Our Lady of the
Assumption Pa r i sh
THE GABRIEL Inside 3 Forget the Resolutions... Seize the Opportunities!
Living the Word: Helping to Prepare Hearts and Minds for the Sunday Mass
6 Time: The Foundation of Stewardship
7 Catholic in Recovery
Providing Essential Support in the Face of Addiction and Unhealthy Attachments
5057 Cottage Way Carmichael, CA 95608 (916) 481-5115 | olaparish.net
s e r v i n g m o t h e r s a n d fa m i l i e s i n n e e d
s Catholics, we are no doubt familiar with Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus. Much as Gabriel visited Mary to bring her this Good News, the members of our Gabriel Project ministry — known as “angels” — visit local mothers in their time of need. But instead of delivering a message, our angels provide car rides to doctor visits; bring essential supplies like diapers, car seats, or baby clothing; and offer emotional support. They also act as a referral resource to other forms of assistance. However, the most important part of their work is the prayers they offer for Volunteers with the Gabriel Project shower local families with gifts for their new baby. those in need. “Angels act to promote life and act as helpers to get moms and families through difficult times,” says Gregg Gilles, who helps coordinate this ministry with Carolyn Albers. “For example, we had a mother who had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital to deliver, so we went and brought her car seat to the hospital for her,” Carolyn says. The Gabriel Project is coordinated through individual dioceses — other parishes both in the area and throughout the United States, have Gabriel Project teams. The angels of the Gabriel Project are connected to mothers in need through referrals from the Gabriel Project referral number at 800-910-0191. Mothers are then matched with a Gabriel Project program near their home. continued on page 2
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“Often, everything is in crisis for these mothers,” Gregg says. “We are here to intervene, settle the situation, and be happy for the new life.” Sometimes, the mothers just need someone to talk to and give them support — so the angels serve that need, as well. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, angels even hosted several baby showers to help mothers with needed items for a new baby. Mike and Anna Ranco got this ministry started at Our Lady of the Assumption. Gregg and Carolyn both say they heard “the call” to get involved, and their involvement with this ministry has been very rewarding. “We get to share in the joy of a new baby,” Gregg says. Gregg and Carolyn extend their gratitude to Fr. Eduino Silveira for his support of this work, even offering an area of his garage for storage of donated items. “Without the support of Fr. Eduino, we couldn’t do this,” Gregg says. “He is the champion for life. Also, the people of OLA are incredibly generous in responding to the need for baby supplies.” The ministry members also work hand-in-hand with the Sacramento Life Center, which offers resources for medical and ultrasound, and can help with referrals for other needs. They also have clothes and other baby supplies. Carolyn and Gregg feel grateful to be a part of this work. They want to make sure they can help any mom or family, whatever the need, big or small.
“How do you support someone better than supporting a mom?” Gregg says. “We want moms to know the sanctity of life, and that every baby is a blessing, no matter what the circumstances,” Carolyn says. “I want them to know they have some support and people that do care. It’s a simple thing to support someone who needs a helping hand.” Angels provide car rides to doctor visits; bring essential supplies like diapers, car seats, or baby clothing; and offer emotional support.
Gabriel Project “angels” provide help with the goal of supporting families in their time of need.
If you would like to join the Gabriel Project team, please contact Carolyn Albers at email@example.com or Gregg Gilles at firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate items or money to the Gabriel Project, please drop it off at the parish office with an indication that your donation is for the “Gabriel Project.” If you or someone you know is in need of pregnancy support or help with a new baby, please call the referral number at 800-910-0191.
a l e t t e r f r om o ur past or :
Forget the Resolutions...
ne of the most unforgettable years in our lifetimes is finally over and 2021 is here! With the new year, I recommend we forget the notion of making resolutions. This new year presents us with opportunities to practice faithful stewardship — that is, to view the start of 2021 as a time for opportunities instead of resolutions, and to choose to be the disciples we are called to be. The choice is ours, as it always has been.
