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.


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



Response to COVID-19

Hey Y’all,

Fr. Reynold here…and unless you’re a hermit, you know we’re all supposed to shut down for a time. Below, you can read the directive all the Pastors received from Bishop Vann. Our Bishop is following the order issued by our Governor, Mr. Newsom. The directive states…

“In light of the GOVERNOR’S ORDER FOR ALL CALIF. RESIDENTS TO REMAIN AT HOME, EXCEPT ESSENTIAL SERVICES INDIVIDUALS, we want to provide further clarifications and reminders about public and private gatherings.

What does this mean for our Parishes, Schools, Pastoral Center and Cathedral Campus?

  • AS PUBLIC PLACES, OUR CHURCHES, SCHOOLS AND CAMPUS WILL NEED TO CLOSE
    TO PUBLIC ENTRY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE PER THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER. THIS WILL
    ALSO INCLUDE CONDUCTING BAPTISMS (unless in an emergency), WEDDINGS,
    RECEPTIONS, EVENTS, GROUPS, SOCIETIES, DEVOTIONS, CHOIRS, FUNERAL VIGILS,
    ROSARIES, AND ANYTHING THAT CAUSES PEOPLE TO GATHER IN ONE PLACE. THE
    ANOINTING OF THE SICK WITH PROPER PRECAUTIONS IS TO BE CONTINUED.”

As you can see, the language is emphatic. We will follow the directives of Bishop Vann intentionally, because by doing so we can help contain the virus. And we will follow Bishop Vann’s directives out of obedience because it is a spiritual discipline! Please don’t look for ways to get around this. That’s not good for you spiritually.

Holy Trinity is going to offer the celebration of the Mass “virtually” by live-streaming. Mass, and your intentions at Mass, will continue as always. Fr. John and I are mandated to celebrate Mass and our Divine Office daily. We have done so since our Ordinations without a lot of you even knowing that we do this. In that way, prayer for you has been on-going virtually even if you’re unaware. And while the physicality of the Sacraments is important – since God made us physical creatures -there are seasons when the physical celebration of the Sacraments isn’t possible. A season of pandemic qualifies as that.

So, here’s how I’d ask you all to think about this. Virtual celebration- we’ve got that. Physical presence is temporarily unavailable. But the Spiritual celebration and presence and reality- the grace that is given by praising and worshiping and being obedient- that isn’t compromised at all!!! So, let’s not be glum or
crabby, or sad. Instead let’s practice the spiritual reality of our faith in our current situation! God hasn’t changed. The Incarnation hasn’t changed. Our need to Worship hasn’t changed. And while community might be different physically, we’re still bond together spiritually! We are Roman Catholics living by
faith!

So now for the specifics…

– The Office and Church are officially closed. But the phone still works for immediate needs. Call a need arises. You might have to leave a message. My extension is 105. Fr. John’s is 10

– We’re going to suspend physical ministry activities for the time being. But as soon as we get the signal, we’ll be happy to see y’all again. And we’re looking forward to being active again!

– We’re still working on-line, and sending out resources. If you’re hunkering down, and I hope that you are, please take some time to grow spiritually through the on-line resources we’re offering. There are cartoons for the kids, studies for teens and adults. Plus there is devotional stuff galore. You’re got the time! Have at it!

– We’ll live stream Sunday Mass tomorrow at 8:30 AM. I know that this might not be your regular Mass time. Get up at 8:30 pray with us, and then go back to bed if you want to. This might be the only time you can attend Mass in your bath robe and slippers! Enjoy it!If 8:30 is too early you can check out other Diocesan or parish streams. There is a list with links at the bottom of this email. I was going to write out a little devotional on the daily readings every day, but instead we’re going to live-stream daily Mass. So you can tune into that at 8:30 AM, Monday – Friday. I might still write a little something, so watch for that on the parish webpage!

– If there is a need for a funeral, please contact me or Fr. John. You can also try Greg Wieckert one of our bereavement ministers – (714) 349-8465. There are special conditions for the celebration of funerals at this time. We can work with each family within the directives.

– Fr. John and I can also celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick for those who are suffering serious illness. Please contact us as the need arises.

– Please look for more information about live-streaming liturgies and other Holy Trinity info as time marches on. We’ll get y’all some palms for Palm (Passion) Sunday. We’ll give you times for Holy Week and Easter as we get closer to those dates.

– I’d ask you to concentrate some prayer time on those who are sick. There are some Holy Trinity families that are victims of this pandemic. There might be more in the coming days. Please pray for strength, hope, healing and the restoration of physical and emotional health for all.

So y’all, keep up the prayer. Keep the faith. Encourage each other thru electronics – maybe more phone calls than texts or emails. You’re got time. Talk to each other. Listen to each other. Take care of each other. Be patient with each other! Concentrating on patience, kindness, giving of your time and talent, and prayer…and then throw in some fasting and it sounds like a good way to mature in this weirdly grace-filled Lent!

And please know that I’m expectantly waiting for that joyous time where we can call get together physically, seeing each other face to face!!!

Blessings,
Fr. Reynold

List of Mass broadcast and livestreams


Message of Hope and Tips for dealing with COVID-19

The following two articles were written by one of our parishioners, Dr. Gina Rodinelli. She is a practicing psychologist who offers some great insight, with ways to cope during this time of pandemic.

How to Manage Anxiety and Isolation During Quarantine

A Message of Hope