Mini Lenten Retreats

St. Gerard’s would like to invite you to participate our Lenten Retreats every Thursday during Lent. Check the flyer for more information.
What: Becoming Christlike
Where: Parish Hall (5249 Maple Dr., Baton Rouge)
When: Thursday at 5:30pm-6:30pm (from February 27 – April 2)
Contact us for more: 225-355-2553. Or

The Word Made Flesh

The Baptism of the Lord

The Baptism of Jesus was an epiphany.  It was a moment of manifestation.  As He emerged from the waters, “Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from Heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’”  This manifestation of the sonship and divinity of Jesus took place in a physical, audible and visible form so that all present would know, without question, that Jesus was the Son of the Father.  Thus, His baptism is a way in which the Father introduced His Son and His Son’s mission to the world.
As we prepare to begin Ordinary Time, reflect, today, upon these words of the Father at the Baptism of Jesus.  Hear the Father speaking to You about the divinity of His Son.  Turn your eyes to Jesus and prepare yourself to follow Him and to heed every word He speaks.  He was sent into this world to draw us to the Father, allow Him to fulfill that mission in your own life.
As baptized Christians, we are called to live faithfully, generously and courageously our missions, which is ultimately God’s mission, as Prophet, King (or Queen) and Priest everyday of our lives.
May your ordinary activities and works become extraordinary, significant and meaningful for you and your people around you.
We will reflect St. Teresa of Calcutta’s Words of Wisdom (WOW) to live out our faith these few weeks.


What a Christmas season for us this year. It’s my privilege to journey with you. This is the last reflection. May God bless you and be with you always. -Fr. Tat

DAY 25: The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Mass During the Day

IS 52:7-10; HEB 1:1-6; JN 1:1-18


The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

Imagine that you are going to a very big and world-known concert. One of the international well-known performers is in town.  You have to wait for a very long time to get your ticket. And then you have to get in a long line to get through the security gate. Then you find your seat. You look around the huge auditorium decorated with so many lights and oracles. It’s so beautiful and magnificent. There are two best masters of ceremonies on stage. Then many more great performances constantly surprise you with their excellent skills and talents. You still wait for the most important ONE. Because of this Person, you are here.

Finally, the MC announces his name. And he is …walking out slowly and gently and holy….here is Jesus. The Superstar of all-stars. The super-light of all lights. The whole auditorium is applauding him constantly. They all are standing and clapping their hands. You are seeing him with your mouth open and your imagination is spreading out beyond this world. You might say to yourself, “Oh, my God(sh)! Oh, my son of God! Here is the one I’m waiting for and looking for so long. He is indeed the Savior. He is so good. So humble. So wise. So amazing. So spectacular. So attractive. So loving. So drawing. So god. So everything. He is mine. I want to be his….now and now.” Jesus is smiling and looking at each one of you with gentleness, joyfulness, and love.

Yes, my sisters and brothers. Jesus is here. Let us go out and welcome him, connect with him.

The Gospel of John today describes Jesus beautifully. “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory…” This is a magnificent truth and presence of God.

Today, let us begin to acknowledge the presence of God in our lives through Jesus. Only Jesus can help us to know beyond our reality. Only Jesus can reveal his Father to us. Only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Through him, everything is created. He is the true light. He is our loving Redeemer.

Reflection question: Who is Jesus for you? Please share your story, relationship or belief about Jesus with others.


Day 24: Tuesday in the Fourth Week of Advent  – Mass in the Morning

2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16; LK 1:67-79


“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free.”

Today, Zechariah raised his voice and heart to praise God, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free….” These words for me are like the lyrics of his song of praise to his loving and merciful God. These words were busted in freedom and joy. Nothing could stop Zechariah to shout out the goodness of the Lord. They are so beautiful. All priests and religious men and women pray these words every morning as they pray the Christian Prayer or Breviary. 

My favorite prayer if I may say to God is “Lord, my God and my All.” These six words could fill up my heart and express my beautiful relationship with God. God is everything to me. God is the center of my life. God has done so many good things to me that I cannot even count. I cannot even imagine. Therefore, I only can say, “Lord, my God and my All.”

Each one of us has a very special and unique relationship with God. No matter how hard or how comfortable our lives are, we are God’s. We are blessed by God. God is with us. 

God is coming for you to see you and to be with you. Please open your heart, mind and soul to welcome the humble God into your life. Let’s get up and go out of our fears to meet and to praise God with our favorite song or prayer. Jesus is near. Jesus is here. Jesus does not need a big present from us. Jesus only needs a humble and longing heart from us.

Reflection question:

If you had a chance to express your “song of praise” or prayer to God today as he comes to see you, what would you like to say?


Day 22: Fourth Sunday of Advent

IS 7:10-14; ROM 1:1-7; MT 1:18-24


“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

The story of how Jesus came about is told today. Of course, everyone remembers and memorizes the whole scene of the story. The archangel Gabriel came and dialogued with Mary. After that Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit. But Mary has engaged with Joseph already. Joseph was very surprised by the news about Mary’s pregnancy. Joseph intended to divorce her. But the angel told him in his dream that the son Mary will birth, “will save his people from their sins.”

