Monthly Archives: May 2017

Pastor’s Notes – May 21, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Good stories deserve to be told again and again…and again. Here is one of them. And, it is recorded to be true – but almost unbelievable – story.

Larry Walters lived in Los Angeles. His lifelong dream was to pilot an airplane. He joined the Air Force hoping to fly the F-16. Unfortunately Larry had poor eyesight. His limited vision disqualified him from becoming a pilot. After he was discharged he would lounge for hours in his back yard, watching the planes take off and land from Los Angeles International Airport. Oh, how he wanted to pilot one of those planes.

One afternoon the thought came to him. There’s another way to pilot an aircraft. Why not tie balloons to a lawn chair I am laying on. Then, I would inflate the balloons with helium and casually rise above the roof tops. When I decide to come back down I will release one balloon at a time.

He shopped around for balloons. He stopped at the Army-Navy surplus store and found Army weather balloons. He bought 45 balloons and several tanks of helium. These balloons were extra heavy. He strapped the balloons to his lawn chair and tethered the chair to the bumper of his jeep. He packed a few sandwiches and a few cans of beer. He took his B-B gun so he could shoot holes into the balloons and release the helium. Then he would return to earth. He put on a parachute. When he was ready for takeoff, his ground-crew friends cut the tether.

Larry laid back in his lawn chair with his sandwiches, beer and B-B gun next to him. Larry figured he would float lazily above the roof tops. But no! When the tether was cut loose, those helium filled balloons bolted skyward. Up, up and away he went.

Larry hung on for dear life. He was rising so rapidly he couldn’t steady his gun to shoot B-Bs into the balloons. The winds carried him into the approach corridor for Los Angeles International Airport. Two commercial pilots radioed the tower about passing a guy in a lawn chair with a gun in his hand. Word quickly spread amongst Airport Officers, The Coast Guard and the Police Officers. Law officers anxiously awaited the arrival of the lawn chair flight. After 45 minutes of drifting with the clouds, Larry shot a few holes in the balloons and slowly descended.

When Larry reached the good Earth the police welcomed him and arrested him. As he was led away in handcuffs, a television reporter asked, “Sir, why’d you do it?” Larry nonchalantly said, “A man can’t just sit around!”

In a blaze of glory, as if the sun was standing still and the moon was shining at the same time, the Lord ascends into heaven. Thursday is the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. However, the Bishops have moved the celebration of the Ascension to the following Sunday. So, next Sunday we celebrate the Ascension.

The number forty is a key number in the Old Testament. The Catholic Church has incorporated ‘forty days’ into our festive occasions. Since the Ascension of the Lord is such an important feast, and since forty days after Easter falls on a Thursday when many people are unable to attend Mass, the Bishops have agreed to transfer the feast to the following Sunday. Therefore, we have slightly altered the Old Testament numerical schedule by adding three days. Some of us ole timers remember saying “Ascnension Thursday, forty days after Easter Sunday.” It is a bit difficult to say, “Forty-three days after Easter, Ascension Sunday.” But the Lord will forgive us.

And so we are commemorating the 43 days after Jesus Christ rose from the dead. On that day, He gathered his apostles and disciples. He gave them a mission. Go out to all peoples. Teach all peoples. And baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. After he delivered this mission he ascended into heaven.

Since all things are possible with God, we figure that Christ just rose up to heaven like a helium filled balloon. He left the apostles and disciples gazing heavenward. There were two men watching the apostles. One of them said, “Why are you gazing up to the sky?” We could almost hear them say, “Get back to work.”

And imagine that! Those men dressed in white are saying the same to us. ‘Get back to work and bring move people to the Lord.’

We also hear the Lord saying that he will not abandon us as orphans. He will be with us all days. No matter what happens. The Lord will be with us. How comforting that is. And, so we continue the Lord’s work – to love; to forgive; to care for others. For the Lord will always be at our side.

An elderly woman was baby-sitting her three-year-old grandson. One day she decided to take him to the beach. The child began building sand castles while grandma dozed off.

Just as she awoke, a huge wave splashed onto the shore and dragged the child out to sea. Grandma was devastated. Immediately she fell to her knees, stretched her hands skyward and prayed, “Oh God, if You save my grandson, I promise I’ll make it up to You. I’ll join the Woman’s Sodality at church. I’ll bake for the bake-sale. I’ll cook for the festival. I’ll volunteer at the hospital. I’ll give to the poor. I’ll do whatever You ask of me.”

