“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


 

JUNE 7, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Friday, June 5, 2020 @ 10:41 AM

Fellow Parishioners,

“In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

God reveals himself to us in the three persons of the Holy Trinity.  The names of the three persons of the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are used by us often.

  • At our baptism the names were used as we entered into the Spiritual Life of the Trinity.
  • When we enter a church we bless ourselves with the names and holy water as we recall our baptism.
  • We begin and end our prayers in the name of the three persons of the Trinity.
  • The last thing a priest will do at our grave side is use the names as he makes the sign of the cross over our bodies.
  • We begin Mass with the prayer we heard from the Epistle of Holy Trinity Sunday, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you”.

God has revealed Himself as a Trinity, a communion of persons.  Our communion with the Trinity is our great hope and what fulfills our lives. We are blessed as we have personal experiences of the persons of the Trinity as their roles are revealed in our lives.

We experience the Father in the gift of creation of all that surrounds us and the enormous gift of our own life.  We experience His Love for us.  He is Love.

The Holy Trinity Sunday Gospel gives us John 3:16, perhaps the best know Bible verse. “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life”.  Through the Son the unseen becomes seen.  All is revealed. Through Jesus, our Savior, we continually have the Way to be in relationship with the Father and to share in the eternal Divine Life of the Trinity.

Jesus leaves, but He would not leave us alone.  The Father sends the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit to be our constant companion.  The Holy Spirit is often expressed as the great love between the Father and the Son personified.  In the Spirit we are caught in that crossfire of their love.  Through our baptism the Holy Spirit dwells in us and continues to reveal the fullness of Truth, giving us comfort and guidance and power to move forward on our earthly journey.

God loves us and wants us to be one in Him, as He reveals Himself through the communion of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Can we ever adequately express in words what we have been given?  No!

Can we experience it?  Yes, and that is enough for me.  It overwhelms me!

“All in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.

Keep Well as We Are Continually Blessed by God,

Deacon Doug

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JUNE 1, 2020 – BISHOP MCELROY

Posted by Nichol Swift on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 @ 2:28 PM

FINDING GRACE WITHIN OUR REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING

A Statement by Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego

A deep and crippling sadness envelops this nation that we love so deeply. The peril and the burden of pandemic have worn us down. We have become isolated, cut off from so many of the joys that give meaning to our lives, and in many cases cut off from the blessing of family itself. While at most moments such a trauma for our society would have created an energized sense of unity and solidarity, in this moment it has created division and alienation. Our economy has suffered a cardiac arrest, and the fear of economic freefall duels with the peril of pandemic to blur the pathway forward. We are worn down.

And alongside this exhaustion of our entire people, the seismic fault line that is the greatest shame of our nation’s past and present — our legacy of racial prejudice, violence and silence — has erupted once again in the killing of George Floyd and now tears apart the very fabric of our society. The death of one man conveys the evil of four hundred years of racial oppression. The words of one man — “I can’t breathe” — capture the pervasive and insidious power of racial prejudice that is layered within the structures of American public life and its legal, political and economic systems.

Where lies grace in a moment such as this? It lies in understanding that a genuine healing for our nation can only be found in a radical effort to accompany the African-American community in their weariness and rage and hope and despair that have been formed and deformed upon the anvil of racism. Ours must not be an episodic response that seeks to calm the waters of racial turmoil and then return to normalcy.

The only authentic moral response to this moment in our nation’s history is a sustained conversion of heart and soul to genuinely comprehend the overwhelming evil of racism in our society, and to refuse to rest until we have rooted it out.

Where lies grace in a moment such as this? It lies in the words of Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, who is the midst of overwhelming grief pointed the way forward for our nation when he called for a peaceful unity to replace the destructive unity of looting, violence, divisive nationalism and partisan tribalism. We are in a moment which calls out for an unstoppable commitment to forge a new solidarity in our nation, finding in the very suffering of these past months a foundation for compassion and unity, friendship and peace.

Where lies grace in a moment such as this? It lies in knowing that the presence of God surrounds us in these days of sadness and loss, and calls us to moral and spiritual conversion, so that the soul of our nation can be renewed and our eyes might truly see the Glory of the coming of the Lord once more into our midst.

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JUNE 1, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Friday, May 29, 2020 @ 4:17 PM

Fellow Parishioners,

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth”.

What a beautiful short prayer for Pentecost, or anytime, to invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, fill our hearts and set them on fire with God’s Love!

The Gospel passage for Pentecost Sunday is equally short and powerful. Jesus appears in the midst of the disciples, as they are fearfully gathered behind closed doors. Jesus is with them again.

  • He first gives them the gift of His Peace, “Peace be with you.”
  • He gives them the Promised Gift of the Holy Spirit.  He breathed on them the breath of New Life as He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.
  • He instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation as He gives them the authority to forgive sins, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them”.
  • And the Church is born as Jesus tells them, “As the Father sent me, so I send you”. 

As we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the conclusion of the Easter Season,

we recall the mysteries revealed since Holy Week: The passion, death, resurrection, appearances and ascension.  And now this further crowning revelation of God’s plan for us, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all.  The great Easter gift.

And while we celebrate the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, we are blessed to celebrate it each moment of our lives.  We celebrate it as we come to realize the Holy Spirit is our constant companion, sanctifying us, activating us, empowering us, giving us wisdom, knowledge and understanding that leads us to the fullness of all Truth.

We wait for our small Pentecost moments when the Spirit gets through and fills our hearts and sets us on fire, as we participate in the New Life Jesus opens for us.  It changes everything for us.

We all have our personal testimonies of how the Holy Spirit has touched our lives:

  • Perhaps a moment of personal revelation.
  • Or a continual quiet and subtle leading into a deeper relationship with the Father and the Son.
  • Or giving us strength and courage to hold on and persevere during our deepest challenges, loses and hurts when we had no strength and our courage was gone.
  • Or in joyful events like our wedding day, the birth of a child, walking through the beauty of nature.
  • Or in so many other ways the Spirit gets through and we see and experience more fully the Glory of God.

As we examine our own spiritual journeys and share our stories what else can we say but, “Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord for always being with me and guiding me so many times and in so many ways”.

Come Holy Spirit.
Fill our hearts.
And continue to keep the fire of your love burning within us.

Keep Well as God Continues to Bless Us,

Deacon Doug

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DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Sunday, May 31, 2020 @ 1:19 PM –

Love this one. Thank you!


MAY 25, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Monday, May 25, 2020 @ 11:53 AM

Fellow Parishioners,

On the Feast of the Ascension, we celebrate what we have repeated in Our Creed hundreds of times:   “Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father”. 

Jesus’s Ascension is one of four great Easter events.  None of the four events stand alone.

Jesus, the eternal Word of God made Flesh, came into this world and told his followers of His mission:    “The establishment of the Kingdom of God”.  We continually pray that His Kingdom comes and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

  • As He prophesied, there would be those who rejected Him.  He was lifted-up on the cross and crucified.
  • His words and crucifixion would have been forgotten if He had not been lifted-up from the dead through His Resurrection.
  • And while He appeared to His Apostles after the Resurrection, those appearances would have been long-forgotten without Jesus being lifted-up and ascending into heaven.

With His Ascension, Christ has passed beyond our sight, not to abandon us but to be our Hope.  Where He has gone, we Hope to follow!

