370 Campus Dr. | Arcadia, CA 91007

Letters from Fr. Kevin

Thursday, April 2, 2020
Dear Holy Angels!

Last week Wednesday the Holy Father called upon the whole Christian world, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to stop what they were doing and say the Our Father at noon, to pray for deliverance from the virus.  How powerful it is, to be united in prayer!  During these days of isolation from one another, it is prayer that unites us, for that union does not depend on time and space.  

Let us take that a step further now and continue:  LET US PAUSE EVERY DAY AT NOON AND SAY THE OUR FATHER!  This powerful prayer chain will unite us to one another and to our God.  It is a union much needed in these times of isolation.

This will be a Holy Week and an Easter like none we have ever experienced.  Deprived of the opportunity to be physically present at the ceremonies, we can nonetheless make it the most meaningful Holy Week of our life.  The events commemorated at this sacred time transport us into the moments of fear in the Garden of Gethsemane, the moments of suffering in the cruel Passion, the desolate moments of abandonment on the Cross, the moments of the darkness and emptiness and loneliness of the tomb.  This is the powerful experience of the sacred Triduum:  being led down into the lonely depths, in order to discover there the awesome depths of the soul.  Is this not what the whole world is experiencing now?

BUT IT DOES NOT END THERE!  The dark lonely tomb is not the end of the narrative, but only the beginning, the springboard!  After Gethsemane, after Calvary, after the Cross and the tomb comes the greatest power of all, the greatest gift of all:  the Triumph of Light over Darkness, the Triumph of Life over Death, the Triumph of Love over Fear!

Let Easter happen in the tomb of our heart, just as it happened on our earth so many years ago. The stone will be removed, and in the very emptiness will be revealed the victorious Lord of Life!

Blessings and love,
Fr. Kevin

P.S. Be sure to stay closely connected through our Parish Website, especially during all the special days from Palm Sunday through Easter.  Experience the Holy Father's moving ceremonies and messages of hope, the Liturgies live-streamed from our own cathedral, as well as very special moments shared from our own beloved home of Holy Angels. 

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Monday, March 30, 2020
Dear Holy Angels!

For me, the most powerful moment of this time of plague occurred on Friday, when the world united itself with the Holy Father in Rome for an extraordinary blessing of the city and the world (Urbi et Orbi).  Never had I seen St. Peter's Square so eerily empty, as Pope Francis limped painfully to deliver his eloquent message of hope to a troubled world.  Rarely in the history of the world have we been so in need of the blessing we received that day.  One could feel the healing touch of God as the Holy Father imparted the Benediction of our Eucharistic Lord, reaching to the ends of the earth and the depths of the soul.  It was a moment never to be forgotten, one of the most intensely spiritual and moving experiences I have ever lived through.  I was very proud to be a Catholic.

If you did not have the opportunity to share in that moment on the television or the computer, you can still participate through the online recordings.  Please do!  Let us pray together with the Holy Father, as together humanity faces this terrible challenge.

In the Catholic tradition we believe in the Communion of Saints, knowing that we are still very much united to those who have gone before.  Sometimes we invoke the aid of the saints, just as we would ask for the help of friends still here on earth.  We need the help of all the saints and angels now.

The cathedral in Aachen, Germany, has for the last thousand years housed the relics of a teenage girl martyred in Syria in the second century.  Throughout the centuries, it is to her that people have turned for help in times of plague and pestilence.  We ask her special prayers for us now.  

The name of this saint, special patroness against pandemic?  Astonishingly, her name is SAINT CORONA!

St. Corona, pray for us!

Blessings and love,
Fr. Kevin

You can view our Holy Father in Rome for an extraordinary blessing of the city and the world (Urbi et Orbi):

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Saturday, March 28, 2020
Dear Holy Angels!

These are extraordinarily difficult times for most of us.  The virus has infected and killed many, many thousands of people throughout the world.  These are not numbers.  Not statistics merely.  These are someone's mother, someone's son, someone's wife, grandchild or friend.  These even include so far over sixty priests in Italy.

