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Angelus News | October 16-23, 2020 | Vol. 5 No. 26

When a centuries-old mysterious painting of “La Dolorosa” was pulled out of the rubble of the fire-wrecked Mission San Gabriel, workers were surprised. But was its discovery miraculous? On Page 10, historian Gregory Orfalea explains the image’s forgotten role in the evangelization of California, and details the race against time underway to prepare the mission for its 250th birthday celebration.

When a centuries-old mysterious painting of “La Dolorosa” was pulled out of the rubble of the fire-wrecked Mission San Gabriel, workers were surprised. But was its discovery miraculous? On Page 10, historian Gregory Orfalea explains the image’s forgotten role in the evangelization of California, and details the race against time underway to prepare the mission for its 250th birthday celebration.

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ANGELUS<br />

MIRACLE<br />

AT THE MISSION<br />

The mystery of San Gabriel’s ‘La Dolorosa’<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 5 <strong>No</strong>. <strong>26</strong>


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 />

A White Mass for those on the pandemic front lines 14<br />

The unexpected joys of coronavirus weddings 18<br />

Photos: A long-awaited day for LA’s new deacons 22<br />

John Allen: Behind the new vision of ‘Fratelli Tutti’ 24<br />

An Angeleno’s East Coast racism epiphany <strong>26</strong><br />

Greg Erlandson ponders political homelessness 28<br />

Kris McGregor: Secrets to keeping the faith 30<br />

Heather King discovers the charms of ‘Lotusland’ 32


ON THE COVER<br />

When a centuries-old mysterious painting of “La Dolorosa” was pulled out of the<br />

rubble of the fire-wrecked Mission San Gabriel, workers were surprised. But was its<br />

discovery miraculous? On Page 10, historian Gregory Orfalea explains the image’s<br />

forgotten role in the evangelization of California, and details the race against time<br />

underway to prepare the mission for its 250th birthday celebration.<br />

IMAGE:<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez toured Christ the<br />

King Catholic School near Hollywood Oct. 2<br />

while celebrating a blessing ceremony for the<br />

renovated campus. The school was founded in<br />

1959 and today serves TK-8th-grade students.<br />

DANIEL MACIAS<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN


POPE WATCH<br />

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<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 5 • <strong>No</strong>. <strong>26</strong><br />

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A failed man’s prayer<br />

The following is adapted from the<br />

Holy Father’s catechesis on prayer,<br />

given during his weekly General Audience<br />

in the Paul VI Hall, Wednesday,<br />

Oct. 7.<br />

Scripture presents Elijah as a man<br />

of crystalline faith: His very name,<br />

which may mean “Yahweh is God,”<br />

encloses the secret of his mission. He<br />

will be like this for the rest of his life:<br />

a man of integrity, incapable of petty<br />

compromises.<br />

His symbol is fire, the image of<br />

God’s purifying power. He will be the<br />

first to be put to the test, and he will<br />

remain faithful. He is the example of<br />

all people of faith who know temptation<br />

and suffering, but do not fail<br />

to live up to the ideal for which they<br />

were born.<br />

Prayer is the lifeblood that constantly<br />

nourishes his existence. Elijah<br />

is the man of God, who stands as a<br />

defender of the primacy of the Most<br />

High. And yet, he too is forced to<br />

come to terms with his own frailties.<br />

In the soul of those who pray, the<br />

sense of their own weakness is more<br />

precious than moments of exaltation,<br />

when it seems that life is a series of<br />

victories and successes. This always<br />

happens in prayer: moments of<br />

prayer that we feel lift us up, even of<br />

enthusiasm, and moments of prayer<br />

of pain, aridity, trial.<br />

This is what prayer is: letting ourselves<br />

be carried by God, and also<br />

letting ourselves be struck by unpleasant<br />

situations and even temptations.<br />

Prayer is not about locking oneself<br />

up with the Lord to make one’s<br />

soul appear beautiful: no, this is not<br />

prayer, this is false prayer. Prayer is a<br />

confrontation with God, and letting<br />

oneself be sent to serve one’s brothers<br />

and sisters.<br />

The proof of prayer is the real love<br />

of one’s neighbor. And vice versa:<br />

Believers act in the world after<br />

having first kept silent and prayed;<br />

otherwise, their action is impulsive, it<br />

is devoid of discernment, it is rushing<br />

without a destination.<br />

The pages of the Bible suggest that<br />

Elijah’s faith also made progress: He<br />

too grew in prayer, he refined it little<br />

by little. The face of God came into<br />

focus for him as he walked. He manifests<br />

himself not in the storm, not in<br />

the earthquake or the devouring fire,<br />

but in “a light murmuring sound” (v.<br />

12).<br />

Or better, a translation that reflects<br />

that experience well: in a thread of<br />

resounding silence. This is how God<br />

manifests himself to Elijah.<br />

God comes forward to meet a tired<br />

man, a man who thought he had<br />

failed on all fronts, and with that<br />

gentle breeze, with that thread of<br />

resounding silence, he brings calm<br />

and peace back into the heart.<br />

In some evenings we can feel useless<br />

and lonely. It is then that prayer<br />

will come and knock on the door of<br />

our hearts. We can all gather a corner<br />

of Elijah’s cloak, just as his disciple<br />

Elisha collected half his cloak. And<br />

even if we have done something<br />

wrong, or if we feel threatened and<br />

frightened, when we return before<br />

God with prayer, serenity and peace<br />

will return as if by miracle. <br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>October</strong>: We pray that by the virtue of baptism, the laity,<br />

especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


NEW WORLD<br />

OF FAITH<br />

BY ARCHBISHOP JOSÉ H. GOMEZ<br />

A Gospel vision for the human family<br />

Pope Francis’ new encyclical letter,<br />

“Fratelli Tutti,” is a deep and searching<br />

reflection on the meaning of human<br />

community and how God wants us to<br />

live together in society.<br />

It comes at a time in this country<br />

when there is a widespread feeling<br />

that social trust has broken down. It is<br />

a moment when people have lost faith<br />

in our institutions and leaders, and our<br />

politics and media have become angry<br />

and divisive.<br />

Often, it seems, we now look with suspicion<br />

at those who disagree with us;<br />

we treat them like enemies. It seems to<br />

many of us that our society has lost not<br />

only the ability to work together for the<br />

common good, but also any sense of<br />

what the common good might be.<br />

Beyond the differences between<br />

candidates and parties in this election<br />

year, beyond the real inequalities and<br />

injustices in our society, and beyond<br />

the fear and uncertainty for the future<br />

caused by the pandemic, these are the<br />

deeper issues that we must confront in<br />

American culture and public life.<br />

And while “Fratelli Tutti” was not<br />

written specifically to address this<br />

country, as I have been reflecting on<br />

this new letter I think our Holy Father<br />

offers us a way forward.<br />

It is a long and complex document.<br />

In many ways, it serves a compendium<br />

of Pope Francis’ teachings on social<br />

questions over these eight years of his<br />

papacy.<br />

At the heart of the pope’s letter,<br />

though, is the simple and beautiful<br />

vision of the Gospel — that God our<br />

Father has created every human being<br />

with sanctity and dignity, with equal<br />

rights and duties, and that our Creator<br />

calls us to form a single human family<br />

in which we live as brothers and sisters.<br />

Living as we do in a big country and<br />

in a complex mass society, we can be<br />

tempted to think that what we do as<br />

individuals does not matter or make a<br />

difference.<br />

That is not true, the Holy Father<br />

reminds us. So much depends on how<br />

we live out our faith in Jesus Christ.<br />

If we believe that God is our Father,<br />

then we must believe and act as if all<br />

men and women are our brothers and<br />

sisters. If we believe that Jesus died for<br />

the love of every person, then we know<br />

that “no one is beyond the scope of his<br />

universal love,” as the pope writes.<br />

Along with St. Francis of Assisi,<br />

who he said inspired his letter, the<br />

pope points to the example of the<br />

20th-century saint, Blessed Charles<br />

de Foucauld, who lived among the<br />

Muslims in the deserts of Africa and<br />

was martyred there.<br />

Like St. Francis, Blessed Charles<br />

prayed to be “the brother of all.” And<br />

that is how we should live our lives.<br />

The pope wants us to see that we are<br />

responsible to care for one another,<br />

that we are called to create a shared<br />

community in which the sanctity and<br />

dignity of every human person is cherished<br />

and respected.<br />

In this way of social friendship, the<br />

little things in life matter. The pope<br />

speaks of the importance of simple,<br />

everyday kindness.<br />

But kindness, for the pope, is not<br />

simply a personal virtue. Kindness can<br />

change the world. “Precisely because<br />

it entails esteem and respect for others,<br />

once kindness becomes a culture<br />

within society it transforms lifestyles,<br />

relationships, and the ways ideas are<br />

discussed and compared,” he writes.<br />

The pope offers a hopeful vision for<br />

the renewal of politics, what he calls a<br />

“better kind of politics,” rooted in love<br />

for the human person.<br />

But we should not “expect everything<br />

from those who govern us,” he says. We<br />

have a Christian duty to change the<br />

world, beginning in our neighborhoods<br />

and local communities, but also taking<br />

an active role in the affairs of our<br />

nation and being concerned for people<br />

everywhere in the world.<br />

“Jesus asks us,” the pope writes, “to<br />

put aside all differences and, in the<br />

face of suffering, to draw near to others<br />

with no questions asked. … I must<br />

myself be a neighbor to others.”<br />

In the Gospel vision, as the pope sees<br />

it, charity cannot be separated from<br />

working for justice. “It is an act of charity<br />

to assist someone suffering, but it is<br />

also an act of charity, even if we do not<br />

know that person, to work to change<br />

the social conditions that caused his or<br />

her suffering,” he writes.<br />

There is much to challenge us in this<br />

new letter and I hope that you will<br />

have a chance to reflect on the Holy<br />

Father’s words.<br />

Pray for me this week and I will pray<br />

for you.<br />

And let us ask our Blessed Mother<br />

Mary to pray for our country as we<br />

enter the final days of this election<br />

season. May she help us to renew our<br />

country in the spirit of fraternity, where<br />

we see one another as Pope Francis<br />

tells us, “brothers and sisters all.” <br />

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

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 3


WORLD<br />

Italian ‘gamer’ beatified in Assisi<br />

Bishop Vincenzo Guo Xijin<br />

Bishop of Chinese underground<br />

church retires<br />

From the perspective of the Chinese government, nothing<br />

has changed in the Diocese of Mindong. But for Catholics,<br />

they are losing a bishop.<br />

Bishop Vincenzo Guo Xijin announced his retirement as<br />

auxiliary bishop of Mindong, a position he has held since<br />

2018, in the wake of an arrangement requested by Pope<br />

Francis as part of the Sino-Vatican Agreement, which has<br />

sought to reconcile underground Catholics in China with<br />

those part of the state-sanctioned church.<br />

However, Bishop Guo never joined that church, meaning<br />

the government never recognized his episcopacy as legitimate.<br />

Bishop Guo’s retirement comes as a further attempt<br />

to unite the fractured church in China.<br />

Bishop Guo said he will now retire to a life of prayer but<br />

will remain available to hear confessions.<br />

“In any circumstance or change, you must never forget<br />

God,” Bishop Guo wrote to the faithful in the letter<br />

announcing his retirement. “Do not ignore the Lord’s<br />

commandments, do not harm the integrity of the faith, do<br />

not slow down the salvation of the soul, which is the most<br />

important thing.” <br />

ASIA NEWS<br />

The Catholic Church now has its first “blessed” of the<br />

millennial generation.<br />

Carlo Acutis, an Italian computer whiz born in 1991, was<br />

beatified Oct. 10 at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in the<br />

presence of thousands of pilgrims, most of whom followed<br />

the ceremony outdoors due to coronavirus (COVID-19)-related<br />

restrictions.<br />

At a young age, Acutis taught himself how to program and<br />

went on to create websites cataloguing the world’s eucharistic<br />

miracles and Marian apparitions. He loved video games<br />

but also the Eucharist, which he called “my highway to<br />

heaven.”<br />

He died of leukemia at the age of 15 after offering his suffering<br />

for the pope and the Church.<br />

In recent weeks, scores of pilgrims had been visiting his<br />

tomb in a church in Assisi. His remains, entombed behind a<br />

clear pane of glass, are clothed in street clothes.<br />

“The Church rejoices, because in this very young Blessed<br />

the Lord’s words are fulfilled: ‘I have chosen you and appointed<br />

you to go and bear much fruit,’ ” Cardinal Agostino<br />

Vallini said in the homily at his beatification Mass. “And<br />

Carlo ‘went’ and brought the fruit of holiness, showing it as<br />

a goal reachable by all and not as something abstract and<br />

reserved for a few.” <br />

An image of Carlo Acutis was unveiled at his beatification Mass.<br />

DANIEL IBAÑEZ/CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY<br />

New accusations, denials for Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu<br />