Suddenly, a huge wave rolled onto the beach and tossed the child at the feet of his grandmother. He was breathing. What a relief? Her grandson was alive!! There was even color in his cheeks.

Then she noticed something missing. She put her hands on her hips, looked skyward, and shouted, “He had a hat, You know!” Perhaps at the Ascension the apostles looked skyward and shouted, “Bring Him back!!” Yes, He is back, He is with us each day. He has not forgotten us.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – May 14, 2017

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

It was the first day of school. The kindergarten teacher asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up. One kid blurted out, “When I grow up, I’m gonna be a lion tamer. I’ll have lots of lions and tigers and I’ll walk into the cage and…” He hesitated and then continued, “But of course, I’ll have my mother with me.”

We celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday. We extend our love to our moms, living or deceased. Deep in our hearts most of us would like to have our moms with us. For mom is or was a ‘Real Mother.’

Real Mothers don’t eat quiche; they don’t have time to make it. Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox. Real !
Mothers often have sticky floors, filthy ovens, and happy kids. Real Mothers know that dried play dough doesn’t come our of shag carpets. Real Mothers don’t want to know what the vacuum just sucked up. Real Mothers sometimes ask, “Why me?” They get their answer when a little voice says, “because I love you best.” Real Mothers know that a child’s growth is not measured by height or years or grade…It is marked by the progression of Mama to Mommy to Mom…

The Images of Mom…
4 years of age – My mommy can do anything!
8 years of age – My mom know a lot! A whole lot!
12 years of age – My mother doesn’t really know quite everything.
14 years of age – Naturally, Mother doesn’t know that, either.
16 years of age – Mother? She’s hopelessly old fashioned.
18 years of age – That old woman? She’s way out of date!
25 years of age – Well. she might know a little bit about it.
35 years of age – Before we decide, let’s get Mom’s opinion.
45 years of age – Let’s go down the hallway and ask Mom what she thinks.
55 years of age – Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 years of age – Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

Real moms are the most beautiful people in the world. The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes.

Her eyes are the doorway to her heart, the place where her love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is her caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she freely shows. And the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows! ‘Doesn’t that sound like your mom?’

How often have we heard, ‘Rather than cursing the darkness light a candle or a lantern.’ Everyone is encouraged to light a lantern. There is an organization in the Catholic Church which has been lighting lanterns around the world. The organization is called the ‘Knights of Columbus.’ This organization is dedicated to Faith, Family and Fraternity.

The Knights of Columbus organization began at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., in 1882. Father Michael McGivney called a group of men together to provide financial assistance for widows and orphans in the community. From its quiet beginnings in a Connecticut Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus grew into an international organization with over a million and a half members. Although the Knights of Columbus is a male organization, it is through the men that their families become involved.

Faith, Family and Fraternity are the three key words which identify the mission of the Knights of Columbus. The members are called to live their faith and encourage others to grow in faith. Faith within the family is vital, as well as families helping families in need. Working together as a Fraternity to assist needy people in the community is a high priority amongst the Knights.

Over the years the Knights of Columbus have done marvelous work in strengthening family life in San Antonio parishes. Here at St. Gerard our Knights are always offering to help in any way they can to strengthen the life of our parish. Next Sunday, at the end of Mass, the Knights will present a generous gift of $1000 to St. Gerard’s Church. This money is to be used in any way we deem necessary in assisting our people to grow as a Faith community.

After Mass we will also invite more men of our parish to become Knights. What a great way for St. Gerard men to live – as men of Faith; as men devoted to Family; as men expressing our love for one another in a Catholic Fraternity.

There will be brother Knights standing in front of Church after each of our Masses next Sunday. They will invite all Knights to become active. The welcome them to our monthly meetings and to get involved. They will remind them that this is all about Faith, Family and Fraternity. And the Knights will be reaching our to other men to join the Knights. Together we will stand tall in our Faith, Family and Fraternity.

