Monthly Archives: November 2017

National Retirement Fund for Religious Collection

St. Gerard Will have our collection December 9-10, 2017

Many elderly sisters, brothers, and religious order priests worked for little to no pay, and now their religious communities do not have enough money for their care. Please support the Retirement Fund for Religious collection at Mass. To Learn more please visit

Thank you for your generous support

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

the Patroness of all the American continents, is December 12th. All are invited to the “Las Mananitas” at 6:30 am, followed by the procession of roses, the Tuesday Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and the celebration of the Mass. Refreshments will be enjoyed thereafter in Church.

St. Gerard Church Bulletin

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Pastor’s Notes – November 26, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

Monsignor Clark was the pastor of Christ the King Parish. Being slayed by the Irish curse, Monsignor found his joy in the bottled spirits. One night the archbishop decided to phone Monsignor Clark. It so happened that Monsignor had taken a few too many nips of Jamison. When the phone rang, Monsignor picked up the handset and said, “Clark the King Parish, Christ speaking.”

This weekend we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. We also refer to this Sunday as the last Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, it the new year of our Church calendar. The message this Sunday is unchanging. We are reminded that Christ is the Lord of both heaven and earth.

Pope Pius XI established the feast of Christ the King in 1925. The pope noticed that much of the world was becoming secular. He wanted to draw attention back to Christ, especially as we approach Christmas season. Originally this feast was assigned to the last Sunday of October to be as near as possible to Al Saints Day. The feast was later changed to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time to demonstrate how Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the union between heaven and earth.

Today, we begin our journey toward Bethlehem. We join a young husband and wife as they travel toward a stable. Wise men set out to follow a star. It is night time. We stumble though the darkness. We are filled with expectancy for we believe that the Light of the World awaits us. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Next Friday is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is a Holy day of obligation. We are obligated to attend Mass. Mass will be celebrated at 6:30 and 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The Immaculate Conception honors the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ. Since 1846, the Immaculate Conception has been the Patroness of the United States. Mary is the Immaculate Conception. This day does not refer to Mary conceiving Jesus by the Holy Ghost. Rather, it is Mary conceived without sin in the womb of her Mother, St. Anne. From the very moment of her conception, God filled her with grace. God knew in His omniscience, that she would say “yes” to the Angel Gabriel and become the Mother of the Savior. Exactly nine months from now, on September 8, we will celebrate Mary’s birthday.

Next weekend we will have an anointing service after each of the Masses. The celebrant of the Mass will invite the people who wish to be anointed, to remain in the pews. The priests will lay their hands on each person. Then, the priest will anoint each person.

The Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament which brings healing graces to those who are suffering. Only Bishops and Priests are empowered to confer the Sacrament of the Anointing. We bring this sacrament to patients in hospitals, to the homebound, to those who are ailing or are aged.

Christ gave us this sacrament as He anointed those who were sick. Through the history of the Church, there has always been the Anointing of the Sick. It is a sacrament for those at the point of death as well as for those who are suffering from sickness or old age, or for those who are preparing for surgery.

On Monday, December 18th at 7:00 pm, we will have a Penance Service at St. Gerard. We will begin with a prayer service, followed by an opportunity to go to confession. Several priests will be available for confession.

The novelist Somerset Maugham said it well. “I have committed follies. I have a sensitive conscience and I have done certain things in my life that i am unable to entirely forget. If I had been fortunate enough to be a Catholic, I could have delivered myself of them at confession and after performing the penance imposed, received absolution and put them out of my mind forever.”

Imagine that, a non-Catholic has recognized the value of the Sacrament. Yet, many of us brush the Sacrament aside as if to say it is old fashion. Forgiveness is not only old fashion but it is also fashionable. It is most important in our lives. The grace of the sacrament awaits you. Let’s not neglect this Godly gift. So, we welcome you on December 18th.

An irate judge in London, disgusted with corporate crime, sentenced a convicted embezzler by saying, “Your parole officer has not been born.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

Pastor’s Notes – November 19, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A young man grew up in a large religious family. One day he and his sister announced to their parents that they were interested in joining the religious life. His father, a quiet, philosophical man, made this observation. “You know, if you become a nun or a priest you will never enjoy the privilege of having your own children. Like your mother, you will not be able to celebrate Mother’s Day. Nor, like me, you won’t be able to celebrate Father’s Day. However, both of you will have two days to celebrate: Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day.

On Thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. We celebrate this day because of the perseverance of one woman, Sarah Josepha Hales. The official description of Thanksgiving Day is, “A national holiday in the United States commemorating the harvest of the Plymouth Colony in 1621, following a winter of great hardship.”

During the first harsh New England winter, over ninety people were sick. Only seven people were well enough to care for the others. Fifty one people out of 102 died that first year. Yet, on that first Thanksgiving Day, they found so much to be thankful for. ‘Thanksgiving Day,’ the day to give thanks, was born in Puritan New England in the 1630’s. It was shaped by four traditions – the Harvest, the Home, Christmas ans proclamations of civic and congregational days of thanksgiving and prayer.

Early in our history, this day was celebrated by only a few eastern states. But Sarah Josepha Hales was determined to have the entire nation celebrate this day of giving thanks to God from whom all blessing flow. She sent endless articles and letters to journals and newspapers expressing her desire to make this day a national holiday. She wrote to President Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan in the mid 1800’s. In 1852 she succeeded in uniting 29 states in marking the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.

Then, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln took action. He proclaimed the last Thursday of November as the day set apart for the national giving of thanks to Almighty God. The day was not to celebrate military victory but to be grateful for “a year filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.” Lincoln reminded the citizens that, “No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the precious gifts of the Most High God.”

It has been reported that Thanksgiving Day is the most celebrated day in the United States. The airlines tell us that air traffic is the heaviest over Thanksgiving weekend. Families will travel across the nation to be home for Thanksgiving. Already we can smell the wonderful aromas from the kitchen. The Thanksgiving meal is mom’s best.

They say that people speak about 18,000 words a day. In the course of the day, how many times do we use the word: “Thanks.” We have so much to be thankful for. And no one deserves ‘thanks’ more than our God who has given us everything. In the midst of our festivities on Thursday, let us take some time out to say “Thanks.” Our God must be on the top of our list. We can start the day by attending a Thanksgiving Day Mass at St. Gerard. At 9:00 a.m. we will gather to say, “Thank you, God.”

I want to say “Thank you” to all parishioners of St. Gerard, for your goodness and generosity. Thank you for the wonderful spirit. For your friendship; for your sharing and caring. For the many gifts of volunteering your time and expertise to this faith community.

One week after Thanksgiving St. Gerard Men’s ACTS retreat will be held at the Moye Retreat House in Castroville. About 25 men are serving on team with Daniel Thatcher as the Director. James Cazares and Peter Caliendo are the co-directors. All these men have been meeting once a week for the past three months, to prepare themselves for the retreat weekend. Let us keep these men in prayer as we ask the Holy Spirit to come upon them. We are looking forward to a spiritually dynamic weekend with the team and first time retreatants.

King Frederick the Great visited the jail of Potsdam. He had a special audience with the inmates. Surprisingly, each inmate informed the King that he was totally innocent of the charges against them. Near the end of the King’s visit, one of the inmates said to the King “Your excellency, I am guilty and deserve the punishment I am receiving.”

The King immediately ordered that man to be released. Totally surprised, the inmate thanked the King as he was escorted out of the prison. With a smile, the king said, “After all young man, I don’t want you to corrupt all the innocent people in here.”

Happy Thanksgiving.

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.

“Breaking Open the Word” Sessions on Sundays

Following the homily at the 10:30 am Mass, catechumens – those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation and, Eucharist – are dismissed by the priest. They move to another place to be led in a deeper reflection on the Scriptures and homily just proclaimed. The basics of breaking open the Word involves taking the readings for that Sunday and asking some basic questions about how they inform us as believers and what they call us to do as a result. There are no open “experts” when it comes to applying God’s Word to our individual lives, and so each of has insights to offer each other in this ongoing effort. Gradually, the group realizes that God’s Word is written in such a way that it is accessible to all of us, and that each of us can glimpse God’s calling in ways that others find helpful.

Pastor’s Notes – November 11, 2017

Father Shea

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

A religious order of nuns staffed a small hospital in a quaint country town. A young doctor on staff happened to be an avid golfer. Everyone teased him about his golf addiction, especially the nuns in charge. It so happened that his doctor’s wife was expecting a baby. One day she unexpectedly experienced labor pains. The doctor rushed his wife to the hospital. They didn’t quite make it in time. She gave birth to a baby boy on the grassy lawn in front of the emergency room. Thanks be to God, all went well!

