Clergy Blogs & Posts

"For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you...that [your] hearts may be encouraged as they are brought together in love, to have all the richness of fully assured understanding, for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
Colossians 2:1-3

Encouraging messages from Father Nick, Deacon Ron and Others

April 7, 2020 - Deacon Ron

Posted by Nichol Swift on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 @ 8:56 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJF9XjG4WKo&feature=youtu.be

Greetings to you all,

Here we are entering the events of Holy Week with Palm Sunday through the Triduum. How excited the RCIA Team and I are with and for those entering the Church this Easter!

Well, that is what I would have said under different circumstances. Faced with the adversity of a pandemic, disappointment and discouragement and even anger might be the rule of the day. While our rituals are filled with rich and ancient traditions, it is not the things that we do that are most important. What is important is the meaning behind the rituals, the person behind the celebrations, Jesus our Lord. Yet, these rituals, these traditions help us see and feel the unseen. They create moments that untie us from the burial cloths of Lazarus to be free to experience what lies beyond time and space, all be it for a few short moments. Yet, those few moments seem to linger with us as two lovers linger in each others arms. I can’t help but think of our military families as they experience the separation that deployment inflicts on the family, the student that leaves home to go far away to school or the separation of a loved one like the death of a child or spouse. It is the memories, the pictures and the objects that remind us of the heartfelt relationship. It is the relationship that instills the value of those physical things.

We are physical and spiritual beings. It is the physical that dualistically transfigures time and space to be able to experience the beyond while keeping us captive in the here and now. Our things, our rituals, our music lifts us beyond to where only the heart and soul can go. Our religious practice is a sensual experience of light and dark, incense and music, oil and water, candle and flame, bread and wine. These things that fill our senses move us to moments where we experience the spiritual. Yet, once again these are not the personal relationship; they are a vehicle to the relationship. I fear there is a danger when these sensual things are not available we become fearful the relationship is diminished. So too, when these traditions and objects become mechanical or routine they become void of meaning. Very much like any long term relationship. How do we reignite the flame to dispel the darkness of routine of loss? Sometime absence can be a catalyst; absence can make the heart grow fonder as it is said. It can recreate that hunger for what we can’t see.  We can also intentionally infuse meaning back into our practice.

All this is leading to a conclusion as we enter Holy Week during this time of separation and closed Church building. This pandemic isolation can make or break us. We can get lost in the “Nothing”, as in the Never Ending Story or were can make adjustments to experience the familiar in new ways. The Church is more than our buildings. While our sacred space is very important and holy, we are the Church, the people of God. Meeting the challenges we have before us will determine the richness of our return to rituals. Every faith journey has its “Dark Night of the Soul”. Intentionally find new ways to bring meaning to what provides transcendence.  

This week reread the passion narratives, pray the Stations of the Cross daily (https://youtu.be/aJF9XjG4WKo online stations), watch a movie about the life of Christ. The two I recommend is: Jesus of Nazareth and if you have the fortitude, the Passion of the Christ.

Please remember the words at baptism when the light candle is received: You have been enlightened by Christ. Walk always as children of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in your hearts.

Holy week blessing,

Deacon Ron

April 6, 2020 - Deacon Doug

Posted by Nichol Swift on Monday, April 6, 2020 @ 8:29 AM

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

This Holy Week was to be the first I celebrated with STGG Parish.  Last year at this time I was walking the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage in Northern Spain.  Prior to that I was living in Visalia, CA.  I have heard so much about the STGG special traditions: the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, the veneration of the Cross on Good Friday and emersion baptisms at the Easter Vigil Mass.   Like many things in life at this time…this experience will wait until next year.

Holy Week will be celebrated differently for all of this year. We will celebrate it in our homes and participate in the service via websites, from the Vatican to our Diocesan to our STGG website.

Holy Week is not Holy just because we say it is.  It is Holy as we open our hearts to the grace and blessings God wants to pour into us during these days.  It is Holy as we walk with Jesus to Jerusalem with our eyes fixed on His cross.  We all have such rich and blessed memories of previous Holy Weeks.  There is nothing greater in our Church liturgy. It is the highest point of our salvation history.  All else leads us to this week.  It is a time of fulfillment.