It is not only those infected by the disease itself whose lives have been impacted.  This period of fight against the spread of disease has also resulted in extreme financial hardship for many.  I think of my many friends who worked as waiters in restaurants, struggling to support a family; suddenly now there are no more restaurants and everything is finished for them.  That is just one of the many, many examples of the desperate situation so many are now finding themselves in.

Let us be compassionate and generous toward all those we know who are suffering hardship at this time -- and even toward those we don't know, but notice.  A little kindness goes a long way in desperate times.  And an extraordinary act of unexpected generosity can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.

One thinks of so many people and so many places not being able to make it through these times.  Some of those restaurants likely will never open again.  Some of those small businesses that have been such a part of our lives may well go under, forever.  These are not buildings, these are not numbers; these are people.  These are a part of us.

One very important part of us that we now really need to remember is our parish.  Holy Angels is a vital part of our lives.  It is not a building, not an institution; it is a family; it is you, and you, and you, and I.  It is a very real part of all of us, a very important part of all of us.  Consider now that the material life-blood of our parish is almost completely cut off, now that there are no Sunday Masses, no Sunday collections, no income at all.  We have never experienced anything like this.  No one has.  Very soon we, too, will go under if we do not have your help.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, help your parish family through these desperate times!!!!  Help us out with as much or as little as you can.  Certainly continue to keep alive your parish family with your regular weekly support.  But if you are able, PLEASE consider giving an extraordinary gift as well.  These are not ordinary times!  We will rely on your extraordinary generosity.  Keep Holy Angels alive!

It is now easier than ever to make your gift online.  Please go to the parish website and you will see the button that will direct you.  This is the time to press that button!  While you are there, it is a good time to visit our website, read the letters, listen to the homilies, participate in Holy Mass from the cathedral, and stay connected with your parish family.

Help us, PLEASE HELP US, to remain alive.  For all of us.

God bless you for your extraordinary generosity in all its extraordinary forms!
Fr. Kevin

STAY WELL!  STAY SAFE!  STAY IN!

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Thursday, March 26, 2020
Dear Holy Angels!

In dark and difficult times, in times of uncertainty, it is so easy to fall into the cage of fear, worry, pessimism, despair.  It is so easy to become morose and reflect only gloom and doom.  Yet these negative things can be as harmful as a virus, and they can eat away at us from inside with just as lethal an effect.

I am reminded of other dark times, in some ways perhaps darker than these.  I have known many people who were living in Europe during the War, taking refuge in bomb shelters as night after night their cities and their homes faced terrible bombings.  I have known many who have known the horrors of the concentration camp.  I have lived under a reign of terror behind what we used to call the Iron Curtain, where you never knew if the next midnight knock at the door was going to make you disappear forever.  And in all those unbelievably dreadful situations, what kept people going was something deep inside them that refused to surrender to gloom and despair, a spark that instinctively burst into bright flame precisely when the darkness was at its darkest.

That spark manifested itself in different ways.  Often it appeared in the guise of humor, which, unbelievable as it may sound, was particularly abundant in those difficult situations.  Spreading smiles and sharing laughter became vitally important.  It takes strength and a certain inner balance to be able to joke and laugh about little things, even when the situation as a whole is dreadfully serious -- especially then!  

Very often this spark burst forth in a particularly powerful flame called music.  I think of the girl who used to sit at the piano and calm the people's spirits during the most frightening air raids.  I think of the mothers singing softly to their children in the camps.  I think of the Italians of today, confined to their apartments:  one began singing, the neighbor joined in, and soon the whole neighborhood burst into enthusiastic song.  And the human spirit was once again made whole.  It is magical, the power of music.

Whether this spark erupts into humor or music or the myriad of other beautiful forms it may take, it is this spark inside of us that keeps us going, a spark of the Divine that is there inside of us to see us through with a strength we didn't know we had.  That remarkable Divine Spark is the all-too-forgotten virtue of HOPE.