Following his sudden resignation<br />

as head of the Vatican’s saint-making<br />

body amid financial scandals, Italian<br />

Cardinal Angelo Becciu has been<br />

linked to new instances of misusing<br />

Vatican funds.<br />

Italian media reported in early<br />

<strong>October</strong> that Becciu transferred<br />

several hundred thousand euros to an<br />

account in Australia during Cardinal<br />

George Pell’s trial on charges of sexual<br />

abuse. Since Becciu and Pell are<br />

known to have clashed over Vatican<br />

financial reform, the reports suggest<br />

that the funds were used to facilitate<br />

Pell’s prosecution. Such a charge,<br />

however, remains unattributed and<br />

unproven.<br />

Becciu is also alleged to have sent<br />

600 thousand euros to Cecilia Marogna,<br />

a woman from his home island<br />

of Sardinia. Marogna claims the funds<br />

were compensation for her work,<br />

which included building “high-level<br />

networks” for the cardinal in the<br />

Middle East and Africa.<br />

An Oct. 7 statement from his lawyer<br />

stated that Becciu, who is currently<br />

under investigation by Vatican authorities,<br />

“reiterates the absolute falseness<br />

of any allegations that circulated in<br />

the press, and confirms his lack of involvement<br />

in any illegal activities.” <br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


NATION<br />

Tennessee priest takes first steps to sainthood<br />

The sainthood cause for a Tennessee priest who died from yellow fever has taken<br />

an important step forward.<br />

Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika formally appointed members to a tribunal, which<br />

will investigate the life of Father Patrick Ryan, who died in 1878 from the disease<br />

after ministering to the sick of Chattanooga during an outbreak that same year.<br />

Father Ryan’s cause for canonization opened June 14, 20<strong>16</strong>, but the creation of<br />

this tribunal is a major step for the Irish-born missionary to the U.S. Its findings<br />

will inform the Vatican whether Father Ryan can be declared to have lived a life<br />

of heroic virtue, the first step on the way to sainthood.<br />

“It is amazing how God in a time of crisis reminds us of how good he has been<br />

in the past and how he works through us as human beings so that his grace may<br />

be concrete and help people in need,” Father J. David Carter, a member of the<br />

tribunal, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. <br />

ROSARY BREAK — Archbishop Paul Coakley (far left) and staff at the Archdiocese of Oklahoma<br />

City gathered in a chapel to follow the “Rosary for America” broadcast via YouTube Oct. 7, feast<br />

of Our Lady of the Rosary. The event combined video recordings of laypeople and several U.S.<br />

bishops praying different parts of the rosary, among them Archbishop Coakley. <br />

A Catholic school comeback in Boston?<br />

Demand for Catholic education in Massachusetts appears to be soaring, as parents<br />

look for in-person education options for their children.<br />

The Archdiocese of Boston has permanently closed 10% of its schools this year<br />

amid the pandemic. But recent months have seen a surprise.<br />

“We were bracing ourselves for that possibility [of more closures] and that it<br />

could be a large number of schools,” Superintendent Thomas Carroll for the<br />

Archdiocese of Boston told masslive.com. “And when you get an extra 4,000 kids,<br />

that changes everything.”<br />

Though the increased demand for Catholic schools has been strongest in Boston,<br />

with almost 4,000 new students, the dioceses of both Springfield and Worcester have<br />

also reported increased enrollment. All three dioceses credit the rise to families seeking<br />

out in-person education opportunities amid coronavirus (COVID-19) closures. <br />

ARCHDIOCESE OF OKLAHOMA CITY<br />

Father Patrick Ryan<br />

The battle over<br />

Brooklyn’s ‘hot spots’<br />

A legal battle is underway between<br />

Brooklyn’s Catholic diocese and<br />

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo<br />

over new regulations restricting<br />

attendance at houses of worship in<br />

the borough’s coronavirus (COV-<br />

ID-19) hot spots to only 10 people.<br />

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio had<br />

unsuccessfully requested a temporary<br />

restraining order against the<br />

new regulations, charging that they<br />

were an arbitrary and unnecessary<br />

violation of religious liberty. Members<br />

of Brooklyn’s Borough Park<br />

Jewish Community also protested<br />

the regulations.<br />

“If this latest executive order<br />

stands, parishioners won’t be able<br />

to go to Mass this Sunday, even<br />

though the diocese has done<br />

everything right to ensure safe<br />

conditions in its churches,” said the<br />

diocese’s attorney Randy Mastro<br />

Oct. 8.<br />

After a judge turned down the<br />

diocese’s request Oct. 10, Bishop<br />

DiMarzio questioned why the<br />

state had not limited capacity in<br />

proportion to church size instead,<br />

since many churches have room for<br />

upwards of 800 people.<br />

As of press time, the diocese said<br />

it was looking at other “options”<br />

to challenge the “disrespectful”<br />

regulations. <br />

FILE PHOTO<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 5


LOCAL<br />

UCLA expert tapped for<br />

Vatican academy<br />

Pope Francis appointed literary expert<br />

Maryanne Wolf to the Pontifical<br />

Academy of Sciences, the Holy See<br />

press office announced Oct. 12.<br />

Wolf, the director of the Center<br />

for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and<br />

Social justice at UCLA, will be an<br />

“ordinary member” of the academy.<br />

Ampersand, the online magazine<br />

of the UCLA Graduate School of<br />

Education and Information Studies,<br />

said the appointment recognized<br />

Wolf’s work “in applying science<br />

to education, in tandem with Pope<br />

Francis’ expressed goal of utilizing<br />

science to improve the lives of the<br />

world’s impoverished populations,<br />

particularly children.”<br />

Wolf is the co-creator of one of the<br />

leading tests for dyslexia across all<br />

languages, and designed a reading intervention<br />

program for children with<br />

dyslexia. She is also the author of two<br />

books and more than <strong>16</strong>0 scientific<br />

papers. <br />

Maryanne Wolf<br />

RON SEARCEY/UCLA ED & IS<br />

Msgr. Lawrence Edward Donnelly<br />

Archdiocese mourns<br />

passing of ‘Father Larry’<br />

Msgr. Lawrence Edward Donnelly,<br />

a longtime and beloved priest of the<br />

Archdiocese of Los Angeles, died Sept.<br />

<strong>23</strong> at the age of 96.<br />

“Father Larry,” as he was fondly<br />

known, discovered his vocation to the<br />

priesthood at an early age. After eighth<br />

grade, he hitchhiked to the junior<br />

seminary every day until his ordination<br />

in 1949.<br />

Father Larry was a chaplain at USC<br />

for four years, a job he loved, despite<br />

his devotion to <strong>No</strong>tre Dame football.<br />

For 25 years he was pastor of<br />

St. Michael Church in Los Angeles,<br />

defending the church from robberies<br />

and riots.<br />

One of Father Larry’s personal mottos<br />

was “sicut parvuli,” meaning “as little<br />

children.” To read more about his life,<br />

visit the LA Catholics section of <strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com.<br />

<br />

COURTESY MARIA VARGO<br />

A godsend for locked<br />

down learners?<br />

When Sophia Scott faced a free<br />

summer due to coronavirus (COV-<br />

ID-19) closures, she decided to use<br />

the time wisely. Within weeks, the<br />

17-year-old founded Quaranteens,<br />

a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to<br />

providing individual, virtual tutoring<br />

services in a wide array of subjects to<br />

K-12 students — all free of charge.<br />

Scott designed her own website,<br />

enlisted fellow Marymount High<br />

School classmates and built relationships<br />

with local education-focused<br />

charities to spread the word about<br />

her services.<br />

An analysis from the Los Angeles<br />

Unified School District (LAUSD)<br />

found that lower-income students<br />

“minimally accessed” their schools’<br />

online education resources after the<br />

spring shutdowns, resulting in the<br />

risk of “lost learning” that “could take<br />

students years to recoup.”<br />

“While distance learning was<br />

going smoothly for me, I knew it<br />

wasn’t going smoothly for a lot of<br />

students, especially those who didn’t<br />

have access to the same resources I<br />

did,” Scott told <strong>Angelus</strong>. “So, I just<br />

decided I needed to help them in<br />

any way I could.” To read more about<br />

Quaranteens, visit the LA Catholics<br />

section of <strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com. <br />

A new tool for aspiring evangelizers<br />

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has launched “Missionary Discipleship<br />

Pathway,” a series of evangelizing experiences for Catholics seeking a<br />

deeper relationship with their faith.<br />

Based on the model of the Gospel stories of St. Peter, the virtual program<br />

focuses on three stages of becoming a missionary disciple: To hear Jesus’<br />

call, to give one’s life to Jesus, and to go and make more disciples.<br />

To learn more or register for the program, visit LACatholics.org/missionary-discipleship-pathway.<br />

<br />

Sophia Scott<br />

SOPHIA SCOTT<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


SUNDAY<br />

READINGS<br />

BY SCOTT HAHN<br />

Is. 45:1, 4–6 / Ps. 96:1, 3, 4–5, 7–8, 9–10 / 1 Thes. 1:1–5b / Mt. 22:15–21<br />

The Lord is king over all the earth,<br />

as we sing in Sunday’s Psalm. Governments<br />

rise and fall by his permission,<br />

with no authority but that given from<br />

above (see John 19:11; Romans 13:1).<br />

In effect, God says to every ruler what<br />

he tells King Cyrus in today’s First<br />

Reading: “I have called you . . . though<br />

you knew me not.”<br />

The Lord<br />

raised up<br />

King Cyrus<br />

to restore<br />

the Israelites<br />

from<br />

exile, and to<br />

rebuild Jerusalem<br />

(see<br />

Ezra 1:1-4).<br />

Throughout<br />

salvation<br />

history, God<br />

has used foreign<br />

rulers<br />

for the sake<br />

of his chosen<br />

people.<br />

Pharaoh’s<br />

heart was<br />

hardened to<br />

reveal God’s<br />

power (see<br />

Romans<br />

9:17). Invading<br />

armies were used to punish Israel’s<br />

sins (see 2 Maccabees 6:7–<strong>16</strong>).<br />

The Roman occupation during Jesus’<br />

time was, in a similar way, a judgment<br />

on Israel’s unfaithfulness. Jesus’ famous<br />

words in the Gospel this week, “repay<br />

to Caesar,” are a pointed reminder of<br />

this. And they call us, too, to keep our<br />

allegiances straight.<br />

The Lord alone is our king. His<br />

kingdom is not of this world (see<br />

John 18:36), but it begins here in his<br />

Church, which tells of his glory among<br />

all peoples. Citizens of heaven (see<br />

Philippians 3:20), we are called to be a<br />

light to the world (see Matthew 5:14),<br />

working in faith, laboring in love, and<br />

enduring in hope, as today’s Epistle<br />

counsels.<br />

We owe the<br />

government<br />

a concern<br />

for the common<br />

good,<br />

and obedience<br />

to laws,<br />

unless they<br />

conflict with<br />

God’s commandments<br />

as interpreted<br />

by the<br />

Church (see<br />

Acts 5:29).<br />

But we<br />

owe God<br />

“Render unto Caesar,” by Maerten de Vos, 1532-<strong>16</strong>03, Flemish.<br />

everything.<br />

The coin<br />

bears Caesar’s<br />

image.<br />

But we bear<br />

God’s own<br />

image (see<br />

Genesis 1:27). We owe him our very<br />

lives, all our heart, mind, soul, and<br />

strength, offered as a living sacrifice of<br />

love (see Romans 12:1–2).<br />

We should pray for our leaders, that<br />

like King Cyrus they do God’s will (see<br />

1 Timothy 2:1–2), until from the rising<br />

of the sun to its setting, all humanity<br />

knows that Jesus is Lord. <br />

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

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

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

8 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> August <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>-30, <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> 2019


