Our Lady of the
Assumption Pa r i sh
F amily Promise Ministry: Inside 2 Adult Formation
Opportunities Help Us Grow in Faith
3 Redefining Love
Through the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Lectors Ministry: Dedicated to Boldly Proclaiming the Word of God
6 Prayer: Come to Know the Lord
5057 Cottage Way Carmichael, CA 95608 (916) 481-5115 | olaparish.net
Providing Compassionate Service and Opportunities for Fellowship
he COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on everyone, but it’s been especially trying for those already facing difficulties. Prior to the pandemic, Family Promise of Sacramento carried out its work of placing families, who are experiencing homelessness, into churches throughout the year. However, with the onset of COVID-19, that model isn’t safe for virus prevention, so the organization has instead been using hotels for housing. (From left) Family Promise coordinators In normal times, host churches have Maggie Schlesinger, Donna Blaschke and Chris Hine signed up to house families for a week at a time, about three times per year. The Our Lady of the Assumption Family Promise Ministry acts as a support congregation, serving meals for four area host churches, once per week during their assigned weeks. The goal of Family Promise of Sacramento is to help families experiencing homelessness find permanent, stable housing. They also offer counseling and support once families have secure housing. This organization operates thanks to the support of so many churches that provide safe and secure shelter. Through this organization, families can dream and work toward becoming independent. Donna Blaschke has been involved in Family Promise at OLA for about 16 years — coordinating the ministry along with Chris Hine and Maggie Schlesinger — and she enjoys doing her part to help those experiencing homelessness. Serving meals to the families gives them a sense of dignity and provides an opportunity for fellowship. continued on back cover
Adult Formation Opportunities Help Us Grow in Faith
ur faith formation doesn’t — and shouldn’t — end when we complete our religious education classes in high school. We can continue to learn more about our faith well into adulthood because that learning never ends. “There is always more to learn,” says Deacon Michael Tateishi. “What we say to our RCIA candidates is that ‘now you begin your real journey — you are becoming a Catholic all your life.’ This is what we are called to be. And you can realize this calling through classes and also through involvement in ministries.” Our parish has abundant means for adults to continue to grow into their Catholic faith. And even though there have been restrictions on our gatherings with COVID, we have many opportunities available online. Logging onto the parish website at www.olaparish.net will provide links to many such opportunities. If you go to the Formation menu and click on “Resources,” you will find a variety of general faith formation resources, as well as resources for the domestic church and families. One such program is Living the Word that is available through Zoom. “Each Thursday at 7 p.m. we talk up the upcoming readings and discuss them, and give the background,” Deacon Michael says. “These are open to everyone. Before COVID, we held them in the conference room. But with COVID, we use Zoom as the method to meet.” Living the Word meets via the Zoom conferencing app. Zoom links with the dates and times are provided in advance to everyone registered with Flocknote. Flocknote is available by signing up for an account through the parish website. On the fourth Thursday of each month, the regular meeting is replaced with a Taizé prayer service and Lectio Divina Scripture meditation. “We have about 50 percent of our parishioners signed up for Flocknote,” he says. “We send out announcements and important information whenever we can. We usually send out notices about Mass or the Living the Word meetings.”
We also offer Flocknote Engage, which provides free access to Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire ENGAGE video library. “Last year, we used the Word on Fire site that includes access to the complete Catholicism series,” Deacon Michael says. “This was very nice so we were able to participate in a lot of programs.” One observation that Deacon Michael has made is that Catholics who have dropped away from the Church return with a desire for more knowledge about their faith when they go through instructions for the Sacraments of Marriage or Baptism. “You won’t see folks, and they want to get married and they’re dealing with matrimony and a lot of issues, and this lights a spark and they want more,” he says. “We use marriage preparation as an evangelization tool, and also through baptismal preparation. They haven’t talked about the sacraments in a while, and this sparks their interest. They come back, and that’s why we offer it. I find hope in the people who come back through these Sacraments, and we should offer more. It’s very important to help others and there will be moments when they come back.” Planning is underway for adult faith formation opportunities to return to face-to-face sessions in September. “We hope that in September and October we can begin offering programs in person,” Deacon Michael says.
