Monthly Archives: July 2017

Parishioners, Thank You for your Wonderfulness

in the efforts to prepare our parish office building as the new home for Redemptorist Seminarians.

  1. Thank You for your tremendous generosity in providing new items for the Redemptorist home.
  2. Thank You for the energy and sweat in the cleaning and clearing out of old items.
  3. Thank You for those who will come this Thursday for the final Workday.

Thank You for all those who will be giving praise during the Open House this next weekend.

Thank you Janice Dunagan

This seems to be an appropriate time to give recognition to one of our parishioners, Mrs. Janice Dunagan.

Janice began her life as a teacher after she received her BA from St. Mary’s University. She was a teacher in the SAISD for 34 years. Upon retirement, Janice gave more time to the study of the bible. She spent her own monies to establish a personal library – one to “Wow” you – of maps and Biblical reference books and events, and audio-visuals. She attended education Biblical programs and events, and studied scripture daily.

The parish has been greatly blessed by her dedication to our Catholic Faith Formation for Adults. She offered herself to the parish in leading the following Scripture Studies: Scripture from Scratch, 8 weeks, 2003; Little Rock Scripture Study on Acts, 10 weeks, 2004-2005; The Study on Church History, using the book: The Catholic Church A Brief History by Alfred Lapple, 6 weeks; The Great Adventure Time-Line Study, 25 weeks, 2004-2005 and 2005-2006; The Adventure of Matthew, 25 weeks, 2005-2006; The Adventure of Acts, video program by 20 weeks, 2006-2007; The Adventures of Revelations, 11 weeks, 2008; The Adventures of 1 Corinthians, 10 weeks, 2009-2010; The Adventures of the Prophets, 10 weeks, 2017; and The Biblical Walk Through the Mass,  weeks, 2017.

Thank you Janice, for the sharing of your faith, time, and energy, so as to enhance the knowledge and faith of the adults at St. Gerard Parish. You have been a precious jewel, a great gift from God.

Written by Shirley Jones, Parish Director of Faith Formation

Open House at the “Theology Residence” July 29 & 30 after all the masses

Visit the new home of the seminarians. We will have the doors open and provide refreshments for all those who would like to see the rooms and facilities. Last week the rooms were cleaned and decorated and beds set up, ready for the seminarians by Cliff & Eileen Padalecki, Seferino and Sylvia Rios, Cindy Camarillo, Nick & Gloria Flores. Thank you to Cindy Camarillo and Viola Martinez for washing the new sheets and towels. Thank you ALL for your time and hard work. The final clean up will be July 27th.

Pastor’s Notes – July 23, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Ernie Banks played shortstop and first base for the Chicago Cubs. He was a Hall of Fame baseball player and a Hall of Fame individual.

Ernie always remembered the way his father worked and sacrificed to give him a chance to play baseball. Every day his father left the house before dawn and got home after dark. He worked so many hours, he hardly ever saw sunlight. When Ernie signed his first contract with the Cubs, he sent a three-word telegram to his dad; “We did it!”

“We did it!” Yes, we worked many hours to prepare “The Theology Residence” for the arrival of the seminarians. The list of volunteers goes on and on. The contractors did their work – painting, plumbing, electrical, plastering, carpentry, carpet and tile. Many people in the parish participated by making generous donations toward the furnishing of the rooms. We purchased all new furnishings – sheets, towels, blankets, comforters, etc.

Now we are ready for a final ‘clean up.’ On Thursday, July 27th we will have our work day. We want to make each room as attractive as we can, just like they do at the Marriott. Whether you have signed up or not, you are welcome to help us on the 27th.

Then, over the weekend of July 29-30, we will have open house.. Some of the people who have volunteered said that they never saw the inside of the house. After each Mass on the 29th and 30th folks are welcome to see what the back rooms look like, or what kind of rooms are on the second floor. Everyone who helped furnish a room with donations will be able to see how their contributions were used.

Congratulations to all who helped. Now, let’s welcome the seminarians.