  • And Jesus’ mission is made complete with the descent of the Holy Spirit as we heard promised in today’s readings and we celebrate next Sunday, Pentecost Sunday.

The cycle through which Jesus has won our salvation is complete.

Through the grace and mercy of God and as we say our yes to Him, we too are lifted-up to be where Jesus is.  Where ever Jesus is, there is the Kingdom.

Keep Well as God Continues to Bless You.

Deacon Doug

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MAY 18, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Saturday, May 23, 2020 @ 6:39 PM

Fellow Parishioners,

I will not leave you as orphans, I will come for you”.

We heard those words in Sunday’s Gospel passage from John Chapter 14.  They are Jesus’ words as He continues His “farewell address” to His disciples gathered at the Last Supper.  Through our baptisms we became the Father’s beloved sons and daughters. He will never forsake or abandon us.

If you knew you would be leaving this world very soon and had the opportunity to gather your family members and closest friends around you, what important message would you want to convey in your “farewell address”?

We would use words that comfort and console those we are about to leave.  They would be words based on what we have learned and experienced in this life, as not being left alone as orphans.  Perhaps we would use such words as:

“I love you. Love one another.  I have tried to pass on to you what has been good and important in my life by what I have said and how I have lived my life.  I want you to do the same.  I want you to carry on with things I have started.  I want you to accomplish more and better things than I have. I believe and have placed my trust and faith in Jesus.  I want you to do the same. I believe in His presence with me (and you) through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I believe in eternal life. We will be together again at a level far above and greater than here.”

Jesus starts His “farewell address” to those closest to Him with words that teach, comfort, reassure and inspire his followers. They are words for us at all times.  The passage from John’s Gospel, starting with Chapter 14:1, is very commonly selected by family members for the funeral Mass of their loved ones.  It is such a message of great hope and comfort.  A portion of Jesus’ words are:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” How many times have life’s events come crashing down on us.  We live in such a time now with many troubled hearts.  We live in such a time at the loss of a loved one.

“You have faith in God.  Have faith in me.” Your troubles will pass.  There is light and life ahead.  We place our trust in Jesus who is One with the Father.

“I am going to prepare a place for you in my Fathers House.”  What greater words of comfort could we ever receive?  We will be eternally united in the presence of the Holy Trinity.

“I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life”. Jesus does not say that I will show you the Way. He says He is the Way. We follow as we enter into His Resurrected Life.

The message of Truth and Life we hear throughout the Gospel of John during this Easter Season blesses us as we live as beloved sons and daughters of the Father.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit sent by the Father and dwelling within us, we are never alone as we maintain communion with the Father and the Son.

We are not alone.

Stay Well as God Continues to Bless You,

Deacon Doug

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MAY 17, 2020 – FATHER NICK

Posted by Nichol Swift on Saturday, May 23, 2020 @ 6:37 PM

As a Catholic Community, how are we being perceived as we strive to reopen our doors to Sunday Mass?  In face of this current pandemic, it seems we are being grouped by the state of California with theaters, cinemas, sports in the field, and entertainment.  We ourselves visualize the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, our Sunday Mass, as “essential” to the faith life of our church.  In order to plead our case with the state governor, Bishop McElroy wants each parish to create a detailed parish plan for reopening our Sunday Masses.  The Bishop will forward a plan template which each parish will use to form an individual plan; St. Gregory’s plan in our case.  The staff and leaders must work with haste to return it to the Diocese by late next week.  In conjunction with the Mayor and city leadership, these parish plans will form the basis for an appeal of our case to be allowed to begin the process of reopening at an earlier juncture than the entertainment sector.  We will be in observance of state rules and guidelines such as social distancing; that in itself will reduce seating at St. Gregory capacity to the region of 130 as we have already marked our seating.  Numbers may be less in the beginning, although families can cluster in one pew.  I just want to let you know that plans are happening and promise to keep you informed.  The imperial Valley was expected to open churches soon, but a spike in numbers has caused a postponement.  Please do not raise your hopes, yet this is a step in the right direction.  Communication by email, etc. is our priority.
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MAY 17, 2020 – MONSIGNOR GALLAGHER

Posted by Nichol Swift on Saturday, May 23, 2020 @ 6:22 PM

As we get older we tend to begin our stories, our recollections with: “I remember when … ‘ Yes, there are incidences that for good or ill remain embedded forever in our memory. Let me tell you one of mine.

I remember the first time I ever heard a full, live, symphony orchestra. I was a young seminarian and I was in Florence, Italy in the year of our Lord 1963. I was partly on pilgrimage but mostly tourist. Because I was a student I had a student identity card, which meant I got in for free to cultural events. At that time getting in for free was high on my list of priorities … money was in short supply. On many of the notice boards in Florence at that particular time a symphony concert was advertised for that very evening. So a concert, I figured, was a wonderful way to spend an evening without spending multiple amounts of lire. Now I had heard symphony orchestras on the radio and had listened to recordings but as you all well know, nothing really compares to the live performance. The music washes over you in an almost palpable wave and drenches you with its power and majesty. The program that evening was Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, the daddy of them all! The musicians gathered at their respective places and stray phrases of melody floated around the half empty concert hall. The audience gradually drifted in. Then the concertmaster walked in and everybody applauded politely and so did I. (Italians always seemed to know when to applaud at concerts!) At a nod of the concertmaster’s head the oboe player sounds the tuning note “A” and the orchestra tunes to that one note, and the air is filled with strings and woodwinds getting the common pitch. Then there is a silence and the conductor makes his entrance and there’s more applause, quite enthusiastic applause, apparently he was someone quite famous. I of course, had never heard of him but I applauded too. He makes his bow to the audience and then turns to the orchestra. He settles them and there is a silence … an expectant silence filled with energy. Then, slowly, out of that silence the deep rumbling note begins the world of Beethoven’s Ninth. I’d never heard it before except for the great hymn, ‘the Ode to Joy. But nothing had prepared me for the experience of hearing it live … the opening theme grew out of that deep silence and took by breath away. And I learned something new that evening … it’s the silence that makes the music.

But silence can serve many different purposes … Silence can be a cold ear denying another’s existence. There’s nothing deadlier, cruel or as inimical to love as the silent treatment. “Yes sticks and stones can break your bones when aimed with angry art. Words can sting like anything … but silence breaks the heart.” But silence can also be open and receptive. I turn off the noise long enough to welcome you into my heart. There’s the companionable silence of friends secure in their relationship. When we daydream we use silence like a paintbrush to color the imagination of what life might be like. Silence, as in the Beethoven symphony, prepares the heart and soul to be moved emotionally and to be enriched. Silence between the notes rescues them from just being mere noise. Here at Mass we use silence to quiet ourselves and to be open to God. God who wants to sing in our hearts, hearts that wait for Him in silence, wait for the opening strains of grace. When we hear: “Let us pray” we grow silent. When the words of the Scriptures are read at mass and their phrases have made their way it’s perhaps like God’s own music to the ears of our hearts, we grow silent. We grow silent to grow open to God because God works in silence within us. Many of the saints have told us that ‘silence’ is the language of heaven. After communion we quiet ourselves to ponder and pray and let the mystery we have received assimilate us into Love Itself. Like the breathless moment before the downbeat of the conductor’s baton starts the symphony our deep silences at Eucharist are filled with energy. It’s the energy of expectation … it’s the energy of the Spirit waiting to be poured into our open hearts. The Spirit that Jesus promises will be always with us … the Spirit remaining within us, who prays unceasingly with our spirit. And it is only in that Spirit-filled silence that we hear in the depths of our being, the whisper of God. It is in silence that we begin to do as St. Peter counsels in the second reading: (Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. ) Yes, it is silence but it is the silence of lovers’ assured of the Other’s love and that Other is God. This is the love Jesus calls us to … a love that, even in these pestilential times comforts us and gives us hope and courage and strength. We can recognize this love in the power of the Holy Spirit whom the Father sends in Jesus’ name. Yes, that’s Jesus promise. Hear it once again! “I will not leave you orphaned; I will come back to you. ” “In a while now and the world will no longer see me; but you will see me because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me, and I in you. “