How can we make it a Holy Week this year?  We can step away from social media for quiet times of prayer.  We can read and reread the Passion of Jesus.  We can see ourselves in the people Jesus met along the way.  We can read it with family members in our homes and take the time for those closest to us to reveal what the verses mean to them personally.  We can allow the verses to deeply penetrate our hearts and listen to what Jesus may be saying to us between the lines.  We can experience all the emotions that rush forth.  The Passion narrative does not change, yet every time we reread the story, it changes us.  It prepares us to pick up our crosses and follow.

Why not humbly wash the feet of those closest to you on Holy Thursday? Let the tears flow.  On Friday, walk the Stations of the Cross via a website or a guide you may have at home.  We all have crosses on the walls of our homes to take down and venerate with a Holy kiss and embrace as we “Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the Salvation of the World.  Come let us adore Him”.  Have a procession of candles throughout each room of your house on the Easter Vigil (careful to not catch anyone’s hair on fire) as we allow the Light of Christ to fill our homes and lives.  Listen to your favorite Alleluia song and ring bells. Pray for our Catechumens and Candidates. Recall and share your reception of the Sacraments of Initiation as best you can.  What do these Sacraments, each an encounter with Jesus, mean to you now?  

Throughout the week we are reminded of God’s great love for us.  It shows us how much Jesus loves us and wants us to be with Him.  Maybe that is enough to say!    

We are prepared for Easter morning, the dawn of New Life, Joy and Hope! 

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” 

Alleluia! Alleluia!  Alleluia! 

Keep Well as God Blesses All of Us,

   Deacon Doug 

April 3, 2020 - Pope Francis

Posted by Nichol Swift on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 5:04 PM

COVID-19 IS NOT GOD'S JUDGMENT, BUT A CALL TO LIVE DIFFERENTLY, POPE FRANCIS SAYS

Addressing God, the pope said that "it is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others."

Read more..

April 2, 2020 - Pope Francis

Posted by Nichol Swift on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 5:02 PM

POPE’S SPECIAL URBI ET ORBI BLESSING: ‘GOD TURNS EVERYTHING TO OUR GOOD’

Pope Francis delivers an extraordinary blessing “To the City and to the World” on Friday to pray for an end to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. In his meditation, the Pope reflects on Jesus’ words to His disciples: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”

Read more..

April 1, 2020 - Deacon Doug

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:26 PM

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

“Are we almost there yet?

I recall hearing that question from at least one of my children on every long car trip I have taken with them. They were ready to get there, escape the confines of the car, start running around and have fun again.  My response, regardless of my knowledge of how long it would be to get there, was always, “Yep, almost there.  Now let’s play a game.  Who sees something blue?”

So how much longer will it be until we can escape the grip of the coronavirus crisis that effects every aspects of our lives and threatens the health of the world?  How much longer will we be confined and “sheltered in”?  How much longer to getting back to normal activities of life?  All I really know is that, “Yep, we are going to get there.” In that we endure with faith and trust in God and one another.

We are all having our unique experiences during this time.  I have my health, am retired, and live without a lot of demanding pressures.  Then I look at all the health care workers on the front lines, the essential workers in contact with many people and serving others in so many ways.  I look at my children, friends and the many I think about and pray for that are facing critical life situations.

Will my family and friend remain healthy during this crisis? Will they have enough money coming in to support the base necessities of their families?  Can they be productive working at home while taking care of children? And when will schools start up again?  Will their companies be able to weather the financial crisis and be able to employ them?  

There are so many uncertainties in our world now.  We just want to know when we will get there…..to the end of this difficult journey. In the meantime we support one another emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually.  We not only pray for one another but reach out in loving acts to be a real presence in the lives of others.  We are all in this together.  We will get through it together. This too will pass. 

The Gospel reading from this last Sunday tells the story of Lazarus, who died and was brought back to life.  During this period we are all having a bit of a death experience…death to our normal and routine way of life. We like Lazarus need to be unbound and freed of this crisis that now binds us and the entire world.  We need a resurrection moment.  For this we pray to the Lord.  Lord, hear our prayer.

