Sunday, September 30, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker 

Many times we think of blessings of things and persons in a mechanical way. The blessing has to be personally given for it to be effective or authentic.

The word of God testifies differently today. In the first reading, a portion of Moses' spirit is taken and given to 70 elders but two others (Eldad and Medad) are not physically in the camp to receive his spirit, yet it is mysteriously given to them, also, for they were on the list.

How is it that blessings and the bestowing of spirit can happen like this? These two were not even present. In the Gospel, the disciples report to Jesus that someone was casting out demons in the name of Jesus. They tried to prevent him from doing so because "he does not follow us." Jesus told them to leave him alone. In some mysterious way he was called and following without ever having been a part of Jesus' company.

The blessings the call, the distribution of spirit are bigger than any action on our part. God's grace and spirit, though bestowed through our prayers and actions, are not and cannot be limited by us. They are bigger than us!

The church uses a Latin phrase iglesia supplet, meaning "the church supplies", to say that the intentions of the church come about effectively even when things are not done by the book or are done mistakenly, because the intentions of the church are bigger than us. Mystery is something that is so profound and so big it never stops giving, opening, revealing, teaching, leading, providing. We come to know more, then we realize we don’t know it all there is always more. This should also teach us, as many cultures know so well, that not only priests are qualified to give blessings. All of us can. That is why the blessing of parents to children and for that matter from children to parents is something that indeed has power in our lives.

Yes, these blessings, too, are bigger than us!

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Where do kids go after school?

Where do kids go after school?

You can help keep your children safe by knowing where they spend their time. Get to know the adults who show up at the various locations in the community where children gather and where they play together. Be wary of any adult who seems more interested in creating a relationship with a child than with other adults. Pay attention when an adult seems to single out a particular child for a relationship or for special attention.

Warning signs include treats, gifts, vacations, or other special favors offered only to one specific child.

For particular help, call Director of Assistance Ministry Suzanne Healy Director of Assistance Ministry at (213) 637-7650.

Welcome to Maryknoll Missionary Community's Deacon Leonel Yoque

Deacon Leonel Yoque
This weekend we welcome Deacon Leonel Yoque from Maryknoll Missionary Community who will speak on the mission work of Maryknoll.

He will invite parishioners to continue to participate in the mission of Jesus Christ.

Maryknoll magazines will be available for you to take home after each Mass.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thinking about government and the economy

Archbishop José H. Gomez
By Archbishop José H. Gomez

These are the last days of an election season that has been tough and intense — at all levels of government. And as I said in my column last week, it is always a challenge for us to keep our loyalties in line. Because, before all else, we are Catholics.

There is no area of our life that we can imagine is separated from God. We are always in God’s presence. And we are always accountable to him for our words, our actions and our intentions.God does not look at us as members of a political party or as conservatives or liberals. What God asks is that we be faithful to Jesus Christ and his Gospel of love. We all understand this. But in practice it is easy to forget.

I think many of the problems we see in our political life today are rooted in our society’s “forgetfulness” of God. As a society, we are becoming increasingly secularized. That means we are trying to govern ourselves and run our economy as if God makes no difference or as if he doesn’t exist.

But what we’re seeing is this: Without God, we lose our sense of common purpose. Our leaders can’t reach consensus on important issues because our society no longer agrees on shared moral values.That is at the root of our current debates about government and the economy. We don’t seem to agree any more on what government is for or what the purpose of our economy should be.

These are some of the big questions we face in this election. Our duty as Catholics and as citizens is to work with people of good will to find solutions to the challenges we face. As Catholics, we have been entrusted with the good news — that the human person is sacred and created in the image of God. It is not easy to translate this beautiful reality into policy solutions or budget proposals. But our Catholic teaching calls us to work for a government and economy that promotes the dignity and rights of the human person. It calls us to work for a society where the good things of this earth — its resources and opportunities — are considered as gifts of God to be shared by everyone.

Catholic teaching sees a positive role for both the market economy and for the government. The church sees the market economy as a powerful engine for generating wealth, freeing people from poverty and meeting social needs. But we also recognize that without ethical guidance from political authorities, the market can be exploited for selfish motives, resulting in imbalances and injustices. So we agree that government has specific duties — to protect the rights of workers, to provide a social safety net and to direct economic activity and public policy toward the common good.

