Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Parish Update on Re-opening of Catholic Churches and Clergy Tranistion, Email May 22, 2020

SSJ CHURCH and CAMPUS STATUS
Despite what was declared today (5/22) by the President, decisions regarding Catholic Churches come from the Ordinary. In the Diocese of Orange, the Ordinary is Bishop Vann, who made it very clear in a communication to pastors and parish business managers on Thursday (5/21) at a weekly Zoom conference, that the temporary measure to close our churches is NOT a violation of religious liberty but rather a decision to promote the common good, the protection and safety of all, especially our most vulnerable members. In that regard, unless we hear a new message from Bishop Vann, Sts. Simon & Jude will remain closed for public worship. At our most recent conference on Thursday morning, it seemed inevitable that churches would not be reopening before July. This decision is based on many factors: awaiting a downturn in Covid-19 cases, which has not yet happened in Orange County; full readiness with new procedures for entry/exit into the church, seating that responds to proper spatial distancing, and appropriate sanitization procedures for all public areas. As soon as we get word from our diocese we will let the parish know.

CLERGY TRANSITION
The current bulletin has information on the three diocesan clerics who are newly assigned to SSJ.

Pastor, Rev. Reynold Furrell, currently Pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Ladera Ranch.

Parochial Vicar, Rev. Reverend Thanh-Tai Nguyen, currently serving as Bishop Vann's Priest Secretary/Master of Ceremonies at the Pastoral Center, Garden Grove.

Parochial Vicar, Mr. Rev. Michael Rizzo, currently a Transitional Deacon serving at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Portland for his last year at Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon, and who will be ordained a priest on June 6.

It is challenging to proceed with a transition during this pandemic while we remain in Phase 2 of sheltering in place.  It seems that the transfer will occur before our church will be able to reopen, preventing the possibility of a public farewell Mass and reception. The Transition Team has been doing their best to plan for the departure of the friars and the welcome of the new clergy under these difficult circumstances. We will keep you posted on any plans the Transition Team recommends.

Faith Formation Parishioner Email, May 8, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

During this extraordinary and challenging time, the friars and pastoral staff of Sts. Simon & Jude Church are working to ensure good stewardship of our parish resources.  We have seen the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on our parish financial outlook.  The fiscal toll to our faith community has required difficult decision-making and continuous monitoring as the impacts of Covid-19 manifest.  We are responding to the situation with pro-active steps to sustain our fiscal solvency while continuing to provide spiritual growth and support in this pandemic environment.  These are truly uncharted times and require us to make significant adjustments to manage our operating expenses as faith-filled, responsible stewards.

The new reality of our situation is that we do not foresee re-entry into the church in the near future.  All faith formation programs and sacrament preparation programs are also on hold, as well as other community gatherings.  The Diocese advocates and supports these decisions, advising parishes to immediately reduce all non-liturgical activities.  As a result, in March, the parish furloughed staff in the areas of: faith formation, parish administration, and liturgy.

As our current situation continues, we realize that traditional formats for faith formation, sacrament preparation and liturgy will need to be modified to fit an online presence, to help individuals and families learn, grow and engage their faith in spite of irregular schedules.

Furthermore, with regard specifically to faith formation, we must make the difficult decision to limit programs and reduce staff to one, qualified individual to manage all ages and stages of formation. The result is that we have had to lay off four faith formation staff members: Pam Portante, Richard Ballesteros, Amy Glenane, and Lisa Einck. We share your sentiments in our gratitude for their time and service to the parish.

It is unfortunate that this decision must be made and implemented at a time when gatherings are not permitted.

For any questions, you may contact one of the Pastoral Associates through the information provided below.

May the Lord give you peace,

Fr. Daniel F. Barica, ofm, Pastor, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Colleen Murray, Pastoral Administrator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mark T. Purcell, Pastoral Associate for Worship and Liturgical Arts, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Email to Teens and Adults awaiting the sacrament of Confirmation, April 7, 2020

May the Lord give you peace!

We pray you are all well and finding creative and faith-filled ways with whatever extra time you have sheltering in place.

Diocese of Orange Auxiliary Bishop Tim Freyer (who is originally from our parish) has a special message for you about the fact that, most likely, the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation will be delayed beyond the May 11 date that was scheduled at SSJ.

In the meantime, after our Easter celebrations, we will be checking in with you about getting everything in order so that you will be ready to receive the sacrament once we have a confirmed date.

We miss all of you and can't wait until we can all come together again as a community to worship our God. As it is, even during these days, we continue forward striving towards our parish vision to transform hearts by being Christ to others, working for peace, justice and care of creation.

