Monthly Archives: January 2015

Pastor’s Notes – January 25, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

From: Fr. James E. Shea C.Ss. R

Dear Parishioners and Friends,
It’s over! No more gloating! No more trash talk!! No more taunting! It’s over. Packers lost!!

There’s a little town in Wisconsin that sponsored an annual parade in honor of the Wisconsin’s favorite food and drink…cheese, bratwursts and beer. On parade day the sidewalks were filled with spectators. The folks marveled at the creativity of each float passing by. Then came a very unusual float. A John Deere tractor was pulling a wagon. On the wagon were two men. One man was feverishly pounding nails into a two by four. The other man was frantically sawing the
two by fours. It was the strangest sight you ever cared to see. No one understood the purpose of that float.

Until……………………………the float passed by. On the back side of the float hung a large sign, written on the sign was the explanation of the float. The sign read, “We thought the parade
was next week.”

Martin Luther King parade was last week. And what a parade it was. Parishioners marched in the parade. Crowd estimators say that this was one of the largest MLK parade ever in San
Antonio. And. there are those who claim that San Antonio hosts one of the largest MLK parades in the country. Nevertheless, the day was beautiful. Thousands of people walked the two mile route on Martin Luther Drive. All was peaceful.

In last week’s bulletin Father Gary wrote a wonderful overview of what has happened, what is happening and what will happen at St. Gerard. I’d like to add one more event to his list.
From March 14th to 19th I will be preaching a mission with Father Tony Nguyn C.Ss.R. in Crestview, Florida. Now, the strangest thing about this mission is that Fr. Tony and I
preached a mission in that parish one year ago. However. the pastor admitted that he failed to sufficiently promote the mission. Consequently. there were not that many people attending. He wants us to return this year because he is going to promote the mission and fill the church.

This Sunday’s gospels speaks about repentance. ’Repentance’! Is that something tied in to Lent? It seems that we’re getting a head start on Lent. However, repentance ought to be part of our
yearly lives, not just our Lenten practice.

A pastor listened as the businessman swore that he’d gotten religion. Finally the pastor asked, “Are you sure you’re going to set aside all sin?” “I certainly am.” said the businessman.
“And can I expect to see you in church each Sunday?” asked the pastor. “You can count on it.” “And are you going to pay all your debts?” asked the pastor. “Hold it a minute! Pastor, Hold it!” Answered the businessman. “You’re not talking religion now, you’re talking business.”

It’s the former Anglican Bishop of South India, Lesslie Newbigin, who reminds us that the literal meaning of the Greek word “Metanoia” which we translate “Repent” is “To turn around; do a U-turn.” This Scottish missionary was once visiting a village in the Madras diocese. He speaks about his personal experience:

“There was no road into the village; you reached the village by crossing a river. You could cross the river either on the south side of the village or on the north. The congregation had decided that I would come by the southern route. They had prepared a welcome such as only an Indian village can prepare.

Unfortunately I entered the village at the north end, and found only a few goats and chickens welcoming me. ‘What a welcome’ I said to myself. Then I thought, maybe that is the kind of welcome I deserve.

Well, word got out that I arrived at the north end. So the chief asked me to go back over the river and wait. Wait until the entire village did a U-turn so as to face the north and prepare the welcome. When I duly re-appeared, the ‘turned around’ the native folks gave me warm welcomes.”

The National Geographic wrote an article about Australia’s ’Sorry Day.’ Australia, like most countries, has a sorry history of oppressing minorities, and encouraging prejudice against its native people, the Aborigines. The Australian government began an official program in the 1800s to kidnap Aborigine children from their homes and force them into orphanages and foster homes so that they could learn the ways of the ’civilized’ white people. This government
sanction program of kidnapping continued until the 1970s.

A few years ago, the Australian people created an official day of repentance and reconciliation to recognize the sins of the past. May 26, was declared ’Sorry Day’. This is a day when the nation asks the Aboriginal people for forgiveness for the crimes committed against them. Sorry Day is observed with lectures. art exhibits. poetry readings, and other ceremonies of remembrance. Also, many Australians sport bumper stickers on their cars in support of ‘Sorry Day’.

Our upcoming Men’s ACTS Retreat will be held at Antonian from April 16-19, 2015. Tony Lopez is the director to this retreat. His two co-directors are Danny Thatcher and Danny Reyes. There are approximately 25 team members. These members come from many different parishes, mostly Our Lady of Grace.

