredness of our body in which grace, Spirit and God reside. 

Scriptures for our elect to be baptized at Easter

Jesus has a conversation with the woman at the well; he sees into her life, reveals truth and calls her to belief. She immediately evangelizes her town as she runs to them and relates all that has happened to her.

They experience Jesus, and their own testimony reveals the faith they discover within themselves: “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.”

This story shared on the day of the First Scrutiny invites us to deeper faith and comfort at how deeply known and loved we are by Christ.

This should cause us to have confidence to scrutinize our lives, see what remain as obstacles to have full faith in Christ Jesus, then allow his love and mercy to overwhelm and envelope us.

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

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

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Surrender and find life!

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

Quote of the Week: “I kinda don’t do guilt. I gave it up for Lent years ago.” — Father Greg Boyle.

Week 1.

We see Jesus led by the Spirit into the desert alone, hungry, thirsty, vulnerable, weak, and tempted.

We are asked by the journey of Lent to do the same. We are invited to experience and acknowledge each of these realities.

Like Jesus, we are led by the Spirit to place our trust and confidence in a loving, merciful, caring, life-giving God who best lifts us up when we are weak and doubtful and broken by sin.

Week 2.

We walk a different path up high to the mountaintop. There the “glory of the Lord” is revealed to us in the Transfiguration.

From a cloud casting a shadow comes a voice: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

From both desert and mountaintop, truth is revealed; something is asked of us.

These journeys are not just stories to be admired, but journeys we must make. Nor are these onetime journeys; rather, they are journeys we make over and over again.

In her wisdom, the church gives us the annual call of Lent to hear both stories, because these journeys are deeply woven into the rhythms of our lives.

In weakness and strength, light and darkness, night and day, and hunger and satisfaction, we find our God.

God always finds us. God always rescues. God always shows the way. But somehow, without the emptiness of the desert and the glory of the mountaintop, we become distracted, discouraged, tired or just lose our way.

Weeks 1 and 2 of Lent are teaching us. Let us surrender. Let us be opened up to learn and follow. Let our offering be as precious as Abraham’s as we offer up to God what is most precious to us: our control and our desire to have life only as we would want it.

Let us surrender and there find life!

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