Be sure to join us for LIVE-STREAMED Triduum liturgies this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Links and information below.

May God's abundant blessings be upon all of you during this Holy Week and always,

Fr. Daniel Barica, ofm, Pastor

Parishioner Email, Saturday, April 4, 2020

This is an UPDATE from our last communication to you about the status of parish operations during Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Civil authorities continue to guide us in the direction of sheltering in place through the month of April. Diocesan guidelines are expected to follow, although they have not yet made such projections for the entire month of April and have only asked parishes to sustain operations with essential staff only, suspend public Masses and close parish churches until further notice.

According to Seattle's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, California is predicted to hit a peak of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations sometime near the end of April or thereabouts.

To maintain that the peak will be as low as possible, it is best to remain "safer at home" for all but those who must work at essential jobs.

For those seeking SACRAMENTAL ANOINTING or CONFESSION while we are sheltering in place:

  1. CONFESSION: There are options for reconciliation in the absence of a priest. Please watch the video located on our parish YouTube channel entitled: A Franciscan Spiritual Moment: Reconciliation in the Absence of a Priest;
  2. ANOINTING: Most hospitals and care facilities are not permitting outsiders to enter because of the threat of contamination. Such a risk also exists when priests enter private homes. For this reason, unless a person is able to meet a priest outside the parish office for anointing, this sacrament cannot be administered safely until shelter-in-place guidelines are relaxed, although there may be some circumstances where it is possible. Please call the parish office for more information.

Although the Diocese of Orange originally forecasted a return to Catholic Schools by April 20, we foresee that parish operations may not return to normal for the rest of the school year, including our faith formation and sacrament preparation classes. All previously scheduled sacramental initiation liturgies will most likely need to be rescheduled to later dates.  That said, we will continue to send updates to the parish each month or more frequently if necessary so you will know when all can return to Mass and any other parish program.

So for now, know that SSJ will remain closed for Mass and all other programs through April or until further notice.

As long as essential staff is able to come to work, however, we will keep you spiritually connected through our YouTube channel.

  1. Franciscan Spiritual Moments throughout the week
  2. Recorded weekend Masses and occasional live-stream liturgies

SSJ parishioners have also been doing their part to keep the SSJ community together:

  1. Small Faith Groups continue to gather remotely during Lent via video/audio conferencing to review and discuss the Mass readings.  
  2. A growing group of approximately 100 parishioners are reaching out to parishioners by telephone to check-in with them and communicate with those who are alone and/or not on the web.

Because we remain in operation, we continue to need your financial support.

THANK YOU to all those who continue to donate ONLINE because you provide a solid and regular base of financial support to keep the parish running.

THANK YOU to all those who mail in or drop off their envelopes because you, too, are keeping us in business.

We encourage all of our parish community to do what they can to be good and faithful stewards so that SSJ can continue its vision and ministry.

Right now, there are two options:

  1. Online via our WeShare link
  2. Envelopes
      *  BY MAIL
      *  Take a stroll and deposit your envelope
          in the depository safe by the parish
          office front door!

We sincerely miss being together with you, especially during our most holy days of the year.

Our blessings of peace and well-being go out to the entire parish family. In spite of being separated, may we continue onward with our parish vision of transforming hearts, being Christ to one another, working for peace, justice and care of creation.

Fr. Daniel F. Barica, ofm, Pastor

Parishioner Email, Friday, April 3, 2020

Holy Week Liturgies for the Triduum will be LIVESTREAMING from church! 

Below is the schedule and the web links to join our liturgies.  Please join the liturgy 10 minutes before it starts.

Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord's Supper

April 9 at 7:00 p.m.
https://youtu.be/sWn0RQTBwv8

Families at home are invited to bring a basin and pitcher of warm water with several towels. We invite heads of each household to wash the feet of family members. At the conclusion of the liturgy we invite you to remain a few moments in silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord

April 10 at 3:00 p.m.
https://youtu.be/5dCEju6fGuQ

Families at home are invited to bring a favorite crucifix or image of Christ to venerate at the appropriate time with a touch or a gesture.

The collection taken to support Christian Communities in the Holy Land, normally taken up during this liturgy, has been postponed until September 13, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord

April 11 at 8:00 p.m.
https://youtu.be/0l5akyZq-mg

Full initiation of the elect of our parish (Adam, Broderick, Connie, Evelyn, Gianni, Liam, Lily, Nadine and Romeo) has been moved to a future date. Please hold them in prayer!

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

April 12 at 9:30 a.m.
https://youtu.be/CFIf94mVeVE

This will be a Family Focus Mass with all three priests participating in a special message for children!

