Sunday, December 30, 2007

Today, the church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family at Nazareth — the family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

It was undoubtedly a family and home of love, peace and filled with a profound sense of God’s presence and plan. The Holy Family is thus presented as an example and inspiration to all Christian families.

Christmas is a time when our families celebrate being and experience a deeper sense of belonging. May this spirit carry over to the rest of the year and may all our families continue to grow in love and peace. Parents have the privilege and responsibility to provide a home where children experience love and affirmation as they grow into adulthood. Children initiate what they have learned at home. If they grow up learning the importance of prayer, of sharing and of caring, they will in turn make good parents. Let us all pray for a strong family life in our society. God bless and protect all our families.

Sincere thanks to all who helped us prepare for and celebrate the Christmas season. This list includes the priests, sisters, parish staff and volunteers, the Eucharistic Ministers, lectors, altar servers, the Altar Society, the ushers, the choirs and musicians, the collection counting teams, the various parish groups including the St. Vincent de Paul Society and you our parishioners.

May God bless you for your generous spirit and may you all have a happy and healthy 2008.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A very blessed, peaceful and joyful Christmas to all our parishioners and their families. May the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fill your hearts, homes and lives with a new sense of God’s love for us and how much God wishes to be at the center of our lives.

If you may be experiencing sadness or loneliness at this time may your spirits be uplifted and peace come to you by knowing that God is with you.

May the message of the angel, "This day is born unto you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord," fill our hearts with gratitude and courage.

***

The Mini Fiesta held on Dec. 9 was a great success.

I wish to thank all who helped, contributed, attended, supported or sponsored it. A profit of $3,137 was realized for the parish. A special word of thanks to Salvador Solis, president of the Guadalupana Association for organizing this event which I hope will become an annual one which will continue to grow.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Do we ever need HOPE!

Each year Christian churches celebrate the season of Advent to prepare for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, not only at Christmas time, but one day when He will come again in glory and call us all home.

This year the Catholic community of St. Bede’s is highlighting one particular element of that overall theme of preparation: “A People of Hope.” This is significant in our day and age. As we look around at our world and closer to home as well, we see plenty which leaves so much to be desired. We see not only wars and bloodshed on the other side of the world, but crimes and struggles right around us.

Do we ever need HOPE!

So many of us know people who are having a difficult time with their health, families who are losing their homes, people who are homeless and living on the street not knowing where their next meal will come from.

Do we ever need HOPE!

Of course, we add to this list the loss of loved ones whom the Lord has now called home.

Do we ever need HOPE!

The wonderful readings of this season remind us that a day is coming when the valleys will be exalted, the blind will see, the lion and the lamb will lie together and we who strive to cope with our human condition will find eternal peace and happiness forever.Our God wants to encourage us and calls us to share HOPE with one another.

Let us be bolstered and comforted by that promise!

God bless you in this Advent season and always.

MONSIGNOR JIM GEHL
Pastor
St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dec. 12, is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.

On December 9, 1531, the Blessed Mother made the first of her appearances to St. Juan Diego on the hill of El Tepeyac, five miles north of Mexico City. She left behind not only her message, but also her beautiful image miraculously imprinted on the tilma (cloak) of Juan. The tilma and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is revered by millions each year in the shrine built to honor her and to be a place of prayer.

“Let nothing trouble or afflict you — am I not here who am your mother,” words of Mary to Juan Diego.

You are invited to join our parish celebration of this very special feast day. Our thanks to all the members of the Guadalupana Association for preparing our celebration.

Dec. 12

Mañanitas: 4:30 a.m
Mass: 5 a.m.
St. Bernard School Prayer Service: 2 p.m.
Rosary: 5 p.m.
Mass: 6 p.m.
Celebration in the parish hall: 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Liturgical season of Advent

Today we begin the liturgical season of advent and a new year for the church. Advent is the time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Savior and also to prepare us for his coming in glory at the end of time. Advent is a time of hope and joyful waiting. Central figures in the Advent liturgy are John the Baptist and Mary. May these be weeks of grace and peace for all of us.

