Friday, June 5, 2015

This Past Year and Beyond

Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe that I have been here for nearly one year. During my first year, I have taken the opportunity to view the general scope of the parish plant, its operations, and (of course) our parish mission. This allows me to make adjustments and changes where necessary.

Regarding the parish plant, we have paid off the Holy Family Center loan. Now, we are able to look at our parish infrastructure and make sure that our buildings and environment are in good shape. After some studies, we have discovered that a few of our buildings (the parish office, the rectory, and our church building need repairs and/or renovations). Immediate repairs include replacement of cast iron pipes for sewage under the rectory and the parish offices and replacement of doors and jams in the church. In the future, a full renovation of the rectory (our oldest building on the property), pew and tile restorations in the church, and a more durable patio structure just outside of the church will be addressed.

Finally, we have contracted with Sullivan Energy to create a Solar Panel system on our property to save the school and parish over $15,000 in monthly electric bills. Plans are also underway to change our church lighting system for better-cost savings.

In addition to our physical plant needs, we are also ready to address the general mission of our parish. If you recall, over two months ago, I asked you to give your review or perception of our parish, particularly as it carries on the mission of Christ here in Poway. Your responses to the review were very helpful to our 5 Year Plan Committee. After calculating your reviews, we have determined that the following areas are in need of attention:

1. Youth and Young Adults: Your reviews confirmed our committee’s perception that the youth and young adult ministries could be more effective. To this end, we are implementing plans for a comprehensive youth and young adult program that will include more targeted adolescent outreach, high school outreach, a stronger Confirmation program, a "bridge program" for Juniors and Seniors, and a strong Young Adult program.

2. Marriage Preparation and Marriage and Family Life: High on the list of your feedback was the Sacrament of Marriage and other family life issues. A new team, lead by Deacon John and Alice Beas are rolling up their sleeves to meet these needs head-on.

3. Seniors and Widows/Widowers: We will be revamping our outreach to the seniors of our parish community who make up a large part of our parish.

4. Evangelization: It was agreed, based on your views, that our parish needs to have a more effective evangelization program - particularly to our fallen away Catholics. In order to evangelize effectively, we have begun a parish census to see who is in our parish. If you are registered, you will have received a census form. Your reply to the census will give us great feedback as we address our evangelization efforts.

Other issues surfaced from your survey responses, but these were the issues in most need of attention. I thank you for your responses and please be assured that they are already giving us great information as we continue to carry on the mission entrusted to us.

God Bless!

Father John

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

St. Michael's News Connection • Week of May 24th

Through the Grace of the Trinity

As I began reflecting on this upcoming Sunday’s Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, words that Bishop McElroy spoke at his installation came to mind.  He spoke of “the grace of mutual accompaniment.” In my mind, the Holy Trinity appears to be a perfect reflection of the grace of mutual accompaniment.  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, though distinct are one – united in love, eternally.

We are all challenged and called to unite as one body. We are called to love one another as the Father has loved us.   We are called to walk with one another as Jesus walked with us, and to break with one   another the Bread of Eternal Life.  We are commissioned to do so with the fire of the Spirit.  And it is in the everyday practical applications of accompanying one another that we are most challenged.

Walking with one another requires effort and sacrifice, particularly in living out the Corporal and the Spiritual Works of Mercy. But then, the effort and sacrifice can bring us to a greater good. Walking with one another as companions on a journey of faith will lead us to the truth and joy of the Gospel by the grace of, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

-Jim Gase

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Congratulations to all the children from Religious Ed., School, and Youth

Ministry who have received their First Holy communion this past weekend.

Monday, April 27, 2015


  As our parish celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation this weekend, I have been reflecting on the extraordinary -- yet often overlooked -- gift we receive in this sacrament. While Baptism and Eucharist are certainly viewed with great importance, sometimes Confirmation does not receive the same value. This is evidenced in statistics from a 2007 USCCB study that show that 90% of Catholics receive Baptism and First Communion, but 69% receive Confirmation.
I love the sacrament of Confirmation! These statistics frustrate me because Confirmation is such a profound and beautiful gift, of which I am reminded each year at our parish Confirmation liturgy, and I have great hope this next generation of Catholics can foster a greater understanding, and therefore appreciation, of this sacrament.