Let us do all we can to fight the spread of this disease.  Let us keep the body healthy, of course!  But, just as important, let us keep the spirit alive and healthy.  Keep on smiling!  Laugh even!  Start to sing!  Even if you think you can't!  Sing and smile into the world the gift the world is thirsting for:  the all-important, all-powerful, God-given gift we call Hope.

STAY WELL!  STAY SAFE!  STAY IN!

God's blessings,
Fr. Kevin

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Dear Holy Angels!

During this time when we are not able to come together to receive the Sacraments, how beautiful it is to remember an ancient practice of our Church, something that perhaps we don't talk about as much anymore, but that is very timely right now.  That is the practice of Spiritual Communion.  Most of us remember being taught about it in our catechism long ago.  It consists in a heartfelt prayer receiving our Lord into our heart when we are unable to receive Him in the Eucharist.  

The Holy Father has given us such a prayer and invites us to pray it fervently:

My Jesus, 
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. 
I love You above all things, 
and I desire to receive You into my soul. 
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally, 
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

Let us unite ourselves to the Mass even when we cannot be physically present.  Many people who are confined to their homes because of age or illness have done this for years.  It is a powerful means of recognizing the importance of God in our lives.  In fact, many have testified that the times when "only" a Spiritual Communion was possible greatly increased the longing for and appreciation of the Sacrament the next time they were able to receive.  This, too, can be for us a real moment of grace, if we allow it to be.  

Please take advantage of the uplifting Mass provided on our website, even daily.  This Mass unites us all to the cathedral, our mother church, to the People of God everywhere, and, most especially, to Jesus.  Our own Sunday homilies, also to be experienced through the parish website, unite us in a special way to our beloved parish of Holy Angels.  And through the prayer of Spiritual Communion the Pope has given us, make a conscious and powerful act of deep union with our Lord.

May God bless us!
Fr. Kevin

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Monday, March 23, 2020
Dear Holy Angels!

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has announced two very important moments of prayer for the world in these difficult times.

1. The Pope calls upon all Christians throughout the world, of all denominations, to pray the Our Father at noon, this Wednesday, March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord.  "In these days of trial, as humanity trembles at the threat of the pandemic, I would propose that all Christians join their voices together to heaven."

2. He also said that he would preside over "a moment of prayer" from the steps of St. Peter's Basilica at 6:00 p.m. Rome time (10:00 a.m. Pacific Time), this Friday, March 27.  The square will be empty, but people across the globe are invited to participate spiritually in this prayer, by means of television, radio or social media.  At the end of the prayer, he will give an extraordinary "Urbi et Orbi" blessing ("to the city and to the world"), a blessing usually given only on Christmas, on Easter, and immediately after the election of a new Pope.  

The Holy Father said, "We wish to respond to the pandemic of the virus with the universality of prayer, of compassion and tenderness.  Let us remain united.  Let us make our closeness felt to those who are alone and to those who are most stricken, to doctors, to health workers, nurses, volunteers, to the authorities that have to take hard measures for our good, to the police and the soldiers who try to keep order on the streets.  Let us be close to everyone."

Calling all Holy Angels!  Let us respond to the call of the Holy Father and, joining our hearts together, participate wholeheartedly in these two very special moments of prayer for our stricken world.  Spread the word!  Spread the Love!

May God bless us all!
Fr. Kevin

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Dear Holy Angels!

During this holy season, we are always called to go into the desert with Jesus, to pray more, to give up things we like to do, to make sacrifice, to pray more, to acknowledge our weakness and our sins.

This year, this time of isolation is a unique, unexpected Lent for all of us.  If we allow it to, it could actually turn out to be the most fruitful Lenten season of our life.  Let us use the time well!

Yesterday our Holy Father spoke beautifully, encouraging us to make this Lenten journey, as always, one of repentance and turning to God, even when, as now, it is not possible to leave the house and get to confession.