When the doctor received a bill for the emergency room services, he objected. With tongue in cheek he argued with the bookkeeper. He claimed that there should be no emergency room fees since his wife gave birth to his son on the lawn. Mother Superior happened to overhear the doctor’s argument. She quickly approached the doctor, snatched the bill from his hand, scratched out ‘Emergency Room Services,’ and scrawled across the page in large letters ‘GREEN FEES.’

Let me begin with the original rectory – the second building east of Gevers. Six Redemptorists live in this rectory. The rectory is owned by the Redemptorist Fathers of San Antonio. Those living in the rectory are: Father Alton Carr, Father Rob Ruhnke, Brother Charlie Fucik, Father Francis Pham, Father Bob Lindsey, and Fr. Jim Shea.

The building east of the church was originally known as the Notre Dame Convent. Now it has two names – the front of the building is called ‘The Parish Center and Offices.’ The back of the building and the second floor is known as ‘The Theology Residence.’ Fourteen Redemtorists, studying theology at the Oblate School of Theology, and two directors live in this building. These men are vowed Redemptorists who come from across the U.S., the Caribbean, Canada and Ireland. The Redemptorist Provincials from seven different units, known as ‘The Conference,’ jointly subsidize this program.

The Archdiocese owns the church, the school and the Theology Residence. St. Gerard Parish manages these buildings. The Conference – is leasing The Theology Residence from the Archdiocese for $4,000 a month, plus 3/4 of the utility bills. Since the parish manages the building, the lease goes to the parish, not the Archdiocese.

There are three Corporations associated with St. Gerard. All the parishes of this Archdiocese, which includes St. Gerard Parish, are listed under the corporation ‘Archdiocese of San Antonio.’ We Redemptorist Priests and Brother have our corporation. “The Redemptorist Priests of San Antonio.” Finally, the Theology Residence has recently been incorporated, ‘North American Redemptorist Theology Residence.’ Our parishioner, John Rothermel, handled the legal work.

Over the summer months many people worked on the Theology Residence, preparing it for the arrival of the students. Since rooms had been vacant for nearly 20 years, they required painting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, carpeting/tiling and plastering. Many folks cleaned the rooms. Each room was fitted with new sheets, pillow cases, blankets, comforters and rugs. The Redemptorist Conference paid for all the trade work. Many parishioners, along with the Conference, paid for the outfitting of the rooms. No money was taken from St. Gerard Parish coffers to update these rooms.

In the months to come we will be speaking about money. We will publish our financial report and budget. We also want to remind everyone about the Archdiocesan Capital Campaign. Every parish is the Archdiocese is involved in this campaign and is given a goal. Our goal over three years is $334,000.

Now, I want to state that we in the parish office along with the Finance Committee are trying our best to be good stewards. A steward is a person who manages the affairs of a household or an estate for the owner. At St. Gerard we are managing the affairs of God on earth. Everything we have is given to us by God. As God’s people we are also called to share these gifts with others. The bible refers to sacrificial giving. It means that God comes first, rather than giving God whatever is left over. The Jews were asked to thank God with a ‘tithe’ – the first 10% of the fruits of the harvest. They were promised a payoff of one hundred fold in return. How close do you come to what was expected of early Christians?


                    3%          5%          8%          10%

$200           6.00        10.00      16.00      20.00
$300           9.00        15.00      24.00      30.00
$400           12.00      20.00      32.00      40.00
$500           15.00      25.00      40.00      50.00
$700           21.00      35.00      56.00      70.00
$1,000        30.00      50.00      80.00      100.00

In the ‘Pontius Puddle’ cartoon, Pontius asks God, “How should a materialistic Christian dress for eternity?” A voice comes from the clouds, “Start with flame retardant underwear.”

Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.


Our Parish Giving Tree

What a tremendous sight is was, to see all the gifts given from the Giving Tree. What generosity and care! May God bless all those who gave of their time and money and energy to extend gifts and greetings and warmth to families and individuals and homebound.

May Christ, our greatest gift, enrich you, all the more, with love and peace.