An example that comes to mind of the importance of the Holy Spirit is of a discussion we had at our Parish Staff meeting during Holy Week. We considered the question of whether or not we would have had the courage to stay with Jesus and defend him when the soldiers came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane. The majority said that even though we would like to think that we could stay with Jesus, most likely, we would have probably turned and fled like the Apostles. In our discussion, I reminded the staff that at that point, the Apostles had not yet received the Gift of the Holy Spirit since Jesus had not yet died and risen, and the promised Advocate had not yet been sent to them at Pentecost. So if we look at it from this perspective, even though the Apostles had known an intimate relationship with the human Jesus, in many ways they were far less equipped than we are to manage the adversities of life – we not only have the gift of receiving Jesus in the flesh on a weekly (or daily, if we desire) basis through the Eucharist, but through the sacramental grace of Baptism and Confirmation, we are also strengthened and sealed with the Holy Spirit in a way that the Apostles had not yet known in the Garden.

I feel that Confirmation and similarly, the feast of Pentecost, are sometimes underrated in Catholic sensibility. I have had the privilege of teaching Adult Confirmation for the last five years, and it is such a joy to walk the journey of faith with these adults, who for various reasons, return to receive this sacrament later in life. As I tell our candidates each year, at the Confirmation liturgy when they are coming forward to be anointed with the Sacred Chrism and sealed with the Holy Spirit, they are being changed forever, indelibly marked, with sanctifying grace and the seven gifts of wisdom, right judgment, understanding, reverence, wonder & awe, knowledge, and fortitude. As the Bishop (or in our parish’s case this year, Fr. John!) marks each candidate, I always like to imagine a little pilot light flame -- POOF! -- appearing over each person’s head. I imagine the light that is intensified in the church when the flames over the heads of the newly-confirmed are combined with the flames over those who were already confirmed, starting with the first Apostles in the upper room at Pentecost. It is awe-inspiring to imagine the light we can share with the world because of the gift of Confirmation.
If you haven’t thought about it before or recently, I encourage you to think and pray about this special legacy and to open your mind and heart to the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in your life. Don’t underestimate the power your Confirmation has had in your faith journey, be it yesterday, 10, 20, or 50 years ago!
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love. 
Send forth your spirit, and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Christ is risen! Alleluia! Easter blessings to everyone! It is certainly proper that we celebrate the victory that Christ has won for us by His death and resurrection. I love how the Church expresses this Easter joy in the liturgy, namely, for eight days (Octave of Easter) we sing or recite the Gloria, and we have the option of singing (or reciting) the Easter Sequence, otherwise known as Victimae Paschali Laudes.

The Easter Sequence is not sung at the Easter Vigil, but is mandatory for Easter Sunday Masses, and is optional within the Octave of Easter. This beautiful and ancient poem, usually attributed to Wipo of Burgundy (d. 1048), chaplain of the German Emperor Conrad II in the 11th Century, tells a short narrative story of the Resurrection morn, set to a beautiful Gregorian chant melody. Here's the Latin text, followed by its English translation: 

Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello
conflixere mirando:
dux vitae mortuus,
regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria,
quid vidisti in via?

Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
et gloriam vidi resurgentis:

Angelicos testes,
sudarium, et vestes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea:
praecedet suos in Galilaeam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia


To the Paschal Victim let Christians offer a sacrifice of praise.

The Lamb redeemed the sheep.
Christ, sinless, reconciles sinners to the Father.

Death and life were locked together in a unique struggle.
Life's captain died;
now he reign, never more to die.

Tell us Mary, "What did you see on the way?"

"I saw the tomb of the now living Christ.
I saw the glory of Christ, now risen."

"I saw angels who gave witness;
the cloths too which once had covered head and limbs."

