Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church Newsletter — November 2022

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Our Lady of the

Assumption Pa r i sh

Super Fritz & Friends Fund

Meet the OLA Family Behind the Charitable Fund and Toy and Gift Card Drive Benefiting UC Davis Medical Center


t has been seven years since parishioners Anna and Ben Stark received the lifechanging news that their 2-year-old son, 2 The Importance Fritz, was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute of Catholic Faith Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Formation After more than three years of cancer treatment at UC Davis Medical Center that 3 A Letter From Our began when he was just 2½, Fritz has been Pastor cancer-free for the past four years. Today, Fritz is a healthy and happy fourth 4 Youth Ministry Excited grader at Our Lady of the Assumption School, for a New Year, New and the Stark family counts their blessings Space, and New Service every day. Opportunities “We are ever so grateful to have a positive story to share,” Anna says. 6 Drawing From the Grateful for the support they received The Stark family at a UC Davis soccer game Traditions of Spirituality in during Fritz’s cancer battle, the Starks are Our Catholic Church now giving back. Along with their longtime family friends, Ruth and Paul Flowers, they started the Super Fritz & Friends Fund to 7 Music Ministry: Enhancing create a new resource specialist position at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our Prayer and Worship in Song This new position — Pediatric Patient and Family Navigator — provides support services to families during treatment and after discharge. “We felt this was something that was missing when we were going through Fritz’s treatment,” Anna says. “The medical aspect was taken care of, but when we left to go home, there was dark doom and gloom. We had lots of non-medical questions and worries and no one to turn to for answers and guidance.” Through tremendous fundraising efforts over the past two years, the Super 5057 Cottage Way Fritz & Friends Fund has raised over $290,000, which has helped fund the Carmichael, CA 95608 addition of the Pediatric Patient and Family Navigator position. Hired in (916) 481-5115 | olaparish.net


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The Importance of Catholic Faith Formation

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from the 2022 book, feel embarrassed that you don’t know an answer to the faith Stewardship Starts at Home: Using God’s Gifts To Grow questions asked to you by your children or grandchildren. As Disciples Of Christ In Our Domestic Church, writ- Instead, learn together! ten by stewardship expert/retreat leader Lisa McArdle and Remember, the more fully you are formed, the better you published by Catholic Stewardship Consultants. This excerpt is will understand God’s calling for your family. Furthermore, reprinted with permission from CSC. the more you are formed in the faith the easier it will be to answer the call of discipleship. here are Four Pillars of a Stewardship Parish — Prayer, Being properly formed in our faith and listening to God’s Hospitality, Formation, and Service. The third pillar call allows us to understand if we are on the right path or — Formation — teaches us to know and love our God and if we need to redirect. Being prayerful and well-formed are our faith. key to our following His plan for our lives instead of our According to the United States Conference of Catholic own wishes and desires. Remember, as stewards, we strive Bishops’ National Directory for Catechesis (2005, #20), there to listen to God and use the gifts He has given us to serve are six tasks of faith formation that constitute a unified those he places in our paths. Thankfully, it is easier now whole by which faith formation seeks to achieve its objec- more than ever to form ourselves and our families. tive. This primary objective is the formation of disciples of There is no need to search for faith-formation opporJesus Christ. tunities. These options can be sent directly to our smartThe six tasks of formation promote knowledge of the phones and tablets. Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire ministry faith, promote knowledge of the meaning of the liturgy and sends free daily readings along with a brief gospel reflection the sacraments, promote moral formation in Jesus Christ, straight to our inboxes. Matthew Kelly’s Dynamic Catholic teach us how to pray, prepare one to live in community, and offers Lenten and Advent opportunities with free, reflective participate actively in the life of the Church, and promote a videos that also arrive via email. Blessed is She even provides missionary spirit that prepares one to be present as Chris- an endearing female faith formation perspective — perfect tians in society. for women young and old. Plus, if you want to form yourTake a moment to consider how fully you are currently self specifically in Scripture, you can also opt for the free formed. When is the last time you read a book about the podcast, The Bible in a Year featuring the entertaining Fr. Catholic faith? When is the last time you participated in a Mike Schmitz, from Ascension Presents. Honestly, the posBible study? When is the last time you read and reflected sibilities are endless. on the readings before Mass? Or looked up something in Formation is the fuel that keeps your family moving forthe Catechism? ward as stewards and in becoming all that Christ is calling Frequently, the last faith formation parishioners receive you to be. Have confidence as you incorporate this ongoing dates back to when they completed their Confirmation learning into your daily routines. preparation or attended their last religious formation class as a middle or high school student. To find out more about the Stewardship Starts at Home book, This means decades may have gone by since parishioners visit www.stewardship-starts-at-home.company.site. and family members have experienced formation. If that is the last time that you have formed yourself or that members of your families have formed themselves, don’t panic. You are not alone. This realization is an opportunity for growth. A chance to dip your toe back in the water of faith formation and even to learn alongside the members of your family, including the youngest members who are also learning. Don’t ever