On questions of government’s role in providing social assistance, sincere Catholics can have legitimate differences of opinion over how best to apply the church’s principles. There are no easy answers. But there is no question that the government has an important role to play — and so does the church, through her charities and other ministries. That is why the church is committed to always being a partner with our neighbors and our government to build a society that is more worthy of the dignity of the human person.

As we continue to seek solutions to our common challenges, we need to remain rooted in the teachings of our faith. Our Catholic vision of society challenges all of us to stretch beyond our political preconceptions and party affiliations. We need to be guided especially by the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity. Solidarity reminds us that we are all in this together. Solidarity reminds us that we have a duty to build a society in which we take care of one another as brothers and sisters made by the same creator.

Our faith teaches us that we have a duty of love to care for those in need. The principle of “subsidiarity” encourages us to seek solutions at the local and even the personal level. Subsidiarity reminds us that we are not isolated “islands,” but that we depend on one another — and that all of us depend on God.

So as we prepare for these elections, let us pray for one another and for our country. And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us to overcome our tendencies to selfishness — so that we can love more with the heart of Jesus and work for a society that better reflects his teachings.

Archbishop José H. Gomez is archbishop of Los Angeles. His weekly column is provided by and appears in The Tidings, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Reach Archbishop Gomez on Facebook at www.facebook.com/archbishopgomez. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Update from the St. Bernard Office of Religious Education

Sept. 29 will be the last day to register your children for catechism and sacramental preparation.  The religious education office is open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Parents should have their children's baptismal certificates and a passport size photo at the time of registration.

Finally, we are in great need of catechists.  If you are interested in this ministry, call St. Bernard Director of Religious Education Remy Baluyut at (323) 256-6242.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 2012 Respect Life Sunday statement

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
By Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo 

This October the Catholic Church throughout the United States will observe Respect Life Month. This annual tradition is now in its 41st year.

Beginning Oct. 7, Respect Life Sunday, our nation's Catholics will be called to renew their personal commitment to defend all human life, especially the most vulnerable members of the human family. They will demonstrate this commitment in a variety of ways — by participating in prayer services and educational conferences, engaging in public witness and advocacy, and helping to offer church and community services to those in need.

The theme of this year's Respect Life Program is one often expressed by Pope Benedict XVI: "Faith opens our eyes to human life in all its grandeur and beauty." He reiterated this insight during his recent visit to Lebanon: The effectiveness of our commitment to peace depends on our understanding of human life. If we want peace, let us defend life! This approach leads us to reject not only war and terrorism, but every assault on innocent human life, on men and women as creatures willed by God. … The grandeur and the raison d'être of each person are found in God alone. The unconditional acknowledgement of the dignity of every human being, of each one of us, and of the sacredness of human life, is linked to the responsibility which we all have before God. We must combine our efforts, then, to develop a sound vision of … the human person. Without this, it is impossible to build true peace.

These links among faith, the inherent dignity and rights of human beings, and a just and peaceful society were also understood by America's Founding Fathers. As George Washington remarked in his "Farewell Address": [L]et us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. … [R]eason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

How can people coexist, much less flourish, in a society lacking the shared belief that we are called to care for those unable to care for themselves, not to neglect, abuse or kill them? Such basic moral principles have served civilization well for millennia.

Yet in recent decades, many people who influence public policy have promoted various exceptions to these principles.

Initially, medical neglect of the most vulnerable people at the beginning and end of life — those with disabilities or a potentially fatal disease — was tolerated as an exception to accepted standards of care. In time, neglect led to the acceptance of active measures to end the lives of such human beings, whose existence came to be viewed as a "burden." Now early induction and late-term abortion for "fetal anomalies," and doctor-assisted death by overdose for the sick and elderly, are not only State-approved but even publicly funded in some states.

Nationwide, even healthy unborn children are at risk of being killed at any time before birth, under Roe v. Wade.

