Letters from our Pastor

MOTHER MARY GROTTO

September 30, 2020

My Dear Parishioners,

Blessings to you! You may have noticed that a fence has been installed in front of the Marian Grotto between the Church and the Rectory/Parish Office. This was needed due to the recent desecration of the Marian statue and the persistent safety problem we encountered in recent times. While we pray for the well-being of the unfortunate brothers and sisters who cause these problems for us, we needed to secure this sacred place and provide a safe environment to our parishioners, neighbors and countless others who visit our grotto day and night every day. I am so inspired to witness the faith of the people who come here trusting in the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother. Please continue to visit our grotto and avail the intercession of our Mother Mary for your personal and family spiritual enrichment. (We also had to board up the main Church doors facing Orange Avenue due to the constant late-night break-ins.)

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We have placed two wooden boxes. One is for placing flowers, and the other is for placing candles. In case you wanted to offer intentions and donations, please walk up to the Parish Office entrance door and drop it off at the mail slot to the left of the railing. Our Office Staff will take care of your intentions.

If you see any suspicious activity, please call the Parish Office or Priests so they are aware of their safety.

With Blessings,
— Fr. Antony Gaspar (Pastor)


CHURCH UPDATE: OUTDOOR MASSES

July 18, 2020

My Dear Parishioners,

Blessings to you! I pray that you and your loved ones are safe and protected during this time of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. As you may be aware, Governor Gavin Newsom has issued updated directives on July 13 for 30 counties in California due to an increase in corona virus cases. Accordingly, the Los Angeles Public Health Office has directed that our parishes must discontinue indoor Masses and other liturgical services inside the church effective immediately. We received a letter from the Archdiocese asking us to follow this directive. Therefore, we have suspended celebrating Masses inside the church. However, we are allowed to continue celebrating Masses in our church grounds. So, we have been celebrating Mass in our church parking lot since this directive was sued. Due to the summer heat, we have revised the Mass times as follows:

Sunday Mass:  6:00 am, 7:00 am & 8:00 am (Church parking lot)

Weekday Mass (Mon-Sat):  7:00 am (Church parking lot)

(No Saturday evening Mass)

The time for the Live-Stream Mass remains the same: (Facebook & Youtube)

Sunday:  9:00 am

Weekday:  8:00 am

Confessions will be heard by appointment only. NO walk-ins. Please call the parish office to schedule an appointment. Kindly continue to follow all social distancing and safety protocol when you are in the parish premises.

Further, the Governor’s Directives include closures of parish offices. Therefore, our Parish Office is closed to the public until further notice, but it will continue to operate remotely. You may communicate with our parish office by phone, via e-mail, postal mail, and dropping off at the mail slot at the parish office in order to take care all of your needs. Our office staff will respond to your needs as quickly as possible. Please be patient with us as we try to do our best to serve you. Let us continue to pray for a quick end to this pandemic. Stay safe!

With Blessings,

Fr. Antony Gaspar — Pastor


BARNABAS CHURCH RE-OPENING GUIDELINES

June 21, 2020 (Revised from previous posted on 6/10/20)

My Dear Parishioners,

Blessings to you! Our Archbishop Jose Gomez has permitted the churches in our Archdiocese to reopen for the public celebration of Mass beginning June 3, 2020. He asked every parish to prepare a safety plan according to the Archdiocese issued guidelines and get it approved from the Regional Bishop prior to reopening of our parish. Accordingly, I formed a health care committee which discussed extensively and finalized the safety plan. Bishop Marc Trudeau, our regional bishop, has approved our plan. Therefore, we are reopening our parish beginning this Wednesday June 3, 2020. The following members are in our parish Health Care Committee:

Sahlee Balajadia: MSN-PH, RN-BC, WCC, Nurse Manager. HCG Specialty Clinics (Committee Chair)

Dom Salas: LVN (Vice Chair)

Ann Marie Sacro: Manager- Life Science & Pharmaceutical Industry

Dr. Peggy Kalowes: Ph.D., RN, CNS, FAHA

Samanth Christi: Business Manager

Olivia Baylen: Office Manager

Rev. Fr. Bernard Santiago: Associate Pastor

Rev. Fr. Antony Gaspar: Pastor,

Although we are permitted to reopen the church, the state has mandated that we limit the attendees to 25% of building capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower. In our case, it will be 100 people, on a first come, first serve basis. Therefore, we could allow only 100 parishioners at a time to be present in the church for now until it would be revised otherwise. The daily Mass schedule remains the same at 8:00 am, but the week-end Mass schedule has been revised to allow enough time to disinfect the church after every Mass.

