Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Santa Barbara at Christmastime 

Sodality Members after our 12/18 Mass...and Harry's 
Michael Aberle

Michael and Skylar with Father Andrew B. Garcia, S.J.
The Old Mission Santa Barbara Church at Christmastime

Father John C. Yanek gives a sermon during the Christmas Vespers Service at the Presidio Chapel in Santa Barbara

The Sodality Men

The 'other' table sits with guest, Father Arthur Najera, Jr. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Types of Catholic Nerds

I recently came across a blog post at Catholic Cravings about the seven types of Catholic nerds. Some of our members may recognize themselves in the descriptions. Be sure to go to the full article to read all the hilarious descriptions, but here's the highlights:

1. Apologetitechie: "A Catholic Nerd who is convinced he can convert the world via twitter."

2. Bibliobrain: "Had an intense interest in biblical languages, philosophies of translations, and discussing autographs"

3. Converty Pants: "A recent Catholic convert and nerd who feels the overwhelming need to tell everyone their life story and how AMAZING but also HARD their conversion has been."

4. Dominiac: "May display many or all the qualities of other subspecies but sublimates it all to the Dominican charism of being right about everything."

5. Liturgeek: "Catholic Nerd preoccupied with the liturgy."

6. Theonerd: "The most generic of all Catholic nerds, taking theological nerdiness to deeply discomforting levels."

7. ToBsessive: "Catholic Nerd obsessed with the Theology of the Body, or ToB."

I was quite pleased that Michael thought of me when he read the description for Dominiac. Maybe someday I'll make it official and become a Lay Dominican. A few other types of nerds were suggested in the comments to the original post, including a type for Charismatic Catholics (the term Charismaniac was suggested), and a type for Franciscans and possibly other orders. Skylar also thought there should be a type for Catholics who nerdily study papal history (I believe he suggested the term pontifigeek?)

Anyway, I think I have a new motto: "Don’t Google it, SUMMA IT!"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Glorious and Erudite Chronicle of the History of the Sodality of Garcia Diego

Note: All the previous posts were written by Sean. I am Skylar, one of the other members of this collaborative blog. The others will hopefully be writing posts shortly.

 If anybody is reading this blog who is not involved in writing it or does not know us personally, the question may arise; who are we and how did our group come together? As we continue our journey through the Advent season, the beginning of the liturgical year, it seems like a good time to write down the events of the past year or so which resulted in this sodality becoming a reality. The other purpose for doing this is to show other people in the area that we are a friendly group of people who would welcome you, and to inspire others to form similar groups around the world.

About half of us did not grow up in the Santa Barbara area. Moving to a new area as a Catholic, and making solid Catholic friendships, can be a challenge. This is especially so for young adults in the college town of Santa Barbara, where many people move away after a few years. As you will find in another post, this problem is one which our group is having to overcome even more drastically than expected. However, by taking advantage of opportunities that God brings to us, it is possible to build real Catholic connections of brotherhood and sisterhood. It is generally excepted that there are six founding members of the Sodality. This is not to denigrate anyone else as friends and members. I would say that around 20 people have attended at least one of our events so far, counting very informal gatherings. However, it is quite clear that Anthony, Nikki, Michael, Sean, Matt, and myself (Skylar) were most involved in developing the vision of this group, and in doing what was needed to keep it going.

We came from several different parishes in the local area, particularly St Mark’s University Parish, Our Lady of Sorrows and Old Mission Santa Barbara. (We also have members from St Rafael’s Parish and perhaps a couple others).  Our backgrounds are in many ways quite diverse. Matt and I are grad students at UCSB, who moved to Santa Barbara just a few years ago. Anthony, a Santa Barbara local, met Nikki while they were both attending Hillsdale College in Michigan. Having settled in Santa Barbara after college, they got engaged earlier this year and will be married on January 4! Michael and Sean are Santa Barbara locals. Sean and I are relatively recent converts to the faith, while the other four co-founders have likely attended mass every week of their lives. Some of us have attended Tridentine Latin masses and Eastern Rite liturgies, while others such as myself are learning about these traditions more recently. We have a diverse set of careers (about half of which could be described as related to the sciences). Matt does not drink alcohol, while the rest of us do indulge in strong drink. However, despite these and other differences, we have essential things in common; wide-ranging interests in theology, church history, local history, politics, literature (especially GK Chesterton), and, most importantly, the practice of Catholic liturgy, with a significant leaning toward traditional modes of liturgical practice.

