Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mass of Canonization for Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II Homily on Sunday, April 27, 2014

May the new saints help us “enter ever more deeply into mystery of divine mercy.” God always forgives, because he always loves.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Priests of mercy, prophets of peace

Archbishop José H. Gomez
By Archbishop José H. Gomez

I hope you all had a beautiful and peaceful Easter with your family and loved ones!

In Rome this coming Sunday, Mercy Sunday, our Holy Father Pope Francis will canonize two of his predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, making them saints.

These canonizations are a moment of great joy for the universal church, and locally we will be holding our own celebrations.

On Saturday evening, April 26, the eve of the canonizations, I will join our New Evangelization Office in hosting a special vigil of song, prayer and worship at the Cathedral.

The night will honor the legacy of Pope John Paul II, who led the Church across the threshold of the new millennium and gave the Church the mission of the “new evangelization.”

Then on Sunday afternoon, April 27, at 3:30 p.m. at the cathedral, I will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving for our two new saints, St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II.

Our church is the church of saints! And these two new saints are a gift from God for our times and to our church.

Both were priests — good pastors and good spiritual fathers. And they were both prophets in their times. They knew the hearts of ordinary people — what they struggled with, what they hoped for. And they understood the broader patterns of history and the political currents in the world.

Both changed lives and changed the world we live in.

Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council, which gave direction and shape to the Church’s mission in the modern world. The Council recovered the Gospel teaching of the universal call of every Christian to holiness, to be saints. And the Council taught that every one of us has a duty to spread the Gospel and build the Kingdom of God.

Pope John Paul II’s witness to hope is associated with the fall of communism in his native Poland and throughout Eastern Europe. He focused the world’s attention on human rights and the dignity of the human person.

Both of our new saints pointed us back to the church’s
essential mission — the mission of evangelization.
Both of our new saints pointed us back to the Church’s essential mission — the mission of evangelization.

They taught us to face the challenge of announcing Jesus Christ in a world that is radically marked by globalization and secularization. They understood that these forces are not only reshaping our societies. They are also changing how people live and how they think about their lives and their relationships — with God, with their families, with other people.

Popes John Paul II and John XXIII called the church to a new dialogue with “the world” — with people of other faiths and people of no religion; with the worlds of science and culture and politics and the arts.

They taught us that although Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, the Church must always seek new ways and new techniques to bring Christ to the world.

There is of course much to be learned in many areas from their legacies and their witness. But for me, John XXIII is the Pope of peace and John Paul II is the pope of mercy.

Peace and mercy are the fruits of the Kingdom that Jesus announced in his Gospel. And peace and mercy are the “good news” the church is called to proclaim in our world today.

People are longing for peace with God, for peace with those around them, and peace in the world. And people are longing to know mercy — to know God’s love and forgiveness in their lives.

Our new saints knew this. They also knew that as followers of Christ, each of us has a missionary vocation — a calling from God to holiness and service to the church’s mission.

Together, we are called to a mission in the Church. To proclaim “a time of mercy.” To proclaim the peace and reconciliation that God wants to share with everyone.

Our new saints called the church — and each one of us — to a new spirit of mission, a spirit born from a new and deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of his Gospel. They taught us that evangelization begins in personal conversion.

So in this joyous season of Easter, let us thank God for our new saints. And let us commit ourselves to a new and deeper conversion — so that we might really embrace the power of the Resurrection in our lives. So that we might be truly changed every day by God’s love for us.

Both of our new saints had a loving devotion to our Blessed Mother. So let ask her to go with us and to always show us the way to follow Jesus along our Easter path of working to be saints and missionaries.

Archbishop José H. Gómez 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 at (213) 637-7000, or on Facebook at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Looking Ahead: Alleluia! He is risen from the dead!

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

Looking Ahead: Alleluia! He is risen from the dead!

The scriptures today are rich, complex, certain, mysterious — all at the same time.

The Acts of the Apostles tells us what happened, when it happened, how it happened, and why it happened. The clarity, order and reason for everything is placed before us in utter logic and specificity.

But the Gospel (written 50 years later) inserts mystery, questions, belief and lack of understanding — all, again, at the same time.

Mary of Magdala sees the scene — the empty tomb — and presumes body theft. Peter arrives, looks into the empty tomb and, like a private investigator, notes all of the details, but he doesn’t appear to have any motive for what has happened. He observes the visible facts and nothing more.

John looks into the tomb and sees the same scene that both Mary and Peter have seen, but his response is quite a bit more. The Gospel simply says: “he saw and believed.”

In the final analysis, even after John simply states belief in what he saw, the Gospel takes another leap into mystery and declares a lack of comprehension: “For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”
The Easter season lasts for 50 days until Pentecost. This is our time to prayerfully reflect upon this profound mystery that we believe unfolds, for us, into eternity.

