CHOICES:  A or B?

Did you know that one night during the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, Annie Oakley could have stopped WWI from happening?

“What?”  Yes, it’s true.  Annie asked for a volunteer from the audience who would be happy to hold a cigar in their mouth from which she would shoot the ashes.  Usually her request was just met with laughter and her husband would begrudgingly be put in the firing line. But that night was different.

From the Royal box, a young Friedrich Wilhelm II (the Crown Prince of Germany) volunteered.   After some unexpected banter, she pulled the trigger. What happened next set the stage for the rest of modern human history.  If the bullet had landed squarely in Wilhelm’s temple, killing him instantly, there would not have been a World War I.   (He wouldn’t have been in power to react to the assignation of Archduke Ferdinand.)

As a result, there would not have been a  World War II. (There would have been no Treaty of Versailles and no sentiment by which Hitler could have been voted into power.)

Every choice and circumstance sets a different set of results into play.  Many movies have been written about “what if”.  That was part of the premise of the popular Back to the Future movies.

I’ve know of a person who met his wife as she was leaving the Student Union.  He had forgotten something, turned to go back to his car, and changed his mind.  Had he gone back, he would have missed the moment.  He wouldn’t have met her, gotten married, had the children they shared.  It goes on and on.

What about the time you are ready to leave the office and stop to answer the last call of the day?  It puts you 10 minutes behind schedule.  When you get on the road, the traffic is backed up from a serious accident.  If you had left at your regular time, you would probably been part of the accident scene.

These situations are serendipity at its best.  But what about when we are confronted with making a conscious choice in our lives?  What happens when you choose A instead of B?  What happens when you choose to not act at all?  An old rock band, Rush, sang: When you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

The choices you make along your Faith Journey are just as important, if not more so.

We all know that we are expected to attend Mass every weekend.  And each weekend, many people make the conscious choice to sleep late, go to the soccer game, watch the football game.

Do you choose to not further your faith experience?   Our parish offers many opportunities for Adult Faith Formation.  These include Tuesday Scripture Study (1 & 7 p.m.) and Thursday Adult Ed (currently studying the writings of St. Augustine at 1 & 7 p.m.).  And during Lent, we have Food for the Body and Soul on Sunday night at 6 p.m.

Do you choose to follow the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy?    Our parish has outreach opportunities to visit the sick, feed the hungry, pray for those in need.  If the parish doesn’t have the ministry you are looking for, you can pursue any of the Works of Mercy on your own or as a family.

EVERY CHOICE YOU MAKE IS IMPORTANT.  Ask God for help; pray before your make them.  Ask for help from people you trust.  Make good choices.

 

Stewardship of Treasure

It has been four years since our parish community began to embrace Stewardship as a Way of Life.

During that time, we formed a Greeter Ministry and have become more welcoming and inviting to our existing community, new parishioners, and visitors.

We came to embrace the idea of being a Shared Parish and have come to know and appreciate the members of our parish who worship and minister in another language.

We began to see even more beyond ourselves and became more involved in ministry and outreach.

We formed a Stewardship Team whose mission is to help each other on their Faith Journey.

Our team has facilitated the distribution of devotionals and books, including three popular Matthew Kelly books.

They also created the annual Covenant with God, a popular tool to assess your level of personal spiritual growth.

Our parish has grown.   In the last 14 months, I personally met with 69 new families who had chosen to become an official part of our parish by completing the registration process.   They saw something good in our parish community and wanted to become a part of it.

Recently, all registered parishioners received a mailing that addressed Stewardship of Treasure.  I respectfully ask that you take some time to read the publication carefully and prayerfully discern God’s intention for you.

Enclosed with the brochure was a pledge card for the diocesan Annual Catholic Appeal.  This appeal supports the programs and services offered by the Diocese to the Catholics in San Diego & Imperial Counties.  Our 2017 assessment is $30,000.  Our parish is responsible for that amount, whether or not it comes from the parishioners.   Please consider helping our parish reach this goal.

If you remember the video we showed at Mass last September on Covenant Sunday, we mentioned that we wanted to improve communications.  We are ready to do just that!  We are starting a database of parishioners who want to be in touch via email to view reminders of events, notification of funerals, and special services.   Please complete the “Let’s Communicate” card so we can include you as well!

[If you wish to view the video again, it can be found on our web site.]

And lastly, I ask you to discern your financial commitment to the parish.   Your generosity is our only funding.  We rely on you for our operations and our special projects that allow us to maintain our historic church and campus and provide outreach and other special services.