REVISED MASS SCHEDULE:

Saturday- 5:00 pm (no longer offering 7pm)

Sunday- 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5:00 pm

Daily Mass: Monday-Saturday – 8:00 am

Live-streaming of Mass: Sunday 9:00 am, Daily 8:00 am

First Friday Adoration: 8:30 am – 10:00 am (sit towards the front please)

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Novena: Wednesdays immediately after the 8:00 am Mass (if possible, sit at Tabernacle section only)

For those who wish to join us in celebrating the liturgical Mass in person, the following policies and procedures will be in effect to ensure the safety and well-being of our parishioners.

REMINDERS:

  • If you are sick and exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, cold), or have had close contact with any individuals who have COVID-19, please stay home. This is in accordance with the state, local and Health Safety guidelines.
  • For those who do not feel safe coming to Church yet, our Archbishop Jose Gomez has dispensed the faithful from the obligation of attending Mass on Sunday. Therefore, if you feel unsafe and identify yourself to be at risk because of an underlying health issue, or are of ages 65 and older, we strongly encourage, for your own health, to avoid attending public celebrations of the Mass at this time. Instead, you may choose to continue attending the live streaming of Mass. The schedules are published on our St. Barnabas Website and social media (Facebook, Instagram).

ENTRY/EXIT DOORS (See Map)

  • Access to the church will only be through the two entrances near the altar facing Marron Avenue, and the entrance with the ramp facing the main parking lot. Please follow the signs and maintain social distancing to enter the church in an orderly manner.
  • Exit from the church will be through the doors near the Vestibule facing Marron Avenue, the doors leading to the inside parking lot, and the doors on main entrance facing Orange Ave. The only exception is that those who are exclusively depend on using the ramp to enter the church will exit through the same door.
  • In an emergency situation, ALL the doors will be used to exit the church.
  • Doors will be open for entry 30 minutes prior to the start of each mass.
  • Holy water container will be empty.
  • According to the state, local and Health Safety guidelines, we are limited to 100 communicants for each mass schedule; this will be implemented by “First come, first serve basis.
  • If maximum occupancy of 100 communicants is reached, the doors will be closed and signs on the doors will state: “Maximum Occupancy of 100 has been reached. Please join us for the next available Mass.”

Safety Precautions: 

  • The faithful are obliged to wear a face mask upon entering the church premise, during the celebration of the Mass, and until exiting the church. Volunteers are expected to do the same.
  • Volunteers will be stationed at specified entrances and will screen parishioners for symptoms of fever, cough or cold.
  • Volunteers are to maintain 6 feet social distancing when conducting brief surveys.
  • Volunteers will help seat Parishioners as they walk in and fill up front pews first at designated and marked spots to respect social distancing guidelines. Please do not attempt to walk, sit, stand, or kneel at any non-designated location.
  • Parishioners are encouraged to respond and sing while keeping their voice at a low volume.
  • Procession of the gift will be suspended. There will be no passing of the offertory basket. Instead, two stationary baskets will be placed near the designated exits for donating your offerings.
  • The sign of the peace is optional. If it is offered, there is to be no physical contact. A simple gesture such as a nod of the head or a non-touching hand gesture is recommended.
  • During the distribution of communion, volunteers wearing mask will ensure six-foot distancing in the communion line using floor markings along the aisle. Parishioners will receive the Body of Christ “on hand,” and must step to the side to the marked position before consuming. Communion will not be given “on tongue”.
  • Those who are with disabilities will remain at your seated places. The priest or a Eucharistic minister will bring you the Holy Communion.
  • The volunteers will be directing the safe exit of the faithful at the conclusion of the Mass. Please maintain social distancing and avoid gathering inside and outside of the church vicinity.

DISINFECTING/SANITIZATION OF CHURCH

  • Appropriate cleaning of high use areas within the church will be done before and after each service.
  • The pews utilized by the assembly will be wiped down with disinfectant.
  • Restroom facilities and door handles, push plates, and knobs will be sanitized after each service.

OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • All hymnals and missalettes are removed from the pews and stored away until it is safe to place them again. The projector will be used to display the readings, liturgical responses, and prayers. The faithful are encouraged to bring their own missals or hymnals for use during the celebration of Mass. No materials will be left in the pews when the Mass is over.
  • Families can sit together in the pews/rows. Please keep your children with you at all times.
  • Live streaming of the daily Mass at 8:00 am, and the Sunday Mass at 9:00 am will continue.
  • For people who do not wish to come to mass, Archbishop Jose Gomez has extended the dispensation until further notice.
  • Parishioners who are 65 years and above are encouraged to stay home to minimize their risk.
  • Bulletins are available online for download.
  • The choir loft, cry room, all prayer rooms (memoriam room, Divine Mercy room), and the electronic candles at all shrines are suspended until further notice. We strongly discourage touching of statues at this time.
  • The use of the Confessionals inside the church are suspended until further notice. UPDATE: 6/21/20: CONFESSIONS ARE AVAILABLE ON SATURDAYS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, FROM 2:30PM-4:30PM. MUST CALL PARISH OFFICE TO BOOK YOUR TIME SLOT, NO WALK-INS AT THIS TIME.
  • From Monday to Saturday, the church will be open for Mass and private prayer from 7:30 am – 12:00 pm (NEW TIMES). The section on the Tabernacle side of the church will be designated for private prayer.
  • On Sundays the church door will open 30 minutes prior to each Mass. And, we request you to exit the church when the Mass is concluded in order to allow us to disinfect the church and get ready for the next Mass.
  • All gatherings in the church premises, including for Coffee and donuts are suspended until further notice.
  • The Parish Office is still CLOSED. Phone calls allowed on Mon-Sat: 9am-4pm, and Sun: 9am-2pm. Otherwise all inquiries, please e-mail to: church@stbarnabaslb.org

These guidelines will be reviewed and updated as needed by our Health Care Committee, and will be made available to you on a timely manner. I take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to this Committee for having diligently worked on preparing these guidelines for our parish.

With Blessings,

Rev. Antony Gaspar – Pastor


May 27, 2020

My Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Blessings to you! We have been eagerly waiting to re-open our parish church. Our Archbishop, in his letter on May 26, has informed us that the parish church could begin to re-open for Masses beginning June 3, 2020. But we need to come up with a safety plan and get it approved from the Regional Bishop in accordance with the guidelines issued from our Archdiocese of LA.  As I write this letter to you, we have already begun to work on a plan to put in place for our church. We hope to get it approved prior to Wednesday June 3, 2020 and thus reopen our parish for the public celebration of Mass.

Although we are allowed to re-open from June 3, I would like to inform you that we are instructed to have only 100 people or 25% of the capacity of our church whichever is less at a time for the Mass. Therefore, we are planning as to how we are going to implement this directive. Kindly look forward to receiving further information on this.

We are also allowed to celebrate other Sacraments such as confessions, baptisms, weddings, and quinceañeras with particular guidelines. We expect to finalize the procedures for these celebrations and make it available to you within a couple of days. Thank you for your patience. I look forward to seeing you all pretty soon. Continue to stay safe. May God bless you!

With Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Antony Gaspar – Pastor


May 13, 2020

My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Blessings to you! I pray and hope that you are safe and well. Please know that Fr. Bernard and I continue to pray for your well-being.

I wanted to give you an update regarding the re-opening of our Church which all of us are eagerly waiting to take place. Our Archbishop Jose Gomez had a zoom meeting with all the parishes and schools today, May 13th, and informed us that the Los Angeles county might not lift the lockdown completely until the end of July 2020. The current pandemic situation still continues to remain dangerous, and we are not sure if it will resurface again when the lock down is lifted, and to what magnitude. Therefore, the Los Angeles county is approaching cautiously to consider allowing Churches to re-open at this time. In light of this, our Archbishop stated that protecting God’s people is his first priority. Since it is not clear when and in what stages the Los Angeles county would allow the Churches to reopen, our Archbishop has said that the Churches will continue to be closed for the public until further notice. I will bring to your attention if there are changes to these guidelines as soon as they are available. But for now, the Church will continue to remain closed until further notice. And, all Baptisms, First Holy Communion, and Confirmations are postponed until further notice. Regarding the Weddings and Quinceañeras, we will have an update from the Archbishop this coming week and I will keep you informed when it is available. Regarding the anointing of the sick, Fr. Bernard and I will continue to respond to all of your requests. However, I would recommend that if it is not a life-threatening emergency, please hold on until it is safe to engage in pastoral visits.

I understand that this extended lockdown may aggravate your anxiety. But let us trust that our Archbishop is doing what is best to protect all of us. I can assure you that he does not arrive at this decision lightly. In the meantime, please continue to join me and Fr. Bernard in our daily Mass, Rosary, and Adoration via live stream on our social media platforms. And most importantly, let us continue to pray that our Blessed Mother Mary will implore our God to put an end soon to this terrible pandemic. Please stay safe. May God bless you and your loved ones!

With Prayers and Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Antony Gaspar  – Pastor


May 10, 2020

My Dear Beloved Mothers,

On this occasion of Mothers’ Day, we wanted to let you know how blessed we are to have you as our mother.  Someone said that if we wanted to experience God’s love and see his face, we should look at our mother.  This is so true because you channel God’s love for us, your children. You are the first one to love us and teach us how to love others. You sacrifice many things, including your own desires, careers, goals, and ambitions in order to care for our well-being. You nourish and nurture us in God’s word, Sacraments, and the faith life of the Church. You make sure that we grow up as wonderful children of God. You help and guide us to prepare for a meaningful career. Our hearts are filled with tremendous gratitude for you for being our wonderful mother.

