Author Archives: DGonz47es

St. Gerard’s Men’s ACTS Retreat Nov. 30th – Dec. 3rd

Please prayerfully consider being a part of this awesome retreat weekend. Need help Forgiving? Need help moving on? Need help from addiction? Feel you want to know more about the Catholic Faith? Want to be that Spiritual leader in your home? We welcome ALL men who want to grow in their spiritual life! Join us on this spiritual journey! Questions: call Danny Thatcher at the church.

Happy Thanksgiving!

On Thanksgiving Day, all are invited to celebrate the Eucharist in Church at 9 am. Bring something your family will eat or drink at your Thanksgiving Dinner and place it on the table in the sanctuary for a special blessing. Also, baskets will be on the floor around the table for food donations, to be distributed from our Food Pantry.

How wonderful are your gifts to me;
How good they are.” Psalm 16:6

Little Blue Book

This Advent booklet can be found in the back of the church. It can be your companion during Advent, as you reflect on the Scriptures taken from the gospel of St. Matthew, and various thoughts about the season or various traditions and customs. It is designed for you to give “Six minutes a day,” to enrich your Advent Season.

Pastor’s Notes – November 19, 2017

Father Shea

By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A young man grew up in a large religious family. One day he and his sister announced to their parents that they were interested in joining the religious life. His father, a quiet, philosophical man, made this observation. “You know, if you become a nun or a priest you will never enjoy the privilege of having your own children. Like your mother, you will not be able to celebrate Mother’s Day. Nor, like me, you won’t be able to celebrate Father’s Day. However, both of you will have two days to celebrate: Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day.

On Thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. We celebrate this day because of the perseverance of one woman, Sarah Josepha Hales. The official description of Thanksgiving Day is, “A national holiday in the United States commemorating the harvest of the Plymouth Colony in 1621, following a winter of great hardship.”

During the first harsh New England winter, over ninety people were sick. Only seven people were well enough to care for the others. Fifty one people out of 102 died that first year. Yet, on that first Thanksgiving Day, they found so much to be thankful for. ‘Thanksgiving Day,’ the day to give thanks, was born in Puritan New England in the 1630’s. It was shaped by four traditions – the Harvest, the Home, Christmas ans proclamations of civic and congregational days of thanksgiving and prayer.

Early in our history, this day was celebrated by only a few eastern states. But Sarah Josepha Hales was determined to have the entire nation celebrate this day of giving thanks to God from whom all blessing flow. She sent endless articles and letters to journals and newspapers expressing her desire to make this day a national holiday. She wrote to President Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan in the mid 1800’s. In 1852 she succeeded in uniting 29 states in marking the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.

Then, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln took action. He proclaimed the last Thursday of November as the day set apart for the national giving of thanks to Almighty God. The day was not to celebrate military victory but to be grateful for “a year filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.” Lincoln reminded the citizens that, “No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the precious gifts of the Most High God.”

It has been reported that Thanksgiving Day is the most celebrated day in the United States. The airlines tell us that air traffic is the heaviest over Thanksgiving weekend. Families will travel across the nation to be home for Thanksgiving. Already we can smell the wonderful aromas from the kitchen. The Thanksgiving meal is mom’s best.

They say that people speak about 18,000 words a day. In the course of the day, how many times do we use the word: “Thanks.” We have so much to be thankful for. And no one deserves ‘thanks’ more than our God who has given us everything. In the midst of our festivities on Thursday, let us take some time out to say “Thanks.” Our God must be on the top of our list. We can start the day by attending a Thanksgiving Day Mass at St. Gerard. At 9:00 a.m. we will gather to say, “Thank you, God.”

I want to say “Thank you” to all parishioners of St. Gerard, for your goodness and generosity. Thank you for the wonderful spirit. For your friendship; for your sharing and caring. For the many gifts of volunteering your time and expertise to this faith community.

One week after Thanksgiving St. Gerard Men’s ACTS retreat will be held at the Moye Retreat House in Castroville. About 25 men are serving on team with Daniel Thatcher as the Director. James Cazares and Peter Caliendo are the co-directors. All these men have been meeting once a week for the past three months, to prepare themselves for the retreat weekend. Let us keep these men in prayer as we ask the Holy Spirit to come upon them. We are looking forward to a spiritually dynamic weekend with the team and first time retreatants.