IN EXILE<br />

BY FATHER RONALD ROLHEISER, OMI<br />

Spirituality and the second half of life<br />

One size doesn’t fit everyone. This<br />

isn’t just true for clothing: It’s also true<br />

for spirituality. Our challenges in life<br />

change as we age. Spirituality hasn’t<br />

always been fully sensitive to this. True,<br />

we’ve always had tailored instruction<br />

and activities for children, young<br />

people, and for people who are raising<br />

children, carrying a job, and paying a<br />

mortgage, but we’ve never developed<br />

a spirituality for what happens when<br />

those years are over.<br />

Why is one needed? Jesus seemingly<br />

didn’t have one. He didn’t have one set<br />

of teachings for the young, another for<br />

those in mid-life, and still another for<br />

the elderly. He just taught. The Sermon<br />

on the Mount, the parables, and<br />

his invitation to take up his cross are<br />

intended in the same way for everyone,<br />

irrespective of age.<br />

But we hear those teaching at very<br />

different times in our lives; and it’s<br />

one thing to hear the Sermon on the<br />

Mount when you’re 7 years old, another<br />

when you’re 27, and quite another<br />

when you’re 87. Jesus’ teachings don’t<br />

change, but we do, and they offer very<br />

specific challenges at different times of<br />

our lives.<br />

Christian spirituality has generally<br />

kept this in mind, with one exception.<br />

Except for Jesus and an occasional<br />

mystic, it has failed to develop an explicit<br />

spirituality for our later years, for<br />

how we are meant to be generative in<br />

our senior years and how we are to die<br />

in a life-giving way. But there’s a good<br />

reason for this lacuna.<br />

Simply put, it wasn’t needed because<br />

up until this last century most people<br />

never lived into old age. For example,<br />

in Palestine, in Jesus’ time, the average<br />

life expectancy was 30 to 35 years. A<br />

century ago in the United States, it<br />

was still less than 50 years. When most<br />

people in the world died before they<br />

reached the age of 50, there was no<br />

real need for a spirituality of aging.<br />

There is such a spirituality inside<br />

the Gospels. Even though he died at<br />

33, Jesus left us a paradigm of how to<br />

age and die. But that paradigm, while<br />

healthily infusing and undergirding<br />

Christian spirituality in general, was<br />

never developed more specifically<br />

into a spirituality of aging (with the<br />

exception of some of the great Christian<br />

mystics).<br />

After Jesus, the desert fathers and<br />

mothers folded the question of how to<br />

age and die into the framework of their<br />

spirituality. For them, spirituality was<br />

a quest to “see the face of God” and<br />

that, as Jesus makes clear, requires one<br />

thing, purity of heart. So for them, no<br />

matter your age, the challenge was the<br />

same: trying to achieve purity of heart.<br />

Then in the age of the persecutions<br />

and the early Christian martyrs, the<br />

idea developed that the ideal way to<br />

age and die was through martyrdom.<br />

Later, when Christians were no longer<br />

physically martyred, the idea took hold<br />

that you could take on a type of martyrdom<br />

by living the evangelical counsels<br />

of poverty, chastity, and obedience.<br />

They believed that living these, like<br />

the quest for purity of heart, taught you<br />

all you needed to know, no matter your<br />

age. Eventually, this was expanded<br />

to mean that anyone who faithfully<br />

responded to the duties in his or her<br />

life, irrespective of age, would learn<br />

everything necessary to come to sanctity<br />

through that fidelity.<br />

As a famous aphorism put it: “Stay<br />

inside your cell and it will teach you<br />

all you need to know.” Understood<br />

properly, there’s a spirituality of aging<br />

and dying inside these notions, but<br />

until recently there was little need to<br />

draw that out more explicitly.<br />

Happily, today the situation is changing<br />

and we’re developing, more and<br />

more, some explicit spiritualities of<br />

aging and dying. Perhaps this reflects<br />

an aging population, but there’s now<br />

a burgeoning body of literature, both<br />

religious and secular, that’s taking up<br />

the question of aging and dying.<br />

These authors, too numerous to<br />

mention, include many names already<br />

familiar to us: Father Henri <strong>No</strong>uwen,<br />

Father Richard Rohr, Kathleen Dowling<br />

Singh, David Brooks, Cardinal<br />

Joseph Bernardin, Father Michael<br />

Paul Gallagher, Sister Joan Chittister,<br />

Parker Palmer, Marilyn Chandler<br />

McEntyre, Paul Kalanithi, Erica Jong,<br />

Katie Roiphe, and Wilkie and <strong>No</strong>reen<br />

Au, among others. Coming from a<br />

variety of perspectives, each of these<br />

offer insights into what God and nature<br />

intend for us in our later years.<br />

In essence, here’s the issue: Today,<br />

we’re living longer and healthier late<br />

into life. It’s common today to retire<br />

sometime in our early 60s. So what’s<br />

next? What are these years for? What<br />

are we called to now, beyond loving<br />

our grandkids?<br />

Abraham and Sarah, in their old age,<br />

were invited to set out for a new land<br />

and conceive a child long after this was<br />

biologically impossible for them. That’s<br />

our call, too. What “Isaac” are we<br />

called to give birth to in our later years?<br />

We need guidance. <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>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 9


The miracle of<br />

Mission San Gabriel<br />

A perfectly timed surprise beneath the rubble of LA’s oldest Catholic<br />

church sets the stage for a historic jubilee year celebration<br />

BY GREGORY ORFALEA / ANGELUS<br />

DANIEL MACIAS<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


On Sept. 15, <strong>2020</strong>, as workmen were clearing away<br />

rubble from the baptistry of the fire-wrecked Mission<br />

San Gabriel, they found something under the burnt<br />

timbers and plaster that startled them.<br />

There in the debris, underneath a burnt crossbeam, was a<br />

painting showing the Virgin Mary in dark clothes in front of<br />

a foreboding dark landscape: Our Lady of Sorrows.<br />

Amazed, they went and found the mission director, Terri<br />

Huerta. The timing of the discovery, she immediately realized,<br />

could not have been more appropriate.<br />

“My God,” she exclaimed. “This is the feast day of Our<br />

Lady of Sorrows.”<br />

The painting, in fact, was the only one in the church that<br />

survived the mysterious July 11 fire. Most of the mission’s<br />

priceless paintings and sculptures had been removed months<br />

earlier for restoration work in anticipation of the mission’s<br />

250-year jubilee celebration planned for next year. Only<br />

Our Lady of Sorrows, hung above the baptistry, had been left<br />

exposed.<br />

And she survived, despite some holes and blistering around<br />

her clearly Hispanic “morena” (“brown-skinned”) face. The<br />

insurance company has pledged to restore her, along with<br />

any other damage to artwork suffered from the fire.<br />

The surprise discovery comes as a small, seemingly miraculous<br />

silver lining in a devastating episode of the mission’s<br />

history. So has the more than $200,000 raised through<br />

donations to help rebuild the mission.<br />

OPPOSITE PAGE: Workmen at Mission San Gabriel moments after discovering<br />

the mysterious image of “La Dolorosa” on Sept. 15, the feast of Our<br />

Lady of Sorrows.<br />

ABOVE: The smaller painting depicting “La Dolorosa,” also at Mission<br />

San Gabriel, which is said to have halted a Tongva attack on Spanish<br />

missionaries in 1771.<br />

GREGORY ORFALEA<br />

Investigators are still looking into the possibility of arson,<br />

not yet proven, though, according to Jill Short of the Archdiocese<br />

Construction Department, “<strong>No</strong> one has been able to<br />

link it to an accident, like an electrical short.”<br />

After 2 ½ months since the fire, reconstruction, not to<br />

mention restoration, has yet to begin. For now, the process<br />

remains in the debris clean-up phase.<br />

“The damage to the roof, which is pretty much gone, the<br />

walls, the choir loft and altar, the ceilings all blackened and<br />

charred is pretty substantial,” Huerta said.<br />

There is no dollar estimate yet of costs for the rebuilding,<br />

though the team thinks it will take at least a year to complete.<br />

As a result, the jubilee festivities next fall may need to<br />

take place outside the church.<br />

I asked Huerta if the painting of the dark-clad Lady of<br />

Sorrows was the one famously unfurled to the Tongva Indians<br />

nearly 250 years ago, on Aug. 15, 1771, the feast of the<br />

Assumption, just as San Gabriel was being founded by the<br />

Franciscans.<br />

Franciscan missionary Father Francisco Palou described<br />

the scene in his 1785 biography of St. Junípero Serra,<br />

“Relacion,” writing that the Tongva were “conquered by that<br />

beautiful image” displayed to them by the Spaniards.<br />

“They threw down their bows and arrows and the two chiefs<br />

rushed forward to place at the feet of the Sovereign Queen<br />

the beads they wore around their necks to show their great<br />

esteem,” wrote Father Palou.<br />

“They called together the Indians of the nearby villages,<br />

whence a growing number of men, women, and children<br />

came to see the Most Holy Virgin. They came bearing various<br />

seeds which they placed at the feet of the most Blessed<br />

Lady, thinking she would consume them as other humans<br />

did.”<br />

In a word, so effective was the expression of sorrow, the<br />

Tongva thought the image alive.<br />

That image, however, was not the one found in the rubble,<br />

but rather one that was removed from the church before<br />

the fire, Huerta explained. Would I like to see it? She didn’t<br />

have to ask twice.<br />

So, in a sense, there are two miracles at Mission San Gabriel,<br />

one in 1771, the other in <strong>2020</strong>, each involving a different<br />

“La Dolorosa” (“Lady of Sorrows”).<br />

To further complicate things, Father Palou related another<br />

painting, one of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child, that<br />

so amazed the Kumeyaay in San Diego around the same<br />

time that their women tried to nurse the baby, again thinking<br />

the image was real. Its whereabouts are unknown.<br />

I inspected the smaller “La Dolorosa” unfurled for the<br />

Tongva. It is quite striking. Mary’s eyelids hang down her<br />

eyes, themselves in shadow, there are clear tears on her<br />

cheek, and her hands are clasped, praying.<br />

It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that the Tongva saw<br />

Mary begging, rather than praying. Father Palou’s “triumph”<br />

may have been more empathy and desire to help rather than<br />

powerlessness. Mary’s lips are full, swollen from grief.<br />

According to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s<br />

Diva Zumaya, who conducted a recent inventory of the<br />

mission’s artwork, the two “La Dolorosas” date back to the<br />

18th century, though exact dates and the artists have not yet<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 11


The rear of Mission San Gabriel after debris from the July 11 fire was<br />

cleared.<br />

been determined. Zumaya also believes the “La Dolorosa”<br />

unfurled for the Tongva has been heavily painted over.<br />

The grief Angelenos have experienced<br />

since learning that the<br />

literal birthplace of Los Angeles<br />

was nearly burned to the ground will<br />

take some time to be restored, too.<br />

Meanwhile, the bricks and mortar call.<br />

The intense heat of the fire twisted<br />

the steel beams installed as part of a<br />

retrofitting after the 1987 Whittier<br />

Narrows earthquake. The roof itself,<br />

made of wood, is almost completely<br />

gone, with only some bits of insulation<br />

chicken wire hanging from the few<br />

black crossbeams that didn’t fall.<br />

There has been discussion about what<br />

kind of roof will replace it, as well as<br />

the threat posed by the nearby, and potentially<br />

flammable, palm and pepper<br />

trees on the mission grounds.<br />

There is also damage from the<br />

firefight itself to contend with. When<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

firefighters hacked through the south-facing door the night<br />

of the fire, they did so strategically, using a chainsaw rather<br />

than axes to cut a tall rectangle in the wood to reach and<br />

open the door.<br />

But the water from the fire hoses left a mark: the baptistry’s<br />

tiled flooring, which sank several inches from trapped water,<br />

must be repaired, as well as the sacristy’s floor, which fell 6<br />

to 8 inches.<br />

An archaeological dig as deep as 3 feet will take place in<br />

both places, in partnership with Native American monitors<br />

(as law requires). Could Tongva remains be there? Huerta<br />

said no one knows for sure, but Tongva Indians are buried in<br />

the “camposanto” (“cemetery”) outside, though there are no<br />

records as to who they are or how many.<br />

Statues of the top three of the six saints in the “reredos,” a<br />

large altarpiece above the altar, were damaged badly. These<br />

were St. Gabriel, St. Anthony, and St. Dominic; the three<br />

that escaped injury were the Immaculate Conception, St.<br />

Francis, and St. Joachim. Murals of the four evangelists —<br />

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — in the four corners of<br />

the baptistry, need to be cleaned and possibly restored.<br />

Huerta says the long-delayed restoration needs will “piggyback”<br />

onto the reconstruction and repair to take advantage<br />

of the general shutdown of the mission. In addition to the<br />

painting, restoration work will be tackling another surprise<br />

finding after the fire: The curious layers of coral and red<br />

paint near the altar that reveal serpentine, squiggled patterns<br />

underneath.<br />

“The best example of original artwork and patterns found<br />

under a drab interior were found at Mission San Miguel,”<br />

said Mel Green, the lead structural engineer for the rehabbing<br />

of Mission San Gabriel. “There’s got to be something<br />

underneath the dull paint of the mission walls that we could<br />

find and bring out.”<br />

Huerta is going to keep as a display some of the missing<br />

plaster to show the stonework underneath. The south door<br />

that let in the firefighters can be restored.<br />

Some red glass on the doors in the back of the church near<br />

Scaffolding covering the sanctuary area of Mission San Gabriel.<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


