Sunday, November 27, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The measure of love is love without measure.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

In California we are forever being told that we should be “earthquake ready.” As they always say: “It is not a question of if the big one will come, but when.”

Having said that, what does it mean to be ready? We are told to have a planned site where families can meet should they become separated. We are told to have our medications and enough water for a week. What about blankets and warm clothing, if it should happen during the winter. And do we have a place to store all of these things?

Jesus tells us that we need to be ready, because we do not know when the Lord will come. That, too, requires a little planning – it cannot and should not be haphazard and simply hoped for without any kind of planning.

That is why prayer, quieting the soul, and and opening the mind and heart are part of the plan or way that we remain prepared, alert, and waiting and ready.

Advent is a time of preparation to meet the Lord. We spend four Sundays carefully contemplating the meaning of his coming into our lives. We meet him in the past as we celebrate and remember his birth.

We prepare to meet him in the future, as we await his second coming. But the real preparation should be for today and everyday.

If the plan is to be ready and waiting, looking and seeking, and listening and watching, we will surely meet the Lord again and again and again.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Join us as we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is Monday, Dec. 12.

Celebrations to commemorate the Virgin Mary's appearance in 1531 to a poor peasant farmer, St. Juan Diego, include a novena, rosary, and mañanitas (music and prayers) very early in the morning, a procession, and solemn Mass.

Music is important to this celebration, and roses and many other flowers decorate the altar and church. Many images of the virgin are brought to Mass for blessing.

The entire parish is encouraged to participate. All are welcome!

Novena and rosary

Recitation of the rosary

Dec. 10
6 p.m.

Dec. 11 
1:45 p.m.

Feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Las Mañanitas

Dec. 12 
5 a.m. (with praise, worship, and mariachi)


Dec. 12
6 a.m. Mass in Spanish

Dec. 12
6 p.m. solemn Mass in Spanish

After the solemn Mass, Mexican food will be on sale in the parish hall. There will be ballet folklorico entertainment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Healing and reconciling during Advent

Healing and reconciliation are at the heart of our Christian life.

It is Jesus' call and gift to us.

Several priests will be available in special Penance/Reconciliation Services throughout our neighborhood during Advent so all can prepare for the birth of the Lord with a healed, reconciled and renewed heart.

This is time to clean house, to get rid of guilt and experience healing an renewal. All are welcome.

Penance services

December 13
7 p.m. at St. Ignatius Church (322 N. Ave. 61, Los Angeles)

December 15
7 p.m. at Divine Saviour Church (610 Cypress Ave., Los Angeles)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Learn the lesson that, if you are to do the work of a prophet, what you need is not a scepter but a hoe.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

“Christ the King” is certainly a title that expresses the victorious and powerful importance given to Jesus.

Anyone hearing that title, attached to this last Sunday of the church year, would certainly recognize the place that Jesus holds in our eyes and hearts.

Then, as quickly as they succumbed to that clear awareness, they would undoubtedly fall prey to another.

Then how could he end up on a cross?

We as Christians understand the perplexing contradiction – a true paradox: In his moment of greatest weakness, he is strongest; in his hour of complete surrender he overcomes even death itself.

“Unless the seed dies it remains only a seed. But if it dies it can produce much fruit.”

His death and resurrection are one. His pain is his glory. His dying opens the way for his rising. The cross is his crown.

In his poverty he is rich. In his suffering he comes to full glory — but only to those who have eyes to see.

One criminal on the cross beside him sees failure, emptiness, mockery, ridicule, inability to do anything. But the other criminal dying at the other side of Jesus gets it, he recognizes Jesus’ strength in his weakness.

Seeing the same thing — yet seeing so much more — this criminal asks Jesus: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus, speaking truly as king and Lord assures him: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Christ the King truly reigns. He is true to his word, and we do believe he is merciful and full of love. His saving power is great, indeed, and will make up for a horrible lacking in us.

Like the good criminal today, how nice if we receive grace and are able to recognize and respond to it. How nice if we are able to see deeper and understand.

We look at Christ our king on a cross. We get it. We find in the emptiness of that moment all we need and all we are called to become.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I see photos and hear of your tears, legitimate deep fear, uncertainty

Father Greg Boyle, S. J.
By Father Greg Boyle, S.J.
founder and executive director,
Homeboy Industries

The poet, Warsan Shire writes:

“I come from two countries
One is thirsty
The other is on fire
Both need water.”

I've gotten texts: “What’s going to happen to America?” “Will he close Homeboy forever?” and a most often sent text: “I mean ... WTF?”

Homeboy Industries seeks to be what the world is ultimately invited to become: a community of kinship, exquisite mutuality, and tenderness. We stand against forgetting that we belong to each other.

Demonizing is always untruth. Always. No exceptions. That refusal includes the current president-elect and those who voted him into office.