From our death comes life eternal.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"What does it mean for him to have died, to be raised up and now to offer that life to us?'

"What does it mean for him to have died and to be raised up and now to offer that life to us?" Father Perry asks us in his homily for Holy Saturday.

"And we say that we believe that he comes into our experience of life — even into our experience of sin — to rescue us and to bring us that new life."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter and the blessings of the kingdom

Archbishop José H. Gomez
By Archbishop José H. Gomez

We have a vocation to blessedness. This is what the Beatitudes of Jesus teach us.

The path of the Beatitudes leads out from Christ’s empty tomb. We can walk this path because by his love Jesus conquered the hatred of sin and the corruption of death.

Creation begins again on that first Easter morning. Humanity is renewed and restored to the image that God intended in the beginning, in the first creation.

Jesus came down and entered this world as true God and true man. And by his cross and Resurrection he became the bridge that reunites heaven and earth. Through his humanity, in his dying and rising, the whole human race can now pass over and once more share in the blessings of God’s divinity.

His empty tomb opens a new world for us, a new world that we join by faith and baptism. That is why we renew our baptismal promises each year at Easter.

The psalmists and prophets taught us to hope for the day when God would cleanse us of every impurity and create a clean heart in us. That’s what happens on the day of our Baptism. The love of God is poured into our hearts.

Jesus describes the blessings of Baptism in his sixth Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart.”

Purity of heart is the summary of the life of blessedness that Jesus calls us to. The pure in heart are a new creation, men and women restored to the image of God in which we are created. Redeemed and renewed, we are capable of sharing in God’s vision, his purposes.

The pure of heart are the “new humanity” that St. Paul talks about. They are those who are poor and humble, who weep with those who weep and thirst for justice. They make peace where they find conflict and they are ready to lay down their lives for God and God’s causes. They are people of the Beatitudes.

To be pure in heart means more than only chastity and modesty. Purity is a whole way of living. A way of holiness. This Beatitude calls us to purify not only our actions but also our desires. We need to set ourselves free from selfish motives and worldly ambitions.

To be pure in heart means we only want one thing — to love and glorify God by our lives, by doing his will, by seeking his kingdom.

Jesus tells us that the pure of heart will see God.

This Beatitude, like all the others, comes with a specific promise. Jesus promises comfort to those who mourn, satisfaction to those who hunger, mercy to those who are merciful.

The promises of all seven Beatitudes are all dimensions of the kingdom of heaven, which is the promise of his first and last Beatitudes.

The kingdom is God’s will for the world. His Kingdom is his church, the new family of God, which is our inheritance by Baptism. The Beatitudes are the values of God’s kingdom and the means through which his kingdom grows. 

Jesus told us his kingdom is not coming in signs that we can observe or point to.

His kingdom is coming little by little. Coming through all the ways that we allow God to work in our lives — through our poverty and humility, our solidarity and mercy; through our work for justice and peace; through our sacrifices for what is right and true.

Living the Beatitudes, we are building his kingdom. Through the witness of our lives, a new world of faith rises in this world.

Of course, we will not know the fullness of God’s promises until we reach the next life.

Jesus told us his kingdom is not of this world. But it begins here. One day we will see God face to face. But we can live in the new light of his presence and love right now, every day. By living out the mission of our baptism. By living his Beatitudes.

So in this glorious season of Easter, when the whole world is made new and every life is given fresh possibilities for holiness and love, let us continue to pray for one another.

I wish all of your families a blessed Easter. May this be a time for all of us to grow in holiness and to follow Jesus more closely and live the new life that he gives us.

And may our Mother Mary, who said that all generations would call her blessed, give us all a new joy in living the Beatitudes. 

Archbishop José H. Gómez 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 at (213) 637-7000, or on Facebook at

Thursday, April 17, 2014

'Learn from what I'm about to tell you: serve one another'

"Learn from what I'm about to tell you: serve one another," Father Perry tells us in his homily for Holy Thursday.

"When we serve one another, it isn't just a matter of the job that gets done. A lot of it has to do with attitude."

Monsignor H. Gerald McSorley | 1941-2014

Our beloved Pastor Emeritus Monsignor H. Gerald McSorley has left us and is now celebrating his jubilee with choirs of angels. 

We honor Monsignor McSorley and give thanks for this 50 years of selfless ministry to the people of God and 19 years as pastor of St. Bernard Church. 

We join our hearts and voices in prayer and in song for him.