The Twelfth Station of the Cross at Mission San Gabriel, painted by a Tongva artist.<br />

the choir loft may be changed in color. All such changes<br />

must be approved by the San Gabriel Historical Commission.<br />

Some exploratory work may be done on the north-facing<br />

wall, where there has long been speculation there was an<br />

original niche or windows covered up (or “Victorianized,”<br />

according to Short) during the secularization period. Originally<br />

with domes, it then went to a flat roof, and finally was<br />

gabled in the late 19th century.<br />

The salvaged image of “La Dolorosa” after an initial<br />

cleaning by conservators.<br />

Great art, and devotion,<br />

always seemed to rise out<br />

of San Gabriel’s ruins.<br />

Traditionally, there are seven<br />

“sorrows” associated with Our Lady<br />

of Sorrows: Mary’s heart pierced at<br />

the prediction of Jesus’ fate at his<br />

presentation in the Temple; the<br />

flight into Egypt fleeing Herod;<br />

searching for a lost Jesus in Jerusalem;<br />

meeting him on the road<br />

to Calvary; standing at the cross;<br />

receiving Christ’s body; and finally,<br />

the burial of her Son.<br />

There was certainly sorrow during<br />

the early years of Mission San<br />

Gabriel’s inception for Our Lady<br />

of Sorrows to redeem. Besides<br />

the earthquakes and this fire, St.<br />

Junípero wrote to the Spanish<br />

viceroy at the time that “a plague of<br />

evils” had broken out in San Gabriel,<br />

desperate to turn it around.<br />

Nevertheless, on Oct. 11, 1771,<br />

when fires burned across the Los<br />

Angeles basin and it seemed as if<br />

the Tongva were preparing a major<br />

attack, two chiefs came to the mission<br />

to sue for peace, stunning Fathers<br />

Pedro Cambon and Angel Somera,<br />

who asked for a transfer due to soldier<br />

transgressions.<br />

Fathers Antonio Cruzado and Antonio<br />

Paterna, who relieved them, managed<br />

to slowly win back Indian trust, and<br />

Mission San Gabriel went on to be<br />

the richest and most productive of all<br />

the missions, with vast vineyards (the<br />

first in California were not in northern<br />

California, but in Los Angeles), <strong>16</strong>,500<br />

head of cattle, and a horse farm of<br />

1,200.<br />

By 1817, 1,700 Tongva, Serrano, and<br />

Cahuilla Indians lived and worked at<br />

Mission San Gabriel, producing large<br />

vegetable gardens that kept the entire<br />

mission chain alive, including the Indian<br />

residents and some in the villages. It<br />

is fitting that the finest works of Indian<br />

art from the mission era, the 14 Stations of the Cross, now<br />

live at Mission San Gabriel, thankfully, under lock and key.<br />

The Tongva artist painted the Roman soldiers who tortured<br />

Christ as Spanish “comandantes” (“commanders”), while<br />

Christ and Mary resemble California Indians. The Twelfth<br />

Station of the Cross is extraordinary: The bad thief on<br />

Christ’s left who looks away from the Savior is slumped on<br />

his cross, as if poorly tied with rope. But the good thief has<br />

his arms thrust exactly as Christ’s — upward — and he is<br />

nailed just as Christ. His gaze to Jesus is loving.<br />

With so much to be done and<br />

decided ahead of the mission’s jubilee<br />

celebration next year, Huerta<br />

sees last summer’s fire as a part of a<br />

bigger plan.<br />

“We want Mission San Gabriel<br />

to be a place of healing,” she said.<br />

“That we found ‘La Dolorosa’ in<br />

ashes but surviving on her own feast<br />

day, it’s encouraging! We have been<br />

on this journey at San Gabriel for<br />

a long time, first to renovate and<br />

improve the property for the jubilee<br />

celebration of 250 years, and now<br />

this tragic fire.<br />

“The end result is that it is going<br />

to look more glorious.” <br />

GREGORY ORFALEA<br />

TERRI HUERTA<br />

Gregory Orfalea is the author of<br />

10 books, including the St. Junípero<br />

Serra biography “Journey to the<br />

Sun” (Scribner, $28). He is completing<br />

a novel on Syrian refugees<br />

and baseball. Anyone with clues<br />

as to the location of the Virgin and<br />

Child painting from San Diego<br />

may contact him at gmorfalea89@<br />

gmail.com.<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 13


God’s army of<br />

HEALERS<br />

Thanks to the COVID-19<br />

pandemic, the meaning — and<br />

message — of this year’s ‘White<br />

Mass’ is clearer than ever<br />

BY TOM HOFFARTH / ANGELUS<br />

During his working hours<br />

as medical director of the<br />

Urologic Oncology Program<br />

at Cedars Sinai Hospital, Dr. Edwin<br />

Posadas keeps a small cross pinned to<br />

his coat, an indicator of his Catholic<br />

faith for patients to see.<br />

“It’s as much for them as it is a<br />

reminder to me about what’s important,”<br />

Posadas said.<br />

The importance of the healing of the<br />

spirit — not just the body — is what<br />

Catholic health care professionals<br />

like Posadas gather to celebrate at the<br />

annual Healthcare Professionals Mass<br />

every <strong>October</strong>.<br />

“To see members of your profession<br />

up at the altar with priests and bishops,<br />

honored for what they are doing<br />

in the field, people who make a difference,<br />

makes you want to follow suit,”<br />

said Posadas. “They’re putting their<br />

time and gifts out there, living their<br />

faith in a way that’s special. It inspires<br />

me to take things to another level.”<br />

And at a time when the coronavirus<br />

Dr. Edwin Posadas<br />

SCREENSHOT VIA SURVIVORNET.COM<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


Nursing students<br />

from Mount St. Mary’s<br />

University and women<br />

religious of the Sister<br />

Servants of Mary, Ministers<br />

to the Sick at the<br />

2017 White Mass.<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

envision an opportunity to expand the<br />

reach for those who have been on the<br />

receiving end of needed health care to<br />

offer thanks.<br />

Elise Frederick, executive director<br />

of Mission Doctors Association, who<br />

helped reimagine and revive the event<br />

over the last decade, said this is a<br />

poignant moment in history for those<br />

in the field.<br />

“This year especially, what could<br />

be more important than to take time<br />

to pause, breathe, and give them<br />

thanks?” said Frederick. “And if we<br />

just tried to honor one person this<br />

time, it would be inappropriate because<br />

we’re all in this together.<br />

“This has brought out the best<br />

angels. We see how they strive — not<br />

always perfectly or easily — but that<br />

doesn’t diminish how hard this all is<br />

on them.”<br />

An American Catholic tradition<br />

dating back to the late 1800s, the<br />

Healthcare Professionals Mass in<br />

Southern California had seen its<br />

attendance dwindle in the late 1990s.<br />

But the event made a comeback<br />

thanks to a renewed commitment<br />

from the Mission Doctors Association<br />

and collaboration with the archdiocesan<br />

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

an effort spearheaded by longtime Director<br />

of Health Affairs Sister Angela<br />

Hallahan. The Knights of Malta even<br />

got involved. As a result, attendance<br />

in recent years has surged again.<br />

It is typically held near the Oct. 18<br />

feast day of St. Luke the Evangelist,<br />

patron saint of physicians and surgeons.<br />

“I knew I was committed to this<br />

Mass when there was a moment I saw<br />

where everyone was standing for a<br />

blessing of the hands, and off to the<br />

side I could see this elderly surgeon<br />

who was crying and so overcome by<br />

the moment,” said Frederick, who has<br />

spent nearly 40 years with the nonprofit<br />

organization that supports the work<br />

of doctors overseas.<br />

For Frederick, the event is about<br />

recognizing medical professionals<br />

not only as workers, but as ministers,<br />

something she calls “an act of faith.”<br />

“Patients notice there is a difference<br />

when there is that kind of motivation<br />

in your practice,” she said.<br />

Posadas, a member of the Catholic<br />

Medical Association, said other oncologists<br />

in his field challenge him to put<br />

his faith in practice.<br />

“When you see them at the White<br />

Mass, you get energized, and you see<br />

you have more of a community. I’m<br />

not making a difference of one, there’s<br />

SCREENSHOT VIA SURVIVORNET.COM<br />

(COVID-19) pandemic has exposed<br />

vulnerabilities both physical and<br />

spiritual, this year’s liturgy is set to be<br />

an especially historic one.<br />

Because of COVID-19 restrictions,<br />

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

of the Angels will not be filled with<br />

a sea of white lab coats and uniforms<br />

(hence the name “White Mass”). The<br />

Mass, which will take place Friday,<br />

Oct. 25 at 3:30 p.m., presided by<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez will be<br />

livestreamed instead, with Auxiliary<br />

Bishop David O’Connell serving as<br />

the homilist.<br />

And instead of highlighting the work<br />

of one professional and one layperson<br />

as in years past, this year’s Mass<br />

will honor all health care workers:<br />

physicians, nurses, chaplains, physical<br />

therapists, mental health caregivers,<br />

chiropractors, receptionists, dietary<br />

staff, lab workers, and administrators.<br />

In such circumstances, organizers<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

Members of the Order of Malta process into the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels at the 20<strong>16</strong><br />

White Mass.<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 15


Medical pro<br />

an army out there. And as you get<br />

more experience in the health system,<br />

you support each other and are able<br />

to have more say in how the health<br />

system is practiced. The White Mass<br />

is another way to stand up and be<br />

counted.”<br />

Posadas said the coronavirus pandemic’s<br />

relentless strain on all doctors<br />

and nurses of all specialties put them<br />

in vulnerable positions when patients<br />

get into vulnerable positions, often<br />

asking if their life is worth living.<br />

“Patients want to hear you speak to<br />

them as another human being, outside<br />

the white coat,” said Posadas, a<br />

parishioner with his wife at St. Victor<br />

Church in West Hollywood, near his<br />

hospital.<br />

“They are at a very delicate point.<br />

A lot of people in the medical field<br />

put information in your head about<br />

how you should act. But I never have<br />

trouble expressing my beliefs when<br />

they ask. They are fundamental life<br />

issues. When you can do that, patients<br />

are more comforted that you believe<br />

in something bigger and you’ll follow<br />

through with them. I’ve never found<br />

it a barrier to meet eye to eye with<br />

anyone.”<br />

Even at a Jewish-affiliated hospital<br />

like Cedars Sinai, chaplains who are<br />

Catholic share the halls with ones<br />

from Protestant, Muslim, Armenian<br />

Orthodox, and Unitarian faith backgrounds.<br />

“They have a tremendous Catholic<br />

staff, and I’m grateful to God for that,”<br />

said Posadas. “They hold Mass here,<br />

and I’m never short of having a priest<br />

if someone is hurting and in need.<br />

They offer patients, and me, tremendous<br />

spiritual support.”<br />

Rebecca Freeman, a board-certified<br />

interfaith chaplain at the Miller Children’s<br />

and Women’s Hospital in Long<br />

Beach, said she is looking forward to<br />

experiencing the Mass for the first<br />

time, even if only through a screen.<br />

Chaplains like herself have felt “under<br />

siege” this year, having to internalize<br />

so much of what they experience in<br />

the halls and rooms of hospitals.<br />

“We have had a lot to process —<br />

fears and challenges and logistics with<br />

the pandemic, and the social narrative<br />

of the world now — so all that shifting<br />

and change has created a huge<br />

emotional response,” said Freeman,<br />

a graduate of the Franciscan School<br />

of Theology with a master’s degree in<br />

divinity.<br />

“With high stress and fatigue, there’s<br />

also an elevated sense of wanting to<br />

connect in a whole way with people.<br />

This is a time to revisit the connection<br />

of the mind, body, and spirit with<br />

our health. It’s important for these<br />

events to happen and see people have<br />

a beautiful conversation around the<br />

self-care of the providers.”<br />

Younger participants have also played<br />

an important role in the rebirth of<br />

this Mass. High school choirs have<br />

been invited to sing in recent years,<br />

and a connection with the Mt. St.<br />

Mary’s Nursing School has also been<br />

established, as well as students from<br />

Providence High School in Burbank,<br />

the Catholic prep school founded by<br />

the Sisters of Providence.<br />

Sister Nancy Jurecki, OP, chief<br />

mission integration officer for the<br />

Southern California region of the<br />

Providence Hospital System, said the<br />

Mass helps meet a need to keep future<br />

generations engaged.<br />

“We have so many more young<br />

people on the horizon, getting them<br />

ready to enter the medical profession,”<br />

said Sister Jurecki.<br />

Last April, as COVID-19 numbers<br />

<strong>16</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


Medical professionals pray during the 2017 White Mass.<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

