Angelus News | August 14-21-28, 2020 | Vol. 5 No. 22

An infant is baptized outdoors at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, or “La Placita,” near downtown LA Aug. 1. While a July 13 order by Gov. Gavin Newsom closing churches in California once again left Catholics disappointed, this time the mandate allowed for an important exception: holding religious services outdoors. On Page 10, Christa Chavez reports on what moving the sacraments outside has looked like for LA Catholics so far this summer.

An infant is baptized outdoors at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, or “La Placita,” near downtown LA Aug. 1. While a July 13 order by Gov. Gavin Newsom closing churches in California once again left Catholics disappointed, this time the mandate allowed for an important exception: holding religious services outdoors. On Page 10, Christa Chavez reports on what moving the sacraments outside has looked like for LA Catholics so far this summer.


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HOPE is in the air<br />

How the Church is taking the sacraments<br />

outside for summer<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 5 <strong>No</strong>. <strong>22</strong>

Wo<br />


An infant is baptized outdoors at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, or “La Placita,” near<br />

downtown LA Aug. 1. While a July 13 order by Gov. Gavin <strong>News</strong>om closing churches in<br />

California once again left Catholics disappointed, this time the mandate allowed for an important<br />

exception: holding religious services outdoors. On Page 10, Christa Chavez reports<br />

on what moving the sacraments outside has looked like for LA Catholics so far this summer.<br />

IMAGE:<br />

“Emcee” Archbishop José H. Gomez poses with young people after<br />

Mass at this year’s City of Saints Teen Conference at St. Monica<br />

Church in Santa Monica Aug. 1. Branded as a “live interactive<br />

experience,” the conference was held virtually this year for the<br />

first time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.<br />



eople after<br />

Monica<br />

active<br />

for the<br />

Contents<br />

Pope Watch 2<br />

Archbishop Gomez 3<br />

World, Nation, and Local <strong>News</strong> 4-6<br />

Scott Hahn on Scripture 8<br />

Father Rolheiser 9<br />

Photos: An outdoors ordination for the history books 16<br />

How the archdiocese’s immigration office makes a difference 18<br />

The Catholic Church’s growing woes in Nicaragua <strong>22</strong><br />

How remembering mortality in a pandemic can be comforting 24<br />

Grazie Christie on how the Church can beat Bostock 26<br />

Could an ‘A-list formula’ make ‘Fatima’ a pandemic classic? <strong>28</strong><br />

A 1940s memoir that charts a spiritual awakening for us all 32



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<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 5 • <strong>No</strong>. <strong>22</strong><br />

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2 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong><br />


Let’s have a talk<br />

In light of the ongoing coronavirus<br />

(COVID-19) pandemic and social and<br />

environmental crises worldwide, Pope<br />

Francis announced he would begin a<br />

new series of general audience talks<br />

aimed at helping build “the future that<br />

we need.”<br />

“In the next few weeks, I invite you to<br />

tackle together the pressing questions<br />

that the pandemic has brought to the<br />

fore, social ills above all. And we will<br />

do it in the light of the Gospel, of the<br />

theological virtues and of the principles<br />

of the Church’s social doctrine,” he<br />

said Aug. 5 during his weekly general<br />

audience.<br />

“We will explore together how our<br />

Catholic social tradition can help the<br />

human family heal this world that<br />

suffers from serious illnesses,” the pope<br />

said.<br />

He began his talk with noting how<br />

the pandemic is continuing to bring<br />

illness and death to so many people<br />

and “cause deep wounds, exposing our<br />

vulnerability.”<br />

“Many people and many families are<br />

living in a time of uncertainty because<br />

of socio-economic problems which<br />

especially affect the poorest,” he said.<br />

By keeping their focus on Christ,<br />

Christians can find strength and<br />

healing in the Gospel and the virtues<br />

of faith, hope, and charity, he said.<br />

These are gifts from God “that heal<br />

us and that make us healers, gifts that<br />

open us to new horizons, even while<br />

we are navigating the difficult waters of<br />

our time.”<br />

The pope said people need to renew<br />

their experience with the Gospel,<br />

which “invites us to assume a creative<br />

and renewed spirit. In this way, we will<br />

be able to transform the roots of our<br />

physical, spiritual, and social infirmities<br />

and the destructive practices that separate<br />

us from each other, threatening<br />

the human family and our planet.”<br />

Jesus offers so many examples of<br />

healing, not just physical and individual<br />

afflictions, but spiritual, relational,<br />

and societal ills as well, he said.<br />

As disciples of Jesus, “we can ask ourselves:<br />

Today, in what way can we help<br />

heal our world?” because his disciples<br />

are also called to continue his work of<br />

healing and salvation “in a physical,<br />

social, and spiritual sense.”<br />

The Church offers the sacraments,<br />

concrete charity, and care, but it is “not<br />

an expert in the prevention or the cure<br />

of the pandemic. She helps with the<br />

sick, but she is not an expert,” the pope<br />

said.<br />

Neither does the Church give specific<br />

socio-political policies because “this is<br />

the job of political and social leaders,”<br />

who, however, can be guided by the<br />

light of the Gospel, he added.<br />

Over the centuries, the Church has<br />

developed many social principles “that<br />

can help us move forward in preparing<br />

the future that we need.”<br />

He said those main principles are:<br />

the dignity of the person; the common<br />

good; the preferential option for<br />

the poor; the universal destination<br />

of goods; solidarity; subsidiarity; and<br />

the care for the planet, “our common<br />

home.”<br />

“These principles help the leaders,<br />

those responsible for society, to foster<br />

growth and also, as in the case of the<br />

pandemic, the healing of the personal<br />

and social fabric,” he said.<br />

“It is my desire that everyone reflect<br />

and work together, as followers of Jesus<br />

who heals, to construct a better world,<br />

full of hope for future generations,”<br />

said Pope Francis. <br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>August</strong>: We pray for all those who work and live from<br />

the sea, among them sailors, fishermen, and their families.


OF FAITH<br />


Priests of the pandemic generation<br />

On Aug. 8, Archbishop José H.<br />

Gomez ordained eight new priests in<br />

the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ first<br />

outdoor ordination, made necessary<br />

because of restrictions on worship due<br />

to the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly<br />

70,000 people participated through the<br />

archdiocese’s social media channels.<br />

For photos from the ceremony, see Pages<br />

16–17 of this issue, or visit lacatholics.<br />

org/ordination. The following is adapted<br />

from the archbishop’s homily.<br />

This is a beautiful day in the life of<br />

the family of God here in the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles.<br />

The priesthood is so important, not<br />

only for the Church, but also for the<br />

whole world. Every priest is a sign of<br />

God’s love, a sign that he is still working<br />

in the world, still carrying out his<br />

plan of redemption.<br />

Today, Our Lord is sending these<br />

men out to be messengers of his<br />

merciful love, stewards of his holy mysteries,<br />

and teachers of the truth about<br />

God and the sanctity and dignity of the<br />

human person.<br />

Dear Filiberto, Daniel, Michael, Jonathan,<br />

Justin, Thomas, Manuel, and<br />

Louie: Jesus is speaking to each one of<br />

you today, personally: “It was not you<br />

who chose me, but I who chose you<br />

and appointed you to go and bear fruit<br />

that will remain.”<br />

And your ordination today is historic.<br />

My brothers, you are the first priests<br />

of the pandemic generation. And you<br />

will play an important role in the<br />

Church’s healing and rebuilding of<br />

our society in the wake of this deadly<br />

disease that has swept away so many of<br />

our certainties and securities.<br />

The Church in this moment is called<br />

to go out to the places where people<br />

are hurting and suffering, the places<br />

that Pope Francis calls the “existential<br />

peripheries.”<br />

The words of the prophet Isaiah<br />

speak to your particular mission as<br />

priests: “He has sent me to bring good<br />

news to the afflicted, to bind up the<br />

brokenhearted … to comfort all who<br />

mourn.”<br />

Brothers, in a special way, you must<br />

bring hope and help to restore people’s<br />

trust in the love of God and his mercy.<br />

And the way we do that is by the way<br />

we love.<br />

Jesus tells us today in the Gospel,<br />

“This is my commandment: love one<br />

another as I love you. <strong>No</strong> one has<br />

greater love than this, to lay down<br />

one’s life for one’s friends.”<br />

A priest should always be transparent.<br />

People should be able to “see right<br />

through you,” and through you, see<br />

the love of Christ.<br />

Brothers, before all else, you must “be<br />

Jesus” for your people. <strong>No</strong>t only when<br />

you proclaim his word, or celebrate<br />

the sacred mysteries at the altar. But<br />

in all things. Speak of his love, share<br />

his wisdom and knowledge. Tell the<br />

stories of his life. Try to be a living<br />

example of his tender mercy.<br />

Brothers, permit me to offer just two<br />

brief words of advice as we prepare to<br />

confer this holy sacrament upon you.<br />

First, always seek the heart of Christ.<br />

Our Lord’s heart is gentle and humble.<br />

Ask him to make your hearts humble<br />

and gentle, too. Humility is the<br />

secret strength of the priestly ministry.<br />

Yes, it is true, the priest has a rare and<br />

noble duty in the family of God. As<br />

we heard in today’s second reading,<br />

the priest is set apart to be our “repre-<br />

sentative before God.” But that doesn’t<br />

mean that the priest is superior to<br />

those he serves. Every priest is a sinner<br />

called to holiness, just like every other<br />

baptized believer.<br />

So, open your heart to the heart of<br />

Jesus, the heart that was pierced on<br />

the cross out of love for all humanity.<br />

Love with the heart of Jesus and carry<br />

out your daily ministry in quiet acts of<br />

mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.<br />

One more word of advice: Love the<br />

holy Mass, my brothers! Make the<br />

celebration of the Eucharist the center<br />

of each day. Live for the Mass, and live<br />

from the Mass!<br />

At the altar, you are truly Christ,<br />

standing in “persona Christi.” Never<br />

take this for granted! Always do holy<br />

things in a holy way, knowing that<br />

in your hands you hold the bread of<br />

eternal life!<br />

Brothers, today Our Lord is calling<br />

you to friendship — “I have called<br />

you friends,” he says. What a beautiful<br />

and rare gift. Give him everything<br />

you have, all that you are. All your<br />

thoughts and actions, your sacrifices<br />

and sufferings. Give him your voice,<br />

your hands, your heart.<br />

Brothers and sisters, let’s pray for our<br />

newly ordained, and for all our priests<br />

in this difficult time. Let’s also pray for<br />

vocations to the priesthood, that many<br />

more men will hear Our Lord’s call to<br />

follow him and to be his friends.<br />

Brothers, my personal prayer is that<br />

you stay close always to our Blessed<br />

Mother Mary. Call on her as a child,<br />

love her as your mother. I ask her<br />

intercession now for your priesthood.<br />

Through Mary, may you draw closer<br />

to her Son and become ever more like<br />

him. <br />

To read more columns by Archbishop José H. Gomez or to subscribe, visit www.angelusnews.com.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 3

