Always Set a Good Example


My mother used to read to me every day when I was a child.  She was also an example to me by reading the newspaper every day and devouring the Newsweek Magazine when it arrived on Tuesdays.

When I had my children, it was imperative to me that I continue the reading tradition.   My children had separate rooms.   At bedtime, I would start in my son’s room, read two books with him, turn off his light, and then visit my daughter.  I would read two books with her and  then turn out the light.  More often than not, her little voice would come to me from the darkness.  “Mom?”  “Can I talk to you for a minute?”  I soon learned that she felt safest under the cloak of darkness. I would come back in her room and listen to her most private thoughts and concerns.

So, while my mother did most things really well, I didn’t think she excelled at listening.   I made a vow that I would be the best listener ever!  So, when my daughter wanted to talk at the most inopportune times, I always said YES.  When she wouldn’t stop talking, I always encouraged her to say everything on her mind.  And I promised not to judge or preach, but rather mentor her decisions.

Don’t get me wrong. I always reserved the right to share my opinion.  I would make it clear if I did not think she was making the right decision, but it was she who had to learn to live with the consequences of her choices.

One time my daughter came into my room around midnight.  (I had gone to bed around 9:00 and was enjoying some great REM sleep.)  “Mom?”  “I’ve been on the phone with my friend and he’s talking about committing suicide.  What can we do?”  I called his parents.  Woke them up.  Potentially saved the life of their teenage son.

Both my parents smoked when I was a child.  I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I knew it was something I wanted to avoid and I vowed that I would never have anything to do with it.  Sally felt the same as I, but our oldest sister smoked in college (a combination of peer pressure and “how bad can it be if my parents are doing it?”) Good or bad, we were influenced by our parents’ example.

In every thing we do and every thing we say, we are an example to those around us.  Whether it is a good example or a bad one, people are watching.

We have power and influence without even knowing it.    Don’t you have a teacher who made a difference in your life?  Or an adult neighbor?  Or a priest?

Share your good example, including the example of how to live as an Engaged Catholic.   Remember, not only are “people” watching…GOD is watching!



Because next week is Mothers Day, I would like to share a little poem I wrote about my son when he was 2.  At the end of the poem, I thought about how all-consuming young parenthood is, and how transient.   I knew it would be gone all too soon and that I would miss those days…


From the corner of my eye I spy

a little golden head.

Who can it be

playing peek-a-boo with me?

All I can see is a little golden head.

Then I hear a giggle, and see a wiggle.

There are lots of toes, and a nose,

and a little golden head.

I wake now to find

my dreams left behind;

I am caught in fond memories

of a little golden head.



Treasures from Our Tradition

Some monks and nuns trace their community origins back a thousand years or so, before it became customary to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in tabernacles. In their rules of life, which evolved from the life- style and prayer of their predecessors, the core experience of Christ’s presence is at the altar itself, and in the symbol of assembly for prayer. To this day, when the monks or nuns file into their church in procession, they march two by two, and then bow profoundly to the altar before turning and bowing in reverence toward the brother or sister at their side. It is probably more difficult, in practice, to revere the presence of Christ in a person who irks you by taking the car keys, shirking a work duty, or burning the toast!

We can trace in these religious orders’ enduring customs the ancient appreciation for the altar as the center of the church building, and of the community of the faithful as the Body of Christ. Usually, a monastery today will reserve the Blessed Sacrament in some quiet corner of the monastic church, in a fairly small space, more suitable for private prayer than for the gathering of the whole community. In a cloister, the architecture may allow the public limited access to this space. Liturgical law tells us, in both monasteries and parish churches, that there is no need for more than a few hosts in the place of reservation, just enough for viaticum, the “food for the journey” that is the final sacramental celebration for a dying Christian.

—Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.



Many years ago I was in a Women’s Scripture Study group.    The facilitator tasked us with writing a reflection on how we could “give back to God” for all the gifts He had given each of us.

At the time, my children were young—3 and 4-1/2.    I was in awe of the blessing of being a parent.  (For the record, I still am!)

I had just recently attended a day-long Ministers’ Retreat at our parish.  We brought in a priest from outside the parish and I was asked to provide hospitality.   I set up a nice continental breakfast and had sandwiches ready for the midday break.  When the ministers were asked to relocate to the church for the opening session, the priest approached me and asked me to join them.

I told him that I was just there to provide hospitality and besides, I was the Parish Secretary, not a Minister.   He said something to me that day that changed my life.   He told me that there was no such thing as “just a Parish Secretary”.  He explained that, indeed, I was not a Minster of the Word, or a Minister of the Eucharist.  I did not facilitate a Bible Study or act as an Usher at Sunday Mass.

Instead, I ministered to the ministers.  I ministered to every person that walked in the front door of our parish office.  I was often the first person they saw that represented the parish and perhaps the Church.