rose, Sister Jurecki shared a video<br />

message on the Providence Institute<br />

for Human Caring website from<br />

Archbishop Gomez, who offered a<br />

word of encouragement for health<br />

care workers: “Trust in Jesus. He is<br />

with you always. Turn to him. Ask<br />

his protection and guidance. He will<br />

never, ever leave you.”<br />

The simplicity of the statement still<br />

resonates with her today.<br />

“I love how the archbishop has been<br />

such a wonderful supporter of health<br />

care, going back to when his father<br />

was a doctor in Mexico,” said Sister<br />

Jurecki.<br />

“He has a real commitment to medical<br />

people in general and is always<br />

open to support those on the front<br />

lines. It makes me so proud of the<br />

commitment of the archdiocese. They<br />

show they really care, and that we are<br />

a ministry of the Church in a very real<br />

sense.” <br />

For more information on the livestream<br />

broadcast of this year’s White<br />

Mass, visit LACatholics.org.<br />

Tom Hoffarth is an award-winning<br />

journalist based in Los Angeles.<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 17<br />

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0310<strong>2020</strong>_LayMissionHelpers_RoseGalaVirtualAuction_<strong>Angelus</strong>_1-3pgHoriz.indd 1<br />

10/12/20 12:17 PM


SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

In sickness<br />

and in health<br />

SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

The plights and joys of Catholic wedding<br />

planning during a global pandemic<br />

BY SOPHIA MARTINSON / ANGELUS<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

The Sept. 12 wedding uniting Krystal Gil and Jack<br />

Scanlon in the Spanish courtyard of St. Mary Magdalen<br />

Church in Camarillo was not what either had in<br />

mind the day they got engaged.<br />

Processing down the aisle, Krystal beamed like any bride<br />

on her wedding day would, except a mask concealed her<br />

smile. Those in the small, socially distanced crowd smiling<br />

back at her had face coverings on, too, an all-too-familiar<br />

scene at weddings across the county this year since coronavirus<br />

(COVID-19)-related restrictions began to be lifted for<br />

public gatherings.<br />

“I think the hardest thing was not having my grandparents<br />

there,” newlywed Krystal Scanlon told <strong>Angelus</strong>. After getting<br />

engaged in July 2019, she and her fiancé had planned to<br />

invite more than 350 guests to their wedding. The pandemic<br />

forced them to slash that list down to less than a quarter of<br />

its original size.<br />

“You envision the people that you love [being] there on<br />

your wedding day,” she continued, “so that was hard to let<br />

go of.”<br />

Countless weddings across the world were postponed,<br />

altered, or altogether canceled due to the pandemic. But for<br />

Catholic couples like the Scanlons, the wedding day is more<br />

than a well-planned family celebration — it’s a sacrament,<br />

the beginning of a bond created by God.<br />

So while risks and regulations meant letting go of the wedding<br />

they had dreamt of for months, if not years, Catholic<br />

newlyweds across the U.S. shared with <strong>Angelus</strong> how making<br />

it to the altar in the time of the coronavirus was a faith<br />

experience.<br />

Jack and Krystal Scanlon after their Sept. 12 wedding in the courtyard<br />

of St. Mary Magdelen Church in Camarillo.<br />

SUBMITTED PHOTO<br />

THE ROCKY ROAD<br />

Soon after their engagement last July, Krystal and Jack<br />

booked St. Jude the Apostle Church in Westlake Village for<br />

July 11, <strong>2020</strong>. They were still optimistic about those plans<br />

during the first virus-related closures in March, but as shelter-in-place<br />

orders dragged on, the families’ concerns grew.<br />

“There was a time when we kind of put all of the planning<br />

on hold,” Anitra Gil, mother of the bride, told <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

“And we just prayed, ‘Okay, God, your will be done. What<br />

do you want us to do?’ … We surrendered it to God.”<br />

When St. Jude closed its doors to all services, the family<br />

scrambled to find another venue in order to avoid postponing<br />

the wedding date. Keeping their hopes up, they signed<br />

up for a slot at the San Gabriel Mission Church, a historic<br />

landmark for Californians and the Gil family specifically.<br />

“My husband grew up and received all his sacraments and<br />

went to school at the San Gabriel mission,” said Anitra. “[It]<br />

has a huge place in our heart.”<br />

By then, it seemed a new plan was taking shape. That is,<br />

until, early on the morning of the scheduled wedding date,<br />

a fire erupted and left the mission in ruins.<br />

“It’s been a rocky road leading up to where we are now!”<br />

said Anitra.<br />

For Krystal, one of the biggest challenges of the tumultuous<br />

planning process was the uncertainty. “Every time we<br />

met with a vendor or a church, the constant answer we got<br />

was, ‘We don’t know,’ ” she said. “It was so difficult because I<br />

don’t think anyone had a plan.”<br />

Father Tom Elewaut is pastor of the Mission Basilica San<br />

Buenaventura in Ventura, a popular Southern California<br />

church wedding venue. He estimates roughly 1 out of every<br />

3 couples who planned to marry at the mission this year<br />

have postponed their weddings until 2021 due to the local<br />

public gathering restrictions.<br />

In counseling couples trying to decide what to do, Father<br />

Elewaut said he encouraged them to see the difficulties as<br />

an important part of marriage prep.<br />

“They will face many challenges in their married lives,<br />

and this pandemic could possibly strengthen their bond to<br />

each other,” Father Elewaut said. “All things are possible<br />

with God.”<br />

In other states, engaged couples facing the same dilemma<br />

discerned a variety of paths forward. Between March and<br />

April in Naples, Florida, Kathryn Ruffolo and Philip Allen<br />

decided to postpone their reception, even before authorities<br />

had imposed limits on social gatherings.<br />

“We were more concerned about the health and safety of<br />

people,” the now Kathryn Allen told <strong>Angelus</strong>. “We knew<br />

people would come if we asked them to, but we didn’t really<br />

want to put anyone in that position.”<br />

At the time, the couple hoped to keep their April 18<br />

wedding date so that they could still get married in a small<br />

ceremony. But the week before, they learned that their<br />

church could no longer host them, and it was back to the<br />

drawing board.<br />

“We postponed [both the ceremony and reception] indefinitely<br />

at that point to <strong>October</strong>,” said Kathryn, “which we<br />

hated.”<br />

More than 900 miles north in Roanoke, Virginia, another<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 19


Philip and Kathryn<br />

Allen of Naples,<br />

Florida, called<br />

their delayed<br />

wedding a “blessing<br />

in disguise.”<br />

April 18 wedding was able to take place as scheduled, but<br />

not as planned. At Our Lady of Nazareth Church, Laura<br />

Williams and Michael Kotchish married in the presence of<br />

just eight other people.<br />

“At the end of the day, the most important thing is that we<br />

want to get married,” the new Mrs. Kotchish told <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

“Even if we could just have two witnesses, we still wanted to<br />

go ahead with it, because that was our main focus.”<br />

While the restrictions at the time limited the religious service<br />

to 10, they would have allowed the Kotchishes to have<br />

a reception with up to 50 people. But like the Allens, they<br />

decided against it out of concern for the health and safety of<br />

their family members.<br />

Laura said the hardest part was communicating their decision<br />

to guests.<br />

“Sending out that email to our guests, although it was hard,<br />

and it was a little disappointing, we were definitely given the<br />

graces to get through it.”<br />

Looking beyond her own situation helped Laura stay<br />

positive. “Everybody’s getting impacted by COVID … and<br />

the last thing that I want to do is just say, ‘Poor me,’ ” she<br />

SUBMITTED PHOTO<br />

said. “But honestly, that [attitude I had] really comes down<br />

to everybody’s prayers and the graces.”<br />

BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE<br />

Disappointed at the prospect of waiting at least six more<br />

months before getting married, Kathryn and Philip tried<br />

to resume their daily routines. But one day in mid-May, an<br />

opportunity arose.<br />

“I think it was a week before [May <strong>23</strong>],” said Kathryn, “[my<br />

mom] saw that the churches were opening back up. She<br />

asked us, ‘Do you guys want to do this?’ And we said, ‘Yes,<br />

absolutely! We wanted to do this a month ago!’ And so we<br />

kind of whirlwind planned … just our intimate ceremony<br />

that week and got married, which we actually think was a<br />

blessing in disguise.”<br />

While only their immediate families could attend the wedding<br />

at St. William Church, Kathryn has no regrets. “It was<br />

such a perfect day,” she recalled. “If it were a normal scenario,<br />

I would have loved our wedding, and it would have been<br />

perfect the way it was. But we got to spend an entire day<br />

with our sisters and brothers and family and actually have<br />

conversations with the 15 people that were there. It was so<br />

intimate and wonderful. I wouldn’t change it if I could.”<br />

Laura also found the intimacy of the wedding, as well as<br />

the casual nature of their small backyard celebration, an<br />

unexpected joy.<br />

“We kind of laugh about it and say that it gave us the<br />

opportunity to get out of our ‘monkey suits’ — you know,<br />

[Michael had] a suit on, which is so uncomfortable for guys,<br />

and my dress was so heavy!” she laughed. “So having the<br />

ability to do that and be so comfortable and just feel like<br />

ourselves, that was incredible.”<br />

After pursuing and scrapping several potential plans, the<br />

Gils and Scanlons finally secured a venue for Krystal and<br />

Jack’s wedding at St. Mary Magdalen’s. Although the original<br />

July 11 wedding date turned into a much later Sept. 12<br />

ceremony, Krystal says the stress of the past several months<br />

seemed to melt away as she processed down the aisle.<br />

“COVID wasn’t even on my mind on that day,” she said.<br />

“All I felt was joy.”<br />

The Gils and Scanlons are not alone in loving their small<br />

Rather than delay their April 18<br />

wedding, Michael and Laura<br />

Kotchish of Roanoke, Virginia,<br />

decided to get married in the<br />

presence of only eight people.<br />

SUBMITTED PHOTO<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


outdoor wedding. At San Buenaventura,<br />

Father Elewaut noted, the<br />

courtyard ceremonies have proved so<br />

successful that “some [couples] are<br />

requesting this for weddings in 2021<br />

and beyond.”<br />

Although these requests will need<br />

a bishop’s approval after COVID-19<br />

subsides (the Church ordinarily requires<br />

weddings to take place within a<br />

church sanctuary), the interest suggests<br />

that the adjustments and innovations<br />

born from COVID-era weddings have<br />

proved not just tolerable but appealing.<br />

Laura now promotes small weddings<br />

among her friends. When one consulted<br />

her about whether to move forward<br />

with her own recent wedding, Laura<br />

assured her that having an intimate<br />

ceremony was “the best decision I ever<br />

made.”<br />

“The quicker you get married, the<br />

quicker you can start a family and start<br />

a future together!” she observed.<br />

A STRONG FOUNDATION<br />

Ever since they met and started<br />

dating at Franciscan University in<br />

Steubenville, Krystal recalled that she<br />

and Jack had always tried to keep their<br />

relationship “really Christ-centered.”<br />

Today, she credits that time as helping<br />

prepare them to lean on prayer<br />

throughout their wedding planning<br />

process, and for lifting the tone of their<br />

wedding day. While she found that<br />

the details came together perfectly,<br />

there was something much deeper to<br />

cherish.<br />

“[Everything that day] looked really<br />

pretty,” she said, “but I think at the<br />

heart of it, one thing that I saw through<br />

this whole experience in getting to our<br />

wedding was that we were starting on<br />

a really strong foundation because we<br />

had to overcome so much adversity.”<br />

For Laura, the simplified wedding<br />

plan brought more attention to what<br />

lies beyond the wedding day.<br />

“The reception, your dress, your<br />

bridesmaids, your groomsmen, they’re<br />

all nice to have, but they are not the<br />

be-all and the end-all,” she said. “And<br />

the question is, what are you doing to<br />

prepare for after that day? That’s the<br />

most important thing.” <br />

Sophia Martinson is a writer living in<br />

New York City.<br />

0704<strong>2020</strong>_Deacon Andrew Hedstrom.indd 1<br />

Deacon-Elect<br />

Andrew Hedstrom<br />

Your family<br />

Congratulates you,<br />

Andrew Hedstrom!<br />

May you continue<br />

to follow God’s call.<br />

1Timothy, 3:10<br />

4/28/20 12:<strong>23</strong> PM<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 21