***

Next Sunday the special collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious will be taken up in all of the parishes in the United States. This annual collection provides financial help to Religious communities in the care of their elderly members. These men and women religious have devoted their lives to the service of the Church and society. A great majority of the elderly religious, assisted by this annual collection are nuns who helped provide a low-cost or free education to millions in the Catholic schools throughout this country. In many cases their communities received little or no compensation for their ministry. The Catholic sister, brother, or priest remains in active ministry until age 74. Today, 37,870 women and men religious are past age 70 and need our help with the current high cost of living and health care. Now we are asked to share in their care. Please be generous in next Sunday’s collection. This is a way we can say thanks to these wonderful nuns and other religious. Checks should be made out to St. Bernard Church. Special envelopes are in the pews. Thank you for your generosity in past years.

Friday, November 16, 2007

All Hallows Seminary Chapel fund

I wish to thank all those who contributed to the All Hallows Seminary Chapel fund.

A total of $3,761 was collected. Your generosity and kindness is very much appreciated.

God bless you.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

All Hallows Seminary

On June 21, 1964, in All Hallows Seminary Chapel, Dublin, Ireland, I, and 38 other young men were ordained priests to serve overseas.

Since 1889, when the chapel was consecrated, several thousand men received the sacrament of Holy Orders in the same chapel. All Hallows Seminary and especially the chapel is a very special place for me.

The chapel is now in need of renovation, a project which will cost several million dollars. I have pledged my support of this project and I hope to be able to send some donations from our parish also. If you are able to make a contribution you will find special envelopes in the pews today. There will not be a second collection so envelopes should be placed in the regular collection today or next Sunday. Checks should be made out to St. Bernard Church.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

November nine-day novena of Masses

The month of November is dedicated to the memory of the faithful departed. We are encouraged to pray for them that they may enjoy the presence of God in heaven and thus experience the fullness of salvation.

“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church).

Novena of masses for the deceased — the annual November nine-day novena of Masses for the deceased — will be offered here beginning Nov. 2. The envelopes for the names of your deceased loved ones are in the pews and should be turned in to us as soon as possible. The envelopes will be placed on the altar during the month of November.

At 7:15 p.m. Nov. 15 we will celebrate a Mass for those who have died since last November. Family members are invited to participate. The names of the deceased will be read at Mass.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

World Mission Sunday

Today, with the Catholics of the world, we celebrate World Mission Sunday.

We are called at our celebration of the Eucharist to offer our prayers and our generous financial support to continue the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. By our prayers and by what we offer from our hearts we support mission priests, religious sisters and brothers and catechists to bring the good news of salvation and the compassion of Jesus to the poorest of our human family.

On this Mission Sunday let us be united in faith and in spirit with the church in Africa, Asia, Oceania and other parts.

“You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Special envelopes are in the pews.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Major improvements to the parish

During the summer months we have been able to have major improvements done to the parish facilities. These include the renovation of the stage and other work in the parish hall, the construction of a wall along the volleyball court and school, the painting of the outside of the rectory, major plumbing repairs and more.

I wish to thank Parish Manager Berna Gurule for arranging for and overseeing this work. She deserves a great deal of credit and appreciation for this and all she does for our parish. I also wish to thank Alan Antipuesto, a member of 8 a.m. Mass choir, for designing the renovation of the hall stage, walls and bathrooms and for spending a lot of time in helping with the work. My thanks also to the Holy Name Society for its contribution of $7,000 for the renovation of the stage.

God bless you all.

***

Some months ago I announced plans for a pilgrimage to France. Because of the declining value of the dollar against the euro, I have decided to cancel those plans. Such a trip is too expensive at this time. However, I have made arrangements with Covina Hills Travel Agency for a seven-night cruise to Mexico, leaving Jan. 27, 2008, from Los Angeles. It is a great bargain, with prices beginning at just $479 per person. Stops will include Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. A number of parishioners are planning to go. To guarantee this price, reservations must be made this week. Brochures and reservation forms are available in the church office.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Catechetical Sunday

Today is Catechetical Sunday.

At the 9:30 and 11 a.m. Masses, all those involved in the ministry of religious education and formation in our parish will be commissioned. Many thanks to those parishioners who have committed themselves to this vital ministry. May the Holy Spirit guide you and your students to a successful and productive year.

God bless you for your generosity.

***

The new school year at St. Bernard’s has gotten off to a good start. Several additional classrooms now have new desks. These were purchased by the St. Bernard School Foundation at a cost of $8,125.

