Our New Parochial Vicar

FR CHARLES TRAN

Fr. Charles Tran was born in Vietnam and raised Catholic. He was an altar server from the second grade until he graduated from high school.

He credited being close to the altar and participating in the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement as experiences that helped deepen his faith and increased his love for the Eucharist and the priesthood.

Fr. Charles completed his theological studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Kevin Vann in June 2014. Our Lady Queen of Angels Church was his first assignment as a priest where he served for four years. Afterwards, he was assigned to St. Norbert Church for two years.

Fr. Charles looks forward to serving the community at Holy Trinity Church. He humbly requests that everyone prays for him and helps him to be an instrument of God’s love.


DIOCESE ANNOUNCES RETURN OF PUBLIC MASS

May 26th 2020

Last week the Diocese of Orange announced that public masses can begin in Orange County on Sunday, June 14 (including Saturday June 13 Vigil Masses) in a phased-in approach with measures in place to safeguard public health.

This morning the staff of Holy Trinity began planning how we will safely celebrate Mass beginning June 13th/14th. These next three weeks will provide us with enough time to prepare our church building, staff, volunteers, and parishioners for what will be a modified way of attending Mass at Holy Trinity. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

More detailed information will follow in the coming days and weeks, but we want to give you a brief update on what to to expect…

  • Mass will return the weekend of June 13th/14th with additional Mass times. Mass will be celebrated in the Church and outside on the grass at alternating times throughout the day. Attendance will be limited to 100 people per Mass to allow appropriate physical distancing and cleaning/sanitizing.
  • Per the California Department of Public Health, anyone over the age of 65 or with underlying medical conditions which put them at risk are asked to stay home and view our live stream. Those experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 should also stay at home.
  • Live streaming of Sunday Mass and Daily Mass will continue on our website, Facebook page, and Youtube channel for those who are unable or not yet ready to attend Mass in person.
  • Bishop Vann has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation until such time as it is deemed safe to have large gatherings at Mass.
  • We will continue to provide updates on our website and social media accounts in over the new couple of weeks

We are grateful for the opportunity to continue praying with you via our live streams and look forward to celebrating Mass with you in the near future. Please stay tuned for more information as we continue to work alongside the Diocese and the relevant local authorities.


May 22nd 2020

The Diocese of Orange announced today that public masses can begin in Orange County on the solemnity of Corpus Christi, Sunday, June 14 (including Saturday June 13 Vigil Masses) in a phased-in approach with measures in place to safeguard public health. In addition, the Bishop of Orange, Kevin W. Vann, extends a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation until such time as it is deemed safe to have large gatherings at Mass.

After extensive consultation over these past few months with civil authorities, County of Orange Health Authority, as well as with our medical advisors, the decision was made to gradually open the churches for Mass with strict guidelines for attendance including important requirements for the distribution and reception of Holy Communion and the safety and health of all who attend. Bishop Vann acknowledges the hard work of Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, on behalf of all the California bishops, who met frequently with Governor Newsom and his staff. The positive cooperation of all involved – working together for the common good – has helped bring us to this important moment.

“The pandemic is far from over so we will begin with small steps,” said Bishop Vann. “Realizing that reinfection is a concern, as we saw occurred in Texas and elsewhere, I am asking our pastors to prepare their churches to ensure that these guidelines are followed without exception.” Indeed advisors to the bishop have been working on guidelines for weeks, in consultation with county officials and other experts.

The Diocese announced that phase one brings smaller groups of healthy Catholics back to a limited Mass with strict social distancing guidelines and rules. Phase two would allow larger groups while phase three would allow choirs to return to church and social gatherings to resume. At this point, it is unknown when we might be able to enter phases two and three. Phasing our return allows for the ability to reevaluate the process as necessary in order to ensure the health and safety of the community going forward.

All phases of this plan require following strict guidelines for social distancing and sanitization.

  • Those over age 65 and/or with a co-morbidity will be encouraged to consider not returning to Mass just yet, and anyone showing any symptoms of sickness, or anyone who has a household member who is sick or showing symptoms of sickness should not come to church.
  • The church will be thoroughly sanitized/cleaned before and after each service, including all entryways and doors. Holy water fonts will be empty, and hymnals removed.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at all churches.
  • All local safety orders specifically relating to proper face coverings will be followed.
  • People will be instructed to not engage in any physical touch, such as by greeting each other.
  • Signs and other instructions will encourage normal safe practices necessary to avoid the spread (e.g. cough or sneeze into a shirtsleeve, handkerchief, or tissue; avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth).
  • Ventilation will be increased as much as possible by opening windows and doors, as weather permits.
  • The sign of peace and distribution of the Precious Blood is suspended.

