Angelus News | June 4, 2021 | Vol. 6 No. 11

On the cover: The eight men to be ordained priests June 5 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are pictured with Archbishop José H. Gomez at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. Starting on Page 10, this year’s crop of new priests open up about how God’s call found them and the hopes they have for their ministry.

On the cover: The eight men to be ordained priests June 5 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are pictured with Archbishop José H. Gomez at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. Starting on Page 10, this year’s crop of new priests open up about how God’s call found them and the hopes they have for their ministry.


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Meet LA’s post-pandemic class of <strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 6 <strong>No</strong>. <strong>11</strong>


<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 6 • <strong>No</strong>. <strong>11</strong><br />

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The eight men to be ordained priests <strong>June</strong> 5 for<br />

the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are pictured with<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez at St. John’s Seminary<br />

in Camarillo. Starting on Page 10, this year’s crop<br />

of new priests open up about how God’s call found<br />

them and the hopes they have for their ministry.<br />



The statue of Our Lady of Fátima is carried<br />

in procession May 13 at the Marian shrine of<br />

Fátima in central Portugal. Thousands of pilgrims<br />

arrived at the shrine to attend the celebrations<br />

marking the 104th anniversary of the first<br />

apparition of Mary to three shepherd children.<br />

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Archbishop Gomez................................................................................................................ 3<br />

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

In Other Words........................................................................................................................ 7<br />

Father Rolheiser....................................................................................................................... 8<br />

Scott Hahn.............................................................................................................................. 36<br />

Events Calendar.................................................................................................................... 37<br />

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What’s new — and what isn’t — about the ‘eucharistic coherence’ debate<br />

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<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 1


Children come first<br />

The following is adapted from the Holy Father’s May 14 address at the General<br />

States of Birth online event, organized in Rome by the Forum of Family Associations<br />

to discuss the challenges posed by Italy’s low birthrate.<br />

The data say that most young<br />

people want to have children.<br />

But their dreams of life, buds<br />

of rebirth for the country, clash with<br />

a demographic winter that is still cold<br />

and dark: Only half of young people<br />

believe they will be able to have two<br />

children in their lifetime.<br />

For years Italy has thus had the lowest<br />

number of births in Europe, in what is<br />

becoming the old continent no longer<br />

because of its glorious history, but<br />

because of its advanced age.<br />

For the future to be good, we must<br />

take care of families, especially young<br />

families, who are beset by worries that<br />

risk paralyzing their life plans. I am<br />

thinking of the uncertainty of work,<br />

of the fears caused by the increasingly<br />

unaffordable costs of raising children:<br />

these are fears that can swallow up<br />

the future, quicksand that can sink a<br />

society.<br />

I also think, with sadness, of women<br />

at work who are discouraged from<br />

having children or have to hide their<br />

pregnancies. How is it possible that<br />

a woman should feel ashamed of the<br />

most beautiful gift that life can offer?<br />

<strong>No</strong>t the woman, but society should be<br />

ashamed, because a society that does<br />

not welcome life stops living. Children<br />

are the hope that gives birth to a<br />

people!<br />

Every gift is received, and life is the<br />

first gift that each one of us received.<br />

<strong>No</strong> one can give it to himself. First of<br />

all there was a gift. It is a “before” that<br />

we forget in the course of our lives,<br />

always intent on looking toward the<br />

“after,” to what we can do and have.<br />

But first of all we have received a gift<br />

and we are called to pass it on. And a<br />

child is the greatest gift for everyone<br />

and comes first. To a child, to every<br />

child, is attached this word: first. Just as<br />

a child is awaited and loved before he<br />

or she is born, so we must put children<br />

first if we are to see the light again after<br />

the long winter.<br />

We have forgotten the primacy of gift,<br />

the source code of common living.<br />

This has happened above all in the<br />

more affluent, more consumerist societies.<br />

Indeed, we see that where there<br />

are more things, there is often more<br />

indifference and less solidarity, more<br />

closure and less generosity.<br />

In the Gospel, Jesus says, “Where<br />

your treasure is, there will your heart<br />

be also” (Matthew 6: 21). Where is our<br />

treasure, the treasure of our society?<br />

In the children or in finances? What<br />

attracts us, family or income? There<br />

must be the courage to choose what<br />

comes first, because that is where the<br />

heart is bound.<br />

The courage to choose life is creative,<br />

because it does not accumulate or multiply<br />

what already exists, but opens up<br />

to novelty, to surprises: Every human<br />

life is a true novelty, which knows no<br />

before and after in history.<br />

It is good to dream, to dream well<br />

and to build the future. And without a<br />

[improved] birthrate there is no future.<br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>June</strong>: Let us pray for young<br />

people who are preparing for marriage with the support<br />

of a Christian community: May they grow in love, with<br />

generosity, faithfulness, and patience.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>



Priests of the new awakening<br />

On <strong>June</strong> 5, I will ordain eight fine<br />

men to be new priests for the<br />

family of God in the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles.<br />

This is the second class of priests<br />

ordained during the pandemic. These<br />

new priests, too, will be called to be<br />

missionaries to a generation that has<br />

seen its certainties and securities disrupted<br />

by a deadly plague.<br />

I think history will look back and see<br />

that the pandemic did not transform<br />

things so much as accelerate trends<br />

and directions already at work in the<br />

Church and society. Changes that<br />

might have taken decades to play out<br />

will advance more quickly in the wake<br />

of this disease.<br />

Before the pandemic, we were seeing<br />

demographic and other changes in<br />

the Church resulting in fewer people<br />

attending Mass and getting married<br />

in the Church, with fewer baptisms,<br />

and fewer young people receiving first<br />

Communion and confirmation.<br />

At least for a few years, the pandemic<br />

will likely intensify these trends, along<br />

with other challenges posed by the<br />

Church’s position in an aggressively<br />

secular society. That includes the trend<br />

of the “nones” — the growing numbers<br />

of young people who choose not to affiliate<br />

with the Church or any organized<br />

religion.<br />

The Church will also need to cope<br />

with the sharp decrease in the numbers<br />

of children being born. This trend, too,<br />

has been sped up by the pandemic,<br />

with some researchers now speaking of<br />

a “Covid baby bust.”<br />

The challenges we face will require<br />

us to think deeply in the coming years<br />

about our parishes and schools, about<br />

our diocesan structures and finances,<br />

and about the shape of our mission.<br />

But as I look to the future, I see only<br />

reasons for hope.<br />

One beautiful trend that was visible<br />

in the Church before the pandemic<br />

is what I call the “missionary turn”<br />

among Catholics — the growing awareness<br />

that every one of us in the Church<br />

is baptized and summoned to be saints<br />

and missionary disciples of Our Lord<br />

Jesus Christ.<br />

The vocations of our new priests flow<br />

out of this new missionary awakening<br />

in the Church. Our new priests are<br />

men formed for mission, each having<br />

heard and answered Christ’s personal<br />

call of Jesus to love him and proclaim<br />

his Gospel with their lives.<br />

Jesus Christ is still the only answer,<br />

the meaning of our lives and the One<br />

we live for. Love for God and obedience<br />

to him will always be the only way<br />

for the Church and the only path for<br />

our lives.<br />

Our new priests know this. They are<br />

committed to a deep evangelization<br />

of our culture, beginning with a new<br />

call to the baptized to intensify their<br />

devotion and faith commitments.<br />

Evangelization in these years after<br />

the pandemic must begin anew in our<br />

homes and parishes. Our new priests<br />

know that our first task is to strengthen<br />

the faithful and call them back<br />

to the Church. We need to establish<br />

everywhere little “ecosystems of faith,”<br />

new environments where the faith can<br />

find a home and be lived and nurtured,<br />

nourished and handed on.<br />

If we have eyes to see, we can see<br />

that this is already starting — quietly,<br />

among countless ordinary Catholics<br />

who are striving to be everyday saints,<br />

witnessing to God in their friendships<br />

and families and in their commitments<br />

in society.<br />

The task for the Church is to look for<br />

ways to support these beautiful movements<br />

of the Spirit already at work. We<br />

need to help young families trying to<br />

raise their children to know Jesus, especially.<br />

We need to proclaim the faith as<br />

a way of life to our young people and<br />

help everyone to know and live their<br />

faith with zeal and joy.<br />

We will need a new spirituality for this<br />

post-pandemic era. We see that, too, is<br />

These new priests will be called to be missionaries<br />

to a generation that has seen its certainties and<br />

securities disrupted by a deadly plague.<br />

already beginning. We see it in the new<br />

thirst for holiness among our people,<br />

their hunger to know the word of God,<br />

and their deepening desire for the<br />

Eucharist as the presence of the living<br />

God among us and the bread that we<br />

must live by.<br />

Out of the disaster of the coronavirus,<br />

which exposed the fragility of life and<br />

the nearness of death, will come a<br />

new awakening of the faith among our<br />

Catholic people, and a religious revival<br />

in our society. I am confident of this.<br />

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

for you. And let us pray for our new<br />

priests, the missionaries called to prepare<br />

the way for a new awakening of the<br />

faith in our hearts and in our society.<br />

And let us ask Mary, the Mother of the<br />

Church, to bring us many more vocations<br />

to the priesthood and to inspire in<br />

all of us a new desire to love God and<br />

to live only for him.<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 3

WORLD<br />

■ Belgium: Monks keep their beer safe<br />

After a decade-long legal battle, a Belgian court has sided<br />

with a group of monks in a dispute over their most precious<br />

product: Trappist beer.<br />

The Monks of <strong>No</strong>tre-Dame de Saint-Remy in Rochefort<br />

have been brewing beer since 1595 and are one of 14 abbeys<br />

that produce certified Trappist beer. But they feared a loss in<br />

quality when international mineral company Lhoist moved<br />

forward on plans to expand a nearby quarry, thus redirecting<br />

a spring that serves as the brewery’s source of water.<br />

But an 1833 deed convinced the country’s court of appeals<br />

to side with the Trappists, protecting the flavor of one of the<br />

world’s oldest beers.<br />

In 2014, the monks stated in a news story that they use their<br />

earnings from beer sales to distribute 1 million euros each<br />

year to “families in distress around the abbey, missions, and<br />

other monasteries in need.”<br />

A Trappist monk at the Rochefort abbey’s beer bottling plant. | GEORGES GOBET/AFP<br />


■ Malta president: I’d quit before legalizing abortion<br />

Malta’s doctor-turned-president made headlines around the world last month<br />

with a blunt, pro-life promise.<br />

“I will never sign a bill that involves the authorization of murder,” 79-year-old<br />

President George Vella said May 17. “I cannot stop the executive from deciding,<br />

that is up to Parliament. But I do have the liberty, if I don’t agree with a bill, to<br />

resign and go home, I have no problem doing this.”<br />

Vella’s comments came after a Maltese lawmaker introduced a bill that would<br />

decriminalize abortion in the island nation, which is more than 90% Catholic.<br />

Only one of the country’s three major political parties supports the bill.<br />

When asked about situations in which abortion could be allowed, Vella said,<br />

“You have either killed or not killed, there can be no half death. I’m very clear,<br />

there are no ifs and buts.”<br />

In search of home — Moroccan minors line up at a facility prepared for them to rest and have food, after<br />

thousands of migrants swam across the Spanish-Moroccan border in Ceuta, Spain, May 19. In a statement<br />

released May 18, the Spanish bishops’ conference expressed concern that migrants were being exploited after a<br />

sudden influx of refugees into the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla increased tensions between Spain and<br />