WORLD<br />

Spanish cardinal defies ‘unfair’ COVID-19 restriction<br />

Calls for solidarity<br />

after Beirut blasts<br />

Cardinal Juan José Omella celebrates the Mass for COVID-19 victims at the Basílica de la Sagrada Família.<br />

When the government of Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region announced a<br />

10-person limit for religious events in July due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, the<br />

timing could not have been worse: Invitations to a funeral Mass with the archbishop<br />

of Barcelona for coronavirus victims a few days away had already been sent.<br />

So Cardinal Juan José Omella went ahead and celebrated the July 26 Mass with<br />

some 150 people following social distancing measures, mandatory masks, and<br />

temperature checks.<br />

“It is a provision that seems unfair and discriminatory to us, taking into account<br />

that we have been very careful and respectful in maintaining the sanitary regulations<br />

required for closed spaces,” said Cardinal Omella of the restrictions.<br />

Cardinal Omella, who threatened to “initiate the appropriate legal actions”<br />

against the restrictions, noted the discrepancy between allowing up to 1,000 tourists<br />

inside the famous Basílica de la Sagrada Família, where the funeral took place,<br />

but restricting religious services to just 10 people. <br />

Vatican nixes collective language in baptisms<br />

There is no “I” in “team,” but there is in baptism, according to the Vatican.<br />

In an Aug. 6 statement, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith<br />

announced that in the baptismal rite, the formula “I baptize you in the<br />

name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” cannot be<br />

replaced by “We baptize you, etc.”<br />

The statement came in response to a question about the modified phrase<br />

and clarified that any baptism performed without the Church-prescribed<br />

formula is invalid.<br />

While acknowledging the pastoral desire to recognize family, godparents,<br />

or other community members, the congregation stressed the importance<br />

of the words “handed down by tradition” indicating a sacramental act by<br />

Christ, acting through an individual minister.<br />

“<strong>No</strong> group can make itself Church,” the statement reads, “but becomes<br />

Church in virtue of a call that cannot arise from within the assembly<br />

itself.” <br />


Maronite Catholics around the<br />

world are calling for solidarity with the<br />

people of Lebanon in the wake of the<br />

massive explosion Aug. 4 that killed at<br />

least 150 and injured thousands more<br />

in the country’s capital.<br />

Among the approximately 35% of<br />

Lebanese who are Christian, most are<br />

Maronite, an Eastern rite within the<br />

Catholic Church.<br />

“The Church … today finds itself<br />

faced with a new great duty which it is<br />

unable to assume on its own,” said Cardinal<br />

Bechara Boutros Rai, Maronite<br />

patriarch of Antioch, the day after the<br />

explosion.<br />

American Maronites, many of whom<br />

have family ties in Lebanon, have<br />

stressed the country’s urgent need for<br />

help.<br />

“It’s a devastating thing. Between the<br />

coronavirus, and there is a very bad<br />

economic situation there, [the explosion<br />

is] adding insult to injury,” Joseph<br />

Elkallassy, a parishioner at Our Lady of<br />

Lebanon Maronite Catholic Cathedral<br />

in Brooklyn, told Currents <strong>News</strong>. Later<br />

this month, Our Lady of Lebanon will<br />

host a prayer service and collection for<br />

Lebanon.<br />

U.S. Maronite Catholic bishops have<br />

also expressed fears that Lebanon is on<br />

the brink of “total collapse.”<br />

“We pray for Lebanon,” reads an<br />

Aug. 5 statement, “and we ask for your<br />

support for our brothers and sisters at<br />

this difficult time.” <br />

Firefighters carry an injured man in Beirut Aug.<br />

4. At least 150 people were killed and some<br />

5,000 injured from the blasts.<br />


4 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

NATION<br />

Cancel culture<br />

comes for Flannery<br />

O’Connor<br />

Recent controversy over the<br />

legacy of Flannery O’Connor has<br />

led Loyola University Maryland<br />

to remove the 20th-century American<br />

Catholic author’s name from<br />

one of its residence halls in July.<br />

Yet more than 200 scholars have<br />

signed a letter asking Loyola to<br />

reconsider its decision, including<br />

a Fordham University professor<br />

who has written a new book<br />

critical of the American Catholic<br />

author’s treatment of race in her<br />

writing<br />

“I thought it was a great teachable<br />

moment for Loyola to have an<br />

opportunity to talk with students<br />

and take their time. I really don’t<br />

understand the rush,” Angela<br />

Alaimo O’Donnell told Catholic<br />

<strong>News</strong> Agency Aug. 6.<br />

Although some phrases in<br />

O’Connor’s private correspondence<br />

suggest racist beliefs,<br />

O’Donnell is convinced that<br />

O’Connor’s life and work is worth<br />

studying rather than dismissing.<br />

O’Donnell told Catholic <strong>News</strong><br />

Service she found it “ironic that<br />

her name would be removed<br />

from a Catholic, Jesuit university,”<br />

given that O’Connor portrayed<br />

America and the human<br />

soul as deeply divided, broken<br />

and flawed, and “much in need of<br />

conversion and repentance.” <br />

The sculpture of St. Damien of Molokai at the U.S. Capitol.<br />

‘AOC’ takes heat from Catholics<br />

Is Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, commonly known as “AOC,”<br />

“the future of the Catholic Church”? That’s the subject of a heated debate since<br />

a controversial July 27 op-ed from National Catholic Reporter (NCR) executive<br />

editor Heidi Schlumpf.<br />

Referring to a floor speech delivered July 23, Schlumpf wrote that she was<br />

“struck by how often [Ocasio-Cortez] referenced Catholic values,” including<br />

human dignity and respect.<br />

A few days later, EWTN’s Gloria Purvis responded that Ocasio-Cortez’s stance<br />

on abortion is notably un-Catholic.<br />

“If Ocasio-Cortez is to be the future of the Catholic Church … she must broaden<br />

her vision of life issues,” she wrote in NCR a few days later.<br />

The debate continued when the progressive congresswoman called a statue of St.<br />

Damien of Molokai a symbol of “patriarchy and white supremacist culture.”<br />

Among those who were quick to disagree was Catholic University of America<br />

professor C.C. Pecknold, who noted the years of charitable service, not oppressive<br />

colonialism, that the Belgian missionary offered the natives of Hawaii.<br />

“The future of the Catholic Church is not with the statue [of St. Damien], or<br />

with AOC’s bigoted projections,” Pecknold wrote in First Things, “but with St.<br />

Damien of Molokai. The future of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ.” <br />



Fourth-graders pray during class on Aug. 6 at<br />

St. Matthew School in Franklin, Tennessee,<br />

where the new school year began with COV-<br />

ID-19 protocols, including temperature checks<br />

and face mask requirements.<br />

US bishops: Catholic schools need government relief<br />

As Congress was negotiating another coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency relief<br />

package, the country’s Catholic bishops urged that it help save Catholic schools.<br />

“We implore you to ensure that the education needs of all children are met,<br />

including children in Catholic and other non-public schools,” read an Aug. 6<br />

letter to congressional leaders signed by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops<br />

(USCCB) president Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and four American<br />

cardinals.<br />

The letter asked Congress to designate 10% of emergency K-12 education funding<br />

for scholarship aid to low-middle income private school families.<br />

“Any direct aid to support the nonpublic school community should allow for<br />

schools to meet the unique needs of low-income families that they serve, including<br />

those families who need tuition assistance,” wrote the bishops. <br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 5

LOCAL<br />


ADLA parishes close hymnals<br />

on David Haas music<br />

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has asked parishes to<br />

stop using music by Catholic composer David Haas,<br />

as they investigate claims of sexual misconduct against<br />

him.<br />

In a July 30 email, archdiocesan employees, parishes,<br />

schools, and ministries were asked to “refrain from<br />

using music composed by musician David Haas out of<br />

respect for those who have reported sexual misconduct<br />

by Mr. Haas.”<br />

Since June, Haas, 63, has been accused of using his<br />

position of professional and spiritual authority to manipulate<br />

and abuse women sexually. The archdiocese’s<br />

Office of Victims Assistance Ministry, which receives<br />

reports of misconduct, had not received reports of<br />

sexual misconduct by Haas prior to the June <strong>2020</strong><br />

allegations, the July 30 email stated.<br />

Haas is the composer of several well-known liturgical<br />

songs, including “You are Mine,” “We are Called,” and<br />

“Blest are They,” which appear in the popular “Gather”<br />

hymnal published by Catholic music publisher<br />

GIA. GIA and OCP, another hymnal publisher, have<br />

suspended ties with Haas since the allegations first<br />

surfaced in June. <br />

Homeboy Industries meets Hilton<br />

Homeboy Industries founder Father Greg Boyle, SJ, with trainees.<br />

High school sports begins<br />

slow return to playing field<br />

Assistant coach Sean O’Grady (left) leads a “pod” of six St. Genevieve<br />

football players in a conditioning drill Aug. 3.<br />

Although the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)<br />

has placed a hold on high school sports until December,<br />

schools across the state are getting back to the field in preseason<br />

practices that look a little different.<br />

According to state guidelines released Aug. 3, student-athletes<br />

are allowed to practice in “pods” of no more than 10<br />

team members at a time, wearing mandatory face coverings,<br />

and observing social distancing at a minimum of 6 feet.<br />

“Once given the opportunity to get back out there, our<br />

teams are excited to be given any opportunity to train,” said<br />

David Fahey, athletic director at St. Lucy’s Priory High<br />

School in Glendora. “But this will likely start off slowly, starting<br />

with the safety of everyone in regards to the pandemic.”<br />

Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles<br />

nonprofit dedicated to helping former<br />

inmates and gang members turn their<br />

lives around, has been awarded the<br />

<strong>2020</strong> Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian<br />

Prize.<br />

Announced Aug. 3, the $2.5 million<br />

award will support Homeboy’s current<br />

initiatives, including their jobs fund,<br />

a youth re-entry center, Homeboy Art<br />

Academy, and the Global Homeboy<br />

Network. Homeboy also plans to expand<br />

its transitional housing offerings<br />

in “Hope Village,” an urban campus<br />

that offers a safe place to those in need.<br />

“The Prize recognizes our 32-year<br />

journey in the service of compassion<br />

and healing for our most vulnerable<br />

populations in Los Angeles, and role as<br />

a global model for change by standing<br />

with those on the margins,” founder<br />

Father Greg Boyle, SJ, wrote in a letter<br />

announcing the award. <br />


6 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

live and interactive!<br />


with Timmerie<br />

Weekdays<br />

4pm PT<br />

Today’s conversations.<br />

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Grounded in timeless<br />

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<strong>No</strong>w, that’s relevant.<br />