Catholics should visit the website of their parish for eventual specific instructions on how their parish will offer Masses and how attendance will be allowed (MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON)

In most cases, only one-third of the church space will be available per Mass. Bishop Vann has granted a temporary dispensation from the requirements of canon 932, which will permit priests to celebrate Mass outside the sacred space of a church building, thereby permitting parishes to utilize other spaces for Masses including gymnasiums, parish halls and outdoor spaces.

Since the Sunday obligation has been dispensed from, Catholics will be encouraged to attend other Masses during the week instead of on Sunday, in order to spread out the number of people attending. More Masses than usual will be offered to attempt to accommodate everyone who desires to attend Mass during this phase. In addition, many parishes will continue to livestream Masses. Anyone who is in an at-risk health group or does not feel comfortable attending a public gathering should stay home. Also, anyone who is sick or has been exposed to the coronavirus should refrain from attending a public Mass as it is an act of Christian charity to safeguard the health of others.

“Please continue to pray for those who have died, those who are sick from this disease and for the people who care for them,” said Bishop Vann. “I wish to thank everyone for their sacrifices over these last weeks to benefit the common good. It has been a time of reflection, prayer and growth in faith for many of us. We will continue to take one day at a time and walk in faith together until the day we can all gather to rejoice in the Lord. The Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Body and Blood of Christ) is a very fitting feast day to begin our journey to once again gather together as the Lord’s people.”


MEET OUR NEW PASTOR

Fr. Michael St. Paul, native of Southern California, was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 2005. He studied at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA, where he received a Master’s Degree in Divinity and a Master of Arts Degree in Theology. Also, while at St. John’s, Fr. Michael received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Philosophy. Prior to the seminary and during his business life, Fr. Michael received a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Development and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Human Relations and Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco.

Fr. Michael’s first parish assignment was at St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana as Parochial Vicar, and then to St. Anthony Claret Church in Anaheim in 2009, and has been at St. Polycarp since July, 2011 as Pastor.

Prior to his priestly formation, Fr. Michael worked for the Walt Disney Company in various administration/management positions for over 20 years. In Fr. Michael’s vocation story he states, “I have worked for the ‘Magic Kingdom’ for half of my life and now I work for the Eternal Kingdom for the rest of my life!”
Father Michael looks forward to becoming the new Pastor of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Ladera Ranch (July 1st) and meeting all of the wonderful parishioners.



A Message from Fr John

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It has been almost two months since we last gathered for parish events, activities; and celebrated Mass together in Church. I really miss you all and have been praying for you especially when I celebrate Mass these days, asking God to bless, protect, and keep you safe in his loving arms. I enjoy reading your emails and seeing your pictures, receiving your texts and talking with you on phone. It is so nice of you to reach out asking how we are doing, and also offering us help and support.

During this time, I take the opportunity to reflect and listen to God’s voice, discern God’s will and put my trust in him. I pray and ask him for guidance, comfort, healing of the community, friends, and those who are suffering from fear, uncertainty, and inconvenience caused by the pandemic. I realize that the more we journey together in happiness and joy, in sadness and fears, in pains and sufferings, the more we become closer in friendship and relationship, in the love of God who gives us the commandment and calls us to have love for one another as he loves us.

In his love, I believe God had some purpose as he sent me to Holy Trinity Church to learn and experience parish life, to be with the community and serve as a seminarian about ten years ago and as a Parochial Vicar this time. Some of you may still remember me when I stayed here for about ten weeks during one summer. I enjoyed being with the community and seeing you at Mass and parish activities. I agree with many of you who share that God blesses our Church and fills it with love so that we can feel warmth and welcoming when we come to Church.

These years, I have learned from the faith you share, the love you bring, the courage and support you offer. All of these helped me to grow spiritually, to improve my skills in priestly ministry, to see that God loves and cares for each one of us, and continues to help and protect all his children. There is so much to be thankful for.