Morocco. | CNS/JON NAZCA, REUTERS<br />

■ How Quebec ran<br />

out of altar wine<br />

Catholics in Quebec had an altar<br />

wine issue.<br />

The state-owned monopoly on<br />

alcohol — the Société des alcools<br />

du Québec (SAQ) — never<br />

issued permits to church suppliers<br />

allowing them to import and resell<br />

the altar wine they sourced from<br />

California.<br />

For years, the suppliers had simply<br />

imported through other parts of<br />

Canada since they had no permit,<br />

but on April 9, police seized thousands<br />

of the imported bottles across<br />

Quebec.<br />

The seizure took suppliers, like<br />

Alain Denis of Betrand, Foucher,<br />

Bélanger Inc., by surprise.<br />

“Before we got to the point of a<br />

seizure, I would have liked someone<br />

to come to us and explain why<br />

the status quo — which was obviously<br />

working for everyone — was<br />

suddenly no longer appropriate,”<br />

Denis told The Catholic Reporter.<br />

The crisis appears to have been<br />

ended, however: On May 18, Quebec’s<br />

Catholic bishops announced<br />

the authorization of seven SAQ-approved<br />

wines, imported from<br />

France, Spain, and Italy, ending<br />

the wine shortage.<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

NATION<br />

■ Biden loosens vaccine patents after<br />

months of Catholic pressure<br />

When the White House announced May 5 that it would<br />

support loosening patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines<br />

developed in the U.S., it was the culmination of months of<br />

Catholic advocacy.<br />

Pope Francis has supported waiving of patent rights for<br />

vaccines since October, when India and South Africa<br />

called on the World Trade Organization to stop enforcing<br />

such patents for the duration of the pandemic.<br />

“I cannot place myself ahead of others, letting the law<br />

of the marketplace and patents take precedence over the<br />

law of love and the health of humanity,” Pope Francis said<br />

during his Christmas message last year.<br />

In the U.S., Catholic advocacy groups have been lobbying<br />

the Biden administration to enact patent waivers for<br />

vaccines, especially as COVID-19 cases in less-developed<br />

nations began to surge. Proponents hope the waivers<br />

would allow effective vaccines to be produced at a lower<br />

cost in those countries.<br />

“If the United States begins to lead this process, we<br />

believe the world will follow,” Sister Alessandra Smerilli,<br />

FMA, a member of the Vatican’s COVID-19 Commission,<br />

told Religion <strong>News</strong> Service. “We welcome this news with<br />

joy.”<br />

■ A CUA<br />

professor’s<br />

breakthrough<br />

in suicide<br />

prevention<br />

A professor at<br />

Washington, D.C.’s<br />

Catholic University<br />

of America has made<br />

a major contribution<br />

in the fight against<br />

suicide.<br />

Clinical training<br />

professor David Jobes<br />

developed a “therapeutic<br />

framework”<br />

Professor David Jobes. | CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY<br />

for suicidal patients,<br />


called the Collaborative<br />

Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS).<br />

“CAMS is patient-centric,” Jobes told Catholic <strong>News</strong><br />

Agency. “We emphasize empathy, collaboration, honesty,<br />

and a singular focus on treating and eliminating suicidal<br />

thoughts and behaviors.”<br />

A meta-analysis of CAMS used in clinical trials was performed<br />

by Idaho State University psychologist Joshua Swift<br />

and found that CAMs reduces both suicidal thoughts and<br />

overall depression in as few as six to eight sessions.<br />

Nearly 20,000 clinicians have already been trained in<br />

CAMS, and Jobes has expressed hopes to train more in an<br />

effort to decrease suicide across the world.<br />

Marching with their mother — Second-graders at St. Patrick School in<br />

Smithtown, New York, process in front of a statue of Mary as they return to their<br />

classrooms after participating in a May crowning prayer service May 17. | CNS/<br />


■ Are Catholics ready for aliens?<br />

Following a bombshell CBS “60 Minutes” news report<br />

documenting a series of U.S. military encounters with<br />

mysterious UFOs, Congress is preparing for a report from<br />

the director of national intelligence and the Pentagon on<br />

what they could mean.<br />

In the meantime, one writer says, Catholics should be<br />

thinking about what “the existence of other rational creatures<br />

in the cosmos” could mean for our faith.<br />

In a May 18 column for Religion <strong>News</strong> Service, Catholic<br />

author and ethicist Charles Camosy argued that rather<br />

than being a kind of backbreaker for religious faith, the<br />

discovery of extraterrestrial life “would likely reinvigorate<br />

theological inquiry quite dramatically, and the Church’s<br />

intellectual tradition on these questions would be brought<br />

to bear in exciting and important ways.”<br />

Camosy’s message to the Pentagon? “Bring it on.”<br />

“Let’s see what you got,” wrote Camosy. “The Catholic intellectual<br />

tradition stands ready to help humanity interpret<br />

and process the fact that we are not alone in the universe.”<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 5

LOCAL<br />

■ Is California getting more<br />

pro-life on executions?<br />

A new study suggests that support for capital punishment<br />

among Californians may be dwindling.<br />

According to a new UC Berkeley poll co-sponsored by<br />

the Los Angeles Times, 44% of respondents said they<br />

would vote to abolish the death penalty. Thirty-five<br />

percent were in favor of allowing executions to continue,<br />

and 21% were “undecided.”<br />

By comparison, a Berkeley poll two years ago found<br />

support for repealing the death penalty among Californians<br />

at 39%.<br />

While executions in the state have been paused since<br />

Gov. Gavin <strong>News</strong>om issued a moratorium in 2019, the<br />

Times reported May 20 that the findings “could help energize<br />

support to place a constitutional amendment on<br />

the 2022 statewide ballot to ban executions, a proposal<br />

under consideration in the California Legislature.”<br />

In 2018, Pope Francis modified the Catechism of the<br />

Catholic Church to declare the death penalty “inadmissible,”<br />

codifying into Church law a stance already<br />

expressed by recent popes.<br />

■ Santa Clara University<br />

president resigns<br />

The board of trustees at Santa Clara University accepted the<br />

resignation of Father Kevin O’Brien, SJ, as president following<br />

reports of inappropriate behavior.<br />

Father O’Brien had been on administrative leave since<br />

March during an investigation into alleged misconduct during<br />

“informal dinners” with graduate students where alcohol<br />

was involved. In a May 12 letter to the <strong>No</strong>rthern California<br />

school’s community, Father O’Brien said he would begin outpatient<br />

therapy for alcohol use and stress management.<br />

The 54-year-old priest and former lawyer is a family friend of<br />

President Joe Biden, and was associate pastor at Holy Trinity<br />

Church in Washington, D.C., where the Bidens regularly<br />

attend Mass. In January, he celebrated a special Mass at St.<br />

Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington on the day of his inauguration.<br />

In the statement announcing his resignation, Father O’Brien<br />

addressed students, saying, “<strong>No</strong> matter the success or positions<br />

you achieve in life, everyone needs help at times, and it is OK<br />

to ask for help when you need it, and to allow others to care<br />

for you.”<br />

■ State faces breakup<br />

with Catholic hospitals<br />

over gender<br />

Legislation being considered by the<br />

California Senate threatens to end<br />

longtime partnerships between the<br />

University of California health system<br />

and Catholic hospitals.<br />

The “Equitable and Inclusive University<br />

of California Healthcare Act,”<br />

or SB 379, would require the health<br />

system to order hospitals to allow its<br />

staff to provide all care deemed “medically<br />

necessary,” including procedures<br />

related to gender transitioning that are<br />

contrary to Church teaching.<br />

A spokesman for the state’s Catholic<br />

bishops told Catholic <strong>News</strong> Agency<br />

that the controversy is “primarily ideological”<br />

and would limit medical care<br />

for lower income Californians.<br />

“That’s always the challenge here,”<br />

said Edward Dolejsi, interim executive<br />

director of the California Catholic<br />

Conference. “Do you want to provide<br />

services and resources in a quality way<br />

for all the people of California or do<br />

you want to expand an ideology?”<br />

Blessed from the beginning — Family members and guests extend their hands to bless students graduating<br />

from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower at the school’s graduation ceremony May 22. Graduations<br />

at schools across the archdiocese last month were held outdoors but with less restrictions than last year’s,<br />

thanks to improving COVID-19 numbers. | JOHNMICHAEL FILLIPPONE<br />

Y<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>


V<br />

Thanks for the local focus<br />

I subscribe to <strong>Angelus</strong>, and have long thought it could be improved<br />

by using more local sources and authors. And now you’ve<br />

done it! Los Angeles is a home for some of the creative minds of<br />

the U.S., but previous writers have been widespread and have not<br />

reported on local issues and interests.<br />

Also, adding this “Letters to the editor” section makes us readers part of the<br />

enterprise. Keep up the good work!<br />

— Connie Rutter, Holy Trinity Church, San Pedro<br />

Some parenting needed in the homeless crisis<br />

In reading “Los Angeles fails on permanent housing” and “How to Save a<br />

City” in the May 21 issue, I find the costs and conflicts resulting from the<br />

homeless crisis astounding.<br />

Even if every person on the street were given a structure to live in, homelessness<br />

is here to stay. The discarding of human life through abortion or<br />

neglect happens daily and has become acceptable. People with a very poor<br />

attitude about life are injurious to themselves and those around them. We<br />

see this in drug addiction, sexual abuse, prostitution, and other vices. If<br />

homelessness continues to rise despite government entitlements, something<br />

is not working properly.<br />

However, it is important to note that not all people coming from broken<br />

homes end up homeless. There are some who do suffer emotional scars but<br />

are able to pursue goals in life.<br />

This begs the question: What ever happened to parenting? The best forum<br />

for education, discussion, and action is at the parish level. Discussing with<br />

and learning from parents and educators could be valuable in helping reach<br />

out effectively to those at risk in our communities.<br />

— Dolores Mandujano, Whittier<br />

Y<br />

Letters to the Editor<br />

Continue the conversation! To submit a letter to the editor, visit <strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com/Letters-To-The-Editor<br />

and use our online form or send an email to editorial@angelusnews.com. Please limit to 300 words. Letters<br />

may be edited for style, brevity, and clarity.<br />

Mother of God, and our mother<br />

LA Catholics celebrated the feast of Mary,<br />

Mother of the Church with a special<br />

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

Angels May 24. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

View more photos<br />

from this gallery at<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com/photos-videos<br />