Bringing Christ to the world<br />

through the media

SUNDAY<br />



Is. 56:1, 6–7 / Ps. 67:2–3, 5, 6, 8 / Rom. 11:13–15, 29–32 / Mt. 15:<strong>21</strong>–<strong>28</strong><br />

Most of us are the foreigners,<br />

the non-Israelites, about<br />

whom this week’s First<br />

Reading prophesies.<br />

Coming to worship the<br />

God of Israel, we stand in<br />

the line of faith epitomized<br />

by the Canaanite woman<br />

in the Gospel this week.<br />

Calling to Jesus as Lord and<br />

Son of David, this foreigner<br />

shows her great faith in<br />

God’s covenant with Israel.<br />

Jesus tests her faith three<br />

times. He refuses to answer<br />

her cry. Then, he tells her<br />

his mission is only to Israelites.<br />

Finally, he uses “dog,”<br />

an epithet used to disparage<br />

non-Israelites (see Matthew<br />

7:6).<br />

Yet she persists, believing<br />

that he alone offers salvation.<br />

In this family drama, we<br />

see fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy<br />

and the promise we sing<br />

of in Sunday’s Psalm. In<br />

Jesus, God makes known<br />

among all the nations his way and his<br />

salvation (see John <strong>14</strong>:6).<br />

At the start of salvation history, God<br />

called Abraham (see Genesis 12:2).<br />

He chose his offspring, Israel, from all<br />

the nations on the face of the earth,<br />

to build his covenant kingdom (see<br />

Deuteronomy 7:6–8; Isaiah 41:8).<br />

In God’s plan, Abraham was to be the<br />

father of many nations (see Romans<br />

4:16-17). Israel was to be the firstborn<br />

of a worldwide family of God, made up<br />

of all who believe what the Canaanite<br />

professes — that Jesus is Lord (see<br />

“Christ and the Canaanite Woman,” by Juan de Flandes,<br />

<strong>14</strong>50–1519, Flemish.<br />

Exodus 4:<strong>22</strong>–23; Romans 5:13–24).<br />

Jesus came first to restore the kingdom<br />

to Israel (see Acts 1:6; 13:46). But<br />

his ultimate mission was the reconciliation<br />

of the world, as Paul declares in<br />

Sunday’s Epistle.<br />

In the Mass we join all peoples in<br />

doing him homage. As Isaiah foretold,<br />

we come to his holy mountain, the<br />

heavenly Jerusalem, to offer sacrifice at<br />

his altar (see Hebrews 12:<strong>22</strong>–24, <strong>28</strong>).<br />

With the Canaanite, we take our place<br />

at the Master’s table, to be fed as his<br />

children. <br />

Scott Scott Hahn is is founder of of the the St. St. Paul Paul Center for for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.<br />


8 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, 16-23-30, <strong>2020</strong> 2019

IN EXILE<br />


Letting go of false fear<br />

Recently in a radio interview, I was<br />

asked this question: “If you were on<br />

your deathbed, what would you want<br />

to leave behind as your parting words?”<br />

The question momentarily took me<br />

aback. What would I want to leave behind<br />

as my last words? <strong>No</strong>t having time<br />

for much reflection, I settled on this.<br />

I would want to say, “Don’t be afraid.<br />

Live without fear. Don’t be afraid of<br />

death. Most of all, don’t be afraid of<br />

God!”<br />

I’m a cradle Catholic, born to wonderful<br />

parents, catechized by some very<br />

dedicated teachers, and I’ve had the<br />

privilege of studying theology in some<br />

of the best classrooms in the world.<br />

Still it took me 50 years to rid myself<br />

of a number of crippling religious fears<br />

and to realize that God is the one Person<br />

of whom you need not be afraid.<br />

It’s taken me most of my life to<br />

believe the words that come from<br />

God’s mouth more than 300 times in<br />

Scripture and are the initial words out<br />

of the mouth of Jesus whenever he<br />

meets someone for the first time after<br />

his resurrection: “Do not be afraid!”<br />

It has been a 50-year journey for me<br />

to believe that, to trust it. For most of<br />

my life I’ve lived in a false fear of God,<br />

and of many other things. As a young<br />

boy, I had a particular fear of lightning<br />

storms, which in my young mind<br />

demonstrated how fierce and threatening<br />

God could be.<br />

Thunder and lightning were portents<br />

which warned us, religiously, to be<br />

fearful. I nursed the same fears about<br />

death, wondering where souls went<br />

after they died, sometimes looking at<br />

a dark horizon after the sun had set<br />

and wondering whether people who<br />

had died were out there somewhere,<br />

haunted in that endless darkness, still<br />

suffering for what they’d not gotten<br />

right in life. I knew that God was love,<br />

but that love also held a fierce, frightening,<br />

exacting justice.<br />

Those fears went partially underground<br />

during my teenage years. I<br />

made my decision to enter religious<br />

life at the age of 17 and have sometimes<br />

wondered whether that decision<br />

was made freely and not out of false<br />

fear.<br />

Looking back on it now, however,<br />

with 50 years of hindsight, I know that<br />

it wasn’t fear that compelled me, but a<br />

genuine sense of being called, of knowing<br />

from the influence of my parents<br />

and the Ursuline nuns who catechized<br />

me, that one’s life is not one’s own, that<br />

one is called to serve. But religious fear<br />

remained unhealthily strong within<br />

me.<br />

So, what helped me let go of that?<br />

This doesn’t happen in a day or year; it<br />

is the cumulative effect of 50 years of<br />

bits and pieces conspiring together. It<br />

started with my parents’ deaths when I<br />

was <strong>22</strong>.<br />

After watching both my mother and<br />

father die, I was no longer afraid of<br />

death. It was the first time I wasn’t<br />

afraid of a dead body since these bodies<br />

were my mother and father of whom I<br />

was not afraid. My fears of God eased<br />

gradually every time I tried to meet<br />

God with my soul naked in prayer and<br />

came to realize that your hair doesn’t<br />

turn white when you are completely<br />

exposed before God; instead you become<br />

unafraid.<br />

My fears lessened, too, as I ministered<br />

to others and learned what divine<br />

compassion should be, as I studied and<br />

taught theology, as two cancer diagnoses<br />

forced me to contemplate for real<br />

my own mortality, and as a number of<br />

colleagues, family, and friends modeled<br />

how one can live more freely.<br />

Intellectually, a number of persons<br />

particularly helped me: Theologian<br />

John Shea helped me realize that<br />

God is not a law to be obeyed, but an<br />

infinitely empathic energy that wants<br />

us to be happy; Jungian analyst Robert<br />

Moore helped me to believe that God<br />

is still looking on us with delight; philosopher<br />

Charles Taylor helped me to<br />

understand that God wants us to flourish;<br />

the bitter anti-religious criticism<br />

of atheists like Frederick Nietzsche<br />

helped me see where my own concept<br />

of God and religion needed a massive<br />

purification; and an older brother, a<br />

missionary priest, kept unsettling my<br />

theology with irreverent questions like,<br />

what kind of God would want us to be<br />

frightened of him?<br />

A lot of bits and pieces conspired<br />

together.<br />

What’s the importance of last words?<br />

They can mean a lot or a little. My<br />

dad’s last words to us were “Be careful,”<br />

but he was referring to our drive home<br />

from the hospital in snow and ice. Last<br />

words aren’t always intended to leave a<br />

message; they can be focused on saying<br />

goodbye or simply be inaudible sighs<br />

of pain and exhaustion; but sometimes<br />

they can be your legacy.<br />

Given the opportunity to leave family<br />

and friends a few last words, I think<br />

that after I first tried to say a proper<br />

goodbye, I’d say this: “Don’t be afraid.<br />

Don’t be afraid of living or of dying.<br />

Especially don’t be afraid of God.” <br />

Father Ron Rolheiser is a theologian, teacher, award-winning author, and president of the Oblate School of Theology<br />

in San Antonio, Texas. Find him online at www.ronrolheiser.com and www.facebook.com/ronrolheiser.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 9

Father David G. Nations, CM, distributes the Eucharist<br />

during an outdoor first Communion Mass celebration at<br />

St. Vincent de Paul Church in Los Angeles Aug. 1.<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

An air of<br />

hope<br />

How LA parishes are taking the<br />

sacraments outdoors due to new<br />

coronavirus-related restrictions<br />



your hair, Nida,” advises Father Raymond<br />

Decipeda as a woman approaches a row<br />

“Move<br />

of temperature scanners outside a church<br />

parking lot.<br />

“<strong>No</strong>w, place your forehead in front of it,” he says. “There<br />

you go!” Digital numbers flash green: 98.6.<br />

The woman adjusts her face mask, rubs sanitizer into her<br />

hands, and moves through the gated lot at St. John of God<br />

Church in <strong>No</strong>rwalk. Inside, masked parishioners sit quietly<br />

at picnic tables arranged around a towering stage. Candles<br />

flicker atop an altar, a hymn plays from a loudspeaker, and<br />

the rising sun casts shadows across the blacktop as morning<br />

Mass begins.<br />

The service is among the hundreds of outdoor Masses<br />

now offered weekly throughout the Archdiocese of Los<br />

Angeles. Churches, which were shuttered in March due to<br />

the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, began to celebrate<br />

indoor Mass again in June under strict public health<br />

guidelines.<br />

But on July 13, indoor religious services were once again<br />

prohibited by Gov. Gavin <strong>News</strong>om as coronavirus rates<br />

spiked dramatically in Los Angeles and other California<br />

hot spots.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 11

The keyword in the governor’s directives this time, however,<br />

was “indoor.” With gyms, restaurants, and other businesses<br />

finding ways to safely (and legally) serve customers<br />

outdoors, couldn’t churches do the same?<br />

The same day, parishes in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa<br />

Barbara counties received an email from the archdiocese<br />

encouraging them to move Masses and other liturgical<br />

services outdoors. The memo emphasized that “the risk of<br />

coronavirus is real, and it is dangerous,” and that parishioners<br />

must wear face coverings and practice social distancing,<br />

even outside.<br />

Fortunately, Father Decipeda was among a handful of<br />

other pastors in the archdiocese who had already begun<br />

outdoor Masses before the second closure. In May, he had<br />

invested in picnic tables, umbrellas, canopies, a stage,<br />

temperature scanners, cleaning supplies, and a hardwired<br />

sound system, all part of his parish’s 20-page plan for outdoor<br />

Masses.<br />

“At St. John of God, our parishioners know we keep them<br />

safe,” he said. “They appreciate that we have worked really<br />

hard. And everyone here is coming forward to help. Everyone<br />

wants to be part of this effort.”<br />

Msgr. Sabato Pilato celebrates a drive-in Mass from the secondstory<br />

breezeway of St. Anthony of Padua School in Gardena.<br />

Father Raymond Decipeda helps his parishioners navigate new temperature<br />

scanners before an outdoor Mass at St. John of God Church in <strong>No</strong>rwalk.<br />