Nonetheless, 100 million Americans and billions outside this country share the very fears expressed yesterday so vividly at the Homeboy headquarters.

The Gospel says: “The Kingdom of God is among you.”

Indeed, it is. We will continue to take seriously what Jesus took seriously: Inclusion. Non-violence. Unconditional and compassionate, loving-kindness. And acceptance.

At Homeboy, we believe, that only the soul that ventilates the world with tenderness has any chance of changing it.

So yes, we hold our heads high and maintain our spirit and we speak the Homeboy truth to power. We belong to each other. We still imagine that circle of compassion and still see no one standing outside that circle ... not gang members, not Muslims, not immigrants, not African-Americans, and especially not folks who voted for this president-elect.

We all belong and we all “need water.” Our resolve is even more tenacious to ventilate the world with tenderness.

Let’s get to it.

Father Greg Boyle, S.J., is the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Who loves me will love my dog also.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux (... a very human Bernard).

Everyone seems to agree that all things will come to an end or that there will be an end to the world as we know it. The differences of opinion arise around questions like When? How will it happen? Where will it begin? and What are the signs?

The word of God today brings little clarity to the issue except in two areas. Jesus’ commentary about the signs of the end times tells us that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

These signs have happened, are happening, and seemingly will continue to happen until the end. This past year alone left us breathless with pain and sorrow over floods, fires, and earthquakes, leaving thousands of people homeless, struggling, and suffering – and many dead.

We continue to be at war, and there is still much unrest and fighting and refusal to get along in the Middle East, many parts of Africa, and in the Middle East; tensions seem to be on the rise.

We have had a horrific year of terrorism and blatant hatred scarring the face of our earth.

Is it the end? Are we near?

But here is one area in which Jesus speaks loudly and clearly: “See that you not be deceived for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘the time has come.’ Do not follow them!”

No one knows when. No one has the plan. No one should be trying to figure it out, because even Jesus (in another quote) doesn't know. Only our Father who is in heaven knows. So we can let that one go.

It will come when it comes. Period.

The second issue Jesus foretells is more personal and perhaps more scary since signs of this are present and happening, too.

He says, before any of the above happens there will be religious persecution. Further, he says: “You will be handed over ... by relative, friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name.”

He also says don’t prepare, words will be given to you, not a hair of your head will be destroyed, you will secure your lives. In this seemingly contradictory message, it is clear that what happens in the flesh and what happens in our spirit, in a more eternal sense, will go on simultaneously.

God, the God of the living, will secure us and for us a life that is bigger and more than this one. The forces within and among us that are often destructive, and the final destruction of the world, are nothing in comparison with his everlasting love.

The message, simply put, remains to this day: Do not be afraid! Trust! Be alert! Be ready!

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Angel Tree brings joy of Christmas to imprisoned parents, their kids

Join us in the collective purchasing of gifts for children who have one or both parents currently in prison.

Angel Tree is a national program connecting parents in prison with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts.

When the gifts are given to the children, a Gospel presentation is shared.

After all the Masses on Nov. 26 and 27, there will be a table set up for Angel Tree. You may pick up an “Angel Tag” to purchase gifts.

Volunteers are also needed help wrap and distribute the gifts and Gospel to the children.

For more information, call Mary Trujillo at (323) 255-6142.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Coming together as faithful citizens for the common good

Archbishop Joseph. E. Kurtz
By Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The American people have made their decision on the next president of the United States, members of Congress as well as state and local officials. I congratulate Mr. Trump and everyone elected yesterday.

Now is the moment to move toward the responsibility of governing for the common good of all citizens. Let us not see each other in the divisive light of Democrat or Republican or any other political party, but rather, let us see the face of Christ in our neighbors, especially the suffering or those with whom we may disagree.

We, as citizens and our elected representatives, would do well to remember the words of Pope Francis when he addressed the United States Congress last year, "all political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity."

Yesterday, millions of Americans who are struggling to find economic opportunity for their families voted to be heard. Our response should be simple: we hear you. The responsibility to help strengthen families belongs to each of us.

The Bishops Conference looks forward to working with President-elect Trump to protect human life from its most vulnerable beginning to its natural end. We will advocate for policies that offer opportunity to all people, of all faiths, in all walks of life. We are firm in our resolve that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security. We will call attention to the violent persecution threatening our fellow Christians and people of other faiths around the world, especially in the Middle East. And we will look for the new administration's commitment to domestic religious liberty, ensuring people of faith remain free to proclaim and shape our lives around the truth about man and woman, and the unique bond of marriage that they can form.

Every election brings a new beginning. Some may wonder whether the country can reconcile, work together and fulfill the promise of a more perfect union. Through the hope Christ offers, I believe God will give us the strength to heal and unite.

Let us pray for leaders in public life that they may rise to the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage. And may all of us as Catholics help each other be faithful and joyful witnesses to the healing love of Jesus.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz is the fourth and current archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky.