Autumn 2021 Fraternity
Pack Lightly, Grandpa Jim
... Party of Six, What is Your Table is Sposi Ready Novelli?
Rich Alden Managing Editor Built on the Rock
We meet again. Thinking about our theme of Fraternity, I thought about all the good fraternal organizations do in our society. But if truth be told, I also thought about the movies Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. Who can forget Bluto, Boone, Otter and Dean Wormer from Animal House and Lewis, Gilbert and Booger from Revenge of the Nerds? There are lots of laughs but the content is not real high on any list reflecting Christian values. Now use your imagination, fast forward ten to fifteen years, and where do you think these
characters end up? One future may have those characters being members of a fraternal organization, like the Knights of Columbus, the Elks or Kiwanis. What good comes from being in a formal fraternity or more often informal ones? Many of our contributors have put pen to paper and have incorporated the theme of fraternity into their articles. What’s happening on college campuses? How does a family go from two to six overnight? What is Sposi Novelli? Who is Gibbs, and why did it take him so long to get his picture in The Rock? What wisdom does Grandpa Jim have to share? Keep reading and enjoy.
08 Party of Six
12 Iron Sharpens Iron 15 Double Blessings 16 Sposi Novelli
18 Simple Interaction 20 The Fight
22 Fraternity in Christ 29 Seminarians
30 Indifference? Not Here! 36 Ministry Fair
Community 05 Fraternity in Our Lives 06 Pack Lightly
26 Want the Crunch? Mercedes O'Madden 27 Smart Giving
Cover photo taken at the August SJV Ministry Fair
Autumn 2021 Fraternity
St. John Vianney Parish 10497 Coloma Rd, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 (916) 362-1385
Many thanks to Christine Kerr, parishioner and Christian Brothers High School Fine Arts Teacher, whose students' art is featured in this issue.
In Every Issue 02 From the Editor Fraternity Rich Alden
24 A Conversation with...
A Conversation with Lagerstrom's Ed Spellacy
32 Knight's Page Fraternity
35 From the Pastor Ephphatha Fr. Gamas
38 From the Publisher
My Fraternal Nowhere Buddy Peter Arnez
Who's Reading the Rock? Tom Lefave of St. Timothy's in Meza, Arizona shown hiking on South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona. Tom is in Knights of Columbus Council #11536 and Assembly #3029.
Fraternity in Our Lives
Robert J. McGarvey
I looked up the definition of fraternity in the dictionary, and in one of the dictionaries at our home it said, “One of the writer’s favorite themes is the fraternity of mankind.” The word fraternal came from the Latin word for brother, frater. Brotherhood, kinship, blood connections, councils, leagues, clubs, religions, alliances, and there are so many more that I had to stop. All of these fraternities give us close and wonderful feelings. We can benefit from them. For instance, while I was growing up, most of my connections were related to our Saint Augustine Church and school in Jeffersonville, Indiana. I learned how to be an altarboy, learned the Latin prayers and their pronunciation, and then was assigned a Mass. I started when I was in elementary school and continued through high school.
Most of my brothers and sisters sang in the children’s choir. All the children in the choir learned that we were able to pray with song. We had a very good children’s choir and being a part of that choir let us know that we were giving prayers to God and also wonderful feelings to the members of the church. As I grew up, I was able to use what I learned as a child to help me make friends. The concept of brotherhood helped when I was in the Air Force. Things were rather tense in Louisiana during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Throughout our lives there can be difficult and painful times, but the love of God as shown through fraternity will get you through.
Pack Lightly (Lighten up) Jim Brennan
My Grandfather often told me, "Jimmy Boy, when you travel—pack lightly!" Gramp passed away in 1984; his advice remains sage. I re-learn it every time I travel, usually packing "too much."
Do we drag a boxcar full of baggage from days gone by? Do we carry regret, sadness, anger, and other useless things on our daily travels? Maybe Gramp's real message was—"lighten up!"
Today I was thinking about Gramp. It occurred to me that I may have been too literal interpreting his advice. After all, I "travel" every day. Most of us do. And what do we "pack?" Do we drag a boxcar full of baggage from days gone by? Do we carry regret, sadness, anger, and other useless things on our daily travels? Maybe Gramp's real message was— "lighten up!" Just for today I’ll travel as Gramp advised and "pack lightly." I'll take along a ready smile and a will to enjoy the day my Creator provided. Life is so very short. In fact, it's time for ice cream, right now! Why not treat yourself to something special today, too? And wherever you may go— "pack lightly!"
Grandpa Jim US Cavalry WWI Veteran
Party of Six The Ramirez Family
The first time the restaurant hostess said, “Ramirez party of six,” Esteban and Jenny popped right up and said, “here we are.” With extra broad smiles on their faces, they followed the hostess to their table. The Ramirez party of two overnight became the Ramirez party of six. Jenny and Esteban had adopted siblings Elena, Layla, and Max ages 15, 14 and 12 and more recently added their baby brother Nico to the family. Most couples ease into parenting by having one child at a time and raising it from infancy. The parents integrate their personalities, values, and experiences into the child’s life. Not Esteban and Jenny; they hit the fast-forward button ahead 15 years and jumped right in, both feet, no life preserver, no doovers, all in, all the time, forever. This has been a huge life event for everyone. As new parents it has taken courage, patience, and faith. Esteban and Jenny have shown their children the love that comes from a strong unbreakable marital bond, their desire to do their best, and a strong belief in their Catholic faith and the sacraments. Elena, Layla, and Max also have shown courage, acceptance, and trust that they are right where they need to be. While dating, Esteban and Jenny often spoke about a future family. “Married 5, 10, 15 years came and went, and we realized, we’re not going to have kids,” remembers Esteban. On the encouragement of a family member, they investigated fostering with the goal of adopting a baby.