There is ongoing information available, including links to Flocknote and weekly bulletins, on the parish website at, www.olaparish.net/formation/resources. For more information, please contact Deacon Michael Tateishi at 916-486-9485 or email@example.com. 2
A Letter from Our Pastor
Redefining Love T hrough the Sacred Heart of Jesus Dear Parishioners,
ne of the great feasts of the Christian year will occur in June, but it is often overlooked. It doesn’t fall on a Sunday, and it isn’t a Holy Day of Obligation. I am referring to the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which will be on June 11 this year. This wonderful feast provides a great way to begin the summer. However, despite widespread devotion and many parish dedications to the Sacred Heart, many Catholics have only a vague idea of what it’s all about. So, let me try to briefly fill in the picture. Often, when we think of the heart, we think of it as the seat of our emotions and feelings. But feelings come and go — we can’t really depend on our emotions to be reliable, steady guides. However, when classical theology refers to the heart, it is considering an aspect of human life that goes beyond our feelings. It includes our will, where we make decisions. The heart can be considered the center of our personhood. In explaining Christian teaching about human nature, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one’s being, where the person decides for or against God” (368). It is common to mistakenly label love as an emotion. Love often includes feelings, but true love is more than that. Real love is a settled attitude that wants the best for the person being loved. That’s why the Church’s teaching usually uses the term “charity” — to distinguish the Christian virtue from the more superficial popular concept of love. The Catechism tells us, “Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own ‘to the end,’ he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive” (CCC, 1822-1823).
This sort of love, this charity — demonstrated by Jesus Christ and commanded to His followers — is no lightweight passing emotion. Feelings alone do not bring one to offer oneself to an agonizing death for the sake of someone else. No, that sort of sacrifice can only come from a considered and deliberate decision. Although we sometimes forget that fact, Jesus is fully human as well as fully divine. So, His human heart was involved in His sacrifice on the Cross. Thus, simply put, devotion to the Sacred Heart reminds us of the basic fact that God loves us. It was a costly love, the ultimate act of charity, to give His life on our behalf. We know the kind of love Jesus has for us. What kind of loving response are you going to make? How will that affect your use of your time, talent and treasure? Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Eduino Silveira Pastor
THE LECTORS MINISTRY: H
Molly Chambers serves as a lector at Mass.
ave you ever noticed how even the simplest of texts can be transformed when read aloud? We are all familiar with the stories in the Bible, but every Sunday we hear three different Scripture passages read aloud in the Liturgy of the Word. At Mass, lectors proclaim the Word of God to the rest of the congregation — and through their careful preparation, they can grow in their own prayer and faith lives as well. “It is a very special privilege,” says ministry coordinator Casey Oliver. “Both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist make up the Holy Mass, and lectors have a very important part to play during the Liturgy of the Word. God speaks to us through His Word and proclaiming His Word as a lector is an important act of service for our parish community. It takes preparation, dedication, and courage to boldly proclaim the Word to the assembly of His people.” Men and women who have received all three sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation can serve as lectors. “We are especially encouraging our parish youth who are in high school, grades nine through 12, to consider serving in this ministry,” Casey says. “If you have received the required sacraments, and you are at least in ninth grade, you are eligible to serve.” The ministry is made up of about 60 registered lectors, but due to the pandemic, currently, only about 20 are able to serve. Although COVID-19 has changed the way the ministry operates, they have nonetheless adapted to continue to serve the faithful. Previously, two lectors were scheduled for each Mass — currently, only one is scheduled due to current diocesan guidelines. Training for lectors has also changed slightly — instead of formal group training, individual training sessions are scheduled on an as-needed basis and follow all diocesan and public health protocols. “Another big change is that at this time, all of our weekend Masses are livestreamed,” Casey says. “We hope to continue to livestream Masses even beyond the pandemic. The lectors are now on camera, and while that can be a little intimidating at first, it is a wonderful evangelical opportunity to bring the Word to those who need to be at home for