Many fertility procedures used to help couples take home a baby result in many dead human embryos for each one who is born. When "excess" babies successfully implant and develop in a mother's or surrogate's womb, fertility specialists often propose "selective reduction," inducing a heart attack in each "excess" child. The National Institutes of Health still funds human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, which involves killing human embryos to harvest their stem cells, despite the remarkable track record of adult and cord blood stem cells in helping patients with some 72 diseases and the lack of similar results from hESCs.

Until recently, at least accommodation was made for healthcare providers who, as a matter of faith or conscience, will not take part in killing or in other procedures they believe to be gravely wrong. Yet now many government officials believe that maximum access to the full range of "reproductive rights" — abortion, sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacient drugs —trumps the right of believers to live and act according to their faith.

Under the "preventive services" mandate of the Affordable Care Act, Catholic employers and most Catholic institutions offering health coverage to their employees, will be forced to cover all these objectionable items. Under the Administration's rule, even individuals who work for these Catholic institutions will have no right to reject such coverage for themselves or their minor children.

As always, the educational materials in this year's Respect Life Program cover a broad range of topics related to the promotion of human dignity and human rights, the first of which is the right to life. Abortion remains a paramount concern, though certainly not an exclusive one, as we approach the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January 2013.

The nationwide death toll from abortions since 1973 is staggering — equal to the entire combined populations of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Put another way, it is as if every man, woman and child now living in the Gulf Coast states from Texas to Florida, or every person living in the Atlantic Coast states from Maine through Virginia, had perished from the earth.

And yet the number of deaths alone cannot begin to convey the full impact of the loss to families and to our nation of each unique, unrepeatable human being, who was created with the capacity to love, to learn, to share and contribute to their families and to our country. Nor can numbers convey the depth of grief and pain experienced by the parents and grandparents of aborted children, many of whom contact the Catholic Church's post-abortion ministry (Project Rachel Ministry) for relief from their suffering, for healing, forgiveness and hope.

Can anyone claim that our country is better off now because of Roe v. Wade than it was forty years ago? The close bonds, commitments and sacrifices for others, once modeled in families and carried into neighborhoods, civic organizations and communities, have gradually eroded.

Thankfully, positive signs are emerging that give reason for hope. Polls show that Americans increasingly identify themselves as pro-life. At the state level, the shift has resulted in the passage of scores of pro-life laws in recent years, no doubt contributing to the steady decline in the number of abortions. The youth who have come of age since Bl. Pope John Paul II inaugurated World Youth Day not only embrace the cause of life, they are actively involved in promoting life through social media and services to those in need. Adult Catholics as well, exposed for years to the media's caricatures of Catholic teaching, are often surprised by the wisdom and rightness of those teachings when they are given an opportunity to learn more about them. That is why Respect Life Month and the Year of Faith are vitally important. During October, and throughout the Year of Faith announced by Pope Benedict XVI and set to begin on Oct. 11, Catholics are invited to gain a deeper understanding of the teachings of our faith. For our part, we need to live out these teachings more faithfully, witness them more radiantly in our actions, and propose them to others in fresh and engaging ways.

By our unflinching defense of human life and religious freedom, by our witness to the transcendent nature of the human person, and by our compassionate service to our brothers and sisters in need, may we spark a renewal of love and commitment to the true good of others. Only a love that seeks to serve those most in need, whatever the personal cost to us, is strong enough to overcome a culture of death and build a civilization worthy of human beings made in God's image.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo is archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Papyrus fragment with reference to Jesus' 'wife' stirs debate

An previously unknown scrap of ancient
papyrus written in ancient Coptic is
pictured in this undated handout photo.
The fouth-century text provides the first
known piece of evidence that some early
followers of Jesus proposed that he was
married.
(Credit: CNS photograph/Karen L. King,
courtesy of Harvard University)
... From Catholic News Service

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service


ROME (CNS) Scholars are unlikely to agree anytime soon on the authenticity of a newly published text containing a reference to Jesus' "wife."

But the tiny papyrus fragment, purportedly dating to the fourth century A.D., has already stirred interest in the early church's attitudes toward marriage, sex and the role of women.