On behalf of the Foundation Board, Principal Lauren Boadt and myself, I wish to thank all those whose donations to the Foundation this summer made this possible.

The students are enjoying their new desks and are sure to get even better grades!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Welcome, Father Jose

We extend a warm welcome to Rev. Jose Mejia, who has been assigned by the archdiocese to be in residence here.

He is the new chaplain at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, replacing Rev. John Sigler.

Father Mejia is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico. He graduated from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1991.

Welcome Father Jose!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Father Paul's Musings

By REV. PAUL HENSON, O.CARM.

Last Sunday, I received an anonymous note on my car that read, “Thank you. That’s just what my heart & soul needed!.” Without a doubt, it made my day and provided me with the strength and energy to complete my Sunday duties.

Thank you, anonymous person. Now, I’m not requesting a deluge of thank you notes, nor advocating anonymous missives. What matters is that this person took two minutes out of her day to express an encouraging sentiment. An uplifting thought remains empty unless it is acted upon. That’s the lesson of the Good Samaritan. He felt pity and responded positively.

Perhaps there is someone in your life who can benefit from a merry musing.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Father Paul's Musings

It is an honor and privilege to serve the Lord and the community of St. Bernard while Fr. McSorley is on vacation.

You’ve heard the saying, “When the cat is away, the mice shall play.” The ordinary person understands this to mean that it’s time to party, to let loose, or to be mischievous. Not so at St. Bernard. As you've noticed, the rectory and church are being repaired and painted. Years of pine needles that have collected in the gutters are being cleared out and painted. The internal walls now offer a contrasting view to the red bricks. The rectory’s new coat of paint sets the standard for a cleaner and brighter neighborhood.

I’d like to thank all those workers of the Lord’s vineyard who help to make this possible, especially you who give so generously to St. Bernard.

Remember, God is never outdone in generosity, so give back to Him by supporting the Church, the missions, and seminaries.

— Rev. Paul Henson, O. Carm.

Farewell to Fr. John Sigler

For the past three years we have been blessed with the presence and ministry of Fr. John here at St. Bernard’s.

The archdiocese has now given him a new assignment. At the end of this month he leaves his present assignment, as chaplain at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles, to become chaplain at St. Mary’s hospital in Long Beach. That means that he will no longer be in residence here.

On behalf of the parish community, I thank him for his ministry here and wish him every blessing and success in Long Beach.

Fr. John, we will miss you a lot. You are a very kind and gentle priest. God bless you.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Retreat and annual vacation

Monday to Wednesday of this week I will be attending a continuing education workshop at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre.

I will leave for Ireland on July 2 for my annual vacation and will be there, God willing, for the month of July. Fr. Paul Henson, O.Carm., has made himself available for priestly ministry here during July.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

May God bless, in a special way, today, the fathers in our parish. Yours is a wonderful vocation. You are called to reflect the love and generosity of God our Father. “God sets a father in honor over his children ... kindness to a father will not be forgotten” (Sirach 3).

“Fathers, do not nag your children lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21).

Happy Father’s Day!

***

This week Antonio and Carmelita Silvas are moving to Phoenix. On behalf of the parish community, I want to thank them for their many years of service to St. Bernard’s and wish them good health and happiness in their new home.

Antonio & Carmelita, we will miss you! Vayan con Dios.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Today, we celebrate the beautiful feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

This feast celebrates the gift of the Eucharist. In St. John 6, we read of the promise of the Eucharist. At the Last Supper, as the Gospels of St. Matthew, Mark and Luke testify, Jesus fulfilled his promise by giving his disciples His Body and Blood under the form of bread and wine. He then told them "Do this in memory of me." As Catholics, we believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus, not a symbol. During Mass, the bread and wine that are placed on the altar become the Body and Blood of Jesus as the priest recites the words used by Jesus at the Last Supper. It is the food of our souls, nourishing us to eternal life. May we receive Holy Communion with great devotion, appreciation and gratitude to Jesus.

***

Congratulations to the 29 students who graduated yesterday from St. Bernard School. We wish them every success in high school. Congratulations, also, to Lauren Boadt, school principal; Sister Joan Maga and all the faculty. Our thanks for all you dedication.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pentecost

Today we celebrate the great of Pentecost. It brings to an end the time of Easter in the liturgy. We celebrate today the coming of the Holy Spirit, in the form of tongues of fire which touched the heads of the disciples. The power of the Holy Spirit transformed them, gave them special gifts and the courage to witness to Jesus in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth. The same Holy Spirit is given to us, the church of today, to enable us also to profess, live and share our faith in Jesus.

“Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 104).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers. May God bless you, guide, strengthen you reward you for all your love, care and patience. Yours is a very special vocation. May your children return your love.

***

All are encouraged to attend the Rosary Bowl next Saturday, May 19 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena from 6 to 9 p.m. The theme is “A World at Prayer Is a World at Peace." Entrance is free, but tickets are necessary. We have a limited number of tickets available at our church office. Please request tickets as soon as possible. For more information, visit www.rosarybowl.org.

***

The annual collection for the Retirement Fund for the Priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be taken up next weekend. This fund, which is set up as a pension plan and separate from the archdiocese, provides a pension and helps with medical costs for the retired priests who have served in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Currently, the fund provides for 145 priests who are retired. Over the next 10 years, the number of priests who will reach retirement age will number 353.

Please be generous and may our contributions be an expression of gratitude for their many years of active ministry. Special envelopes are in the pews.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Pilgrimage 2008

2008 will make the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother to St. Bernadette in Lourdes. It is a shrine that I love to visit. I am presently in conversation with a travel agency about setting up a pilgrimage to Lourdes and Paris for late September or early October. It would include visiting Liseaux, the shrine of the Miraculous Medal, the Cathedral of Notre Dame and more.

When further information is available, I will provide it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cardinal McIntyre Fund for Charity

The annual collection will be taken up next weekend. Our contributions provide help for families in time of emergency need when no other help is available. The funds are disbursed through the parishes and often are needed to help with funeral expenses, rent, etc. Your generosity will be a great blessing for others. Special envelopes are in the pews. Thank you.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

'Lord ... you know that I love you'

The Gospel passage for this Sunday tells a story of friendship, reconciliation and
trust.

The Apostles experience the risen Christ around the Lake of Tiberius. They see a solitary figure on the shore -- it is Jesus. He brings success to their fishing and then turns his attention to Peter -- to the one who had three times denied his friendship. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” and three times tells him to take care of his flock. Peter is forgiven and given responsibility for leading the church. This passage speaks to us of our relationship with Jesus, a relationship that is damaged sometimes by our lack of fidelity. However, Jesus asks us that all important question, “Do you love me?” We too are forgiven, and our friendship with Jesus is restored if we, like Peter, can respond. “Lord you know everything, you know that I love you.”

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter

May the Risen Lord extend to you and your families His peace and His blessings. As we celebrate the feast of new life, I pray that each of us be renewed in our faith and commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ. In Him and through Him we find our joy and strength.

A warm welcome to those visitors with us today for Mass and to family members home for Easter!

Sincere thanks to all who have helped us observe Holy Week and celebrate Easter. Our parish community is blessed to have so many wonderful members who give of themselves in service. A special word of thanks to the priests who help us, to the Altar Society, the Liturgy Committee, all the liturgical ministers, the eighth grade students of our school, Sister Joan Maga, the choirs, the Knights of Columbus and all who have helped to prepare and decorate the church for Easter. We are indebted to you! My thanks also to those who have been generous in their financial support. May God bless you.

A VERY HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Holy Week

Today we begin Holy Week, as Christians have done for many centuries.

We will commemorate the Passion. Death and Resurrection of Jesus. I invite you to participate in the sacred liturgies of this week. May it be a week of grace for all of us.

On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., you will have a special opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. Extra priests will be here for individual confessions.

On Holy Saturday night at the vigil and first Mass of Easter, a number of adults will receive one or all of the sacraments of initiation into the church, that is Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.

Come and celebrate with us!

Friday, March 23, 2007

'Remember not the events of the past ...'

In the first reading this week from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we hear the words, “Remember not the events of the past, The things of long ago consider not; see I am doing something new.” God is always doing something new in our lives. Each new day is His gift to us and every moment, a moment of grace. Let us begin each day with a morning prayer, thanking God, praising God and invoking God’s help for the challenges and opportunities that await us. Living each moment aware of the presence of God will fill us with hope, peace and joy. The same prophet has God saying to us, “you are mine, you are precious to me. I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” I hope we can always remember that.