We continue to pray for one another, for known and unknown needs.  We pray that we will all get to the end of this crisis journey safely.  We pray that we get there soon.

Keep Well as God Blesses All of Us     

Deacon Doug 

Debra Stansfield said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:36 AM -
Thanks, Deacon Doug, for your heartfelt words.

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March 31, 2020 - Monsignor Gallagher

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:23 PM

Many of us who are trying to follow Jesus (and mostly failing miserably) see our efforts as searching for God in Jesus Christ. And so we should be, in our prayers, our thoughts and our actions. We forget about the other side of the coin. God is always searching for us. Yes, that’s true, indeed an eternal truth but it’s not always easy to believe.

There’s a poem entitled The Hound of Heaven by an English poet, Francis Thompson, who died in 1907. In the poem Thompson, describes a life spent seeking alternatives to God and the hound relentlessly following him until the final surrender is made. The hound of course, is Christ.

Some of the closing lines have the Lord speaking to the sinner. The poet?

Ah, fondest, blindest, meekest

I am He whom thou seekest...

 

All that thy child’s mistake fancies as lost

I have stored for thee at home.

Arise, catch my hand and come.

I strongly recommend the poem to you though I must confess it’s difficult. The poet uses archaic English but many of the lines are absolutely true and wonderful. Thompson was a drug addict and one can almost hear the autobiographical confession by him in the poem.

Anyway, in this season of Lent it is suitably penitential!

Monsignor Gallagher

Debra Stansfield said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 7:28 AM -
Thank you Msgr. Gallagher.

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March 30, 2020 - Dominic Guzzardo

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:19 PM

Just a Thought…

My sons are now in their 20’s, working full time, but still living at home with us.  My wife works full time for our parish, which means a lot of late nights for her. And I am in my 3rd year of formation for the deaconate, which usually means 2 to 3 nights a week of “deacon classes” for my wife and myself, plus me tackling my day job.  Most of the time, I only see my boys in passing or on the weekends, which even then is a rare occurrence to be sure.  Like most families, to say we are busy is an understatement.  

With all of our different schedules we try to have a family meal about every 2 weeks, but it usually ends up being once a month, plus an extended family gathering for a birthday, graduation, etc. Because of “shelter in place,” this past week my family sat down almost every night together for a meal. The TV was off, and the cell phones were away so we didn’t have any distractions and could focus on each other.  It was a true blessing to sit and talk with my family and strengthen our relationship over a meal. 

The Corona Virus has affected each and every one of us in very different ways. For some, it can be a life or death situation and we must pray for them. For many that means staying home with the family, while others have been on the front lines, still others are faced with a loss of income, or worse. We all have been forced to change how we go about living our lives, but many of us have been given an opportunity to slow down and experience the world differently. Maybe it’s a family meal together that hasn’t occurred in a long time.  Maybe it’s checking in with someone we care about.  Maybe its letting go of all the distractions we normally surround ourselves with.  And maybe it’s simply gathering with the ones we love, including the Lord.

 These days I find it is healthy for us to take time to see the good that we are experiencing, and to acknowledge and even grieve what has been postponed or lost.   We can take comfort that we are not alone.  Our God is always present in our lives willing the good for us even in the midst of crisis or bad circumstances.   

For me, I have been blessed with spending more time with my family and catching up on several projects.  Whatever your particular situation or predicament, I encourage you to honor those blessings God has put in your path, even if they are sometimes hidden inside an obstacle.  When we cooperate with God’s grace, it yields fruit in our lives.  So today, I pray that we can use this crisis to be present to what is truly important in our lives.

Blessings,

Dominic Guzzardo

Debra Stansfield said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:34 AM -
Thanks for the great perspective, Dom.

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March 29, 2020 - Deacon Ron

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:17 PM

Greeting Parish Family,                                                                            

As I was reflecting this morning and talking with my wife, Tina, my eyes were slowly being opened like the blind man in last Sunday’s gospel. There is new life taking place all around us where there was death, as in this Sunday’s gospel of the raising of Lazarus.

