Sunday, May 29, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

En vídeo (en Español)

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



In video


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



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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus’ disciples were a small community of faith.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

St. Bernard Catholic School May Crowning Celebration, 2016



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

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

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

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

Amen.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Acquire inward peace and a multitude around you will find their salvation.” — St. Seraphin.

“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Even at face value, it just doesn’t get any better than this. This is the good news.

Jesus hands over to his disciples (who are sinners) the gift of forgiveness. More specifically, he "breathed into them" the power to forgive and retain sin.

This is a gift come from God. Only God can truly forgive sin, and he always does. But through ministry and discipleship, this gift is and was to be shared so that anyone and everyone could experience the peace that comes with forgiveness, anyone and everyone could experience healing from shame and brokenness, anyone and everyone could find their selves returned to wholeness and holiness, and anyone and everyone could rediscover their dignity through the gift of God’s forgiveness and love.

But really, is it any surprise? Is this not, rather, typical of Jesus?

What keeps us down more than our shame and guilt? What prevents our movement forward more than our past sin and wrong doings? What cripples our hope for a better future more than our remembrances of a bad past?

Sin. It is powerful.

It is destructive. It infects at the core of our spirit, and is deeper than emotion and thought, and really is only healed in the spirit by the Spirit.

Pentecost is the sending of the Spirit. Pentecost is the real beginning of the church.

Pentecost is new life, healing, forgiveness and unity at the very core. The promise and the gift of the Holy Spirit was and is ours; it's our way to the Father, and our way to best know, understand and live the teachings of Jesus.

Our simple prayer should be said, and said often: “Come, Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in them the fire of your love!”

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

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

“Wherever Christ went they found revolution; wherever I go they serve tea.” — British bishop

Nothing could seem more natural, more expected, and more necessary than the Ascension of the Lord as shared both in Acts and in the Gospel of Luke today.

It almost seems matter of fact that Jesus had to return to the Father — and that was simply the next step for the disciples.

The author of Acts (presumed to be Luke) begins in a letter to Theophilus: “In the first book I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up.”

He then recounts all that had happened, especially since the resurrection, referring back even to the baptism by John with water. But a huge promise is given: “In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The naturalness of all that had happened and all that was to come reaches a climax as “he (Jesus) was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”

And, as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened, “suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.’”

In the Gospel, the ascension is described in an even more matter-of-fact way. Jesus leads the disciples out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, blessed them, then was taken up into heaven. Their response is simple and as if it was expected: “They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.”

Where are their questions? Where is their fear? No doubts, Thomas?

Another abandonment, Jesus — is this the way you treat your friends?

Why do you have to leave? What now?

Why am I the only one out here who thinks that these questions are normal?

Yet maybe this is exactly the point. Perhaps Luke is trying to tell us that this whole thing has developed and come to be exactly as God would have it.

Perhaps Jesus’ leaving and passing on the power and work and challenge of discipleship is the only way it could be. Perhaps the letting go of Jesus and the opening up to the Holy Spirit is and was the only way Jesus’ Gospel and work could ever come about.

The proclaiming and hearing of the Gospel depends upon us!

Jesus gave us the word and he gave us the call — discipleship — and the challenge to share it with the world.

Alone? No. That was how it was to be. “And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Now the stage is set, and we await the coming of the Spirit with the conviction and the openness that something deeply spiritually and irrevocable and laden with power and fruitfulness is and was about to happen.

The promise of the Spirit to be given and received did and would forever change the world.

Pentecost!

Gifts!

Spirit!

Love!

Hope!

Baptism!

Gospel!

New life!

We — church and grace; and one life. Isn’t it just as it was meant to be?

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

St. Bernard remembers Floro Perlas, beloved sacristan, eucharistic minister


Floro Perlas dances at a family
wedding.
AT THE FUNERAL MASS

Floro Perlas funeral Mass homily
Saturday, April 30, 2016
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

“I saw in Floro a real flower that was not in bud form but fully bloomed,” said Father Perry in his homily for Floro Perlas' funeral Mass. “He carried his name well. There was a gentleness about him, a decency that was incredible. He was decent in the fullest way possible; it showed in his transparency of his values and his virtues and his faith.”

Watch video of the homily


Download the audio of the homily



EULOGIES and BLESSING of the COFFIN

By Daniel Caballero III

“His generosity — even to a fault at times — had no limitations or borders,” said Daniel Caballero III, one of Floro’s grandchildren, in his eulogy. “It’s what made him so comfortable to be around — his desire to help and his sincerity.” 

