Monthly Archives: August 2017

Catechetical Sunday 2017

This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 17, 2017. The 2017 theme is “Living as Missionary Disciples.” Those who the Community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry.

Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of their Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.

Assumption of Mary

This Tuesday, August 15th, we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into heaven. Our Eucharistic Celebrations will be at 6:30 am, 9 am, and 7 pm in church.

“As evidenced by the writings of many early Church fathers, Christians have believed for more than a millennium that the Blessed Virgin was assumed into heaven. In 1950, Pope Pius XII issued Munificentissimus Deus, which officially defined the dogma of the Assumption. This means that the Church officially recognizes this belief as a true and necessary part of our Catholic beliefs about Mary. Like all beliefs about Mary, they illuminate our most treasured beliefs about her Son. The Assumption illustrates to us the truth about Christ’s promise of eternal life and resurrection of the faithful.”

Pastor’s Notes – August 13, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Many years ago an ambitious young man emigrated from Italy to America. He opened up a grocery store in Brooklyn. He had a big heart for other emigrants. When some Italians visited his store he often sold them groceries on credit. Unfortunately, only a handful of emigrants ever paid their credit.

Over the years that store owner continued to allow young emigrants to buy food on credit. These emigrants still did not pay their credit. And then, the store owner had a heart attack and died. He arrived before St. Peter. St. Peter read his record of generosity and immediately invited him into heaven. The grocer asked St. Peter if he could take a detour through hell before entering heaven. Peter agreed and said, “I’ll be waiting for you when you return.”

When the grocer arrived in hell he knocked on the door. Satan answered. The grocer said, “I want to see all those people who owed me money in my grocery store back in Brooklyn.” Satan asked, “How do you know they are here in hell?” “Well,” said the grocer, “Whenever I tried to collect from them, this is where they told me to go.”

On Tuesday, August 15th, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Normally, the feast of the Assumption is a holy day of obligation. However, in the United States and other countries, the bishops have received permission from the Vatican to abrogate (temporarily waive) the requirement for Catholics to attend Mass on certain Holy Days of Obligation, when those Holy Days fall on either Saturday or Monday. BUT NOT THIS YEAR!! Since the Solemnity of the Assumption falls on a Tuesday, WE ARE OBLIGATED to attend Mass in honor of the Assumption. Yes, this year, Catholics are obligated to attend Mass either on the vigil – Monday evening, or on the Solemnity itself – Tuesday. The Mass schedule for the Solemnity itself – Tuesday. The Mass schedule for the Solemnity of the Assumption: Monday – 7:00 p.m. Tuesday: 6:30 a.m.; 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the first of the disciples, the one who brought the Son of God into the world, is honored today in this feast of the Assumption. We believe that her bodily assumption into heaven is a sign to us of the future that awaits all who believe in her Son, Jesus.

The scriptures tell us nothing about Mary in her later life. We do not know exactly where she lived. We do not know for sure how long she lived. We don’t know for sure where she was when she died.

There are many stories which were passed down through the centuries about Mary. These stories tell us that Mary lived in an area near Ephesus, called Meryem Ana. Tradition tells us that, at the age of 64, she fell asleep and was taken body and soul into heaven. In 1967 Pope Paul VI paid a visit to the house of Mary at Meryem Ana. Later Pope John Paul II visited the house and confirmed again the significance of the house. Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit to Mary’s home when he visited Turkey.

Two years ago, I went on a pilgrimage to walk in the footsteps of St. Paul, where we stopped to visit Mary’s home.

It is said that St. John had had a house built for the Blessed Virgin before he brought her to Ephesus. Several Christian families and holy women had already settled near Ephesus. Some lived in caves, others in fragile huts or tents. They came to escape violent persecution. Tradition says that Mary’s house was built with stone.

There was a woman by the name of Katharina Emmerick who was born on September 8th, 1774, in a small down in Westfalia (northern Germany). She grew up to be a prayerful woman. She was blessed to have many visions. At a relatively young age she became bedbound. From her bed she would talk about the visions she had in regards to the home of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She never visited the home. But in her visions she was able to describe the exact location. Many church authorities questioned Katharina. Katharina was able to exactly describe the location and house. To the best of their knowledge, Katharina was describing the home of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And now, thousands of pilgrims and tourists annually visit Mary’s home.

The preacher carried a hand held mic which was attached to a cord. He moved briskly up and down the middle aisle, twisting and turning as he preached. After several twists and turns, the cord got wrapped around his legs. The preacher pulled and jerked on the cord, trying to free himself. A little girl up front saw what was happening. She leaned over to her mother and said, “If he gets loose, will he hurt us?”

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.



Welcome to the Redemptorist theology students who have arrived this week. Welcome to your new location – St. Gerard Catholic Church. We also welcome Father Peter Hill and Father Mick Fleming – the two priests in charge of the students. We are happy that all of you have become part of our St. Gerard Family.