King Frederick the Great visited the jail of Potsdam. He had a special audience with the inmates. Surprisingly, each inmate informed the King that he was totally innocent of the charges against them. Near the end of the King’s visit, one of the inmates said to the King “Your excellency, I am guilty and deserve the punishment I am receiving.”

The King immediately ordered that man to be released. Totally surprised, the inmate thanked the King as he was escorted out of the prison. With a smile, the king said, “After all young man, I don’t want you to corrupt all the innocent people in here.”

Happy Thanksgiving.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

“Breaking Open the Word” Sessions on Sundays

Following the homily at the 10:30 am Mass, catechumens – those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation and, Eucharist – are dismissed by the priest. They move to another place to be led in a deeper reflection on the Scriptures and homily just proclaimed. The basics of breaking open the Word involves taking the readings for that Sunday and asking some basic questions about how they inform us as believers and what they call us to do as a result. There are no open “experts” when it comes to applying God’s Word to our individual lives, and so each of has insights to offer each other in this ongoing effort. Gradually, the group realizes that God’s Word is written in such a way that it is accessible to all of us, and that each of us can glimpse God’s calling in ways that others find helpful.

Pastor’s Notes – November 11, 2017

Father Shea

By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A religious order of nuns staffed a small hospital in a quaint country town. A young doctor on staff happened to be an avid golfer. Everyone teased him about his golf addiction, especially the nuns in charge. It so happened that his doctor’s wife was expecting a baby. One day she unexpectedly experienced labor pains. The doctor rushed his wife to the hospital. They didn’t quite make it in time. She gave birth to a baby boy on the grassy lawn in front of the emergency room. Thanks be to God, all went well!

When the doctor received a bill for the emergency room services, he objected. With tongue in cheek he argued with the bookkeeper. He claimed that there should be no emergency room fees since his wife gave birth to his son on the lawn. Mother Superior happened to overhear the doctor’s argument. She quickly approached the doctor, snatched the bill from his hand, scratched out ‘Emergency Room Services,’ and scrawled across the page in large letters ‘GREEN FEES.’

Let me begin with the original rectory – the second building east of Gevers. Six Redemptorists live in this rectory. The rectory is owned by the Redemptorist Fathers of San Antonio. Those living in the rectory are: Father Alton Carr, Father Rob Ruhnke, Brother Charlie Fucik, Father Francis Pham, Father Bob Lindsey, and Fr. Jim Shea.

The building east of the church was originally known as the Notre Dame Convent. Now it has two names – the front of the building is called ‘The Parish Center and Offices.’ The back of the building and the second floor is known as ‘The Theology Residence.’ Fourteen Redemtorists, studying theology at the Oblate School of Theology, and two directors live in this building. These men are vowed Redemptorists who come from across the U.S., the Caribbean, Canada and Ireland. The Redemptorist Provincials from seven different units, known as ‘The Conference,’ jointly subsidize this program.

The Archdiocese owns the church, the school and the Theology Residence. St. Gerard Parish manages these buildings. The Conference – is leasing The Theology Residence from the Archdiocese for $4,000 a month, plus 3/4 of the utility bills. Since the parish manages the building, the lease goes to the parish, not the Archdiocese.

There are three Corporations associated with St. Gerard. All the parishes of this Archdiocese, which includes St. Gerard Parish, are listed under the corporation ‘Archdiocese of San Antonio.’ We Redemptorist Priests and Brother have our corporation. “The Redemptorist Priests of San Antonio.” Finally, the Theology Residence has recently been incorporated, ‘North American Redemptorist Theology Residence.’ Our parishioner, John Rothermel, handled the legal work.

Over the summer months many people worked on the Theology Residence, preparing it for the arrival of the students. Since rooms had been vacant for nearly 20 years, they required painting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, carpeting/tiling and plastering. Many folks cleaned the rooms. Each room was fitted with new sheets, pillow cases, blankets, comforters and rugs. The Redemptorist Conference paid for all the trade work. Many parishioners, along with the Conference, paid for the outfitting of the rooms. No money was taken from St. Gerard Parish coffers to update these rooms.

In the months to come we will be speaking about money. We will publish our financial report and budget. We also want to remind everyone about the Archdiocesan Capital Campaign. Every parish is the Archdiocese is involved in this campaign and is given a goal. Our goal over three years is $334,000.