Continue reading: "Papyrus fragment with reference to Jesus' 'wife' stirs debate" ...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

The scriptures frequently speak of the theme of wisdom which comes from above. One way of describing wisdom is that it is seeing things with the eyes of God. Perhaps this is not a very exact definition, but it certainly gives insight as to what happens to one who looks at life with wisdom. That person begins to see different depths of meaning, discovers new calls and invitations, and certainly acts and lives differently. So to hear that one might respond to violence and treachery with forgiveness and surrender makes no sense, unless one is seeing this through the eyes of wisdom.

Non-violence, a teaching completely absorbed by the likes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., is a wisdom teaching. It is a call to not react to violence with more violence, but to go deeper and more profoundly to a place of peace and acceptance so that complete victory is "won" through the absorbing and then transforming of the violence. It doesn’t make sense — it makes perfect sense. It is the way of Jesus. It is the way of the cross. It is the way of the Christian. It is also the foundational message espoused by Jesus today in the Gospel: "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."

Service and placing others before us is a "living of the Gospel" in its purest form a true reflection of Jesus.

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.

Friday, September 21, 2012

First thoughts about this election year

Archbishop José H. Gomez 
By Archbishop José H. Gomez 

The hardest thing to do in any election year is to keep our faith and politics straight.

There are always two basic temptations we face.

On the one hand, we’re tempted to separate our faith from our politics — to act as if there is no relation between what we believe or what our church teaches and how we vote or the positions we take on issues.

The other temptation is the opposite — the temptation to “use” our religion to justify our political projects and prejudices.

Obviously, neither option conforms to what Jesus expects of us.

We all remember the Gospel story of how the religious leaders of his day tried to trap Jesus by asking him whether it was right to pay taxes to the government.

Jesus’ response is very well known, even among non-Christians. He asks his opponents to show him a coin. Then he asks them whose image is on the coin.

When they respond that the image on the coin is that of Caesar, the Roman emperor, Jesus says: Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God!

This Gospel passage can be misinterpreted. Sometimes we hear people argue that Jesus is calling here for a strict separation of our faith — what we owe to God — from our politics — what we owe to “Caesar.”

But Jesus calls us to a unity of life — to a faith that embraces all of life.

The coin that they show Jesus bears the image of Caesar. But we remember that each one of us bears God’s image. Each one of us is made in God’s image and likeness.

That means we owe God everything in our lives — all our hearts and minds, all our soul and strength.

There is no part of our life that does not belong to God. That means our faith in Jesus must shape how we live and work. It must shape the decisions we make in public life and who we vote for and the policies we support.

We have important obligations as citizens. But we have to carry out those obligations always in light of our duty to God.

We owe “Caesar” — our society and government — our respect and cooperation. We are called to obey every just law and to work hard for the common good of our society.

But we owe God the duty of our sincere and true faith. That means we can never allow our beliefs to be watered-down. We can’t forget about the church’s teachings and the demands of God’s law when we are engaged in our public life.

And when political realities force us to choose, the choice is clear. As the apostles used to say: “We must obey God rather than men.”

There are certain “non-negotiables” in Catholic social teaching. As we all know, there are some laws and tendencies in our society that violate God’s laws and the natural rights and dignity of the human person.

Abortion and euthanasia are never allowed because they involve the direct taking of innocent human life. There is also no negotiating the God-given definition of marriage and family based on the permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman.

But on most of the big issues today — issues like taxes and government spending, immigration, or how best to help the poor — there are moral principles that we should consider. But sincere and faithful Catholics are always going to have legitimate differences of opinion over how best to apply the church’s moral principles.

What’s important is that we are always trying to think and act with the mind of Christ and the mind of the church.

That is why, over my next two or three columns, I want to try to think through with you some of the issues we face in this election in light of the teachings of Jesus and the church.

The most important thing is to form our consciences. We have to make sure our participation and our contributions always reflect the moral and religious values that we find in the Scriptures and in the teachings of our church.

So as we enter the final weeks of what has been an intense election campaign, we need to pray for one another and our country. We give our country our best as citizens when we are trying to be totally faithful to the teachings of Christ and his church.