St. Anthony of Padua Church in Gardena also had<br />

been offering outdoor Masses for weeks, but with a twist:<br />

Churchgoers stay in their cars and listen to the live service<br />

through their radios, drive-in-movie style. “We are fortunate<br />

to have a parking lot that’s about the size of a football<br />

field, which is rare in this area,” explained Msgr. Sabato<br />

Pilato, pastor. “We offer weekday Mass, plus five Masses<br />

every weekend, with up to 75 cars per Mass.”<br />

He added that senior citizens, who are at the highest risk<br />

for COVID-19 complications, feel especially safe at the<br />

drive-in Mass. “The elderly feel protected because they are<br />

enclosed in their cars,” he said. “People are coming from<br />

all over because they prefer the drive-in format.”<br />

Msgr. Pilato has utilized the school’s outside lunch area<br />

for three first Communion services and one baptism. He<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


even created a drive-in space dedicated to adoration of the<br />

Blessed Sacrament. “We have a window next to a parking<br />

lot on our northeast corner,” he explained. “So I thought:<br />

Why not place the Blessed Sacrament there, behind the<br />

window?” He sanded down two tables, found an extra tabernacle,<br />

and lit a red vigil lamp. Every day he sees people<br />

praying there from inside their cars.<br />

“Did you ever think we’d be doing this?” Msgr. Pilato<br />

said with a chuckle. “But it’s a lot better than being in the<br />

catacombs.”<br />

At Our Lady of Refuge Church in Long Beach, Father<br />

Gerard O’Brien recently launched a fundraising effort for<br />

outdoor Masses. The pastor, who during the shutdown had<br />

been livestreaming and filming Masses for his parishioners,<br />

was happy to finally celebrate public indoor Masses for<br />

a few weeks. <strong>No</strong>w, like many other pastors tasked with moving<br />

outdoors, he needed new equipment to hold Mass in<br />

the church parking lot.<br />

“Within a week, our parishioners came together and<br />

raised enough money for what we needed — tents and a<br />

new sound system,” he said. “The people of this parish are<br />

very generous. God always provides.”<br />

Father O’Brien, who grew up in County Kerry, Ireland,<br />

said outdoor Masses are very common in his home country.<br />

“I love outdoor Masses — they are just beautiful,” he<br />

said. On Sunday, Aug. 2, the parish was able to celebrate its<br />

first Mass in the church parking lot. “People were so happy<br />

and content. Everyone really enjoyed it,” he added.<br />

In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, at the Cathedral<br />

of Our Lady of the Angels, outdoor Masses are now offered<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 13

Massgoers pray the Our Father during outdoor Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Sunday, Aug. 2.<br />


010820_CUA_BishBarron_<strong>Angelus</strong>_8-<strong>14</strong>_1-2pH.indd 1<br />

8/8/20 8:23 PM

every Sunday on the Plaza in both English and Spanish.<br />

Tucked under the colonnade, and sitting at umbrella-covered<br />

tables borrowed from the adjacent cafe, Massgoers are<br />

sheltered from the summer heat as well as the noise from<br />

the 101 Freeway.<br />

Father David Gallardo, the cathedral’s pastor, said many<br />

attendees have expressed gratitude for the outdoor Masses.<br />

“Last Sunday, a man approached me who had driven to the<br />

cathedral all the way from the Inland Empire,” Father Gallardo<br />

said. “He told me, ‘Thank you for this Mass. Thank<br />

you for the opportunity to receive the Eucharist.’ ”<br />

Maribel Ramirez, a lector and parishioner at St. John<br />

of God Church, also was deeply grateful for her parish’s<br />

efforts to bring Mass outdoors. “For me, it was very hard<br />

not being at Mass,” she said. “I was watching it online, but<br />

it felt like something was missing.”<br />

Ramirez said that, when she finally was able to attend<br />

Mass and receive the Eucharist, tears came to her eyes.<br />

“It had been so long — I don’t have words to describe the<br />

feeling,” she said. “I just prayed: Here I am. I am with you.<br />

I want part of you in my soul.”<br />

It’s an experience many Los Angeles Catholics can relate<br />

to.<br />

“This is all new for everybody,” said Msgr. Pilato. “But our<br />

faith is much more than a building. It is based on Our Lord<br />

Jesus Christ. He will provide us the light. He will help us<br />

overcome all darkness.” <br />

For more information about attending an outdoor Mass,<br />

visit your parish’s website for site-specific hygiene protocols<br />

and capacity limitations.<br />

Christa Chavez is a freelance writer and a parishioner at<br />

Our Lady of Refuge Church in Long Beach.<br />

Love in the time of COVID-19<br />

When Amanda Valenzuela and Stephen Osborn<br />

became engaged last <strong>No</strong>vember, they planned to<br />

marry at the newly renovated St. Lawrence Martyr<br />

Church in Redondo Beach. “It is a breathtaking church,”<br />

Valenzuela said. “There is no church more beautiful than<br />

that one.”<br />

But when Gov. Gavin <strong>News</strong>om announced the coronavirus<br />

(COVID-19) closures in March that included churches,<br />

Valenzuela and Osborn started getting nervous. “We hoped<br />

everything would be resolved by summer, so I just kept praying<br />

and trusting God,” she said.<br />

Months passed, and Valenzuela and Osborn found themselves<br />

doing their Engagement Encounter on Zoom with<br />

dozens of other couples.<br />

Meanwhile, Msgr. Paul Dotson, St. Lawrence Martyr’s<br />

pastor, was busy creating a backup plan on their behalf. He<br />

scouted the perfect outdoor spot behind the parish center,<br />

which had a shade tree, flowers, and a cross.<br />

He was ready for an outdoor wedding if that became their<br />

only option.<br />

When the governor ordered the second shutdown in mid-July,<br />

the couple knew their July 25 wedding would be very<br />

different from what they had imagined.<br />

“Stephen and I have known each other for 17 years. We<br />

didn’t care if we had to wear a mask or not — we were going<br />

to get married,” Valenzuela said. “<strong>No</strong>thing should stop you<br />

from marrying the one you love.”<br />

On Saturday, July 25, in the presence of some 50 guests seated<br />

at a social distance, Msgr. Dotson presided at the outdoor<br />

ceremony for the couple. When the time came to exchange<br />

vows, Msgr. Dotson allowed them to remove their masks.<br />

“Then they asked, ‘Can we kiss, Father?’ And I replied: ‘Yes,<br />

I believe you can!’ ” Msgr. Dotson recalled.<br />

Amanda Valenzuela and Stephen Osborn are married at an outdoor ceremony,<br />

with Msgr. Paul Dotson presiding, at St. Lawrence Martyr Church<br />

in Redondo Beach July 25.<br />

Just two days later, Valenzuela started her first day as a<br />

registered nurse at St. Bernardine Medical Center in San<br />

Bernardino. Her assignment? “The unit for COVID-positive<br />

patients,” she said.<br />

Valenzuela, however, was unphased. “If you would have<br />

told me eight months ago that I would be getting married<br />

outside wearing a face mask, then two days later caring for<br />

patients in the middle of a pandemic, I would have said you<br />

were crazy,” she said, laughing.<br />

“But I feel fulfilled in this journey. God keeps me going,<br />

and he has given me the gift of being part of the solution.<br />

I see everything that has happened as a blessing. I’m very<br />

grateful for it.” <br />

— Christa Chavez<br />


<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 15

In the middle of it all<br />

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles' eight newly ordained priests with Archbishop José H. Gomez after the Aug. 8 ordination Mass celebrated in the<br />

plaza of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.<br />


New priests are always sent out to<br />

meet the challenges of an uncertain<br />

world. But on Saturday,<br />

Aug. 8, it seemed fitting the eight men<br />

being ordained to the priesthood for<br />

the Archdiocese of Los Angeles were<br />

sent out from a platform beset on all<br />

sides by freeway traffic, church bells,<br />

police helicopters, and plenty of COV-<br />

ID-19 sanitary pandemic protocols.<br />

In-person attendance was limited at<br />

the ordination Mass presided by Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez in the plaza<br />

of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels, but an estimated 70,000 online<br />

users followed the liturgy via livestream.<br />

Visit <strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com for our<br />

full coverage of the historic moment,<br />

including video and more photos. <br />

The eight men lay prostrate in prayer during the singing of the Litany of the Saints.<br />


16 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

l<br />




Father Daniel Garcia gives a first blessing to<br />

his parents at the ordination Mass.<br />

Archbishop Gomez anoints the hands of Father<br />

Manuel Ramos with chrism oil.<br />

Father Jonathan Nestico and his classmates<br />

give first blessings to the bishops present at<br />

the ordination Mass.<br />


Archbishop Gomez lays hands on Father Justin<br />

Oh during the rite of ordination.<br />


Father Louie Reyes gives a first blessing to<br />

Father Mike Perucho, associate director of<br />

Vocations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.<br />


Father Filiberto Cortez gives a first blessing to<br />

his brother, a religious brother.<br />


Father Thomas Park is presented with the paten and chalice by Archbishop<br />

Gomez during the ordination Mass.<br />


Father Michael Mesa promises obedience to his ordinary, Archbishop<br />

Gomez, during the rite of ordination.<br />


<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 17

Welcoming the stranger<br />

How a small office at the Archdiocese of LA offers a ‘first step of<br />

accompaniment’ for the local immigrant community<br />


A banner is carried into the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels during the annual Mass in Recognition of all Immigrants on June 24, 2018.<br />