Do you have photos or a story from your<br />

parish that you’d like to share? Please<br />

send to editorial @angelusnews.com.<br />

“It will be amazing. I’m<br />

telling you it will have a<br />

profound impact.”<br />

~ John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate,<br />

on Pope Francis’ commitment to helping the<br />

environment. Kerry met with the pope on May<br />

15, the day after giving a keynote address at a<br />

closed-door meeting of the Pontifical Academy<br />

for Sciences and the Pontifical Academy for Social<br />

Sciences.<br />

“People will just get<br />

used to being liturgical<br />

couch potatoes and<br />

watch the Mass every<br />

Sunday on video.”<br />

~ Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, on the<br />

drawbacks to technology and the challenges it<br />

poses for the Church.<br />

“Speaker Pelosi’s<br />

positive reaction to<br />

Cardinal Ladaria’s letter,<br />

then, raises hope that<br />

progress can be made in<br />

this most serious matter.”<br />

~ San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone<br />

on Nancy Pelosi’s response to a letter from Cardinal<br />

Ladaria to U.S. bishops about Communion and proabortion<br />

politicians.<br />

“People can really<br />

paint that future and<br />

see themselves in it:<br />

post-masks.”<br />

~ California Gov. Gavin <strong>News</strong>om, announcing the<br />

state’s plan to reopen after more than a year under<br />

COVID-19 restrictions.<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 7

IN EXILE<br />


Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronaldrolheiser.com.<br />

Rich kids without money — or understanding<br />

Gloria Steinem once confessed<br />

that, while never having been<br />

overweight, she has always been<br />

concerned about her weight because<br />

the genes she inherited from her parents<br />

predisposed her in that direction.<br />

So, she says, “I think of myself as a fat<br />

woman who is slim at the moment.”<br />

Her comment helped me to understand<br />

something I misunderstood years<br />

before in a classroom.<br />

Early on in my seminary studies, taking<br />

a course on the sociology of poverty,<br />

I was struggling to accept our professor’s<br />

explanation as to why poverty isn’t<br />

always the consequence of personal<br />

failure, but is often the product of unchosen<br />

circumstances, accidents, and<br />

misfortune.<br />

Many of us in the class weren’t buying<br />

it, and this was our logic: Most of us<br />

had come from very humble economic<br />

backgrounds and believed that we<br />

had pulled ourselves up by our own<br />

bootstraps. Why couldn’t everyone else<br />

do the same?<br />

So we protested: We grew up poor.<br />

We didn’t have any money. We didn’t<br />

get free school lunches. We had to<br />

work to pay for our clothes and books.<br />

Our parents never took any handouts.<br />

<strong>No</strong>body helped them — they took care<br />

of themselves. So have we, their kids.<br />

We resent those who are getting things<br />

for nothing. <strong>No</strong>thing came to us free!<br />

We’ve earned what we have.<br />

Our professor answered by telling us<br />

that this is precisely why we needed a<br />

course on the sociology of poverty. He<br />

wasn’t buying the notion that we had<br />

grown up poor and had earned things<br />

by our own hard work. Then, this surprising<br />

phrase: “<strong>No</strong>ne of you were poor<br />

as kids; you were rich kids who grew<br />

up without money; and where you are<br />

today isn’t just the result of your own<br />

hard work, it’s also the result of a lot of<br />

good fortune.”<br />

It took me years (and Gloria Steinem’s<br />

comment) to understand he was right. I<br />

was a rich kid who grew up in a family<br />

without money. Moreover, so much of<br />

what I naively believed that I’d earned<br />

by my own hard work was in fact very<br />

much the product of good fortune.<br />

I doubt our society understands that.<br />

A number of popular clichés have us<br />

believe that one’s background should<br />

never be an excuse for not being a<br />

success in this world, that success is<br />

open equally to everyone. We have all<br />

inhaled the clichés: “Any poor kid can<br />

grow up to be president of this country!”<br />

“Any poor kid can go to Harvard!”<br />

“Anybody industrious can make a<br />

success of his or her life!” “There’s<br />

no excuse for any healthy person not<br />

having a job!”<br />

Is this true? Partially, yes; kids from<br />

poor economic backgrounds have<br />

become president, thousands of poor<br />

kids have found entrance into the best<br />

universities, countless kids who grew<br />

up poor have been highly successful in<br />

life, and people who are motivated and<br />

not lazy generally do make a success of<br />

their lives. However, that’s far from the<br />

whole story.<br />

What really makes for the separation<br />

of rich and poor in our world? Is everyone<br />

really on equal footing? Is it really<br />

virtue that makes for success and lack of<br />

it that makes for failure?<br />

In a best-selling book, “Elderhood:<br />

Redefining Aging, Transforming<br />

Medicine, Reimaging Life” (Bloomsbury<br />

Publishing, $30), Louise Aronson<br />

makes this comment about her mother<br />

and Queen Elizabeth, both who aged<br />

wonderfully and gracefully: “They<br />

both were born into privilege: white,<br />

citizens of developed countries, wealthy<br />

and educated. Both were gifted with<br />

great genetic DNA, and both had the<br />

good fortune of not ever having been<br />

assaulted, abused, felled by cancer, or<br />

in a debilitating car accident. … These<br />

advantages are not a matter of character.<br />

Indeed, willpower and capacity for<br />

wise decisions are often by-products of<br />

fortunate lives.” (Emphasis mine.)<br />

Success isn’t predicated only on personal<br />

character, hard work, and dedication.<br />

Neither is failure necessarily the<br />

result of weakness, laziness, and lack<br />

of effort. We aren’t all born equal, set<br />

equally into the same starting blocks,<br />

have equally gifted or abusive childhoods,<br />

are allotted equally the same<br />

opportunities for education and growth,<br />

and then are parceled out equally the<br />

same measure of accidents, illness, and<br />

tragedy in life.<br />

However, it’s because we naively<br />

believe that fortune is allotted equally<br />

to all that we glibly (and cruelly)<br />

divide people into winners and losers,<br />

judge harshly those we deem losers,<br />

blame them for their misfortunes, and<br />

congratulate ourselves on what we have<br />

achieved, as if all the credit for our success<br />

can be attributed to our own virtue.<br />

Conversely, we see those who are poor<br />

as having only themselves to blame.<br />

Why can’t they pull themselves up by<br />

their bootstraps? We did!<br />

But … some of us have genes that<br />

predispose us to become fat, some of<br />

us are rich kids who grow up without<br />

money, and willpower and capacity for<br />

wise decisions are often the products of<br />

a fortunate life rather than a matter of<br />

character. Recognizing that can make<br />

us less cruel in our judgments and far<br />

less smug in our own successes.<br />

8 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>



& LOVED ONES . . .<br />


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A FATHER<br />


Why the pope is telling us to ‘go to Joseph’ this year<br />

March 26, <strong>2021</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 6 <strong>No</strong>. 6<br />


Our Easter opportunity in <strong>2021</strong><br />

April 9, <strong>2021</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 6 <strong>No</strong>. 7


SERVE<br />

What<br />

does it take to become<br />

a priest? For the class of<br />

<strong>2021</strong>, the most important<br />

part was learning to listen<br />


On <strong>June</strong> 5, at 9 a.m. at the<br />

Cathedral of Our Lady of<br />

the Angels, eight men will be<br />

ordained priests for the Archdiocese of<br />

Los Angeles.<br />

Unlike last year’s diaconate and priest<br />

ordinations, which were held outdoors<br />

with tight attendance restrictions due to<br />

COVID-19 measures, this year’s ordination<br />

Mass will again be held indoors.<br />

Each of the new priests is allowed<br />

to invite 60 ticketed guests — not as<br />

much as the usual 200, but still a big<br />

improvement over last year. The new<br />

priests will begin their first assignments<br />

as parish life gradually resumes around<br />

the archdiocese.<br />

For this special issue of <strong>Angelus</strong>, we<br />

heard from each of the eight new priests<br />

about where God called them from and<br />

what their vocations mean to them.<br />

Capacity for the ordination is limited<br />

due to COVID-19 protocols and attendance<br />

is ticket-only. To attend the ordination<br />

Mass virtually, visit LACatholics.<br />

org/ordination.<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong><br />

The new priest class of <strong>2021</strong> together on their last day together at St. John’s Seminary, May 17. | VICTOR ALEMÁN

Patrick Ayala<br />

Age: 28<br />

Hometown: Santa Clarita<br />

Home parish: Our Lady of Peace,<br />

Santa Clarita<br />

Parish assignment: Santa Clara,<br />

Oxnard<br />

Like many others about to take<br />

this step, Patrick Ayala has a lot<br />

of people to thank for getting<br />

him to this point, especially his mother<br />

and father, who “raised me in the<br />

faith.”<br />

But, like so many, he’s also thankful<br />

for those people who appeared, seemingly<br />

at random, during a critical moment<br />

in their lives. In Ayala’s case, that<br />

person came in the saving presence<br />

of Sister Sarah Goggin, SSMO, who<br />

helped deliver that faith back to him.<br />

Ayala first thought seriously about<br />

the priesthood when he was just in the<br />

fourth grade at St. Ferdinand School<br />

in San Fernando.<br />

priests visited the school to engage<br />

kids in community services like<br />

preparing food for those in need. “I<br />

looked at that and said, ‘I would love<br />

to do this for the rest of my life.’ ”<br />

But childhood can be a trying, sometimes<br />

brutal time in a person’s life. It<br />

was for Ayala, who experienced bullying,<br />

who had come to believe that he<br />

“didn’t have any hope or chance or<br />

any friends.” Things were so desperate<br />

that it caused him to first question<br />

his faith and then to stop practicing<br />

altogether.<br />

It was at this point that Sister Sarah<br />

appeared, ostensibly as his social justice<br />

religion teacher, but in actuality,<br />

Deacon Ayala making his profession of faith and oath of<br />

freedom before priestly ordination.<br />

Ayala with his father, Patricio, and Sister Sarah Goggin, SSMO.<br />

“I remember my fourth-grade teacher<br />

teaching us how to pray in class, meditating,<br />

and taking time after lunch<br />

to close our eyes and do a little bit of<br />

contemplative prayer,” he said. “With<br />

my mom raising me in the faith every<br />

night, teaching me to say the Our<br />

Father, I started to hear the call.”<br />

The call grew stronger whenever<br />

as someone who would remind him of<br />

his great worth to God and others.<br />

“She saw a child that was seen<br />

as nothing, that I was not going to<br />

amount to anything,” Ayala said. “She<br />

saw something special in me. From<br />

that first day I encountered her, she<br />

helped build me up, she brought<br />

me back into the faith, she had me<br />

confirmed. She introduced prayer,<br />

reintroduced service and that tug was<br />

still there. I have enormous gratitude<br />

toward this sister who helped me and<br />

who gave this kid who was told he was<br />

never going to amount to anything<br />

confidence and strength.”<br />

And now, at what is no doubt a critical<br />

moment in so many people’s lives,<br />

he wants to be there as Sister Sarah<br />

was for him.<br />

“A lot of churches are struggling right<br />

now. Schools are struggling, and families<br />

are struggling. But as this crisis,<br />

God willing, passes soon, we want to<br />

be there to help rebuild, to help invite<br />

people to come back to the Church<br />

and to continue those efforts that a lot<br />

of priests have been doing during this<br />

time, to bring that hope, to remind<br />

them that, yes, things happen in life,<br />

but Christ is eternal, and he will<br />

continue to remain here, regardless<br />

of the circumstances and situations. I<br />

want to bring that message of hope to<br />

them.”<br />

ÁN<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>11</strong>

Cesar Guardado<br />

Age: 28<br />

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska<br />

Home parish: St. Didacus, Sylmar<br />

Parish assignment: St. Emydius, Lynwood<br />

It was as he was about to graduate<br />

from high school that Cesar Guardado<br />

first heard the voice asking<br />

if he had ever considered the priesthood.<br />

Like so many, he balked at the<br />

thought, but not for the typical reason<br />

of having made plans of his own. <strong>No</strong>,<br />

he said he simply didn’t feel “worthy<br />

of that.”<br />

Growing up in El Salvador, he lived<br />

among those who bore the scars and<br />

trauma of that country’s bloody civil<br />

war. His mother and father, who had<br />

spent most of their childhoods in<br />

Honduran refugee camps, told him<br />

of Jesuits who were always there for<br />

them, “shepherds to the heart because<br />

they would walk with the people in<br />

exile.”<br />

Nebraska, and eventually came to believe<br />

that he should at least follow the<br />

calling and see where it led, which, in<br />

this case, was Los Angeles. Though the<br />

move was at times daunting — many<br />

more people, much more diversity —<br />

he also found that he gradually was<br />

connecting with that active part of his<br />

faith.<br />

He had always loved the Mass, often<br />

attending by himself when growing<br />

up in El Salvador, and the fear of not<br />

being up to the task of bringing the<br />

joy, beauty, and comfort that priests<br />

had brought him began to recede.<br />

Guardado hopes that his first assignment<br />

at St. Emydius in Lynwood will<br />

be an opportunity to do for others what<br />

the priests of his youth did, to “speak<br />

“If I could ask God for something, it would<br />

be to place me wherever I’m needed most,<br />

with the poor and those who need a priest.”<br />

Guardado in an undated photo before entering the<br />

seminary.<br />

He saw it in his everyday life, how<br />

priests were always there, living the<br />

Gospel through their actions.<br />

“During that time, I could see the<br />

priests being so present to us,” he said.<br />

“I had so much respect for them as<br />

men. They pretty much rebuilt my<br />

entire town. After seeing such great<br />

men, like Father John [Kortina] who<br />

was one of the surviving Jesuits from<br />

the Jesuits murdered at the University<br />

of Central America, I thought I could<br />

never be a priest like them.”<br />

At age 9, he immigrated to Omaha,<br />

for those who cannot speak.”<br />

“I want to walk with those who are<br />

in need. Especially coming out of the<br />

pandemic, there’s going to be a lot of<br />

struggle, especially in poor communities.<br />

If I could ask God for something,<br />

it would be to place me wherever I’m<br />

needed most, with the poor and those<br />

who need a priest. I think that would<br />

be my only request of God.”<br />

His trepidation has now turned to an<br />

enthusiasm to get started. He said he<br />

now views the priests of his youth as inspirations<br />

who’ve provided him with a<br />

map to help people with the everyday<br />

struggles that often test the spirit.<br />

“My inspiration comes from seeing<br />

the priests be part of the social struggle<br />

and the spiritual struggle of the people,<br />

and being elevated by them to God,”<br />

he said. “Reminding them that it<br />

doesn’t matter where we’re at, whether<br />

in poverty, in our loneliness, in our<br />

tragedy, God is still present. And so,<br />

that is, for me, an inspiration always.<br />

And I think it will continue to be, for<br />

me as a priest, what moves me, just<br />

having those witnesses in my heart.”<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Andrew Hedstrom<br />