A Letter from Our Pastor

Unwrapping the Gift of Dear Parishioners,


ost people associate stewardship with giving. Some think it is a desperate plea for money. Some think of it as giving of their time, talent, and treasure to a worthy cause. Still, others think of stewardship as a single, noble gesture of generosity so common this time of year. But I have come to understand stewardship as a way of life rather than a singular act, donation, or the answer to a plea for resources. It is a lifestyle that focuses on giving back a portion of the gifts I have received from God, which brings abundant joy and blessings in return. At Christmas, when gift-giving and receiving is so common, couldn’t it also be the time when stewardship as a way of life is unwrapped in each of our lives and shared with others? After all, the gift of the first Christmas was the gift of


than just a “holiday stewardship,” which seems so common at this time of year. It is at the core of this way of life, and once that gift is unwrapped our conversion takes hold, and our lives transform into a life of faithful stewardship and active discipleship intended by our God. My hope and prayer for you and your family are that each and all of you be blessed during this season of God’s God’s own Son, whom He shared with grace, unwrapping the gift of stewardall of humanity with love and joy. ship in your lives, and finding the joy A stewardship conversion changes and peace of His gift during this season our mindset and the catalyst for steward- of grace and all year long. ship is gratitude. As we recognize that all we have is a gift from God, it lights up our gratitude, as if it were a giant Christ- Sincerely yours in Christ, mas tree with too many lights to count. All we can do is look at it with wonder and awe and be grateful for what we see, what we have, and the opportunity to Father Eduino Silveira give back something to God. It is more Pastor

“A stewardship conversion changes our mindset and the catalyst for stewardship is gratitude. As we recognize that all we have is a gift from God, it lights up our gratitude, as if it were a giant Christmas tree with too many lights to count.” 3

YOU TH MINISTRY Excited for a New Y


he start of the school year brings new routines, schedules, and classes for students each year. For many students, this is a time of high anxiety because so much is changing in their lives — new classes and expectations from teachers, new extracurricular activities, and even new friends. Through it all though, our Youth Ministry at OLA aims to keep the students grounded and engaged in their faith. “August and September are times of great chaos for families all across the parish as they gear up and begin a new school year,” says Johann Rubia-Miller, Youth Minister at OLA. “It’s easy to lose sight of your faith and grounding in the Lord during these times, but that’s precisely why we offer the youth program at OLA. We lay the foundations for our teens to dedicate time to be active participants in their faith above just going to Mass on the weekend.” Mrs. Rubia-Miller has served as the Youth Minister at OLA for ten years and previously worked as the Faith Formation Director and Confirmation teacher for many years. Through her experiences with the teens, the program has evolved a lot over the years. “We are a very service-oriented program,” Mrs. RubiaMiller says. “Through the help of the teens over the years, we have identified not only the best meeting times, days, and frequencies, but also learned and been able to plan activities, guest speakers, and events even outside the church walls that inspire and engage the youth.” This year brings new opportunities and changes to the Youth Ministry at OLA and Mrs. Rubia-Miller could not be more excited. “After plenty of planning and preparing, we moved into a new youth space this summer and are especially looking forward to the service projects we will be doing this year,” she says. “Our annual coat drive will be returning in November and December. In addition, we will be collecting hats and gloves. Our youth will walk the streets of Sacramento, encountering those in need, and offering these items to ensure their preparedness for the weather.” Additionally, with the success of the Soap for Souls program at OLA, our youth have been asked to serve the clients of Joshua’s House, a new hospice serving the terminally ill homeless men and women of Sacramento. Similarly to the


Youth preparing jackets, socks, and hats for the homeless

Some of our youth that helped set up our new Youth Ministry space

Soaps for Souls program, parishioners are invited to bring toiletries to the parish for donation. Then, our youth will help collect and distribute these necessary hygiene items to those receiving hospice care. “It is amazing and inspiring to know that the stewardship efforts of our youth from OLA have become known to other community groups who have now invited us to participate in these new missions or in new ministries of service.” Mrs. Rubia-Miller says. “These teens are growing in formation and community through service to our neighbors, participating in the On Fire diocesan rally, and also in social events like bowling or hiking,” Mrs. Rubia-Miller adds. “School and everything else can be challenging, but the community at OLA’s Youth Ministry doesn’t have to be hard. Rather, it can be a place of reprieve that helps strengthen our teens.” Youth Ministry offers our teens a place to talk about topics that are relevant to them, through a series of activities and topics we’re able to relate all the Bible stories that happened such a long time ago to our everyday life. We try to make the Bible continued on page 5