Dedicated to Boldly Proclaiming the Word of God whatever reason. Plus, by having the Masses recorded, we get the opportunity to regularly evaluate ourselves. Did I read slowly and clearly? Did I read loudly enough? Was I easy to understand? Was I expressive? By taking the time to listen to ourselves, it helps us to grow and improve in our ministry.” It’s important for lectors to prepare before reading at Mass — not only to ensure that they read clearly and pronounce words correctly but also to help them understand the message they are transmitting. Each year, lectors receive a workbook with the year’s readings, special instructions, and commentary for each Sunday, as well as solemnities and other special liturgies. The workbook has been extremely helpful for high school senior Molly Chambers, who serves as a lector at the parish. “It not only goes over the reading with keywords and phrases that the reader should emphasize while reading, but it also goes in-depth about the reading and why it is important,” she says. “I use it every time I read, as it is very informative and easy to use. Before and during the reading, I learn more about what it truly means and why it is so important that a reader has to comprehend what they will be speaking about. Once I am done with the reading, I can use what I have learned to reflect even more on its meaning. I gain a deeper understanding of what God is trying to say, as well as a unique and special connection with Him.” The preparation process is spiritually fruitful for Casey, as well. “As a cantor, I frequently have the opportunity to cantor the Responsorial Psalm, and I try to read the entire Psalm for each Sunday and meditate on it,” she says. “I am follow-
ing along with The Bible in a Year podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz, and now that I am reading the entire Bible, discovering how the weekly Mass readings fit into the story of salvation has revolutionized how I read and sing the Word. “One of my favorite Bible verses is Hebrews 4:12 — ’Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart,’” she adds. “Using the readings of the Mass to enter into the entire Bible has deepened my faith in a profound way.” Lectors should feel comfortable reading the Word of God in front of the assembly using a microphone and should be able to project their voice well and read slowly and clearly. However, Casey encourages anyone who is interested — or who feels a call — to take a chance and try it out. “If you can move beyond the worries about how you will sound or if you will mispronounce something, you open yourself up for spiritual growth,” Casey says. “I really want people to feel supported and not be afraid to make mistakes. We are all learning and growing, and I think it’s very important to have a variety of people and voices represented in our lector ministry. Don’t be afraid! “As a speech pathologist, I have a passion for helping people speak and use their voices the best they can,” she adds. “I encourage people who desire to be a lector to discern it, even if they have concerns about how their speech or voice sounds. Lectoring may not be for everyone, but you don’t know unless you try. Being open to feedback and being willing to grow and improve is key. If you are willing to do that, then it is highly likely that you can be a successful lector.”
If you would like more information about serving as a lector, please contact Casey Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org or Deacon Michael Tateishi at email@example.com. In addition, the parish is in the process of adding several resources on our website for lectors, including an updated lector handbook, training videos, and other relevant information. Please visit www.olaparish.net/lectors to learn more. 5
e make constant reference to the “three Ts” of stewardship, recognizing that to truly live as a stewardship people, we must give God the first fruits of our time, talent, and treasure. It is easy for us to see the concrete reality of the latter two. If we are to give God our talents, we must first recognize with what talents He has blessed us, and then use those talents for His greater glory. And as we continue our stewardship path, we know very well that our money is something concrete. When we recognize it as a gift from God, we know that we are to give a certain amount back to Him. It is easy for many of us to understand what it means to give God our talent and our treasure. But what does it mean to give God a portion of our time? This idea is much harder to grasp, and yet giving to God the first fruits of our time is just as important as the other two. And if we understand this idea and implement it properly, our stewardship of time will serve as the very foundation from which our stewardship of talent and treasure bear fruit. 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 in the Diocese of Wichita’s The Pillars of Parish Stewardship, it is also one of the four pillars of stewardship. Does this mean that in order to be true disciples, we should say the Our Father three times a day or pray a daily Rosary? Not particularly. Of course, we must not discount the merits of prayer, as the Church in her wondrous wisdom has given us certain prayers to help guide our lives. However, the disciple’s deep life of prayer involves even more.