Age: 33<br />

Hometown: San Bernardino<br />

Home parish: Our Lady of Peace,<br />

<strong>No</strong>rth Hills<br />

Parish assignment: Holy Family,<br />

South Pasadena<br />

One thing Andrew Hedstrom<br />

would like to focus on, as he<br />

prepares to begin his ministry,<br />

is rebuilding a sense of community<br />

in daily Catholic church life. That<br />

life has been adversely affected by the<br />

pandemic, of course, but Hedstrom<br />

believes COVID-19 only shined a<br />

spotlight on an issue that had been<br />

festering for years.<br />

“We’ve been having conversations<br />

in my class about this, building the<br />

community life of the church, the parish<br />

should be the communal center,”<br />

he said. “One of the things that the<br />

pandemic has really shown is that this<br />

has been going on for years and years;<br />

this lack of community in the parish.<br />

Hedstrom with family members.<br />

So, trying to figure out how to address<br />

that and fix that.”<br />

Though he recognizes there is an<br />

issue, Hedstrom admitted he doesn’t<br />

have a solution, that he has “ideas, but<br />

until I’m at a parish, it’s really hard to<br />

settle all that.”<br />

Still, he knows it’s critical for individuals<br />

to see the worth of the Church<br />

and to see their place in it, that it’s<br />

important for people to say, “Oh, I do<br />

fit here. I belong here and people are<br />

going to miss me if I’m gone.”<br />

Hedstrom knows about this from<br />

experience. He freely admitted that he<br />

did everything he could to avoid the<br />

priesthood. Though he remembers<br />

people recognizing a vocation in him<br />

since grade school, he did everything<br />

he could to say no to that life, going so<br />

far as to sign up for an eight-year stint<br />

in the Army, figuring “this will probably<br />

destroy any vocation I had.”<br />

It didn’t. While deployed in Cuba,<br />

he described long, 16-hour shifts<br />

alone. Bored, he decided to pray the<br />

rosary. Then he began to use the<br />

solitude and quiet to pray and talk to<br />

Christ. By the time his stint was over,<br />

he found himself fully committed to<br />

his vocation.<br />

It’s in silence that he believes individ-<br />

Hedstrom in 2013 at Fort Bliss in Texas, before deploying<br />

to Guantanamo Bay.<br />

ual Catholics, perhaps some who have<br />

fallen away from church life, can be<br />

reached, and through those individuals<br />

a community can be rebuilt. Of<br />

course, that’s easier said than done in<br />

a culture where “our attention is like<br />

two seconds before we lose interest<br />

and move on to something else.<br />

“If there’s one thing that you could<br />

do, it would be to go to adoration, to<br />

sit there in silence, even if it’s only<br />

five minutes at first, even if it’s only<br />

seven seconds. If that’s all you can<br />

handle, good. But then the next time<br />

you go, which should be the next<br />

day, go for eight seconds, then go for<br />

a minute, then go for five, and then<br />

stretch it until you’re at that hour for<br />

making a daily Holy Hour where it’s<br />

not hard. It’s actually like you find<br />

that there’s something missing when<br />

you’re not there for that hour with<br />

God. That Holy Hour, that time with<br />

Christ, is the most important thing<br />

you can do in any vocation, whether<br />

religious, priesthood, or married life.”<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 13

Sergio Hidalgo<br />

Age: 46<br />

Hometown: Puerto Barrios, Guatemala<br />

Home parish: Divine Saviour, Los Ángeles<br />

Parish assignment: Santa Rosa de Lima, San Fernando<br />

It’s not unusual for those about to be<br />

ordained to be asked if they have<br />

any advice for those considering<br />

the priesthood. When Sergio Hidalgo<br />

gets that question his answer is fairly<br />

simple and straightforward: Don’t be<br />

afraid.<br />

“Pray about it, ponder about it, be<br />

involved, know your faith,” he said.<br />

“Look in your heart and pay attention<br />

to all the signs. But don’t be afraid.”<br />

And if you think those signs are<br />

going to necessarily come in dramatic,<br />

miraculous moments, Hidalgo said it’s<br />

important to understand that “God<br />

likes to work through people.”<br />

Indeed, it is not at all unusual for<br />

those about to enter the priesthood to<br />

talk about the influence of someone<br />

“I think our main mission is to walk with<br />

the people, to be companions in this journey<br />

back, because many people are away<br />

right now because of fear of COVID.”<br />

who seemingly shows up at random in<br />

their lives, but who nonetheless sees<br />

something special in them. Whether<br />

you choose to acknowledge that gift,<br />

Hidalgo said, requires “courage.”<br />

“Your faith gives you the courage,”<br />

he said. “The courage comes from<br />

many sources. Obviously, the main<br />

one is God, but God likes to work<br />

through people. In my experience,<br />

that’s the key. God is very gentle and<br />

never is going to force you to do something.<br />

But yes, he gave you the tools,<br />

he gave you what you need to progress<br />

in the vocation.”<br />

<strong>No</strong> matter the circumstances or<br />

roads traveled, Hidalgo believes what<br />

unites all those who choose to follow<br />

a vocation is “the desire to serve.”<br />

That desire has a long line of people<br />

in it stretching all the way back to<br />

Christ’s days on earth. He said it’s that<br />

line that keeps you going through<br />

difficulties you may encounter on<br />

the journey. Therefore, it’s not only<br />

family and friends that can help you,<br />

but “others who are discerning of the<br />

priesthood, who give you courage.<br />

When you have the examples of the<br />

saints, that gives you courage, too.”<br />

He said he’s eager to begin working<br />

with people who show their own courage<br />

every day, courage that includes<br />

going back to church after a global<br />

pandemic.<br />

“I think our main mission is to walk<br />

with the people, to be companions in<br />

this journey back, because many people<br />

are away right now because of fear<br />

of the COVID,” he said. “I saw a lot of<br />

people coming back [to church], they<br />

have this desire to be in the church,<br />

honestly. <strong>No</strong>t because of the priest, I<br />

honestly believe that they really have<br />

an encounter with God. That the peo-<br />

ple are present at this time right now<br />

in the churches is because they really<br />

have an experience of God.”<br />

And, if that experience leads someone<br />

to consider a vocation, Hidalgo<br />

wants them to know that God will<br />

more than meet them halfway.<br />

“It’s a beautiful journey,” he said.<br />

“I’m a hundred percent sure that God<br />

will give you the right time, and, if<br />

he sees this is your calling, God will<br />

never stop calling you. He will always<br />

call you. Just say yes.”<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Francis Kim<br />