Beginning<br />

lives of service<br />

PHOTOS BY VICTOR ALEMÁN /<br />

ANGELUS<br />

From left to right: New transitional deacons Jihoon Kim, Sergio Hidalgo, Patrick Ayala, George Perez, CJM, Cesar Guardado, Michael Masteller,<br />

Andrew Hedstrom, Francis Kim, and Matthew Miguel with Bishop Alex Aclan after the ordination Mass.<br />

Nine men were ordained transitional<br />

deacons Oct. 10 by Auxiliary Bishop Alex<br />

Aclan.<br />

Like the presbyteral and permanent deacon<br />

ordinations this summer, the liturgy was celebrated<br />

outdoors in the Cathedral Plaza of Our Lady<br />

of the Angels due to coronavirus (COVID-19)<br />

regulations.<br />

Of the nine new deacons, eight were ordained<br />

for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and one for<br />

the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (also known<br />

as the “Eudists”).<br />

In his homily, Bishop Aclan noted that the fact<br />

that the ordinations were postponed to <strong>October</strong>,<br />

the month traditionally dedicated to the Virgin<br />

Mary, is a reminder to rely on her intercession<br />

“during this very strange time” of the coronavirus<br />

pandemic.<br />

The transitional deacons will be continuing<br />

their studies at St. John’s Seminary in addition to<br />

ministering at parishes around the archdiocese in<br />

preparation for their expected ordination to the<br />

priesthood next year. <br />

The deacons-elect prostrate in prayer during the ordination liturgy.<br />

22 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


Deacon Francis Kim<br />

makes the promise of<br />

obedience during the<br />

Rite of Ordination.<br />

Bishop Aclan presents the Book of the Gospels to Deacon Andrew<br />

Hedstrom.<br />

Bishop Aclan imposes hands on Deacon Sergio Hidalgo.<br />

The new deacons gather and embrace after their ordination ceremony.<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>23</strong>


Pope Francis signs his new encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” after<br />

celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, Oct. 3.<br />

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE/VATICAN MEDIA<br />

<strong>No</strong> time to<br />

go it alone<br />

The pope’s new encyclical calls for a<br />

unified approach to healing a postpandemic<br />

world. Will the world listen?<br />

BY JOHN L. ALLEN JR. / ANGELUS<br />

ROME — Given that Pope Francis’<br />

new encyclical letter “Fratelli<br />

Tutti” is among the longest<br />

papal encyclicals ever published, with<br />

287 separate points and more than<br />

43,000 words, one temptation may be<br />

to think it’s just too complicated to be<br />

digested quickly and thus to file it away<br />

as a “rainy day” project for another<br />

time.<br />

Functionally, of course, that means<br />

never getting around to it at all; as<br />

Creedence Clearwater Revival famously<br />

put it, “Someday never comes.”<br />

“Fratelli Tutti” is undeniably complicated,<br />

addressing a diverse set of<br />

topics from the idea of a “just war” to<br />

global economics, but according to<br />

British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, at<br />

the heart of it all is a relatively simple<br />

message: “We’re all in this together.”<br />

“At a time when there’s a danger with<br />

all the threats we have, beginning with<br />

the coronavirus (COVID-19), of a<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE/VATICAN MEDIA<br />

tendency, perhaps particularly in the<br />

developed world, of saying, ‘Let’s close<br />

down. Let’s resolve our problems from<br />

within, [because] only on our own do<br />

we have the ability to do that,’ the pope<br />

is saying, ‘<strong>No</strong>, we have to approach<br />

this as a human family. We have to<br />

renew our confidence in our profound<br />

humanity,’ ” Archbishop Gallagher<br />

said Oct. 6.<br />

Gallagher ought to know what the<br />

pope has in mind: He’s the Vatican’s<br />

secretary for relations with states,<br />

equivalent to the secretary of state in<br />

the U.S., and thus he’s charged with<br />

translating Pope Francis’ broad vision<br />

into the nitty-gritty of geopolitics and<br />

diplomatic heavy lifting.<br />

Archbishop Gallagher spoke in an exclusive<br />

interview with Crux, a partner<br />

of <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

Pope Francis traveled to the Umbrian<br />

town of Assisi in central Italy Oct. 3 to<br />

sign the new encyclical on the eve of<br />

the feast of St. Francis, his namesake<br />

and Assisi’s most famous son. The title<br />

is a reference to one of St. Francis’<br />

admonitions to his new community in<br />

the 13th century, insisting that they’re<br />

to regard one another as brothers.<br />

Under the cloud of the coronavirus<br />

pandemic, the pope made the trip in a<br />

strictly private manner to avoid creating<br />

crowds and thus a risk of spreading<br />

the disease. He celebrated Mass in the<br />

small crypt of the Basilica of St. Francis<br />

that contains the saint’s remains,<br />

and then signed the new document in<br />

the presence of just a handful of Franciscan<br />

friars and Poor Clare sisters.<br />

“Fratelli Tutti” is just the third<br />

encyclical letter by Pope Francis, after<br />

“Lumen fidei” (“The Light of Faith”)<br />

in 2013, a text largely written under<br />

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and<br />

“Laudato Si’” (“Praise Be to You”) in<br />

2015, another document inspired by<br />

St. Francis and his love of creation.<br />

The new encyclical is dedicated to the<br />

theme of human fraternity, including<br />

its enhanced importance as a result<br />

of the common global threat posed<br />

by COVID-19 and its socio-economic<br />

fallout.<br />

“Fratelli Tutti” includes criticisms of<br />

populism, liberalism, and free-market<br />

capitalism, while voicing support for<br />

multilateral efforts and policies that<br />

prioritize the most vulnerable, including<br />

migrants and refugees.<br />

As an antidote to neoliberalism,<br />

Pope Francis presents the traditional<br />

Catholic notion of the universal<br />

destination of goods, which means the<br />

right to private property always carries<br />

a “social mortgage.” That’s consistent<br />

with popes since Pope Leo XIII in the<br />

late 19th century, though Pope Francis<br />

offers a novel twist by linking it to<br />

questions of national sovereignty raised<br />

by today’s immigration debates.<br />

“Seen from the standpoint not only<br />

of the legitimacy of private property<br />

and the rights of its citizens, but also<br />

of the first principle of the common<br />

destination of goods, we can then say<br />

that each country also belongs to the<br />

foreigner, inasmuch as a territory’s<br />

goods must not be denied to a needy<br />

person coming from elsewhere,” he<br />

says in paragraph 124.<br />

In a time of crisis, Archbishop<br />

Gallagher believes, Pope Francis “is<br />

trying to give a new vision, moving<br />

forward from many of the other things<br />

he’s been teaching in these years of his<br />

pontificate.”<br />

“It’s trying to say, let’s reengage, recommit,<br />

to dialogue, to reaching out to<br />

people, to seeing the true humanity of<br />

everybody at this particular time.”<br />

In effect, Archbishop Gallagher<br />

argued, “Fratelli Tutti” is Pope Francis’<br />

antidote to fear.<br />

“We have a lot of people in the world<br />

today who are very fearful for the<br />

future, who fear for the future for their<br />

children and grandchildren, fearful<br />

that what we’re about is going to bring<br />

more and more conflict to the world,<br />

and I think the pope is saying it doesn’t<br />

necessarily have to be so,” said the<br />

66-year-old archbishop, who’s held his<br />

present position since 2014 after diplomatic<br />

assignments on behalf of the<br />

pope in Australia, Guatemala, Burundi<br />

and the Council of Europe.<br />

It’s important to note that like<br />

“Laudato Si’,” “Fratelli Tutti” doesn’t<br />

begin with any indication of to whom<br />

the document is addressed such as<br />

“venerable brothers in the episcopate,”<br />

a formula used in past papal encyclicals.<br />

That’s likely because Pope Francis<br />

doesn’t want to limit the audience, and<br />

really he’s addressing it to the entire<br />

world.<br />

Archbishop Gallagher said that as part<br />

of that picture, the pope has a vision of<br />

religious believers and humanists without<br />

any particular religious convictions<br />

coming together.<br />

“Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and on the<br />

top of the [Jesuit-run] Gregorian University<br />

[in Rome] it reads “Religioni<br />

ac bonis artibus” (“Religion and good<br />

arts). That’s a humanistic concept,”<br />

Archbishop Gallagher said.<br />

“It’s bringing these two things<br />

together for the good, and ultimately,<br />

we would believe, for the salvation of<br />

humanity,” he said.<br />

Ultimately, Archbishop Gallagher<br />

said, the message of “Fratelli Tutti” lies<br />

in the imminently simple idea that this<br />

is no time to go it alone.<br />

“I think that’s what he’s trying to say:<br />

Let’s not lock ourselves away, let’s not<br />

go into our cocoons, but let us move<br />

forward on all sorts of issues, and face<br />

up to the issues, without fear,” he said.<br />

A simple message for such a complicated<br />

document, perhaps, but no<br />

easier to achieve for its simplicity. In<br />

the end, though, what happens next<br />

isn’t up to Pope Francis so much as it is<br />

to the rest of us. <br />

John L. Allen Jr. is the editor of Crux.<br />

The cover of the English edition of Pope Francis’<br />

new encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti.”<br />

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE/USCCB<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 25