I will be at the Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside this week making my annual retreat. Please pray for me, as I will for you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Prodigal Son

The Gospel passage for today relates to us the parable of the prodigal son.

Jesus taught this parable to teach us of the mercy, compassion and forgiveness of God, our Heavenly Father. Only St. Luke’s Gospel records this parable, as it does other parables that have the same message. Jesus invites us to have confidence in the love of God for us. When we sin and turn away from Him, God is always waiting for us to return to Him. He will always forgive us and never turn us away.

We are called to love and serve God, not out of fear of punishment but out of love. In our dealings with others we are asked to imitate God’s forgiveness and compassion. As we continue our Lenten journey, may we reflect on this parable and the invitation it offers us.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Archdiocesan Annual Appeal 2007

I thank all those have made a pledge/contribution in response to last weekend’s appeal.

We had a good beginning, but we have some distance to go before reaching our parish goal of 35,912. I urge all our households to participate. Pledge envelopes are in the pews. All funds of Together in Mission go to assist parishes and schools in our archdiocese that are struggling financially. This is a great work of charity, sharing and caring.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Archdiocesan Annual Appeal 2007: Together in Mission

This is Commitment Weekend. I urge all of our parishioners to help in this vital work of charity and concern for others.

The funds raised by Together in Mission enable parishes and schools in low income areas of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to continue their ministry and mission.

Each parish participates in their annual appeal and each parish is assessed a goal, the amount of which is based on the income of the parish. St. Bernard’s goal for this year is $35,912. Our parish school is blessed this year by receiving $25,000 from Together in Mission, for which we are very grateful.

The funds collected by Together in Mission are used only to provide help for those parishes and schools, designated by the committee of clergy, religious and laity that oversees the distribution of the funds.

Please make a pledge today, be it great or small, but let it reflect your charity and generosity. Pledge envelopes are in the pews.

Thank you.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Together in Mission 2007: A Time for Reflection

This week, you are asked to read and reflect upon the Together in Mission materials in the bulletin today. Those of you who receive the archdiocesan newspaper, The Tidings, will receive more information about the campaign in this week’s edition.

Together in Mission provides substantial financial support to 35 parishes and 48 schools in our Archdiocese. These parishes and schools provide education, ministry and a Catholic presence for
tens of thousands of people.

Sometimes it is difficult to envision how your pledge can help so many people. But, it does. To see how, please review the materials and read the statements of those whose parishes and
schools receive support.

The theme of the campaign is “Blessed Are They Who Hope in the Lord" (Psalm 40:5). Together in Mission provides an opportunity to show our concern for those served by the parishes and schools that need your financial support.

If you received your pledge form in the mail, please complete it and mail it back or bring it to Mass next weekend. Also, we will conduct our annual Together in Mission in-pew pledge process
at all Masses next weekend and the following weekend.

As always, what you give should be given in gratitude for what God has given to you. Thank you for your prayerful consideration and generous response.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Catholic Schools Week; New Heating and Cooling System

Today we begin the celebration of Catholic Schools Week. The 9:30 a.m. Mass today also celebrates the 65th anniversary of St. Bernard School and gives us the opportunity to recognize the success of our parish school. A great number of young people have been set on the right road of life by their education and formation in our school. We thank all who have contributed to that success and invite alumni, parishioners and all friends of St Bernard School to support our efforts to provide a quality Catholic education to the present and future young people of this area.

The installation of the new heating and cooling system for the church has been completed at a cost of $56,000. Three bids were received. One was selected and approved by the parish finance council and the Archdiocese. The parish, of course, is responsible for the payment of the cost. Work is going on in the church presently to repair the damage done by the seeping of water from the old air conditioning units and roof leaks. Most of the cost of this will be covered by our insurance.

Friday, January 5, 2007

In Memorium: Betty Swoboda

On Dec. 27, Betty Swoboda passed into eternal life. For the past six years she had volunteered her time one day (and sometimes more) a week to be our office accountant. She wrote the checks to pay the bills, kept track of banking matters and recorded the donations for Together in Mission. Her help has been invaluable, and we will miss her very much.

A memorial Mass will be offered for her here next Saturday, Jan. 13 at 11:30 a.m. Please join us for the Mass, as an expresion of appreciation for her generous serice to St. Bernard's.

May she rest in peace with the Lord.