Esteban and Jenny then took classes on fostering and adoption. Like most people in this situation, Jenny had concerns about what she and Esteban were learning. She says, “I guess I was pretty naive about what foster kids were going through and to hear about it was pretty heartbreaking. I got nervous and scared about dealing with what these kids have gone through.” Despite these feelings, Jenny and Esteban continued down the road of fostering and adopting a baby. With their goal of adopting a baby in mind, Esteban remembers late in 2019, “getting an unusual email from the county, not a form letter, but a
more personal one." It was not about adopting a baby but inquiring if they were interested in keeping three siblings together. This was not what Esteban and Jenny were looking for. They did not say no, but they didn’t immediately say yes. They talked and decided, “let’s do this step by step.” As they completed each step, Jenny prayed, “Okay God, if you want us to do this, we’ll do it, it’s your will.” Esteban adds, “It was obviously God's will, three siblings were nothing like what we were thinking of. None of them were babies, but we could give these kids a chance to stay together.”
The Ramirez Family: Party of Six Continued from page 9
There were practical things that needed taking care of as the family came together. Esteban asked their social worker what the kids should call him and Jenny. They gave him some suggestions. “We sat the children down early on and said, you can call us this or that just don't call us by our first names. Now Esteban and Jenny wear the dad and mom title with affection and pride. “At first when they called me dad it made me feel awkward and really strange because I've never been called that before. It was something I had to get used to.” There are two sides to every equation— Elena, Layla and Max had already developed their own personalities, values, and experiences. They were excited but apprehensive about the addition to their family. They had their own expectations. We thought our parents were going to be strict. “They’re not as strict as they say they are.” says Elena and Layla.
Next it was time to break the news to their families. “They were scared for us, they thought we were nuts,” remembers Jenny. As time passed, the families realized that not only would have a positive impact on the kids, but that the children were a gift to Esteban and Jenny. It didn’t take long before Elena, Layla, Max, and Nico were considered members of the family. Jenny and Esteban looked forward to being parents and had prepared as much as they could. But how do you prepare for an instant family that includes teenagers? Do you really think they knew what to expect? Expectations are a funny thing, at times reality can be like an unexpected splash of cold water on the face. There can be disappointment, confusion, and
hurt feelings but also happiness, clarity, and joy. In other words, stuff happens, and you must deal with it as it comes. Well, stuff did happen. After the adoption, the three siblings learned they had a newborn baby brother, Nico. Elana, Layla, and Max were elated, and Jenny and Esteban had the baby they had longed for. Esteban and Jenny had similar expectations for the kids, “to respect us, respect each other, respect the house, do their part and be active in the family. Reality was very hard on us, we had to realize they had been raised by somebody else” says Esteban. There were ups and downs for everyone. “We see them as our kids,” Jenny says. Esteban adds, “They're stuck with us forever now.”
All three were surprised that there were no other kids in the house as that had been their reality in the past. Layla was pleasantly surprised, “we got more to eat, mom cooks a good grilled cheese sandwich, my favorite.” All three describe their mom as funny and caring and their dad as crazy. The kids have a good sense of humor. Esteban recalls early on he was mending a broken ankle and wearing a walking boot. He was limping down the hallway, turned around and noticed Layla was mimicking him. I asked, “are you mimicking me?” and she just smiled. “That made me laugh so much. They're practical jokers.” They enjoy making us laugh. April Fool’s day is a particular favorite of the kids. There is some conflict in the family as there are San Francisco Giant fans and Los Angeles Dodger fans. “It’s a fun rivalry,” says Layla.
Family trips have included Santa Cruz, camping, and Six Flags amusement park. Esteban is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Knights on Bikes, a motorcycle touring group. His and Jenny’s participation has been reduced but Layla excitedly recalled when she got to go on a ride with her dad. For Elena, Layla and Max these days it’s all about just being normal kids making their way in life.
a freshman and is looking forward to participating in sports. Her future includes becoming a veterinarian, doctor, or nurse. Max attends Mitchell Middle School, likes gaming and wants to be a gamer when he gets older. One-year-old Nico enjoys running and all the attention he gets from his big sisters. All three are looking forward to RCIA and becoming Catholic, as well as Nico’s baptism.
Elena is a sophomore at Cordova High School, an active member of the band and is looking forward to taking cooking classes next year. Her future includes being a first-grade teacher and photographer. Layla joins her sister at Cordova High as
What advice do Esteban and Jenny have for a couple considering fostering and adopting? “We would tell them, it is going to be very hard. There’s going to be nights where you will be questioning yourself. You're not going to get any sleep and at
some points you're going to want to quit. But in the end, it’s going to be worth it. If you take the hard times versus the good times (and we’ve had both) the good times far out outweigh the hard.” What are Esteban and Jenny’s hope for the future? Esteban would like to “see them doing well in school and helping them become independent successful people with whatever they do.” Jenny adds, “I just hope they make it to heaven.” Ramirez party of six, your table is ready.