My K Street epiphany<br />

As a Mexican American from the Southwest, he shrugged off racism for<br />

years, but an incident during law school changed his carefree attitude<br />

BY ANDREW RIVAS / ANGELUS<br />

K Street NW at 19th Street in Washington, D.C.<br />

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

My mother and father are<br />

first-generation Americans.<br />

Both sides of my family came<br />

to the United States from Mexico. I<br />

was born in Los Angeles, grew up in<br />

Phoenix, and have lived in California<br />

most of my adult life. This means that<br />

I’ve spent a large part of my life in<br />

places where the dominant culture is<br />

Hispanic.<br />

I grew up surrounded by a large<br />

extended family: my mother’s maiden<br />

name is Garcia, so I like to joke that I<br />

am related to about half of the people<br />

who live in the Southwest.<br />

Still, I grew up listening to stories<br />

of how my parents and grandparents<br />

were discriminated against during<br />

World War II. I myself was called a<br />

“wetback” to my face growing up, but<br />

didn’t think much of it, perhaps thanks<br />

to the strong support system of family,<br />

friends, and a familiar culture that I<br />

enjoyed.<br />

If someone made the mistake of<br />

judging me by the color of my skin, I<br />

shrugged my shoulders and considered<br />

that to be their problem, not mine.<br />

In other words, racism was never all<br />

that relevant to my life. At least that is<br />

what I believed until I moved to Washington,<br />

D.C., to attend law school.<br />

Soon after I arrived and started living<br />

on Capitol Hill, I found myself in<br />

need of a new pair of eyeglasses. I<br />

ventured down to K Street — a fairly<br />

affluent business district with lots of<br />

shops, restaurants, and some of the<br />

most powerful law firms on the planet<br />

— to see what I could find.<br />

When I walked into the eyeglass<br />

store, the first thing I noticed was a<br />

woman behind a glass counter talking<br />

to a gentleman who was looking down<br />

into the counter between them.<br />

The lady excused herself and immediately<br />

walked over to me asking, “Can<br />

<strong>26</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


I help you?”<br />

“Thank you, yes,” I replied, happy<br />

with what I perceived to be quick<br />

customer service. “I am looking for a<br />

new pair of glasses, but I’m not sure<br />

what I want.”<br />

She walked me over to a wall covered<br />

with different styles of eyeglasses and<br />

started to describe them. It was at that<br />

point that a tall black man, probably in<br />

his late 20s or early 30s, dressed professionally<br />

in a nice suit, walked inside.<br />

“Excuse me,” the lady said to me,<br />

and then she walked right over to the<br />

gentleman.<br />

I didn’t think anything of the fact<br />

that she left me on my own. I simply<br />

continued to look at the array of glasses<br />

in front of me.<br />

As the clerk approached the black<br />

man I heard her say, “Can I help you?”<br />

“<strong>No</strong>,” he answered politely. “I’m not<br />

sure what I’m looking for. I just want<br />

to look around.”<br />

“Of course,” she replied, and then<br />

she followed him closely as he walked<br />

around the shop.<br />

I could tell that the young man was<br />

uncomfortable with being shadowed.<br />

At one point I heard him say, “I really<br />

don’t need any help.”<br />

The clerk again replied, “Of course,”<br />

but remained just a few feet away from<br />

him wherever he walked.<br />

It didn’t take long for the young black<br />

man to become irate, finally saying<br />

loudly, “Oh hell, I don’t need this<br />

s**t!” before storming out of the store,<br />

slamming the door behind him.<br />

I remember initially thinking the<br />

young man had been rude. The clerk<br />

then came back to where I was standing<br />

and smiled, and said, “If you don’t<br />

watch them, they will rob you blind.”<br />

As long as I live, I will never forget<br />

my reaction to what she said.<br />

“I must have heard that wrong!” I<br />

thought. I couldn’t believe that any<br />

adult could actually utter such a racist<br />

statement, and with a smile no less.<br />

Did she really believe that because he<br />

was black, he would steal from her?<br />

For all she knew, the well-dressed man<br />

could have been a lawyer in one of<br />

those K Street firms, perhaps even one<br />

working to stop criminal behavior.<br />

“So are there any styles you like?” she<br />

asked me.<br />

I was totally confused as to what to<br />

do at that moment. Was I supposed to<br />

simply ignore what she had just said to<br />

me? How was she able to casually say<br />

something so racist and then ask me<br />

what eyeglass style I liked?<br />

That was when it hit me: I realized<br />

that the gentleman who was in the<br />

shop before me, the one still standing<br />

by the glass counter, was white, as was<br />

the clerk.<br />

It dawned on me that she had walked<br />

back to me, the Mexican, and stayed<br />

with me as I shopped. If she believed<br />

black people will “rob you blind,” did<br />

she think brown people would also<br />

steal from her?<br />

Rivas with his aunt Isabelle and cousin Monica<br />

at his graduation from the Columbus School of<br />

Law in Washington, D.C., in 1995.<br />

Looking back, I wish I could say I<br />

responded with Christian grace and an<br />

informed moral conscience, pointing<br />

out to her that it was wrong of her to<br />

treat him in such a way because of his<br />

skin color.<br />

Sadly, I froze, and after babbling a<br />

bit, I murmured, “<strong>No</strong> thank you,” and<br />

walked out of the store.<br />

I remember feeling incredibly alone<br />

in that moment. <strong>No</strong> matter where<br />

I looked, there was no sign of the<br />

support system like I had out west.<br />

<strong>No</strong>thing and no one was familiar: not<br />

a single “panaderia” (“bakery”) to comfort<br />

me with a delicious smell of “pan<br />

dulce” (“sweet bread”), not my mom,<br />

COURTESY ANDREW RIVAS<br />

dad, or extended family.<br />

I also felt incredibly ashamed. All<br />

of my life I had ignored any racism<br />

directed toward me because I had the<br />

comfort of a strong support system.<br />

But how many times did my carefree<br />

attitude cause me to ignore the racism<br />

around me directed at others?<br />

My initial response to the young<br />

black man storming out of the store<br />

was to assume he was the one being<br />

rude. Even after the clerk’s incredible<br />

comment, I wanted to believe that I<br />

had misheard what she said.<br />

How many times had I seen someone<br />

cross the street in order to avoid<br />

a black man or politely laugh when<br />

a friend told an off-color joke about<br />

Asians? Or how many times did I fail<br />

to push back when a family member<br />

said they didn’t want to go to that parish’s<br />

“wetback Mass?” Yes, Hispanics<br />

say stuff like that, too.<br />

That day in the eyeglass store was an<br />

epiphany. The shame that grew inside<br />

of me also helped me realize that I<br />

couldn’t just shrug my shoulders any<br />

longer.<br />

There are people in the world who<br />

actually judge others because of the<br />

color of their skin and treat them<br />

poorly because of it. That treatment<br />

is alienating, and causes individuals<br />

and entire communities to live in fear<br />

and anger. One need only turn on the<br />

television or open a web browser to<br />

see images of this tearing our country<br />

apart.<br />

I wish I could offer clear-cut answers<br />

as to how to eradicate racism, but I<br />

can’t. Instead, I humbly offer my story,<br />

so those individuals who, like me,<br />

never thought racism was relevant,<br />

can start to take notice of the pain and<br />

suffering it inflicts.<br />

Hopefully, more people will understand<br />

that far too many of us are<br />

focused on what makes us different,<br />

rather than embracing how much we<br />

all have in common.<br />

Let’s also pray that they happen for<br />

people like the clerk on K Street. Her<br />

days were spent helping people improve<br />

their vision: Hopefully, in time,<br />

she will see more clearly, too. <br />

Andrew Rivas is the executive secretary<br />

of the California Catholic Conference<br />

of Bishops.<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 27


INTERSECTIONS<br />

BY GREG ERLANDSON<br />

The homeless Catholic voter<br />

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE/RAPPH ALSWANG<br />

John Carr Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Jayd Henricks<br />

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE/BOB ROLLER<br />

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE/BOB ROLLER<br />

As Catholics, we should be feeling<br />

the love these days. Everyone<br />

wants our vote.<br />

There is “Catholics for Biden” and<br />

“Catholics for Trump,” and no shortage<br />

of pundits and pontificators ready<br />

at a moment’s notice to tell us who we<br />

absolutely cannot vote for, and who we<br />

must vote for.<br />

That does not include, however,<br />

the Catholic bishops, contrary to the<br />

negative stereotype of some and the<br />

fond wish of others. They say so in writing.<br />

In their quadrennial document,<br />

“Forming Consciences for Faithful<br />

Citizenship,” the bishops state this<br />

up front: “We bishops do not intend<br />

to tell Catholics for whom or against<br />

whom to vote. Our purpose is to help<br />

Catholics form their consciences in<br />

accordance with God’s truth. We recognize<br />

that the responsibility to make<br />

choices in political life rests with each<br />

individual in light of a properly formed<br />

conscience. …”<br />

The kicker, of course, is the “properly<br />

formed conscience.” That takes work.<br />

In the “Faithful Citizenship” document,<br />

they run through the issues as<br />

well as the principles, and it is their<br />

hope that we will do the same. (You<br />

can read the document yourself at<br />

usccb.org)<br />

The bishops’ worry is that many<br />

Catholics decide which party to<br />

support and then ignore (or even<br />

adopt) those parts of their platforms<br />

that are not in agreement with Church<br />

teaching.<br />

For those who take the Church’s<br />

social and moral teachings seriously<br />

— all of them — the current standoff<br />

between the two major parties leaves<br />

them standing out in the cold.<br />

“For years, I have said that I often feel<br />

politically homeless as a pro-life, social<br />

justice, consistent-ethic Catholic,”<br />

says John Carr. The former director<br />

of the Department of Justice, Peace<br />

and Human Development in the<br />

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops<br />

(USCCB), Carr wrote an essay in<br />

America magazine recently looking at<br />

the election choices through the prism<br />

of “Faithful Citizenship” giving a qualified<br />

endorsement of Joe Biden.<br />

Writing in rebuttal, Jayd Henricks,<br />

the former executive director of<br />

government relations at the USCCB,<br />

forcefully rejected Carr’s conclusion,<br />

but shares his alienation. “John Carr<br />

and I agree on much: Catholics are politically<br />

homeless. … Catholics should<br />

not be driven by partisanship.”<br />

And Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the bishop<br />

of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana,<br />

and chair of the bishops’ doctrine<br />

committee, recently weighed in as<br />

well. “There are parts of the traditional<br />

platforms of both the Republican and<br />

Democratic parties that are in accord<br />

with Catholic social teaching,” Bishop<br />

Rhoades said in a Sept. 24 talk at Holy<br />

Cross College in Indiana.<br />

“There are also parts of each platform<br />

that are not. This creates a dilemma<br />

for many faithful Catholics. They feel<br />

politically homeless.”<br />

Bishop Rhoades looked at a wide<br />

range of issues, from abortion and<br />

the death penalty to immigration and<br />

economic inequality. He lays out the<br />

relevant Catholic teachings, making<br />

it clear that there are no easy answers<br />

when it comes to which party gets our<br />

vote.<br />

For Carr, the deciding issues in this<br />

election are racism and the character,<br />

competence, and integrity of the candidates.<br />

Choosing Biden does not mean<br />

abandoning the pro-life cause, he said:<br />

“To the contrary: A vote for Mr. Biden<br />

carries with it a duty to work with oth-<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


ers to reduce abortions and to support<br />

priorities, programs, and ministries that<br />

serve women, children, and families in<br />

need.”<br />

For Henricks, it is not just the Republican<br />

position on abortion, but also the<br />

issues of religious freedom, defense<br />

of marriage and traditional sexual<br />

norms, as well as “support for Catholic<br />

schools, not to mention enterprise<br />

zones for poor communities and a<br />

commitment to maintaining law and<br />

order.”<br />

Two Catholics steeped in the principles<br />

of “Forming Consciences for<br />

Faithful Citizenship” come to opposite<br />

conclusions. For many this is maddening,<br />

but the truth is that good Catholics<br />

can and do disagree.<br />

For Bishop Rhoades, the far greater<br />

concern is “Catholics who choose their<br />

parties over the Church.”<br />

“Catholics who are more Democrat<br />

than they are Catholic and Catholics<br />

who are more Republican than they<br />

are Catholic have brought about a<br />

disunity that hinders our evangelizing<br />

mission.”<br />

This disunity is a lost opportunity to<br />

evangelize society with a consistent<br />

commitment to the Church’s moral<br />

and social teaching, he said. “If one is a<br />

Democrat, one should reject and work<br />

to repeal parts of the party platform that<br />

are inimical to the truths of our faith.<br />

The same is true if one is Republican.”<br />

“I believe that every faithful Catholic<br />

today feels a certain political homelessness,”<br />

Bishop Rhoades said. In some<br />

ways, we could call this the Rhoades<br />

test. To the extent that we who are<br />

Catholic voters do not feel homeless,<br />

we may not yet have the well-formed<br />

conscience the Church expects of us.<br />

I think Carr and Rhoades would both<br />

agree with Henricks’ conclusion, and<br />

he poses a challenge for all of us: We<br />

“must vote according to a well-formed<br />

conscience, but that will happen only<br />

by putting ourselves in the hands of<br />

our loving Father through prayer, fasting,<br />

and service. All three are needed,<br />

otherwise we will fool ourselves into<br />

believing our vote is what makes us<br />

faithful Catholics.” <br />

Congratulations<br />

Deacon Matthew Miguel!<br />

Wishing the love of God<br />

continues to fill your heart<br />

and guide you through your ministry.<br />

a The Easley Family<br />

0206<strong>2020</strong>_DcnMatthewMiguel_(1)_<strong>Angelus</strong>_1-3pgHoriz.indd 1<br />

CONGRATULATIONS,<br />

Deacon Matthew Miguel<br />

We wish you many<br />

blessings and pray<br />

God will give you<br />

guidance, wisdom,<br />

and knowledge<br />

as you continue<br />

this journey.<br />

a<br />

6/3/20 1:39 PM<br />

Greg Erlandson is president and editor-in-chief<br />

of Catholic <strong>News</strong> Service.<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 29<br />

Love, Mom & Dad<br />

0206<strong>2020</strong>_DcnMatthewMiguel_(2b)_<strong>Angelus</strong>_1-3pgHoriz.indd 1<br />

6/3/20 1:45 PM


INSIDE<br />

THE PAGES<br />

By KRIS MCGREGOR<br />

A crisis of saints<br />

How remembering our past<br />

and the roots of our faith<br />

can pull us out of despair<br />

A woman kneels in prayer in front of<br />

guards wearing personal protective<br />

equipment outside the Monastery of<br />

the Nazarenes in Lima, Peru, Oct. 7,<br />

as churches continue to be closed<br />

during the COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE/SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA, REUTERS<br />