The best of Monsignor McSorley in sight

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The best of Monsignor McSorley in sound

Monsignor McSorley funeral Mass

Monsignor McSorley celebratory Mass of gratitude

Sincere thanks from the family of Monsignor H. Gerald McSorley

St. Bernard parishioners gather to
celebrate the 50th anniversary
of ordination of Monsignior H.
Gerald McSorley on Sunday,
March 30, 2014.
(Photograph by Rommeth Jarin/
Special to St. Bernard)
Canon Patrick McSorley and the whole family of Monsignor Gerald McSorley express heartfelt thanks to Father Perry Leiker and the parishioners of St. Bernard Church community for all the prayers and Masses offered for our beloved Father Gerry during the period of his illness and afterward, for the repose of his soul.

The Mass of celebration of 50 years of priesthood, the viewing and rosary, and the funeral Mass were truly wonderful liturgies that expressed a profound depth of faith in the priesthood of the church.

The outpouring of grief and the many tributes spoken and recorded in messages, Mass cards, and generous donations, are a great source of comfort to us as we come to terms with our loss. We have heard and seen how he touched so many as pastor and friend.

As a family, we are proud of what he achieved at St. Bernard Church, and in the wider community of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, during his 50 years of ministry as a priest in the Lord’s vineyard.

Special thanks to Bernadette Gurule and family, and the many helpers who provided practical help and support to Father Gerry in his illness over the past three years.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered for your intentions.

— The McSorley family

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker 

Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) is one of the most dramatic Sundays of the year in its presentation of the word.

At the very beginning of the Mass, there is a brief ceremony including the blessing of the palms, and within the ceremony is a Gospel reading. This is the only liturgy in the entire church year that includes two Gospels.

The first Gospel is a recounting of the "entrance into Jerusalem" by Jesus and his apostles. It is glorious. The crowds are gathered, shouting, waving palms, and exuberantly rejoicing as Jesus enters their city. They shout out “Hosanna! Hosanna to the son of David!” They want to make him king.

Within half an hour into the liturgy, the same crowds are shouting: “Crucify him!” This represents a week in the life of this city. They are practically adoring him one day, then condemning him to a horrible death sentence just a few days hence.

Apart from the amazing drama, the sacred text reveals a frightening reality within the human condition: people are fickle. They love, they hate, they love, they hate. Are we really capable of such extremes? Are we able to be manipulated, controlled, deceived, and deceive others, so easily?

History is made on this day as we re-tell it on Palm Sunday. History is also repeated again and again with tyrants, cruel and controlling leaders, unjust and hate-filled governments, political parties without heart, and graft and corruption run amok.

This day is our day. This day is everyday. This day is so defining of the fall that corrupts human nature to the core. This day is the reason that another day soon to follow — Easter — is even more important and even more defining.

Salvation, life, hope, newness, renewal, metanoia-conversion: all of this is indeed Easter! This Holy Week that is upon us is our week. We must pause, absorb, hear, feel, receive, unlock, discover and understand what has been given to us, what has happened to us.

This is indeed drama, and it is more than drama. This is the key to finding abundant life and knowing that life forever. The forbidden Lenten A-word returns in all its glory at the Easter Vigil and will be our Easter song.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monsignor H. Gerald McSorley Celebratory Mass of Gratitude, funeral Mass full audio

On Sunday, March 30, 2014, the St. Bernard Catholic faith community gathered to celebrate the memory of Monsignor Gerald McSorley.

And on Monday, April 7, 2014, the community gathered once again to say a final farewell in a funeral Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gómez, and concelebrated by Cardinal Roger Mahony, his brother bishops, and over 50 brother priests.

Listen to remarks made by St. Bernard parishioners, Monsignor McSorley's brother Father Canon Patrick McSorley, St. Bernard Pastor Father Perry D. Leiker, Archbishop José H. Gómez.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker 

The centerpiece for the Lenten journey for our elect is experienced on the third through the fifth Sundays of Lent in the celebration of the scrutinies.

The probing Gospels related to the woman at the well, the healing of the man born blind and now the raising of Lazarus from the dead invite us to appreciate many things in our faith. We are led to the Easter baptismal waters to find the life that Jesus speaks of, welling up within us and giving eternal life (“if you knew the gift of God, he would have given you living water”).

We are given the example of blindness that leads to seeing and seeing that is really blind. Ultimately, Jesus is offering us the gift of real vision (“Do you believe in the Son of Man? You have seen him”).

But now, in the story of the raising of Lazarus, we understand that as Jesus draws closer to his own death, it is really all about giving life, being raised up (“this illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God”).

In the scrutinizing of their lives, the elect seek to drive out evil and its influence from their lives. And through the laying on of hands to receive the Spirit of God and God’s protective love, they will be ready, open, alert and receptive to grace at the paschal celebrations.