Let us ask our Immaculate Mother Mary, who is the patroness of the United States, to help us in this election season to work harder to know what we believe as Catholics and why.

Archbishop José H. Gomez is archbishop of Los Angeles. His weekly column is provided by and appears in The Tidings, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Reach Archbishop Gomez on Facebook at www.facebook.com/archbishopgomez.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Did you know bullying is a form of abuse?

Bullying is a form of abuse,
therefore, it is forbidden in our
Catholic schools. (Credit:
edudemic.com)
Did you know that bullying is a form of abuse, and therefore is forbidden in our Catholic schools?

Bullying typically consists of direct behaviors, such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting, shoving and stealing. But it might also be indirect, such as spreading rumors that cause victims to be socially isolated through intentional exclusion.

Cyberbullying, which involves the use of the Internet or mobile phones to send inappropriate messages and images to or about others, is also behavior that is not tolerated in our Catholic schools.

If you suspect bullying of a child at school, contact the school principal with your concerns. For particular help, call Assistance Ministry at (213) 637-7650.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

The church celebrates Catechetical Sunday today, Sept. 16, focusing on the theme "Catechists and Teachers as Agents of the New Evangelization." Those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists are called forth to be commissioned in ministry.

Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.

All of the Word today focuses on our encounters with God: "the Lord God opens my ear that I may hear" (Isaiah); "I love the Lord because he has heard my voice in supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me the day I called" (Psalm 114); "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" (James); "Who do you say that I am?" (Mark).

The intimacy of a God who speaks to us, listens to us "inclines his ear to us" all speak of a God desiring encounters of love and faith with us.

On this Catechetical Sunday we ask the warmest and richest of blessings upon the members of our faith community who long to share this God and his Word with our youth and adults. This is baptism fully and wondrously alive in us.

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142.

Friday, September 14, 2012

California Bishops support Proposition 35, the Human Trafficking Initiative

Bishop Gerald
Wilkerson
By Bishop Gerald Wilkerson

The following statement was issued by the Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, auxiliary bishop for the San Fernando Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops.

Human trafficking, which involves the enslaving of individuals in order to use them for financial gain, is an intolerable affront to human dignity. 

As Catholics, we are called to listen to the wisdom of Pope Paul VI in the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes:

"... [W]hatever is opposed to life itself ... whatever violates the integrity of the human person ... whatever insults humanity — such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution ... all these things ... poison human society ... Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator."

As president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, I speak for my brother bishops when I call upon all people of good will to support those who are working to eradicate this violent and oppressive practice — especially our Catholic women religious, who besides their advocacy for the elimination of trafficking, have provided healthcare and social services for those rescued from their enslavers.

"In particular, this November, we are supporting a ballot measure — Proposition 35, Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act — which will both increase criminal penalties for human trafficking and direct fines to enhanced victim services and law enforcement. 

"We ask that you also prayerfully consider supporting Proposition 35.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blessed John Paul’s task for Los Angeles

By Archbishop José H. Gomez 
By Archbishop José H. Gomez

This weekend we remember and give thanks to God for Blessed Pope John Paul II’s pastoral visit to Los Angeles on Sept. 15 to 16, 1987.

This 25th anniversary calls us to reflect on what a special privilege it is to receive a visit from the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth. We have to ask ourselves: What was the Spirit of God saying to our church through the Holy Father’s words and pastoral gestures? What challenges and priorities did he identify for our mission? Have we allowed his words to influence our lives and ministries?

Those were the questions I was asking this week as I prayed over Blessed John Paul’s talks and teachings during this visit.

I was struck again by how well he knew the character and history of this great Archdiocese. He talked about our immigrant and missionary heritage; our youthfulness; our beautiful diversity of peoples and languages. He talked about the importance of family life here and our long commitment to Catholic education and ministries of hospitality and charity.

He set his visit in the context of a teaching on the holy name of Jesus. “In a world filled with competing ideologies and so many false and empty promises, the name of Jesus Christ brings salvation and life,” he said.