By Ed Parejas

“Even after he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, he continued to perform his duties and responsibilities in the church,” said Ed Parejas, St. Bernard Church parishioner and Floro’s friend for over 25 years. “He did not allow his illness to stop him. As long as he had strength, he pushed on.”

Watch the video



Download the audio





AT THE GRAVESIDE SERVICE

Watch the video



OBITUARY


By Liza Flowers and Michael J. Arvizu

Three things stood out about Floro Perlas for St. Bernard Church parishioner Manuel Paguio: his loving smile, humility, and he was “a man of not too many words, but so many actions, deep in his heart.” Paguio said. “That’s how I remember him,”

“Whatever you asked him — whether it was positive or negative — he just smiled,” continued Paguio, a longtime friend of Floro’s.  “He was doing his works consistently for the last 30 years — almost daily — in the church, coming in early one hour before or 45 minutes before [Mass].”

Floro Padios Perlas, sacristan and eucharistic minister at St. Bernard Church, died on April 25, 2016, in Los Angeles after a long battle with lung cancer. Floro’s family was at his side when he died.

He was 77.

Parishioners saw Floro every weekday before the 8 a.m. Mass organizing chalices, ciboriums, prayer books, or whatever else was needed, Paguio reflected. 

By the time people trickled in for daily Mass, Floro was already hard at work, with most of the preparations for the Mass already completed.

Born in Batan, in the province of Aklan in the Philippines, on July 29, 1938, to parents Felipe Perlas and Flora Perlas, the sacristan was the youngest of seven children.

After graduating high school, he attended seminary in Iloilo City for one year and later graduated from Far Eastern University of Manila where he studied business administration and earned a degree in accounting.

Floro and his future wife, Eva Limbo, met while working together at National Power Corporation, an electricity provider, in the Philippine capital of Manila. They married five days before Christmas, on Dec. 20, 1964.

After immigrating to the United States, the parishioner worked at mortgage company Lomas & Nettleton and Los Angeles City College. 

Floro’s final job before retiring in 1997 was as a supervising accountant for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Floro's hobbies included watching all types of sports — especially the Lakers. He enjoyed watching the National Geographic show “Wicked Tuna,” a reality show about commercial fisherman, and National Geographic history programs.  

The parishioner was known for his sense of humor and having a nickname for everyone. He made jokes, but people could never tell that he was actually joking, his family said.

As the patriarch of the family, his favorite saying was, “I am the king!”

In his youth, Floro was an altar server, and he continued to practice his Catholic faith well into adulthood as a sacristan, eucharistic minister, and member of the Cursillos, a Christian leader training program.

“When I looked at him, he was very spiritual, very quiet,” said Linda Paguio, a St. Bernard parishioner and friend of Floro’s. “You don’t hear him talking or laughing loudly.”

Above all, Floro’s family said, the grandfather and great-grandfather enjoyed going to church and praying the rosary everyday — sometimes more than once a day.  

“I saw in Floro a real flower that was not in bud form but fully bloomed,” said Father Perry D. Leiker, St. Bernard Church pastor, in his homily for Floro’s funeral Mass. “He carried his name well. There was a gentleness about him, a decency that was incredible. He was decent in the fullest way possible; it showed in his transparency of his values and his virtues and his faith.”

Rudolfo Ferran, a St. Bernard parishioner and friend of Floro’s, reflected on his name, which resembles the Spanish word for flower — flor. His last name, Ferran said, is the Spanish word for pearls.

Ferran will also miss Floro’s smile.

“It’s very nice smile,” Ferran said. “The smile alone speaks for itself, you know? I didn’t see anything negative about him. The only negative thing about him was his suffering from the cancer. Although he was suffering, you could never sense that he suffered a lot; he was always smiling.”

Floro is survived by Eva, his wife of 51 years.

“He was a very good provider for the family,” Eva said. “He was always thinking of me. We were always together when we went out. We were never without each other.”

Eva, smiling, remembers Floro as a “very persistent man,” when they first met in the Philippines. 

Once, Eva recalled, he followed his future wife home just to find out where she lived. When Eva asked him what he was doing, Floro remarked that he was going to visit his cousin. He said this so he wouldn’t give away his real intentions, Eva said.

The widow says she fell in love with Floro’s sense of quietness and religion. The future husband and wife both shared the habit of going to church every day. They continued that tradition even decades after marrying.

“I knew that he was the right man for me,” Eva said. “I am going to miss everything about him, caring for me, his concern about me. 

The secret to their longevity as husband and wife, Eva said, was their refusal to fight about money.

Every morning, Eva reflected, Floro would ask his wife to get him a cup of coffee.

In his final weeks, Eva remained by Floro’s side, helping him move about their home.