Timing is everything, and for<br />

Father George Rutler, author<br />

of “Calm in Chaos: Catholic<br />

Wisdom for Anxious Times” (Ignatius<br />

Press, $14), the timing of the Church’s<br />

most recent struggles is part of a pattern<br />

of crisis and resolution throughout our<br />

history.<br />

“One doesn’t have to be a prophet to<br />

say that there will be anxious times,”<br />

says Father George Rutler. “That’s<br />

been the case since our first ancestors<br />

dropped the ball in the Garden of<br />

Eden.”<br />

But the times we’re living in now have<br />

incited panic and a widespread fleeing<br />

from the faith for many Catholics, and<br />

those who are left to pick up the pieces<br />

are struggling to resolve their feelings<br />

about the Church’s most current crisis<br />

with the faith they have long cherished.<br />

In his book, Father Rutler offers some<br />

guidance on staying hopeful.<br />

Kris McGregor: In your book, you<br />

say, here’s the present situation, but<br />

don’t let it rob you of your hope. How<br />

important is hope?<br />

Father George Rutler: There’s a<br />

difference between optimism and<br />

hope. Optimism is wishing things will<br />

get better, which they may or may not.<br />

But hope is trusting that God has an<br />

agenda that only he knows, and he<br />

works his purposes out. It’s up to us<br />

to cooperate with that agenda or not<br />

— we have free will. But sometimes<br />

in the darkest hour of civilization, he<br />

becomes even clearer.<br />

I think the Church, and society<br />

in general, is going through a mas-<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


sive purge. What’s going on now, as<br />

unpleasant as it is, is like extracting a<br />

tooth. Once it’s out, you feel better.<br />

We’re dealing with a spiritual cancer.<br />

Many Church leaders have failed in<br />

so many ways — we all have. So Our<br />

Lord is dramatically intervening and<br />

taking out this cancer, and that’s why<br />

I’m hopeful.<br />

McGregor: So many people say<br />

they’re losing faith in the Church. Are<br />

they really losing faith in the Church,<br />

or are they just lacking confidence?<br />

Father Rutler: People who say they’re<br />

losing their faith are just losing what<br />

they mistakenly thought was faith.<br />

Faith is a gift from God, and God<br />

doesn’t give us something and then<br />

grab it away. We don’t lose faith — we<br />

throw it away.<br />

In the American Revolution, Thomas<br />

Paine wrote that powerful pamphlet,<br />

“Common Sense,” rallying people to<br />

be brave in a crisis.<br />

He wrote, “These are the times that<br />

try men’s souls.” This is not the time<br />

for the summer soldier or the sunshine<br />

patriot. The summer soldier enlists<br />

because he likes to wear the uniform.<br />

The sunshine patriot is the one who’s<br />

loyal in good times, but doesn’t want<br />

to get involved in a challenge to the<br />

country.<br />

And Our Lord is reminding us that<br />

we’re baptized to be soldiers of Christ.<br />

We can’t be summer soldiers; Our<br />

Lord says we have to be soldiers in<br />

good times and in bad.<br />

McGregor: What role does “cultural<br />

Catholicism” play in this crisis?<br />

Father Rutler: We have a lot of<br />

cultural Catholicism — weddings,<br />

baptisms. For a lot of people, unfortunately,<br />

these are cultural ceremonies<br />

to get the family together. I’m at a lot<br />

of weddings, and at one, we had a<br />

wedding planner. We had a big icon<br />

of Christ over the altar, and he said,<br />

“When the bride comes in, could you<br />

dim Jesus a little?”<br />

What’s going on here? What do we<br />

think matrimony is?<br />

It’s at the end of the spectrum, too,<br />

in the funeral. When people turn a<br />

funeral Mass into some kind of sentimental<br />

gathering where people make<br />

speeches about how good Uncle Fred<br />

was, they’ve lost the sense of God, who<br />

gives us the faith.<br />

McGregor: A lot of people think<br />

these political times are the worst it’s<br />

ever been, but is that really true?<br />

Father Rutler: George Washington<br />

was at the point of despair when he<br />

saw what was happening to the country<br />

he’d fought to create. Their newspapers<br />

were as vicious as what we have now.<br />

We have to remember that St. Joan<br />

of Arc was about the age of a college<br />

freshman when she led an army and<br />

saved France. Alexander Hamilton was<br />

21 when he was a lieutenant colonel<br />

fighting in the Revolutionary War. In<br />

the Second World War, the average<br />

age of a bomber pilot was about that<br />

of a college sophomore. <strong>No</strong>ne of them<br />

ran into safe spaces.<br />

What we need now in the Church<br />

are people with vision and purpose.<br />

The weakness and confusion is ripe<br />

from the very top. But just as you have<br />

heroes of each generation face the crisis<br />

of the time, we just pray that these<br />

people will rise up. It’s a crisis of saints.<br />

Our Lord has been raised from the<br />

dead. He says, “Be of good cheer. I<br />

have overcome the world.” It’s the devil<br />

who doesn’t want us to know that. So<br />

these are the times that Our Lord says<br />

to us, “Will you also go away?” Our<br />

response has to be the same as that of<br />

St. Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go?<br />

You have the words of eternal life.” <br />

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

an online resource<br />

for the best in contemporary Catholic<br />

spirituality.<br />

What Legacy will YOU<br />

leave?<br />

It’s easy to include a gift<br />

for your favorite<br />

Parish, School or Ministry<br />

in your will or trust.<br />

Father George Rutler in 2018.<br />

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE/GREGORY A. SHEMITZ<br />

To leave a lasting legacy,<br />

contact us today.<br />

Kimberly Jetton<br />

Director of Planned Giving<br />

(213) 637-7504<br />

KJetton@la-archdiocese.org<br />

www.ADLALegacy.org<br />

<strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong> • ANGELUS • 31


THE CRUX<br />

BY HEATHER KING<br />

The soul speaks at Lotusland<br />

A lone Lotus flower blooming in the Japanese Garden of Lotusland in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, California.<br />

SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

Madame Ganna Walska (1887-<br />

1984) was the type of Southern<br />

Californian eccentric<br />

over whom people from back East love<br />

to roll their eyes, muttering, “Land of<br />

the fruits and the nuts.”<br />

Born Hanna Puacz in Brest-Litovsk,<br />

Poland, she was an opera singer who<br />

was married six times. She resided in<br />

New York and Paris, toured Europe<br />

and America, and eventually became<br />

attracted to California.<br />

She eloped as a teenager with her<br />

first husband, a Russian count. Her<br />

fourth, known at the time as “the richest<br />

bachelor in the world,” proposed<br />

the day they met. Walska became<br />

interested in séances, Ouija boards,<br />

and spiritualism. Her sixth husband,<br />

20 years her junior, was a yoga guru.<br />

Done with disastrous unions, she<br />

purchased a 37-acre Montecito<br />

property in 1941 and spent the next 43<br />

years creating the garden — routinely<br />

named one of the Top 10 in the world<br />

— now known as Lotusland.<br />

And the creative energy poured into<br />

this wondrous space establishes her<br />

as an artist and a human being of the<br />

highest order.<br />

Reserve in advance and be prepared<br />

to cough up 50 bucks. The day I visited,<br />

the wrought-iron gates of the estate<br />

swung open, I checked in at the pale<br />

pink welcome kiosk, and the magic<br />

began.<br />

Stone fountains gurgled soothingly<br />

with water; luscious vintage glazed tile<br />

whispered of Morocco, Mexico, and<br />

Italy. Pergolas dripped with lemons,<br />

pomegranate trees were hung with lustrous<br />

fruit. Two hours — the length of<br />

the allowed visit — was hardly enough<br />

to take it all in: salmon-colored water<br />

lilies, rough-cut chunks of translucent<br />

sea-green glass, giant agaves.<br />

A pearl-pink Lotusland begonia,<br />

backlit by a stab of sunlight, glowed<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>October</strong> <strong>16</strong>-<strong>23</strong>, <strong>2020</strong>


SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

in the shade of the Fern Garden.<br />

Dinosaurs might have ambled through<br />

the collection of cycads: tropical plants<br />

that have existed for approximately<br />

300 million years. Walska is said in<br />

the 1970s to have sold off some of her<br />

jewelry to purchase the 450 costly<br />

specimens, her final addition to the<br />

garden.<br />

It was in the Insectary Garden, as I<br />

bent close to a stand of blue-flowering<br />

sage, that a tanned, trim figure in a<br />

tool belt appeared by my side. “Do<br />

you know how many kinds of bees we<br />

have in Lotusland?” he asked, in the<br />

friendliest possible way. I couldn’t say<br />

as I did: 110. “Do you know how many<br />

we have in California?” <strong>No</strong>pe: 2,000,<br />

give or take. “How about in <strong>No</strong>rth<br />

America?” Sorry, drawing a blank<br />

there, too: 4,400!<br />

He pointed out a native bee that was<br />

to my untrained eye not much bigger<br />

than a mosquito; a clump of orange<br />

poppies, still blooming though in<br />

Southern California we tend to associate<br />

poppies exclusively with spring;<br />

and a stand of golden coreopsis.<br />

This, it turned out, was Corey Welles,<br />

Lotusland’s plant health care lead.<br />

When he started 30 years ago he used<br />

fertilizers and insecticides, but in the<br />

decades since has been figuring out<br />

how to heal the soil by “partnering<br />

with the environment instead of<br />

fighting it.”<br />

We stepped through a hedge and<br />

next thing I knew I was in a land of<br />

giant pumpkins and towering sunflowers,<br />

and Welles was talking faster<br />

and imparting more information than<br />

my mind could readily take in. The<br />

pumpkins are fed kelp and compost.<br />

That tree with the ivory-pink blooms<br />

was a peach. That hole near my feet?<br />

A vole lived down there, or did.<br />

A vole is a rodent with silky fur like<br />

a mink that can regrettably damage<br />

plants. An unfortunate incident<br />

involving a garter snake ensued — I<br />

opted not to view the photo, or maybe<br />

it was a video, on Welles’ phone. “We<br />

have to let ourselves learn about these<br />

things!” he enthused. “Right,” I replied<br />

weakly. “The circle of life.”<br />

“Did I just dream that?” I thought,<br />

as Welles gallantly deposited me back<br />

in the main garden. But Lotusland is<br />

like that.<br />

Around every corner is a surprise, a<br />

winding path, a new vista, a gasp-inducing,<br />

sui generis collection of antique<br />

stone figures called “grotesques”<br />

from Walska’s estate in Gallius, France<br />

(the Theater Garden), or plants exclusively<br />

in the blue-gray color range<br />

(the Blue Garden), or bromeliads, or<br />

palms, or dracaenas.<br />

Everywhere are unique personal<br />

touches: the three bronze cranes in<br />

the Japanese Garden, a narrow waterway<br />

behind Walska’s house lined with<br />

blue and white tile and surrounded by<br />

roses, a tiny stone lapdog-sized dwelling<br />

in the Insectary Garden that would<br />

have been perfect to house a statue of<br />

the Blessed Virgin.<br />

My love for San Marino’s Huntington<br />

Gardens is second to none. But<br />

it’s impossible to imagine railroad<br />

magnate Henry Huntington choosing<br />

to showcase his aloe collection, as<br />

Walska did, by installing a shallow<br />

kidney-shaped pool and converting it<br />

into a white-bottomed abalone shell<br />

pond flanked by two tiered fountains<br />

of gigantic clam shells and surrounded<br />

by coral-embedded lava rocks.<br />

“One need not be in California long<br />

before he feels his soul beginning to<br />

stir,” she observed. “The air is magnetized<br />

… the consciousness awakens …<br />

the soul must speak.”<br />

Indeed.<br />

What with her passion, creative<br />

powers, and drive, I like to think that<br />

Walska never forgot her deepest roots.<br />

She was raised a strict Catholic. <br />

Congratulations on your ordination to the Diaconate<br />

MICHAEL COONEY MASTELLER<br />

Madame Ganna Walska ,circa 1922.<br />

Heather King is an award-winning author,<br />

speaker, and workshop leader. For more,<br />

visit heather-king.com.<br />

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

“Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served,<br />

but to serve, and who came to seek out and save what was lost.” – RITES OF ORDINATION, NO. 1<strong>23</strong><br />

o<br />

May the Blessed Virgin, refuge of sinners,<br />

mediatrix of all graces and most loving mother,<br />

guide and watch over you, Michael.<br />

LOVE AND PRAYERS FROM ALL THE FAMILY<br />

0407<strong>2020</strong>_Dcn_M-Masteller_<strong>Angelus</strong>_1-2pHoriz.indd 1<br />

8/5/20 8:10 PM


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