Age: 40<br />

Hometown: Cerritos<br />

Home parish: St. Raphael Korean<br />

Catholic Center, <strong>No</strong>rwalk<br />

Parish assignment: St. Mel,<br />

Woodland Hills<br />

One of the reasons Francis Kim<br />

wanted to become a priest was<br />

to help out those in need, the<br />

people “the world doesn’t see as being<br />

like the rest of us.”<br />

He said this desire to help came<br />

from growing up with the examples of<br />

several diocesan priests who showed<br />

him what it meant to simply be a<br />

good and decent human being serving<br />

those who are often overlooked or<br />

minimized.<br />

Above and opposite: Kim with his family.<br />

“We live in a world that Pope Francis<br />

calls the ‘throwaway culture.’ Who is<br />

going to be there to help the most vulnerable<br />

in our world, where increas-<br />

ingly we’re becoming, ‘I will only help<br />

you if I get something in return.’ ”<br />

Kim wants to be that person to help,<br />

which makes it surprising that when<br />

it came time for him to discern his<br />

vocation he shied away from being a<br />

diocesan priest and instead looked in<br />

other directions, including becoming<br />

a Trappist monk. Eventually, he<br />

remembered how much he admired<br />

the priests of his youth and his path<br />

suddenly became clear.<br />

“I decided I<br />

grew up with<br />

diocesan priests<br />

in my life and<br />

they had a very<br />

positive, good<br />

influence, not<br />

only on me, but<br />

also my family.<br />

So, why not the<br />

diocesan priesthood?”<br />

<strong>No</strong>w that he is<br />

at the end of a<br />

long journey, he<br />

finds himself,<br />

in many ways,<br />

going back to<br />

where he began,<br />

wanting to emulate<br />

the priests of<br />

his youth.<br />

“The primary<br />

reason is just to<br />

help those in<br />

need, whom the<br />

world doesn’t<br />

see as being like<br />

the rest of us.<br />

Jesus says in the Gospels, when asked,<br />

‘When did we serve you?’ He said,<br />

‘What you did to the least of these,<br />

you did unto me.’ And that rings so<br />

true in our world today.<br />

“When I think of [the priests] who<br />

were such positive role models,<br />

they did that. For the longest time,<br />

I thought, ‘Oh, that’s just what they<br />

do.’ But as I’ve grown older, I realize<br />

they’re not doing it for money or success.<br />

They’re doing it because that’s<br />

what love is.”<br />

And, it turns out, love has its own<br />

rewards. Kim recalled one of his first<br />

assignments as a seminarian was going<br />

to help the developmentally disabled<br />

in Camarillo, what he looks back at<br />

as one of those “most fruitful experiences<br />

of my life,” and one he said he<br />

would very much like to repeat once<br />

ordained.<br />

“Just being with them. They gave me<br />

more than whatever I gave them. And<br />

even after a few years when I went<br />

back to visit, some of them still remembered<br />

my name. So, I’m looking<br />

forward to doing something like that<br />

as a priest.”<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 15

Jihoon Kim<br />

Age: 33<br />

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea<br />

Home parish: The 103 Saints<br />

Korean Catholic Center, Torrance<br />

Parish assignment: St. Kateri<br />

Tekakwitha, Santa Clarita<br />

Jihoon Kim has had a personal<br />

relationship with Christ ever<br />

since he heeded the call, at age<br />

7, to become a Catholic. He did that<br />

completely on his own in South Korea<br />

— he’s fond of saying, “I converted<br />

myself” — and, over the years, has<br />

followed other directives that included<br />

converting his family and becoming a<br />

catechist.<br />

Still, when he heard the Lord calling<br />

him to the priesthood, Kim figured a<br />

mistake had been made.<br />

“I was like, ‘<strong>No</strong>, I heard something<br />

wrong. <strong>No</strong>t that.’ ”<br />

At the time, Kim was focused on<br />

making it in the music industry, and<br />

Kim takes a selfie during a ski trip.<br />

his relationship with God had diminished<br />

to the point that he was praying<br />

daily for the Lord to “make me rich<br />

and famous.”<br />

Incredibly, Kim assumed the miscommunication<br />

with the Almighty<br />

had something to do with him being<br />

“too involved in the Church,” prompting<br />

him to take a self-imposed break.<br />

A few months later, though, while<br />

attending Mass, he found himself<br />

moved by visiting priest Father Steve<br />

Davoren, though he wasn’t quite sure<br />

why.<br />

“In the middle of his homily, he said,<br />

‘Oh, by the way, I’m the vocations director<br />

of the archdiocese,’ ” Kim said.<br />

“I was like, ‘God, you’re so funny.’ ”<br />

He said he already knows that one of<br />

his missions as a new priest will be to<br />

bear witness to the very real presence<br />

of God in our daily lives. For those<br />

who struggle to hear the Lord, he will<br />

tell them there are two ways you can<br />

always find him: the Eucharist and<br />

the Blessed Sacrament.<br />

It’s a fact that<br />

never ceases to<br />

amaze or move<br />

him.<br />

“When I go to<br />

Holy Hour, I see<br />

the Blessed Sacrament<br />

and I’m<br />

like ‘Lord, you<br />

are here,’ ” he<br />

said. “And sometimes<br />

I wonder<br />

if this is maybe<br />

how the apostles<br />

felt when Jesus<br />

was resurrected?<br />

One time I was<br />

leading the Holy<br />

Hour at the seminary<br />

and I was bringing the Blessed<br />

Sacrament from the chapel to a place<br />

outdoors and I was holding him in my<br />

hands. I was just filled with this sense<br />

of awe. I’m holding the King of the<br />

universe in my hand. It was just … oh,<br />

I just got goosebumps.”<br />

His obvious joy at being able to<br />

access the Lord at any time is obvi-<br />

Kim takes a jump shot at the 2020 Priests vs. Seminarians<br />

basketball game last February.<br />

ous, and comforting, which is why<br />

it makes him sad that many other<br />

Catholics seem unaware how close<br />

Christ is to them. He has spoken to<br />

fellow Catholics who tell him they<br />

believe that Jesus is only symbolically<br />

present in the Eucharist or Blessed<br />

Sacrament, which has convinced him<br />

of what he must do once ordained.<br />

“I’m like, OK, so there’s a great need,<br />

we need to really catechize people to<br />

see the transcendental beauty in the<br />

Eucharist,” Kim said. “So that will<br />

be one of my missions as a priest, to<br />

really help people to fall in greater<br />

love for the Eucharist and see how<br />

the Eucharist changes lives and leads<br />

them to the Eucharist to be the source<br />

of their life.”<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Michael Masteller<br />

Age: 30<br />

Hometown: Santa Paula<br />

Home parish: St. Sebastian,<br />

Santa Paula<br />

Parish assignment: St. Helen,<br />

South Gate<br />

While ordination signals the<br />

end of one journey, it also<br />

marks the beginning of a<br />

new one, and this is key to Michael<br />

Masteller. While much attention<br />

is placed on a man saying yes to a<br />

vocation, he believes it is equally<br />

important to renew that affirmation<br />

regularly.<br />

“It’s that continual saying yes wherever<br />

the Lord wants to go in our life,”<br />

he said. “Saying ‘Yes, Lord, you can<br />

go here. Yes, Lord, you can bring your<br />

light to this dark area where I haven’t<br />

shown anyone, or I don’t want to.’ ”<br />

The seeds of his vocation began<br />

to grow while teaching high school<br />

theology after college. Struggling to<br />

find a real direction in his life, he<br />

eventually found himself at a discernment<br />

retreat at a Milwaukee seminary.<br />

But even there, he felt disconnected<br />

and fearful.<br />

“I was searching, wandering, I didn’t<br />

really have a clear path before me.<br />

But I had a sense that the Lord might<br />

want me to be a priest. Still, I was very<br />

afraid. I remember just going into my<br />

room and I opened up this pamphlet,<br />

and inside there was this quote from<br />

Masteller at his diaconate ordination last year with<br />

recently ordained priests Father Brian Humphrey and<br />

Father Justin Oh.<br />

Masteller drives to the basket at the 2020 Priests vs. Seminarians basketball game last February, where he led Team<br />

Seminarians in scoring.<br />

Masteller grew up in Santa Paula,<br />

the second of four children in a<br />

Catholic family. He studied just a few<br />

minutes away at St. Thomas Aquinas<br />

College, where he double majored in<br />

theology and philosophy (a decision<br />

that would later shave a year off of<br />

time in the seminary).<br />

Pope Francis, saying, ‘I don’t care<br />

who you are, where you’ve been, what<br />

you’ve done. I ask you, I beg you right<br />

here, right now, just open your heart<br />

to Christ.’ ”<br />

When he did, he said all the fear that<br />

had welled up in him simply went<br />

away.<br />

“The light of Christ just filled my<br />

heart,” he said. “It just banished these<br />

deep fears that I had, it took away<br />

that darkness and filled it with hope<br />

and with a future and a path. At that<br />

moment, I knew. It was like, ‘Lord, I’ll<br />

follow you wherever you want me to<br />

go.’ ”<br />

Having said yes that first time, Masteller<br />

finds himself devoted to living<br />

that yes every day. If there’s one thing<br />

he’s sure of, it’s that prayer can bring<br />

about the kind of circumstances that<br />

change lives. It did for him.<br />

“The Lord can slowly melt any kind<br />

of cold or ice that’s around our heart.<br />

And so I think that that’s the greatest<br />

thing that I would say in my life, was<br />

just a certain determination and faithfulness<br />

to prayer, as basic or as empty<br />

as it might seem, the Lord can take<br />

that and transform it.<br />

“That’s been my experience, that<br />

Christ doesn’t work from the outside,<br />

pulling or pushing, he wants to enter<br />

and to move from within.”<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 17

Matthew Miguel<br />

Age: 33<br />

Hometown: Moreno Valley<br />

Home parish: Holy Family, Glendale<br />

Parish assignment: Our Lady of<br />

Assumption, Ventura<br />

When Matthew Miguel<br />

takes his final vows as a<br />

new priest, he will not do<br />

it alone, he said, because so many<br />

people have traveled with him on his<br />

vocation journey.<br />

“I’m very grateful,” he said. “I would<br />

always tell these families that I see<br />

that this vocation does not belong to<br />

me, but it is part of their vocation as<br />

well. This is the fruit of their prayers.<br />

This is the fruit of their vocation as<br />

well. I am fully indebted to them. I’m<br />

grateful for the opportunity for me<br />

to encounter and journey together<br />

during this journey of faith. I’m very<br />

appreciative with their prayers, their<br />

Miguel skydiving in Oceanside in 2015 before entering St. John’s Seminary.<br />

support, and their love and sacrifice.”<br />

The journey began when he was<br />

attending high school. Active as a<br />

servant leader, Miguel remembered<br />

attending a youth rally. The day was<br />

full of fun activities — songs, skits,<br />

competitions — and ended with a<br />

Mass.<br />

“I remember the priest saying,<br />

‘Young people, don’t be afraid. If you<br />

feel called to the priesthood, come<br />

forward for a blessing.’ ”<br />

As the priest was walking by with the<br />

Blessed Sacrament, Miguel described<br />

the sudden feeling that “Jesus was<br />

embracing me.”<br />

Though he said the feeling brought<br />

with it a good deal of peace and<br />

comfort, it also caused him to shake<br />

uncontrollably. Looking back, he said<br />

he now understands that God was<br />

calling him and he was shaking because<br />

“I didn’t know what this feeling<br />

was before.”<br />

Miguel went forward for a blessing<br />

and has remained on a priestly path<br />

ever since. He believes that God has<br />

given him the grace to go beyond<br />

his weaknesses and shortcomings to<br />

serve those in need, especially young<br />

people, the elderly, and families. In<br />

Miguel with his nephew last Christmas.<br />

fact, though it is the priests who, like<br />

the apostles, are sent out to serve, he<br />

believes that people provide much<br />

more in the way of guidance.<br />

“I really feel that it’s the people who<br />

are the ones that will guide us and<br />

teach us how to be priests,” he said.<br />

“Here at the seminary, we can only<br />

learn so much about theology, but<br />

once we’re out at the parish with the<br />

flock, that’s when they’re the ones that<br />

allow us how to become a priest, to<br />

tend to them, to listen to them, and<br />

cater to their needs.”<br />

And he can’t wait to get started,<br />

he said. Whether it’s visiting the<br />

sick, counseling youth, bringing the<br />

Eucharist to those who can’t get to<br />

church, or any one of countless things<br />

that ease suffering and bring comfort<br />

to people, to journey with them<br />

through the good and the bad.<br />

“I believe that God has given me<br />

the grace to serve, that my heart isn’t<br />

meant for just one person,” he said. “I<br />

love serving the kids, I love being with<br />

the people. When they ask me for<br />

help, I can’t say no.”<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

The ultimate relief<br />

LA priests are being granted special access to celebrate Mass for migrant<br />

children held at emergency shelters in Long Beach and Pomona<br />


Los Angeles priests have begun<br />

celebrating weekend Masses<br />

for unaccompanied migrant<br />

children housed at federal emergency<br />

shelters in Long Beach and Pomona.<br />

The private liturgies began in early<br />

May after the Archdiocese of Los<br />

Angeles secured permission for the liturgies<br />

at the Long Beach Convention<br />

Center and the Pomona Fairplex.<br />

“My heart breaks for what these<br />

children have been through, and I<br />

want to help them any way I can,”<br />

said Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop<br />

David O’Connell, who celebrated the<br />

first Sunday Mass for newly arrived<br />

children in Pomona on May 9.<br />

Speaking to <strong>Angelus</strong> before the<br />

Mass, Bishop O’Connell said he<br />

looked forward to preaching about<br />

becoming a friend of Jesus.<br />

“Many [of the<br />

youth] have been<br />

through difficult<br />

times. Jesus<br />

invites each one<br />

with a friendship<br />

with himself.”<br />

The unaccompanied<br />

migrant<br />

children began<br />

arriving at emergency<br />

shelters set<br />

up in Southern<br />

California in<br />

April following<br />

an influx at the<br />

U.S.-Mexico<br />

border.<br />

The first group<br />

of children<br />

Bishop David O’Connell is among<br />

the several LA priests who have<br />

celebrated Mass for children<br />

staying at local federal shelters for<br />

unaccompanied migrant children.<br />


arrived April 22 at a temporary shelter<br />

set up at the Long Beach-owned convention<br />

center, one of several set up<br />

by the U.S. Department of Health and<br />

Human Services.<br />

The Long Beach facility is expected<br />

to house children fleeing gangs and<br />

ocese’s San Pedro Pastoral Region,<br />

celebrated Mass for another group of<br />

kids the next day.<br />

Since then, a number of priests<br />

specially trained to work with migrant<br />

children have officiated services at<br />

both shelters. In Long Beach, they<br />

include: Father George Aguilera,<br />

pastor of St. Anthony Church in Long<br />

Beach; Father Budi Wardhana, pastor<br />

of St. Lucy Church in Long Beach;<br />

and Msgr. John Woolway. Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez is scheduled to<br />