Now, I want to state that we in the parish office along with the Finance Committee are trying our best to be good stewards. A steward is a person who manages the affairs of a household or an estate for the owner. At St. Gerard we are managing the affairs of God on earth. Everything we have is given to us by God. As God’s people we are also called to share these gifts with others. The bible refers to sacrificial giving. It means that God comes first, rather than giving God whatever is left over. The Jews were asked to thank God with a ‘tithe’ – the first 10% of the fruits of the harvest. They were promised a payoff of one hundred fold in return. How close do you come to what was expected of early Christians?


                    3%          5%          8%          10%

$200           6.00        10.00      16.00      20.00
$300           9.00        15.00      24.00      30.00
$400           12.00      20.00      32.00      40.00
$500           15.00      25.00      40.00      50.00
$700           21.00      35.00      56.00      70.00
$1,000        30.00      50.00      80.00      100.00

In the ‘Pontius Puddle’ cartoon, Pontius asks God, “How should a materialistic Christian dress for eternity?” A voice comes from the clouds, “Start with flame retardant underwear.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.


Our Parish Giving Tree

Once again, we will sponsor a parish Giving Tree to help individuals and families in need of gifts for Christmas. Forms will be available during the week, through Shirley Jones, 210-533-0161, or on Thursdays, 9-11 am, when the parish distributes bags of food. Please have the Giving Tree request form completed by Thanksgiving.

Pastor’s Notes – November 5, 2017

Father Shea

By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Two young women were about to profess their vows as religious sisters. Just before the ceremony began, the presiding Bishop noticed two Rabbis entering the church, insisting on the right side of the center aisle. Of course, the Bishop was curious why two Jewish Rappis were attending a Catholic profession of vows for these women.

After communion, the Bishop publicly welcomed the two Rabbis. He then asked them why they were present at this occasion when the young women were to become the “Brides of Christ.” The elder Rabbi slowly rose to his feet and explained, “We’re representing the family of the groom.”

Thursday, November 9th, is a significant day for the Redemptorist Priests and Brothers as we celebrate another family. It is the birth date of our religious congregation. In 1732 St. Alphonsus founded the Redemptorists in a little Italian town called Scala. This town stands high above the Amalfi Bay, near Naples, Italy. Alphonsus discovered that the shepherds in this area had never heard of Jesus Christ. Alphonsus was determined to bring the Word of God to these abandoned shepherds. Alphonsus founded the Redemptorists to specifically minister to the poor. Today, we are carrying out the dream of Alphonsus.

On Thursday we will also celebrate another special ‘Church’ day. We will celebrate another special ‘Church’ day. We will celebrate The Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. Now, why would we single out one church throughout the world and dedicate a Sunday to this building? Well, it is reported to be one of the oldest churches in Rome. But more importantly, it is the Cathedral of Rome. Since Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome, St. John Lateran is his Cathedral. Since the Pope is the Shepherd of the Catholic flock worldwide, St. John Lateran is the principal church for all Catholics. Therefore, we devote Sunday to our Church which is a part of all of us.

All of us belong to ‘The Church.’ Our home office is the Vatican. Our Cathedral is not St. Peter’s in the Vatican, but St. John Lateran. But the Church is much more than a building. It is the people, united together in Christ, loving and serving one another.

All of us are connected with one another and together we are connected with St. John Lateran. For most of us, it is a misty connection. We feel much more connected with our localchurch and fellow parishioners. And so it should be. For the Catholic Church is geographically divided into thousands of dioceses, all flowing out of the principal diocese of Rome. In each diocese there are parishes. Within the parish, there is a parish church. Although all Catholics are united with the diocese and the Church in Rome, we feel much more connected with our local diocese and local church.

Sometimes it is difficult to realize that we truly are bigger than our local church. However, in God’s plan, we do belong to a bigger church. We belong to the worldwide diocese and we belong to our local diocese. Because we belong, we are called to help support the works of the Lord in our local church. Each year we have a collection for the worldwide church. It is called ‘Peter’s Pence.’ and each year we have a Fund Drive for our diocesan church. It is called ‘Bishop’s Annual Appeal.’

Now, every 55 years – or so it seems – our diocese conducts an Archdiocesan Capital Campaign. Yes, it was 55 years ago since the last Capital Campaign in San Antonio. The Archdiocese invites all of us to make a three year pledge. The money helps all the ministries in the Archdiocese. The money helps all the ministries in the Archdiocese. The money also helps to restore the older buildings of our parishes. The Archdiocese set the goal for us – $334,000.