of the Church. I hope that the same vision is clearly in your sight — the moment of discovery that stewardship is a way of life, a defining moment presenting opportunities to live what we believe, using our time, talents and treasure to reach others around us. Therefore, as we close out one of the most eventful years in modern history, and are at the start of a new year filled with promise and hopefulness, I ask you to join me in celebrating the opportunities that will present themselves during 2021. We need to keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to them. They will be there when we least expect them. Our Lord’s call to be faithful stewards of the gifts we have been given is already echoing in our hearts as we have concluded a season of giving in which God’s gift to us, Jesus Christ, remains the perfect gift that keeps on giving to each of us. If we continue to receive our Lord with grateful hearts, we can respond in our own way of giving time, talent and treasure back as opportunities to become Christ for others. I know that 2021 will be a year of great interest in what will happen in the world around us, and new opportunities will abound. Wait for them. Look for them. Treasure them when they become known. While resolutions always seem to be good ideas, opportunities are often what God has chosen for us to experience so that our lives may be more whole and fulfilling. Can you think of a better way to start a new year than to forget the resolutions, and instead seize the opportunities God has waiting for us?
I know all too well that each New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, we do more than just begin a new calendar year. We make all kinds of promises, articulate expectations, and express hopes, desires and dreams. I don’t know who started that custom, but I do know I have spent years attempting with the best intentions to follow my own resolutions, only to become disappointed that most are forgotten all too soon. Therefore, it occurred to me that this year, I need a new and fresh approach to this. Perhaps we all need a new perspective. After all, isn’t that what faithful stewards are best at? The to-do list for 2021 should be seen as a list of opportunities to practice the discipleship intended by Jesus — not just at the beginning of each year, but each day throughout the year when presented with opportunities to be a Christian disciple. In doing so, we are practicing the stewardship way of life. Maybe this year, each of us will be open to embracing the connection be- Sincerely yours in Christ, tween discipleship and stewardship. Discipleship and stewardship are indeed closely linked, so much so that it clearly defines our Catholic spiritual- Father Eduino Silveira ity and touches every aspect of the life Pastor
HELPING TO PREPARE HEARTS AND MINDS FOR THE SUNDAY MASS
n a world full of distractions, it can often be difficult to focus on the things that truly matter. How many times have we arrived at Mass after a hectic morning of preparing breakfast for the family, dressing everyone in their Sunday best, and searching for coats and keys before rushing out the door? Anything we can do to better focus our hearts and minds on the liturgy before we walk through the doors of Our Lady of Assumption will bring us one step closer to a deeper relation-
ship with the Lord. With this in mind, our Living the Word group provides parishioners with a valuable opportunity to learn more about the weekly Scripture passages before coming to the weekend Mass. As Deacon Michael Tateishi points out, the more we can prepare ourselves for the celebration of Mass, the more meaningful our experience of the liturgy becomes. “We know that the Mass sometimes becomes perfunctory, and people
come because they have to,” Deacon Michael says. “Even myself from time to time, after I receive Communion I’ll realize, ‘Oh my goodness, I just did that but wasn’t thinking about it.’ We want people to come to Mass prepared for it, thinking about the Word. I think Living the Word helps them in that way. Then the homily prepares us for receiving Communion, and after that, we are sent off to live the Gospel.” Parishioners Jeff and Rachel Holmes and their daughter, Jordan, continued on page 5
“When we go to Mass, we get much more out of it. We’re not having to read along. We can just sit there and listen to what Father is saying about the reading — and that is often different than what he tells us at Living the Word. It helps me become more in touch with things, because I’m getting the message multiple times a week.” 4
Living the Word
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have enjoyed participating in Living the Word for about two years. As a family, they spend a little time between Monday and Wednesday looking at that week’s Scripture in anticipation of the group discussion with Living the Word on Thursday evening. By the time Sunday Mass rolls around, they have become very familiar with the historic background and various interpretations of all the readings. “When we go to Mass, we get much more out of it,” Jeff says. “We’re not having to read along. We can just sit there and listen to what Father is saying about the reading — and that is often different than what he shares at Living the Word. It helps me become more in touch with things because I’m getting the message multiple times a week.” Jeff ’s participation in Living the Word not only provides him with a more profound experience of the Mass, but it has also helped lead to his decision to join the Catholic Church. Through this Scripture study group, he got to know other parishioners of Our Lady of the Assumption well, and also forged friendships with Fr. Eduino Silveira, Deacon Michael Tateishi, and Deacon Paul Friedrich. Having made this personal connection with our faith community, Jeff found that becoming a member of the Catholic Church last spring was even more meaningful. Like her father, Jordan is also thankful for the relationships she has cultivated with our clergy and fellow parishioners through Living the Word. “I’ve always belonged to this parish, but Living the Word has really connected me,” she says. “I’m on the Pastoral Council now, and that has come from my participation in Living the Word. I’ve made a lot of friends through Living the Word and the Pastoral Council that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It definitely helps with community building, and you really get to know each other over the course of the time that you’re meeting.” Living the Word participants represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds, all coming together to share a unique perspective on the Scripture being discussed. “It’s a really interesting group because we have people who are deeply spiritual and then some who are deeply intellectual,” Jordan says. “Everyone is able to bring their gifts and their perspective into the meetings, and that leads to some really good insights and discussions.”
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on group meetings, Living the Word now meets via Zoom every Thursday evening. On the fourth Thursday of each month, the regular reading and discussion format of the meeting is replaced by a livestreamed Taize prayer service and Lectio Divina (a contemplative reading of the Scripture passages for the upcoming Sunday Mass). Our parish’s Living the Word group is a true blessing to all participants. By delving into the Word of God well before each Sunday Mass, we better prepare ourselves to enter fully into the celebration of the Liturgy. “I’ve always felt that in coming to Mass, you don’t just come,” Deacon Michael says. “It’s about how we prepare so that when we come, it’s a very prayerful, meditative and provocative experience.”
Are you interested in diving into God’s Word in anticipation of the weekend Mass? Living the Word meets on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. via the Zoom conferencing app. Zoom links with the dates and times are provided in advance to everyone registered with Flocknote. On the fourth Thursday of each month, the regular meeting is replaced with a Taize prayer service and Lectio Divina Scripture meditation. For more information, please contact Deacon Michael Tateishi at 916-486-9485 or email@example.com. 5
t h e f o u n d a t i o n o f s t e wa r d s h i p
he U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has told us that stewardship is part of discipleship and is a way of responding to God’s call in every aspect of our lives. We refer to the three facets of stewardship as “Time, Talent and Treasure,” and when we consider the importance of these three Ts of stewardship, the “time” component comes first by design. When we talk about stewardship of time, we are referring to prayer time. Prayer is of the utmost importance in a disciple’s life, and it serves as the fertile ground from which the gifts of talent and treasure blossom. Only by spending time in prayer each day and receiving the sacraments are we able to consistently and generously donate our talent and treasure to the Church. When looking for examples of how to live our lives as disciples of Christ and as stewards of God’s gifts, we can always turn to the great saints of our Church to guide us. And when it comes to the Stewardship of Time, the life of St. Damien is just one example of how prayer, or “Time,” is the foundation for our lives of stewardship. Shortly after being ordained a priest, St. Damien volunteered to serve a colony of lepers isolated on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. From May 1873 until his death in 1889 (at the age of 49) St. Damien worked to restore within the lepers a sense of personal worth and dignity.