celebrate a Mass at the Long Beach<br />

shelter on Sunday, May 30.<br />

“I do look forward to it,” said Father<br />

Wardhana. “I came to this country for<br />

political asylum from Indonesia. So I<br />

understand how they feel.”<br />

Children at the Pomona Fairplex<br />

have been given access to several<br />

soccer fields, as well as lounging areas<br />

with toys and books, in addition to<br />

classes, mental health services, health<br />

care and translators. Reunifications<br />

are happening quickly and safely, shelpoverty<br />

in their native countries.<br />

Officials have described the shelters<br />

as temporary pit stops for kids awaiting<br />

custody of sponsors or family members<br />

in the U.S.<br />

The archdiocese had worked for<br />

weeks to secure permission to celebrate<br />

Sunday Masses for the migrant<br />

children.<br />

“It’s most important,” said Isaac<br />

Cuevas, director of Immigration and<br />

Public Affairs for the archdiocese, of<br />

the decision.<br />

“It recognizes the human dignity<br />

in every one of these children. To go<br />

through what they’ve been through<br />

takes a tremendous amount of courage,”<br />

said Cuevas, who also serves on<br />

the Southern California Immigration<br />

Task Force. “They can come together,<br />

celebrate Mass, and know that they’re<br />

in the presence of God.”<br />

The first shelter Mass was celebrated<br />

in Long Beach on Saturday, May 1, by<br />

Msgr. Jarlath Cunnane, better known<br />

as “Father Jay,” pastor of St. Cornelius<br />

Church in Long Beach. Auxiliary<br />

Bishop Marc Trudeau of the archdi-<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Officials in April<br />

tour the Long Beach<br />

Convention Center,<br />

which is being used<br />

temporarily to house<br />

migrant children found<br />

at the border without<br />

a parent. | BRITTANY<br />


ter officials say,<br />

with more than<br />

80 youth and<br />

children having<br />

been connected<br />

to family and<br />

loved ones in the<br />

U.S. so far.<br />

In the meantime,<br />

those children<br />

still waiting<br />

now have a<br />

special moment<br />

to look forward to<br />

on weekends.<br />

“It’s essential,”<br />

Cuevas said of<br />

the access given<br />

to the archdiocese.<br />

“It’s a part<br />

of every person’s<br />

right to practice<br />

their faith. So it’s<br />

commendable<br />

that the federal<br />

government is acknowledging<br />

the<br />

need to practice<br />

their faith.”<br />

O’Connell, who<br />

is chairman of<br />

the Immigration<br />

Task Force and<br />

oversees the archdiocese’s San Gabriel<br />

Pastoral Region (where the Fairplex<br />

is located), focused his homily at the<br />

first Mass held at the Pomona Fairplex<br />

on the Gospel of John, and the beauty<br />

of having a personal friendship with<br />

Jesus.<br />

“I will talk to the kids like we did<br />

the kids of South Central, if they’re<br />

feeling traumatized, and anxious,” he<br />

said. “Talk to Jesus, invite him into<br />

your heart, to walk with him, and he<br />

will help you.<br />

“Jesus can lead them, step by step, to<br />

a better life.”<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 21

Intervention at a distance<br />

The latest outbreak<br />

of violence in Gaza<br />

illustrates why the<br />

Vatican works so hard<br />

at impartiality<br />


ROME — Over the years, no<br />

aspect of Vatican diplomacy has<br />

generated as much consternation<br />

as its mania for impartiality. From<br />

the alleged silence of Pope Pius XII<br />

on the Holocaust during World War II<br />

to Vatican discretion today on China’s<br />

human rights record, the desire not to<br />

be seen as taking sides, in the eyes of<br />

critics, too often has left Rome feckless<br />

in the face of tyrants, dictators,<br />

and thugs.<br />

Yet to understand where that imperative<br />

of nonalignment comes from, one<br />

need look no further than the current<br />

conflict in Gaza.<br />

The Vatican would love dearly to<br />

Palestinians evacuate a body from the site of Israeli<br />

strikes in Gaza City on May 17. | CNS/MOHAMMED<br />


position itself as a bridge-builder<br />

between Israelis and Palestinians,<br />

not only to put out the immediate<br />

fires in Gaza and East Jerusalem but<br />

to resolve the underlying tensions,<br />

famously described as the “mother of<br />

all conflicts.”<br />

For decades, the Vatican has seen<br />

ending the Israeli/Palestinian dispute<br />

as geopolitically essential to world<br />

peace and pastorally key to the survival<br />

of religious pluralism, including<br />

Christianity, across the Middle East.<br />

22 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Unfortunately, it probably can’t act<br />

as a mediator and is unlikely even<br />

to try, because it’s not truly seen as a<br />

neutral party by all sides.<br />

The plain fact of the matter is that<br />

even if you could somehow magically<br />

get all the disparate players on the<br />

Palestinian side to agree, the Israelis<br />

probably wouldn’t go for it, and that’s<br />

for three primary reasons.<br />

First is history, meaning the legacy of<br />

centuries of Christian anti-Semitism<br />

and the perception that the Vatican<br />

stayed on the sidelines during the<br />

Holocaust, even<br />

allowing the<br />

Jews of Rome<br />

to be rounded<br />

up and shipped<br />

off to the camps<br />

without protest.<br />

While there’s an<br />

active historical<br />

debate over the<br />

role of Pope Pius<br />

during the war,<br />

and a strong case<br />

that he did what<br />

he could under<br />

excruciating<br />

circumstances,<br />

the common perception<br />

among<br />

many Jews and<br />

Israelis is that the<br />

Vatican took a<br />

pass when they<br />

needed it to get<br />

involved.<br />

If that’s your<br />

view of an<br />

institution’s past,<br />

it’s perhaps understandable that if<br />

it comes along now offering to lend<br />

a hand, the idea might be met with<br />

skepticism.<br />

Second, there’s the equally widespread<br />

Israeli view that the Vatican<br />

leans toward the Palestinians in today’s<br />

politics, in part because the bulk of<br />

Catholics in the Middle East, as well<br />

as the clergy and the hierarchy, are<br />

Arabs.<br />

In the Holy Land they’re mostly Arab<br />

Palestinians, and in general they share<br />

the same resentments and perspectives<br />

as other Palestinians.<br />

In some cases, that pro-Palestinian<br />

bias among the local hierarchy is<br />

the stuff of legend. Israelis have long<br />

memories, and they haven’t forgotten<br />

Greek Melkite Archbishop Hilarion<br />

Capucci, who was arrested in 1974 for<br />

smuggling Kalashnikov rifles, pistols,<br />

and dynamite to the Palestinian Liberation<br />

Organization in the trunk of his<br />

own car.<br />

Archbishop Capucci was sentenced<br />

to 12 years in an Israeli prison and<br />

liberated in 1978 only after a personal<br />

appeal from St. Pope Paul VI.<br />

While virtually no other Middle<br />

Eastern Catholic hierarch would go<br />

that far, there’s no doubt they tend<br />

to be advocates of the Palestinian<br />

cause. Typical in this regard is a<br />

recent statement on the violence in<br />

Gaza from Cardinal Bechara Rai,<br />

the Maronite patriarch of Lebanon,<br />

who denounced “Israel’s violations<br />

in Jerusalem and its attacks on the<br />

Palestinian people.”<br />

Cardinal Rai deemed those Israeli<br />

aggressions “an evasion of international<br />

charters and laws and a persistent<br />

transgression of international legitimacy<br />

decisions that define the correct<br />

frameworks and concepts for permanent<br />

peace.” Even though the Israelis<br />

know the Vatican tries to maintain<br />

a balanced outlook, they also know<br />

Rome won’t go too far toward disowning<br />

their leadership on the ground.<br />

This is a situation in which little<br />

things matter, and it doesn’t escape<br />

Israeli attention, to cite just one example,<br />

that whenever Catholic bishops<br />

gather in Rome for a synod and pray<br />

in a small chapel<br />

just off the main<br />

hall, they’re<br />

kneeling in front<br />

of Stations of the<br />

Cross that were<br />

a gift of Yasser<br />

Arafat to St. Pope<br />

John Paul II.<br />

From a certain<br />

Israeli point of<br />

view, therefore,<br />

asking the Vatican<br />

to intervene<br />

in the conflict<br />

would be like<br />

asking a judge<br />

whose family<br />

works for Pepsi<br />

to arbitrate a dispute<br />

with Coke.<br />

Third, there’s<br />

also a long-run-<br />

Archbishop Hilarion Capucci in 1988. ning dispute between<br />

the Israeli<br />

| ROB C. CROES/ANEFO/CC BY 4.0<br />

government and<br />

the Vatican over<br />

the implementation<br />

of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement,<br />

which led to the establishment<br />

of diplomatic relations.<br />

The idea at the time was that a side<br />

agreement would follow within two<br />

years to regulate the tax and legal<br />

status of Church properties in Israel,<br />

avoiding the prospect of crippling<br />

tax bills from local Israeli municipal<br />

authorities.<br />

Yet almost 30 years later no such<br />

agreement has been achieved, despite<br />

the creation of a special bilateral<br />

commission and periodic rumors that<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 23

Father Gabriel Romanelli of Holy Family<br />

Church and Rosary Sister Bertilla Murj inspect<br />

damage at the front entrance of the Rosary<br />

Sisters school compound and convent in Gaza<br />

after an Israeli bombing on May 12. | CNS<br />

Bishops cel<br />

Conference<br />

a deal is right around the corner.<br />

Though officials on both sides in the<br />

negotiations are unfailingly polite in<br />

public, privately they tend to blame<br />

one another for the inability to reach<br />

a conclusion.<br />

Vatican officials say the Israelis want<br />

to impose their will, exalting municipal<br />

whims over international agreements,<br />

while Israelis say the Vatican<br />

wants special treatment that sets a<br />

financially unsustainable precedent<br />

if other groups were to demand the<br />

same thing.<br />

This dispute may not be well known<br />

among the general public, but in the<br />

corridors of power in Israel, it’s another<br />

reason to be leery of the Vatican.<br />

In other words, for a variety of<br />

reasons — none of which are really<br />

the fault of Pope Francis or today’s<br />

generation of Vatican diplomats —<br />

many Israelis just aren’t convinced the<br />

Vatican is truly neutral.<br />

If you want to know why the Vatican<br />

works so hard not to seem aligned,<br />

that’s why, so it doesn’t end up<br />

seeming partial, when its impartiality<br />

is the one thing that might make a<br />

difference.<br />

John L. Allen Jr. is the editor of Crux.<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Bishops celebrate Mass at the 2019 fall general assembly of the U.S.<br />

Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. | CNS/BOB ROLLER<br />


The history — and the arguments — that have set the stage for the U.S.<br />

bishops’ debate over Communion for pro-choice Catholic politicians<br />


The first thing to realize about the<br />

U.S. bishops’ concern with prochoice<br />

Catholic politicians who<br />

receive holy Communion is that, from<br />

the bishops’ point of view, the issue<br />

isn’t politics, but, rather the reverence<br />

due the Eucharist and the perilous<br />

spiritual situation of someone who<br />

receives the sacrament unworthily.<br />

It’s true, of course, that nobody really<br />

deserves the Eucharist. But Christ<br />

has given us this gift, and we ought to<br />

receive it — provided we do so with<br />

clean consciences. And for supporters<br />

of abortion, there’s the rub. For advocating<br />

this grave moral evil (or a “right”<br />

to choose abortion, which amounts to<br />

the same thing) is a form of participation<br />

in the evil.<br />

In his first letter to the Christians<br />

of Corinth, St. Paul pointed out the<br />

consequences that has for receiving<br />

Communion: “Whoever eats the bread<br />

or drinks the cup of the Lord in an<br />

unworthy manner will be guilty of<br />

profaning the body and blood of the<br />

Lord. … Any one who eats and drinks<br />

without discerning the body eats and<br />

drinks judgment upon himself” (1<br />

Corinthians <strong>11</strong>: 27, 29).<br />

Here, then, is the context in which<br />

the bishops at their <strong>June</strong> 16-18 general<br />

meeting are expected to discuss (virtually,<br />

because of the pandemic) whether<br />

to proceed with developing a statement<br />

on “eucharistic coherence” to address<br />

these matters at length.<br />

It won’t be the first time the bishops<br />

have had essentially the same discussion.<br />

Back in 2004, when a pro-choice<br />

Catholic, John Kerry, was running for<br />

president, then-Cardinal Theodore<br />

McCarrick, chairing a committee<br />

charged with looking into the issue,<br />

told the bishops that refusing Communion<br />

to Kerry would make the sacrament<br />

“a perceived source of political<br />

combat.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>tably, too, Cardinal Joseph<br />

