St. Apollinaris Catholic Church • 3700 Lassen Street • Napa, CA 94558 • (707)257-2555

Message From the Pastor

PASTOR'S MESSAGE

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Christ the Good Shepherd

Among all images of God in the Bible, I find the image of God as the Good Shepherd very close to my heart. Christ says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.” 

John qualifies Jesus’ shepherding activity with the following characteristics: As the Good Shepherd He is prepared to sacrifice His own life for the sake of the flock. The idea of one shepherd leading one people of God as per the biblical tradition has been expanded by Jesus in His announcement that there are “other sheep” (Gentiles) that will be brought into the fold. By this Jesus follows the traditional image of the good shepherd but expands it.

We, who have been baptized in Christ, are also called to be the good shepherds in our families and communities. A father, a mother, an elder, a leader etc. can be considered good shepherds if they live like Christ. Two lovers, a man and a woman, look at one another and say, at the time of their marriage, without any reserve in their hearts: “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” (Rite of Marriage #25). A father holds his new born daughter and says, “I would die for you.” A woman holds the hand of her terminally ill friend and says, “You know, I’m not going away.” These are all examples of unconditional love, and if they live that promise, that bond or relationship can also be considered good shepherds.

– Father Bala

A BRIEF PERSONAL INTRODUCTION
I was born and raised in southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India. I did all my academic and seminary education in India. I was ordained as a priest on February 7, 1977. I worked in the Diocese of Guntur starting off as a parochial Vicar and became a staff member at the seminary. For almost 16 years, I worked at the Chancery - as Secretary to the Bishop, Chancellor and Procurator (Financial Administrator) of the diocese. I was also the first priest in the region to do a four year course in Indian Classical (Carnatic) Vocal Music.

From 1999 through 2001, I did a Licentiate in the Institutional Communications at “Santa Croce”, the Pontifical Holy Cross University run by ‘Opus Dei’ Congregation in Rome, Italy. I moved to the United States and worked in the Archdiocese of San Francisco from 2002 to 2010.

I started my ministry in Santa Rosa Diocese from October 2010 as the Parochial Administrator of St. Aloysius Parish in Point Arena. In July 2014 I was appointed Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Arcata, which has a mission church in Blue Lake. From July 2015 until July 2017 I was given additional responsibilities as Dean of Humboldt & Del Norte Counties, Pastor of Christ the King Parish, McKinleyville, with its mission in Trinidad, Pastor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Mission in Hoopa, and Pastor of the HSU Newman Center, Arcata.

I currently serve as the member of the Diocesan Finance Council, and a Trustee of the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) of the diocese.
I have begun my first week ministry in your midst. I am indeed happy to be one among you. As your pastor, I feel honored and privileged to work with you and for you. We are all co-responsible in building the Kingdom of God here and now. May Our Heavenly Mother Mary lead us all to Her Son, Jesus Christ!

St. Apollinaris, Pray for us!
Father Bala

APPRECIATION LETTER TO ALL WHO HELPED DURING THE FIRES AND EVACUATIONS
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Fr. David Jenuwine, Parochial Vicar

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