An Introduction to Spiritual Direction

Dr. Deborah Hanus will be offering a small group setting for those wishing to prepare for the ministry of spiritual direction. The group will be a twice monthly gathering of 6-7 men and women who wish to prepare over a two year period. If interested please contact Deborah Hanus through the church.

Pastor’s Notes – August 6, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:.

An elderly woman took her little grandson to the zoo. That little boy’s face was filled with brightly shining freckles. Grandma and the boy got in line with other children, waiting to have tiger paws painted on their cheeks.

A little girl took one look at the little boy and said, “You’ve got so many freckles, there’s no place to paint tiger paws!” The little boy was embarrassed. He dropped his head and began to whimper. Grandma noticed how her grandson was offended. She knelt down next to him and said, “I love your freckles. When I was a little girl I always wanted freckles.” While tracing her finger across the child’s cheek, she said, “Freckles are beautiful.”

The boy looked up and said, “Really! Is that for real? You really like freckles?” With a smile on her face grandma said, “Of course I do. Why just name me one thing that’s prettier than freckles.” The little boy thought for a moment, peered intensely into his grandma’s face, and softly whispered, “Wrinkles.”

Did Jesus have freckles? We really don’t know. But those of us who have freckles would like to think that Jesus had freckles. We celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration today. Jesus took Peter, James and John to the mountain top. There he was transfigured before them. St. Matthew said that ‘Jesus’ face shone like the sun.’ As we all know, a face that shines like the sun must be filled with freckles.

As we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration we imagine Jesus glowing with light. His clothes became white as light. How often we refer to Jesus as coming to us as the light of the world. On the walls of an ancient Scottish castle are engraved these words: “When Jesus comes the shadows depart.” The earliest Christians had this saying of Jesus: “He has turned our midnight into morning.”

On Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 ‘CTSA 17,’ the Catholic Television of San Antonio, will be coming to St. Gerard. At 7:00 pm they will be televising a program in which they will speak about current Catholic issues in the world and the Catholic issues in our Archdiocese. The last segment of the program will be about our parish. They want to hear about the many ministries in our parish. They have asked me to invite the entire parish to be present for the filming. So, mark your calendars. Let’s fill the church and let people throughout San Antonio what a great parish we have.

The week after Thanksgiving the men of our parish will be conducting an ACTS retreat. Daniel Thatcher is the director. He is putting together his team. Between now and the ACTS retreat I will be encouraging the men of the parish to sign up for the weekend. We have a great parish. When the men make an ACTS retreat we will have a greater parish.

The Archdiocese is currently involved in a Capital Campaign. Fifty years ago was the last time the Archdiocese had a Capital Campaign. The name of the Campaign is: !On the Way! !Andale! The Steier Group, from Omaha Nebraska, is the consultant for the Campaign. The parishes throughout the Archdiocese have been assigned to one of four waves: Pilot Wave; Wave 1; Wave 2; Wave 3. St. Gerard has been assigned to Wave 2 which will take place next March-August.

The Steier Group will come to our parish and help us in conducting the campaign. They will provide the brochures and handle all the mailing. The Steier Group has developed a formula to establish a parish goal. Our goal is $133,600 will remain in our parish.

The money from the Campaign will be used to strengthen our existing parishes, especially the older ones which are struggling; to establish new parishes; to help Catholic Charities Outreach; for Lay Ministry; Assumption Seminary; Campus Ministry and Catholic Schools.

Finally, I want to thank the many people who have helped in various ways to welcome our Theology students. So many pitched in to turn bedrooms, unused for 20 years, into attractive homes for the students. And so I say to you all: Thank You. Father Stephen Rehrauer, our Provincial, also sends his heartfelt thanks.

Many, many years ago Thelma Goldstein treated herself to her first vacation. She drove from Chicago to Florida. She stopped at a decent looking hotel in North Miami. Little did she know that the hotel was restricted.

She walked up to the registration desk and said to the manager, “My name is Mrs. Goldstein. I’d like a small room for two weeks” “I am awfully sorry,” the manager replied, “but all of our rooms are occupied.” Just at that moment a man stepped up to the desk announcing that he was checking out.

“How lucky I am,” exclaimed Mrs. Goldstein. “Now there’s a room.” “Not so fast, Madam,” said the manager. “I’m sorry, but this hotel is restricted. No Jews are allowed to occupy our rooms.” “Jewish? Who’s Jewish? I happen to be Catholic,” shouted Mrs. Goldstein.

“With a name like Goldstein, I find that hard to believe,” said the manager. Let me ask you, who was the Son of God?” “Why, it was Jesus, the Son of Mary,” answered the woman. “Where was he born?” asked the manager. “In a stable,” said the woman. “And why was he born in a stable?” asked the manager. With a stern look on her face, the woman said, “Because a schmuck like you wouldn’t let a Jew rent a room in his hotel!”

Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.