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february 2021

Our Lady of the

Assumption Pa r i sh

The St. Vincent de Paul Society:

S

Seeing the Face of Christ

ometimes, it can seem easier to give to others from a distance. Maybe you drop a couple of dollars in a bucket or bring a sack of canned goods to a local food pantry. When going through your closet, you set aside the items you’re no longer using before dropping them off 3  A Letter From Our at a thrift store. And while all of those things are cerPastor: tainly important acts of service, we may forget about Sharing Love in the “face” of the human being in need. Different Ways The mission of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is to change that mindset. The ministry wants to meet people face-to-face and see Christ in them while serving as 4 Parishioner Kristine a tangible witness of His love. These efforts look a bit dif Breault Reflects on the ferent in this time of COVID-19, but it is still this personal Blessings of the aspect that sets the St. Vincent de Paul Society apart from Despite being generally closed due Domestic Church many other sources of aid to those in poverty. And while to the COVID-19 pandemic, the A Life Transformed the typical practice of members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Vincent de Paul food Society (“Vincentians”) — visiting and bringing assistance locker helped to provide food for 6  Got Talent? Bring It to families over the to people in their homes — is currently on pause, they the Spotlight! Thanksgiving holiday. still seek to bring that personal connection as they share God’s love with those in need, in other ways. 7  The Greeter Ministry: “We serve the poor, the homeless, and those who are otherwise left behind,” says Welcoming Others with parishioner Frank Romano, who serves as the President of the St. Vincent de Paul the Love of Christ conference at Our Lady of the Assumption. “If you want to help people, I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than with the guidelines laid out by St. Vincent de Paul.” The St. Vincent de Paul Society helps people in a variety of different ways, from rent and food assistance to clothing and furniture donations. In cases where they are unable to provide help, the Society helps to connect their cli5057 Cottage Way ents with other local agencies. Carmichael, CA 95608 “People call our number when they need help because they can’t pay (916) 481-5115 | olaparish.net their rent or utilities, or they don’t have sufficient food to feed their

Inside

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The St. Vincent de Paul Society:

Seeing the Face of Christ continued from front cover families, so we get involved,” Frank says. “We’re holding their hands, assisting them financially, or assisting them to find the help they need in these troubled times.” In addition to the outreach aid given to people in special circumstances, the St. Vincent de Paul Society has also operated a food locker that, when not hindered by COVID, provides food for 1,000 people each month. It is typically open on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and people can come to pick up food every two weeks. Both the outreach arm of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, as well as the food locker are supported largely by the generosity of the parish. “We have a very supportive parish,” says parishioner Celeste Depner, who coordinates this ministry. “St. Vincent de Paul belongs to all of us.”

For Celeste, being part of the food pantry ministry has given her a sense of community — both among the other volunteers, as well as with those they serve. “We’ve all become family and it is lovely,” Celeste says. “You get so much out of being a part of it.” Celeste encourages her fellow parishioners to consider becoming involved in the work of St. Vincent de Paul, bringing God’s love to those in need, right here in our community. Volunteers are needed in a variety of different roles, from doing home visits to picking up food donations, to helping clients at the food locker, and more. “We get more out of it than we give,” Celeste says. “You walk away after a day, and you might be tired, but you’ve seen someone you can smile at, and they know we care. We’re family.”

If you would like more information, or to become involved in service through the St. Vincent de Paul Society at Our Lady of the Assumption, please contact the parish office at 916-481-5115 or parish@olaparish.net. If you or someone you know who lives within our parish’s geographical boundaries is in need of assistance from the St. Vincent de Paul Society, please call our confidential voicemail at 916-481-6352.

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“We serve the poor, the homeless, and those who are otherwise left behind. If you want to help people, I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than with the guidelines laid out by St. Vincent de Paul.”

