A. M. D. G.
I write this letter for a double purpose. Both are important. One is of good wishes for the present.
God first willingly submitted Himself to unrestrained human evil for a purpose of His own, and then quickly undid all the effects of evil by rising from the dead. In so doing, he achieved the results he sought in His passion and death and thus nullified and triumphed over all the evil men had done Him. Thus He vindicated and established His work and His power, both as regards His own affairs and as regards what He has promised to us. With God, responsible effort and good will never end in defeat, though for a time there may be darkness. The implications of all these things have limitless applications to our successes and failures, our trials and our blessings in this life, and to the ultimate outcome of all the things which are beyond our control but within the bounds of Divine Knowledge and Power. This is the sure, certain basis for unwavering and unshakeable Christian confidence, peace, hope. Some in-depth participation in this light and goodness and joy is what I wish you and yours as a special blessing.
And secondly, I have been conscious of your great kindness to me at Christmas. I cannot be absolved of the obligation of gratitude until I express to you my appreciation of your kindness and thoughtfulness.
Sincerely in Christ,
Father Schell (1982)
Father Fred Schell was responsible for bringing Holy Mass to us from the mid-1970’s until his death some 25 years later. Father says it well that, “responsible effort and good will never end in defeat, though for a time there may be darkness”. At the time of Monsignor Perez’ death, the Padre Pio Academy Board of Directors was presented by Monsignor’s sister, a sealed envelope containing a letter, handwritten by Monsignor and, dated March 4, 2021, (while he was in reasonably good health and certainly of sound mind) and witnessed by two of his friends, neither of whom were/are board members. In this letter, he transfers complete authority of Our Lady Help of Christians to the PPA Board of Directors, who he (Monsignor Perez), gives the full responsibility with specific instructions, of finding a new pastor. Upon meeting with that same Board and being informed of the instructions given them by Monsignor, Father Starbuck’s deciding reply, as he reiterated in his public sermon and as has been published on the internet, was that he would not work under the authority of another priest as pastor; nor would he take any good faith advice from the Board. As you can deduce from the sermon of December 19, Father Starbuck refused to accept Monsignor’s stipulation, effectively declining to work with other priests, and in fact publicly denouncing one by name. This had clearly become an unworkable situation since Father had obviously decided to go his own way. We wish Father Starbuck well and thank him for the years he has spent with us.
Some there are who have accused the Board’s members of money- and power-grabbing. Be it known that these members and other parishioners who have selflessly helped them, have spent countless hours and days with no remuneration (nor do they want or expect any,) compensating as best they can for the void left by the death of Monsignor Perez. As for power-grabbing, where is the power? In the labor of love? In executing the directives of the Monsignor Perez? In suffering baseless narcissistic allegations and fabrications?
Please keep Our Lady Help of Christians in your prayers as the Board continues to perform its legal and ethical obligations in the best interest of the Chapel, (three weeks completed), and as we move forward in our search for qualified priestly candidates. God willing, we will have the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated every Sunday, and soon daily, upon our altar. Sadly, this is all part of the penance we must suffer through due to the tragic state of the Church and of the world today. “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
Dear Parishioners of Our Lady Help of Christians,
To say this last month and a half has been difficult and trying for us all would truly be an understatement. The PPA board of directors would like to thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate through these rough waters. We are quickly finding out how much Monsignor Perez did for the parish. The board would like to apologize for any confusion from the last month, but there has been much that has changed from day to day. Our first plan was to stay unchanged as much as possible, but that did not work out like we had hoped. We felt that the most important thing for the parish is the Mass and the sacraments. We were blessed to get help from Father Alphonsus who said our Christmas and Sunday Mass this past week. He has again agreed to help us this upcoming weekend, as Father Wiest is still recovering from his illness.
The goal of the board continues to be the traditional Latin Mass and the sacraments. We feel it would be extremely difficult to find an independent priest who is without scandal and with proper orders, and also able to handle the many needs of our large parish, but we have not abandoned hope. For these reasons, the board is looking for temporary assistance from a traditional Catholic society. As one can imagine, extra priests are not easy to come by, but we have had very good discussions in getting the help we need.
We will continue to try to keep you updated through email and the OLHC website. Know that we are doing our best to carry on the wishes of Father Schell and Monsignor Perez. Keep the parish in your prayers and remember to practice charity always.
PPA Board of Directors
God in his infinite wisdom, deemed fit to call forth His servant, Monsignor Patrick J. Perez, from this vale of tears, into His eternal rest, the early morning of Thursday, November 18. The day and time of Monsignor’s Requiem Mass are scheduled below.
To Monsignor’s many friends, inveterate parishioners, dear families and supporters:
Monsignor was loved and respected, if for no other reason than the love and respect with which he treated others. He had an innate reverence for precision and order, and nowhere was this more evident than in his love for Latin, the Mass, and Catholic Liturgical Tradition in general. With the loss of his pivotal leadership, a void has already been felt, and many legitimately wonder whether grave change awaits us. It is reasonable to think that change, if any, will be only of a passing nature. Padre Pio Academy will continue its present course of traditional Catholic education as envisioned by Father Fred Schell, and the Chapel will continue to be that source of Traditional grace and inspiration for those seeking the Higher Truth. Monsignor Perez provided documentation near the time of his March, 2021, surgery, that in the event of his death, (1) all Parish (OLHC) property would be transferred to the authority of the Board of Trustees of Padre Pio Academy, who would also, (2) be solely responsible for the timely choice of a new pastor.
Until that time is complete, we encourage you to keep the parish in your prayers and please, continue your weekly or monthly donations to help OLHC through this unexpected period of financial challenge so that the fewest of modifications are made.
Your checks should still be made payable to “OLHC” or “Our Lady Help of Christians”, deposited in the collection at Sunday Mass or mailed ONLY to:
Our Lady Help of Christians 9621 Bixby Ave Garden Grove, CA 92841
*** OLHC priests are unable to accept new Mass Intention Requests at this time ***
Monsignor Perez’ annual “labor of love”, the Liturgical Calendars for 2022, are available in the gift shop. This is the last time we shall have the gift of his detailed knowledge of the liturgy and Masses available to us.