Iron Sharpens Iron
We call ourselves "The new perspective on Paul" community. We meet on Saturdays in a booth at a local restaurant. In 12 years we have missed less than 4 Saturdays. That level of
commitment, without exception has brought each of us closer than we ever dreamed possible to living the life God wants us to live. We have a fraternity that is accountable to each other and is driven by our daily scripture study. This fraternity gives us the encouragement to live our lives and marriages, a never-ending struggle of selfsatisfaction versus being a slave to Christ. It helps us live a more righteous life. Fraternity is expressed in Prov. 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” In a nutshell, God explains how important it is to be accountable to a Christian brother in order to honestly follow and obey God’s Word. From 2000-2007, I was an Evangelical lay minister/teacher. The more I read the Bible, I began to doubt some of the interpretations
I had come to know. I joined a new Protestant movement, “A new perspective on Paul,” which eventually brought me into the Catholic Church. In April 2008, along with 12 lay ministers, I went on our annual mission trip to build a church in Colombia. When flying home we had a ten-hour layover in Panama, where we discussed how Colombia
had changed our lives. You see, originally, we thought we were going there to teach the Colombians about Christ, but in the end, they taught us. We found that they were closer to Jesus in their poverty than we were in our riches. It became obvious that our lack of Holy Scripture knowledge had prevented us from living full Christian lives. My brothers knew I was thinking of converting to Catholicism and wanted to encourage me to stay in their beliefs. So, during the layover, we committed to reading the Bible cover to cover over 12 months to scrutinize doctrine.
Every Saturday, from 5:30-9:00 am, we meet as peers to discuss what we've learned. Our weekly goal is to read seven daily Bible readings, write down our questions or revelations and share them on Saturday. Over the past 12 years, some members moved on. Each Saturday we break bread and admit our shortcomings and successes. To say we are close is a major understatement. From that fateful day in Panama, through our personal faith journey, I am now safely home in the Church.
Double Blessings Rich Alden
As with most young families, the week's agenda can be full and at times chaotic. Nick and Mercedes make sure they leave time for faith formation. "One of the best parts of being a parent is seeing the girls put our Lord first by remembering to pray before meals or in the morning. 'Thank you Jesus for this day. We offer you all we do, think, and say,” says Mercedes. Nick adds, "the best part of being a father is seeing our daughters learn something new and seeing them happy." Life at SJV includes Mercedes guiding daughter Heaven, who is in preparation for first Eucharist. Sister Saoirse will follow in a few years. Nick has taken up the offer to join the youth choir. He enjoys singing and playing the guitar. “Joining the youth choir allowed me to show my daughters how we can use God-given talents to worship
Him. I’ve always believed in what St. Augustine said, ‘to sing is to pray twice.’” Home life and parenthood are a respite for Nick and Mercedes. Nick, a psychotherapist and PhD candidate in Forensic Psychology, says his Catholic faith, “provides me a roadmap to ensure I’m fostering a faith-based morality to people I treat. It also comes with challenges as I work in a field that does not always align with my Christian values.” Mercedes, a clinical dietitian, says, “My faith helps me to recognize and respond to the needs of my patients when faced with trauma, ill health, a chronic condition or sadness.” In their spare time the O’Madden’s continue to make memories through camping, cycling, watching movies, trying out new restaurants, and searching for the world’s best cup of coffee and best burrito. What excites the girls? Playgrounds, going on adventure walks, traveling, and activities that allow them to use their imagination. The also enjoy spending time with family and friends.
We spent part of our honeymoon in Rome, and planned to receive the Sposi Novelli, a newlywed blessing given by Pope Francis. As with all things related to the Vatican and the church, there are protocols and traditions.
We inquired at the Sacramento diocese to determine if we qualified. I recall that day: we needed to be married within two months, have a
copy of our Sacramental Marriage Certificate signed by our priest, and would need to wear wedding attire.” We were ecstatic. We were married, finalized our plans and set off to Rome. The ceremony was scheduled for the day of our arrival in Rome. A well thought out plan started to crumble soon after we arrived. A delay in getting luggage and picking up a rental car resulted in not enough time to pick up the Sposi Novelli tickets and make it to the ceremony on time. I prayed, "God if this is your will to bless our marriage in this way, let it be; otherwise, we are still grateful."
We made it to St. Peters square and found a parking spot. Later we realized it was a loading zone and received a parking ticket. We had no Sposi Novelli tickets, no time to change into our wedding clothes, and did not have a copy of our marriage certificate with us. The Swiss guard turned us away as we tried to join the newlyweds in line. We were not deterred. We remained hopeful and hopped fences and staggered closer to the stage. We found ourselves in contact once again with other Swiss guards who continued to turn us away. We found another path, now standing right behind the gated
fence that separated the Pope from the audience. With my broken Italian and familiar Spanish language, I was able to finagle some words to get a cardinal’s attention and let him know we had recently married and showed him a photo of us on our wedding day. The cardinal priest then signaled to the same Swiss guard who previously turned us away to let us on stage. We were tightly holding hands and running to the stage embracing this quick change of events.
wrong date. I was still in shock, and somehow, I picked up on the error and quickly corrected him. We chuckled and it ended up being a nice ice breaker. Pope Francis proceeded to bless our marriage and gave us each a rosary he had blessed. This will be a forever memory that we will always hold near to our hearts.
All the other couples had left the stage and the Pope was getting ready to leave. We were now in front of Pope Francis himself. We proceeded to kiss Pope Francis’ papal ring as this is the respectful way to greet the Pope. In utter shock, I also placed my hand gently on his cheek. Pope Francis kindly asked, "when were you married?" Nervous to answer, Nick said the
When you see the O’Madden family at church or around town, stop and introduce yourself and be sure to tell them where you found the perfect burrito, or share your own Pope Francis encounter.