— Frank Romano


Love

A Letter from Our Pastor

Sharing Dear Parishioners,

W

in Different Ways

hat’s the most widely But isn’t that what stewardship as observed saint’s day in a way of life is — a little martyrdom? February — the one that’s kept Not to push the image too far, but even by those who aren’t practicing when we are faithful stewards, we give Catholics? Undoubtedly, it would be up a little portion of our lives out of our St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. own love for Christ. Most Christians The irony is that his feast isn’t even will not be called on to be martyrs, in on the General Roman Calendar of the sense of forfeiting our physical feasts to be observed throughout the lives for God. But we are called to give world. That doesn’t mean that he’s up some of our comforts, indulgences not recognized as a real, historical and riches because of our love for Him. person, or as a genuine saint, but only So then, as you prepare to that his influence throughout the celebrate and share your love with Church has not been as significant your Valentine this month, remember as that of other saints. occurred then, it must be appropriate St. Valentine and his love for Christ. So who was St. Valentine? There for humans, as well. The association As well, keep in mind that God loves are several St. Valentines, as the between St. Valentine and love notes us, and return that love with your own name was not a rare one in the is a later development. toward Him. Loving God will be ancient Roman Empire, but the saint Nevertheless, it’s not wrong to reflected in how you prioritize your we celebrate was a priest of Rome connect the two. Love has many use of the time, talent and treasure martyred in the late third century. aspects, and our conception of it is God has entrusted to you. As St. John Still, that doesn’t explain how his richer if we keep more than one of wrote (1 Jn 4:19), “We love because he feast came to be celebrated as the day them in mind. Martyrdom is the first loved us.” one sends letters, cards and presents result of loving God more than our Happy St. Valentine’s Day! as expressions of romantic love. earthly life. St. Valentine was a martyr The truth is that the custom of because of his love — his love for Jesus Sincerely yours in Christ, sending tokens of love comes not Christ and His Church. If he had not from any direct connection with St. loved God so much, he could have Valentine, but from the ancient belief repudiated his Lord and saved his life. that birds begin to pair off on Feb. 14. We, in turn, express our love by sending Father Eduino Silveira And if courtship in the natural world cards and gifts on St. Valentine’s Day. Pastor

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Parishioner Kristine Breault Reflec

A Life L

ast spring, the global pandemic whether or not their home life that began changing the way with their two young daughters — people live — and worship — was Virginia was almost 3 years old and an entirely unprecedented event. Teresa almost 1 — reflected that With public Masses suspended, “community of grace and prayer” Catholics the world over were forced described in the Catechism. to reimagine a faith life away from “Things were hard at home,” the sacraments and rituals that are Kristine says. “I had the same attitude so integral to our experience of the toward motherhood that I had with Church. This transition was certainly work, which was to have a schedule not easy, but for many Our Lady of and be rigorous with it. Then all that the Assumption families, it came just came to a halt, and I just didn’t like with a hidden blessing — a revival of the lack of joy that was in my home the domestic church. when we should have been having The importance of the domestic a great time. I was saying unkind Dennis and Kristine Breault with church is highlighted in the things to my kids, and I realized that their daughters, Virginia and Teresa Catechism of the Catholic Church, the culture of busyness had disguised which states, “The Christian home a school of human virtues and of the way we were all treating each is the place where children receive Christian charity” (CCC, 1666). other before because we could just With the sudden quiet and move on to the next activity without the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason, the family home is stillness that came with the pandemic really having to confront any of it.” rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ last March, parishioners Kristine and After deciding they needed a Dennis Breault began to question a community of grace and prayer, change, Kristine and Dennis began

“Of all the things I think the domestic church looks like now, the biggest one is bringing sacred silence into your home. During those silent moments, it just translated into us offering all our brokenness. I started offering my desire to be a good mother and partner, and then it started clarifying itself.” — Kristine Breault 4


cts on the Blessings of the Domestic Church

Transformed taking a Values Parenting class. As part of the program, the couple was asked to write a parenting mission statement. After several months of discussion and revisions, they realized that their mission was very clear and simple — to get everyone in the family to heaven. Viewing their vocations to marriage and parenthood through this lens changed everything for the Breaults. “A bunch of things started falling into line with our home life and family life,” Kristine says. “It transformed our marriage because once every person’s sainthood is important to you, you aren’t going to pick a fight with your husband when he’s exhausted because it won’t bring out the best in him. Our marriage changed when we had a clear vision that we are meant for purification. We saw finally what the Catechism means when it says marriage is a vocation on par with holy orders, and we are here to serve each other.” With the liturgical season of Lent coinciding with this new stage in the family’s life, Kristine and Dennis began reading the Magnificat with their daughters in place of bedtime stories. This seemingly small daily practice led to yet another life-changing moment for the family.