KNOW THE LORD St. John Chrysostom explains, “You should not think of prayer as being a matter of words. It is a desire for God, an indescribable devotion … the gift of God’s grace” (Hom 6). That is, if we look at prayer as a mere regimen that we must follow every day, then we do not see to the heart of it. The reality is that prayer will take on different forms for every one of us. One person may have a deep devotion to the Rosary, and in praying it, he is closely united to the Lord. Another person might feel deeply connected to Him through constant conversation – in the car on the way to work, before bed at night, or at other hours throughout the day. Meanwhile, for another person, a daily or weekly hour of silence before the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration is the best place for him to offer the Lord his heart. No matter how we choose to pray, we must get to the root of it all. If we are to truly give God our time, it must be a gift of ourselves. It must come from the heart and not take the form of mere word repetition. If we offer an Our Father without meditating on the words, it can simply become recitation. The point of prayer is to get to know the Lord. If we are committed to living as His disciples, we must be on personal terms with Him. The first disciples didn’t
know what it meant to pray the Rosary. And until the Lord taught them the Our Father, they couldn’t pray that either. But they were definitely true stewards of their time. They walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, and ate meals with Him. He was their best friend, and the more they got to know Him, the more they longed to serve Him. The same holds true for us today. We can walk with Him, talk with Him and sit with Him, just as they did. And He wants us to do this, too. St. John Chrysostom proclaims, there is nothing more worthwhile: “For prayer unites us to God as His companions” (Hom 6). How can we serve Him if we don’t know Him? If we truly desire to be a servant people, we must talk to Him whom we wish to serve. We must get to know Him. Then, most assuredly, we will fall in love with Him. We will undoubtedly desire nothing more than to serve Him. Recognize Jesus as your best friend and spend time with Him as such. He is the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, without whom we would cease to exist. Bring Him your cares and concerns, your excitement, your worry, your fears and your frustrations, and allow Him to comfort you. He is there, and He wants to speak with you.
No matter how we choose to pray, we must get to the root of it all. If we are to truly give God our time, it must be a gift of ourselves. It must come from the heart and not take the form of mere word repetition.
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 Saturday 5:00 p.m. Vigil Mass live streamed inside of the church, open to the public Sunday Mass 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 7:30 p.m. located inside of the church *See website for diocesan and county guidelines.
Family Promise Ministry St. John’s Lutheran, Carmichael Presbyterian, Fremont Presbyterian, and St. Mark’s Methodist are the host churches for which OLA provides meals. Thanks to a large group of volunteers at OLA, members of the ministry need not provide a meal or side each time there is a need. Members choose a side, dessert, or main dish that they want to bring, only when it works for them. “This is a really flexible ministry,” Donna says. “You never have to provide a meal or side. It’s only when you can.” Donna often goes to the host church to help serve the meal to the families. Most times the other volun-
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teers just drop off their items to be delivered by Donna and other ministry members. Donna spent her career as a social worker at a hospital, so this cause is dear to her heart. “If you have a place in your heart for the homeless, especially homeless children, this is a great way to help,” she says. Donna invites anyone to get involved in this compassionate ministry of service. It’s not about giving a handout, it’s about giving a hand up. More volunteers are always welcome!
If you would like to get involved as a volunteer for Family Promise at OLA, please contact Donna Blaschke at 916-622-2769 or firstname.lastname@example.org.