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MAY 17, 2020 – MONSIGNOR GALLAGHER

Posted by Nichol Swift on Saturday, May 16, 2020 @ 6:25 PM

An imaginative reflection on Mark 2: 1-12

I was 21 years old when it happened, just 21 years old. I say ‘old’ because that’s what I was…old. Old in pain, old in suffering, old in resentment, old in a body of which I was no longer master, old in hopelessness, old in despair, and yes, old in anger, bitterness and unhappiness…old in the prison of my body But it wasn’t always so. Just four years before I was as full of life and hope and cheerfulness as any young man of my age. I worked hard with my father in his construction business and in those days there was plenty of work to be had around Capernaum. Things were booming then and everyone who had a connection with the Romans was making a good shekel and they weren’t shy about spending it…building new houses or additions to impress everyone else with their new found wealth. More and more I was heading up the business and as the only son after 6 daughters my father was counting on me to take over from him for he was, as he was accustomed to say, ‘no longer as young as I used to be.’ I had a great group of friends, young men of my age with whom I spent whatever leisure time we had. We had a band…well maybe not quite a band but we played flutes and lyres and drums and we sang and played for our own amusement. People invited us to make music at weddings and feasts and it was many a wedding that I sang and danced into the late watches of the night. I always could come up with a new melody, a new song. I didn’t know where it came from…sometimes it was just the rhythm of the hammering of a beam into place…sometimes three notes of the song of a bird on a bush and the tune would start dancing around in my head. I knew I was blessed and each day I gave thanks to Yahweh for all his goodness to me. My life was perfect then…well, almost perfect but the perfection was coming soon because there were plans for my wedding. It was being arranged that I was to marry my cousin Rachel. Well she really wasn’t my cousin but a cousin of my father’s first wife who had died in childbirth bringing my oldest sister into the world. She was the only child of the man from whom we bought the lumber for our construction. I had known her all my life and she was bright and beautiful and my heart leaped when I thought of the wonderful marriage we would have together. Then my life fell apart. I was working on scaffolding fitting the capstone into the arch over a doorway when one of the crew called to me to come and check on something. I was no more than 3 paces off the ground so I quickly jumped down. My tunic caught a snag in the timber and instead of landing on my feet I was turned around and fell on my back. I got quite a jar and was slow getting to my feet but though I was hurting, I’d had worse falls and thought little about it. The next day I was stiff and in pain and it seemed that with each passing day the strength of my body deserted me. I lost all the use of my legs and arms and from the neck down I was dead. Oh we went to physicians and healers and they spoke of all kinds of cures and gave us nostrums, balms and ointments and told me to do this and eat that…but there was no improvement. The marriage of course was called off and my lovely Rachel married someone else. And I prayed, prayed every day for God to heal me…but there was no answer, no change, no healing. Some of the priests told me that it was some sin that I committed that was the cause of my paralysis. But I could remember none. I had kept the Sabbath and observed the Passover and all the other feasts. I had eaten nothing unclean so why was God punishing me? 0, my friends came over and asked me for new songs and made me sing with them; they brought me to the sea and held me as I floated in the water. But the kinder they were to me the more I resented them. I envied them their strength and agility and I lay there bitter, helpless and hopeless, cursing God for doing this to me…and I longed for death. Then one day my friends came for me. They said there was a new healer in town and they would take me to him. I told them no. I was sick and tired of healers and doctors and physicians. No one could cure me…I couldn’t ever allow myself to have hope again. I shouted at them, I cursed them, I said I didn’t want to go. They said that this man was different…that he really would make me well again. Again I said, no and reviled them with every hateful name I knew. But they stuffed a cloth in my mouth to shut me up and carried me off on my stretcher to meet the healer at Simon the fisherman’s house. There was such a crowd we couldn’t get near the healer…I was glad in a way because now I wouldn’t have to see him. But my friends had other ideas. As is common in the homes in our locality there were stairs to the roof…a place to take the sun, to hang laundry, to dry dates and grapes and they carried me up there. Then they peeled back some roof tiles and the straw matting, put the clothes line around the poles of the stretcher and lowered me down in front of the healer. He looked up at my friends on the roof and threw back his head and laughed a deep, full, hearty laugh and gave them a wave and a sign that all was well. But I turned away my face…I wasn’t going to beg for anything, ask for anything, expect anything…I would never, never again be disappointed. And then he spoke, ‘Child,’ he said, ‘your sins are forgiven.’ I think the word ‘child’ is what triggered my memory. I had seen his face before and the scene came back from many years ago when I was a young lad playing around the houses that my father was building and there was a carpenter there whose name was Jesus and my father used to hire him for all his difficult jobs…he said he was the brightest and best carpenter he’d ever met…and back then I was known to all the crew as ‘the child.’ Then Jesus looked at me and smiled and I thought he gave me the merest of winks…and for the first time in 4 years I was filled with peace. And he said to me: ‘Your sins are forgiven you. Rise, pick up your mat and go home. ”

And if he had told me to grow wings and fly out of there I would have done so, so light was my heart, and I picked up the mat that was my stretcher, rolled it up and walked out of there like the years of paralysis had never existed. And I gave thanks, thanks that through the faith of my friends I had been healed…friends who had brought me faithless and unwilling to be restored in body and healed in spirit from my sin of unbelief by Jesus from Nazareth. And is there more? Of course there is, a lifetime more! And I’ve written it down in the story of Jesus that Peter preached. My name is Mark or as I was known in my family, John Mark. And no, everything in my life wasn’t easy after that…I still had a lot of growing up to do, but that’s the thing about following Jesus. As Isaiah our prophet said, he always ‘does something new’ and our sins he remembers no more. Or, as my old mentor Paul said so well, “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ…was not “yes” and “no, ” but “yes” has been in him…For however many are the promises of God, their ‘Yes’ is in him.” And that is the truest truth of all. I’m an old man now, far from home and the Capernaum of my youth and I’m waiting. Waiting for what? My friend Paul’s words ring clear in my mind ‘But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us…is God; he has also put his seal upon us and has poured the Spirit into our hearts as a first installment.” And a ‘first installment’ means? It means he’s coming back…and I’m waiting…waiting for him.

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JENNIFER MCKITTRICK SAID…

Posted on Monday, June 1, 2020 @ 7:26 AM –

Thank you for the beautiful and inspiring account of Jesus’ Divine Mercy and Healing of the Soul and the Body!
How often do we fail to see the spiritual lesson God has designed for us as we carry our cross? And, the promise that He is always with us!
God bless, Jennifer, Katie and Lauren


 

MAY 11, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Monday, May 11, 2020 @ 9:46 AM

Fellow Parishioners,

With Mother’s Day celebrated on Sunday, I wish all mothers a belated Happy Mother’s Day! I wish a blessing on all mothers-to-be, and those women, while not birth mothers, who have unselfishly served as mothers to those in great need of a mom.