Last week, Bishop Vann assigned me to serve at Holy Spirit Church in Fountain Valley beginning July 1st. I am thankful for the new assignment and for the great opportunity to serve the people of God in the local Church, in the Diocese of Orange. I thank God for bringing us together these years in love and service, in support and in faith. Please continue to support and pray for our spiritual home at Holy Trinity Church, for the priests who are coming, for our parish staff, and for Fr. Reynold and me.

With prayers, I hope this difficult time will be over soon; and God willing, we may see each other again and rejoice.

In Christ,

Fr. John


If your heart desires, the following link is provided for anyone who wishes to contribute to Fr John’s retirement or give a monetary gift of thanks

CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE TO FR JOHN’S FAREWELL FUND


A Message from Fr Walter

Hey Y’all,

I asked Fr. Walter, our friendly, priestly  fellow parishioner to write a little something for your consideration.  He wisely addressed some spoken and unspoken questions that our pandemic emphasizes.  So please read on, thoughtfully and prayerfully.  And figure out how you can sincerely sing “Alleluia” in a pandemic, or in any season of your life.

Fr. Reynold


Alleluia in a Pandemic

The simplest things sometimes make the greatest impression. For me, it’s the assembly’s Easter “Alleluia” that goes unsung and unheard. Yes, we have livestreamed celebrations, and that’s good. But virtual celebrations also remind us of what we long to do but cannot: gather together to sing, hear God’s word, celebrate the Eucharist, and go forth to serve as missionary disciples. 

Of course we know why. To gather would be to risk spreading sickness with possibly fatal consequences. It’s far better to stay home and, when we must venture forth, keep a safe distance from others. For now, we must do without that graced rhythm of Catholic worship that grounds and graces our lives. But neither the virus nor the disruption it has brought can invalidate the faith that sustains us in this and all seasons. 

In a time of pandemic, that statement might elicit hesitation and even skepticism. How can we praise God in the face of so many hospitalizations and deaths, when millions have lost their jobs, their income, and even the ability to feed their families? How can we sing “Alleluia” when so much is so awful and God seems so far away? Other questions quickly follow. Why is there so much evil in our world? How can God allow good people to suffer and evil-doers to prosper? What are we to make of injustice, violence, and bereavement? 

Our ancestors in faith wrestled with these same questions. They experienced war, famine, untimely death, disease and pestilence, unjust systems, corrupt officials, dishonest merchants, perjurious witnesses, and so much more. They knew that life can be capricious, unjust, and cruel— often unbearably so—and that human folly and malice contribute greatly to life’s troubles. But they also believed firmly in one God who made all things, a God who transcends all creation and is beyond human manipulation. They worshiped God as infinite, good, loving, wise, powerful, and just. But if God is so good, why is the world so broken and justice so uncommon? 

Old Testament writers responded variously, but generally assumed that God treats people according to their deeds, blessing the virtuous and punishing sinners. Explicit in Dt. 30: 15-20, the principle of just retribution upholds God’s justice. It is easily understood and emphasizes the potential consequences of each person’s daily decisions. It appears in the Gospel (John 9:2), and in the strong feeling among people today that grievous suffering should not befall those who did nothing wrong. Yet it does. 

This is the central concern in the Book of Job. Mostly written in poetic form, this extraordinary book rebuts the notion that one’s lot in life reflects God’s just judgment. Job is a prosperous and altogether virtuous man who has suffered a series of unspeakably horrible losses and afflictions. With a searing, visceral lament, Job bitterly condemns the day of his birth and longs for the grave (Chap. 3). In the lengthy conversation that follows, Job’s three interlocutors take different approaches to the same conclusion: Job deserves his troubles and should repent of his sin. But Job has not sinned and resolutely defends his innocence, sometimes angrily, to them and to God. 

God’s response is given in the speech from the whirlwind (Chaps. 38-41). Composed by a poet of consummate ability, it reviews many signs of God’s power and transcendence, implicitly 

emphasizing the infinite gap between God and creation, including Job (see Is. 55: 8-9). Overcome with awe, Job abandons his case against God and, falling silent, folds his troubles into worship. It is a moment of conversion. He has a personal encounter with the living God and it changes him. 

The Book of Job boldly challenges the principle of just retribution, and shows how it can lead people to levy unwarranted judgments on themselves, others, and God as well. It recognizes that innocent people do suffer grievously. Most of all, it eloquently asserts that, instead of undermining faith, our sorrows can prompt us to open our hearts as never before to our infinite God, who is by no means limited by our notions of justice. Allowing ourselves to receive and be touched by God’s gift of personal communion, we can set aside human expectations and embrace sacred, healing silence. We stop bargaining and embrace a purer, less self-centered faith, with fewer strings attached. Our love flows more freely into worship, service, and daily life, transforming everything. 