 Matt and I have been friends for nearly three years. We met for the first time at a dinner for grad students at St Mark’s Parish. We soon found ourselves involved in a variety of young adult groups at St Mark’s, including a graduate student group, the Search retreat, the Frassati Fellowship (a currently inactive group in partnership with St Rafael’s young adult ministry), a men’s group called Fraternitas Fidei, a bible study, and more. We were also part of a more informal group of close friends, most of whom were undergrads. Matt and I always knew that we would be staying in Santa Barbara longer than many, perhaps most, of our closest friends. Recently, the time came for several to move away. Matt began to explore the various Catholic parishes in the area. He was eventually invited to a men’s prayer and discernment group, put together by some of the brothers and priests at Old Mission Santa Barbara. When I found out about this group, I was immediately interested. In February I believe, I went to this group for the first time. I had already met Nikki, Anthony and Sean a few times at various groups and events. Through the men’s group I got to know Anthony and Sean much better, as well as Michael, whom I met for the first time.

On that first winter night, when the brothers and priests said goodbye, Anthony invited us to move the party to Harry’s, his favorite restaurant/bar. There he discussed with us the idea of forming a sodality. Knowing that young adults are often scattered between parishes, and believing that young adults need a group to plan social activities and help each other become educated about our Catholic faith and traditions, he was glad to have the opportunity to discuss this with those of us who felt similarly. Anthony also developed the idea of the name for our group. Though we all understand that not everyone will pick up the meaning of the name right away, it is a name which distinguishes our local area, as you’ll see in the About page on this website, and having a rather surprising name is quite reasonable for the spirit of our group. I am told that Sean, who had become Anthony’s roommate, thought the idea was little more than a joke. Others were also somewhat skeptical. However, I always had a strong sense that the group could become something great. I would always ask Anthony whenever I would see him, if there was any progress on the sodality. He would always be claiming to be working on a mission statement with Michael and Sean. I would express interest in being a Goletan representative. Our first few discussions about it were among the men. Eventually Nikki agreed to be a part of it, as long as we would agree to work on recruiting other women to the group.  We have had some success in this area, but the majority at most of our gatherings are still men; it does seem that the women of our group are much busier.

By the time we were ready to get more serious about getting this group formed in a more formal way, it was June and I had to leave for a couple months, to attend various academic and family functions in New York and northern California. The other co-founders did have several social events that summer. It was August when I returned, and finally all six of us would gather together several times, mostly at Harry’s, to begin the truly detailed work. Of course, we wanted to actually socialize and discuss other topics during each meeting; therefore, a limited amount of decision making was done at each meeting. One Sunday in August, instead of meeting at Harry’s, we went to a café on the beach. Eating and drinking outside in the sand, we discussed a first draft of the charter which Anthony had sent. It was quite a humorous document, but some of its contents will remain a secret. I agreed to fill in parts of the charter which were not done, particularly to expand the sections on our three principles of tradition, family and spontaneity, and to make the language a bit less formal. I have now made these edits, and Matt has made further edits, but alas, our charter is still not finalized.

After lunch, Michael invited us, quite spontaneously, to go sailing with his father. As we went out into the ocean, we felt a profound gratefulness for God’s creation, and for such a great day in our developing friendships. This will always be a highlight in my time at UC Santa Barbara, and in the history of the Sodality. As the school year began, we were able to meet at least every couple weeks, usually all six of us co-founders being able to make it, and we were able to include some other friends as well. In October several of us attended a men’s group dinner for the Transitus of St. Francis at the Mission, followed by a service at the Poor Claire’s Monastery, and then a spontaneous birthday party for Michael. There was also a Halloween party at Michael’s house, which I unfortunately missed due to an academic conference.