 Before this Coronavirus consumed our lives there was so much political chatter about what was of preeminent importance. As a faith community we were told that two very important issues were abortion and the care of the environment. Most of our attention has been focused on the protection of the unborn and rightly so. It is something that we can see in our daily lives. I can’t help but think maybe one or more of those whose lives were extinguished could have been the one to find a vaccine for this virus.

What my eyes have been more opened to is the life that we have been taking for granted, the life that God has given us, Mother Earth. It has become very evident that we have not been good stewards of this gift that we were charged with taking care of. While the words of Genesis 1:28 are words that seem harsh, subdue and dominion, even in their original context can be look at with new understanding. We have been made stewards of this gift, Earth. While I am by no means any kind of an authority in these matters, I have lived here seventy plus years.

Having more time to slowdown I am seeing more clearly what has been blurred by the fast pace of life we live today. Reports are coming in from all over the world of changes that are taking place in the environment. There are reports of clean air in China and Los Angeles ever since this isolation has been in place. The waters in canals of Venice, Italy are clear enough to see plant and fish life as well as reports of swans returning to swim there. Something wonderful is happening amidst this terrible pandemic. The earth is healing itself. In a post on Instagram, in response to pictures taken on Oahu’s north shore by Clark Little, one lady made a comment, “It’s like Earth sent us to our rooms to think about what we’ve all done!”  

In my personal timeout I have had more time to watch and appreciate life around me. Hummingbirds building nests, the return of the Orioles from Mexico come to bring new life and the cutest baby bunny destroying the grass in our backyard. More importantly there is more opportunity to spend on prayer in one form or another to allow the environment of my soul to heal from busyness.

Where is all of this leading? I have not a clue. It is above my pay grade. But as Fr. Nick quoted recently from Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Please be assured of continued heart felt prayer until we can gather once again as a community to worship. Do not let this isolation fool you. God is nearer to us than we can ever imagine. For us, let the absence make our hearts grow fonder.

Lenten Blessings,

Deacon Ron 

Debra Stansfield said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:35 AM -
I believe you are right on! He is with us!

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March 28, 2020 - Deacon Doug

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:13 PM

On behalf of Father Nick, the clergy, and staff at STGG be assured you are in our prayers and thoughts during this difficult time.  I know you are also in prayer for us, our Church community, our greater community, and those throughout the world suffering in many ways from this virus. God must be pleased that so many of us have turned to Him in our time of great need.  To whom else could we turn?

Please continue to check the STGG website for updates, notes of encouragement, and available resources to comfort, inspire, and inform us.  We need to keep our spiritual life alive and rooted in trust and hope in God.  In addition to the extraordinary trials we face from the virus, we have our many other life challenges that also can weigh heavily upon us.  It can become overwhelming!  For these needs we also pray.

We all have our own unique experiences as we pass through this difficult time. There have been times I have found myself stopping and wondering, “How could all of this have come upon us and our world so quickly?”  It reminds us that no matter how secure we may think we are, the things of this world including our health, wealth, and even life itself can be very fleeting.  Our all loving, eternal God remains constant. He is our rock.  As we turn to Him in prayer we find the elevating hope that only He can provide.   We believe and trust in Him!

As we move forward on our Lenten journey, with the help of Jesus we carry our crosses for ourselves, family members, friends and the world that we did not anticipate only a short four weeks ago on Ash Wednesday.  We recall Jesus carried His cross on His way to Calvary.  We rejoice in His glorious victory of the Resurrection.  As we continue on our Lenten journey we keep our eyes on Him and follow His Way.  He is our Way!  We have trust and faith that He is with us as we are called to share in His Devine Life.  We are never alone.

Keep Well as God Blesses All of Us     

Deacon Doug 

Debra Stansfield said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:31 AM -
Thanks for the good words, Deacon Doug.

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March 27, 2020 - Monsignor Gallagher

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:11 PM

My Friends.