Sometimes we take the miracle of motherhood for granted, of how you conceived, bore us in your womb and gave us life.  It is a miracle that we recognize most clearly every time we see a newborn baby. Thank you to our mothers who said their yes to bringing us into this world and nurturing us. We love to hear and think of our mother’s voices, the first voice we heard as we were held and nurtured.  We will never forget our mother’s voices.  For those of us whose mothers have gone on ahead, we remember those voices and would love to hear them again.

A mother’s work in loving, caring and praying for us is never done.  And that love, caring and praying passes on to following generations.  In talking to people over the years of how they came to know the Lord, it comes now as no surprise when the response is, “My Gram”.  I remember my Gram as always having a rosary in her hands or very near her.   She lived to be 102, living alone the last 30 years of her life and I know that rosary was prayed countless times. I have her rosary now.  Gram was a strong Irish Catholic woman with devout faith in God that she passed onto my mom and then my mom to my four brothers and me. Thank you to all grams.  I know without questions that my mom’s and gram’s prayers have led me to where I am today. I have often felt their presence over the past years.

During this month of May, we turn to our Blessed Mother for her intercession, protection and guidance.  On May 1, during this year of the pandemic, Archbishop Jose Gomez, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, reconsecrated the United States to “Mary, Mother of the Church”.  The US was originally consecrated to Mary in 1847 by Pope Pius IX.  We are all called to imitate Mary’s perfect love and trust in her Son.  We pray for her intercession especially during this time of great trial and need for our country.  We pray she continues to lead us to her Son.

Keep Well as We Are Continually Blessed by God

Deacon Doug

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MAY 10, 2020 – MONSIGNOR GALLAGHER

Posted by Nichol Swift on Sunday, May 10, 2020 @ 12:42 PM

An Imaginative Reflection on Matthew 14:33

I am an old man now at the very end of my life but I remember every detail as clearly as if it was yesterday.  My name is Simon, Simon son of John…but for these many years I have carried the name the Lord Jesus gave me, Peter.  Peter the Rock, and yes he smiled when he named me…because he knew me better than I did myself…’rock’ I was not.  Yes, all of the nearly three years that I spent with him…every day, every hour, every minute is etched permanently in my memory and even here in this Roman prison with death facing me tomorrow, I thank the Lord for every moment since then and the grace and privilege that was mine to be his disciple.

So I remember vividly the time the Master came walking towards us on the water.  It was the same day that he fed the large crowd of people with the five loaves and two fish.  By then we were sort of accustomed to seeing him do wonderful things.  We saw (and drank) the wine he made from water at Cana in Galilee.  We saw him heal the sick, cast out demons, cleanse the lepers and yet he was just like we are, mind and heart, flesh and blood and muscle and bone…but he was also different.  There was something about him that drew you in, made you trust him completely.  There was a warmth, a genuine radiance deep inside him that made you want to give all of yourself to him…and I wanted to do that, and I know he wanted me to do it…but I felt if I did give him all of who I was, I’d have nothing left for myself. The strange thing was that it was only when I gave myself to him completely that I fully became myself!

But back to my story.  As I said, he fed all those people with just five barley loaves and two fish and as he gave it to us to distribute to the crowd and yet the food never grew less…just that there was more and more…and enough for everyone.  None of us could get our heads around it and all I could think of was the prophet Elijah and the widow of Zareptha ‘The jar of flour did not go empty, nor the cruse of oil run dry.’ Then we gathered up twelve baskets of leftover bread and it was decided that they would be put into the boat of James and John and they took off right away to distribute it in Capernaum.  James and Thaddeus the kinsmen of the Lord went with them and also the one whose name I will not speak, the one who sold him for 30 silver pieces.

The Master had told us to go across to the other side of the lake and he would join us there.  He had come here in my boat and I lingered a while, waiting to see if he would change his mind but he was off in prayer by himself and finally as evening was falling we set out for the other side.  Philip and Thomas, Nathaniel, Matthew and Bartholomew were in my boat and of course Andrew my brother.

The wind was in our favor for the first part of the journey but then it veered completely to the opposite quarter as it often does on this shallow sea of ours. Then the swells got higher and higher and began lapping the gunwales of the boat and we decided to try to keep the prow of the boat facing into the wind because in the darkness there was a danger that we would drift and be wrecked on the lee shore rocks.  At this stage we were shipping water and I shouted at the rest of them to bail or the boat would get swamped. Apart from Andrew and myself none of the rest had any experience of sailing and half of them were sea sick leaning over the side retching and puking the others bailing furiously. I managed to get our sail down and Andrew and took to the oars but we made little headway and I could feel the boat yawing as the heavier waves hit it. I knew we were in trouble and was angry with myself for not setting out earlier as the Master had bid me.

Then the cry came from the others: “It’s a ghost,” and looking around I could see they were terrified.  I was so busy rowing and trying to keep the boat headed into the wind I had seen nothing but then the voice I recognized said: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” O, I knew it was the Lord but I was angry and had been frightened that we were going to be wrecked and drowned, so I said “If it is you…bid me come to you over the water.” “If,” I said. In a way I challenged Jesus, doubted him, and tested him. But he just said: “Come!” I couldn’t back down now so I jumped over the side and started to walk on the water towards him. Then a big wave bore down on the boat and I got frightened and took my eyes off of Jesus…and that’s when I began to sink. Then he stretched out his hand and said and grabbed me: “O you of little faith, he said, why did you doubt?” And then the wind died down and the sea grew calm. Yes, he is truly the Son of God.

And I’ve often thought of that night and the terror we were in and the relief of him being there with us…the joy of being in his presence. But there was a lesson there for me that night too and it’s a lesson I’ve had to learn many times since. Keep my eyes fixed on Jesus! It’s when I’ve lost sight of him that I strayed from him; tried to impose my plans on him; fled in cowardice when they arrested him and to my shame, denied him three times…me, his rock, whom he had specially chosen to lead his newborn Church. And yes my brothers and sisters it’s a lesson for all of us who are trying to follow the Master…”to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus…as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts.”

Tomorrow, by the order of the Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus, I’ to be put to death…and I am impatient for it, because tomorrow…tomorrow I’ll be with Him again.

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MAY 4, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Monday, May 4, 2020 @ 5:15 PM

Fellow Parishioners,

This Monday’s reading (May 4) is a continuation of the Good Shepherd Sunday reading.

Today we hear Jesus say, “I Am the Good Shepherd”.

He makes it clear that He has come for all, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one Shepherd.”

It is a beautiful vision that will only happen as walls, separations and divisions among people are removed.  We long to see that vision of one flock and one Shepherd fulfilled!

In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, we hear how God worked in the life of Saint Peter.  He was facing the critical issue of how he would shepherd the expanding flock: under what terms would the Gentiles, “those others ones”, be accepted.

Through the power of Divine Intervention, Peter listened to the Lord and took action.  Long standing walls were broken down.  Jesus came for all.  The Gentiles would be accepted into this expanding Body of Christ, the Church, as they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and God granted them life-giving repentance.