Stewardship is a trinity.

As Grateful Disciples,

our response is to give of our Time,

our Talents & our Treasure.

 

 

 

 

LENTEN SACRIFICE

I grew up in the 50s and 60s.  I learned my faith from the Baltimore Catechism.  The priest faced the back altar and we celebrated Mass in Latin.  A lot has changed since then!

I remember the season of Lent as a child.  I remember giving up candy for six weeks.  (That really was a sacrifice for me!)  One year I gave up hitting my big sister.  (That really was a sacrifice for me as well!)

As an adult, especially in recent years, I have chosen to ADD something to my Lenten Journey instead of TAKING SOMETHING AWAY.

I love to read.  I read every night for at least an hour. A few years ago I thought that it would be a huge sacrifice to give up reading.  But I rethought it and decided to read only bible-based stories or religious books.   It was a very interesting experience and one that I feel helped me grow in my faith and knowledge of God.

While a lot of wonderful things have happened in my life this year, I have also had many trials.   Trials that have made me really need to clear my mind and relax when I can.  I have a daily habit that brings me pleasure and relaxation, which I need right now more than ever.  I typically come into the office 1-1/2 to 2 hours before the office opens so I can work without distraction.  About 15 minutes before the office opens, I take out my travel mug with my Second Cup of Coffee.  (I’ve had my first around 6 a.m.)  I stop for a few minutes to collect my thoughts, take a 10 minute mental break, and refocus.

I’m not sure what possessed me to decide this year to go back to the old model of Lenten sacrifice, but I chose to give up that Second Cup of Coffee.

EVERY DAY I think about wanting it.  EVERY DAY I think about the sacrifice that God made for me.  God gave up his Son, and Jesus gave up his life!   It makes me think: What’s so important about a dumb cup of coffee, anyway?

What I am learning by not having my ritualistic relaxation is that I must rely on myself for how I feel.  This is causing me to be stronger mentally and emotionally. (I know, it’s just coffee.)  It’s kind of strange how we come to rely on things other than ourselves, isn’t it?

This week at the Parish Mission, we talked about our God-given gifts and talents  and how we need to be cognizant of them to make ourselves the best version of ourselves (refer to Matthew Kelly).  Each one of us is a unique creation and has so much to offer.   We need to figure out who we are and decide how we can best serve God, each other, and ourselves.

There are still four weeks till Easter, plenty of time to make a Lenten promise if you haven’t already started. Whether you give up something significant or choose to focus on something to make you a better person, don’t delay.  Take some time today to discern your course of action.  Don’t show up at Easter wishing you had spent a better Lent.

I’d like to thank Leisa Anslinger for coming all the way from Ohio to spend three days with us last week.  I am grateful to those who took the time to spend with her.

 

The Joy of Love—The Annual Catholic Appeal

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,  Our recent diocesan synod on marriage and family life, which brought together priests and lay representatives from every parish in San Diego and Imperial Counties, pointed once again to the vibrancy and depth of the Catholic community in the diocese of San Diego.  In tandem with our diocesan task forces on young adults, priestly vocation and Catholic schools, the Synod provided a set of new initiatives for our diocese designed to deepen the life of the Gospel in our midst and make Christ more present to family life, our children growing in faith, millennials and the elderly.

None of these initiatives could take form without the assistance of the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA).  Through your generous support, the diocese is able to carry out its work of training new priests, preparing couples for marriage, ministering to the poor, the marginalized and the imprisoned, training parish leaders to bring faith to children in our parish schools and religious formation programs, forming permanent deacons, and caring for the retired priests who have given the whole of their lives in service to the Church.

I invite you to prayerfully consider making a sacrificial gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal this year.  It constitutes a tangible pathway to answer the call for discipleship in the Church today by supporting the life of the diocese which in turn supports in so many critical ways both the life of the parishes and the work of the universal Church.   –  Most Reverend Robert McElroy, Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS AND TUITION ASSISTANCE:  With support from the Annual Catholic Appeal, we strive to make Catholic Education both affordable and accessible to every child and family who desires it, regardless of their background, neighborhood, family income or culture.  Tuition Assistance is provided to families who would otherwise not be able to afford sending their children to a Catholic School.

FORMATION IN THE FAITH:  The ACA provides funding for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministries, the Diocesan Institute and Youth Ministries.  These diocesan ministries coordinate training for Directors of Catechetical ministries, Youth Ministry Coordinators, catechists and religious education teachers as well as theological formation for adults.