Faith on Campus
One Simple Interaction...
Christianity is thriving at Sacramento State University, and its influence is far reaching. The bells of the Catholic Church nearby can be heard throughout campus. There are multiple Christian sororities/fraternities and clubs. They offer students a chance to make friends with those who share similar values while growing in their faith as they get to know God and the Bible better. The Newman Center across the street from the campus gives students a place to go to Mass on Sundays, as well as holy days of obligation and other special days like Ash Wednesday. Those, however, are held on campus. The first Ash Wednesday service that I attended on campus was more of a coincidence than anything else. One of my classes had been canceled, so when my roommate asked if I wanted to go to Mass with her instead, I agreed. We walked from our apartment to the Sacramento State Union where many students had gathered to attend the short Mass.
When we all walked out of the Union afterwards, we did so rather boldly with our ashes on our forehead, for everyone on campus to see. At first, I didn’t mind the odd looks I received as I walked. But when I separated from my roommate and the other students, I became incredibly self-conscious about having so many eyes glued to my forehead. But I continued, remembering that 1 Timothy 1:7 says, For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
I was surprised, but it was the best kind of surprise, and I felt my smile become more genuine. I felt much more confident after this one simple interaction and had no issue meeting anyone else's eye for the rest of the day. I realized that I really had nothing to be embarrassed about, especially if I chose to believe that most of the people staring at me were just wondering about where they could go to Mass, too.
Andrea Molinar is a senior at Sacramento State majoring in journalism. She’s an active member of the Catholic Newman Center and participates in a nondenominational Bible study with her fellow students. Her future includes working in publishing. She is an aspiring novelist.
When I arrived at my classroom, the stares followed me there as well. I was the only person in the room with ashes on their forehead. Eventually one of my classmates, who I’d seen staring at me and whispering with someone else out of the corner of my eye, stood up and I immediately knew she was about to approach me. I quickly went over how I would explain the ashes to her and prepared my friendliest smile as she tapped on my shoulder. I looked up just as she asked, “Did you go to Mass at the Union today? Do you know when the next one is going to be at?”
The Fight for the Kingdom of Heaven As a student at San Diego State University, there was an activist culture on campus that was constantly voicing the evils of long-lived western ideals such as capitalism, pro-life, patriarchy, oppressive laws, and the evil founding
fathers of our country. Their ideas were often very compelling. There has been a huge growth in the influence these groups have on students. It is clear to me that this is something we shouldn’t ignore or belittle, especially if our call as Catholics is to bring others to the Kingdom of Heaven.
There has been a great push toward secularism in today's society. The targets have been young students passing through the university systems.
For myself, I was fortunate enough to have great mentors through my high school years, which allowed me to remain grounded in the truths of the gospel when confronted by activist groups. Nevertheless, each one of these encounters was very challenging due to the academic approach they took. They quoted studies and well known scholars to defend their position. I soon found myself incapable of defending my faith and values. I began to feel a wave of fear and doubt festering through my body and mind. I asked
We must speak the truths that are revealed to us by God and embrace the cross when the mob wants to crucify us for doing so.
Despite the focus on destorted ideologies preached by academics in universities, the fight for the Kingdom of Heaven remains the same. We must speak the truths that are revealed to us by God and embrace the cross when the mob wants to crucify us for doing so.
myself, “how is it that I am unable to stand my ground, defend my values and fight for what I know to be true?” That awareness sparked something in me that initiated an intense prayer life and a desire for wisdom. Gallup, an American analytics company, conducted a study of church membership across a 20-year period and the result showed that there has been a 20% decrease in church attendance since 1999. It is my belief that this 20% decrease in attendance is a byproduct of wellarticulated arguments that foster a rebellious spirit against Godly principles.
In the book of Sirach 2:1-9, God speaks to us clearly, saying that when we serve the Lord, we shall prepare ourselves for trials; stay near the Lord, accept whatever happens to us in time of humiliation and to put our trust in God, for He is faithful. Therefore, besides working towards my professional goals, I also attempt to serve the Lord by speaking the truths of the gospel through whatever medium God makes available—in this case, Built on the Rock. My message to youth: Search for truth so the truth can set you free. Discipline yourself, then serve your family, community, and humanity as a whole.
St. John Vianney School
Fraternity in Christ Jessica Loria
At St. John Vianney School, our teachers are all brothers and sisters in Christ who are mission driven and Gospel centric as they work in their common interest of educating our students. They are a fraternity. When we hear the word fraternity, we often associate it with college "Greek" life. Rightfully so, these organizations have been around since the 18th century. However, this is not the only type of fraternity. Fraternity is defined as a "body of people associated with a common interest; a "guild" or "brotherhood," if you will. A great example of SJV staff fraternal relationship is our 5th-grade teacher, Jim Walker, and our 4th-grade teacher, Lindsay McKaig. Mr. Walker is a 34-year veteran of the classroom with close to twenty years in Catholic education. Ms. McKaig, on the other hand, is a first-year teacher who comes to SJV through Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). She is earning her Master's degree in education from Notre Dame while getting hands-on experience as SJV's 4th-grade teacher. On the surface, these two teachers do not have much in common.