Year, New Space, and New Service Opportunities relevant in the life of the teens. We always encourage teens to Rubia-Miller says. “For the youth that are not currently attending come and present topics that they would like to talk about. Youth Ministry, I encourage them to check it out and see what As parents and teens find themselves settling into the new we are doing! Our parish has maintained being the only active school year’s schedule, we invite those not yet participating in youth ministry program in the surrounding area before, during, the Youth Ministry to join us. and after the pandemic and will continue to make this valuable “Now is the time for all of our families to reassess how and important resource available for teens. We are thankful for they are making their commitments for this school year,” Mrs. the support from Fr. Eduino and the parishioners of OLA.” Our seventh through 12th-graders meet on the second Tuesday of the month from 6:30-8 p.m., and the fourth Sunday following the morning Mass, from 11:30 a.m.- 1 pm. Each gathering has a theme, and the full calendar for the 2022-23 school year has been published for teens and parents to plan accordingly. For the full schedule of events for this year’s Youth Ministry program, or to ask questions, please contact Mrs. Johann Rubia-Miller at youth@olaparish.net.

Super Fritz & Friends Fund this new role in November 2021, Veronica Neeri has already impacted the lives of hundreds of families since she started in this position. She is there to help with everything, from insurance questions and connecting families with resources to helping families pay their bills while their child is receiving treatment. She also supports families dealing with grief over losing a loved one. Last year, the Starks hosted a toy and gift card drive through Our Lady of the Assumption to benefit the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center pediatric team. Through the generosity of our OLA parish and school community, in addition to a handful of local schools and businesses, the UC Davis Pediatric Cancer Center was blown away by the number of gifts donated. In total, the Super Fritz & Friends Holiday gift drive provided over $6,000 in gift cards and more than 1,500 unique gifts for families battling pediatric cancer. “This is the largest donation the UC Davis Pediatric Cancer Center has ever received in terms of having something for all families to access,” Anna says. The toy and gift card drive will be held this year at Our Lady of the Assumption from Nov. 7 to Dec. 3. Last year, the parish, school, and area organizations helped gather over 25 50-gallon boxes filled with toys. Ben and Anna hope to gather gift cards and toys again for the children and teens at UC Davis Medical Center. The

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Starks say this helps families dealing with cancer treatments because they typically do not have time to shop during the Christmas season, or simply because cancer treatments leave the patient ill and with a weakened immune system. Donations of items are needed for children of all age groups. The top need is for preteens and teens. Gift cards are the most-requested item. Suggested gift cards include those for Amazon, Target, Walmart, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Starbucks, Dutch Bros., Jamba Juice, GameStop, Ulta Beauty, Sephora, and Best Buy. Cards in increments of $10 to $25 are encouraged. The pediatric cancer center always needs socks for all ages, kid and teenage-themed pillowcases, blankets, gender-neutral pajama pants, and onesies. Ben and Anna Stark would like to thank the OLA parish and school community for their ongoing support of their mission to help families battling pediatric cancer. “It is because of this community that we are able to help leave cancer better than we found it,” Ben says.

Questions about the Super Fritz & Friends Fund? Contact Anna Stark at stark.benanna@gmail.com. To donate, please visit https://give.ucdavis.edu/donate/yourgift/324631.



Drawing From the Traditions of Spirituality in Our Catholic Church

f you knew the person who loves you most in the world wanted to spend some time with you, would you wish to meet that person? What if this person was also the only one capable of saving your soul for all eternity, not to mention blessing you abundantly on earth? It would seem ridiculous to say “no” to getting to know them just a little better, right? That said, you may wonder how you can best go about getting to know this person. To do just that, as Catholics, we must seek out and read things from our Catholic Christian tradition — immersing ourselves in the spiritual works of those who have found Christ in a very deep way in accordance with the Church. Indeed, there are many great saints who have flowered out of the community of believers, and we can turn to them to get to know God better. Over the centuries, the Catholic Church has been profoundly touched, enriched, and enlightened by spiritual masters whose works are powerful enough to convert souls. It is also important to recognize that the spiritual traditions in the Church express many of the same ideas but in different ways, bearing witness to the ineffable, mosaic-like beauty of Catholicism. St. Benedict began the first formal monastic tradition in the western Catholic Church, basing it on the Rule of St. Benedict. To this day, Benedictine spirituality is centered on the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, and the simplicity and appreciation of the Holy Eucharist. The Franciscan spiritual tradition began with St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. These saints brought about the Counter-Reformation that still marks the Church with splendor today. St. Francis is widely known for his Gospel-centered living, love of poverty, devotion to Christ Crucified, and mercy for all men and creatures.