As we celebrate mothers’ day, we truly wish to have you present in our parish church to honor you. But, since we could not do this, we offer our profound prayers for you. Our prayer is that the Lord will bless you with peace and good health; that, you will continue to be God’s instrument to guide our steps in the path of righteousness. And, most importantly, may the Lord keep you safe and protect you from the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic. We also entrust you to our Blessed Mother Mary, whom we specially honor in this month of May. May our beloved virgin Mary shelter you under the mantle of her protection. Please be safe and enjoy your special day!

With Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Antony Gaspar  – Pastor


April 20, 2020

Dear Beloved Parishioners,

Easter Blessings to you! I pray that you are safe, healthy, and happy. As we continue to be home bound due to the Corona virus pandemic, let us keep our faith and trust in our Risen Lord, and pray for His intervention, protection, and an end to this crisis. Please continue to join me and Fr. Bernard in our daily Mass, Rosary, and Adoration via live stream in our social media platforms.

I would like to update you with the revised guidelines we have received from our Archbishop Jose Gomez on April 19, 2020. The following are the updates from our Archbishop until further notice. 1. Parish Churches, chapels, centers, and missions are to remain closed to the public until May 15, 2020, or until further notice.

2. Church Offices are to be closed to the public until May 15, 2020. So, our Parish Office, and Religious Education offices will continue to operate remotely. Our office staff will be more than happy to assist you via phone, email, and postal mails. If you prefer, you could also drop off your requests, envelops, and letters at the parish office mail slot.

3. MASS: The suspension of public celebration of Mass in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been extended until May 15, 2020 (inclusive), or until further notice. So, we will continue to livestream our parish Mass and other activities. The following are the schedule:

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Although you could not come to our parish church, I strongly encourage you to spiritually unite with your priests and the parish community by participating in the virtual Mass, particularly on Sundays in order to keep the Lord’s Day holy. In case you couldn’t participate in the virtual Mass, may I encourage you to read the readings and spend some time in prayer and reflection with your family. To make it easy for you, we have published a prayer format in our website, that would be helpful to use in the absence of attending the Mass. I hope you would avail of this opportunity to enrich your faith life.

4. CONFESSIONS: The regular schedule for confessions remain suspended until May 15, 2020, or until further notice. Unfortunately, the confessions could not be offered by telephone, electronic means, or by drive through options. The priests will respond to hear confessions only for someone in danger of death or extremely extraordinary situations. Since you could not confess your sins to a priest and get absolution at this time, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has reminded us the Church’s teaching in his Mass on March 20, 2020: “If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord, I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition and, promise Him that your will go to confession as soon as possible when available. You will return to God’s grace immediately.” In an extra ordinary situation, a perfect act of contrition obtains the forgiveness of sins, both venial and mortal. (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1452).

5. ANOINTING OF THE SICK: Fr. Bernard and I will continue to respond to your requests for anointing of the sick. However, if it is not a life-threatening situation, we recommend that you consider waiting until it is safe to engage in pastoral visits.

6. BAPTISMS, WEDDINGS, and QUINCEAÑERA are postponed until further notice.

7. FIRST COMMUNION and CONFIRMATION: The scheduled First Communion and Confirmation (May 9 & 16) will be postponed for a future date. Kindly expect a new date to be announced in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, let us continue to strengthen our spiritual bond by praying for one another, particularly by participating in the virtual Mass and prayers.

Although we are in lockdown, please know that our parish continues to operate. Some of our parish staff work from our parish office, others work from home. The religious education office continues to operate as well. Our utilities and other operating expenses continue to take place. But our revenue has diminished almost 70 percent. This is understandable given the current situation. May I request you to consider donating on-line, or dropping off, or mailing in your offertory envelopes. To sign up for online giving visit:
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1. membership.faithdirect.net/CA794 (OR) call 1-866-507-8757

2. You could also TEXT to donate: Open the text messaging option from your phone and text the word “ENROLL” to this number: 562-330-1646. You will receive a response and follow the very simple instruction.

Your generosity will help us to take care of our parish operations. We appreciate your support.

Fr. Bernard and I will continue to pray for your safety and protection. And, kindly keep us in your prayers as well.

With Easter Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Antony Gaspar  – Pastor

Live-stream: Facebook.com/stbarnabaslb or Youtube.com/c/stbarnabaschurchlongbeach Instagram: @stbarnabaslb Website: www.stbarnabaslb.org (online bulletins are also available)