When a person makes an ACTS retreat he/she receives a bracelet made out of fishing links. You see many folks wearing these bracelets. Oftentimes they will be wearing two or three bracelets – one for each retreat they made.

This Sunday we hear the Lord saying, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Those who make an ACTS retreat are sent out to be fishers of men. These men and
women fulfill the call of the Lord in reaching out to bring others to the Lord.

Last weekend we held the annual elections for the Pastoral Council. There were six seats open. As of December six people completed their three year term: Daniel Thatcher, Danny Reyes, Eli Lara, Tony .Lopez, Margie Willingham and Raquel Rubio. I want to thank you folks for your dedicated service on the Council.

Ten people offered to be candidates for the Council. Four candidates were running for re-election. After the votes were tallied, the winners were: Mitzi Clark, Tony Lopez, Gerard
Orozco, Danny Reyes, Raquel Rubio and Margie Willingham. I congratulate these folks. I thank Carolina Espinoza, Ramon Gleason, Ernesto Ramirez and Mary Ann Toney for submitting their names on the ballot and their willingness to serve our parish. Thank you. We want to invite you to attend our meetings even though you are not an elected member. (Every parishioner is invited to be present at our Pastoral Council meetings which take place in the Seelos Room on the 1st Sunday of every month from 12:15 to 1:30 pm.)

A teenage girl had just been given family car privileges. It was Friday night. She wanted to go out with her friends. Her father gave her permission to use the family car, providing she be back
home before eleven o’clock. Well, she returned home late, real late. She missed the deadline.

The next morning her father went out to the driveway to get the newspaper. He came back a bit disturbed. No newspaper! At 10:30 in the morning the girl sleepily walked into the kitchen. Her father immediately asked her, “What time did you get in last night?” “Oh, it wasn’t too late, dad!” With a stern look into the eyes of his daughter, he said, “Then I’II have to ask the paperboy why he put the newspaper under the front tire of my car!”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – January 18, 2015

From: Fr. Gary Ziuraitis, C.Ss.R

Dear Parishioners,

Father Shea accompanied Father Monie Perrier to our Health Care Community this past week (so he claims . . . I think he was in hiding from Cowboy fans!). So he asked me to prepare the
column this week. So first of all, let me reassure you that the color of vestments worn at the liturgy (green) in Ordinary Time has nothing to do with the Packers!

Thank you to everyone who had a role in planning Father Monie’s farewell Mass and dinner and for all who attended. It was very beautiful and meaningful and he was very touched by
it.

At the tum of the New Year it is customary for media outlets to publish “the year in review” and “the year ahead” articles. Since it is just about this time last year that I arrived here at St. Gerard’s, I thought I would offer you my own versions of the year in review and the year ahead at St. Gerard, mentioning some things that happened – and are scheduled to happen.

The Year in Review:

When I arrived last year, I arrived just in time to participate in moving our Sunday Masses into the parish hall during the planned renovations in the Church. The setting was very temporary and basic, but yet there was a warmth and closeness to those weeks we celebrated the Eucharist in the parish hall. Then what I called “Father Shea’s Super Bowl Party” happened! Super Bowl Sunday was when a large and wonderful group of volunteer parishioners of all ages came together to strip the Church of its old pews and flooring. I recall that being a wonderful day of fellowship and service. The subsequent installation of the new flooring and pews, as well as the new kneelers, book racks and cabinets have added to the beauty of our Church.
In Lent we had a spiritual tornado. The first men’s ACTS retreat was held and the “homecoming Mass” fell on the same Sunday that Father Tom Donaldson began our Parish Mission. Praise
and glory to God was palpable and very much proclaimed and led to a powerful celebration of Holy Week and Easter. (God is good…all the time! All the time…God is good!) Later in the early fall, the women had their first parish ACTS retreat and once again the parish received a spiritual boost.

The CFF (Catholic Faith Formation) program under the direction of Shirley Jones offers our adults and children faith enrichment with weekly classes and an opportunity to get to
know the Lord and deepen their faith. It’s a huge task to organize and keep the wheels of an all-volunteer program turning smoothly and Shirley does it with aplomb and dedication.

The other “Mrs. Jones,” Letty Jones, holds down the office juggling phone calls, doorbells and we priests always needing something right away! She is always there for people on the phone with a welcoming voice or at the door with a smile and sincere compassion for their needs. Besides their regular duties, both the Jones ladies do numerous things “before hours” “between hours” and “after hours” for the Parish and various organizations.