Giovanni Segantini, After Storm
Walker has a way of instilling his experience in a "fraternal" way. He says, "Jesus is the greatest teacher of all, and he would never turn away anyone who needed his help/advice—so I feel we are all connected and committed to helping out one another." "He's a beacon of peace for me," McKaig says of Walker. Empathy and wisdom are some of Walker's ways of walking alongside McKaig after a challenging day in the classroom. Walker tries to remind McKaig they have the same goal of making students thrive and puts her at ease by saying, "I've been through that, too." These two have "a whatever is good for the students is what we want to do" philosophy that further helps them bond. Both Walker and McKaig are drawn to teaching to help students grow while working toward each student's full potential. Catholic education provides them with a way to "invite God into the classroom through an ongoing conversation around goodness by walking alongside SJV students to help realize goodness each and every day."
However, on day one there was an immediate connection between Walker and McKaig through their shared values and enthusiasm for Catholic education. Watching this fraternal connection through a mentor/ mentee relationship has been fun—it has been great to see both teachers grow. Walker passes along his seasoned experience, and he appreciates McKaig's energy and new ideas.
6 Feb 1997: Center David Crouse of the USC Trojans shoots the ball during a game against the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Todd Warshaw /Allsport/ Getty Images
We recently caught up with SJV alumnus David Crouse, class of 88. After a stellar basketball career at Cordova High School and the University of Southern California, he played professionally overseas for 15 years, including several on the Mexican National team. In 2018, he was inducted into the Rancho Cordova Sports Hall of Fame. He's a world traveler and has visited 108 countries. He has fond memories of his SJV years including being the only altar boy taller than the priests. He still keeps in touch with several alums. Says David, "I hope everyone in the SJV family is staying sane/ healthy in this weird world we currently live in."
A Conversation with the Lagerstroms Ed Spellacy
I had the pleasure of visiting with Lloyd and Connie Lagerstrom recently, with the purpose of introducing them to our “Built on the Rock” readers. My wife Olivia and I have known Lloyd and Connie for years through the “Mr. and Mrs. Club,” but as I gathered information about this talented cou-
ple, I realized that I could fill the entire next issue of the magazine with their many contributions of service to our SJV Parish. To put it simply—we are very fortunate to have had Connie and Lloyd in our parish community for these past 39 years! Connie grew up in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, north of Green Bay, and Lloyd is from the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield. Lloyd attended St. Norbert College near Green Bay. He and Connie met on a blind date for a Sunday picnic with Lloyd’s fraternity on the shore of Lake Michigan near Connie’s home. Several years later, they “tied the knot” with a big wedding at Lloyd’s home parish of St. John Vianney in Brookfield. As the saying goes, the rest is history, and they are still connected to St. John Vianney! (Note: Lloyd’s St. Norbert College was the site of the “Green Bay Packers” summer training camp. To say that Lloyd is a “Packers” fan is the understatement of the year!) Lloyd received a commission in the US Air Force, and he and Connie were stationed first at Wurtsmith AFB in Michigan, where Lloyd served as a navigator in Strategic Air Command B-52’s B-52’s.. Lloyd’s USAF career took the family to several locations, including Beale AFB, Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, South Korea and, finally, Mather AFB, where he retired from the USAF. Lucky for us, they enjoyed the area, bought a house in Rancho Cordova, and joined St. John Vianney Parish in 1982 1982.. They have two daughters, Lissa and Luv, and four grandchildren ages 14 through 19 19.. They lost their son Leif Eric in a traffic accident in 2005 2005..
Before leaving Wisconsin for “Air Force life”, Connie was a manager of
their 20 20-acre -acre property and creates mulch to make those roses even more healthy and beautiful! There’s more: Lloyd served many years as the Chair of the Parish Finance Council, and Connie is also active with the Caring Connections ministry.
a hair salon in Milwaukee. After the family settled in Rancho, she opened her own salon called “Hair Movements,” which she operated until she retired in 2009 2009.. At the same time, Lloyd retired from his second career with the Franchise Tax Board. In 1999,, they bought a twenty-acre prop1999 erty with a barn in Diamond Springs. Lloyd enjoys the physical work, and especially likes tooling around in his John Deere tractor. Soon after joining SJV Parish, Lloyd and Connie became members of the Mr. and Mrs. Club, our parish social club. Over many years, they have served in every office in the Club, and have chaired countless social functions.
Team” at the 8 am Mass on Sundays. Oh—and roses! Lest I forget, Connie and Lloyd tend to more than 300 rose bushes around the parish grounds, including the splendid setting in Mary’s Garden. Diamond Springs note: Lloyd cuts and chips wood on
Thank you, Lloyd and Connie, for choosing Rancho Cordova and SJV to be your home. You are not only selfless volunteers, but you are fun-loving folks and great friends to all who know you. Lest I forget, these amazing parishioners are also the best couple on the dance floor at Mr. and Mrs. Club functions—they have all the right moves! I will finish with a great comment from Connie: “Bottom line is: We are equally committed to getting each other to Heaven throughout our 55 years of marriage.”
Each day starts with daily Mass (Connie drives, Lloyd walks). Let’s look at just some of their activities: Lloyd was the Finance Chair for the Festival for 28 years, and Connie was his “runner” collecting revenues from the various venues. They assist Deacon Walter with liturgical seasonal decorations inside the church. Every first Friday after the 8 am Mass, they gather their Martha and Mary ministry team to do a thorough cleaning of the church. They also meet with Disciples on the Journey every Friday during Lent, and they are an "Usher
4. Can reduce risk of certain cancers, like colorectal cancer. The latest American Institute of Cancer Research report shows that each 10-grams increase in dietary fiber is linked with a 7 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer. 5. Promoting healthy digestive tract - helps to improve frequency of bowel movements and fuel good gut bacteria.