Ratzinger, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation<br />

for the Doctrine of the Faith<br />

and later known to the world as Pope<br />

Benedict XVI, sent the bishops a letter<br />

(which McCarrick declined to show<br />

them) saying someone who persists in<br />

serious public sin should be denied<br />

Communion. The bishops eventually<br />

decided to leave it to individual<br />

ordinaries to decide how to handle this<br />

problem in their own dioceses.<br />

And now the problem has come to a<br />

head in the case of a sitting president.<br />

In his long career as senator, vice<br />

president, presidential candidate, and<br />

now chief executive, Joe Biden’s position<br />

on abortion has changed radically<br />

over the years — and from a pro-life<br />

perspective, the change has all been for<br />

the worse.<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 25

In 1973, after the Supreme Court’s<br />

Roe v. Wade decision legalizing<br />

abortion, Biden expressed reservations<br />

about what the court had done. Then,<br />

for four decades he supported the<br />

Hyde Amendment barring the use of<br />

federal funds for abortion. Two years<br />

ago, however, under pressure from<br />

abortion activists, Biden reversed on<br />

Hyde and promised that as president<br />

he’d get rid of it.<br />

During the presidential campaign he<br />

said he supported abortion “under any<br />

circumstances,” promised to make the<br />

Roe decision federal law, and chose aggressively<br />

pro-abortion California Sen.<br />

Kamala Harris as his running mate.<br />

Since becoming president, he and his<br />

administration have acted repeatedly to<br />

expand the availability of abortion.<br />

At the same time, Biden, a lifelong<br />

Catholic, continues to declare his allegiance<br />

to the faith and receives Communion<br />

at Sunday Mass. According<br />

to critics, that is something he simply<br />

shouldn’t do, in light of the Church’s<br />

clear teaching on abortion and the<br />

prohibition in canon 915 of the Code<br />

of Canon Law, which says people “who<br />

obstinately persist in manifest grave sin<br />

are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”<br />

Taking note of all this, Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez of Los Angeles,<br />

president of the U.S. Conference of<br />

Catholic Bishops (USCCB), last year<br />

set up a working group chaired by the<br />

conference’s vice president, Archbishop<br />

Allen Vigneron of Detroit, to make<br />

recommendations on how to proceed.<br />

It proposed writing<br />

and publishing<br />

a statement<br />

on “eucharistic<br />

coherence,”<br />

outlining why<br />

Catholics who<br />

receive Communion<br />

should<br />

live and act in a<br />

manner consistent<br />

with the faith<br />

of the Church.<br />

Whether to<br />

proceed with<br />

a statement is<br />

the question<br />

the bishops are<br />

expected to face<br />

at their <strong>June</strong> assembly. And here there<br />

is disagreement.<br />

Several bishops lately have issued<br />

statements of their own strongly arguing<br />

that politicians who support abortion<br />

should not receive Communion.<br />

One of them is Archbishop Salvatore<br />

Cordileone of San Francisco, whose<br />

archdiocese is home to another wellknown<br />

pro-choice Catholic politician,<br />

Speaker of the House of Representatives<br />

Nancy Pelosi.<br />

Addressing Catholics who publicly<br />

support abortion, Archbishop Cordileone<br />

closed his strongly worded pastoral<br />

letter this way: “If you find that you<br />

are unwilling or unable to abandon<br />

your advocacy for abortion, you should<br />

not come forward to receive Holy<br />

Communion. To publicly affirm the<br />

Catholic faith while at the same time<br />

rejecting one of its most fundamental<br />

teachings is simply dishonest.”<br />

But some bishops — how many are<br />

not known — don’t want the bishops’<br />

conference to make a statement. Echoing<br />

McCarrick in 2004, they warn<br />

that anything the bishops might say or<br />

do on this issue would be viewed as<br />

playing politics.<br />

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego<br />

has been particularly outspoken in<br />

making this argument. Speaking<br />

during a panel discussion earlier this<br />

year, he said this: “I do not see how<br />

depriving the president or other political<br />

leaders of the Eucharist on their<br />

public policy stance can be interpreted<br />

in our society as anything other than a<br />

weaponization of the Eucharist … to<br />

Cardinal Luis Ladaria at a Vatican meeting<br />

of bishops in 2019. | CNS/PAUL HARING<br />

pummel them into submission.”<br />

A third position, somewhere between<br />

the strongly for and the strongly<br />

against, was laid out by Cardinal Luis<br />

Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation<br />

for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a letter<br />

sent to Archbishop Gomez in early<br />

May.<br />

Cardinal Ladaria expressed general<br />

approval of the idea of a bishops’ statement<br />

that would underline “the grave<br />

moral responsibility of Catholic public<br />

officials to protect human life at all<br />

stages” while repeating that decisions<br />

about how to proceed at the local level<br />

are up to ordinaries.<br />

He added that the statement should<br />

be preceded by dialogue among the<br />

bishops and consultation with other<br />

episcopal<br />

President Joe Biden and<br />

his wife, Jill, attend Mass<br />

at the Cathedral of St.<br />

Matthew the Apostle in<br />

Washington, D.C., on Jan.<br />

20, before his presidential<br />

inauguration. | CNS/<br />


conferences;<br />

should point out<br />

that abortion and<br />

euthanasia aren’t<br />

the only issues<br />

of concern to<br />

the Church; and<br />

should make it<br />

clear that worthiness<br />

to receive<br />

Communion<br />

applies to all<br />

Catholics, not just public officials.<br />

That latter point is a reminder that the<br />

issue of Communion for pro-choice<br />

politicians exists in the context of a<br />

larger problem — growing concern<br />

that respect for the sacrament may<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

have diminished among Catholics generally<br />

as evidenced in declining Mass<br />

attendance and poll numbers suggesting<br />

that many American Catholics<br />

think Christ’s presence in the Eucharist<br />

is only symbolic, not real.<br />

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver<br />

spoke to that issue in a recent article in<br />

America magazine.<br />

“I am afraid that many baptized<br />

Catholics do not take the Eucharist<br />

seriously because they do not take sin<br />

seriously,” he wrote, adding that this<br />

was “largely the fault of bad catechesis<br />

overseen by me and my brother bishops<br />

for too long.<br />

“When the Eucharist is treated casually<br />

in our liturgy, minimized in the<br />

confessional or ignored in homilies,<br />

then we should not be surprised by<br />

confusion regarding its sacredness. …<br />

In this respect, the ministers of the faith<br />

have, perhaps, the greater responsibility<br />

for improper reception of the Eucharist,”<br />

he said.<br />

One thing at least is clear. When the<br />

bishops discuss “eucharistic coherence”<br />

at their <strong>June</strong> general assembly,<br />

they’ll have plenty to talk about. It<br />

should be an interesting discussion.<br />

Russell Shaw is a freelance writer from<br />

Washington, D.C. He is the author of<br />

more than 20 books, and previously<br />

served as secretary for public affairs of<br />

the National Conference of Catholic<br />

Bishops/United States Catholic Conference<br />

from 1969 to 1987.<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 27

AD REM<br />


Robert B<br />

he has wo<br />

Catholic<br />

“Flight into Egypt,” by Edwin Long,<br />

1829-1891. | WIKIPEDIA<br />

The ultimate man’s man<br />

Attending a men’s retreat with a<br />

focus on St. Joseph should not<br />

remind someone of an old war<br />

movie, but I am afraid that it is just how<br />

my tangled mind works.<br />

There is the requisite scene in all<br />

these movies where the propaganda<br />

element of movie-making back then<br />

always seemed to unfurl the American<br />

diversity banner. There would be a roll<br />

call and soldiers with ethnic looks right<br />

out of central casting would shout out<br />

names like “O’Brien, Dentino, Martinez,<br />

Washington, Sobjeko.” Of course,<br />

the leaders of these men and the stars<br />

of all these movies were almost always<br />

white Anglo-Saxon Protestants; but that<br />

is a topic for another article.<br />

There must have been close to 100<br />

men at the retreat, and we were as<br />

ethnically diverse as any make-believe<br />

Marine platoon on the Warner Brothers<br />

lot in the 1940s. There were other<br />

noteworthy identifiers for this more<br />

modern band of brothers. Professional<br />

types who wore suits at an office were<br />

kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament<br />

alongside, but socially distanced of<br />

course, guys who wore coveralls and<br />

got their hands dirty at their jobs. The<br />

demographic points of origins were also<br />

all over the map. I met guys older than<br />

me and guys a lot younger than me,<br />

and learned guys traveled from East LA<br />

and Lancaster to this retreat in Sylmar.<br />

I would also wager I was in a retreat<br />

next to men who had advanced academic<br />

credentials and men who were<br />

more than likely high school dropouts.<br />

And there<br />

we were,<br />

all in this<br />

same place<br />

at this<br />

same time<br />

“Joseph with the Child and the<br />

Flowering Rod,” by Alonso Miguel<br />

de Tovar, 1678-1752. | WIKIPEDIA<br />

for a common purpose that vaporized<br />

whatever differences may have existed<br />

in our backgrounds and our life experiences.<br />

It was a real “e pluribus unum”<br />

moment, and I think I can speak for<br />

the group: We were all deeply linked<br />

spiritually, thanks to a saint who finally<br />

seems to be getting the attention he<br />

deserves.<br />

I learned a lot about how little I knew<br />

about St. Joseph.<br />

Hearing about the traditions surrounding<br />

St. Joseph bequeathed to us by the<br />

earliest Church Fathers presented quite<br />

a different and stronger appreciation of<br />

this role model of role models. He was<br />

so much more than some image of an<br />

elderly man, patiently helping Jesus<br />

with a saw in a carpenter’s shop. How<br />

many of us grew up in a devout Catholic<br />

home with one variation or the<br />

other of that theme hung on a wall next<br />

to the Blessed Mother or the Sacred<br />

Heart of Jesus?<br />

Bishop Fulton Sheen spoke of the<br />

“old” St. Joseph as an attempt to make<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Robert Brennan writes from Los Angeles, where<br />

he has worked in the entertainment industry,<br />

Catholic journalism, and the nonprofit sector.<br />

us feel more comfortable with Mary’s<br />

virginity status. But as Bishop Sheen<br />

believed, and what the Church Fathers<br />

taught, Joseph was a young man, and<br />

a man who, like Mary, had committed<br />

himself to God before any angel ever<br />

visited him in a dream.<br />

This retreat taught me St. Joseph<br />

and the Blessed Mother were poor,<br />

less by an accident of circumstances,<br />

than from an act of will. They may not<br />

have come from wealthy families, but<br />

the Church Fathers suggest they came<br />

from respected and prominent ones.<br />

Their consecrated paths of self-denial,<br />

out of obedience to God, makes their<br />

sacrifice even more poignant when<br />

we consider they both had options<br />

for easier lives. If poverty were their<br />

natural state, they would have had the<br />

same dignity, but the sacrificial nature<br />

of their actions would have been less<br />

profound.<br />

We pray to the “ever virgin” Blessed<br />

Mother at every Mass on the planet.<br />

That means St. Joseph was one as well<br />

and, as Bishop Sheen so beautifully<br />

and artfully explained, St. Joseph,<br />

being a young and virile man in every<br />

respect and yet, becomes a beacon of<br />

inspiration. If you think that makes him<br />

a toothless tiger, you try escaping from<br />

a homicidal maniac bent on murdering<br />

the child entrusted to your care.<br />

One of the current catchphrases<br />

today is “toxic masculinity.” It has been<br />

coined by people, I believe, with a<br />

skewed view of what real masculinity<br />

and femininity are in the first place.<br />

As I shuddered before the Blessed<br />

Sacrament at this special retreat, doing<br />

an internal inventory of how short of<br />

the mark I have been from St. Joseph’s<br />

model, I had a sense of peace.<br />

St. Joseph’s true masculine nature as<br />

protector, father, and husband is just<br />

the tonic for any faulty view of true<br />

masculinity, and I was joined by brothers<br />

in Christ taking that medicine.<br />

St. Joseph, pray for us.<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 29