He reminded us that our Christian identity — and the purpose of our lives — comes from Jesus’ name. “We are called Christians, and therefore the name of Jesus Christ is also our name.”

By our words and actions as Christians, we must tell the people of our times that they can find salvation in Jesus’ name. We must tell them that he alone gives meaning to our lives and brings answers to our doubts, our fears and our sufferings.

The evangelization of culture was the real theme of the Pope’s visit.

The Pope challenged us: Is our Christian faith making any difference in our culture? Or is the opposite true — that our Christian faith is being too influenced by our secular culture?

The Holy Father’s questions are provoking and still relevant. We should examine our ministries and our personal witness in light of his questions:

“How is American culture evolving today? Is this evolution being influenced by the Gospel? Does it clearly reflect Christian inspiration? Your music, your poetry and art, your drama, your painting and sculpture, the literature you are producing — are all those things which reflect the soul of a nation being influenced by the spirit of Christ for the perfection of humanity?”

Blessed John Paul pointed out that the Church has a unique duty in this great metropolis that plays such a profound role in driving technology and shaping culture in the world today.

He said we need to encourage artists, entertainers and producers to strive for higher things. To create “works of great beauty, revealing what is noble and uplifting in humanity and promoting what is just and fair and true.”

Blessed John Paul called our church to a missionary task that I find inspiring and exciting:

“The good news of Jesus must be proclaimed in the language that particular people understand, in artistic symbols that give meaning to their experience, in ways that correspond as far as possible to their own aspirations and needs, their manner of looking at life and the way in which they speak to God. At the same time, there must be no betrayal of the essential truth while the Gospel is being translated and the church’s teaching is being passed down.”

What a beautiful call to go out and really meet the people of our society today! To find new ways to reach them and new ways to bring them to the encounter with Jesus Christ!

Every Catholic has an “ecclesial mission in the world,” the pope told us.

Each of us must work to “bring the Gospel’s uplifting and purifying influence to the world of culture, to the whole realm of thought and artistic creativity, to the various professions and places of work, to family life and to society in general.”

So let’s pray for one another this week. And let’s try to reflect more on the message that Blessed John Paul brought to our great archdiocese 25 years ago.

I have posted a link to the Holy Father’s homilies and talks on my Facebook page. I encourage you to spend some time reading and praying over his words. These words are, in a special way, addressed to each of us — and to our mission as the family of God here in Los Angeles.

Let us also pray that Our Lady of the Angels will strengthen us in truth and love and help us to feel greater responsibility for our mission to bring our world to Jesus Christ.

Archbishop José H. Gomez is archbishop of Los Angeles. His weekly column is provided by and appears in The Tidings, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Reach Archbishop Gomez on Facebook at www.facebook.com/archbishopgomez.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

St. Bernard Catholic School enrollment for 2012-2013; non-discrimination policy

St. Bernard Catholic School enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year is open to all parish families.

We offer transitional kindergarten (for kids 4-years-old by Sept. 1), and kindergarten (for kids 5-years-old by Nov. 1) through grade eight.

Tuition assistance is available for parish families, and we encourage you to enroll. Our curriculum offers physical education, art, music, technology (one-to-one laptops in junior high), along with language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and daily formation in the Catholic faith.

For more information or to make an appointment to visit the school, call (323) 256-4989 or visit www.stbernard-school.com.

St. Bernard Catholic School student non-discrimination policy

The school, mindful of its mission to be a witness to the love of Christ for all, admits students regardless of race, color or national and/or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.

The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, disability, sex or national and/or ethnic origin in the administration of educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs, although certain athletic leagues and other programs may limit participation and some archdiocesan schools operate as single sex schools.

While the school does not discriminate against students with special needs, a full range of services may not always be available to them. Decisions concerning the admission and continued enrollment of a student in the school are based upon the student’s emotional, academic and physical abilities and the resources available to the school in meeting the student’s needs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering Father Mychal Judge, OFM

Father Mychael Judge
(Credit:
storycorps.org)
... From American Catholic 

By Father Jack Wintz, OFM

Many of us are familiar with Father Mychal Judge, OFM, a member of the Holy Name Province based in New York City. Father Mychal worked with homeless people and AIDS patients. A recovering alcoholic, he also devoted much time to recovering addicts. The role for which he is best remembered is chaplain to the New York City Fire Department.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Father Mychal rushed from his friary at St. Francis of Assisi Church on 31st Street to the scene of the World Trade Center attacks. He was just doing his job.