It’s lockdown time and today, Friday morning, is cold and showery. It's the last kick of winter and sunnier days and sunnier times should be on the horizon. As we know full well by now, such is not the case. The virus, covid-19, has brought us all to an unexpected, staggering halt. Our freedom has been seriously curtailed and our fears from this pestilence are unfortunately, only too well founded. Yet we have hope. Hope not only from the medical and scientific community who are admirably giving of their time, their expertise and of themselves. We too, have hope in our loving and merciful God...a God who is our anchor, our rock and our eternal destination. A loving God who, through Jesus Christ, is our Savior and our Lord and our Love.

Yet it‘s still the month of March, the month of Lent, though legend characterizes this month (in the northern hemisphere at least) as ‘coming in like a lion and departing like a lamb.’ This lent, we can say, that in addition to our normal penitential practices we are bearing the burden of covid-19. May the good Lord help us to carry it faithfully and in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.

 Perhaps A prayer we might say....St Patrick’s Breastplate.

Christ as a light illumine and guide me.

Christ as a shield overshadow and cover me.

Christ be under me.

Christ be over me.

Christ beside me, on left hand and right, Christ before me, behind me, about me.

Christ this day be within and without me, Christ the lowly and the meek, Christ the all powerful be In the heart of each to whom I speak In the mouth of each who speaks to me.

In all who draw near me or see me or hear me.

Amen.

Debra Stansfield said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:32 AM -
Amen!

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March 26, 2020 - Father Kelly

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:09 PM

Dear Parishioners of St. Gregory the Great,

                Yesterday, the Church celebrated the Feast of The Annunciation of the Lord.  In the Gospel of Luke, we hear the angel Gabriel reassure Mary with the words, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”  It was just less than two months ago that some parishioners from St. Gregory’s joined me on a pilgrimage to the town of Nazareth, where we celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation.  Mary’s response to Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” set the stage for the gift of salvation for all humanity.  Our world, our country, our community of faith at St. Gregory’s has truly changed in such a short period of time.

                It can be tempting to give into our fears and allow anxiety to overwhelm us as we face this coronavirus together.  Social distancing can create a problem of feeling alone and isolated from family and friends.  The very core of our Catholic Faith is the Sacramental and community life of our Church.  We are a people of faith that “come together” not distance ourselves from one another.  How do we wrap our spiritual arms around the words of the angel Gabriel, “Be not afraid?”  I suggest we see ourselves united ever more closely with the spiritual giants of our Scripture’s and Catholic tradition who faced down great adversity during their own lifetime.  Because of Mary’s YES, we too are the recipients of the graces of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!   Our faith in Jesus calms the sea of trouble waters.  Though we are all amidst a great storm, may our faith in Jesus bring us all to a greater understanding that He is leading us towards a safe harbor.

                I wish to report that my Mother, Rose, is doing very well and continues her daily schedule of praying her three stacks of prayer cards to start each day.  After a short walk, she reads the book we got from the Carlsbad library.  That book is almost finished and with the libraries now closed, my Mother now may have to embark on a new journey of reading one of my theology books!  Be not afraid!  After her afternoon nap, she joins me for daily Mass. 

                At the last Sunday Mass I celebrated at St. Gregory’s, I mentioned to those present that the chalice and paten I always use at Mass is my personal one, given at Ordination to Priesthood by my parents and grandparents.  I said that I was going to take my chalice and paten home with me, temporarily, so that when my Mother and I celebrated Mass, ALL the people of St. Gregory the Great will be with us spiritually.  Please know that you are lifted-up in our prayers and we both look forward to returning to you, as soon as possible.  

Until that time, let us listen to and adhere to the guidelines and directives of our health care professionals.  Let us pray for all who are sick, those medical personnel who care for the sick and all the employees who join in the extended care of our sisters and brothers who are sick.  They are on the front lines of this battle and need to feel the support and strength our prayers along with each of us doing our part to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

God bless you all,

 Father Kelly and Rose

Greg Budke said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:32 AM -
I have enjoyed your morning mass Father Kelly and I am so pleased you and your mother are weathering this plague. I am in the RCIA program and I have been enlightened by the thought out homilies that you impart to us at the 8am mass. Thank you.