The Life of St. Francis of Assisi by St. Bonaventure, and The Little Flowers of St. Francis, help one to learn more about this magnificent saint. Like St. Francis, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila also sparked a critical reformation within the Carmelite Order, which later influenced the entire Church in a positive way. Carmelite spirituality is a desert spirituality, which bases itself on silence, deep contemplative prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours, outstanding penance, and various traditional Catholic devotions. The Story of a Soul, which is the autobiography of renowned Carmelite St. Therese of Lisieux, the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, and the works of St. John of the Cross all capture the essence of Carmelite spirituality. Furthermore, Salesian spirituality stems from the great life and work of St. Francis de Sales. The Introduction to the Devout Life is a fantastic primer for those desiring to enter more profoundly into a life of union with Christ. Ignatian spirituality is known for educating people on the discernment of spirits. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, as well as The Discernment of Spirits by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, are excellent resources for learning more about this powerful spiritual tradition. Finally, The Fulf illment of All Desire by Ralph Martin is modern-day spiritual work that can help those who are seeking Christ, to find Him. The rich variety of spiritual traditions we have in the Catholic Church indicates how diverse our Church is. There are so many ways of following Christ and praying — and to do so, we can draw from the spiritual “greats.” But of course, we must always pray in the way that God is leading us, in a way that we can truly encounter God in conversation.


Enhancing Our Prayer and Worship in Song


he Catholic Mass can stand alone without any music. Yet music can make the experience of the Mass so much richer. It’s truly a joy to hear a full and active choir. Everyone can be a member of the choir at OLA — people are needed to aid in the Mass from their pew, and musicians are also needed for our ensembles. “As music ministers, we have a great privilege and also a great responsibility to use our gifts well. We always try our best to achieve prayerfulness and beauty when we sing and play,” says Casey Oliver, Music Director. “Yet we are also human and students of our craft. In music ministry, we strive to be encouraging and charitable to one another, providing a supportive environment as we grow in skill and confidence. We are looking for people who are open to growth and lifelong learning.” Our parish has the Choir in the Pews program, in which participants have access to a weekly, 20-minute online musician prayer service and receive support materials. “Choir in the Pews is a great way for both accomplished and amateur musicians to become actively involved in music ministry who may not have the time in their schedules to commit to participation in a weekly ensemble,” Casey says. “When people hear others singing around them during Mass, it breaks down barriers and invites others to participate.”

Fr. Eduino with music minister Sue Felton after Mass

As we move further out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Casey hopes to see more musicians get involved with leading the music at weekend Masses as well. Leadership in music ministry has become ensemble-based, following a “small group model.” “The goal is to build community and musicianship within the individual ensembles to encourage personal growth and collaboration,” she says. She is looking for people who want to support the “full, conscious and active participation of the assembly during the celebration of Mass and prayer services.” Singers and instrumentalists are welcome. The youth of our parish are also invited and encouraged to become involved in the Music Ministry. continued on back cover

“An engaged and singing assembly glorifies God and helps evangelize. A singing assembly is a welcoming assembly. When everyone sings, we make a joyful noise to the Lord.” — Casey Oliver, Music Director 7

5057 Cottage Way Carmichael, CA 95608 (916) 481-5115 | olaparish.net MASS TIMES: 8:00 a.m. Daily Mass Monday-Friday and first Saturday Saturday 5:00 p.m. Vigil Mass Sunday Mass 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. *See website for diocesan and county guidelines.

Music Ministry

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The Music Ministry is forming a mentorship model to help youth grow in their musical ability and leadership in Mass. Parishioners may have already noticed more youth involvement at the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass. “We enthusiastically welcome participation from the youth with musical gifts in our parish,” Casey says. Parents with children who are interested in participating should reach out to discuss their child’s musical gifts and their individual availability to participate. Casey wants to find a way to involve our youth that works for their individual circumstances. As we approach the Advent and Christmas seasons, Casey asks us all to consider how we might use our talents to serve our Lord. She would especially love to see large choirs for the Christmas Masses. “Those with musical gifts add so much to our community by actively participating in the singing at Mass,” Casey says.”Even if

you can’t join an ensemble, become a member of the Choir in the Pews — or simply start singing at Mass! “An engaged and singing assembly glorifies God and helps evangelize,” Casey adds. “A singing assembly is a welcoming assembly. When everyone sings, we make a joyful noise to the Lord.”

Members of the OLA music ministry with OCP musician and composer Jesse Manibusan

We would like to have a large youth choir for the 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass and adult choirs for the 6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass and/or 9:00 a.m. Christmas Mass. Please check the bulletin and parish website for more information on how you can participate, or reach out directly to Casey Oliver at worship@olaparish.net.

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