Continue reading: Remembering Father Mychal Judge, OFM ...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

Giving sight to the blind. Opening the mouth and the ears of the mute and deaf. Raising up paralytics and the dead. Casting out bad spirits and freeing people in bondage. Bringing understanding and enlivening the faith of those whose spirits were dull. This is Jesus.

It isn't so amazing to most that our faith in Jesus Christ is still around 2,000 years after he walked on this earth. What is amazing is that anyone who witnessed him could have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear. How could someone see with their own eyes the wonders Jesus did without claiming faith in him? How could someone witness so many people healed, renewed, uplifted and still not come to know Jesus as one sent from God?

Something bigger than life came into the life of many Jews when Jesus appeared on the scene. Some believed. Many, if not most, did not. Is it any different now? In this day and age, do we recognize the Lord? Do we believe his words with all of our heart and mind? Do we commit holding nothing back? Do we discover that his teachings are life and give life? Can we say that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life? To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, we can echo the words of the Gospel today: "He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Hopefully we will never become tired nor incapable of being exceedingly astonished at the wonder that is Jesus the Christ.

Father Pery D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Compassion served up in a 9-year-old's lemonade stand

Abbey Duvall donated $140 to
Saint Vincent de Paul from her
lemonade stand. In addition, she
collected 30 backpacks and 10 bags
of clothing on her birthday for the
homeless. Steve Zabilski,
Saint Vincent de Paul Phoenix
executive director, personally met
Abbey and her mom to thank them
for their support.
... From Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Phoenix

In the middle of July, when the temperature easily reached 111 degrees, 9-year-old Abbey Duvall was hard at work putting together a lemonade stand.

Continue reading: Compassion served up in a 9-year-old's lemonade stand ...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In the heart of our city, God is here

Archbishop José H. Gomez
By Archbishop José H. Gomez

In the heart of this metropolis, this cathedral reminds us that we are living in the City of the Angels. ¡El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles!

It reminds us that our modern, secularized city — which plays such a big role in shaping opinions, fashions and culture — is named for the angels of God and the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ, who is the Queen of all the Angels in heaven.

Los Angeles — and all of California and the Americas — are built on a Christian foundation. They are products of the Christian mission to the New World. We can never forget that!

Because this cathedral was built to continue that mission in our times. It’s fitting that it was consecrated 10 years ago on this date — which is near the anniversary of the founding of Los Angeles in 1781.

The founders of this cathedral knew that the story of Los Angeles is part of the great story of salvation that God is still writing in the history of the nations.

This is the story that is told in the beautiful tapestries in the cathedral sanctuary. It is a story of conversion and witness. It is a story of men and women seeking God and his holiness — their eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, following him with faith and joy.

Like all good religious art, these tapestries move us to prayer and reflection. Today, it strikes me that in one of these tapestries, St. Mark, the Gospel writer, is standing right next to Blessed Junípero Serra, the father of the California missions.

For me, this is a beautiful symbol of the unity of God’s saving plan of love.

Christ’s apostles carried his Gospel from Galilee and Jerusalem throughout Europe and Asia. Centuries later, their successors sent missionaries from Spain to the Americas — which they called the New World.

These missionaries came up from Mexico to evangelize California. They built mission churches up and down the long road they called El Camino Real, the King’s Highway. As we know, that original highway passed by not far from this place.

We are all children of this great mission to California and the Americas. This Cathedral is the newest of our “mission churches.”

That’s why it is important that on this anniversary we are dedicating a beautiful new chapel in our cathedral for the relic of the tilma of St. Juan Diego.

Our Lady of Guadalupe was the inspiration for the first evangelization of the Americas. And as our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us, we need to look to her as the bright star and patroness for the new evangelization.

We need to make our Cathedral a center for people to discover their Christian vocation — vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life, but also a place where lay people rediscover and fulfill their responsibility for the church and especially their missionary call.