Long before he came to the<br />

Archdiocese of Los Angeles as<br />

its director of Immigration and<br />

Public Affairs, Isaac Cuevas had his<br />

own immigrant’s story.<br />

At the age of 2, he found himself<br />

leaving a small town about three hours<br />

north of Mexico City to come to the<br />

United States with his mother. Having<br />

grown up in a Catholic family, his<br />

mother felt shunned as a single parent<br />

and wanted to start a new life.<br />

Isaac Cuevas<br />


They arrived with a tourist visa, overstayed,<br />

and became undocumented<br />

for many years. During the Reagan<br />

administration, as new legal pathways<br />

for citizenship were created, Cuevas<br />

was able to apply and become a U.S.<br />

citizen.<br />

Then, as he grew up in an evangelical<br />

church, he converted to Catholicism<br />

when he married 19 years ago.<br />

At this point in his journey, Cuevas,<br />

who has been with the archdiocese’s<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

immigration office for the last three<br />

years, admitted to having a little bit of<br />

an identity crisis.<br />

“Sometimes I feel that because I<br />

didn’t grow up Catholic, I’m not<br />

‘Catholic enough’ for this role,” said<br />

the 43-year-old, who grew up in the<br />

San Fernando Valley and went to Cal<br />

State University Long Beach. He and<br />

his family are parishioners at Holy<br />

Angels Church in Arcadia.<br />

“And since I spent almost all my life<br />

here, I don’t feel like an immigrant,<br />

but there are many immigrants who<br />

come here and say they don’t feel<br />

‘American enough.’ They may have<br />

citizenship, but they could have an accent<br />

or a language barrier that inhibits<br />

them from feeling more ‘American.’<br />

“The irony in all this, I think, is that<br />

it’s one thing who we are, and it’s<br />

another how we feel.”<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez, who was<br />

born in Monterrey, Mexico, and became<br />

a U.S. citizen in 1995, identifies<br />

closely with the work done by Cuevas’<br />

department, part of the archdiocese’s<br />

Office of Life, Justice and Peace. It<br />

states its mission to address and advocate<br />

for “the concerns of immigrants<br />

… as the Gospel calls us to welcome<br />

the stranger among us.”<br />

“As an immigrant himself, Archbishop<br />

Gomez sees how impactful these<br />

people are to the fabric of our society,<br />

and his goal has always been comprehensive<br />

immigration reform,” said<br />

Cuevas, who left his previous career as<br />

a studio executive at Warner Brothers<br />

specializing in entertainment marketing<br />

for a chance to bring his communication<br />

skills and personal background<br />

to focus on immigration campaigns.<br />

“Archbishop Gomez has been a voice<br />

of leadership and support, and the<br />

understanding of accompaniment,<br />

and I like to think of our office as the<br />

first step of accompaniment — the<br />

immigration equivalent of a 411 call<br />

when people don’t know where to start<br />

or what to do next.”<br />

More of a community resource center<br />

than an actual service provider, Cuevas<br />

said his office has been able to provide<br />

education and advocacy to thousands<br />

in Southern California from one-onone<br />

help through the expansion of<br />

larger workshops.<br />

Among the key tools available to help<br />

is the possibility of some financial assistance<br />

through the Cardinal McIntyre<br />

Fund for Charity, which counts among<br />

its beneficiaries those in the application<br />

process of the Deferred Action for<br />

Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program<br />

started by the Obama administration<br />

The Arredondo family was reunited after being separated for more than 1 1/2 years. The reunion<br />

was made possible through joint efforts from the Interdiocesan Southern California Task Force on<br />

Immigration, church volunteers, and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) in Los Angeles.<br />


Linda Dakin-Grimm<br />

in 2012.<br />

As new information needs to be<br />

researched and synthesized, the<br />

immigration office counts on the help<br />

of people like Vivan Kambe, a student<br />

volunteer going into her senior year at<br />

Regis University in Denver as a peace<br />

and justice major. Kambe, who calls<br />

St. Bede The Venerable Church in La<br />

Cañada Flintridge her home parish,<br />

said she was drawn to the opportunity<br />

at Cuevas’ office this summer after<br />

having formed bonds with college<br />

classmates with DACA status.<br />

“Growing up in my community, I<br />

didn’t know that many people who<br />

were immigrants,” said Kambe. “It’s<br />

one thing to hear their experiences and<br />

then compare them to what I experienced,<br />

hearing about things they worry<br />

about that would never register in my<br />

mind.<br />

“I’m learning more and more how<br />

this is integrated in our Catholic faith.<br />

There is so much more that can be<br />

done now. I don’t think we can ever<br />

have enough advocates for this cause.”<br />

Cuevas’ office also works closely with<br />

the Immigration Task Force (ITF),<br />

which brings together the efforts of the<br />

Catholic Church in Los Angeles, Orange,<br />

San Bernardino, and San Diego<br />

counties. The task force is chaired by<br />

Msgr. Jarlath Cunnane, pastor at St.<br />

Cornelius Church in Long Beach,<br />

and includes Auxiliary Bishop David<br />

O’Connell of the San Gabriel Pastoral<br />

Region.<br />

Through the ITF, another valuable<br />


<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 19

Sixteen-year-old Lucas Ruiz and his father, Pedro, arriving in the U.S.<br />


Lucas Ruiz poses with his diploma from Cathedral High School.<br />


resource is access to a group of probono<br />

lawyers active in pushing for<br />

immigration reform.<br />

Attorney Linda Dakin-Grimm, part<br />

of the task force since 2013, recently<br />

helped reunite Guatemalan asylum-seeker<br />

Fernando Arrendondo<br />

with his wife and three daughters last<br />

January.<br />

Most recently, Dakin-Grimm was<br />

instrumental in facilitating a case<br />

involving Lucas Ruiz, who arrived in<br />

the U.S. as an unaccompanied minor<br />

from his native Guatemala in 2016 and<br />

graduated last month from Cathedral<br />

High School. He awaits his green card<br />

with a goal to join the U.S. Army.<br />

Dakin-Grimm discovered Ruiz’s case<br />

could be addressed by a seldom-used<br />

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a<br />

U.S. law since 1990 that applies to children<br />

abandoned, abused, or neglected<br />

by parents in their home country. His<br />

case was referred to her through Kids<br />

In Need of Defense (KIND), which<br />

partners with the archdiocese.<br />

“There are a million documented<br />

people living in the Los Angeles area,<br />

and maybe 90% have no current way<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong><br />

to normalize their situation,” said<br />

Dakin-Grimm, whose book, “Dignity<br />

& Justice: Welcoming The Stranger at<br />

Our Border” (Orbis Publishing, $24),<br />

comes out in September.<br />

Dakin-Grimm agrees that while there<br />

are many confusing messages about<br />

how immigration in the U.S. works,<br />

DACA remains only a policy that can<br />

be changed, and Temporary Protective<br />

Status (TPS) is a law that could<br />

be helpful to others, her objective is<br />

focused on the bigger picture that the<br />

Immigration Task Force can address.<br />

“The immigration office isn’t a<br />

single-issue mission; one policy or<br />

law doesn’t have more merit than the<br />

other,” said Dakin-Grimm. “Over the<br />

last decade, this issue has grown into<br />

something bigger. The coronavirus<br />

(COVID-19) crisis has already impacted<br />

people of color hard, but perhaps<br />

the undocumented community has<br />

been hit harder because it doesn’t<br />

have the same level of resources than<br />

others.” <br />

Tom Hoffarth is an award-winning<br />

journalist based in Los Angeles.<br />

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desde hace 18 años.<br />


<strong>14</strong>536 Roscoe Blvd. Ste #99<br />

Panorama City, CA 9<strong>14</strong>02<br />

1103<strong>2020</strong>_WorkersRights_<strong>Angelus</strong>_4-10_rect.indd 3/<strong>28</strong>/20 1 9:53 PM

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>21</strong>

In an impossible<br />

position<br />

Nicaragua’s government has<br />

mishandled the coronavirus pandemic<br />

while fueling hostility against Catholics<br />


A priest and nun pray in the Blood of Christ Chapel at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua, July 31, after the chapel was destroyed in<br />

an arson attack.<br />


ROSARIO, Argentina — The<br />

people of Nicaragua are facing<br />

an increasingly challenging<br />

situation, from the nightmare of the<br />

coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,<br />

which the government has resisted<br />

acknowledging even exists, to an active<br />

oppression of the Catholic Church,<br />

today the strongest voice sounding the<br />

alarm against the virus in the country.<br />

It doesn’t help that the country’s<br />

government has fueled hostility against<br />

Catholics by either not preventing or,<br />

even worse, favoring recent attacks<br />

against churches: Many Catholics have<br />

told <strong>Angelus</strong> that as a result, they are<br />

afraid of going to church to pray.<br />

The latest of these attacks came on<br />

July 31, when a Molotov cocktail was<br />

thrown inside a chapel within the<br />

cathedral of Managua, Nicaragua’s<br />

capital city. A hooded man came in<br />

and, after shouting “I come for the<br />

blood of Christ,” threw the homemade<br />

explosive device at an image of Christ<br />

crucified that has been venerated in<br />

this Central American country for<br />

centuries.<br />

Vice president Rosario Murillo, wife<br />

of President Daniel Ortega, said only<br />

two hours later that the image had<br />

burned due to several votive candles<br />

nearby lit by the faithful, and denied<br />

the presence of an assailant. That<br />

contradicts the account of two women<br />

who witnessed the attack while taking<br />

part in eucharistic adoration. The<br />

following day, they were arrested and<br />

the government stood by the idea of an<br />

accidental fire.<br />

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, archbishop<br />

of Managua, said the attack<br />

was “terrorist in nature” and that<br />

the destruction of the chapel, which<br />

included the wooden carved image as<br />

well as the Blessed Sacrament, was the<br />

result of a “criminal act.”<br />

Pope Francis prayed for Nicaragua on<br />

the Sunday following the attack against<br />

the cathedral, and sent a handwritten<br />

note to Cardinal Brenes, who read it<br />

during a livestreamed Mass he led that<br />

same day, as part of a “Day of Silence<br />

and Prayer.”<br />

The opposition coalition, called<br />

“Alianza Civica” (“Civic Alliance”),<br />

also came to the support of the Nicaraguan<br />

bishops, saying that prelates have<br />

been “an example worthy of morality<br />

and dedication for Nicaraguan<br />

families, accompanying us in the most<br />

difficult moments.”<br />

Nicaragua has been on edge since<br />

protests erupted in spring 2018<br />

demanding Ortega leave office and<br />

allow early elections. Ortega officials<br />

consider such demands tantamount to<br />

an attempted coup led by the Catholic<br />

hierarchy.<br />

Various international human rights<br />

organizations have denounced the<br />

government of Ortega, labeling it a<br />

“dictatorship” that has oppressed many<br />

freedoms: from religious freedom to<br />

freedom of speech. In fact, even being<br />

seen in public with the Nicaraguan<br />

national flag is considered a crime.<br />

As one Nicaraguan bishop put it to<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong>, Catholics in Nicaragua today<br />