Parishioner Email, Friday, March 27, 2020

During this time when we are not able to come together as a parish for prayer, formation or fellowship:

NEW - Fourteen families from SSJ, each share their reflections on one of the Stations of the Cross when sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. This was one of several prayerful ideas we used to keep us connected as a parish.  Family Stations of the Cross videos will begin to be posted on the SSJ YouTube channel starting this Saturday and ending on Good Friday.  Email notices will be sent out daily as soon as the videos are uploaded.

The SSJ Franciscans, Clergy and Parish Pastoral Leaders are holding all of you and your needs in our daily prayers and the friars are remembering you at our Masses in the Friary Chapel;

Our parish depends on your financial stewardship to remain in operation. Please consider changing your donation pattern from envelopes or cash donations to online donations by using our WeShare payment system. The system allows both one-time and recurring donations via your credit card or checking account

Parishioner Email, Thursday, March 26, 2020

We pray you are safe and well during this time of sheltering in place.

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Faith Formation Offices have been closed for the duration of this health crisis.  Essential parish staff members continue to manage daily parish business. Any correspondence to the Faith Formation Office will be forwarded to essential parish staff.

We understand that you will have questions and concerns about completing Faith Formation programs, especially those in preparation for sacraments.

At the moment, all existing plans and dates for celebrations of First Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation will depend on how long our community will be under governmental and church restrictions. There will likely be many changes and we will notify you as soon as we can.

In the meantime, you remain in our prayers and your intentions will be remembered in the Masses that the Friars are celebrating in their chapel.

May you be reassured by the constant presence of Christ to nurture your faith and to strengthen you in times of trial!

Peace and every blessing,
Fr. Daniel Barica, Pastor

Parishioner Email, Friday, March 20, 2020

During this time when we are not able to come together as a parish for prayer, formation or fellowship:

The SSJ Franciscans, Clergy and Parish Pastoral Leaders are holding all of you and your needs in our daily prayers and the friars are remembering you at our Masses in the Friary Chapel;

Pastoral Care members are organizing a team of parishioners that will be checking in on our elderly members by phone;

All parishioners are invited to stay connected spiritually by following this link to our website's YouTube channel and listen to regular messages from our Franciscan Friars in a series called, A Franciscan Spiritual Moment;

Join the SSJ Franciscan friars in the celebration of the latest Sunday Eucharist by following this link to watch the latest weekend Mass celebrated by one of our Franciscan Friars.  The recording starts this Saturday.  The recording should be available by 4:00 p.m., Saturday afternoon.  You may also go to the parish website and under the Quick Links option, select Sunday Mass Recordings;

Our parish depends on your financial stewardship to remain in operation. Please consider changing your donation pattern from envelopes or cash donations to online donations by using our WeShare payment system. The system allows both one-time and recurring donations via your credit card or checking account. 

Parishioner Email, Monday, March 16, 2020

Dear SSJ Parish Family and Friends,

We just got word this evening from Bishop Kevin Vann, his auxiliary bishops, and his advisory team that, following the lead of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles which is our Metropolitan See, beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, all Masses have been suspended until further notice. The only exceptions for gatherings in the church of more than 10 people at a time, at this point, are for weddings and funerals.

Tomorrow, SSJ will be sending out a more detailed e-mail to everyone with further information about how we will be reaching out to you to care for your pastoral needs in lieu of celebrating the Eucharist together.

As you know, these directives are being given out through both government and Church leaders as a way to stave off the rapid spread of the Coronavirus. The idea is for people to stay at home as much as possible, leaving only for essential needs. The President has just issued a national directive prohibiting groups of more than 10 people.

Again, we will have more information for everyone tomorrow.

May the good Lord guide us all in heeding these restrictions, giving all of us patience and tolerance with one another, and keep us prayerfully mindful of those who particularly suffer, both physically, spiritually and economically during this difficult time in our world and in our Church..

May the Lord give you peace,
Fr. Daniel F. Barica, ofm, Pastor


Prayer Card from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
 
U.S.C.C.B. President Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles invited “all the faithful to seek together the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.” Archbishop Gomez shared a powerful prayer to bring us spiritually together as a community of faith in these uncertain times.  Click here to view the prayer card.


Parishioner Email, Friday, March 13, 2020 (afternoon)

Dear members of our SSJ Faith Community,

May the Lord give you peace!

This is a second communication for our parish family to respond to controlling the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in our country.

The first communication sent out earlier today mostly addressed how to discern whether to attend Mass and, if so, how to limit physical contact at Mass. We also included information on how the Fish Fry will operate as a takeout operation tonight.