Jesus inherited this legacy of Jewish piety and faith, along with the expectation of an innocent but suffering servant who would bring forgiveness to many (Is. 53). Sent by God, he proclaimed the Kingdom and brought God’s saving love to hurting people in a broken world. God though he was, Jesus took our human flesh, pitched his tent among us, and lived our human reality to the full (John 1: 14). Alike to them in all things but sin, he reached out to his brothers and sisters through his healing touch, powerful word, and personal invitation to share his life and mission. 

All along the way Jesus felt the bite of injustice, suffering and sorrow. His ministry began with the execution of John the Baptist and ended with his passion and death. Walking among sinful people, he encountered betrayal and bereavement, violence and rejection. And yet he loved his own and loved them to the end (John 13: 1-2). At his core was his personal communion with God his Father and the deep, reciprocal love between them (John 17: 1-3, 20-24). “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and gave him a name above every name, that … every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father” (Phil. 2: 8-11). Suffering transformed, faith vindicated, commitment blessed, love triumphant, brokenness made whole, communion extended. In faith, we receive it all through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us. 

As we live through this pandemic, I hope each of us will find time to visit the sanctuary of our hearts, hear God’s voice there, and consider how we will walk the rest of our journey. For sure we’ll still have our trials and troubles as Job and Jesus had theirs. May those challenges lead us to know our loving Lord more personally and be transformed by the communion he offers each one. 

That communion with our crucified and risen Lord is the source of our “Alleluia.” It is our inspiration to rejoice, love as we have been loved, proclaim his Gospel, and continue his mission of justice and peace. 

The Lord is risen, he is truly risen, Alleluia! Let us rejoice and be glad, Alleluia! 

Walter J. Woods



A MESSAGE FROM OUR PASTOR

Hey Y’all,

Fr. Reynold writing here. I hope that everyone who is reading this is doing well. However, I know that some of you reading this are in fact not doing quite so well. Truly, I’m so sorry about that. See, in a parish like ours we run the gamut of human experience. Some folks are healthy; some are battling illness. Some are blissful; while others are struggling with grief. Some are worry-free; some others are fearfully anxious. Some of you are full of faith and some of you are having trouble believing. Some are feeling safe and secure; others aren’t sure what tomorrow will bring or if tomorrow will even come. Some are peaceful; others are full of rage. Some are engaged; while others are bored silly. Some are just numb; while some of you are feeling all the emotions mentioned above at once. Basically what I’m getting at, is that anyone reading this email at any given point can be anyplace in their state of life, their state of emotion, their state of faith, and their state of grace.

And it’s kinda of funny…maybe if you’re like me when I’m at my strongest and especially when I’m at my weakest, I feel my individuality profoundly. When I’m feeling strong, I can have a singular personal pride. Then when I’m weak, I can often feel utterly alone. We’ve all experienced such a range of mind, spirit and emotions. We all know what it is to feel our individuality. What we tend not to remember when we’re strong or weak or even just “bleh” is this paradox: there is solidarity in being individuals. There is community in our aloneness because we all experience singular pride and utter loneliness. I would hypothesize that solidarity is more important to us as creatures than individuality. In a primeval metaphor, “we are a pack of lone wolves”. I would go so far to say that this solidarity forms a community which is brought together by a need for salvation. That community is the Church. The solidarity of all that is human, in grace or disgrace, is redeemed by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This solidarity is given a mission through the Holy Spirit. And in solidarity we reflect the love of God the Father – by worshiping, by giving thanks, by living, moving and being together throughout all the ages.I’ve been thinking about this kind of stuff over the last few days. It started with my friend Pastor Craig from the Nazarene Church in Guymon, Oklahoma. He wrote on his blog…

“Often the Christian life is approached as if it is an individual pursuit. There is very little thought given as to how the body of believers might enhance one’s spiritual well-being… It’s as if the average Christian believer has concluded: The Church should not be too close, but never out of reach just in case we need to make a request.”