"Christ my hope has arisen.
He will go before his own into Galilee."

We know that Christ has indeed risen from the dead.
Do you, conqueror and king, have mercy on us. 
Amen. Alleluia.

Here's a link to the Sequence in Latin and English 


Blessed Easter to you all,

Fr. Lauro

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Something New to Finish off Lent

Besides the palms this past Sunday you may have noticed something different in the Church behind the altar. There is a “new” crucifix hanging there. In this blog post I will attempt to answer a few questions that you might have about this change.

Where did this “new” crucifix come from? 

Well technically, it’s not a new crucifix, the crucifix was carved by Charles Kublois for the new church when it was first opened and has been in the Holy Family Chapel at the back of the Church ever since. Interestingly enough Charles Kublois also carved the great statue of St. Joseph that is also in the Holy Family Chapel.

Why was the crucifix moved to this new position?

To answer this question I consulted our Pastor Fr. John. He let me know about a document called the General Instruction of The Roman Missal. Basically this document lays out all of the regulations and guidelines for everything from the Structure of the Mass to the flowers used for decoration in the Church. On the subject of a Crucifix near the altar the General Instruction of the Roman Missal has this to say: 

308. Likewise, either on the altar or near it, there is to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, a cross clearly visible to the assembled people. It is desirable that such a cross should remain near the altar even outside of liturgical celebrations, so as to call to mind for the faithful the saving Passion of the Lord.

Father John felt that we needed a more prominent, fixed, crucifix that we could look upon and reflect on Christ’s great love for us.

What was put in the spot where the Crucifix was previously?

Fr. John commissioned a local artist and parishioner Haley Weisenburger to paint a beautiful picture of the Holy Family for that location (pictured below). 

In the painting the Holy Family is surrounded by the three arch angels including our name sake St. Michael. I would encourage you to stop by the the chapel area sometime and pray in front of the wonderful images of the Holy Family that are located there.

Whatever the reasons for the move I have to say the timing couldn't have been better. As we enter this Holy Week the new positioning of the Crucifix seems to be a final push for our attention.  Now is the time. Now is the time to refocus our minds, our hearts, and our lives on Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for us. 

God Bless,

Peter Garcia

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Making this the “Best Lent Ever”

We are about halfway through Lent, and this is usually where everybody hits the slump! Lent is a challenging liturgical season for me, and each year I am determined to make this Lent a better experience, instead of begrudgingly dragging myself along through my Lenten sacrifices. Finding joy in sacrifice and suffering is always a difficult process, and the midway point of any project is usually where things start to fall by the wayside, so as we approach that mark, I am once again trying to redirect myself toward having a positive, joyful Lenten experience.

Here are a few suggestions that have been helpful to me this year, I thought I would pass them along in case they are helpful to others. The first thing I did differently this year is that I gave myself a more open-ended Lenten sacrifice plan. I have certain things that I have chosen to give up, but I also made a mental list of “extra” things I am not required to, but have the option to give up. By not setting it in stone, I have found that it’s actually been easier to make those sacrifices. Whenever something feels required, and not a choice, it always seems worse, doesn’t it? So, by making my “extra” sacrifices a choice, I have found that I have a much higher level of commitment and am feeling more joy in the process.

Secondly, I had the privilege of attending the Matthew Kelly presentation at our parish last weekend, and felt very inspired to do more spiritual reading and spend more quiet time with the Lord. As a mom of two little ones and working part time, my very limited “free” time is precious to me, and I would normally rather spend that time watching TV, crocheting, or doing some other craft to relax. J But, I again am making a choice (rather than enforced requirement) to spend at least 10 minutes doing some spiritual reading or quiet time each day, and I have found that I have gained so much from this very small practice of sacrificing time. I also discovered Matthew Kelly’s Lent program on his website called “Best Lent Ever.” It’s totally free and anyone can sign up. He provides a very short video, inspirational quote, Scripture passage, or spiritual reflection to inspire us each day to reflect on Jesus’s sacrifice for us. It’s super quick and yet very beneficial, I have gotten a lot out of it. I encourage you to check it out here:

I hope you have been having a meaningful Lenten experience so far, and as we hit the halfway mark, I encourage you to stick with it and move forward with renewed vigor as we keep our eyes on the glorious Resurrection – less than a month away! We can do it!

