Author Archives: DGonz47es

Pastor’s Notes – February 11, 2018

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

The Bishop drove out to a small town on the edge of his Diocese. He was visiting the parish to confer the sacrament of Confirmation upon the young adults. The pastor of the parish had diligently prepared these folks for Confirmation. Wanting to impress the Bishop in front of the congregation the pastor asked the class a few questions before presenting the young folks to the Bishop.

The pastor turned to a young nervous girl and asked, “What is matrimony. The girl quickly responded, “It’s a state of terrible torment which those who enter are compelled to undergo for a period of time as they prepare themselves for a better world.”

“No, no, no, said the pastor, “that’s not matrimony. That’s the definition of Purgatory.” With that, the Bishop chimed in and said, “Leave her alone, Father. Perhaps the child has seen the light.” This year, World Marriage Day (celebrated on the second Sunday of February-February 11th) coincides with the World Day of the Sick (Feb. 11). The liturgical readings this Sunday are appropriate for both occasions as they provide an opportunity to reflect on the forgiveness and compassion of God who stretches out His hand to heal our wounds when we approach Him with confidence. Marriage and sexuality are gifts that often need redemption and healing.

As a mother was tucking her son into bed one night, she said, “Troy, I love you.” Troy replied, “I love you, too mom.” The mother teasingly said, “No you don’t.” He said, “Yes, Mommy, I do.” So the mother asked, “How do you know it’s love?” The little boy’s response was, “I’m not really sure what love is, bu you make my heart smile.”

What a beautiful definition of love, “You make my heart smile!” Imagine how the hearts of many married people are smiling at the time of their marriage. Oh how we pray that those same hearts are shining brightly with smiles after 10, 30, 50 years of marriage. On this day we uphold the sacred institution of marriage. We congratulate all married couples. We ask God’s blessings upon you as you take each other’s hands and reflect upon-

‘The Hands of Matrimony.’

Beloved wife, take your husband’s hands and look at them” These are the hands, young and vibrant with love, that held yours on your wedding day, as he promised to love you all the days of his life. These are the hands that you placed with expectant joy against your stomach, until he, too, felt his child stir within your womb. These are the hands that looked so large and clumsy, yet they were so gentle as he held your baby for the first time. These are the hands that have wiped tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that have comforted you in distress, and held you when fear or grief racked your mind. These are the hands that caressed your heart throughout the years, to make the wonder of love come alive for you. These are the hands that tenderly lifted your chin and brushed your cheek as they raised your face to look into his eyes; eyes that were filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.

Beloved husband, take your wife’s hands and look at them: These are the hands that held yours as she gave you her pledge to love you, and accepted your ring on your wedding day.These are the hands that were smooth and young and carefree then, but lined and rougher now from thousands of dishes washed, tons of laundry cleaned, and hundreds of meals prepared. These are the hands that are nicked and burned from irons, hot skillets and pans. These are the hands that held you in joy and excitement each time she said you were to have another child; that together you created new life. These are the hands that have held each child in tender love, soothing them through illness, disciplining them, diapering them, and sewing for them, baking for them and wringing themselves in worry when trouble came. These are the hands that massage tension from your neck and back after you’ve had a hard day. These are the hands that through the years have caressed you in the passion of love. These are the hands that held your face and wiped tears from your eyes, in wonder and awe that you would cry for her.

Beloved couple: These are the hands of the Sacrament of Matrimony. These four hands are your armor and shield against the evils of the world. These four hands are God’s plan for renewing His Church. These are the hands that will reach our to the teenager, bring hope to the lonely, teach the engaged the wonders of married love, heal the abused and hurting children of the world. These hands are the hope of a troubled humanity. These are the hands that will change the world. Amen.

A husband and wife lost their six month old baby while they were missionaries in a third world country. An old Punjabi woman came to comfort the mother. She said, ” A tragedy like this is similar to being plunged into boiling water. If you are an egg your affliction will make you hard boiled and unresponsive. If you are a potato, you will emerge soft and pliable, resilient and adaptable.” The missionary concluded, “It may sound funny to God, but there have been many times when I have prayed, “O Lord, Make me a potato.”