Now, let’s take a look at what will be happening next spring. Surely we have all heard the Archdiocesan Capital Campaign. The Campaign is being called: !Andale! Many of us probably used that word to tell someone to “hurry up.” The Campaign is translating the word to ‘On the Way.’ We are ‘on the way’ to become a growing Archdiocese that cares about people, that reaches out to the marginalized, that is present to the young people on college campuses, that helps the disabled, and is preparing for the rapid growth of the populations. New parishes will be opened. Older parishes will be updated. Our goal for the campaign is 60 million.

The parishes in the Archdiocese have been divided into four groupings. These groupings are called ‘Waves.’ Rather than having every parish in the Archdiocese conduct their capital campaign at the same time, we are divided into four different time periods. The Pilot Wave is currently having their campaign. Then follows the first wave, followed by the second wave and finally the third wave. We at St. Gerard are listed in the second wave. We will conduct our campaign next spring.

There are many fascinating aspects to this campaign. First of all, we must be aware that the last capital campaign the Archdiocese conducted was 60 years ago. The Steier Group consultants from Omaha Nebraska will assist each parish in conducting the campaign. the Group will help each parish with the planning, printing and implementation. All the mailings will come from the Archdiocese. A portion of the money raised will go directly to the parish. If the parish has a construction project planned or in progress, 30 to 40 percent of the money raised will be returned to the parish.

St. Gerard will have a construction project. With the seminarians occupying “The Theology House,” we had to find space for our parish activities – meetings, Parish Faith Formation classes and social activities. We will be dividing the large classrooms in school to accommodate the smaller religious formation classes on Sunday morning. Getting into the school and going from floor to floor requires going up and down steps. We will be looking into the construction of an elevator so that the elderly and the disabled can get to the classrooms without climbing up steps.

There are two ways in which I want to prepare for this campaign. First of all – prayer. We will be including the campaign in our prayers at Mass. Secondly, information. I will try to keep you well informed every step of the way.

On June 26th the pilot wave was seven weeks into the campaign. At that time they have raised $12,385,583.

As we look ahead, let our minds, hearts and souls be filled with hope: Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst. Hope opens doors where despair closes them. Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot. Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God and the basic goodness of human nature. Hope regards problems small or large, as opportunities. Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism. Hope sets big goals and is not frustrated by repeated difficulties or setbacks. Hope pushes ahead when it would be easy to quit. Hope puts up with modest gains, realizing that ‘the longest journey starts with one step.’ Hope accepts misunderstandings as the price for serving the greater good of others. Hope is a good loser because it has the divine assurance of final victory.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – July 16, 2016

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

An elderly woman who lives in the country drove into the city to visit a friend in the hospital. She had not been inside a hospital for many years. She heard that medical technology had progressed over the years but had no idea what the latest instruments and gadgets might look like.

Upon arriving at the hospital she was directed to the elevator. As she stepped into the elevator a technician followed her, wheeling a large machine with tubes, wires, dials and lights.The elderly woman heard about ventilators and assumed that this machine must be a ventilator. Looking at the machine, then at the technician, she said, “My Oh My, I would hate to be hooked up to that apparatus.” “I’d hate it, too,” replied the technician. “It’s our new floor-cleaning machine.”

Week after week we come to Mass and probably never notice how clean the floor of our church is. And to think, we do not have a new floor-cleaning machine. We do it the old fashion way.

Let me tell you why our church always looks so bright and clean. Two faithful parishioners spent many hours each week dry mopping the floor, dusting the window sills and statues, cleaning the pews, and straightening the song books and missalettes. Yes, two sister-in-laws have been cleaning our church for the past 40 years. Plus, when the elementary school was in session they cleaned the school as well.

Both Marie and Lidia have an interesting history. Marie was raised as a Baptist. She became a Catholic when she got married. Lidia was not a Catholic but her husband was. They sent their children to St. Gerard School. Since their children were in the school, both Marie and Lidia got involved with the school. It was only within the last few years that Lidia became a Catholic. Now, she is present at Mass every day before she goes to work at Whataburger.

Marie and Lidia remember the days when the church floor was carpeted. It was quire a task to maneuver the vacuum cleaner between the pews. They are grateful for the new floor of ceramic wood plank. Now, after 40 years, Marie and Lidia are retiring. Marie’s daughter-in-law, Yvonne Ramirez, will carry on the Ramirez tradition of cleaning the church. However, after all these years Marie cannot totally step aside. She wants to help out in a less strenuous way.