Want the Crunch on Fiber? Mercedes O’Madden RD, CDCES Registered Dietitian
Fiber is an essential nutrient that comes from parts of plant foods your body cannot digest or absorb. Noteworthy health benefits of fiber are: 1. Decreases the risk for heart disease - helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol.
2. Can reduce risk for Type 2 Diabetes - helps to delay absorption of dietary carbohydrates and lowers the rise of blood sugar following a meal. 3. Helps with weight loss - slows down how quick foods pass from the stomach through the digestive tract, making us feel full longer on fewer calories.
Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. A few ideas for adding fiber from food rather than a fiber supplement include: • Tossing beans into your next salad or soup. • Chopping vegetables to add to your eggs, pasta, wraps or meats on the grill. • Adding fruit or nuts to yogurts, desserts, and salads. Enjoy the crunch!
Summer Salad Recipe 5 oz Spring Mix ¼ cup Edamame edible parts 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds 6 Whole strawberries, sliced ¼ cup Blueberries 2 Tablespoons Pumpkin seeds 1 Tablespoon of Pine nuts 1 cup Julienne beets 10 Kalamata olives ¼ cup Tomato and basil crumbled feta cheese 1/3 cup Fat free Italian dressing Yields: 5 servings Nutritional information per 5 servings: 721 calories, 74g carbohydrates, 23g fiber, 30g protein Nutritional information per serving: 144 calories, 15 g carbohydrates, 4.5g fiber, 6g protein
Our parish and many charities were hurt by the COVID pandemic due to reduced giving and restrictions on fundraising events. We should ask ourselves the question, "Can I or someone I know make a difference?" Of course, we would want to do so in a tax-efficient manner. When you look at it that way, the answer is a resounding yes, I can make a difference. Two strategies to know: 1. There is a unique opportunity for those over 70½ to benefit from gifting from a traditional IRA. Qualifying individuals can take up to $100,000 from an IRA and gift to a qualified charity and not have the distribution count as reportable income. This is especially helpful for individuals who have mandatory distributions who do not want the income counted for tax purposes. 2. Many owners of IRAs have a required minimum distribution annually. Applying the distribution, or part of it, as a gift to charity excludes it from income. In other words, you don’t have to pay taxes on it! True Story: There is a parishioner who went into nursing and got a great job that provided retirement at age 50. She also served in the military reserves with retirement at age 60, along with a third job with retirement at 65. She began collecting social security at age 70. She worked hard and planned well. She was surprised to learn from her parents that she would inherit a large taxable IRA. She said, “No Thank You” and suggested the parents make a charitable donation. They did, and were able to see the benefits of that gifting while still alive. And, no one had to pay taxes on the distributions. In our culture, we don’t talk about money. Maybe it is time we did. Most people give to their church or charity out of their desire to help. Tax laws allow for giving to be both meaningful and strategic.
Where Are The Seminarians? Al Getz
I had the pleasure of attending the 8th annual Seminarian Vocations Benefit Dinner last July at
St. Mary Parish in Sacramento. It was an almost completely full hall. Most Reverend Jaime Soto and Most Reverend Bishop Emeritus William Weigand were both special guests, as were several Knights of Columbus dignitaries seated on the dais. Six Seminarians were also present: Edgar Lozano-Cuevas, Theology II, Zachary Strum, Pre-Theology II, Victor Amador, Pre-Theology I, Alejandro Marquez, College III, Eric Pereira, Theology-IV, and Benjamin Condon, Theology II. The seminarians were asked to each sit at an open seat of a table.
St. John Vianney had two tables, one dedicated to the Knights of Columbus Blessed Sacrament Council 5322. Seminarian Benjamin Condon sat at our table along with Paul Labbe, Cassie Hayes, Greggory Freeman, Grand Knight Joseph Henderson, Patricia Henderson, Jeffery Henderson, Louella Getz, and me.
seven boys and one sister and has a twin, Thomas, who is a few minutes older. As luck would have it, I met Thomas a year and a half ago when I bought a recliner at Ashley’s Furniture in Roseville and Thomas was the salesman who sold me the chair. The Lord works in strange ways and has connected me with Benjamin a few times.
Benjamin Condon gave a speech on how and why he chose to be a priest. He is an excellent speaker and will make a great homilist.
We also saw many altar servers receive awards and recognition for the work they do to support the priest. Thank you to Brother George Bagley, Northern California Vocations Chairman and Director of the CORE Team.
Benjamin and I met a few years earlier at a Seminarian vs. Priest Basketball game (by the way, the Seminarians won). I remember talking to his mom who was beaming with pride at her son. Benjamin comes from a family of
Buckhorn Restaurant /Vacaville provided the meal and several Knights and Lady Knights helped serve and cleanup.