God bless,

Shay McKinley

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What is the purpose of Christ in our Neighborhood?

We are midway through the season of Lent and nearly 250 members of our parish are participating in the Christ in our Neighborhood program.

A number of our participants have shared with me the joy they feel when they gather with fellow parishioners, family and friends to discuss the Word of God each week.

Alice Beas, our director for small church communities, has also expressed excitement over this Lenten process. People have shared with her their desire to continue reflecting on Sunday scripture each week with their groups.

The purpose of Christ in our Neighborhood in Lent and the small church community process is to give people an opportunity to be engaged in the parish.  

Rather than being lost in a parish this size, parishioners have a chance to connect with others in small group settings.

The success of this Lenten series has sparked interest in future weekly gatherings. I am already creating a full years worth of Sunday reflections so that current and future groups could gather together on a weekly basis.  Visit for weekly PDF downloads. They are free!

For information on how to start your own small church community or be placed in an already existing group, call Alice at 858-487-4755.

Father John

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lent has begun!

Lent has begun!  I’m always amazed after Christmas at how far away Lent seems to be and then just like that…it’s Ash Wednesday and Lent is in full swing!

What are you doing for Lent this year?  Have you even really thought about how important the Lenten season can be in our lives?

If you do nothing else during this Lenten season, I recommend that you read Pope Francis’ Lenten Message for 2015.  It can be accessed by clicking here.

The theme of the Papal Message this year is “Make your hearts firm.”  Pope Francis tells the world that “Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church.”  And above all it is a “time of grace.”  He goes on to say, “Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him.”

Happy Lent!

Robin Swank

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Parish Survey

Dear Parishioners,

We need your help in taking no more than 5 minutes to complete a brief survey so we can learn from parishioners like you, as to how we can continue to serve our parish better. 

Thank you in advance from completing the survey, it is our intention that one member from each household complete the survey.

Fr. John Dolan

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Congratulations to all the St. Michael Religious Education, School, and Youth Ministry students who recently received their First Reconciliation.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Celebrating Catholic Schools Week


Every January, Catholic schools across the nation celebrate the success of Catholic education. The theme for Catholic Schools Week this year is: "Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service."

Total enrollment in Catholic schools for 2014-2015 in the United States is 1,974,578. In fact, Catholic schools enroll nearly half of all students in private schools. Why do so many families entrust the education of their children to Catholic schools? The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) identifies three factors:

Ø  Children are taught Faith – not just the basics of Christianity, but how to have a relationship with God
Ø  Academics, which in Catholic schools are held to very high standards, help each child reach his or her potential
Ø  Service, the giving of one’s time and effort to help others, is taught both as an expression of faith and good citizenship

Catholic schools also prepare their students to be future leaders, not only in our faith, but also in our country.  Here are a dozen reasons to promote our Catholic schools:

We offer an education that combines Catholic faith and teaching with academic excellence.
We partner with parents in the faith formation of their children.
We set high standards for student achievement and help them succeed.
We provide a balanced academic curriculum that integrates faith, culture, and life.
We use technology effectively to enhance education.
We instill in students the value of service to others.
We teach children respect of self and others.
We emphasize moral development and self-discipline.
We prepare students to be productive citizens and future leaders.
We have a 99% high school graduation rate, and 85% of our graduates go on to college.
We cultivate a faculty and staff of people who are dedicated, caring, and effective.
We provide a safe and welcoming environment.

To celebrate Catholic Schools Week this year, St. Michael’s School has planned a variety of activities to recognize and thank students, parents, and staff for their contributions and commitment to Catholic education. We also recognize and thank St. Michael’s Parish for its continued support over the past 50 years. We are forging the way toward another 50 years of excellence!

Kathleen Mock