So I set aside “Martha” (I still had to clean up the breakfast), followed him to the church, and became “Mary” for the morning.  At a short break, I told Father that I was back in Martha mode, worrying about setting up lunch.  He said he would find a few people to help me and the group would delay lunch by a few minutes and we could get it set up AFTER the morning session was completed.

At the conclusion of the day, we sang “Here I am, Lord”.  To this day, I still cry every time I hear/sing that song.   It reminds me that God intended for me to be there FOR HIM just as He is here for us.  God has no hands by ours; hands to do His work, arms to embrace a lost soul.

God places people and situations in our lives all the time that will lead us to the answers.  We just need live with our eyes, minds, and hearts open to these opportunities.


Lord, You’ve given me many gifts in my life. 

You placed me with parents who truly love me and then you stayed by to offer counsel and support.

You helped me find someone with whom I can share my life; a man who is genuine and supportive.

You placed in my arms two of your sweetest angels and trusted me with the responsibility of raising them.

You steered me to a job that allows me to serve you in a very special way.

You gave me friends who are always there for me with love and support and sometimes just a sympathetic ear…friends who allow me to be myself.

You’ve given me so much…probably more than I deserve.  It’s time for me to start giving something back to you.

 I will glorify You by allowing my job to be a special way to serve your people.

 I will glorify You by being a responsible parent to your little angels.

 I will glorify You by being the best friend I can for the people who count on me to be genuine and caring.

 In my work, in my friends, in my family, in every aspect of my life, I WILL GIVE GLORY TO YOU, O LORD!




Liturgy of the Word for children (Age 3-10)

The children of the parish are invited to join the Children’s Liturgy of the Word each Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. We sing, dance, listen and reflect on the readings at a level that children can appreciate. Come have fun and learn something that you can take home each week!

Christian Stewards: People of the Resurrection

For those immersed in the secular world, Easter is long over. The pastel bunnies, the chocolate eggs, the color-splashed jelly beans which appeared in the marketplace so temptingly just as Christians were beginning the fasting of Lent, have long been swept from the store shelves to be replaced in anticipation of the next marketable holiday. For the Christian steward, how backward this all seems. Yes, we believe that the Paschal mystery and the life-changing events of Easter are not over. They are not an end but a triumphal beginning, and they have altered us in a quite radical way. The mystery and miracle of Easter challenge us to live as different people, as people of the Resurrection.

What does this mean? For those new Catholics who participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), a period of mystagogy helps to understand this mystery. Indeed, this ancient Greek word actually means “to lead through the mysteries.”

During mystagogia, many parishes introduce their new members to service in a quite practical way.

Here are the ministries of the parish; here are the charities we support; here are the needs of our community and our congregation.

How do you choose to live out your faith in the Resurrection in a quite tangible and real way? How do your gifts fit into our needs? Essentially, however, this is a question that the Easter season calls forth in all Christian stewards not just our newest members.

We have lived through Lent and the Paschal mysteries, all the while trying to deepen a relationship with the person of Christ. It’s as simple, yet as amazing and complex as that.

The deeper the relationship grows, the more we become rooted in it, the more this relationship with Christ comes to dominate our lives. We no longer compartmentalize Jesus, we hold him at our center. And the mysteries lead us to the fundamental question at the heart of all Christian stewardship, the question that Easter compels us to ask: How do I steward my resources – my time, my money, my abilities and gifts, my very life – so that they are in service to the Kingdom of God? It’s not a part-time question. It’s not a seasonal question that’s swept off the shelf periodically. It’s the basic question which the Easter season demands of us: Jesus, how do you want me to serve you?

How did you do with your Lenten promises/sacrifices this year?  Did you add something meaningful to your life or did you sacrifice something that brought you pleasure?  You might remember about my giving up my second cup of coffee.  I can’t believe that I managed to follow through with it all through Lent!  During that time, it became a habit NOT to have a second cup!  So it was good for the soul and good for the body!  A Blessed Easter Season to you.




Learn and Understand Your Fertility


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Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Our parish offers the opportunity for the faithful to spend quiet time with the Blessed Sacrament Monday through Friday from 8:30-5.

If you would like to become a Guardian of the Eucharist by committing to a specific hour every week, come see what God has in store for you by being devoted to the Blessed Sacrament!

The Chapel is open Monday to Friday after the 8 a.m. Mass to 5 p.m. and on Tuesday for silent adoration until 7 p.m. The Divine Mercy chaplet is prayed before the Blessed Sacrament from 7-8 p.m.

We try to have two people, at least, signed up for each hour. The following hours are needed to be filled to be fully covered: Mon. 1-2; Tues. 10-11, 12-1, 3-4, 4-5; Wed. 9-10, 10-11, 1-2; Thurs. 11-12, 12-1, 1-2, 2-3; Fri. 11-12, 12-1. URGENT NEED is Tuesday from 10-11.