Floro is also survived by two sisters: Paula Relis and Liday Flores; four daughters, and their spouses: Isabel Buckton, Gina Perlas, Rica Lilly and Matt Lilly, and Liza Flowers and Al Flowers; seven grandchildren, and their spouses: Jillienne Kuba and Kishin Kuba, Daniel Caballero III, Taylor Mactal, Cody Richardson, Kendell Flowers, Luke Richardson, and Ayden Flowers; and two great-grandchildren: Jaxton Kian Kuba and Kieran Floro Kuba; his loving nieces and nephews, and numerous other relatives.  

“His generosity — even to a fault at times — had no limitations or borders,” said Daniel Caballero III, one of Floro’s grandchildren, in his eulogy. “It’s what made him so comfortable to be around — his desire to help and his sincerity.”

He was preceded in death by his parents, Felipe Perlas and Flora Perlas; brothers Miguel Perlas and Tony Perlas; sisters Agapita Acido, and Sally Unajan; and his son-in-law Mark Buckton.

“Even after he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, he continued to perform his duties and responsibilities in the church,” said Ed Parejas, St. Bernard Church parishioner and Floro’s friend for over 25 years. “He did not allow his illness to stop him. As long as he had strength, he pushed on.”

The family wishes to express its thanks to all family and friends for their love and support.  

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made on behalf of Floro Perlas to the following organizations: the American Red Cross, the American Lung Association, St. Bernard Church Los Angeles, ChildFund International, or Unbound.

“He’s more than a friend; he’s almost like a brother to me,” said Ernie Obrero, St. Bernard Church parishioner and friend of Floro’s. “When he did something, he didn’t want to boast; he just did it, because he liked to do it.”

Monday, May 2, 2016

St. Bernard celebrates the Confirmation Class of 2016


Confirmation, together with the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, form the Sacraments of Initiation that are all intimately connected. In the Sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized person is "sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit" and is strengthened for service to the Body of Christ.

Confirmation represents the gifts bestowed on Jesus' 12 apostles at Pentecost: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

St. Bernard young adults received the sacrament of confirmation from Bishop Thomas Curry, former episcopal vicar of the Santa Barbara region, on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.

For more information about our confirmation programs, visit www.stbernard-parish.com/confirmation.

BEFORE THE CONFIRMATION MASS

In video

Select scenes from St. Bernard Catholic Church's 2016 Confirmation Mass, presided by Bishop Thomas Curry.

Congratulations to our newly-confirmed young adults and adults!

For more information about our confirmation programs, visit our Confirmation page at www.stbernard-parish.com/confirmation.



AT THE CONFIRMATION MASS

In video

Confirmation Mass homily

By Bishop Thomas Curry

"This evening, we come together to talk about the Spirit that is in us," Bishop Thomas Curry tells us in his homily for the 2016 St. Bernard Church Confirmation Mass. "And when we receive confirmation, we are kind of asking ourselves that question: 'What am I really like?' and 'What do I really want to be like during my life?' That is a wonderful thing. And what you're coming to say is that, 'I want to accept the Spirit of Jesus into my heart and into my life, that comes to bring me gifts in confirmation.'"

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the week: “Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” — Norman Cousins

Most Catholics remember celebrating Ascension Thursday on Ascension Thursday.

But for many years, permission has been given to dioceses to celebrate Ascension Thursday on the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

Since Holy Week, Easter and all of the pascual celebrations, up to and including Pentecost Sunday (which closes the Easter Season — 50 days), are so significant; and since so many people seem to have forgotten or just chose not to attend Ascension Thursday, the church saw fit to move the Feast of the Ascension to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

Why? So it would not be forgotten.

Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit are the mysteries at the heart of the Easter days.

There are two Gospels available to us before we reach Ascension.

In both, Jesus speaks with enormous intimacy about the relationship between him and the Father.

In the first Gospel, Jesus speaks directly to the disciples and challenges them to be faithful to his words. The one who keeps Jesus’ words, the Father will love.

He further promises that: “My Father will come to him and (we will) make our dwelling with him.”

Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit who will teach everything needed and bring the gift of peace.

Fear is useless and there is no need for troubled hearts since the love that Jesus promises will clearly be enough.

In the second Gospel, we eavesdrop on the prayer of Jesus. He prays for unity: “that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.”

What incredible hopes and prayers on the part of Jesus — the indwelling love of God. Peace, no fear, unity, and love beyond compare!

As Jesus prepares to ascend to the Father — to leave his disciples — and readies the way for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), he does so in a context carefully prepared and proclaimed to his disciples.

One way of summing this up is beautifully expressed in the words found in John 14:18: “I will not leave you orphans, I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice”.

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