"Return to your Father who is waiting for you," the Pope said. "The God of tenderness will heal us; he will heal us of the many, many wounds of life and the many ugly things we have done. Each of us has our own! "God welcomes every repentant sinner with open arms.  It is like going home.  Lent is a special time to let God wash us, purify us, to let God embrace us.  But many people today would tell me, 'Father, I can't go to confession because I can't leave the house. I want to make peace with the Lord, I want him to embrace me.'"

The Pope answers:  "Do what the Catechism says.  It is very clear:  When sacramental confession is not possible, speak directly with God your Father, and tell him the truth.  Say, 'Lord, I did this, this and this.  Forgive me,' and ask for pardon with all your heart.

"Make an act of contrition, and tell God, 'I will go to confession afterwards when it is once again possible, but forgive me now.'  And immediately you will return to a state of grace with God.  You can draw near to God's forgiveness without having a priest at hand.  Think about it.  This is that moment.  This is the right time, the opportune moment.   An act of contrition done well, and our souls will become white as snow."

We thank the Holy Father for these comforting words.  STAY INSIDE!  Make your confession directly to God.  And experience the boundless wonders of God's love!

STAY WELL!  STAY SAFE!  STAY IN!

God's blessings,
Fr. Kevin

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear Holy Angels!

This is the church of the catacombs!  We are asked to stay inside our homes, for our own protection and the protection of others.  This is extremely vital, and we ask that you all do that.

But it is also a time to rediscover the home, to rediscover the hidden beauty of a life of intimate prayer, to rediscover God in the silence.  Free from the usual distractions of daily life, this can be a real moment of grace for us if we allow it to be.  Let the home become our church, a real house of prayer.

This time of the catacombs is also a time to think of others.  We have time now perhaps to reach out to people we have not spoken to in a long time.  Physical visits are not possible, but, thanks to telephones and computers, we can establish wonderful contact with people who are dear to us, or with people who need us.  Let us think of those who most need our love right now.  This, too, can be a moment of grace for us, if we allow it to be.

This is also an ideal time to reconnect with ourselves!  In the hustle and bustle of our lives, we often do not take time for ourselves.  Sometimes we, consciously or unconsciously, actually run away from ourselves, avoid time by ourself, avoid encounters with the person in the mirror.  When we go on retreat, we are brought back into contact with that person.  This time of isolation is also a time of retreat, a real-time of grace.  Let us use it well, and let us get to know the person we find in the mirror.

Let us not allow this time to become a time of fear or a time of panic.  Let us rather allow it to be for us a time of grace, a time of strength, a time for opening our hearts to love.  Let us allow God to enter in!

PLEASE STAY AT HOME!!  PLEASE STAY WITH GOD!!

United in prayer,
Fr. Kevin


Would you like a PHONE CALL AT YOUR HOME?  Just a quick check-in to make sure you are doing well?  Our parish nurses have a phone committee that will call you every few days and see how you are doing.  It's a chance to connect with our parishioners!
Call the church office at 626-447-1671 and leave your name and phone number to be added to our list.  Or you can reply to this email.  These calls are just social calls - no medical advice or information can be given out.  We just want you to know you are not alone!


In these uncertain times, we can use all the prayer we can get.  We are invited to join the ACC community, Archbishop Gomez, and Catholics worldwide in praying the rosary with Pope Francis at 1pm TODAY.  Please see the message below.
 
You can view the rosary live at https://lacatholics.org/rosary/ or  https://www.facebook.com/lacatholics/.
 
For more information, see the Angelus article:  https://angelusnews.com/news/vatican/pope-urges-catholics-to-unite-spiritually-in-praying-rosary-thursday/

This banner is now in front of the church at the corner.  Our parish family will always be together -  we are here for each other and will pray for each other.  

Please contact us at the parish office [email protected] or 626-447-1671 with any concerns or questions.

Fr. Kevin, Fr. Blaise and the parish staff of Holy Angels