Indifference? Not Here! When you have a moment, go to our parish website and listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz’s homily, “The Poison of Indifference.” It is an inspiring homily and a wonderful example of what we can accomplish with intention. The Rancho Cordova Food Locker (RCFL) is a great example. RFCL is a hunger-relief organization focused on addressing food insecurity in the county. It is part of the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services network. Food comes from the USDA Emergency Food Assistance Program, the American Food Recovery Program, and other food donations. Its operation relies on individual cash donations and grants. Volunteers are critical to do the job of providing three days of healthy nutritious food. Why mention indifference? Talk
to the Board, staff, volunteers and recipients and you hear the following: “You are connected to like-minded individuals who are engaged to help the hunger insecure to fight a problem that is not going away.” Sarina, America Corps Member “People need to be provided not just food but food for which they can prepare healthy meals and feel good about taking care of their families." Tim, staff member “This gives me something to do, and I get to share in the enjoyment of helping people get food.” Jin, Longtime volunteer after 10 years as a Senior Gleaner “We work hard putting together the food baskets with complimentary food to show we care about the recipients.“ Pat, 5 year staff member
"It takes a lot of work to sort, store and assemble food. We do it to ensure the food is safe, fresh, and meaningful.” Linda, volunteer “This program teaches skills and responsibility. We volunteers are proud to be of help.” Jackie, Volunteer Coordinator for Disabled Group "The Food Locker happens because we have volunteers who make a difference in people’s lives.” Linda, Staff Supervisor RCFL success relies on financial donors. Most of our donors request anonymity in their giving. “Many years ago our family relied on the Food Locker; today we are in a position to give back. We give to the RCFL because we know they make a real difference for food insecure people. My monthly gift is used locally and I can see the good works and caring of the RCFL for those in need. It lifts my spirit.” Anonymous
Our clients are most appreciative. Common themes we hear are: “We are a family of five on low income, and you make a difference;” “Our family of seven includes grandparents, parents, and children. The food locker is a blessing;" "We are getting food from those who care and show love.”
Recently a client arrived with his son, his car was loaded with food and he was handed a beautiful cake. “Wow, we have a birthday cake,” he responded. When asked about his experience with the Food Locker he said, "With COVID, lack of work, unknown income, and a large family, it was the constant in our life." The
community knows they can count on the Food Locker to provide food without shame and with love. There is no indifference at the Food Locker. For many, the RCFL Community is the difference.
What it means to be a Knight Every day, Knights all over the world are given opportunities to make a difference . . . whether through community service, raising money or prayer.
We care for our families. We support our clergy. We serve our community. And, we have fun doing it. We are the Knights of Columbus. We invite you to join our council For more information go to: www.ranchoknights.com 33
From the Pastor
Ephphatha excerpt from homily September 5, 2021
Jesus heals people. That’s one of the reasons why people followed Jesus. (Also, of course, for handing out free lunches at the multiplication of loaves and fishes.) People came to Jesus for healing from their physical illness but most importantly from their spiritual sickness. This is the case of today’s Gospel. He heals a deaf man who also has a speech impediment. Jesus fulfills the prophecy in the first reading we hear today: "Fear not! Here is your God, he comes with divine recompense; he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared.” Deafness, in the biblical sense, is not just a physical illness. Deafness is also a spiritual issue. The inability to hear must be seen in the context of our relationship with God. The Gospel narrative about the healing of the deaf and dumb man leaves us with a lot of lessons about openness. First: Openness to help others. The Gospel begins with some people bringing a deaf and dumb man to Jesus and begging him to lay his hand on him. The action of the unnamed people is an indication of goodwill and charity. The Gospel of Luke presents a similar scenario where some people had to remove the roof of a house to lower down a paralyzed man to where Jesus was preaching in a
crowded room so that he could heal him. We need to learn to be open to helping others. Second: Openness to leave the "crowd mentality." Responding to the people’s request, our Lord Jesus Christ takes the man away from the crowd. The crowd here stands for all the hindering spiritual, moral, even physical elements around us. Many of us are carried away by crowd mentality from social pressures. There is the need for us to stand by the Lord so that we can experience his healing touch. Third: Openness to break barriers. When Jesus Christ accepted to heal the deaf and dumb man, he broke the unjustifiable barrier between the able and the disabled; he bridged the gap between the well and the unwell. St. James reinforces this in the second reading where he instructs that there should be no partiality among us as we adhere to the faith in Jesus Christ. To be truly open, we need to break the social, economic, political and religious barriers that confront us. Fourth: Openness to the healing touch of the Word of God. In the narrative, we learn that our Lord had to put his finger into the man’s ears, and says ephphatha, which means, “be opened.” Jesus’ finger acts as God’s electrical wiring or a divine hearing aid that plugs into the man’s ears so the man can hear. During this process, the man remains open and accepting. The sad reality is: we find it hard to hear God’s Word. And why do we not hear God’s voice? Well, in the first place, because there are so many loud voices—sounds and noises—competing for our attention. Think of all the sounds and noises drowning out the voice of God: TV, radio, phones, gadgets, addictive digital, and online games. The point is, we are not giving the Word of God a chance to be heard. We block our ears from God and we constantly plug in to the noises of the world.
Fr. Giovanni Gamas
In the Bible, God speaks in silence. God speaks in the silence of our hearts and we, the modern human beings, are afraid of silence. We need to be open to the healing touch of the Word of God by being still and by quieting our minds and hearts. Finally: Openness to being open. Openness to being open requires us to listen with profound charity and speak with clarity. In the healing process, the Lord opened the ears before the mouth. It tells us about the importance of listening more than talking; that could be the reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth. We need to listen more before talking. We could apply this to our prayer life. We think prayer is only talking to God and asking God what we want. But it’s more than that. Prayer is a two-way communication, a dialogue – which means there is a time to talk and a time to listen. This open dialogue starts within our families; among couples, parents and children. Today’s challenge is that we don’t really know how to listen anymore. Everybody talks but nobody really listens. Like the man in today’s gospel story, we have become deaf to the Word of God. And like him, we need healing. We need our ears to be touched and healed by the Lord Jesus so that we may hear God speaking to us in a personal way. “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”
Ministries of SJV There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
What Fraternity are You Going to Join?
