This is the official site of the
birthed at Mission San Juan Capistrano in 2002. Known as the “jewel” of the 21 Missions, Mission San Juan Capistrano, was founded by Blessed Junipero Serra, O.F.M., S.T.D., on November 1, 1776. Padre Serra is the Founding Father of California.
As I meditate on how to pray my “good-byes”, I was moved by the Spirit of God to write as maybe St Paul felt he should. I don’t know why exactly but I am moved so. I want to leave behind some wisdoms I have used practically in my life over the years.
When I first arrived at St. Paschal Baylon on Thanksgiving Day, November, 2007, I was filled with joy and that is why I chose ” to land” that day! I knew Fr. Dave over the years. I remember those weekly meetings with Fr. Dave and several other priests. Jesu Caritas the support movement is called.
Another motive for coming North from Mission San Juan Capistrano (seven years assigned there! another great assignment) rested in the call to complete a project given to me by my Community to co author a book on Conflict Transformation. We Franciscan Friars of the Atonement are a community of men who are called to use our time, talent, substance and opportunity to work for Christian Unity and serve in various ministries of reconciliation.
Our congregation used to be much larger. used to be much larger. Now we are only 80 men. Half of our fraternity are ordained priests like myself. We place Brotherhood at the top of our value list. From the Brotherhood we have in the Heart of Jesus the gifts flow, especially ordination. Others of us who are not ordained assume whatever the Community calls us to do, much like the Franciscan Friar St. Paschal Baylon OFM. My gosh. He had so many different jobs. Cook, sewer of Habits, porter, kitchen cleaner, house maintainance, and garden cultivation to name a few. And then he became a French diplomat and defending Catholic doctrine against the heresies of his day.
I am glad I got to know St. Paschal because before this, I had not the foggiest idea of who he was. So when I found out he was a sheep herder and Fr. Dave told me Thousand Oaks was a “sheep town” I found an owner who lent me one of her sheep and I brought it up the main aisle at the 10:45 AM Mass! Were you there? Imagine the old old days of T.O. Sheep going up and down on Moorpark! Imagine! I bet quite a few sheep would get a police ticket. Beware, the police patrol that street – good pickin’s for the unaware.
When I came here I was told that “my” signature for this parish would be the Prayer of the Obedient Heart. “My” signature !?
Lord Jesus, open the doors You want opened.
Lord Jesus, close all the doors You do not want opened.
Place me at the Center of Your Perfect Will.
What an honor to offer this prayer now placed in stone outside the Adoration Chapel into your heart now and as (eventually) my parting gift when the good Lord takes me all the way “Home”.
And thank you Teo Zeolla for the loving work you did in placing those words in granite. What a great stone. The quartz in it shines in the daylight. Beautiful ! Thank you Teo for your love for this parish and the Adoration Chapel.
Good people, Again, as I pray for you over the Adoration Chapel, remember how special you are to my heart and I thank you for all your prayer for my strength, and recovery. A prophetic word came to me from some of our charismatic Hispanics months after I was diagnosed with 4th stage cancer. She told me that the Lord was going to extend my life; when my time comes to go home, I will fall into His Arms.
So thank you. My star in my window shines in the night. God speaks to us in the darkness and in the light.
I want to share with you this spiritual inventory that I have used on past retreats and right now is particularly relevant as I continue to face this grave illness with the love of God and the intercession of the saints! And pray that the many elements I want to do for the work of becoming healthier and wiser grow each day!
You are in my Chalice,
Fr. Joe Friar Joe
Rev. Joe Scerbo, S.A., Ph.D
Fr. Joe’s Spiritual Inventory
Who have I been all this time ?
How have I used my gift of a human life ?
What do I need to “clear up” or “let go” in order to be more peaceful ?
What gives my life meaning?
For what am I grateful?
What have I learned of truth and how truthfully have I learned to live?
What have I learned of love and how well have I learned to love?
What have I learned about courage, power and faith?
What have I learned of the human condition and how great was my compassion?
How am I handling suffering?
How can I best share what I have learned?
What helps me to open my heart and empty my mind and experience the presence of the Holy Spirit?
What will give me strength as I die?
What is the relationship with that which will give me strength as I die?
If I remembered that my breaths were numbered, what would my relationship be to this breath right now?
Who am I?
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