Next Sunday evening Marie and Lidia will be at the 5:00 Mass. We as a faith community want to thank them for their 40 years of providing for us a beautifully cleaned church where we can proudly worship our God.

At a country fair, the townspeople held a horse-pulling contest. The first-place horse ended up moving a sled weighing 4,500 pounds. The owners of the two horses decided to see what these horses could pull together. They hitched them up and found that the team could move 12,000 pounds.

By working separately, the two horses were good for only 8,500 pounds. When coupled together, their synergism produced an added 3,500 pounds. It’s a hard lesson for us, but unity consistently produces greater results than individual endeavors. “Teamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect.”

In Jesus’ time, plow animals always worked in pairs. The yokes they used were custom fitted to each animal. If the yoke was too small or too big, or if the yoke awkwardly rubbed against the animal’s neck, the animal would lose some of its strength. So, the yokes were not interchangeable. Each animal had its personal yoke. With custom fitted yokes, the animals work harder and longer. As we saw above, when animals work together, the output is nearly doubled.

So, when Jesus says to ‘take my yoke upon you,’ he is offering to share our burdens, to help carry our load as a partner on the journey of life.

Last Tuesday we celebrated the memorial of St. Benedict. The Benedictine monks have been known for their great hospitality. The following bit of welcome and caution comes from the rule of St. Benedict in the sixth Century.

‘If any pilgrim monk come from distant parts, with a wish as a guest to dwell in the monastery, and will be content with the customs which he finds in the place, and do not perchance by his lavishness disturb the monastery, but is simply content with what he finds, he shall be received, for as long a time as he desires. If, indeed, he finds fault with anything, or expose it, reasonably, and with the humility of charity, the Abbott shall discuss it prudently, lest perchance God has sent him for this very thing. But if he had been found gossipy and contumacious in the time of his sojourn as guest, not only ought he not to be joined to the body of the monastery, but also, it shall be said to him, honestly, that he must depart. If he does not go, let two stout monks, in the name of God, explain the matter to him.’

Johnny’s mother always warned him that he would never amount to much because he always procrastinated. Whenever she said this, Johnny would always reply, “You just wait!”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Who or What is a CATECHIST?

As you listen to God’s call for you, perhaps you are thinking about our Sunday’s Catholic Faith Formation program. On Sundays, our youth, ages 5 through Grade 12, meet together to learn about the Catholic faith. It is not merely a time of questions and answers. At times, the Catechist inspires another to begin their faith journey. At times the catechist is the mentor who shares the tradition of the church and helps others to see their place in the God’s family, God’s community. The Catechist gives witness to the faith, sharing Scripture stories, leading discussions and experiencing liturgies. At times, the catechist creates a place for prayer; an encounter with God. A Catechist is a believer who evangelizes. A Catechist is a model; a disciple of Jesus Christ. A Catechist echoes the word of God to others, to deepen their understanding of the faith, and to lead them to a deepen their understanding of the faith, and to lead them to a deeper conversion of heart and mind to God.

If you feel called to be a Catechist at St. Gerard, please contact Shirley Jones, 533-0161.

Final Workday

We will have a final workday in the “Theology Residence” preparing for the seminarians on July 27th.

Come and join us anytime you can. We will be working from 9:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Pastor’s Notes – July 9, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

At every party there are two kinds of people – those who want to go home and those who don’t. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.

Father Rob Ruhnke lives in our Redemptorist house. Father Rob had dedicated his ministry in helping couples prepare for marriage. He is the author of a marriage preparation program entitled ‘For Better and Forever.’ In 1980 Father Rob published the first edition of ‘For Better and Forever.’ Recently the ‘National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers’ has selected Father Rob to receive an reward for his dedication to serve families, especially through his marriage preparation program, ‘For Better and Forever.’ On Monday, July 24th the Association will present the award to Father Rob at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.

NACFLM applauds Fr. Rob as a long-time NACFLM member who has supported the national conference as a trainer, exhibitor, and sponsor. He first published the sponsor couple marriage preparation program ‘For Better and For Ever’ in 1980 and continues to expand the reach of the program through translations and updates. It has become the most widely used program of its kind in the Americas. It exemplifies the mission of NACFLM by: His commitment to the sponsor couple method of marriage preparation and awareness of its diversity enables family life ministry to provide accompaniment to couples and families.