see “constant violations of their human<br />

rights,” and that the government is<br />

increasing its oppression against Catholics<br />

because the bishops wouldn’t keep<br />

silent about the seriousness of the<br />

<strong>22</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

“We are prisoners of a government<br />

that has eliminated fundamental freedoms,”<br />

the bishop said via WhatsApp.<br />

“We are prisoners of a government that<br />

continues to fuel hostility toward the<br />

Church and does not prevent, indeed<br />

mostly favors, attacks against us.”<br />

The government denies the spread of<br />

the coronavirus in Nicaragua, home to<br />

some 6.5 million inhabitants. According<br />

to official numbers, 100 people<br />

have died as a direct result of the virus.<br />

However, the Independent Citizen<br />

Observatory COVID-19, a network of<br />

doctors and volunteers, have reported<br />

more than 2,500 deaths of people who<br />

had the symptoms of the virus. Yet due<br />

to the lack of testing kits, most people<br />

die without a diagnosis.<br />

Ortega leads one of a handful of<br />

countries that hasn’t canceled schools<br />

to stop the spread of the pandemic, and<br />

during the first months after the first<br />

cases were reported, there were government-backed<br />

flyers claiming that the<br />

people of Nicaragua were stronger than<br />

the COVID-19 and that life should go<br />

on as usual, because “God will spare<br />

the country.”<br />

Several Catholic bishops, including<br />

Cardinal Brenes and Bishop Rolando<br />

José Alvarez of Matagalpa, opened<br />

Church-run centers to tend to patients<br />

with COVID-19 symptoms only to see<br />

them closed soon after by the government.<br />

A man prays over the coffin of Jose Ugarte in Masa, Nicaragua, Dec. 2,<br />

2019. Local media said Ugarte, who opposed Nicaraguan President Daniel<br />

Ortega's government, was shot dead during a police operation.<br />

In the words of a priest who’s received<br />

several death threats in recent months<br />

for being an outspoken opponent of<br />

Ortega, the people of Nicaragua today<br />

“are experiencing an increasingly difficult<br />

situation, a nightmare from which<br />

I fear we might not wake up.”<br />

Meanwhile, the government denies<br />

knowledge of the attacks against the<br />

Church. Many have occurred in the<br />

past month, with several other attacks<br />

peacefully stopped by the faithful.<br />

There have even been reports of a secret<br />

plan to have a “Nicaragua without<br />

Catholic Churches.”<br />

These are just but a handful of<br />

examples of how the government is<br />

trying to put a muzzle on the Catholic<br />

hierarchy, not only for their role in protecting<br />

the protesters oppressed with<br />

military tanks back in 2018, but for<br />

warning the population of the danger<br />

of the pandemic. Though school has<br />

continued, Masses with the presence of<br />

the faithful have been suspended.<br />

As the ashes of the blood of Christ<br />

were still warm, there was an attempt<br />

to steal a widely revered image of St.<br />

Dominic de Guzman, who is celebrated<br />

during a 10-day festival that<br />

explodes in the streets of Managua<br />

every year.<br />

The Spanish saint is to religious Nicaraguans<br />

more or less what St. Patrick<br />

is to the Irish: The saint’s likeness is<br />

tattooed on their bodies, graffitied in<br />

public spaces, and adored as “Minguito”<br />

during<br />

the festival in his<br />

honor.<br />

Even though an<br />

estimated 70%<br />

of Nicaragua’s<br />

population are<br />

Catholics, many<br />

in the country<br />


today nevertheless<br />

believe that<br />

being Catholic<br />

and aligned with<br />

the bishops is<br />

virtually synonymous<br />

with being<br />

a criminal, or, at<br />

the very least, a<br />

potential enemy<br />

of the state.<br />

The relationship<br />

between the<br />

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes prays as he concelebrates<br />

Mass in 2018 at Divine Mercy Catholic<br />

Church in Managua, Nicaragua. The Mass was<br />

celebrated to pray for protesters who took refuge<br />

in the church after coming under gunfire<br />

from armed pro-government supporters.<br />

Catholic Church in Nicaragua and the<br />

government is a complicated one. In<br />

the 1970s, many priests allied themselves<br />

with the Sandinista National<br />

Liberation Front (FSLN) — and<br />

Ortega — to bring down the Somoza<br />

dynasty, which ruled the country for six<br />

decades.<br />

But the case today is different. The<br />

institutional Church in Nicaragua is<br />

not allied to anyone, yet denounces<br />

the injustice of those who are suffering<br />

and being oppressed, in the hopes of<br />

fostering reconciliation.<br />

At a time in history when confrontation<br />

seems to be the default approach<br />

to any challenge, the bishops of Nicaragua,<br />

one prelate told <strong>Angelus</strong>, are<br />

calling on Catholics to follow the Gospel<br />

in the most radical of ways: “Turn<br />

the other cheek; forgive your enemy<br />

seven times seventy; and blessed are<br />

those who are persecuted because of<br />

righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom<br />

of heaven.” <br />

Inés San Martín is an Argentinian journalist<br />

and Rome bureau chief for Crux.<br />


<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 23

INSIDE<br />



Dropping the mask on mortality<br />

In the middle of a pandemic that has no end<br />

in sight, what hope has God given us?<br />

A man holding a Bible prays at a cemetery in Lima, Peru, May 27, during a burial for a person who died from COVID-19.<br />


If we’ve learned anything from<br />

months of isolation, fear, and<br />

uncertainty during the coronavirus<br />

(COVID-19) pandemic, it’s that life as<br />

we know it is fragile. The lives we led<br />

in 2019 look nothing like what we are<br />

living now, and many of us are mourning<br />

the changes. But Deacon James<br />

Keating, the director of theological<br />

formation for the Institute for Priestly<br />

Formation in Omaha, Nebraska, has<br />

some thoughts on why this reminder<br />

is not only necessary, but actually a<br />

blessing.<br />

Kris McGregor: As a spiritual guide,<br />

you’ve always made a point to remind<br />

people to live in the present moment,<br />

where you are in this moment. But<br />

this moment is a mystery.<br />

Deacon James Keating: The common<br />

experience right now is anxiety<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

and vertigo, even spiritual vertigo. All<br />

of our idols are being confirmed as<br />

empty, and everything we cling to is<br />

being taken from us. We cling to the<br />

comfort of ordinary expectation — we<br />

all expect to get up in the morning<br />

and go from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the<br />

way we expect it to be. Even our<br />

ordinary routine, which is comforting<br />

and gives us a sense of peace, that’s not<br />

guaranteed.<br />

The wisdom of the saints comes<br />

back to us again and again. Of course,<br />

in good times, we never listen to the<br />

saints, because we’ve got this. And in<br />

bad times, we’re suffering so much<br />

that they can’t get their wisdom<br />

through to us because of our pain.<br />

But the wisdom of the saints is this:<br />

Throughout our life, no matter what<br />

we’re experiencing, the suffering or<br />

enjoying, we should be seeking holy<br />

Communion.<br />

The saints would counsel us that<br />

when this horrible virus passes, if we<br />

could just remember not to go back<br />

to being normal Americans, but to go<br />

back to Jesus, and get our interior life<br />

set, so that when the next reminder<br />

that everything on this planet is not<br />

forever comes, we’ll have less panic<br />

and more peace.<br />

McGregor: What kind of communion<br />

are we called to, when so many of<br />

us still can’t receive the Eucharist?<br />

Keating: A lot of human beings live<br />

this way — in isolation and loneliness.<br />

There’s a sense here that maybe the<br />

Holy Spirit wants us to grow in empathy<br />

for those who are always living in<br />

a state of only experiencing spiritual<br />

Communion.<br />

We are spoiled, to some extent, with<br />

the physicality and availability of our<br />

own sacraments. But during this time<br />

of isolation, we may want to ask the<br />

Holy Spirit to deepen our gratitude for<br />

that. Maybe we can come out of this<br />

with a deeper gratitude for the availability<br />

of priests and the sacraments in<br />

our country.<br />

McGregor: What would you say to<br />

people who feel like this is the End<br />

Times?<br />

Keating: That feeling comes from,<br />

perhaps, an unmoored fear. It’s the<br />

normal state of being Catholic to be in<br />

holy Communion. It reassures us that<br />

nothing can separate us from the love<br />

of God, and so we live more deeply<br />

out of this peace.<br />

All the horrendous things in our<br />

history, and this current one, where so<br />

many people are dying and suffering,<br />

it’s none of our business to discern the<br />

End Times. But this comes up when<br />

terrible things happen to us because<br />

we finally let ourselves experience our<br />

mortality.<br />

<strong>No</strong>rmally, we shield our mortality<br />

with our routine and with the expectations<br />

that come. But in times like<br />

this, where there is no schedule and<br />

things are uncommon, we touch our<br />

Deacon James Keating speaks during a<br />

conference for permanent deacons and their<br />

wives at the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra<br />

Minerva in Rome in 2016.<br />

mortality. That makes us afraid, if we<br />

are not in holy Communion.<br />

But this pandemic is not a clear sign<br />

that the end is coming. It could simply<br />

be a clear sign that we were never as<br />

deeply involved with the Holy Trinity<br />

as we thought we were, and now we’re<br />

scared.<br />

McGregor: We always talk about<br />

encountering Christ, going to find<br />

Christ, but he’s always been in us. Is<br />

this an opportunity to come to a greater<br />

understanding of what that means?<br />


Keating: Another thing we take for<br />

granted is that we’re part of the body of<br />

Christ, the community of Christ. Let’s<br />

hope that when this ends, we might<br />

gather together with a new resolve to<br />

actually be with one another in faith,<br />

to share our faith with one another, to<br />

pray together more deeply, to actually<br />

give testimony to one another as<br />

Catholics.<br />

McGregor: There’s an underlying<br />

fear in this pandemic because death is<br />

truly possible, illness is possible, harm<br />

can come to us and our loved ones.<br />

How does that change our reflections?<br />

Keating: Everything is preparing us<br />

for this moment of dying, when there<br />

are no more trappings to cling to, and<br />

we must confront the holy and the<br />

sacred and the divine. God is trying to<br />

gently give us this opportunity to be<br />

ready for death when it comes, so that<br />

we don’t run from it and try again in a<br />

puny, almost comical way, to cling to<br />

idols.<br />

The reason there’s so much fear is<br />

because we are acknowledging that<br />

death is real. Most of our popular<br />

culture is a mask keeping us from ever<br />

thinking about that. And now, all these<br />

masks have dropped. Death comes to<br />

the fore.<br />

The deeper our friendship grows<br />

with Jesus Christ, the more we can<br />

confront death in peace, without<br />

panic, without fear. Of course, there’ll<br />

be sadness, there’ll be mourning, but<br />

the sadness and mourning is over the<br />

good things of life. The panic and fear<br />

is over that which we have created in<br />

ourselves, which is a habitual stance of<br />

isolation from God.<br />

God is trying to say to us, “This death<br />

has always been here. Your limit and<br />

your finitude has always been part of<br />

your life. Stop masking it. Let’s look<br />

at real life. That’s why I came, so that<br />

you could not be alone.”<br />

When you look at it, that’s what we<br />

call salvation. You’re looking at it from<br />

the stance of communion with him.<br />

That’s how the saints die in joy and<br />

peace. <br />

Kris McGregor is the founder of Discerninghearts.com,<br />

an online resource<br />

for the best in contemporary Catholic<br />

spirituality.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 25



A battle<br />

we know<br />

how to<br />

win<br />

A rally outside the Supreme Court Oct. 8, 2019, as arguments are heard for Bostock v. Clayton.<br />