It’s a great story. The Great Emmanuel will be born to Mary by the Holy Spirit.

Emmanuel had to go through the process of becoming human. This is a great mystery of the divine for us to meditate today. Everything needs time. Everything is a part of the whole. We all are connected.

If you are sitting on a chair, sit. If you are driving a car, keep driving. If you are drinking a cup of coffee, drink slowly. If you are visiting your beloved mother, enjoy her presence and present.

Why? Because all these things do not end up at the existence we are experiencing. They all come together from different sources. There are many parts and materials collected and processed to be able to make a chair or a car or a cup of coffee for us to use. It takes a thousand generations to have your beloved mother. So, we need to be careful and appreciative of what we have and who we are. We need to treasure and respect all things and peoples we have.

God is with us, always! Jesus is also nourished and loved by so many people in his life. Mary, Joseph, cousins and disciples were there to support him. Now the spirit of Jesus is in and among us as we love one another.

Reflection question: How do I connect with my Emmanuel today? When do I feel God’s presence the most during my day?


Day 21: Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

SG 2:8-14; LK 1:39-45


“For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” 

When was the last time you felt a real joy leaped in your heart or your gut or your mind? After Mary received the annunciation from Archangel Gabriel, she set out …and traveled to a hill country in haste…” Her greeting and presence made Elizabeth leaped for joy.

In a few days, we will celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus. We are invited to set our hearts a joyful place for Jesus to stay. We are also called to become a joyful presence to one another, like Mary to Elizabeth.

If I tried to put myself in “their situations” to imagine the visit in order to have an overwhelmingly joyful moment, I would consider the following realities of Mary and Elizabeth:

Mary’s genuine care for God and others. Her Yes to the Angel Gabriel was a mixture of sincere acceptance and fear (no doubt). It’s like you drink a glass of wine. It carries both sweetness and bitterness at the same time. When we assume a big mission or responsibility, we are afraid of how to accomplish it. Her sincerity and courage inspired and “leap” Elizabeth with joy.

Elizabeth’s generous reception. Her sisterly welcoming reached out to Mary as soon as she walked in. They both brought comfort, trust and joy to each other. Her acknowledgment of Mary’s blessedness, in a way, brings her also to the fulfillment of joy.

In order to have joy in life, we need to be open ourselves genuinely to the invitation of God (don’t fight back) and to the needs of other people. Selfishness never can contain real joy. Only generosity and gratefulness are the best friends of joyfulness.

Reflection question: How are you doing with your generosity and gratefulness?



“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”

When I worked with high school students in Chicago two years ago, I needed to visit students’ homes. My students already warned me, “Don’t come to my house because my mother won’t  welcome you.” Another student said, “Don’t come to my neighborhood. It’s not safe for you. Period.” They wanted me to be safe and they did not want me to waste my time.

I can feel for the Angel Gabriel who “was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph…” This will be a risky home visit. Why? not because of violence or shooting, but because Mary and Joseph were already engaged. It’s an almost impossible mission for me. How do you know they would say yes to your invitation? Gabriel could not be”welcomed” in their home. His message could be considered “too good to be true.”

After a few minutes of dialogue and explanation from both sides, Mary moved from feeling “troubled” to “how can this be” to “Behold, … may it be done to me according to your word.” She submitted her will to the will of God. How sweet!

Wow! Thank God! And Thank you, Mary! “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”

Reflection question: How often did you play the role of Gabriel (the sent) in your life? Will you be open to being sent (again) to announce God’s good news to others? If you were in Mary’s situation, what would you do?



But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall name him John.”

The story of Zechariah privately offering prayer to God and desiring to have a child reminds me of my own story. My mother told me that she was praying every day at St. Vincent Shrine in Vietnam to have me. A very religious and righteous woman came to my mother during the offering and said, “Don’t worry. Go home. You will have a son. The Lord accepted your prayer.” My mother went home and she conceived me and named me after Saint Vincent on my baptismal day. I was born on May 29th, 1972. You can do the math.

Don’t give up on prayer. Don’t give up on God. Be sincere and trust totally in God, not to get what we want, but to truly free and creative in God’s boundless love. Whatever happens right now that makes you anxious and frustrated, breathe in and look around. You are where you are is not accidental. It is a miracle and a blessing. God will need you to do something big that you’ve never even imagined before. I call that “the Third Possibility.”

Saint John the Baptist is the Third Possibility of hope and joy not just for Zechariah and Elizabeth, but also for the salvation history. He came before Jesus to prepare the way for Jesus. Maybe you have a similar mission: To go and to glorify God by your life.

Reflection question: What are you afraid of the most in your life right now? Will you offer that worry or fear to Jesus today to be truly free and prosperous?