 Soon Sean developed the idea of having monthly sodality masses. We began telling priests about our group and got wide support. You can read more about our monthly masses in other posts. We began developing our roles in the group. There has been debate as to whether Anthony or Michael is President. Nikki is treasurer, although we have no money. Sean and Matt have distinguished themselves with their recent activity; Sean has set up all the logistics for our masses, kept in touch with various priests, provided music for the masses (mostly Gregorian chant and traditional hymns), and written for the blog. Matt has set up this website and our mailing list. Together, we have all contributed to make the success of this group possible, and to bring forth joy and knowledge of the faith in each other’s lives.

 Note: Other writers for this blog welcome to edit the post.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Second Sodality Mass 12/18

I am pleased to announce that we will be having our second Sodality Mass on Wednesday, December 18th, 6:10pm at Casa Loyola (19 E. Micheltorena), with Father Andrew as our Celebrant. 

I just finished putting the music together and wanted to share it with everyone in case you wanted to prepare. I was so impressed with everyones singing/chanting at the first Mass, please keep up the same level of energy for this Mass. We will be singing an opening/closing hymn, the ordinaries of the Mass (Kyrie, Sanctus/Benedictus, and Agnus Dei, but NO Gloria), and a communion chant. Provided here is the name of each, and a link to a youtube video/recording of each. I will have a printout for everyone at the Mass. 

Opening Hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
The first verse we will sing in Latin, and the second in English. 
Verse one:
Verse two:
1. Veni, veni Emmanuel, Captivum solve Israel, Qui gemit in exilio Privatus Dei Filio. Gaude, gaude! Emmanuel na scetur prote Israel. 
2. O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. 

Kyrie: Mass XVII (for Advent & Lent)

Sanctus/Benedictus: Mass XVII (for Advent & Lent)

Agnus Dei: Mass XVII (for Advent & Lent)

Communion: Creator of the Stars of Night (Just use the melody, the words aren't exact) 
1. Creator of the stars of night, thy people's everlasting light, O Jesus, Savior of us all, regard thy servants when they call. 
2. Thou, grieving at the bitter cry of all creation doomed to die, didst come to save a ruined race with healing gifts of heav'nly grace. 
3. Thou camest, Bridegroom of the bride, as drew the world to evening tide, proceeding from a virgin shrine, the Son of Man, yet Lord divine.

Closing Hymn: The Almighty King of All Men Born
No Link found! Just sightread and follow me, I guess. 
1. The almighty King of all men born Comes down to save our race forlorn, and takes, who is most gracious, A mortal body like to us. 
2. Who weareth in the heights the crown into a virgin's womb comes down, and in a fleshly form doth dwell to break the chains of death and hell. 
3. The nations that in darkness lay, A glorious light have seen that day, when hearing his creation's groan, the Saviour in the earth is known. 

I hope to see you all there. We will be going to Harry's afterwards!
Please share this with any new friends or guests that might like to come. 

God Bless,

Sean Hoffman

Director of Liturgy and Music
Sodality of Garcia Diego

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Catholic Thanksgiving

Lately, I have been watching Michael Voris' Thanksgiving specials, which have focused on what Thanksgiving means for Catholics. I was shocked to learn many things that I didn't know before, so, I have taken some notes, or, more like direct quotes from Michael Voris that I would like to share with everyone.

1. For Catholics, Thanksgiving has a deep meaning, and is very different from the American meaning of Thanksgiving.

  • Catholics celebrate Thanksgiving every day of the year because Thanksgiving has more than one meaning; the popular sense, and the spiritual sense. 
  • The word Eucharist literally means 'Thanksgiving.' 
  • For Catholics, there is a spiritual warfare surrounding the deeper sense of Thanksgiving.  Long before any Pilgrims or Puritans began the custom of a Thanksgiving meal, Catholics were already far out in front by close to 1,600 years. 