Congratulations Father Rob Ruhnke!

Many unincorporated communities dot the countryside in Tennessee. One little community is named Amqui. In the olden days many trains stopped at Amqui. Those days are long gone. At one time the late Johnny Cash purchased the quaint railway station and moved it to his estate. Amongst the unusual names for a town, ‘Amqui’ surely ranks high on the list. Some of the local inhabitants of Amqui explain how their town received its name. When Amqui was settled by railroaders, their foreman told them to pick out a name for the place, and do it “damn quick.” So, they named the town Damquik, spelling it D-a-m-q-u-i-k.

Over the years some of the upper class ladies in town became infuriated with the name. They felt that their town was named after a vulgar statement. So they held a town hall meeting. After a heated discussion, they reached a compromise. They agreed to eliminate the first and last letters of the town’s name. And now you know the rest of the story.

Well, the convent at St. Gerard has gone through a few name changes. Originally it was built to be the home of the Sisters of Notre Dame. The sisters taught in the elementary school and high school. Some say that at one time nearly thirty nuns lived in the building. As time went on there were fewer and fewer nuns teaching in St. Gerard Schools. Those who were teaching moved to other residences. At that time, the Redemptorists rented the convent for college seminarians, studying at local colleges. These students were discerning their vocation to the priesthood. The name of the building changed to ‘Liguori House.’

When the decision was made to send the college seminarians to universities in New York the building became available for parish ministries. And so we referred to the building as ‘Parish Center and Offices.’ And when we were lost for a name for this building, we simply referred to it as the ‘Former Convent.’ But now – The parish offices will remain in the south end of the building so we will continue refer to the south end as ‘Parish Center and Offices.’ However, the Redemptorist theology students will occupy the north end, west end and second floor of the building. And now we will also refer to the building as ‘The Theology Residence.’ It might be confusing but we’ll get used to it.

Many people have asked: “What can I do to help?” There are many things to do before the seminarians arrived. But first, let me extend a “thank you” to the many people who have worked in ‘The Theology Residence’ over the past weeks. There were contractors bringing the building up to date. There were painters, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, carpenters and carpet layers. Many volunteers cleaned the kitchens and meeting rooms. In the next two weeks the contractors will be finishing their work. On July 27th there will be a final ‘clean up’ work day. We will need many people to prepare the bedrooms for occupancy.

The Redemptorists of the Denver Province have paid for all the contracted work that has been done to the building. The parish has not paid for the construction work. Now, many people have offered to buy items for the rooms. First let me thank the Altar Society/Holy Name. This organization bought a commercial washer and dryer for The Theology Residence. Thanks much!

We are also inviting people to sponsor, or co-sponsor a bedroom. We have 22 bedrooms. The sponsor and/or co-sponsor will provide bedding, towels, blanket, comforter/bed spread. We ask that the sponsors deliver these items to the parish office no later than July 25th. Then, on July 29th, the final ‘clean up’ day, we will clean the rooms and make the beds. On August 1st, or soon after, we will welcome the seminarians.

A New Yorker driving through Texas stopped in a small town for a bite to eat. As he was crossing the street, a powerful gust of wind from the West almost knocked him over. Staggering inside, he asked the restaurant owner. “Does the wind blow that way all the time?”

“No,” said the owner, “Sometimes it comes from the other direction.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss,R.

Journey through RCIA

Interested in Becoming a Catholic?

At times an unbeliever will take a look at his or her life and decide to take a turn in the effort to becoming a better person. The person wants to be closer to God; wants to understand the teachings of the Catholic faith, because another Catholic has had a truth and way of living that has inspired another. Where is a person to go if she or he wants to know about the Catholic faith and the Catholic community? About every parish in the Catholic church has a group to help another family or individual to enter into the Catholic Church. The process here at St. Gerard, and in many parishes, is entitled, the “RCIA” process, standing for; the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. We are spiritual and material beings, and spiritual health is critical to a happy, full life. If you or a friend would like to inquire about the Catholic faith and spiritual enrichment, a group in the community is ready to be of help to you. For more information contact RCIA Director Nick Flores at 210-844-0472. Registration: August 12-13, after Mass, in front of Church.