“When it would get to the part with the offering, the Eucharist, at first it was awkward because we didn’t know what we were offering,” Kristine says. “Of all the things I think the domestic church looks like now, the biggest one is bringing sacred silence into your home. During those silent moments, it just translated into us offering all our brokenness. I started offering my desire to be a good mother and partner, and then it started clarifying itself. “We began taking all our brokenness in all these little areas, and allowing God to transform everything we offer into something holy,” she adds. “And I think it’s so in line with the Eucharist, too. We don’t offer the youngest, fattest calf — we offer a little teeny bit of grain and a little teeny bit of wine, and we get so much back in return.” Eventually, the Breaults’ evening Magnificat readings evolved into nightly Scripture reading. The family also began praying the Rosary and Novenas together and watching Stories of the Saints videos on YouTube. Another turning point came with their realization that children are naturally spiritual and sacred beings. Rather than keep their rosaries, prayer cards, and saint statues high on a shelf to “protect” them from the children, Kristine and

Dennis began viewing the children’s playful interaction with religious items as a form of adoration. Now, little Virginia and Teresa love to imitate the Mass in their play, reflecting how the family’s Catholic faith now permeates their home in ways it never had before. “As Dennis says, this all happened because when we started watching Mass at home, we were confronted with the duality that we were living,” Kristine says. “We were going to church and God was there, and God was not in our home. Just the act of bringing God in any shape into your home is so powerful that it’s uncomfortable if you’re not living congruently with your faith. So as Dennis says, we had a choice — we could either choose to keep God out, or we could bring the rest of our lives in line.” As Lent draws near once more, the Breaults look back to this time last year with gratitude for the “wake-up call” they received from the Lord and the abundant blessings that have come from their devotion to building up the domestic church in the home. “One thing everyone can do is to make that offering,” Kristine says. “Offer every piece of your life, and it will be transformed.”

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Got Talent?

Bring It to the Spotlight! T

he word “talent” often conjures up images of stage performers in the spotlight, captivating awestruck audiences with their impeccable musical or acting skills. While these talented performers are certainly deserving of applause, the majority of the population sits hidden in the shadows, staring on in amazement while feeling overlooked — and perhaps wishing to possess such talents themselves. But even when we feel overlooked and untalented, God knows better. As Christians, we are all called to dig deep and trust that we are uniquely blessed with valuable talents and abilities, even if our talents aren’t so obvious or don’t garner applause and accolades. Along with “time” and “treasure,” “talent” is one of the “three Ts” of stewardship. Exploring our natural inclinations and preferences, especially when guided by

the intricacies of our unique personalities, can unearth God-given talents. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit,” writes St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians. “There are different forms of service, but the same Lord.” Some people have the gift of working peacefully with children. Equipped with patience and gentleness, they are able to guide young souls to the Lord. Yet, others shudder at the thought of a classroom full of 5-year-olds and instead seek the quiet solace of behindthe-scenes tasks — cleaning the church, sewing altar cloths or stuffing envelopes. Our interests and abilities are varied, and our volunteer options are endless, as we are called to give our talents back to God in loving service. Examine your heart and prayerfully discern your gifts, then direct those gifts towards serving the people of God.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr., author of Life’s Little Instruction Book, once said, “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it is going to be forwards, backwards, or sideways.” If our gifts of talent are not guided by the discipline of prayer, just like an octopus on roller skates, we will get nowhere fast! Yet, if we keep our eyes on the goal of heaven and serve the Lord with joyfulness, our efforts will produce a bountiful harvest. In the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will reap bountifully.” The next time you sit quietly in the shadows behind a glaring stage spotlight, rest assured that your talents are no less impressive in the eyes of God, and will always be “applauded” when directed to the service of His people.