2. Who was the first disciple to receive the Eucharist?

  • A: The first disciple, Mary, the Mother of God. Mary received the Eucharist before it had even been instituted. She received the Eucharist in her womb. That was 33 years before it was instituted by Christ.
So, always be thankful every time you receive Christ's precious gift to us all, his real presence in the Eucharist; instituted so that he could remain with us after his ascension into Heaven.

Thanks to Michael Voris, S.T.B., for reminding me about this precious gift we can receive every day of our lives as Catholics.

God Bless you all,


P.S. The photos reflect a little of what comes to my mind when I think of the word Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blessed Junipero Serra's 300th Birthday!!!

American Founding Father
Blessed Junipero Serra
November 24, 1713 – Petra, Majorica, Spain
August 28, 1784 -- Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in California
  • Father President of the California Mission Chain from 1768-1784
  • Celebrated more than 6,000 baptisms and 5,000 confirmations
  • Traveled thousands of miles on foot
  • Founder of nine missions in Alta California:
  1. Mission San Diego de Alcalá founded in 1769
  2. Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo founded in 1770
  3. Mission San Antonio de Padua founded in 1771
  4. Mission San Gabriel founded in 1771
  5. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa founded in 1772
  6. Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) founded in 1776
  7. Mission San Juan Capistrano founded in 1776
  8. Mission Santa Clara de Asís founded in 1777
  9. Mission San Buenaventura founded in 1782
He traveled through Santa Barbara several times, first in 1769. Although he did not found Old Mission Santa Barbara, he raised the cross at El Presidio de Santa Barbara in 1782, and celebrated Mass.

Blessed Fray Junipero Serra, Happy 300th Birthday!!!
Pray for us!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Inaugural Mass - Friday, November 15th, 2013

Friday, November 15th 2013 at 6:10pm, was a historic date and time for the city and county of St. Barbara. We, the Sodality of Garcia Diego, held our first Mass in the Casa Loyola Chapel in downtown Santa Barbara. The Mass was presided by Father Andrew B. Garcia, S.J., the Associate Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church.

We began, singing to our God, whose help in ages past and whose hope for years to come, shepherds us in our journey. We chanted the Kyrie, Santus/Benedictus, & Agnus Dei. In between, Father Andrew gave a great homily beginning with St. Albert the Great (1193/1206 – November 15, 1280), the educator of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was a unique and special bishop, very smart and humble. Father continued his homily on the idea of apocalypse. As we come closer to the season of Advent, and the birth of Christ, the readings become more apocalyptic and urgent. Apocalypse at its meaning is knowledge, the unveiling of that which is hidden. Hidden knowledge is unveiling God in his glory of triumph of good over evil. Finally, wisdom and knowledge are two different things. To be knowledgeable is not necessarily to be wise. Wisdom is part of active faith. I have barely dipped my toe into Father's homily, but I must stop here!

During communion, we chanted the Ave Verum as we received the body and blood of our Lord, and Father Andrew concluded the Mass with a solemn blessing. During the closing hymn, With Thy Holy Benediction, we continued to pray to Christ that he guide us in our journey, pour blessings upon us, that we may be pure, and to never cease in gladness, to glorify the Lord. The closing hymn held what could be some of the most perfect prayer through lyrics:

1. We pray thee, heav'nly Father, to hear us in thy love, and pour upon thy children the unction from above; That so in love abiding, from all defilement free, we may in pureness offer a sacrifice to thee. With thy holy benediction upon our souls outpoured, may we never cease, in gladness, to glorify the Lord. 
2. Be thou our guide and helper, O Jesus Christ, we pray; So may we well approach thee, if thou wilt be the way: Thou, very truth, hast promised to help us in our strife, food of the weary pilgrim, eternal source of life. With thy holy benediction upon our souls outpoured, may we never cease, in gladness, to glorify the Lord. 

I was incredibly impressed at our level of singing/chanting. Never hold back when it comes to proclaiming God's truth through music. May we keep it up, as it keeps up the spirit of the group as we move forward together. 

A good time was had by all at Harry's Plaza Cafe after the Mass. 

God Bless you all,

Director of Liturgy and Music