Although for some time St. that ignites every heart to flame in love. Damien took the necessary precau- Without prayer, without the grace that tions to ensure that he did not con- flows from the sacraments, we are intract leprosy, he knew that physical capable of leading lives of service and touch was necessary to communicate responding to God’s call! his love and concern to those afflicted How much time do you dedicate with the disease. He embraced the lep- to prayer each day? One hour? Fifteen ers, dined with them, cared for them, minutes? None at all? Before you conand anointed them in the sacraments. sider joining a parish ministry or volWith great humility and sacrifice, St. unteering your talents in service, and Damien offered his own life in order before you discern your gifts of treato save the lives of others. sure to the Church, be sure that prayer From where did St. Damien draw is your foundation. Identify a prayer his strength? What was the source of schedule that is manageable. This may his inspiration? “Were it not for the entail arising 20 minutes early each constant presence of our divine Mas- day to offer your work to the Lord, ter in our humble chapel, I would not or attending daily Mass once a week. have found it possible to persevere in Every prayer commitment is unique sharing the lot of the lepers in Molo- and personal. Yet, no matter what, this kai,” St. Damien wrote. “The Eucha- time offering, this dedication to prayer, rist is the bread that gives strength... It is the key to serving the Lord with is at once the most eloquent proof of faithfulness, generosity and joy. His love and the most powerful means of fostering His love in us. He gives Himself every day so that our hearts as burning coals may set afire the hearts of the faithful.” St. Damien found his strength in the Mass, the greatest prayer of the Church. Prayer was the impetus behind the generosity of this faithful servant of God, and is the fuel
Catholic in Recovery
Providing Essential Support in the Face of Addiction and Unhealthy Attachments
ecovering from addiction — whether in terms of substance abuse or other unhealthy attachments — can be a very isolating and trying experience. There are lots of programs that offer assistance to those undergoing the recovery process, like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. But Catholic in Recovery is a program that is rooted in the faith, with the ability to share Catholic teachings. Jenny Teeters leads the Catholic in Recovery chapter here at Our Lady of the Assumption. In August 2018, Catholic in Recovery Founder Scott Weeman came to speak at our parish. As a member of the Pastoral Council, Jenny was asked to lead our Catholic in Recovery ministry — a role she took on without hesitation. It was through this program that Jenny actually started on her path to becoming sober. She recently celebrated a year of sobriety. “Through Catholic in Recovery, people can admit, ‘I am powerless over this thing, I have tried to stop this, I need God to help me,’” Jenny says. “This program is 12 steps and it is extremely spiritual. Unlike other programs, in Catholic in Recovery, we talk about Mary and the Holy Spirit.” Jenny says that during really hard moments in her life, her faith was the only place she was finding joy. “The whole ministry, God put this in my path, and it’s the same for other people,” Jenny says. The Catholic in Recovery program meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, meetings are currently held over the Zoom video conference platform. People may become part of this ministry to work through recovery from problems with substance addiction, food, control issues, and anger issues. There is also support for issues with sexual integrity and other unhealthy attachments. Jenny says there is no need to identify an addiction
Jenny Teeters leads Catholic in Recovery at our parish.
or unhealthy attachment at the meetings. Also, everything that is shared at the meetings stays at the meetings — it is a safe space. “The benefit of doing this through Zoom is people can turn off their camera and change their name on their computer,” Jenny says. “This allows them to remain anonymous.” The Catholic in Recovery program has changed Jenny’s life, and she hopes others who are dealing with addiction or unhealthy attachments will consider participating in the program. There are even virtual meetings at other parishes, which would be another way to remain anonymous. Each meeting includes reading the 12 steps and a reflection, which is based on the upcoming Sunday’s Mass readings. Prayer, including the Prayer of St. Francis, is an continued on back cover
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Catholic in Recovery integral part of the program. The program is ongoing, so there is no start and stop. Attendees may continue to attend for as long as they would like. “It’s really beautiful because before I even attend an OLA Live streamed Mass on the weekend, I have already been reflecting on the Word,” Jenny says. Jenny hopes that anyone going through addiction or unhealthy attachment will step forward and attend Catholic in Recovery. She knows the COVID-19 pandemic has added extra stress and isolation for those who were already struggling. “This is a really important time to have a safe place to go and receive encouragement,” she says. “We are here to help. It’s a dangerous time for people to be alone. Through Catholic in Recovery, there is prayer and help and support.”
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If you would like to join Catholic in Recovery, please email Jenny Teeters at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jenny is also available as a resource for other soberliving programs — please feel free to reach out with any questions.