The recent U.S. Supreme Court<br />

decision in Bostock v. Clayton<br />

was an earthquake, a legal and<br />

cultural temblor of a magnitude in the<br />

range of that of Roe v. Wade.<br />

It may, in fact, have consequences<br />

even graver than Roe’s normalizing<br />

of abortion. By legally changing the<br />

definition of “sex” to include gender<br />

identity, the court in Bostock struck a<br />

blow at all the ways our society exalts,<br />

protects, and promotes the natural<br />

family.<br />

Even worse, it struck at the root of a<br />

science-based concept of the human<br />

person. It did away with the commonsense<br />

understanding (shared by every<br />

culture in every age) that human<br />

beings are either male or female. And<br />

this in a scientific age that has cracked<br />

the DNA code of the human genome,<br />

in which our Y and X chromosomes<br />

are visibly at work to make each of us<br />

men or women from head to toe.<br />

As Catholics, our first reaction may<br />

be fear, as we wonder how long we<br />

will have the liberty to educate our<br />

children and run our hospitals and<br />

parishes in a way that promotes a sane<br />

human anthropology.<br />

But instead of fear, we should<br />

look at this latest development with<br />

confidence: After spending the last<br />

2,000 years successfully beating back<br />

errors and heresies with aplomb, the<br />

Church is well equipped to rise above<br />

this newest iteration in triumph.<br />

It’s all in Church history. Whether<br />

meeting the hedonism of pagan<br />

Greece, the pessimism of the Manicheans,<br />

the false reasonableness of<br />

Arius, or the lethal simplification of<br />

Islam, the Church has always found<br />

its voice and then stood firm.<br />

It has never been a simple process, or<br />

instantaneous. It’s taken decades (or<br />

centuries) of long study, meetings of<br />

sage heads in councils, and vigorous<br />

argument so that the Church could,<br />

over two millennia, successfully confront<br />

every fad that threatened man’s<br />

understanding of God and of man as<br />

God’s creature.<br />

It does this armed with that precious<br />

weapon called truth, clarified and<br />

sharpened through battle with error.<br />

When it was necessary, the Church<br />

even took up arms against the darkness,<br />

as in the Crusades, in which<br />

Christians of every walk of life flocked<br />

to beat back Islam when it was close<br />

to exterminating Christendom.<br />

The Catholic Church in the U.S.<br />

continued the tradition after Roe. The<br />

first Christians had astounded the<br />

pagans with their concern for infants,<br />

and the way they resisted the entirely<br />

accepted custom of exposure and<br />

direct killing of “useless” offspring.<br />

Hundreds of years later our Western<br />

societies had learned to automatically<br />

grant personhood to infants, born and<br />

unborn. Roe suddenly yanked that<br />

concept away, replacing it with the<br />

absolute right of the mother to end<br />

her child’s life according to her needs<br />

or desires. What was needed was a<br />

counterattack to the reborn heresy<br />

that infant lives don’t matter.<br />

The Church (especially the lay<br />

faithful) responded to the battle call.<br />

Decades later, there is not a single<br />

Catholic that has not heard, and been<br />

made to understand, that human life,<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

and worth, begins at conception.<br />

Through catechesis, lay organizations<br />

devoted to promoting the “right<br />

to life,” and acts of physical presence<br />

like marching and picketing, the line<br />

has been drawn by Catholics. We<br />

may live in a country where abortion<br />

is legal, but as a Church we testify<br />

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<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 27

Stephanie Gil in "Fatima."<br />

IMDB<br />

The MAKING of a MIRACLE<br />

For the makers of ‘Fatima,’ securing an A-list cast and<br />

crew aimed at reaching mainstream audiences was<br />

hard enough. Then came a global pandemic<br />


<strong>28</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

IMDB<br />

One day in early 2016, Dick Lyles and Natasha Howes<br />

received bad news: The feature film “Fatima,”<br />

which they and their colleagues had been working<br />

on for almost 10 years, would not be ready in time for a<br />

2017 release.<br />

The goal had been to launch the movie, a historical drama<br />

based on the 1917 reported Marian apparitions to three<br />

young Portuguese shepherds, during the event’s 100th anniversary<br />

year. But to the team’s dismay, production financing<br />

was not yet enough to bring the project to the finish line by<br />

then. The future of the project was a hazy one at best.<br />

Still, they would not give up hope. “Every time we<br />

encountered a delay,” Lyles, one of the producers, told <strong>Angelus</strong><br />

in a phone interview, “we would get on our knees and<br />

say, ‘OK, [Lord], this is it: Do you really want us to continue<br />

with this? Do you want us to go forward?’ And then our<br />

prayers would be answered in some<br />

really profound and miraculous way.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>w, three years later — and after<br />

two more delayed releases due to the<br />

coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic<br />

— an answer to those prayers seems<br />

to be on the horizon, as “Fatima” is<br />

finally approaching widespread release<br />

this month.<br />

The story of the Virgin Mary’s monthly<br />

apparitions to 10-year-old Lúcia<br />

Santos and her two younger cousins<br />

has been adapted into countless books,<br />

children’s videos, art pieces, and documentaries<br />

over the last century. But<br />

unlike previous adaptations, “Fatima”<br />

aims to be more than a spiritual or<br />

instructional aid.<br />

“The whole purpose of the new<br />

Fátima movie was to work with what<br />

we call an A-list formula,” producer<br />

Howes told <strong>Angelus</strong> in a phone<br />

interview, ... “to be able to push the<br />

meaning and message of Fátima into<br />

the mainstream audience.”<br />

That formula involved approaching<br />

prominent actors and filmmakers<br />

whose experience stretched far beyond<br />

the faith-based media world, backed by a budget of more<br />

than $17 million. With recognizable names such as Harvey<br />

Keitel (“The Piano,” “The Irishman”), Joaquim de Almeida<br />

(“Queen of the South”), and Marco Pontecorvo (“Pa-rada,”<br />

“Game of Thrones”) on its credits list, it appears the<br />

formula had some effect.<br />

Director Marco Pontecorvo introduces<br />

the film at the Los Angeles screening.<br />


When James <strong>Vol</strong>k founded Origin Entertainment in 2007,<br />

he did so with the intention of bringing something entirely<br />

new to the movie scene.<br />

“We want our audiences to be transformed,” said Lyles,<br />

the production company’s CEO who has been working<br />

alongside <strong>Vol</strong>k since the founding. “And so we decided that<br />

the best way to do that was to focus on stories of the good,<br />

the true, and the beautiful — stories of true heroism and<br />

courage that inspire.”<br />

With this goal in mind, all that remained was to find the<br />

right story to tell. Soon after the founding of Origin, <strong>Vol</strong>k<br />

and Lyles met Natasha Howes, an expert on Fátima, and the<br />

idea of a feature film quickly arose.<br />

“We chose Fátima [as a subject] because it was a recipe<br />

for all of those [elements],” said Lyles. “It’s a phenomenal<br />

story.”<br />

Howes had been working on the historical film “The 13th<br />

Day,” also based on the famous apparitions. “I’d spent quite<br />

a bit of time at Fátima,” she told <strong>Angelus</strong>. “I got to know<br />

the key authorities very well and became kind of a trusted<br />

persona within this Fátima environment to work with this<br />

authenticated message.”<br />

Even though Howes had just finished a Fátima project, she<br />

jumped at the idea of joining <strong>Vol</strong>k and Lyles in creating a<br />

feature film on the subject. Unlike “The 13th Day,” which<br />

was tailored to a Catholic audience, the idea behind “Fatima”<br />

was to reach people of all backgrounds.<br />

To do so, the film’s creators knew they had to think big.<br />

Once a first draft of the script was completed in 2009, they<br />

started approaching big-name actors and directors.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t surprisingly, many turned the offer down, uninterested<br />

in a story they saw as too faith-based.<br />

But not everyone responded in this way. “[Some] saw a<br />

great script, a great story, [and] great potential to make a<br />

positive difference in the world,” said Lyles.<br />

Much to the Origin team’s delight, such was the reaction<br />

of Marco Pontecorvo, who became the film’s director.<br />

“I just have to say this movie was made for Marco, and<br />


<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 29

Marco was made for the movie,” said Lyles.<br />

Besides his professed love for the story, Pontecorvo’s<br />

professional background made him a perfect fit. The cinematographer<br />

and director, who contributed to the smash<br />

hit HBO series “Game of Thrones,” comes from a family of<br />

filmmakers, and importantly, had on-set experience working<br />

with children.<br />

In addition, Origin needed someone with experience and<br />

an eye for filming on a grand scale. “[We were] shooting<br />

big,” continued Howes. “Multiple locations, set builds ...<br />

[often in] remote areas. We took over a village and rebuilt it<br />

in the north of Portugal.”<br />

The scenes of Our Lady’s apparitions to the children, for<br />

instance, were shot in a provincial park north of Lisbon.<br />

Besides building olive groves, wheat fields, and swimming<br />

pools to create artificial rain, the crew had to ward off wild<br />

boar and deer in the area and manage costume changes for<br />

thousands of extras.<br />

With Pontecorvo, Origin got not only a seasoned director,<br />

but also a host of seasoned crew members who worked with<br />

him. Among the dozens of Italian filmmakers who headed<br />

various production departments for the film, many of them<br />

had years of experience and award-winning accomplishments,<br />

from costume designer Daniela Ciancio to production<br />

designer Cristina Onori.<br />


Another part of the strategy to make “Fatima” a mainstream<br />

movie was to tell the characters’ stories in a way that<br />

audiences of any or no faith background could relate to.<br />

While working with representatives at the Shrine of Fátima<br />

to maintain accuracy, the production team focused on creating<br />

what Howes called “the human story behind the story<br />

of the apparitions.”<br />

One of the key strategies for nourishing this human<br />

element was to tell the story through the eyes of Lúcia, the<br />

determined child who stands at the heart of the event.<br />

For Stephanie Gil, the <strong>14</strong>-year-old Spanish actress who<br />

plays Lúcia, assuming the role meant learning as much<br />

about her world as possible.<br />

“The time period in which she [Lúcia] lived in is so different<br />

[from] this time period, of course,” Gil told <strong>Angelus</strong>,<br />

“and I had to learn how she walks, how she talks, how she<br />

plays her games, her way of socializing even, with adults or<br />

even with her own cousins.”<br />

Gil also found plenty of human qualities to admire in her<br />

character, who died in 2005 and was declared “Servant of<br />

God” by Pope Francis 12 years later in 2017 at the centenary<br />

celebration of the apparitions.<br />

“[Lúcia] has a lot of inside life,” she said. “She’s got this<br />

way of always going somewhere out, sitting down, and thinking<br />

about what’s going on. ... And she is really, really strong<br />

and super brave and will not stop until people believe her.”<br />

While the filmmakers strove to humanize Lúcia, they<br />

wanted to add nuance to supporting characters as well. By<br />

highlighting the backdrop of World War I and the aggressiveness<br />

of Portugal’s anti-clerical, secularist government, for<br />

instance, they aimed to convey in what a troubled moment<br />

the apparitions took place.<br />

“The [children’s] parents were really afraid that what was<br />

going to happen was they were all going to get persecuted<br />

and maybe put in jail — or worse — because of what the<br />

kids were saying,” said Lyles.<br />


On top of the task of executing an A-list formula, the<br />

“Fatima” production and distribution teams faced multiple<br />

obstacles that have pushed back the film’s release.<br />

The producers chose to shoot everything in Portugal in<br />

order to maintain as much historical authenticity as possi-<br />


Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto in a colorized image with their<br />

cousin, Lúcia dos Santos (right), in a file photo taken around the time<br />

of the 1917 apparitions of Mary at Fátima, Portugal.<br />

Jorge Lamelas, Alejandra Howard, and Stephanie Gil star in "Fatima."<br />

©<strong>2020</strong> PICTUREHOUSE<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