If a parish submits a ‘construction or restoration’ plan to the Archdiocese then that parish is entitled to a 40% rebate of the money contributed by that parish to the campaign. We are putting together a restoration plan. The pan includes repairing the roof of the school, replacing the windows in the school and encapsulating the asbestos in the school. The asbestos is in the floor tile. Since we will be under construction we anticipate a 40% rebate.

The parishes throughout the Archdiocese are divided into four groupings or ‘waves.’ Each wave is scheduled to begin the campaign at a different time. For instance, St. Gerard is listed in the second wave and will actively begin the campaign in March, 2018. During the next few months we will be talking about the campaign.

Silence is golden, unless you have kids, then silence is just plain suspicious.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – October 29, 2017

Father Shea

By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Once there was an old priest who lived out in the country. He was the shepherd of a poor parish. His people could hardly pay his salary. One year he decided to raise watermelons, and hopefully sell them to supplement his salary. His watermelon enterprise became quite successful. People came from great distances to buy watermelons. The priest was making a great profit. However, he was disturbed by some local kids who would sneak into his watermelon patch at night and eat his watermelons. He had to put a stop to this thievery. He finally came up with a novel idea.

He posted sign at the entrance of the field. The next day, when the kids showed up, they saw the sign which read, “Warning! One of the watermelons in this field has been injected with poisonous cyanide.” The kids didn’t dare pick a watermelon that night. The priest was delighted. He finally scared the rascals off. However, the next night the kids returned. They brought their own sign which they posted next to the priest’s sign. The next morning the priest checked the watermelon patch and noticed the new sign next to his. He stepped close to read what was written. To his dismay, the sign said: “Now there are two.”

Now we have two special days this week. Tuesday is All Saints Day and Wednesday is All Souls day.

In ancient times two men were arrested and convicted for stealing sheep. The magistrate sent both of them to prison for several years. To warn every one of the crimes they committed the magistrate decreed that the letter “S” be branded on their foreheads.

After the men served their prison terms one of them left the area, never to be heard of again. The other man was deeply sorrowful for the crime he committed. He remained in the community and dedicated his life to serve his God and the people. As the years passed, this man had touched everyone. He helped the poor. He visited the sick. He found work for the unemployed. The people grew to love this man. Soon, no one remembered his crime of stealing sheep.

Many years later two small boys were sitting on the front steps of their home when this man passed by. The boys never heard about the crime this man committed. But they noticed the ‘S’ on this forehead. One boy asked the other, “Why do you think he has an ‘S’ on his forehead?” The other boys replied, “I’m not sure but from what my mom says about him, I think it must mean ‘Saint’.”

In the early history of our Church many Christians were martyred for their faith. Rome was the site for Christians to be thrown to the lions. So, the Church set aside two special days to honor these people – All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

In the year 607 Emperor Phocas turned the beautiful Roman Pantheon temple over to the Pope. The Pope quickly removed the statues of Jupiter and the pagan gods and consecrated the Pantheon to all the saints who died from Roman persecutions during the first three centuries. The bones of the martyrs were exhumed from various graves and places in the Pantheon church.

In the 8th century Pope Gragory III decreed that November 1st would be ‘All Saints’ Day. In the 10th century Abbot Ordela of the Cluny monastery declared that November 2nd would be ‘All Souls Day’ to honor all Christians who have died.

The conversion of the soul is the miracle of the moment; the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime. – Alan Redpath

We are not saints because of what we do; we are ‘saints’ because we belong to God.

-Nathaniel Howe said, “The way the world is today, we praise dead saints and we persecute living ones.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.


Relief and the Holidays Workshops

For Anyone Who is Grieving the Loss of a Loved One

Grief can be a very powerful and overwhelming emotion that changes your life. Understanding, compassion from others and a commitment to allowing the experience to heal you, can take you on a journey of discovering meaning in life again. The holidays are an especially hard time. The season renews memories, family ties and traditions. We become painfully aware that our special loved one is no longer present. This is often difficult for families. The pain of the loss is confused with the spirit of the season. “Grief and the Holidays” is a workshop offered through Porter Loring Family Care Services. It is a workshop designed to help those who are grieving and their families to better understand the grief process, how it affects us during the holidays and how we can use this special time to continue to heal.

Please join us on Sunday, Nov 19th, 9am-11am, for a “Grief and the Holidays” workshop which will be presented by John Robles, in our parish cafeteria. Please contact Shirley Jones 533-0161 to reserve a spot.