The Church’s mission continues in you and in me. The faith we have received, we are called to give to others. Through our faith and in our lives, we are all called to write new chapters in the story of salvation. We are called to build on the foundations laid by Padre Serra and those first missionaries.

St. Peter tells us that we are living stones called to build a spiritual house. This is how we have to think about our lives.

This cathedral — made from stone, glass, marble and wood — is a symbol of God’s living church. It is a symbol of the spiritual temple that God is building in his world throughout history. Christ is the cornerstone of this building. But God is building his church with us. We are his “building materials.” Each of us is a living stone.

God wants to make this whole world his church. A sanctuary of his love. A temple where he comes to meet his children, and where we can worship and adore him in spirit and in truth.

This beautiful truth is told in the tapestries that hang behind the Cathedral altar. The city streets of Los Angeles are represented, along with some of the last words from the Bible’s last book: God will dwell with them. They will be God’s people and God will be with them (Revelation 21: 3).

This is God’s plan for our city and our continent! This cathedral is a sacrament — a living sign — of God’s intentions. Because here, in this cathedral, God is already alive and with us!

The ccriptures tell us that one day heaven and earth are going to pass away and this world will become God’s holy temple, the place of his living presence. But until the close of the age, he will be with us always in this cathedral, and in every Catholic Church.

In the sacrifice of the holy Eucharist at this beautiful altar, he makes himself present. To be our spiritual food and drink. To give us strength for our mission. In the tabernacle in our beautiful chapel, he remains with us so that we can adore him with profound reverence.

We need to remember that this cathedral — like every Catholic church — is more than a building. This is a holy place. This is hallowed ground.

The heart of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, is beating here — in the very center of our secularized city. When we pass by on the streets do we realize the treasure that we have inside? Within these walls made by human hands, we have God!

Here in this cathedral, men and women can come to listen to the living word of God. Here in this cathedral, men and women can come to the personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

The mission of this Cathedral — and the duty of each one of us — is to help our neighbors to rediscover the living God who comes to us in Jesus Christ.

We need to find new ways to touch their hearts. We need to find new ways to open them to the truth of God’s loving purposes for their lives.

This cathedral is the mother and the head of all the churches in this great archdiocese. And we must rededicate ourselves to making this cathedral the living heart of a new mission to our city and our continent.

Let’s make this a City of the Angels! A city of where the reality of God is realized and glorified. A city where God’s teachings are the foundations of a society where we live as brothers and sisters, sharing in the good gifts of God’s creation.

We need to bring the living God we receive in the Eucharist — outside beyond these cathedral walls. We need to carry Jesus Christ into our homes and occupations and into all our civic duties as citizens and neighbors. We need to make the beauty of his Gospel the foundation of a new culture of life and hope.

So in this new moment of grace, let us live with a new desire to be “living stones” and to build up God’s church on earth.

And let us ask the intercession of Our Lady of the Angels, so that she might help each of us to become like her — a living temple of God’s love.

Editor’s note: This an edited version of the homily that Archbishop Gomez delivered on Sept. 2, 2012, to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Archbishop José H. Gomez is archbishop of Los Angeles. His weekly column is provided by and appears in The Tidings, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Reach Archbishop Gomez on Facebook at www.facebook.com/archbishopgomez.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker 

The word of God, especially through Jesus' teachings, often distinguishes between the "letter of the law" and the "spirit of the law."

Simply doing the law without opening our hearts to it — is critiqued by Jesus in his words: "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." The television series "Law and Order" made the point very well: laws, order, and respect for these things make life better for all.

The moment we begin to disregard the law is the moment we begin to welcome disorder into our lives. But the word today goes further. Jesus was trying to teach that religion and faith are more than just following laws. In the letter of James, today’s second reading, we hear what Jesus was always trying to teach us: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

Jesus taught and understood profoundly that living is loving and loving is living! That's what the law teaches and offers to us. Keeping the law is realized in a moment, in a specific response. Loving as Jesus teaches is conversion that never ends and forever deepens within us. That is the life he offers!

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.