Harvey Keitel, known for his roles in movies like "Pulp Fiction" and<br />

"Reservoir Dogs," portrays a skeptical scholar in "Fatima."<br />

ble. But at the time production began, Portugal had no tax<br />

credit available to filmmakers, placing a major financial<br />

burden on the project.<br />

Howes’ team successfully worked with Portuguese authorities<br />

to launch the tax credit, but the long process — and a<br />

lack of funding — led to the disappointing realization that a<br />

100th anniversary release in 2017 was not possible.<br />

But Lyles and Howes ended up seeing every setback as<br />

providential. Just one week after they learned of the 2017<br />

postponement, the team found out that Andrea Bocelli had<br />

agreed to sing the film’s theme song. “If we hadn't had the<br />

delay, that wouldn’t have happened,” recalled Lyles. “So it’s<br />

just an amazing journey, filled with miracles and challenges<br />

from beginning to end.”<br />

More recently, the COVID-19 outbreak has imposed more<br />

delays. Due to the pandemic, which resulted in widespread<br />

social distancing regulations and movie theater closures, the<br />

April 24 release date was pushed back, first to Aug. <strong>14</strong>, and<br />

now to Aug. <strong>28</strong>.<br />

Amid these delays, the film’s distribution company, Picturehouse,<br />

launched an expanded digital marketing campaign<br />

on social media, as well as private drive-in premiere<br />

screenings across the country.<br />

After all the logistical, financial, and scheduling challenges<br />

that dogged the filmmaking process, Howes said seeing the<br />

finished product leaves him in awe.<br />

“I always think a movie is a miracle in the making,” she<br />

said. “To actually create, to have a movie that’s complete<br />

and ready to launch is nothing short of a miracle.”<br />


In a video address played at the “Fatima” screening in Los<br />

Angeles, Archbishop José H. Gomez said the film’s message<br />

is a reminder “that the mother of God has a tender love for<br />

each one of us and that she continues to be at the heart of<br />

God’s plan of redemption.”<br />

For those who worked on the film, it was a message that<br />

IMDB<br />

ensured this was no ordinary job.<br />

The majority of the crew was Portuguese, and Fátima<br />

meant something to all of them. According to Howes, many<br />

crew members had a grandparent or great-grandparent who<br />

stood among the crowd on Oct. 13, 1917, the day of the<br />

reported Miracle of the Sun attributed to the Virgin Mary.<br />

“There’s three major exports out of Portugal: football, fado,<br />

and Fátima,” Howes remarked. “So it’s part of their bloodlines.”<br />

The personal impact of the themes of faith and hope extended<br />

beyond the Portuguese crew members as well.<br />

“Marco Pontecorvo and Harvey Keitel spent a fair amount<br />

of time on the set reading the Book of Job and discussing<br />

their faith because they got into so many discussions about<br />

faith based on what was happening in the movie,” noted<br />

Lyles.<br />

Overall, he added, whether or not the cast and crew<br />

members had faith, “People just had a sense of real, devoted<br />

commitment to making this story as reverent and as respectful<br />

as it should be.”<br />

Gil hopes the example of her character can help inspire<br />

the same kind of reaction in audiences.<br />

“I feel like it’s really important that everyone learns the<br />

story of Lúcia — an intelligent girl, brave, and she just goes<br />

through every obstacle for what she believes in,” she said.<br />

“And I feel like everyone should learn and experience …<br />

how hope and faith are so important in the world, and how<br />

you should fight until the end.”<br />

The July 19 drive-in premiere of "Fatima" at the Hollywood Palladium<br />

featured a socially distanced "red carpet."<br />

Amid a global pandemic and a year of political unrest,<br />

Howes sees providence behind the altered timing of the<br />

film’s release.<br />

“I think we can all actually look back and see that actually<br />

now is the right time for this story of faith, hope, and<br />

love,” she concluded, “and a peace plan that we’re about to<br />

launch into the world.” <br />

“Fatima” is scheduled to open in theaters and streaming on<br />

demand throughout <strong>No</strong>rth America on Aug. <strong>28</strong>.<br />

Sophia Martinson is a writer living in New York City.<br />


<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 31

THE CRUX<br />


A letter to God for all of us<br />

Little Locksmith,” a<br />

singular and mysterious<br />

“The<br />

memoir, was published in<br />

1943 by a woman named Katharine<br />

Butler Hathaway.<br />

The New York Times reported, “It is<br />

the kind of book that cannot come into<br />

being without great living and great<br />

suffering and a rare spirit behind it.”<br />

Hathaway herself called the book a<br />

“story of the liberation of a human<br />

being.”<br />

Born in Baltimore in 1890, she spent<br />

the better part of her youth in Salem,<br />

Massachusetts. At the age of 5, she developed<br />

spinal tuberculosis. In an effort<br />

to avert kyphosis (colloquially, hunchback),<br />

her doctors strapped her for the<br />

next 10 years to a bed pulley-rigged<br />

with iron weights.<br />

It was here that, unable to move her<br />

body or head, she honed the interior<br />

life of the imagination that would<br />

nourish and validate her later calling to<br />

be a writer.<br />

Her family was cultured, loving,<br />

and creative (although, typically New<br />

England-ish, they were also extremely<br />

emotionally closed down, to the point<br />

that nobody once, ever, referred to her<br />

condition or uttered the word “hunchback”).<br />

She developed a deep inner life of the<br />

imagination, encompassing both beauty<br />

and terror, that paved the way for her<br />

slow, painful, yet somehow sublime<br />

spiritual awakening.<br />

Upon release from her bed, she was<br />

kyphotic anyway, deformed though<br />

mobile, deeply sensitive, deeply intelligent.<br />

That she could feel passionately<br />

about an idea came, at 15, with the<br />

force of revelation. “Something had<br />

blazed in me, and from the blaze I<br />

discovered a new element in myself,<br />


"Owl's Head, Penobscot Bay, Maine," by Fitz Henry Lane.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>

a combustible something that would<br />

always blaze again in defense of the<br />

mystery and sacredness in things, and<br />

against the queer, blind, blaspheming<br />

streak in human nature which instead<br />

of adoring, must vulgarize and exploit<br />

and insult life.”<br />

She was a “special student” for three<br />

years at Radcliffe, showed promise as<br />

a writer, underwent a kind of mental<br />

breakdown under the torment of unfulfilled<br />

romantic love, and in her early<br />

30s bought a house in the seacoast<br />

town of Castine, Maine.<br />

It was a grand house, not at all the<br />

gnome-sized “thimble” she’d envisioned<br />

for someone of her size (she<br />

never grew taller than a 10-year-old).<br />

But from the second she laid eyes on<br />

it, she saw in the house her destiny.<br />

She directed the workmen to clear<br />

the overgrown brick paths of weeds,<br />

reinstall the beautifully carved old<br />

mantelpieces, switch out the “modern”<br />

three-paned windows to the traditional<br />

ten-paned variety, and repaint the original<br />

door a soft blue-green to match the<br />

shutters.<br />

Her goal was to turn the house into a<br />

magical place where she could write,<br />

invite her nieces and nephews to draw,<br />

paint, dream, and play, and transform<br />

the upstairs into a kind of mystic’s bordello,<br />

where men and women could<br />

come and, surrounded by tranquillity<br />

and beauty, indulge freely in the physical<br />

love she feared that, by virtue of her<br />

deformity, would be denied her.<br />

The first goal at least was realized.<br />

She took writing as her vocation and<br />

devoted herself to it with monastic devotion,<br />

though year after year she had<br />

virtually nothing published.<br />

She described Penobscot Bay, the<br />

light, the trees, the changing of the<br />

seasons with a poet’s eye.<br />

“During the summers of my life,” she<br />

wrote, “it was my close-fitting, protecting<br />

shell which held only me alone.<br />

… Towards a sanctuary of this kind, or,<br />

I suppose toward any sanctuary which<br />

shelters the spirit and allows it to be<br />

free, a love develops which has a quality<br />

of deep and intimate gratitude.”<br />

Off-page, she fell in love, married,<br />

and after 10 years left the enchanted<br />

house in Castine and moved to<br />

another in nearby Blue Hill, almost as<br />

beloved.<br />

But “The Little Locksmith” is really<br />

the story of a conversion. Hathaway<br />

was never able to write two planned<br />

sequels.<br />

But in the epilogue, she charted the<br />

sequence of a spiritual awakening: First<br />

you look, and see beauty. Then you admire,<br />

which leads to gratitude, which<br />

leads to humility, which naturally leads<br />

to “a feeling of wonder and adoration<br />

toward the source of these miracles, the<br />

God who made them and put them<br />

there.”<br />

Prayer “is the natural expression of<br />

those who are not so stupid and so rude<br />

as to have forgotten that they are guests.<br />

Those naïve, medieval people — and<br />

they exist always in every generation,<br />

usually obscure, unknown, and even<br />

ignorant — who begin and end each<br />

day in that most beautiful instinctive<br />

human attitude, the attitude of the sensitive,<br />

courteous guest of God, on their<br />

knees with the head bent down before<br />

an ever-present God toward whom<br />

their hearts open like drooping flowers<br />

or like radiant flowers — they are the<br />

only people who really understand<br />

admiration and gratitude.”<br />

This is a memoir for people who have<br />

felt they might die of loneliness, or<br />

who sense that they are in some way<br />

mutilated, or who love the world but<br />

can’t quite seem to find a place in it. In<br />

other words, this is a book for all of us.<br />

Hathaway died on Christmas Eve in<br />

1942. “The Little Locksmith,” which<br />

she called her “bread and butter letter<br />

to God,” was published the following<br />

year. It was her only book. <br />


First edition of<br />

"The Little Locksmith."<br />

Katharine Butler Hathaway<br />


Heather King is an award-winning author, speaker, and workshop leader. For more, visit heather-king.com.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>14</strong>-<strong>21</strong>-<strong>28</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 33

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