Barry O?Malley said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:29 AM -
A year or so ago I approached you after Mass and said I disagreed with something you said during your homily. You gave me that ? Oh no! Another complainer? look. You had said there is no fountain of youth for us so prepare for the eventual. I told you your mom was sitting behind me this morning and we shared a sign of peace. So I had to inform you that you were wrong because it was obvious to me that your mother had found the fountain! Glad to hear she is still sipping from that fountain. May God continue to bless you both!

Debra Stansfield said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:26 AM -
Thank you so much, Fr. Kelly. Glad to hear mom is doing well.
Deb Stansfield

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March 23, 2020 - Father Nick

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:05 PM

Dear Parishioners,

I hope this Monday finds you keeping well and in good spirits despite these challenging times.  I hope you were able to join Julia, our receptionist on youtube for “Morning Brew with Julia”.  This afternoon was Day 1 of Erica’s (Faith formation office) Faith & Family Series on youtube.  Our website will be updated regularly on ways in which we can connect.  A wonderful idea emerged from the staff, whereby they will embark on a journey to connect by phone with the whole parish, particularly those  who are most compromised and in need of food. If you are, be sure to let them know.  This may be a long journey and we need the support of each other, particularly in prayer. I am sure we can never say it too often, wash you hands, be safe and be well. 

Fr. Nick

Lynn Bartlett said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:35 AM -
Thank you for your words.
I?m envisioning the Irish accent that goes with it. Stay well and God Bless you. Can?t wait to be back at Mass with you in the Church!

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March 23, 2020 - Deacon Ron

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:01 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_VJhBBqE5Y&feature=youtu.be
Dear Parish Family,
 
On behalf of Fr. Nick and the parish staff we want you to know that you are deep in our hearts. We are mindful of you in our prayer daily. We are striving to find ways to serve you in these uncharted times. While we cannot come together in body to pray, worship and comfort one another we can still be a faith filled community as the people of God.
 
There are new possibilities that are open to us that we must explore and develop. In this day and age of technology we can use this God given tool for good. These tools while developed through human intellect are inspired by the Spirit of life. If used for good and not just for prophet, the Grace that is God can continue to unite us as one body, the body of Christ. Let us not forget who we were created to be. 1Cor. 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
 
Take this time of separation and isolation not go give into fear and worry. Fear and worry change nothing. Have faith in God and in the Church. Remember you are the Church. Pray for others, see what needs to be done at this time and do it. There is a great video that is attached below from Bishop Robert Barron that has a great perspective for the use of this time of isolation. Please watch it and take to heart what he is inviting us to. This is truly a Lent to remember.
 
Please be assured of our continued prayers and if you have specific needs contact us so that we can best serve you and your families.
 
Serving you in Christ!
 
Deacon Ron

Debra Stansfield said...

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:27 AM -
Deacon, I actually listen to Bishop Barron's video twice and I took notes. So helpful in this uncomfortable time.

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March 21, 2020 - Most Rev. Nicholas P. Clavin, Pastor

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 11:57 AM

Dear Parishioners,

My ardent prayer for you is that this note finds you all well.  Like many of you, I watched the governor last evening issue an order for all state residents to “Shelter in Place”.  I believe there are some confirmed cases not far from here.  We are ALL now at risk of being exposed, and some already may have been.  We need to reduce the possibility of exposure to the virus, and the best way for us to do our part is to be in compliance with the state order.

In light of this directive, the staff will be working from home.  If you need to reach us, please phone 858-324-4017 during weekday office hours, 8:30am – 4:30pm.  Julia Toole, our receptionist, will be glad to assist you.  If you are calling after hours or on weekends, please phone 858-653-3540, for emergencies or to leave a message.  We plan to be able to conduct much of the parish business remotely.  As you can imagine, some services will be suspended until after the state mandates have been lifted. 

Meanwhile, you can avail yourselves of daily and Sunday Masses from the diocese that will be posted on our website: www.stgg.org .  We will be suspending parish Adoration and Saturday afternoon Reconciliation as well.  I realize that the suspension of Reconciliation and weekend Eucharist will be a great privation for the People of God, and particularly at the very time when it is most needed as we face this pandemic.  It is all the more reason we use this “Shelter in Place” time for prayerful reflection on the scripture of the blind man, in this Sunday’s gospel (John 9:1-41). 