Photos on cover and shown here were taken at the August SJV Ministry Fair. Special thanks to Ministry Fair coordinator, Sherry Dunn
My Fraternal Nowhere Buddy
existential neurosis the anxiety and pain of living . . . the inability to answer the basic question, what is life all about? Where do I go from here? How will I find it? Their mind and heart each has been dammed up with all the scum and garbage of the world."
Once, on a very hot day, when he was lying in the shade, I saw a food truck come screeching to a stop in front of him. The driver jumped out of his truck, opened his concession stand door, and grabbed a sandwich and soda, tossing them through the air for nowhere man to catch. Then the driver jumped back in his truck and off he went. The driver had found his neighbor in the way Bishop Sheen had described.
Peter Arnez Managing Publisher Built on the Rock
A man I often see walking the streets of Rancho Cordova is tall, 50-ish, with a full shag of disheveled hair and unkempt beard. I don’t think he’s homeless, but I’m certain he is wandering. He wears soiled blue mechanic coveralls, no socks, and his tennis shoes are well worn. Often, I see him sitting barefoot on the grass under the shade of a tree, rubbing his feet. His feet must be sore. His face and hands have that ultra-dark complexion from years spent in the sun. He has a worn-out look about him. He moves slow and steady with purpose, as if he has somewhere to go. Walking purposefully is his ruse, his way of blending into his surroundings, and not drawing attention to himself. He reminds me of the Beatles song, Nowhere Man. He's a real nowhere man Sitting in his nowhere land Making all his nowhere plans for nobody. Doesn't have a point of view Knows not where he's going to, Isn't he a bit like you and me? Over fifty years ago, Bishop Fulton Sheen made a brash statement about the human condition that I find both unsettling yet true, even to this day. Says Sheen, "The vast majority of people today are suffering from what might best be described as an
Back to my nowhere buddy. I've been crossing paths with him for years. I've tried offering him a greeting, but he doesn't seem to speak. I've been in line with him at Costco and watched him get the $1.99 hot dog special, all without saying a word.
My favorite nowhere man story is about the time I was walking with my 2-year-old grandson Kieran in a stroller. We ended up together with nowhere man at a crosswalk light, both of us waiting to cross the street.
This is a harsh landscape to describe the home of humanity . . . yet so true. His escape plan from this hellish human condition is equally brash and not at all what I expected to hear. He specifically states, “I expect you think I’m going to tell you to get down on your knees and start praying to God . . . but I’m not. You’re not ready for that.” His escape plan follows: "FIND your Neighbor. The easiest way out of this is to love the people whom you see. If we do not love whom we see, how can we love God whom we do not see? Once you do this, you begin to break out of the shell. You discover that your neighbor is not Hell, as Sartre would have you believe. Your neighbor is part of yourself and is a creature of God."
To be honest, I was worried. This is a big, disheveled mountain of a man. As it worked out, he bent down to get a better look at Kieran. It was a long look, and they both seemed to be saying something to each other without saying a word. Then nowhere man straightened up and looked me in the eye, something he had never done before. He said, "beautiful baby." Just then the light changed, and he went on his way. I was in shock . . . he can speak! And I had said nothing. I felt like a miracle had just occurred. I believe my Kieran was given a special blessing from nowhere man. We were now Nowhere Man's neighbor. Look for the presence of God in your neighbor, even those that may not express faith or lifestyle the same way we do. They can expand our notion of God and remind us how Christ-like acts are sometimes carried out by unlikely people.
Every Christian is called to a deeper spiritual life.
St. John Vianney Parish 10497 Coloma Rd, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 (916) 362-1385 A Publication of Rancho Cordova Knights of Columbus Blessed Sacrament Council #5322 email@example.com Publisher—Fr. Giovanni Gamas Editor—Deacon Walter Little Asst. Editor—Deacon Daniel Rangel Managing Publisher—Peter Arnez Managing Editor—Rich Alden Copy Editor—Colleen Arrigo Proof Editors—Liz Alden —Larry Bragg IT Manager—Joseph Henderson Photographer—Gerard Abrams
Formed has a spectacular new episode in its series, “The Search,” and it is amazing. SEARCH is designed to help each of us communicate to others how we can all walk with Christ. Bishop Barron wrote “We are wise in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis; if we educate ourselves in the faith; if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; if we become people of [sacrificial] love. We are foolish in our waiting if we neglect these things.” Check it out. Visit www.formed.org Kyle Marx
Support the Rock. website donations: www.ranchoknights.com or by check payable to: Rancho Knights Council #5322 PO Box 1601, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742-1601
Meet Gibbs, Our Pet of the Issue
Back Page photo: enjoying Autumn at SJV
“My name is Gibbs. I’m named after Leroy Jethro Gibbs from the TV show NCIS. Leroy Gibbs is relentless at catching the bad guys. I am just as relentless at chasing balls. I’ve been nominated for the prestigious honor several times but have never been chosen, mostly due to some puppy behavior I’ve grown out of." Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Dark of Night Shall Stay me From The Swift Completion of my returning the ball to my master.
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