We need Divine Intervention and listening leaders in our world today, especially in the midst of the pandemic.  We daily hear so many shouting, competing voices of thoughts, ideas, and directions for our country and the world to move forward.  Rather than moving together as one to accomplish the common good, increasing division and separation seem to prevail.

In the midst of all of this, the voice of Good Shepherd is not a loud voice trying to drown out other voices.  It is likely to be a quite calling in the depth of our hearts as we encounter God.  We listen for it in the midst of all the other voices calling for our attention.   It brings the peace and comfort we long for during this time of turmoil…..and during all times.  And from there, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Stay Well and Continue to be Blessed by God,

Deacon Doug

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APRIL 30, 2020 – DEACON RON

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 30, 2020 @ 2:59 PM

Greetings and Happy Easter,

I want to start with a story that I’m sure many of you have heard. It may seem off topic: There was a man running late to meet someone. He needed to stop at a store before his meeting. The parking lot was unusually full with as if it were the height of the Christmas shopping season. Feeling desperate on time and being a person of moderate faith he thought he would ask God for some help finding a parking space. So, he prayed, “God please help me find a parking place. This meeting is very important to me and I need to stop at this store before hand. I know I have not been very attentive in my prayer or in going to Church. I also have not thought much of helping the poor. If you help me find a parking place I promise I will be more charitable, more prayerful and start going back to Church.” Just then, a car started to pull out leaving a parking space wide open. The man then replied to God, “never mind God I found one myself.”

Being isolated due to this pandemic there has been much time to spend in from of the TV or on media news sites. We hear of tragedy, thousands of thousands dying and many more being infected. We hear of job loss and increased domestic violence, alcohol abuse, an increase in pornography use.  There is equally as much, if not more good going on, depending on your information sources.  As mentioned in an earlier blog there is less pollution allowing the earth to make strides to heal it’s self. Celebrities while in isolation are coming together via technology to entertain us and bring us some music to sooth us. Neighbors seem to be more attentive to one another while keeping their distance. Communities are sharing resources with other communities and countries reaching out to other countries. The catch phrase that seems to be on everyone’s lips is, “we are all in this together.”  People have become more appreciative of those who serve and protect them. There are homemade signs on fences expressing love and gratitude. High-rise buildings are lighting up rooms in the shape of a heart at night. Drivers seem to be more courteous and patient with one another, maybe because there are fewer drivers and much less traffic to frustrate us. People are spending their time, talent and treasure to care, feed and provide for their neighbor known and unknown. Families hunger to be together and those who are together are spending more time with one another, perhaps more time than they want. People seem to want to go back to work even to the jobs they took for granted. Kids want to go back to school to be with friends. Those of us who are part of a faith community hunger to gather, to come together.

When that time comes, will we remember what we have learned? What have learned about our family and our neighbor, what it means to be a community, a nation, a global community and even ourselves?

Recently I heard a politician make the comment that through human effort and cooperation we can overcome this pandemic. He went on to say that, it is not faith or God that will see us through, but it is our human endeavor.

I wonder how many people think this way, especially those in power, those in leadership. To put this very simply, That is like saying when I accidently injure or cut my skin that when I clean the wound, apply an antiseptic and bandage it, I have healed my own wound? Of course not!  I have cooperated with the healing source, God, to hasten the healing process; I did not do the healing. It would be ignorant of me to think I was the one to bring about the cure on my own. There is something greater happening here. Some may ask where God is in all of this. The reality is, God is not just another part of the equation, God is the equation. When we do the math, we put into motion the solution. When we cooperate with God to clean the wound, put on antiseptic and bandage the wound the healing will take place. To say faith or God has had no part in the process is nothing less than blind arrogance.

My concern is, when this time has passed and we are free to move about; sit on the beach together, gather to pray together and celebrate life together will we remember what we have learned? Will we go back to business as usual caring less about our neighbor, less mindful of our air and ocean pollution, unaware of the hungry?  Will the homeless be cared for with more than a temporary fix?  Will we truly continue to appreciate those who serve us day in day out; our food servers, our medical servers, our safety servers and our education servers?

With all the prayers for hope and prayers for each other, in our desire to return to what was our normal way of life, with our intent to reach out to others more often, to do good, to pollute less and to be happy with what we have, will we be grateful? When this is all over there will be those who say, “never mind God I found one myself.”

In Easter isolation gratitude,

Deacon Ron

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Sunday, May 3, 2020 @ 9:49 AM –

Deacon Ron, God is my source and summit. I won’t abandon Him ever. Thank you for your inspiring words. I will not forget when this is over. Ever. Thank You.


 

APRIL 29, 2020 – MONSIGNOR GALLAGHER

Posted by Nichol Swift on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 @ 11:53 AM

My friend posted this and I think it’s wow worthy!!   An interesting perspective!

Food for thought –

The official lockdown started March 23 and will likely end May 1st.

That is EXACTLY 40 days.

The Latin root of the word “quarantine” is “forty”.

So what does the Bible say about 40?

The flood lasted 40 days.

40 years Moses fled Egypt.

40 days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments.

Exodus lasted 40 years.

YAHSHUA Fasted for 40 days.

40 days for a woman to rest after giving birth.

Optimum number of weeks for human gestation is 40.

A group of theologians thinks the number 40 represents “change”. It is the time of preparing a person, or people, to make a fundamental change.

Something will happen after these 40 days. Just believe and pray. Remember, whenever the number 40 appears in the Bible, there is a “change”.

Please know that during this “quarantine” rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air is becoming cleaner because of less pollution, healing is happening, and most importantly, people are praying. The Earth is at rest for the first time in many years and hearts are truly transforming.

Remember we are in the year 2020, and 20 + 20 = 40.

May these days of “quarantine” bring spiritual liberation to our souls, our nation, and our world.

Monsignor Gallagher

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Sunday, May 3, 2020 @ 3:51 PM –

Thnk you for this post, Msgr.


 

APRIL 27, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Monday, April 27, 2020 @ 8:40 AM

Fellow Parishioners,

Sunday’s reading gives us St. Luke’s account of “The Road to Emmaus”.

It tells of one of the first appearances of the Risen Jesus on Easter Day.  Two of Jesus’ disciples were leaving Jerusalem downcast and confused, unable to understand all that had occurred.  With the crucifixion of Jesus, their hopes and dreams were crushed.

For St. Luke, Jerusalem, like Galilee, is symbolic of the place where their hopes and dreams would be met.  Jesus would be the victorious king. Their hearts burned as He was present with them.  Little is known about Emmaus. It is thought to have been a Roman spa, symbolic of a place of seeking consolation and fulfillment “outside of God”.

The two disciples have turned and are walking away from “Jerusalem”.  They felt alone, abandoned and discouraged.

They don’t recognize Jesus as He draws near and walks with them.  They ask Jesus if he knows what has been happening the past three days.  Ironically, Jesus is the only one who does know what has been happening.

Jesus begins to talk to them.  How would you have liked to be one of the two as Jesus gave them the ultimate bible study as he interprets “all the Scriptures” as referring to Him? They want Jesus to stay with them.  He does.

In His breaking of the bread their eyes were opened and hearts began to burn once again.  Their hopes and dreams were resurrected back to life.  This time it was New Life as they experienced the Living Jesus.

The Good News for these two is that they never reached the symbolic Emmaus.