When I fall, He lifts me up! When I fail, He forgives! When I am weak, He is strong! When I am lost, He is the ?’way! When I am afraid, He is my courage! When I stumble, He steadies me! When I am hurt, He heals me! When I am broken, He mends me! When I am blind, He leads me! When I am hungry, He feeds me! When I face trials, He is with me!

During their wedding the bride and groom took two smaller candles and together lit the Unity Candle. A non-Catholic friend of the groom asked his buddy what it meant. “Could it mean, ‘No more old flames?'”

In the Redeeming Christ,
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

 

Ash Wednesday Services February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday Services February 14, 2018
6:30 am, 9:00 am & 6:00 pm Mass & Distribution of Ashes

Ash Wednesday begins the 40 days of a penitential season, marked with a sincere desire to become a better follower of Jesus Christ. We pray for ourselves, for our community, and for the church at large. We pray especially for those individuals in our world-wide church who will make a commitment to Christianity on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. We make decisions concerning fasting and reflect on the value of fasting. We strive to do more works of love. With a reflective heart, let us all read the Lenten Publication, distributed this weekend at all the Masses. A Commitment Form can be found in the middle of the booklet. If you can commit to any Lenten devotions or studies or events, please complete the Form and return it in the collection basket or to the parish office.

St. Gerard Women’s ACTS Spaghetti Dinner

You are invited to join the efforts of our ACTS women to make Sunday, February 18th a successful event. Come enjoy a Spaghetti Dinner, complete with Salad and Toast. Your donation of $7 will help toward the Women’s ACTS Retreat expenses. The meal will be served 11am=3pm in the Cafeteria.

Thank You!

Adult Confirmation Classes

A new group is being formed for Adults who would like to prepare for Confirmation. The church asks that all godparents be Confirmed. The church also asks that, if at all possible, be Confirmed before you are Married. Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation into the Catholic Church.

Adult Confirmation Classes will be offered on Wednesdays, beginning on March 13, 6:30-8:30 pm in the Parish Office Building. There will be 10 sessions total. Attendance at all the sessions is expected. The facilitators of this study will be Cherryl Sagan and Dr. Deb Hanus.

The Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated on Saturday, May 26, at the 5:00 Mass with San Antonio’s auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette.

Archdiocesan Open Carry Policy – a reminder:

On Feb 8, 2016, Texas House Bill 910 took effect, which permits licensed carriers to openly carry handguns.

A church may prohibit concealed handguns or openly-carried handguns, or both, in its buildings by providing proper notice.

It is the policy of the Archdiocese of San Antonio than an individual may not possess a firearm-concealed or open carry-at any facility owned, leased, or operated by the Archdiocese or and Archdiocesan entity. Peace officers commissioned by local, state or federal agencies are exempt from this restriction.

“For the peace of mind of our church family, we want to inform you that individuals may not enter church property with a firearm. We appreciate your compliance with this policy.”

https://www.archsa.org/images/uploads/Archdiocesan_Firearm_Policy1.pdf

Pastor’s Notes – February 4, 2018

Father Shea

By: Father James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A ten year old boy returned home from religious class. His mother asked him what he learned. “Well,” he said, “the teacher told us about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. They were being held captive by the Egyptians, so God sent Moses behind the enemy lines to rescue them. When they got to the Red Sea, Moses ordered the engineers to build a pontoon bridge. Then, after they crossed over, they looked back and saw the Egyptian tanks coming. Quick-as-a-flash, Moses picked up his walkie-talkie and asked the Air Force to send bombers to blow up the bridge so the Egyptians couldn’t catch up.” At this point the boy’s mother exclaimed, “Wait, wait, Bobby, is that really the way the teacher told the story?” “Well, not exactly,” Bobby admitted, “but if I told it her way, you’d never believe it.”

Within ten days, Lent will be upon us. We will be hearing the Old Testament stories. There might be times that we would chime in with Bobby…” You’ll never believe what was written about Noah and Moses!”

There is a small wooded bird called the ‘Floogie Bird.’ Perhaps you have seen that bird. If so, you would notice that around the Floogie Bird’s neck is a label reading, “I fly backwards. I don’t care where I am going. I just want to see where I’ve been.” Well, we’ve spent enough time looking backwards to where we have been. Now, we want to look forward to discover the many opportunities that await us.

About three weeks ago five energetic folks, three women and two men, approached us at St. Gerard, telling us that they were interested in working with young people. They asked if we would be interested in having them become involved with the youth of St. Gerard.

