Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Camp Mariastella summer camping program

Camp Mariastella is a ministry of the Sisters of Social Service, and has served over 65,000 girls over the past 75 years.

It is a residential camp for girls ages 7 to 15 located in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Camp Mariastella has openings in July and August.

Camp does kids a world of good — experiencing nature and exploring the out of doors in a very safe, yet exciting environment.

Scholarships are available. Camp Mariastella buses pick up in Los Angeles.

Camp Mariastella is also hiring young women as Summer Camp Counselors. Counselors must be 17 or older.

Camp Mariastella is also looking for nurses to volunteer. Bring your children with you.

For more information, call (818) 285-1555, email campmariastella@aol.com, or visit www.campmariastella.com.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “You possess only what will not be lost in a shipwreck.” — Sufi Wisdom.

“Follow me” is spoken by Elijah and Jesus in the scriptures today.

In Elijah’s case, Elisha (son of Shaphat) asks only to kiss his parents goodbye first. Then he does something to declare his willingness to follow completely: He slaughters his oxen, burns his plow in order to boil their flesh and feeds the oxen to his people.

The message is unmistakable: “I’m not coming back!”

Jesus, for his part, gets three different responses: “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Even Jesus recognizes how ideal and sweet it was but pops the bubble with his response: “The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Readiness to follow in word, but not in action, is not to follow at all.

The next two respondents promise to follow but lament that something must come first. It doesn’t matter what it is, the point is, they were not ready. They had other things to do first; they did not catch it that “the kingdom of God is now.”

This is Gospel writing at its best. The example is blunt and straightforward. Jesus’ preaching about hearing about God, and responding with all of our heart, is a message of such urgency. To not respond immediately is as bad as not responding at all.

To say “wait” is to miss the point. It is to not see that the kingdom is the most important thing that there is. The kingdom is an inner recognition of God’s presence, his love, and his call to accept his love and to love in return. It is not just to love him, but to love everyone.

In fact, loving everyone is loving him, and when we truly begin to love him, it will become obvious it means to love all.
This love is not an emotional Valentine’s Day kind of love, but the sacrificial, and pouring out kind.

It is unconditional. There are no strings attached here. Once one gets it, they begin to see meaning in everything that Jesus preaches.

Forgiveness is the only thing that makes sense, and it brings true peace. Serving others is the way to find life and joy within. Compassion is the most human connection to offer someone in pain or grief. Giving is receiving, and being last is being first in a whole new kind of way.

Jesus says: “follow me.” This is not a nice, friendly and informal kind of invitation. This is a “give me your all” invitation.

Jesus’ promise is that his invitation is the discovery of God and goodness and new life. That is why it is so urgent, why it must be heard, and why he is so persistent: “Come; follow me!”

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.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Diaconate Formation

The Diaconate Formation Office will host an information meeting for all men interested in finding out more about becoming a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Men must be between 30 and 60 years old.

It is important for men who are married to attend with their wives. The next information meeting will be from 2 to 4 p.m. on July 24 at St. Raphael Church, at 5444 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara.

For more more information, call Claudia Ortiz at (213) 637-7383, or email CAOrtiz@la-archdiocese.org.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “No one was created to be a slave or a beggar.”  — Dom Helder Camara

In Luke’s Gospel, immediately after Jesus feeds 5,000 people, this question about identity comes up: “Who do people say that I am?” 

For the reader, it seems a bit preposterous that everyone has not already reached the obvious conclusion. 

We the readers have figured it out. We didn’t even see the miracle; we only heard about it and are stunned — Jesus did what with five loaves and two fish? 

Nonetheless, this issue is raised by Jesus: “Who do people say that I am?” 

In response to this question there are various answers but only one person gets it right: Peter. 

“You are the Christ!” This coming to know who Jesus is was more than a title or a name. Jesus begins to reveal what must happen to “the Christ” — how he had to suffer and to die. 

This pathway would never be acceptable, could barely be understood in its revelation, but would explain and reveal much more as it was experienced by all. 

This pathway would lay bare and truly reveal not just the Christ but everyone one who was intimately connected with him. This pathway would reveal traitors. This pathway would reveal hidden agendas. This pathway would unveil fears and denials: “I don’t even know the man!” 

This pathway would challenge belief in utterly senseless and completely illogical testimonies: “He has been raised up! He is alive!” 

The command — “Tell no one about this” — certainly makes sense, for who would believe this? 

Jesus reveals who he is and what must be. This Gospel not only tells us about that moment of truth and allows us to share in it, this is truly a revelation of what must be for us who follow him. 

Following Jesus as disciple is no mere trifle or a fashionable thing to do. Rather, it is a total transformation of our lives. 

To be his disciple is to acknowledge the truth he is and was and gave to us. To be his disciple is to proclaim his truth that has become our own. To be his disciple is to follow in his footsteps. To be his disciple is to come to have the face of Christ. 