You may not realize it, but our Deacon, Joe Ocampo, is always out and about giving diaconal service not only within our parish, but also to many other Churches in the Archdiocese. Whether ministering at the liturgy or in the meeting rooms of St. Gerard giving baptism and
marriage classes, hi s voice can be heard reverberating loud and clear with enthusiasm for the Lord.

St. Gerard is very much a parish of “small group activity.” There are many groups active in a variety of ways:

The Parish Council members meet monthly to advise the Pastor and staff on carrying out the mission of St. Gerard Parish. Their sense of belonging to the Parish and responsibility for its wellbeing is exemplary and edifying. This week you get to vote for 6 new members
to the Parish Council.

The Liturgy Committee, Music Ministers, Lectors and Communion Ministers do wonderful things providing the services necessary to enhance our Sunday and Seasonal celebrations during the Church Year. Our worship space, with the new sanctuary flooring in place, was especially beautiful and tastefully decorated for Christmas and the Choir and Lectors enabled us to
“Come let us Adore Him.” The Envisioning Committee introduced us to a neighborhood “Las Posadas” evening before Christmas that we hope to build upon in the future. An important ministry is the taking of Holy Communion to our homebound and sick. The homebound also get this bulletin delivered through their service. so please know that we remember you and you
are very much in our prayers and a part of the worshipping community back on lowa Street!

The Social Events Committee organizes all the major social events such as the Christmas Party, the Appreciation Dinner for Lloyd LeBlanc and the Appreciation Dinner for Father Monie just held. What I especially like (besides the food!) is how they make our parish hall look so festive on these occasions.

The Altar/Holy Name Society meet many of the special financial needs of the parish by offering their annual dinners, which are always great opportunities for us to mix with one another and get to know each other better.

This past year the receipts from the Spaghetti Dinner and the Turkey Dinner allowed us to make some necessary repairs and improvements to the Parish facilities. Responding to changing times and tastes, this year they will offer a Sausage Dinner in place of the Spaghetti Dinner.

The Knights of Columbus are also active in helping to maintain and improve the parish grounds. Their service to the Parish in the form of manpower and materials to install the new landscaping in the front of the Church is an example of their hard work. In other areas, their service breakfasts and running bingo activities at parish events are other staples of their service. Our Knights Council just received an award (on display in the awards case in the parish hall) for their parish-centered service projects from the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus.

The Food Bank volunteers who collect, prepare and distribute food to our Poor in the neighborhood around St. Gerard are a great example of carrying out our Lord’s words: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for Me.”

The members of the Mission Assistant Committee also help the parish by their rummage sales and enchilada dinners, They also help the poor by making used clothing and household items we have accumulated and stored in the Portable building accessible to them.

The Seniors meet on the first Monday of the month for fellowship and a potluck lunch. Their presence and wisdom is also sprinkled throughout the other parish organizations and
activities mentioned above.

We have a very small but dedicated group of people who come for a “Holy Hour” to pray before the Blessed Sacrament on Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.

There are many individuals who give of their time and talent to St. Gerard in many different ways, You are too legion to mention all by name, but you know who you are! You have the
unending appreciation of the parish and your reward in heaven will be great!

The 2nd Men’s ACTS retreat will be held at the Antonium from April 16 -19th.

Father Shea’s 50th anniversary of Ordination is in June. He will celebrate with his family in Wisconsin but we will be organizing a celebration for him here, too!

We are studying ways to offer a sustained Bible Study program.

We are also exploring possibilities for our Youth so that their presence and importance in the parish will grow.

And maybe, just maybe…we’ll finally get our sound system in optimal working order!

Praised be Jesus Christ in whose name all this is done and to be done!

Monday is the Martin Luther King Holiday, America is an ideal and not a homogenous nationality, race, or creed. To be Americans is to be diverse free men and women able to maintain liberty, justice, unity and harmony for all amidst that diversity. God bless America!

Father Gary

Pastor’s Notes – January 4, 2015

Father Shea

Father Shea

From the Desk of:
Fr. James E. Shea C.Ss. R

An embarrassed father rushed his young son to the emergency room. He told the nurse that his son received a toy for Christmas and then. for some unknown reason, shoved it up his nose. Now, he can’t get it out. The nurse calmed the father by telling him that many children are brought to the emergency room with the same problem. The nurse quickly removed the toy from the child’s nose and sent him home.