Well, we took a quick look backwards like the Floogie Bird did and saw years of struggle trying to get something going with the youth. Nothing materialized. Then, along come fie people saying, “Can we help?” Was this a ‘God Send,’ having five people approach us, wanting to help us look into the future to see what can happen with the youth of the parish?

We checked with the Archdiocese. We conducted a background check. All was positive. We invited them to attend the mission where they met a number of people. Last Sunday Shirley invited them to visit the CFF classrooms where the young folks welcomed them. We have asked them to gradually make themselves known around the parish at different functions. On March 4th there will be a ‘meet and greet’ event. During the Mass we will introduce them to the parish. After Mass our parishioners will have an opportunity to chat with them.

At this time they are volunteering themselves as they get involved with the parishioners, especially the youth. Between now and this summer we will observe their relationship with the youth and with the parish at large. This summer we will evaluate what is happening and determine what the future holds.

The names of the five people are Anna Martinez, Veronica Montez, Marisa Garza, Samuel Ruiz and Estevan Ruiz. They have gainful employment. But in their free time they want to minister to the youth. Their ages range from early twenties to early forties. In the past they have been involved with youth retreats, ACTS retreats and days of recollection.

Back in 1981 Mother Teresa spoke at a cathedral in a very poor neighborhood in Washington, D.C. All the politicians and press turned out to see her. Reporters surrounded Mother Teresa after she talked, to ask about the reason for her visit. To the question, “What do you hope to accomplish here?” Mother Teresa replied, “The Joy of loving and being loved.” To a cynical press, this answer sounded suspicious. She must have some kind of political agenda. The next question was, “That takes a lot of money, doesn’t it?” Mother Teresa answered directly, “No, it takes a lot of sacrifice.”

Sally explained why she married Tom instead of Bill. “When I was with Bill I thought he was one of the most charming, witty and delightful people I’d ever met.”

“Then why didn’t you marry him?” she was asked.

“Because when I’m with Tom, he makes me feel like I’m the most charming, witty and delightful person he’s ever met”

A group of researchers went door to door requesting donations for the American Cancer Society. They introduced themselves and then asked, “Would you be willing to help by giving us a donation?”

Half the time they stopped there, the rest of the time they added this additional thought, “Even a penny will help.”

Analyzing the results, the researchers found that residents who were asked to donate ‘even if it’s just a penny’ were more likely to make a donation and the size of the donation was significantly larger than the donors in the first group.

So – ask what you need – on a small scale. You might be pleasantly surprised.

In the Redeeming Christ,
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – January 28, 2018

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Back in the early 1980’s Tommy Lasorda managed the Los Angeles Dodgers while John McNamara managed the Cincinnati Reds. Tommy was a faithful Catholic. Weekly Mass was important to him. Even when he was traveling with the team he managed to attend Mass each Sunday.

One weekend the Cincinnati Reds were hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers for a weekend series. On this particular Sunday Tommy managed to attend Mass at a church in downtown Cincinnati. Tommy was sitting in a pew in the front of church when John McNamara, the Cincinnati Reds’ manager, happened to enter the church. John immediately spotted Tommy up front. John stayed in a pew near the back, but he kept an eye on Tommy. When Mass was over, all the parishioners headed toward the exits. Tommy took a detour to the shrine of the Blessed Virgin. He paused for a few private prayers, then lit a candle and walked out. The Reds manager, lurking in the shadows behind a pillar, watched every move that Lasorda made. When Tommy lit the candle, the Reds manager became a bit uneasy. He assumed that Tommy was trying to take advantage of some divine power in regards to the crucial game they were going to play that afternoon. As soon as Tommy left the church the Reds manager casually walked up to the votive light stand and blew out the candle that Tommy had just lit.

Why do people light candles in church? In nearly every church, there are candles for people to light. Shrines around the world have countless candles burning. Have you ever noticed how children love to light candles? There is something fascinating about candles. A burning candle is so warm, so comforting and so consoling. Any burning light is a reminder of Christ, the Light of the World. As the candle burns itself out and is consumed in giving its light and service to people, it is a sign of sacrifice and sacrificial love.