The vigil of Easter is the celebration of light, water, salvation, new life, spirit, grace and rebirth. This night is their night, and it is our night. This night tells the whole story of salvation and invites us into an appreciation of who we are and who we have become in Christ Jesus – "the one who has been raised up."

All that has happened to us and for us and for the glory of God to be revealed. But it is not just life and new life that we receive. It is also freedom from the power of enslaving sin and death. It is also to be freed from the many things and powers that bind us, that "tie us up" and restrict us from being the grace-filled and free people of God we have been invited to become.

Jesus’ command is the ultimate command of liberation: “Untie them and let them go (free)!”

Do we experience grace freeing us from the enslavement to sin? How? When? Where?

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email

Friday, April 4, 2014

The blessings of peacemaking

Archbishop José H. Gomez
By Archbishop José H. Gomez

Jesus told us to expect the world we’re living in. “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars,” he told us.

Our news is so often the tragic news of violence and conflict — in our homes, in the streets of our neighborhoods, in other nations.

The world of fallen human nature is a world where hearts and peoples are divided by sin. It is a world where, as the prophet said, people cry for peace and there is no peace. This is the world Jesus came to redeem.

The prophets promised Jesus as the Prince of Peace. When he was born, the angels sang in the night sky, proclaiming peace on earth. St. Paul said that in Christ, God reconciled all things in heaven and on earth — making peace by the blood of his Cross.

In his Beatitude, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus calls each of his followers to imitate him and to share in his mission of making peace on earth.

God wants happiness and peace for his children. Peace with him as our Father. Peace with our brothers and sisters. And peace with all creation.

Peace on earth begins within the human heart. We need to know the peace of Christ in our own hearts before we can share it with others.

Before anything else, we need to know Jesus. Jesus alone can reconcile us and restore our friendship with the Father. When Jesus healed people in the Gospel, he said to them, “Go in peace.”

Peace is the fruit of conversion. The fruit of changing our lives to live by Christ’s commandment of love. Peace means trusting in God’s care, in his providence, in his plan for our lives. 

When Jesus sent his first disciples out, he told them to proclaim to everyone they meet, “Peace be to this house!” In our day, Jesus is sending each of us out to spread this message of peace, heart to heart.

Peacemaking is our duty, a vital dimension of our Christian vocation.

In all the battlegrounds of the human heart, Jesus calls us to proclaim God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. He calls us to get rid of all our jealousy and selfish ambition. He calls us to do everything we can to make peace in all of our relationships.

The peace we announce as Christians is the good news of unity and communion in love. The good news of a broken world healed and broken lives put back together again.

The Beatitude he gives us is: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” It is not, “Blessed are those who are peaceful or pacified.” There’s a big difference.

Peace is work. Peace is something we build, something we have to “make.” Every day, in every circumstance.

Jesus challenges us to think about “peace” in a new way. His peace is not the world’s peace. In the Gospel, he said: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

The peace that Jesus gives us is not the false peace of those who accept injustice out of fear or in order to avoid trouble or confrontation. His peace is something worth fighting for.

When he says he came to bring a “sword,” he means we have to confront everything that stands in the way of peace. We have to stand up and oppose all the sin that we find in our own hearts and in the hearts of others. We have to fight the forces of injustice that we find in our communities and in the world.

The path to peace is paved by words of truth, works of mercy, and acts by justice. Without truth, mercy and justice, there can be no real peace — not in our hearts, not in our homes, and not in the world.

We can fool ourselves into thinking that “peace” is the absence of conflict. But true peace can only be built on the foundation of right relationships — right relations with God and right relations with others.

So Jesus calls us to break down every obstacle that keeps people from having a right relationship with God. He calls us to bring people together and to overcome the hostilities and hardened attitudes that keep them apart.

Being peacemakers means working to help people see another point of view, the other side of the argument. It means always working to build trust, to promote understanding, and to encourage forgiveness and friendship.

So as we continue this week in our Lenten journey, let’s pray for peace — peace for ourselves and our own relations, and peace in our city and in our world.

And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary, who is the Queen of Peace, to help all of us to always be instruments of peace.

Archbishop José H. Gómez 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 at (213) 637-7000, or on Facebook at  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thank you for making him 'one of you own'

Bishop Diarmuid Martin
By Bishop Diarmuid Martin

Deepest sympathy to the extended family in St. Bernard Parish who today mourn the passing of Monsignor Gerald McSorley, who spent so many happy years amongst you all but will rest in the peace of Christ in his homeland of Ireland.

Don't forget how happy you made him there, and remember his family in Ireland who will miss him beyond words.

Thank you for making him "one of you own" for such a long time, and may his gentle soul rest in peace.

Bishop Diarmuid Martin is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland.