The Old Mission welcomes visitors from sunrise until sunset. Known for its beautiful gardens and faithfully restored artifacts the mission is a always an experience to visit. Tours available daily.
The faith community of San Buenaventura Mission welcomes all who visit our historic Mission and who join us in our liturgical celebrations. Visitors are welcomed in a special way at Sunday Mass and receive a remembrance prayer card. All are welcome at the Mission.
Election 2014: Becoming an Informed Faithful Citizen
On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, California voters will be faced with several key ballot initiatives. But despite the importance of these policies, many experts continue to forecast a very low voter turnout.
Catholics, however, are called by their faith to offer the Gospel's perspective on life and dignity to society through active participation in politics. Voting is the most basic – and one of the easiest – ways to do so.
Pope Francis expressed this rather powerfully:
"I say that politics is the most important of the civil activities and has its own field of action, which is not that of religion. Political institutions are secular by definition and operate in independent spheres. All my predecessors have said the same thing, for many years at least, albeit with different accents. I believe that Catholics involved in politics carry the values of their religion within them, but have the mature awareness and expertise to implement them. The Church will never go beyond its task of expressing and disseminating its values, at least as long as I'm here."
To this end, www.cacatholic.org has brief policy summaries of all the statewide measures on the ballot and reflections from Catholic Social Teaching to help Catholics and others make informed decisions.
The California Catholic Conference is officially supporting only one of the ballot propositions this year, Proposition 47, The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act. The Bishops' unanimous support stems from the fact that "the criminal justice system in California remains desperately in need of significant reform."
"All human life is sacred and, therefore, all social policies and actions in the realm of criminal justice – as with all of our individual and societal actions - must begin with respect for the life and dignity of the human person," say the Bishops in their statement of support.
Details on the Bishops' support for Prop 47, a Frequently Asked Questions section and an exploration of the principals of restorative justice are all available on the Restorative Justice page.
To learn more about our parish ministries please review our Ministry Opportunities Booklet.
Help sustain the legacy of our historic Mission: please remember San Buenaventura Mission in your will or estate planning.
"Siempre Adelante: United in the love of God as a Mission Family."
October 19, 2014
Here's what I want to know: How is it that Matthew, who wrote today's gospel two thousand years ago, could possibly have timed a recounting of Christ's teaching about politics, and have it line up just before elections? Anyone who thinks the Holy Spirit is not alive and working in our lives today, well, you need to pay a little close attention....
Our first reading today from the Prophet Isaiah tells us that while Cyrus the Great wasn't even aware of it, God was guiding him in the fulfillment of the Israelites destiny. Once Cyrus, a Persian, had conquered the Babylonians – it was the Babylonians that had enslaved the Israelites - he freed the Israelites and let them return to their homeland. The scripture says "For the sake of Israel....I gave you a title....I armed you....though you knew me not." Cyrus still has his free will, but God empowers him to do God's will. Cyrus the pagan, the ruler, is God's instrument.....oh wait! That can't be! There's supposed to be separation between church and state, right? Are you kidding me? ALL power originates from God, and if God can empower a pagan to gain the release of his chosen people, should we ever doubt that our faith should be in God, and not in politicians?
Which brings us to today's Gospel. I love the Gospels. Because once you begin to study them, they are like a beautiful flower that opens and you see petal after petal and the more you look, the more beauty, intricacy and detail you see. Take Jesus' very simple, straight forward response at the end of the Gospel: "...repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God."
Now at the surface, you might think that Christ, in order to avoid the trap the Pharisees were setting, was simply saying, pay Caesar his taxes. But there is so much more to that simple statement. Look a little deeper into the flower of Jesus' word. Yes, we need to pay taxes. In the letter of Paul to the Romans 13:6 he says "For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, busy with this very thing." And he continues: "pay to all of them what is due them" – and this is key, he continues – "taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due" – and here is where he expounds and reveals the deeper meaning in Matthew's Gospel - "RESPECT TO WHOM RESPECT IS DUE AND HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE."
Which makes us ask, what is our relationship to God and our political leaders? In the extreme, the Romans thought of their Caesars as Gods. Centuries ago, the Japanese did the same, and sadly, today North Korea is just about there. All of these people had lost the focus that there is only one true God, and he is not on the ballot! Everything that we do, say or think should be directed to the Greater Glory of God, not ever, ever to some politician. A politician should be no more than an aide for us to give Glory to God and to live out the teachings of Christ.
I won't go into the political scandals that seeming rock us every other day, or the self-centered scheming that seems to be the norm in elected officials. We see it (sometimes) in the paper week after week. I would no sooner paint all the politicians with the same brush as I would do that based or racial or ethnic identification. There are good ones, and many of them. My father as a politician in Massachusetts for over 50 years, so I know the good that politicians can do. But any politician who makes a decision based on any less lofty goals that the greater glory of God does a disservice to those who put them there.
GOD is the source of all power! There is no such thing as Separation of Church and State. That was a sound bite that sadly took on a life of its own. If you really want to learn about the first amendment and freedom of religion and what it REALLY meant to the founding fathers, I encourage you to get a copy of a book called "American Religious Liberty: 101 Questions and Answers". Not surprisingly, its author is one of the pre-eminent scholars on religious freedom, our own Bishop Curry. I could go on for hours about this topic, but the book gives deep insightful study of what the founding fathers' intent was with the First Amendment.
The First Amendment quite clearly stated that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". It didn't say there's no such thing as religion, or the government should pretend there is no religion, or there's no place in government for religion. It simply said that matters of religion are outside the purview of the government. The government isn't qualified to wade into a person's or group of people's religious views and make value judgments. The power flows FROM the people TO the government, not the other way around. And what is the source of all power? GOD!! Give Caesar his coin, but give God his rightful worship.
In 1st Peter, Chapter 2:15, there is a great summation: "For it is God's will that by doing right, you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet, do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. "
Maybe we should have that passage as an oath of office.
And what is the source of all power? Yes, GOD! May God Bless you.