A little kid was having a great time at his sister’s wedding. He whispered to his father, “When I grow up I am going to have a party just like Linda is having.” And just whom will you marry?” his father asked. “I’m going to marry Grandma,” the kid replied. “You can’t marry Grandma,” the father said. “She’s my mother.” The kid popped right back, saying, “Well, you married my mother, didn’t you?” Happy Mother’s Day!

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.


Pastor’s Notes – May 7, 2017

Father Shea

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Time and again mother said, “Listen, children, we are not going to have a dog in this house. And then one day he children brought home a stray dog. The kids fell in love with the dog. They wanted to keep it. They went to mom and asked, “What shall we name this dog?” Mom said, “You better name it ‘mother.’ If that dog stays, I’m leaving home!”

As we celebrate Mother’s Day next Sunday we think of the many wonderful ways in which we remember our mothers. Many of us remember our moms as they gave us their motherly advice: “Be careful! Take your coat along. Don’t forget your sweater. Don’t play in the mud.” And of course, we all remember that age old advice…’Put on clean underwear cuz you might end up in the emergency, and no telling what the nurses might think if your underwear was dirty.’ Now, can you imagine the mothers of these historical figures giving their children this advice?

PAUL REVERE’S MOTHER: “I don’t care where you think you have to go, young man. Midnight is past your curfew!”

MONA LISA’S MOTHER: “After all that money we spent on braces, Mona, is that the biggest smile you can give us?”

HUMPTY DUMPTY’S MOTHER: “Humpty, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times “Do not sit on that wall.'”

COLUMBUS’ MOTHER: “I don’t care what you’ve discovered, Chris. You still could have written.”

MICHELANGELO’S MOTHER: “Mike, can’t you paint on walls like other kids? It’s hard getting that stuff off the ceiling.”

CUSTER’S MOTHER: “Now, George, remember what I told you – don’t go biting off more than you can chew!”

A mother told a little boy that it was God who made people good. The boy said, “Yes, I know that is God, but mothers help a lot.”

Looking back on his youth, a man claimed that he and his siblings had the meanest mother in the world. While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to eat cereal, eggs and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a sweet roll for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And absolutely no pizza or hotdogs for dinner! God forbid if we would skip dinner.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. if she said, ‘be home in an hour,’ we didn’t argue. We were home in less than an hour. We knew the price we’d have to pay if we were even a minute overtime.

Mother broke the ‘Child Labor Laws.’ She made us work. We had to wash dishes, make our beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, dust the furniture, do the laundry, fold the clothes, iron the shirts, clean the refrigerator, haul out the garbage, wash the windows, sweep the garage, mow the lawn and even clean up after the dog.

She always insisted that we tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. God forbid if we were caught lying. The punishment doubled!

Our mother would not allow our friends to blow the car horn, alerting us that they had arrived to pick us up. Our mother insisted that our friends come into our house. Mom had to meet them face to face. And they had better be prepared to answer a host of questions. And they had better be truthful. If they lied it would be the last time we were allowed to go out with our so called friends.

Because of our mother, we missed out on lots of fun and lots of crazy things other kids experienced. Because of mother we kids were never caught shoplifting, vandalizing property or arrested for a crime. We never got drunk nor took up smoking, nor did drugs. It was all her fault.

Sundays were reserved for church. We never missed. It it was a choice between a ball game, and going church, the answer was CHURCH! Absolutely! No discussion! We knew better than to ask to spend a Saturday night at a friend’s house. The answer was always “NO!”

All of us kids are married now. And because of our mean mom, we are all God-fearing, educated and honest adults.

Maybe mom was mean but she always told us how much she loved us and how proud she was of us. Because of our mom we learn to do the right things. Because of mom we developed a strong work ethic.

Now, we kids are doing our best to be mean parents just like mom. As we look around the world we can be thankful that we grew up with a mean mom. Many of our childhood friends are in prison, out of work, bankrupt, victims of addictions, divorced or even passed on. If the world had more mean moms like we did, our friends would no doubt be a lot better off and the world would be much different. As mean parents we hope to pass this ‘so called meanness’ on to our children.

Next Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. We remember our mothers who have done so much for us. Whether mother lives across town, in another city or in heaven, it is a time to honor her. Even if your mom was a mean mom, this is the time to tell her how much you love her.

There’s a Jewish proverb: God could not be everywhere, and therefore, he made mothers.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.