Within the hour the father shamefacedly returned to the emergency room. It seems that he was trying to figure out how his son got that toy up his nose. He tried it on his own nose.
Sure enough, the toy got wedged in his nose.

Imagine having a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. It does not allow you to keep cash in your account. It cancels all
unused funds at the end of each day. What would you do?

Most people would be delighted to do business with that bank. Well, everyone is doing business with such a bank. It is called a ‘time bank.’`

Every morning each person’s life account is credited with 86,400 seconds. Every night, each second not put toward a good purpose is cancelled. Time carries no balance forward.
Nor does time allow us to borrow against future allocations.

We can only live on today’s deposit and invest our time toward the utmost health, happiness and success, good will and love.

God has given us 86,400 seconds each day. As we wake each morning, we are given another set of 24 hours. We can make of each day as we wish. Will it be the same old glitch as
yesterday? Or will we fill our lives, and the lives of others with happiness and cheer. The choice is how well each of us will use our’time bank account.`

Jimmy Durante, one of the great entertainers of years back, was asked to be part of a show for World War II veterans. Jimmy informed them that he had a busy schedule and could afford
only a few minutes. He`d be happy to do a short monologue, then leave for his next appointment. The show’s director happily accepted.

When Jimmy got on stage, something interesting happened. He went through his short monologue and then stayed. As the applause grew louder and louder, Jimmy decided to continue entertaining the veterans. Finally, thirty minutes later he took a last bow and left the stage. Backstage someone stopped him and said, “I thought you had to leave after a few minutes. What happened?”

Jimmy answered, “I did have to go, but I can show you the reason I stayed.  You can see for yourself if you’ll look in the front row.” In the front row were two men, each who had lost an arm in the war.  One had lost his right arm and the other had lost his left. Together, they were able to clap, and that is exactly what they were doing, loudly and cheerfully.

Applauding is one of the beautiful ways of showing appreciation. Some people are very creative in finding ways to show their appreciation. Together, the veterans applauded Durante.

I applaud the many parishioners who sent me/us Christmas cards. I applaud the wonderful bakers and cooks in the parish who gave us the treat of tasting their home made food. We’re grateful to those people who brought us their favorite store bought food. It was all so
tasty. We appreciate the many cards that were delivered to us at St. Gerard.

I applaud the folks who took a giving tree ornament and bought Christmas gifts for the less fortunate. I applaud the volunteers who helped pack and deliver food to the hungry. I applaud the many people who donated food to feed the less fortunate.

I applaud our office help who handled many phone calls and office visits. I applaud the priests at St. Gerard who heard countless confessions before Christmas.

I applaud those who decorated the Parish Center and the Church. Late into the night Les and Cindy Moore, decorated our church with the help of Dr. Lourdes Gurian.

1 applaud the people who participated in our beautiful Christmas liturgies. I applaud Father Gary who conveyed the Christmas message with a little skit.

Finally, I applaud and praise God. God has looked favorably upon us. I thank God for you, and for making Christmas 2014, in San Antonio so memorable.

In past years, Archbishop Gustavo would ask pastors to identify a person from the parish who has contributed in many was to the life and spirit of the parish. The Archbishop wanted to recognize these folks at a Lumen Gentium (Light of the World) prayers service. At the
service he would present them with a gift. This year the Archbishop expanded the selection to include the spouse…if appropriate.

It IS appropriate at St. Gerard. I nave selected Les and Cindy Moore to receive the Lumen Gentium award. For many years they have been decorating the church for all our liturgical
seasons. They have kept the garden area around the church looking beautiful. They have served on various committees.

Archbishop Gustavo will recognize Les and Cindy and give them an award during a prayer service at St. Dominic Church on February 2nd, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord,
Congratulations Les and Cindy!

Time was running out in the championship game. The quarterback called one last play. Unfortunately, the pass was intercepted in the end zone. They lost by five points.

The young quarterback felt badly. For days he feared being seen in public. Finally he went to get a haircut. The barber, after a long silence, said, “I’ve been studying and thinking about that
play you called last Saturday ever since you called it. You know, if I had been in your shoes I don’t believe I would have called it.

The quarterback, without changing expression said, “No, and if I’d had until Tuesday afternoon to think about it, I wouldn’t have either.”

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R