During these times of uncertainly and confusion, with many of our plans and dreams dashed, we open our eyes and hearts with full trust and recognition that the Living Jesus is walking with us. May our hearts burn with hope.

The day when we are in the real presence of our priests at Mass, as they break open Bread of Life and we receive the real Body and Blood of Jesus is coming soon!

Keep Well, as you are Continually Blessed by God,

Deacon Doug.

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APRIL 26, 2020 – FATHER NICK

Posted by Nichol Swift on Sunday, April 26, 2020 @ 8:28 AM

My Dear Parishioners of Saint Gregory,
I hope you are all keeping well and safe. The weeks leading up to Easter have been a challenge for us all. Though we have been hunkered down in prayer, we have also been cut off from one another, and have missed celebrating the Easter Masses as a community of faith. We miss you and we miss the joy of community life.
I thank the staff members who make it possible to video the Masses, and also thank the staff members behind the scenes, for editing and bringing the Masses online for you – all by way of iPhone video. Our technology is very limited. We are grateful to our young staff (it was an inspiration to hire young people) who bring you morning, afternoon, and evening transmissions. We are also very grateful to Monsignor Gallagher, who brings this Sunday’s Mass to our community.
Years ago, back in 1999, I was fortunate to attend Easter Sunday Mass at the empty tomb and see the Franciscans enter in. As I stood on the wall above to watch with Fr. Mike Leonard from Clare, we were both on Sabbatical, the Eastern Orthodox people paraded behind us with palms for Palm Sunday. Now that’s a twist! The homilist, a Franciscan and custodian of the Holy Land, reflected that if by fantasy we could go back to that first Easter morning, we would see a new sepulcher in an abandoned quarry dug out of rock and a large round stone overturned. Instead of a marble floor, there would be the green grass of spring and perhaps some trees in blossom.
It was at this quarry that Mary Magdalene came on Easter morning to complete the burial rites for Jesus. When Mary arrived, she discovered that the tomb was empty aside from only the limp discarded sheet. She rushes back out into the open, short of breath, and bursts into tears. Her anguish is palpable as she is unable to honor the dead body of Him who freed her from seven demons and returned her to life. In the shadows of the garden she sees the silhouette of a man who approaches; “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” In the timbre of that voice there is an echo of that voice imprinted in her memory, yet she only sees the gardener. As he pronounces “Mary”, she replies, “Rabbouni, Master”. She would like to touch Him as she fears that He is an illusion; instead it is He, Risen and Alive! Jesus says, “Do not touch me, but go tell my brothers you have met me. Tell them my grave is empty. Tell them I have overcome death forever.” Here in this place we understand the Risen Jesus is the gardener of life, the one who overcame death by passing through it and conquered all our fears and anguish; that by taking upon Himself the evil of the world, he has conquered all evil.
The Risen Jesus is now my sure hope. To welcome Him with faith is the only vaccine that can save us from the virus of death, fear, and anguish; from the virus of evil that effects all of humanity and the meaningless and aimlessness of life. Today, just as the pandemic is still sowing death over the world, I feel that it is up to me, to you, and to all of us, to accept the invitation that Jesus made to Mary Magdalene; “Go tell my brothers you have met me! Tell them my grave is empty. That the sting of evil has been broken, it can hurt but no longer kill. Tell them that fear, anguish, despair, and death have been overcome forever, and that a new humanity was born here at the empty grave.
Happy Easter to the sick, and to their families, and to all the nurses and doctors who assist them. Happy Easter to those passing to the Lord from this world, and to priests at their committal services. Happy Easter to those putting their lives at risk for essential services. Happy Easter to each one of you this Easter season, and to my family and friends in Ireland. Happy Easter to my brother, Mossy, who is in recuperation from double hip surgery. May the Risen Lord guard you in hope and make you glimpse the life that flows from the empty tomb, from His appearances behind locked doors, and to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
Greetings and Blessings this Easter Season,
Fr. Nick
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APRIL 24, 2020 – MONSIGNOR GALLAGHER

Posted by Nichol Swift on Friday, April 24, 2020 @ 3:50 PM

Think for a moment of how we treat times of silence in our lives. Aren’t we a noisy people? For most of us silence is a vacuum that must be filled. In our homes we fill it with noise from the TV and stereo. In our cars we are scarcely in the driving seat when the radio is turned off. We do not know what to do with the gift of silence in today’s screeching, noise-filled world. Our senses are being bombarded constantly, not only by the commercial media, but by everyone around us. We almost have a compulsion to fill the void of silence with sound. We let it go on because we are almost afraid of what might happen if the music stopped, even for a few hours. We have turned silence, an old friend, into a stranger that cannot be trusted, even an enemy that must be destroyed. We have profaned the sacredness of the gift of silence.

Now undoubtedly, we should treasure our powers of communication; our ability to converse, to speak, to teach, to encourage. Our powers of speech are simply not just part of us, they are us. These are the ways that we are known and understood. Just think for example, what term do we use to describe the way God speaks of Himself? None other than the WORD. Jesus is that WORD. That simple term says everything about God present to us in the person of Jesus. Often in liturgy however, the WORD expresses himself in wordlessness. Jesus lets the power of silence exert itself in all its fullness.

The Jesus we meet in the readings on Good Friday, is a silent Jesus, silent first under torture and finally silenced by death. ‘Though he was harshly treated’, prophesies Isaiah, ‘he submitted and opened not is mouth; like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep before the shearers he was silent and opened not his mouth.’ The few words recorded by St. John during the course of Jesus’ interrogation by the high priest are restrained, almost dispassionate. ‘I have spoken publicly to any of you who would listen,’ he says, ‘why do you question me? Question those who heard me when I spoke … they will know what I said.’ Later before Pilate he says: ‘Anyone committed to the truth hears my voice.’ A few phrases on the cross and finally, ‘It is finished.’

Before that in his life there had been time for teaching, persuading, moving hearts through the spoken word. Now there is a time for silence, for letting his actions of giving himself over, speak for themselves … speak with an intensity of sound greater than any that his words could produce. If the death of Jesus is ever to touch us, we must let something happen to us. We can offer ourselves to our brothers and sisters as Jesus did … BUT only if we are in full possession of ourselves. Our offering must be whole and human if it is to be of any use to them. Or if you want to use the old names we must be possessed of holiness, maturity, wisdom … Qualities that are learned through pain in the classroom of life. Sometimes young people possess it; some who are old never do. And it can only be learned from the most skillful of teachers … silence.

Silence lets us ponder what God is doing in our lives; silence lets us grasp whatever truth lies in human words and events, silence gives us back to ourselves, silence puts the broken bits and pieces together again. Now of course there is a silence that is cowardly; silence in the face of oppression and injustice, like the silence of citizens in the face of war crimes of their government. No one can praise that silence. It is the voice of death and hell.

Good Friday, and every day, is a time for silence. The voice of Jesus speaks loudly by silence. His was the silence of suffering love. As we contemplate the passion and death of Jesus, we should let that loving silence speak to us in our heart of hearts.

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APRIL 20, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Monday, April 20, 2020 @ 11:47 AM

Fellow Parishioners,

On Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Divine Mercy.  In 2000 Pope John Paul II proclaimed this Feast Day to be on the Second Sunday of Easter, as he said, “Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified.  There is nothing the world needs more than God’s Divine Mercy”.  The proclamation was divinely inspired through Jesus’ revelations given to St. Faustina.  She was canonized on the date of the proclamation.