Understood through this revelation of Jesus, suffering and cross are an integral part of his identity and, therefore, ours. 

But how could that not be so? To be seekers of peace among bullies and enemies, locally and globally, surely this brings suffering and cross! 

To promote justice for all when a more equal sharing means less of the pie for one accustomed to eating the whole thing, surely this brings suffering and cross. 

To mourn and show mercy in a world where greed, avarice and jealousy bring us constantly into the courts armed with arguments and lawyers, surely this brings suffering and cross. 

This revelation by Jesus of his identity and purpose is central to him and to us.

Through it, we discover the road that we will walk.   

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.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

St. Bernard Church celebrates Remy Baluyut's retirement

On Saturday, June 4, 2016, we celebrated St. Bernard Church Director of Religious Education Remy Baluyut's retirement and 20 years of service to St. Bernard Church.

Parishioners share their thoughts on the occasion of the retirement of Remy Baluyut, St. Bernard Church Director of Religious Education.

Remy Baluyut, St. Bernard Church Director of Religious Education, shares her thoughts, on the occasion of her retirement.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be true peace.” — Sufi Wisdom.

At first sight, these readings seem to be quite a downer.

In the first reading, David sins to the point of causing the death of Uriah the Hittite, whose wife he essentially steals and eventually marries.

In the Gospel, a woman (known to be a public sinner), makes her way (uninvited) into the home of a well-to-do Pharisee in the middle of a dinner.

Both sinners recognize and confess their sin.

David does so openly and directly to Nathan; the woman does so openly, yet in an intimate expression by cleaning Jesus’ feet with her tears, and anointing and kissing them in public.

Although the scenes and the sins are different, the admittance of sin, guilt and sorrow are very much the same.

What is essential to true repentance is the acceptance of responsibility for the sins one has committed and a desire to change. In our faith, we have a tool that is enormously helpful to this process.

In the sacrament of reconciliation (more commonly known as confession), a person goes before the priest (both sinners) and tells his or her sins.

Accepting responsibility for one’s sins by openly, directly and simply admitting one’s guilt is required. By opening to let the sin out or telling it one finds themselves open even more to receiving forgiveness and actually experiencing a reconciliation deep within.

The woman in today’s Gospel does it publicly — and yet it is so intimate and so revealing. Many were aghast!

Jesus, however, defends her actions and notes how deep was her love.

A great truth is being expressed today which has to do with being imperfect, sinful, yet capable of true repentance.

How human! How encouraging! How filled with the mercy and love of God!

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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

St. Bernard Catholic School Class of 2016 Baccalaureate

During the baccalaureate ceremony, students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and exemplary character throughout the course of the school year will be conferred awards of merit. 

Let us acknowledge all the members of the Class of 2016 who, through their continued effort, now stand before the community of St. Bernard Catholic School as individuals of faith, academic excellence, and who are committed to service.

As the graduating Class of 2016 completes its final steps into the next chapter of their journey of faith, may you, O Lord, send down your spirit and consecrate the hearts and minds of all those present here.

May we continue to rejoice and be inspired by the accomplishments of all of your graduates.

St. Bernard Catholic School Class of 2016 baccalaureate ceremony

St. Bernard Catholic School Class of 2016 students share their thoughts on graduation, life, and academic achievement.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Fear grows out of the things we think; it lives in our minds. Compassion grows out of the things we are; it lives in our hearts.” — Michael Garrison.

The word on Sunday presented to us two widows separated by hundreds of years but who share a common story.

One has an only son who is “sick unto death,” and another son who has already died.

Each also has a person who intervenes in their lives and connects them with God’s healing powers.

Elijah, guest of the widow in the first story, appeals to God to save the child. The child comes back to perfect health and is returned to his mother.

In the Gospel Jesus halts a funeral and tells the corpse — the dead son of the widow of our second story, to “arise.” The boy sits up, speaks and is returned to his mother.

The obvious reality that is played out in these stories is that God’s tremendous mercy is experienced by these widows as they have their children given back to them.

These are miracles of the highest order. Most of the attention in the stories goes directly to the miraculous moment of restoration. But the moment that “sets up” the miracle is worthy of attention.

Elijah is catapulted into action by the women’s hurt and their angry plea; he calls out to God passionately and with great faith: “O LORD, my God, let the life breath return to the body of this child.”

Jesus, too, is moved and thrust into action by his own compassion for the widow who was a complete stranger who just happened into his pathway because of this funeral procession.

By his “Godly authority” he cried out: “Young man, I tell you, arise!”

Both widows and their children meet men of God” who profoundly change lives through this encounter.

Both scenes are true experiences of profound faith and love. Both scenes are moments of profound restoration of life, relationship, peace and faith.

How could these women and their children ever be the same? What would they think of God from that moment forward until the day they die?

What would they now think of the “gift of life”?

And what do these stories do to us and our understanding of God and appreciation of life?

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