As we enter uncharted territory, with the image of the blind man before us, we ask God to show us the way – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light” to lead us out of this malaise.   It is a reminder of how we can make room for the Divine in our daily life as we Shelter in Place.  Christ is calling us to be creative in the face of challenge, to bring church to our parishioners who cannot meet in community. We are working hard to update our parish website to be interactive.  Please feel free to share any ideas you may have that will help keep us connected.

My dear people, we are living through harrowing times.  How we will appreciate so much that we all took for granted!

We find encouragement in the words of our patron Saint, Pope Gregory the Great, “We must, therefore, be the model for everyone. We must be devoted entirely to the example of good living…We must have no regard for worldly prosperity and never cower in the face of adversity.”

And one further bit of encouragement from St. Gregory the Great, is to delve into scriptures; “The sacred Scriptures grow with the one who reads them.”  (Click here for Daily Scripture)

Let us keep each other in prayer: prayer for ourselves, prayer for each other and prayer for protection against Covid-19. We pray “Save us, Savior of the world”.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Very Rev. Nicholas P. Clavin
Pastor

March 13, 2020 - Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy, Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 11:54 AM
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
 
In today's first reading from the Book of Exodus, we witness the people of Israel as they struggled with the challenges and the graces, the suffering and the triumphs, the moments of hope and of utter frustration that marked their arduous forty year journey through the desert and into the Promised Land.
 
For every Lent, this historic journey of the Israelites is the symbol of the People of God in our own day attempting to follow the pathway of the Lord amidst the uncertainty and obstacles that lie all around us in the modern world. But in this Lent, in this moment, our Lenten journey has taken on new dimensions as we confront a global pandemic that will, for a time, upend our normal way of life and call us to a deepened sense of sacrifice and faith. In these forty days we will bear Lenten penances not of our own choosing, the necessity of which we will not fully understand.
 
The great temptation of the Jewish people in the wilderness was that of fear and panic, a loss of confidence, community and trust. And in these days of spreading illness and economic losses, fear seems all around us - fear of becoming ill, fear for the health and safety of those whom we love, fear for economic security for ourselves and our families, and the fear that comes from the recognition that for some of the most vulnerable among us, this pandemic will claim their lives.
 
It is important for us all to distinguish between giving in to fear and the steps that we need to take in prudence to protect the health and the common good of the whole of our society. Each of us will have obligations in these days to protect ourselves, our families, and the entire community. It is out of this responsibility to protect the safety of all that the diocese will be suspending all public Masses after this Sunday. I have asked every pastor to keep our churches open for additional time during this period to allow for individual visits to the Blessed Sacrament and prayer.
 
The strongest antidote to fear in this moment lies in our understanding that the core issue for us as people of faith lies in confronting the question that the Israelites posed in today's reading from Exodus: "Is the Lord in our midst or not?"
 
And thus our observance of Lent this year provides the most illuminating possible backdrop for the burdens that each one of us, individually, collectively and globally, will face in the coming weeks.
 
It is the experiences which upend our lives that most powerfully reveal our ultimate dependence on the God who created every blessing which we know in this life and who sustains us in a tender and personal love that knows no bounds.
 
It is our bond with the suffering Jesus Christ that consoles us with a special strength as we approach Good Friday amidst coming hardships that may weigh us down.
 
And it is the transformative recognition that Christ has risen from the dead that reveals the overwhelming power of hope for ourselves and for our world.
 
"Is the Lord in our midst?" Our emphatic yes to this question, revealed not merely in an intellectual assent, but in a living conviction that surrounds our personal response to the challenges that lie ahead, is the greatest Lenten observance that we can undertake in these days to reflect the core values of our faith and witness in the world.
 
It was the hardships and the faith of the Jewish people during their journey in the desert that formed them into a people. And in these days of challenge for our society and our world, we have the chance and the opportunity to ennoble both our nation and our world by testifying constantly to generosity over selfishness, compassion over callousness, idealism over cynicism, and hope over fear.
 
With all best wishes I remain sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy
Diocese of San Diego
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