While having been somewhat aware of events surrounding St. Faustina and this proclamation, neither my previous parishes, nor I, focused on them. This year I had been asked to participate in the Divine Mercy Novena that began on Good Friday and the outdoor Eucharistic procession at STGG that traveled the Stations of the Cross on Sunday, the last day of the Novena.  To prepare myself I read the story of St. Faustina and those connected with her.  Along with reading, I watched the movie Love and Mercy, released in April of 2019 and available on Amazon Prime, that presents the life story of St. Faustina that led to her canonization and role of her countryman, Pope John Paul II, which led to the proclamation of this Feast Day.   I have been blessed by understanding her experiences and recognize the designation of the Second Sunday of Easter to be divinely inspired.

The day’s Gospel tells of an explosion of God’s Divine Mercy.

In the first 5 verse of the Gospel, we hear of Jesus’ appearance amongst the disciples huddled in fear behind locked doors on the evening of Easter Day.  Jesus gave them three gifts and then the great commission as they experienced God’s Divine Mercy in a powerful way.  We all need to unlock the doors to our hearts to continually experience His Mercy.

Jesus’ first words spoken to them poured out the great gift of His Peace, “Peace Be with You.”  What greater gift could they have received in their time of fear and uncertainty? We all continually need the Peace of Christ and the knowledge and awareness that He is with us.  We need it especially during this time of the pandemic, as we huddle behind “sheltered in” doors during our time of uncertainty and anxiety.  We long to return to Mass once more see and hear our priests say, “The Peace of the Lord Be with You”.  And when we can again turn to one another and offer them a sign of that Peace, a sign of God’s Mercy (perhaps offered for now as Father Nick has suggested, “with a holy wink”). As we receive, so too do we give.

The second gift Jesus gives them was the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.   Jesus breathed on them the recreating breath of New Life as He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.  Through our baptism this Easter Gift, the Holy Spirit of Love between the Father and the Son, now dwells in us.

With the third gift, Jesus institutes the Sacrament of Reconciliation as he gave them the authority to forgive sins.  “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them.”  What greater gift of mercy could we ever receive as we hear the words of absolution of our sins from our priests?

With these three gifts the disciples were commissioned and empowered to go forth to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.   So now are we.  “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you”.

As the first gathered disciples had their encounter with the Risen Jesus and His revelations to them, St. Faustina had her personal encounter and revelations given to her from the Risen Jesus.  She was given her commission to go forth to reveal her gifted message and the image of God’s Divine Mercy flowing from the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be venerated throughout the world.  “Jesus, I trust in you” are the word we commonly see below the image.

Thanks to the Divine Mercy Cenacle at STGG as they spread the blessing and message Jesus bestowed on St Faustina, so we may further understand and experience God’s Divine Mercy in our hearts, our Parish, our community, our world.

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and the whole world.”

Be Well as God continues to pour out His Divine Mercy on Us,

Deacon Doug

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APRIL 15, 2020 – DOMINIC GUZZARDO

Posted by Nichol Swift on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 @ 12:57 PM

Dear Parishioners,

This week I received an email from Chaplin Rob at the San Diego Juvenile Detention Facility.  He was my supervisor during my 2nd year of formation, where I was blessed to share the word of God weekly with the youth at this facility as part of my year of “visiting the imprisoned” ministry.  During that year I witnessed both hope and despair.  I wish I could say there was more hope than despair, but I’d be lying to say otherwise.  However, even in the midst of incarceration, Christ always finds a way to bring something good out of it.  The letter you are about to read is from a young lady who celebrated her first Easter as a Christian. I felt very humbled upon hearing her story, because like many of you Easter this year was very different for me and my family.  Gone were many of the luxuries that we traditionally enjoy.  We did not gather in person with extended family, nor were the candy and food as grand as in years past.  Sure, it was Christ’s Resurrection, but the day felt almost dreary.  In my heart I didn’t feel the joy of Easter.  THIS YOUNG LADY DID!

From 14 to 18 years old I was caught in active drug addiction. I was clean for over a year then unfortunately during a relapse, I was kidnapped, shot three times and left on a beach for dead. I laid unconscious for five hours before tourists found me. This was two years ago to this day, April 12. When I woke up in the hospital I knew I was paralyzed and the only emotion I could feel was gratitude. Me, a drug addict criminal alive after this, why was I worth saving? How could I be saved? I suffered 3 gunshot wounds, a damaged spinal cord and severe hypothermia. I realized immediately that this was God’s work. This was His way of changing my life. 

I feel that today on Easter it’s especially important to testify to what Jesus dying on the cross did for you and me. Jesus gave me a chance at redemption, His blood purifies and protects me. He gives me unlimited opportunity to improve my life and to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. He has transformed my life and my mind. I’m no longer the “drug addict criminal” I labeled myself as, I’m a child of God who has a story that inspires, who has the voice to reach others, who has peace from Christ in her heart so deeply she can make it through any situation. Some people think that a wheelchair is a prison and that I should be unhappy for my injuries, but the opposite is true. The chains are broken, I’m alive and loving life more than I ever have! 

Throughout these last two years I have grown incredibly, not just emotionally but physically as well. I have learned how to cope, I have learned how to reach out, I have learned how to be still. I’ve learned to be dependent on those who love me, how to be patient. I’ve grown perseverant, I’ve grown grateful, I’ve grown to advocate for others. I am a better sister, daughter and granddaughter. I have grown to listen and to love. I have grown to seek growth.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to regain movement in places where the doctors said I wouldn’t. I’ve been given ample opportunities that I wouldn’t have seen in my previous life. I’m in leadership at Celebrate Recovery at my home church. I’m a student and also “Ms. Wheelchair”, Illinois. Seek Him, He loves you!

I wanted to highlight this today because it just so happens that my born-again life day falls on Easter. I want to thank Jesus for the opportunity to share this day with others and to share this day with Him. I feel that Jesus placing His hand on my life and allowing me to celebrate on this day is a direct representation of what His death on the cross did for us. Thank you Jesus!

Colossians 1:20, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” … He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.”

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a Blessed Easter. Celebrate because Jesus conquered the grave!

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 @ 2:57 PM –

Wow, Dom, that is a powerful letter. Thanks for sharing. Deb


 

APRIL 13, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Monday, April 13, 2020 @ 8:52 AM

Fellow Parishioners,

“Christ has risen! He has Risen Indeed!
Alleluia, Alleluia!”

Can we ever get too much Easter? Can we ever hear Alleluia sung by others too much? Can we ever say or sing Alleluia ourselves too much?

No! The more we celebrate the triumph and victory of Jesus the more we want to continue the celebration. The cheering goes on. The more we experience the New Life that Jesus has won for us the more we want to experience it fully. We find ourselves longing to gather together again in worship and praise with our community of fellow believers. We want to see the Pascal Candle lit and dominantly standing near the Altar as the symbol of the presence of the Risen Christ amongst us.

The 50 day Easter Season has begun and runs through Pentecost. The Season is celebrated in joy and exaltation as One Great Feast Day, One Great Sunday. The first eight days, the Octave of Easter, form the “early hours” of this Great Sunday. Each day is a Solemnity. The Octave will end the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday.