We have just heard that the Diocese of Orange has made the difficult decision to close all Catholic Schools until April 20 and is gearing up for online learning as much as possible. Not only will the SSJ School be closed for classes but all extracurricular activities will be cancelled, including club groups, sports and music activities.

Aligning with actions taken both in our government and our church, we have decided to cancel all parish meetings and gatherings scheduled for SSJ through the end of March, with the exception of Masses and Funerals. We are expecting that even Mass and Funeral schedules may change but for now, we will continue with these liturgies.

As for all meetings and groups, we wish to include a list here so that there will be no confusion. These activities listed below will not be meeting at least through March 31:

      All Religious Education activities, including:
        Children's Faith Formation sessions
        Children and Adult Sacrament Sessions scheduled for 3/15 and 3/17
        CLOW
        Family Focus activities at Mass
        RCIA and RCIC Dismissals and Catechesis
        Peer Ministry
        Both High School and Adult Confirmation sessions
        Baptism Information sessions
        Junior High Ministry sessions
    All Support Groups
        All regularly scheduled weekly or monthly group activities or meetings
        Coffee and Donuts after Sunday morning Masses
        St. Vincent de Paul Monday meetings
        Knights of Columbus meetings
        Centering Prayer
        Men's Bible Study
        Scripture Study
        Men's Club Board meetings
        Men's Group General Meeting, scheduled for 3/19
        Women Creating Community meetings
        Parish Choir and Hand Bell practices
        Children's Choir and Hand Bell practices
        MEC Board
        Finance Council
        Transition Team
    Other parish series' that are on the parish schedule during March
        Family to Family
        Mom's Ministry
        Returning Catholics
        Welcome Weekend formation meetings
    Special activities scheduled for this month
        Small Faith Group Listening Session, scheduled for 3/19
        Centering Prayer Introduction, scheduled for Saturday, 3/21
        Elderly Retreat, scheduled for Saturday, 3/21
        High School Confirmation Penance Service, scheduled for 3/31

We fully realize how disruptive these cancellations are. We apologize for the stress it places on everyone and we ask for your prayerful patience. We encourage all groups to find other, creative ways to stay in touch that limit human contact.

For those who have special events planned in March, we ask that you wait for a while before trying to reschedule those activities with Lynn. Right now we are getting bombarded with daily communications from the city and the diocese, not to mention responding to parishioner questions. Please wait until April to contact Lynn about getting those events rescheduled.

We will keep you posted on any further changes to our parish schedule.

The parish has created a webpage on the parish website that contains the most up-to-date information concerning the parish response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  You can access the webpage, via the "Coronavirus Update" button along the right side of the home page, www.ssj.org, or simply type www.ssj.org/coronavirus in your browser.

In the meantime, we remind everyone that these changes are temporary measures to bring a halt to the rapid spread of a particularly strong and virulent version of the flu. Our sincere desire is to protect everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us.

In that light, know that we hold all of you in our hearts, pray that you remain strongly rooted in the love, compassion and healing power of Jesus Christ, with the fellowship of the saints. As St. Teresa of Avila discovered through her trials in life, and which was turned into a beautiful Taize chant:

Nada te turbe
Nada te espante
Quien a dios tiene nada le falta
Solo dios basta

Let nothing trouble you
Let nothing disturb you
Those who have God lack nothing
God, alone, is enough.

Together with you in love, hope and healing,

Fr. Daniel Barica, Pastor
Fr. Vincent Nguyen, Associate Pastor
Colleen Murray, Pastoral Administrator
Mark Purcell, Pastoral Associate for Music and Liturgical Arts


Parishioner Email, Friday, March 13, 2020 (morning)

Dear SSJ Community members and friends,

May the Lord give you peace!

In a time of concern about the Coronavirus pandemic, we wish to share with you information from our diocese communicated to parishes late Thursday. Excerpts from that message will be included here, along with particular information pertaining to liturgy and events scheduled at SSJ in order to reassure you, answer questions you may have, and to guide your decisions in the days ahead.

First and foremost the diocese wishes to acknowledge fears and urgency to save lives, caution against panic, and call for faith and for calm attentiveness to prudence, public health and prayer.
As per last week's directives, they join with medical authorities to encourage thorough washing of our hands, "social distancing" and "flattening the curve" by restricting the rate and extent of the spread of the virus. These measures not only protect ourselves, but they protect our neighbors and especially those who are most vulnerable.

As missionary disciples of Jesus we are called to lay down our lives for others. At the same time we ought not take actions that put others at risk unnecessarily.