Now from a Pastor’s point of view, or a theologian’s point of view, or a Christian’s point of view these four lines could give birth to volumes of books. So let me simply say this – everybody needs to see paradox in the human experience, especially in the Christian embrace of humanity. We are individuals who need relationships, living in a solidarity of strengths and weaknesses; being together in a communion of faith, hope and love. We should give a lot of thought about how our participation in the Church shapes, forms and molds us in the image of Christ. The Church should always be in reach and the Church should always be reaching out for us and for all humanity.So please join me in praying for each other, for our parish and for our Church. Think about these concepts and as we begin to think about being Church in a slightly different day of mid-pandemic, let’s seek the best way to be Church. Let me know what y’all think. As we’re able to return to Church in one way or another in the coming weeks and months, let’s figure out even more how we are to be the Church in both solidarity and community.

Grace and peace to all y’all!

Fr. Reynold


A GOOD FRIDAY REFLECTION FROM DEACON RANDY

GOOD FRIDAY

As we continue our journey through the Triduum (the Three Days beginning on the evening of Holy Thursday and closing with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday) , we arrive at Good Friday. Praying on this day helps us focus on the fullness of the Paschal Mystery, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Before I entered the Catholic Church at my (adult) Baptism in 1985, I had “book knowledge” about the meaning of this day, but not the spiritual understanding and experience of it. Certainly, there is intense sadness in today’s liturgy . And, there also is a remembering, a seeing and a physical experience of the boundless love of God that is expressed in Jesus’ passion and death.

We revere and adore the wood of the cross, because our Savior was nailed there and willingly gave his life for us on it. During a service of the Good Friday Liturgy, we hear the sung words : “Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the salvation of the world”. And, we respond: “Come let us adore. Then, each of us is invited to come to it, touch or kiss or embrace the cross with the greatest devotion we wish to express.

From my first experience as a “new” Catholic, this act of veneration has been deeply meaningful for me and I am certain it is for you also. As a Deacon, I also am blessed to hold the cross for others to venerate. In the faces of the members of the Assembly, who approach the cross, I witness great devotion expressed through outstretched hands, genuflections, tears, bowing. The very young and the very old, the physically fit and those challenged by aging and infirmities, all God’s people are there to adore.

In our homes this year, confined by the pandemic, we can still make an act of Adoration of the Holy Cross. With a cross or crucifix or an image of one, whether we are alone or with family members, we can pause and spend time in prayer. Perhaps we can sit with the words “I behold the wood of the cross, I come to adore”. We can make a gesture that has meaning for us in accepting the love, forgiveness and everlasting life that flows from that cross.

Deacon Randy

HOLY THURSDAY

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I welcome you to this most solemn time in our Church Year…the Triduum. That is the time when we have completed our journey of Lent and enter fully into the Paschal Mystery, our Savior’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. This year, of course, our experience is markedly different. Due to the precautions we are observing because of the pandemic, we cannot be physically present with one another during our Liturgies. We will experience our Liturgies in a different way, via watching them via livestream. And, we will bring our memories of past years’ Holy Thursdays, Good Fridays, Easter Vigils and Easter Sundays into this year’s Triduum.

As many of you know, I am not a cradle Catholic. I made the decision, in my early thirties, to enter the Catholic Church. Even before becoming Catholic, my memories of Holy Thursday included my awe at the components of the Liturgy, especially the washing of the feet and the removal of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose. What was it, especially about the washing of the feet , that so moved me?

The words of the Gospel at this Mass of the Lord’s Supper, accompanied by the ritual of the foot washing by the priest ,amazed me. Here was Jesus, the Son of God, who “… rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.” And, he said: “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me teacher and master, and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” And, there was Father, kneeling before members of the parish, following Jesus’ command, to be a servant of others.

This year, we will hear the words proclaimed but we will not witness the ritual. We will not be in the company of one another gathered together as a community in the church building. But, as we watch and pray from home, perhaps with family members, we can still experience the amazement at Jesus’ actions and we can still ponder his words “ as I have done for you, you should also do”. Perhaps we can reflect on some of the following questions.

When have we experienced someone humbly attending to us in a time of need? When we think of those instances, let us offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the persons who took Jesus’ words to heart and cared for us.

When have we followed Jesus’ example and humbled ourselves to serve those in need? Then, offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for opening our eyes and hearts to those in need.

Thirdly, have there been times when we have neglected to serve others in need? If so, in prayer, ask for forgiveness and ask for the grace to see and act on the needs of others.

We will make our journey through this Triduum together as we join our hearts in prayer, thanking and praising God for his abundant blessings and for his Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Deacon Randy