When Archbishop Gustavo became the Archbishop of San Antonio he introduced a ceremony called ‘Lumen Gentium.’ It is the Latin for ‘Light of Nations.’ In the ceremony Archbishop Gustavo presents a small plaque to one or two people from every parish. The plaque represents the good work and ministry that person given to his or hers parish.

Each year Archbishop Gustavo asks the pastors to name one or two parishioners who have ministered well in the parish. Then, during a prayer service Archbishop thanks the people for their ministry, presents the plaque and gives the recipient one of Archbishop’s famous hugs.

We at St. Gerard have selected Kevin and Mitzi Clark to receive the ‘Lumen Genium’ award. On Thursday, February 1, 2018 Kevin and Mitzi will gather at St. Dominic church with people from all parishes across the Archdiocese to receive the Lumen Gentium award. Congratulations Kevin and Mitzi!

A wealthy banker died. Of course everyone in his family was anxious to find out how the banker’s money would be distributed. The family gathered in the lawyer’s office for the reading of the will. He left $50,000 to his wife, $75,000 to each of his children and $10,000 to each of his brothers and sisters. The the will read, “and to my nephew Ralph, who has not worked a day in his life and who always wanted to be mentioned in my will, I say, ‘HELLO RALPH.'”

Those people who keep statistics tell us that only 40 percent of the people who die have wills. That leaves 60 percent of the people without wills.  The government is quite happy about this percentage. If a person dies without a will, a generous portion of the estate goes to the government.

Over the years parishioners of St. Gerard have been very thoughtful, to not only mention our parish in their wills, but also leave a generous legacy to the church. These folks are part of the 40% who have wills. To which category do you belong – 40% or 60%? And when you make your will may I suggest that you remember St. Gerard.

I received a nice letter from Archbishop Gustavo telling us that we, the parishioners of St. Gerard have exceeded our 2017 Archbishops Annual Appeal goal. In fact, we have received a rebate in the amount of $882.00. One half of the money in excess of our goal is returned to the parish. Thank you congratulations parishioners! Now we are into the 2018 appeal. We thank Viola Martinez for taking leadership of the appeal this year.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk I have a workstation. Well, work has not stopped regarding the rebuilding of the sacristy. We are nearing the end. Not only are we nearly completed, but as best that I know, all the invoices have gone to the insurance company. I have not seen an invoice…not yet!!!

March is only a month away. In March our parish has been scheduled to participate in the Archbishop’s Capital Campaign. The Consulting Firm will be coming to our parish as we kick off this campaign. Remember, 40% of the money given to the campaign is returned back to the parish. I have submitted a plan to restore our school building for multiple uses to the Archdiocese. I await some kind of response from them.

A teacher asked a highly intelligent but rebellious student: “Timothy, what is the difference between ignorance and indifference?” Timothy shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

In the Redeeming Christ,

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – January 20, 2018

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Up north we called them ‘Snow Days.’ In  San Antonio those days are called ‘Ice Days.’ No matter what you call those inclement days, they are translated into “No School!” Hurrah! Oh how we loved those days…until the ‘make-up’ days cut into our summer vacation.

It had been snowing for hours when an announcement came over the intercom: “Will the students parked on University Drive please move their cars so we can begin plowing?” Twenty minutes later another announcement came over the intercom: “Will the 1,299 students who went to move 26 cars please return to class!”

Somewhere Paul Harvey wrote this passage. He entitled it, “If I were the Devil.”

“I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world. I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man’s effort, instead of God’s blessings. I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people. I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue. I would convince people that character is not an issue when ti comes to leadership. I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies. I would make it socially acceptable to take one’s own life, and invent machines to make it convenient. I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings. I would take God our of the schools, where even the mention of His Name was grounds for a law suit. I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them. I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda. I would attack the family, the backbone of my nation. I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation. I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art. I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled at. I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct. I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive. I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional.

Oh well, I guess I would leave things pretty much they way they are.”

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court legalized abortion. When that decision came down we knew that it would be catastrophic. Little did we know how detrimental it would be? Little did we know how this decision would morally decay so much of our society? Apparently, the devil knew as Paul Harvey captured the moral degeneration of family and society in, “If I were the devil.”