There are many ways to help during this time as we seek to care for our neighbors: Checking in on elderly neighbors even if by phone or from a distance, offering help with groceries or childcare for dear ones who might struggle with increased burdens and avoiding unnecessary outings that might spread harm. And of course, all of this we do with special intention and prayer for those who are ill, health care professionals and caregivers - and for the common good - through, with and in the protection of our Lord Jesus Christ with the intercession of our Blessed Mother.

PARISH LITURGIES
We have made the decision to continue with all Masses as normally scheduled at SSJ until further notice, mostly because we feel that times like these, more than ever, remind us of the need to recall the Lord's presence among us in the breaking of the bread.

Last week the diocese communicated a directive about limiting physical contact during liturgy, especially at the sign of peace or during the Lord's prayer, and asked that all Ordinary and Extraordinary ministers of communion sanitize their hands immediately before distribution of communion and afterwards. The Precious Blood of Christ was and remains temporarily suspended from being distributed to the assembly at Mass.

This week, the diocese has advised us in the following ways:

Make sure that the church be as clean and sterile as is physically possible;

Remove all holy water fonts from use and that any baptismal font be covered from use until further notice;

Consider the best way to take up a collection in order to limit physical contact.

Until further notice, the Diocesan Bishop hereby dispenses from the obligation to participate in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (cf. canons 85, 87 §1, 90 §1 and 1247 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law) those faithful who, out of legitimate concern for their health and/or the health of others, wish to avoid crowded areas. Such faithful should avail themselves of a livestreamed service (9:45 a.m. in English from Christ Cathedral: website (https://www.facebook.com/ChristCathedralCA) or 9 a.m. from St. Edward the Confessor http://stedward.com/stedcast/ if possible. Those who choose not to participate (attend) Mass are to keep in mind their duty to continue to assist with financial support of the Church, in accordance with canons 222 §1 and 1261 of the same Code of Canon Law, and should consider giving electronically via their parish website or mailing a check to their parish. (If SSJ decides to livestream Mass we will inform you of how to access it.)

The safest way to receive communion at Mass is the way which limits the amount of physical contact. Therefore, we feel it is best for all to receive communion in the hand, at this time, because it prevents the minister of communion from having to potentially touch another's face or tongue. Placing communion onto someone's hand without touching the hand seems the way of least contact. We ask that those receiving communion avoid touching a minister's hand during reception of communion. Furthermore, the diocese has asked us to inform the faithful that they are under no obligation to receive Holy Communion every time they attend Mass (cf. canon 920).

SCHOOL and OTHER GROUP ACTIVITIES
At this time parish schools and religious education programs will remain open unless you otherwise receive notice from a parish or school leader. That said, some activities have been cancelled. Please check your e-mails frequently to keep informed. Those who are absent from a registered activity due to illness or out of concern for safety will be excused as long as parishes are under these extraordinary restrictions. If you have any questions, please contact your group or school leader.
As regards "non-essential" events, please refer to Governor Newsom's statement dated 11 March 2020 at: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/11/california-public-health-experts-mass-gatherings-should-be-postponed-or-canceled-statewide-to-slow-the-spread-of-covid-19/

This weekend's high school Confirmation retreat and the Mozart Requiem Concert have been postponed.  We will communicate alternate dates for both of these events when we receive more information.

FISH FRY
At this time, the parish plans to proceed with the Fish Fry and we thank those who patronize this fundraising event. That said, we are switching to a takeout style method for orders.  The school community and the Men's Club is planning to do their best to fulfill such orders.  Be prepared to place your order and take it home.  There will be an area to wait for your food.

AS WE MOVE FORWARD . . .
While we all patiently and prayerfully await this illness to run its course, let us be mindful of God's presence among us, His great love for us which comes most assuredly through His Son, Jesus Christ, and the ever present guidance of the Holy Spirit to shower us with a special gift of courage in these trying times. May the saints intercede for us, especially our patrons Simon and Jude, in addition to Francis and Clare with their particular way of inviting us to be instruments of peace and healing. Finally, it is good to recall the nurturing presence of our Blessed Mother, featured in this beautiful prayer, shared with us through the diocese, and which was offered by His Holiness, Pope Francis, during the Wednesday audience held on March 11, 2020:

O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus' pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial,
but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin

As the Coronavirus situation changes, the parish will keep parishioners and school parents informed via email.  If you know someone who would like to be included in our email updates, please click here.

Please let us know how else we might answer any of your questions or be present to your needs at this time, through email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., our website, www.ssj.org, or by phone, (714) 962-3333. We will do our best to answer you in a timely manner.

Peace and every blessing,
Fr. Daniel Barica, Pastor
Fr. Vincent Nguyen, Associate Pastor
Colleen Murray, Pastoral Administrator
Mark Purcell, Pastoral Associate for Music and Liturgical Arts