CATHOLIC CHARITIES:  Following the example of Jesus who “came not to be served but to serve”, Catholic Charities is supported by the ACA in its effort to promote the dignity of the human person and its commitment to the Judeo-Christian version of justice and charity.  The agency assists almost 300,000 people each year through its expansive network of programs and services.

PRISON MINISTRY:  Chaplaincies at 27 different facilities impact the lives of over 25,000 inmates.  These include eight sheriff’s jails, five juvenile detention centers, three state prisons and four federal detention facilities.  Ministry supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal responds to the hunger that many of these inmates have to deepen their relationship with God.

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY:  Young Adult Ministry reaches out and invites this age group to responsible participation in the full life and mission of the Church.  Faith-filled peer ministries and various social, service and spiritual opportunities strive to connect young adults to Christ and His Church.

RETIRED PRIESTS:  Fifty five retired priests of this diocese receive financial support so they can live in dignity, free of anxiety about their means of subsistence.  This support includes providing heath and auto insurance, and nursing care when required as well as supplementing their retirement and pension income when necessary.  Retired priest are also invited to the annual convocation of priests at no charge.

SEMINARIAN SUPPORT:  Our Diocese supports over 16 seminarians who are discerning a call to the priestly life and service in the Church.  Tuition and living expenses average around $45,000 per seminarian.  Three new priests were ordained for our diocese this past year.

 

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Our parish offers the opportunity for the faithful to spend quiet time with the Blessed Sacrament M-F 8:30am-5pm.

Come spend some time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! If you can spare one hour a week to be a Guardian of the Eucharist, please contact Becky or Adriana at 760-722-1688.

May God bless you!

JUMPSTART YOUR LENTEN JOURNEY

 

“Back in the day”, a young person was supposed to “have their act together” by the time they were in their early twenties.  Some even made career decisions when leaving high school and entering a particular college.  Not everything worked out exactly as planned, but many did.  And most were at least thinking seriously about their future.

Fast forward…  My two children are 31 and 32.  My sister’s daughter is 34.  It was very recently that we looked at each other and said “our kids have finally grown up”.

In the last two years, both of my children have married the love of their lives.  My son made a bold career move and joined the Navy at the age of 30.  My daughter and son-in-law are starting a family.  (You can start calling me “Nana” at the end of June!)

So, what does this have to do with you?    It’s okay to be a late bloomer.  Statistics show that the majority of Millennials are not coming into their own until their thirties.  They are not finding their career path or their life partner at an early age.  They are not starting families until their thirties or even forties.

The same goes for your Faith Journey.  Some people “get it” at an early age.  Some get it, and lose it, and get it again.  And some don’t have that “AHA” moment until much later.  As my niece loves to say, “It’s all good.”   God is there waiting for you the entire time, ready to welcome you into the fold (and most importantly, His loving arms).

When our parish introduced Stewardship as a Way of Life almost four years ago, many were skeptical.  I pray that, during this time, you have found some tools that have helped you get a little further along the path to Heaven.

To that end, each week on this page, I offer thoughts on living Stewardship in your everyday life.  Many weeks I sit down with a blank mind and a deadline and have Writer’s Block.  I pray to the Holy Spirit to inspire me and take a short break.  Within minutes, the story is able to write itself.  (And those are the weeks that I get the most feedback!)

Over the past several years, you have been gifted several Matthew Kelly books (Rediscover Catholicism, Rediscover Jesus, and just last week, Resisting Happiness).  There have been Daily Devotionals for Advent.

Last year we invited Renee Bondi to share her journey in testimony, prayer and song.  Bishop Brom visited us and talked on Mercy.  Leisa Anslinger has come to the parish several time to speak on living Stewardship.

Next week, we are hosting a Parish Lenten Mission.  Leisa will visit us again and talk with us about Living the Strengths that God has gifted to us.    During her presentation, she will reference the Gallup Strengthsfinder strengths and talents.  The material will be presented in such a way that you do not need to take this survey in advance.

But if you wish to have more insight before the Mission, just go to GallupStrengthsCenter.com.  You can take the personal assessment for $15.00 and get immediate results.

Our Parish Mission will be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 14-16 in the church, beginning at 6:30 p.m.   Each night builds on the others, but you are encouraged to come for as many or few as you are able.

Jumpstart your Lenten Journey!  See you there!