Our liturgy this weekend is filled with the message of ‘Repent and Believe’ along with the promise of new life. Life follows sincere repentance and conversion. The prophet Jonah warns the city of Nineveh to turn from their evil ways or face dire consequences. The people listened. Even the king listened. They changed their ways. But it seems that we Americans have turned a deaf ear to the Word of God. We have listened to false prophets who are promising us the good life filled with comfort, pleasure and convenience. Have we been duped? It seems that we bought into the good life. We are also facing the consequences.

Scottish philosopher Alexander  Tyler of the University of Edinburgh noted eight stages in the rise and fall of society.

From bondage to spiritual growth
From spiritual growth to great courage
From courage to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependence
From dependence back to bondage

Where do you think we fit into Tyler’s stages??

Six transit gloria mundi!

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – January 14, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

After spending many hours in the Riley’s Irish Riverside Pub, a young man decided to head home. As soon as he stepped outside he noticed a group of people gathering down at the river. The young man was curious. So, he inched his way toward the river to see what was happening. A preacher was standing in the middle of the river. He was inviting people to be baptized by immersion.

After baptizing the last person the preacher looked around. He saw the young man and invited him to be baptized. So the lad waded to the center of the river. The preacher gripped the man’s shoulders, pushing him  down under the water, holding him there for 15 seconds. He pulled the man up and asked, “Did you see Jesus?” The young man shook his head and said, “No!” So the preacher held him underwater for a second time. He pulled him up and asked, “Did you see Jesus?” Again the lad said, “No!”

Finally, the preacher held the young lad under the water for one whole minute. When the preacher pulled him up he asked, “Now, did you see Jesus?” Gagging and gasping for air, the lad said, “Preacher, are you sure this is where he fell in?”

Last Sunday we celebrated the manifestation of Christ in the Epiphany. Monday we celebrated the memorial of Jesus’ baptism. We were reminded of our own baptism. With the baptism of Christ, we closed the Christmas season and began ordinary time in our liturgical calendar.

Christ Lutes interviewed Jimmie Lee Sloas and Gordon Kennedy, the two rockers who call themselves ‘Dogs of Peace.’ Chris asked them, “Who had the greatest influence on your Christian life?”

Gordon looked up and said softly, “Chris Bonds. I went to school with Chris from the third grade through my senior year. He had muscular dystrophy and was in a wheel chair. All of us kids took turns pushing him around the playground. We were told that he wouldn’t live much beyond 18. We knew we were watching a guy who might die just when the rest of us were getting ready to graduate.

You know, all the time I knew Chris, I don’t remember seeing him frown. He was so positive and upbeat. Chris lived longer than expected. After his death, his mother found a poem which Chris wrote. Part of the poem says:

“I come to the conclusion! When the envying is tilled!
That the post to which God sent me! Is the post He
wanted filled.”

Gordon continued, “As I think about these lines, I think about Chris on the sidelines, wishing he could get in the game and play with the other kids. But then, as the poem tells it, he came to grips with his role in life…”

A favorite passage in scripture for many people is the first reading today from Samuel. A name called in the night-and life is changed irrevocably. The Lord called Samuel under the cover of night. After checking with his teacher, Samuel responded, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Centuries later another teacher spoke. His disciples responded and their lives were irrevocable changed. That same teacher is calling today. The question is, will our lives be changed!!! Will we be able to say,

“Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.”

Being a disciple of Christ is not easy. It wasn’t meant to be. It means carrying a cross, living with inconveniences and making sacrifices. It means, as the famous woman in scripture, Ruth, says, “Wherever you go, I will go.”

Next week we begin our mission. We hear the call to come. Come to the mission. Come and hear the gospel of Luke being translated down to earth language. Come and hear the beatitudes being infused into our lives. Come and hear how we can keep our balance in a world where the media is rocking our Catholic Christian boat. Fran Runyeon will be challenging us to live Christian lives as Christ meant us to live. All are expected to be present at our mission. I will be looking forward to seeing you.

And here’s a ‘wish’ list.

I wish you enough sun to keep your altitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in live may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough success to keep you eager,
I wish you enough failure to keep you humble,
I wish you enough joy to share with others,
I wish you enough trials to keep you strong,
I wish you enough hope to keep you happy,
I wish you enough faith to banish depression,
I wish you enough friends to give you comfort,
I wish you enough friends to give you comfort,
I wish you enough determinations to make each day better than yesterday.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

In the Redeeming Christ,

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.