GOD IS MOST GENEROUS when we are generous. To sign up or for more information, call Becky Roughan at 626.543.0057 or Adriana Leon at 760.828.3493.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Called to Care for Creation

Both Saint Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis remind us that it is a Gospel imperative that we be good stewards of the earth. What better way to remind us of their teaching than to observe Earth Day 2017 and be good stewards of this precious planet year-round. Earth Day will be observed worldwide on April 22. The first Earth Day was held in 1970, activating 20 million Americans and helping to pass legislation including the Clean Air Act.

Today, Earth Day is a global event and possibly the largest civic observance in the world. For the Catholic steward, this day is an affirmation of Pope Francis’ call to the world to embrace the ethical dimensions of climate change and our response to it in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si. During the 47 years since the first Earth Day, the world has become more conscious of environmental degradation and humans’ role in it. It can feel overwhelming, and we ask, what can one person do?

Pope Francis acknowledges technological fixes, global guidelines, international protocols. He praises solar energy and calls for a decrease in the use of non-renewables. But the pontiff calls for something more radical, more spiritual, and for the Christian steward more deeply challenging: “profound interior conversion.” Climate change, environmental destruction and a change in weather patterns, he reminds us, exert their greatest damage on the world’s poor. The poor are a major theme of Laudato Si, as they are of Francis’ papacy. He challenges us to examine the profit motive that often engulfs respect for nature. He challenges us to consider how the powerful and the rich of this earth are affecting the powerless. Pope Francis reminds us that care of creation is rooted in the Book of Genesis.

He begins his encyclical, the first ever dedicated solely to the environment, with a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, and quotes frequently from his predecessors. This, he is telling us, is a spiritual and Catholic issue. In honor of Earth Day, consider what changes – perhaps some radical – you might make. “Live simply so that others may simply live,” has long been a mantra of the Christian steward. Begin by turning down the thermostat and promising to eschew one-use plastics. Take a reusuable bag to the grocery and a reusable container to the coffee shop. Cut down on frivolous buying. Consider what the “throwaway culture” of which Francis speaks means in your own life. Prayerfully consider your personal relationship to the poor. Make your environmental concerns known to your legislative representatives. “Teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe,” Pope Francis prays to a generous God, “for all things speak of you.”



Make Holy Week a Holy Time

Do you ever think about how you experience the cross of Jesus Christ? Do you ever think about the power of that cross in your daily life? Is the cross even relevant to your life? It is to stewards of the Lord, who recognize the hope Christ brings through the gift of his cross. They acknowledge that for them, the cross is their only hope. Being good stewards of our life in Christ is not easy, but to embrace the cross is not only countercultural, it seems absurd. Then again, we cannot avoid what Jesus said to his disciples: “If you wish to come after me you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me. For if you wish to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake you will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). The cross is more readily embraced by people of faith who suffer, are poor, broken, or are the victims of such things as violence, oppression or natural disasters. They see the cross as the hope that no matter what has happened to them, God will see them through.   The Father did it for Jesus who hung on the cross, so surely their sufferings will be redeemed by Jesus’ sufferings. Where people possess much material abundance, comfort and leisure, however, there is a tendency to de-emphasize the cross, to draw away from it.

They can’t touch it or feel it so they wish to “save” their lives by looking to other things: power, wealth, fame, relevance, being the center of attention. What is preached about the cross from the pulpit sounds good, but in reality something more tangible is desired. Christ emptied himself completely in humble obedience, allowing himself to suffer and die out of compassion for the world (Philippians 2:6-11). Good stewards follow his example and work day-to-day to empty themselves and live compassionately; most noticeably by sharing their lives with others. As we approach the climax of our liturgical year, the Easter triduum, let us ask the Holy Spirit for an even deeper awareness of the cross in our lives. Let us find hope in the cross and pray that as we embrace it, we too will experience in a special way the joy of new life in the risen Lord.

Twenty-eight years ago, I was feeling a lot of angst and discontent with my personal burdens.  As Holy Week approached, I took some time to reflect and when I put it all in perspective, I was moved to write this poem:

You were born for me so long ago,

Long before my life began.

And now You’re giving up Your life;

You really ARE the Son of Man.


I carry my burdens like a cross;

I wonder what I’ll do.

But MY crosses are not as heavy

As the cross I’ve nailed You to.


The image of You on the cross

Haunts me night and day.

I look at what You’ve done for me,

Then I drop to my knees and pray:


“Jesus, You gave your life for me,

You died that day to set me free.

Free from sin to rise with You—

That’s what You wanted me to do.”


So why do I refuse to change?

I love You so—it all seems strange.

For every time I sin again,

I get a nail and drive it in.


…For every time I sin again

I get a nail and drive it in.


So why do I refuse to change?

I wish I knew.

It’s all so strange.


I love You, Lord.

Please…    Help me change.




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.