The Gospel readings during these days of the Octave all tell of appearances of the Risen Jesus, culminating this coming Sunday with Jesus appearing to the gathered disciples and revealing Himself to a doubting Thomas. As many of us are “sheltered in” during these days, we can hear the Gospels while attending virtual Mass via one of many websites, or individually read and reflect on the Gospels during these days of the Octave.

To start, on “Easter Monday” we hear the two emotions experienced by the two Marys leaving the empty tomb and meeting the Risen Jesus. They were fearful and overjoyed. Now what? What next?

With the first reading during the Easter Season we get the Acts of Apostles, telling us “what next”. Everything has changed. On “Easter Monday” we hear Peter (Acts 2:14, 22-33) getting his voice and boldly and confidently raising it as he proclaims what happened and what it means for all of us. The Church is being born.

As we follow the acts of those first Apostles during the Easter Season, we can ask ourselves, “What will be the acts of the apostles of 2020?” That is us!

Will we be a little more changed by the events we have just again witnessed and lived thru? Now what for us? Will we go forth as bold, confident witnesses of the Good News of Jesus Christ? Will we stand, as our Pascal Candle, as signs of the presence of the Risen Christ amongst us? Will we bring the Light of Christ into our world during these troubling times?

Keep Well as God Blesses All of Us,

Deacon Doug

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2020 @ 2:48 PM –

Inspiring words, ty Deacon Doug.


 

APRIL 12, 2020 – MONSIGNOR GALLAGHER

Posted by Nichol Swift on Sunday, April 12, 2020 @ 8:29 AM

1 Cor. 15:14-15.

“ If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain. We are found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ.”

That’s just what St Paul is stating so emphatically. That this is the absolute foundation of the Christian gospel…Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. If this is not true then ‘we of all people are the most miserable.’ All that we can then do is pretty useless. Jesus is just another failed messiah. There’s no faith to believe in, no promises to be fulfilled, no eternity to be enjoyed, no God to be loved, no God to love us and most of all no meaning in life. Without meaning there’s no fulfillment; without fulfillment there’s no happiness.

But Christ is risen and he has lavished his love upon us. This is the certainty that he gives us. This is the joy that we find once again in this wonderful feast. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters capture this as they greet each other at Easter. ‘Christ has risen.’ The reply: ‘He is risen indeed!’ St Augustine was asked what is heaven like. No one but Augustine would even have ventured a reply. There he said:

We shall rest and we shall see.
We shall see and we shall know.
We shall know and we shall love.
We shall love and we shall praise.
And that’s how it will be in the end without end.

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APRIL 11, 2020 – FATHER KELLY

Posted by Nichol Swift on Saturday, April 11, 2020 @ 9:32 AM

Dear Parishioners of St. Gregory the Great,

Who would have thought, when we gathered by the thousands on Ash Wednesday at the Church of St. Gregory’s, to receive Blessed Ashes on our foreheads (Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return) to begin the season of Lent, that we would find ourselves very much separated physically, today? Whatever we set out to achieve or sacrifice on Ash Wednesday was radically changed on March 19th when we were asked to “sheltering in place.” Our individual or personal Lenten intentions have been transformed to a “Community Sacrifice.” Will we ever forget Lent 2020?

We now find ourselves in the midst of Holy Week, with our virtual celebrations taking place. Today is Holy Saturday, which places our faith community in the middle of the Church’s Sacred Paschal Triduum. The Church waits at the Lord’s tomb in prayer and fasting, meditating on His Passion and Death. Remember, we await the Lord’s Resurrection on Easter.

I personally have a two-fold greater appreciation for our Holy Week celebrations, even though they are taking place under unique circumstances. I believe my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land has awakened in my heart a “joy” with the Scriptures, as I mediate on them during Holy Week. In addition, I think I appreciate ever more deeply “my faith” in just what the Lord has done for me with His great sacrifice on the cross. Jesus’ personal sacrifice of His life offers life, the gift of eternal life! We all share in this Paschal Mystery; Good Friday leads us to Easter Sunday.

This evening, so many of you would have gathered at St. Gregory’s to celebrate the Easter Vigil. Once again, virtual celebrations will have to take place so we can “flatten the curve” of this virus and come closer to the day where we can once again gather to worship and praise the Lord. In a special way, let us all pray for the Catechumens and Candidates throughout the universal Church and those particularly at St. Gregory the Great. This Easter Vigil was going to be the evening in which they were to receive the Initiating Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist and for others; to be received into Full Communion with the Church. Those celebrations will have to be postponed. The period of waiting extended. Pray for these individuals as they await their full participation within our faith community.

I want you to know that my Mother is doing just great. Now on our daily walks, she wears a mask! Well, one of her many nice scarfs. We pray for you and your special Intentions at our daily Mass.

God bless you,
Rose and Father Kelly

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APRIL 10, 2020 – DEACON DOUG

Posted by Nichol Swift on Friday, April 10, 2020 @ 9:33 AM

Fellow Parishioners,

“Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the Salvation of the World. Come let us behold Him”.

What thoughts, feelings, emotions or memories come to mind as we read the “The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of John” on Good Friday? (John 18:1 – 19:42)

Sorrow? Darkness? Emptiness?…. Gratitude?
“Jesus, you did this for me?  You loved me this much? What do I do now? What do I do for you? “

Our memories are a gift.A gifted and blessed memory that I always recall on Good Fridays is from over 25 years ago.  My wife, Judy, and I were leaving the Good Friday service.  The service was somber.  The Passion was read with the lifeless body of Jesus placed in the tomb. The tabernacle candle was unlit.  The tabernacle was empty.  The statues were draped in purple. Others seemed distant as people looking away from one another.  It was a bit of a surreal feeling, as we all left the church in silence and looked up into an overcast sky.

Judy turned to me and started the conversation on, “How empty and alone she felt.  What would our lives be like without Jesus?  What would the world be like without Jesus present?”

It brought us to a point of immense gratitude for what Jesus did for us and what He means to us.  We sought to answer the question: What do we do now?

We recognize and accept Him as our Lord and Savior.  We say our YES to Him and place Him at the center of our lives.  We pick up our crosses and follow.  Jesus knows the weight, the pain and suffering of our crosses.  He knows the sorrow, darkness and emptiness we may feel. They are crosses that Jesus knows well.  They are crosses He helps us carry to the resurrection light beyond the darkness.  We now allow His victory to be played out in our lives.

Stay Well as God Blesses All of Us,

Deacon Doug

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APRIL 7, 2020 – DEACON RON

Posted by Nichol Swift on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 @ 8:56 AM

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

1 Comments


PD SAID…

Posted on Thursday, April 9, 2020 @ 8:33 AM –

Well Said Deacon Ron! It is quite a challenge to experience Holy Week without gathering and experiencing the liveliness that is our parish community.


 

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

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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..

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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..

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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

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:36 AM –

Thanks, Deacon Doug, for your heartfelt words.


 

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

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 7:28 AM –

Thank you Msgr. Gallagher.


 

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

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:34 AM –

Thanks for the great perspective, Dom.


 

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

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:35 AM –

I believe you are right on! He is with us!


 

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

1 Comments


DEBRA STANSFIELD SAID…

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 9:31 AM –

Thanks for the good words, Deacon Doug.


 

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.

1 Comments

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

3 Comments

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


 

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

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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!


 

MARCH 23, 2020 – DEACON RON

Posted by Nichol Swift on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 12:01 PM

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

1 Comments


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.


 

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

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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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