Our interests and abilities are varied, and our volunteer options are endless, as we are called to give our talents back to God in loving service. Examine your heart and prayerfully discern your gifts, then direct those gifts towards serving the people of God. 6


The Greeter Ministry:

A

Welcoming Others with the Love of Christ

s St. Pope John Paul II once said, our calling is to “open wide the doors for Christ.” And while all of us can strive to welcome everyone to the Lord’s house, these words hold a special meaning for one new ministry in our parish. As the first people to greet parishioners and visitors to Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption with a smiling face and warm welcome, greeters provide an invaluable service to our parish community. For several years, an informal group of parishioners With the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines that are in has been greeting people as they arrive at some of our place, the friendly services provided by our parish’s new weekend Masses. Hoping to expand upon this group to Greeter Ministry are more important than ever. cover greeting at all of our Masses, the Pastoral Council came up with the framework for this new ministry. In Columbus. Members of the Knights are tirelessly setting addition to welcoming parishioners and visitors to our up for outdoor Masses each Sunday and checking people in parish, greeters may also share information on hearing as they arrive. An established greeter ministry lending them aid services, provide an umbrella service, or walk people a hand will prove to be a blessing. back to their cars after evening Mass. Of course, no matter where or how a Mass is being held, These days, as Masses are outside due to the COVID-19 the true mission of a greeter always remains the same — to pandemic, the greeters’ tasks look a little different. Now, “open wide the doors for Christ” by providing a warm welgreeters are needed to assist people at the Mass check-in come to the faithful who gather on our parish campus. tables and explain the current health-related restrictions. “We are not just a place of worship, we are a home,” says DeaOur parish is grateful for the dedication of our Knights of con Michael Tateishi. “We don’t put ‘go away’ mats on our door continued on back cover

Are you interested in learning more about serving as a greeter? If so, please contact the parish office at 916-481-5115 or via email at parish@olaparish.net.

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5057 Cottage Way Carmichael, CA 95608 (916) 481-5115 | olaparish.net MASS TIMES: 8:00 a.m. Daily Mass Monday-Friday and first Saturday located inside of the church with outdoor seating only Saturday 5:00 p.m. Vigil Mass live streamed from inside of the church with outdoor seating only Sunday Mass 9:00 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. live streamed from inside of the church with outdoor seating only *See website for diocesan and county guidelines.

The Greeter Ministry — they usually say ‘welcome.’ Hospitality is a very ancient practice. We want to welcome people to our home, which means our family, which means our community. It’s that simple.” When all of our parishioners feel safe returning to in-person Mass, hospitality will become even more essential than ever. “One of our worries is whether everyone is going to come back,” Deacon Michael says. “And when they come back, they shouldn’t come back to a place that is cold or where they don’t know anybody. We want them to come back to a place that says, ‘Hi, welcome back, we’ve missed you.’” Whether serving at an outdoor Mass or a future Mass in the sanctuary, the vision of our parish’s new Greeter Ministry is to make all parishioners and visitors to our church feel like a treasured part of our faith community.

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“My personal point of view is that, outside of our domestic church, we want OLA to feel like family,” says Jenny Teeters, Communications Committee Chair. “And it doesn’t feel that way if you don’t know who you are sitting around. It’s a large church with majestic beauty, and we need to balance that to make it feel homey. The Greeter Ministry is like a bridge between that big majesty and that feeling of home.” The new Greeter Ministry at Our Lady of the Assumption seeks to provide a truly irreplaceable service to our parish by welcoming parishioners and visitors alike into our faith family. We encourage anyone who may be interested in joining our Greeter Ministry to come experience the joy of opening doors — and hearts — to Christ!

Profile for Catholic Stewardship Consultants

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church Newsletter — February 2021