When holiness makes you a war hero<br />

We’ve heard the stories of St. Joan of Arc’s bravery.<br />

But do we realize where it came from?<br />

As far as lives of saints go, the one<br />

belonging to St. Joan of Arc<br />

tends to resemble a Hollywood<br />

script more than a contemplative<br />

journey. She was, after all, a peasant<br />

who won the trust of the highest levels<br />

of power, a teenager who led men<br />

twice her age into battle.<br />

In the words of Pope Emeritus<br />

Benedict XVI, the French saint, whose<br />

feast the Church celebrates May 30,<br />

was “representative of those ‘strong<br />

women’ who fearlessly bore the great<br />

light of the Gospel in the complex<br />

events of history.”<br />

“The liberation of her people was<br />

a work of human justice which Joan<br />

carried out in charity, for love of Jesus,”<br />

he said at a 20<strong>11</strong> papal audience. “Her<br />

holiness is a beautiful example for lay<br />

people engaged in politics, especially<br />

in the most difficult situations. Faith is<br />

“St. Joan of Arc Imprisoned in Rouen,” 1819, by<br />

Pierre Henri Revoil. | METROPOLITAN MUSEUM<br />

OF ART<br />

the light that guides every decision.”<br />

It is that holiness — and the deep<br />

interior life which made it possible<br />

— that is the subject of Sven Stolpe’s<br />

“The Maid of Orleans: The Life and<br />

Mysticism of Joan of Arc,” (Ignatius<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Kris McGregor is the founder of<br />

DiscerningHearts.com, an online<br />

Catholic spirituality resource.<br />

Press, $18), which envisions St. Joan as<br />

a mystic, rather than simply a religious<br />

war hero.<br />

Vincent Ryan, Ph.D., assistant<br />

professor of history at Aquinas College<br />

in Nashville, who wrote the book’s<br />

foreword, shared his thoughts on the<br />

spiritual side of St. Joan that too often<br />

gets overlooked.<br />

Kris McGregor: This book goes<br />

right to the heart of St. Joan’s spiritual<br />

motivation.<br />

Vincent Ryan, Ph.D.: When you<br />

focus on St. Joan’s mystical spirituality<br />

and the mystical nature of how she<br />

endured suffering, it is like blinders<br />

are lifted from your eyes. You’re seeing<br />

something you’ve looked at all this<br />

time in a new perspective.<br />

McGregor: When Stolpe talks about<br />

her prayer life, and especially the<br />

flowering of her mysticism, he’s very<br />

tender.<br />

Ryan: Stolpe writes, “Joan’s real<br />

greatness is her willingness to die as<br />

shameful a death as the savior upon the<br />

cross. As a sacrifice for all the cowardly,<br />

the cold-hearted, and the arrogant,<br />

God must call upon the purest and<br />

bravest of souls to suffer innocently and<br />

to die.”<br />

Her imprisonment and her trial<br />

particularly get at her prayer life. It’s a<br />

theme throughout the book, but in her<br />

isolation and persecution, you really<br />

see Stolpe try to penetrate as much<br />

as he can into the spiritual side of St.<br />

Joan.<br />

That was her bedrock, how she<br />

embraced her suffering.<br />

McGregor: Her prayer life kept her<br />

rock steady. There’s a moment in the<br />

book where she is being approached<br />

by townspeople, and she’s becoming<br />

well known as the army campaigns.<br />

Even though the campaigns haven’t<br />

always been successful, people want to<br />

be around her. She’s warned in prayer,<br />

and I’m paraphrasing, “Be careful,<br />

don’t fall in love with the sound of your<br />

own voice.”<br />

Ryan: People gravitate to her, they’re<br />

drawn by her humble confidence.<br />

It might seem like a contradiction,<br />

but they are also attracted by her<br />

confidence in her mission, in the<br />

rightness of the cause, and that she’s<br />

doing God’s will. There’s no sense of<br />

haughtiness in her, just this humble<br />

confidence and determination.<br />

That, I think, makes her all the more<br />

attractive to those around her, and it<br />

inspires them, either on the battlefield<br />

or to stand strong once more against<br />

the English.<br />

McGregor: Talk to us about this time<br />

in France.<br />

Ryan: France is in a pretty desperate<br />

situation. The Hundred Years’ War<br />

had overrun many parts of the country.<br />

Most of the war was raids by mercenary<br />

groups and free companies that would<br />

trade sides between the English and<br />

the French, and they would ravage<br />

towns and villages and countrysides. It<br />

was a brutal war that greatly devastated<br />

France, and that very much impacted<br />

the average person and many of these<br />

villagers, like the village of Domrémy,<br />

where St. Joan grew up.<br />

It tells you how desperate the situation<br />

is, when you think about it, that this<br />

17-year-old girl who’s illiterate, she’s<br />

a peasant, she’s not from an elite<br />

background, comes onto the scene and<br />

is able to present herself to the court as<br />

someone who God wants to help lead<br />

the French into battle, to regain their<br />

lands and have the Dauphin crowned.<br />

There<br />

A late 15th-century depiction<br />

of the siege of Orléans of<br />

1429, from Les Vigiles<br />

de Charles VII by Martial<br />

d’Auvergne. | WIKIPEDIA<br />

was some<br />

skepticism<br />

about this.<br />

After her<br />

visit to the<br />

Dauphin’s<br />

court at<br />

Chinon, St. Joan undergoes a threeweek<br />

interview, where theologians and<br />

others are having discussions with her<br />

to try and get a handle on her spiritual<br />

claims, and see if they’re orthodox. And<br />

she passes that.<br />

And they’re willing to let a peasant<br />

teenage girl lead the army into battle.<br />

She’s not really making military<br />

decisions, but she’s still there as kind<br />

of a standard-bearer — motivating and<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 31

inspiring the men in that way is pretty<br />

remarkable.<br />

What sticks out is that St. Joan is not<br />

overwhelmed by her great success. Her<br />

prayer life keeps her grounded.<br />

McGregor: She was a contemplative.<br />

She needed that time of solitude, just<br />

like other women considered “typical<br />

mystics”: St. Catherine of Siena, St.<br />

Teresa of Ávila, and so many others.<br />

They did extraordinary things fueled by<br />

their lives of prayer.<br />

Ryan: St. Joan was an atypical<br />

commander. She was keen on<br />

emphasizing the importance of<br />

confession to the men she led,<br />

reminding them to go before battle.<br />

You don’t see a lot of commanders<br />

past and present emphasizing the<br />

sacramental life of the Church as a<br />

necessary component.<br />

You read that a lot of the men had<br />

not gone to confession in a long<br />

time, and were initially cynical<br />

about this, but they came to realize,<br />

even though some might have been<br />

skeptical or unsure about who this<br />

girl was and what she was about, the<br />

genuine nature of Joan’s piety, and<br />

her very straightforward, humble aura<br />

of confidence, of love of Christ and<br />

country.<br />

McGregor: St. Joan was captured<br />

outside of Compiègne by the<br />

Burgundians. She was taken to<br />

Rouen and tried by the English and<br />

a pro-English French bishop as a<br />

heretic. Certain theologians from the<br />

University of Paris relentlessly twist<br />

her visions and experiences in prayer.<br />

Even Charles, who she enabled to<br />

be crowned at Reims, doesn’t even<br />

attempt to ransom her.<br />

St. Joan is essentially abandoned by<br />

everyone who could have saved her.<br />

She is convicted as a heretic. They<br />

burn her at the stake while she cries<br />

out over and over again the holy name<br />

of Jesus.<br />

Her tribunal judges have her burned<br />

a second time to literally crush her<br />

body to ashes so they can be tossed<br />

into the Seine River. They wanted no<br />

relics of her to remain for the faithful<br />

of France to venerate. She was only 19<br />

years old.<br />

And then there was her Trial of<br />

Rehabilitation.<br />

Ryan: I think a lot of people don’t<br />

realize that happened. Around 1450,<br />

the French forces were able to retake<br />

the city of Rouen, where St. Joan’s<br />

heresy trial was, and where she was<br />

burned at the stake.<br />

This provides Charles the opportunity<br />

to right his wrongs, if you will, to give<br />

St. Joan the fair hearing she never<br />

received.<br />

There’s a political component to it.<br />

St. Joan was an important component<br />

of the Valois Dynasty’s reputation. A<br />

really good book on the retrial is by<br />

the great French medievalist Régine<br />

Pernoud, “The Retrial Of Joan Of Arc:<br />

The Evidence for Her Vindication.”<br />

Pernoud writes that this was not a<br />

kangaroo court. It’s quite the opposite<br />

of the dubious legal proceedings that<br />

St. Joan endured at Rouen.<br />

The retrial provides legitimate<br />

ecclesiastical proceedings to happen,<br />

authorized by the Church, to reveal<br />

the true nature of St. Joan.<br />

It’s about St. Joan the believer. What<br />

did she believe? Was she a heretic?<br />

Clearly, the verdict was no. So the goal<br />

was to undo the unjust determination<br />

of the trial that led to her execution<br />

almost 30 years before. It was critical<br />

to pave the way toward her later<br />

canonization in the early 20th century.<br />

St. Joan of Arc is very accessible<br />

as a saint. The combination of her<br />

patriotism and her spirituality — all<br />

her acts were ultimately rooted in her<br />

love of Christ.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>



Catholic road trips worth taking<br />

Marion Amberg’s delightful<br />

“Monuments, Marvels, and<br />

Miracles: A Traveler’s Guide<br />

to Catholic America,” is just out from<br />

Our Sunday Visitor ($27.95).<br />

The book is divided into seven<br />

sections: <strong>No</strong>rtheast, Mid-Atlantic,<br />

Southeast, Midwest, Mountain West,<br />

Southwest, and Pacific West. Each<br />

state, as well as the District of Columbia,<br />

has its own chapter.<br />

“America’s got faith! It’s all around<br />

us,” the Introduction begins, and<br />

Amberg proceeds to prove it. The<br />

entries may be notable because of<br />

architecture, or Old World traditions,<br />

or history, or relics, or “astounding<br />

answers to prayer.”<br />

Our cultural diversity is amply reflected:<br />

We American Catholics have roots<br />

in, among many other places, Viet-<br />

nam, Cuba, the Philippines, Poland,<br />

Lithuania, Ireland, Sicily, Switzerland,<br />

Portugal, Lebanon, and France.<br />

There are “fun facts,” trivia questions,<br />

and oddball “only-in-the-Church” oneoffs.<br />

The entries are short and snappy,<br />

with addresses, phone numbers, and<br />

websites. The accompanying maps are<br />

bright and easy to read, and the whole<br />

book is beautifully accessible.<br />

In fact, this is the kind of guide the<br />

kids could thumb through from the<br />

back seat of the van on a family road<br />

trip: “Hey Dad, let’s go to the Shrine of<br />

the Snowshoe Priest!” — a memorial<br />

to Ven. Frederick Baraga (1797-1868),<br />

beloved first bishop of today’s Diocese<br />

of Marquette, Michigan. “Mom, listen<br />

to this: St. Patrick Church in Barrow,<br />

Alaska, is the northernmost church<br />

on planet Earth!” “Please, can we<br />

The Shrine of the Snowshoe Priest, a statue of Ven.<br />

Bishop Baraga, overlooks the Keweenaw Bay in Michigan’s<br />

Upper Peninsula. | EHRLIF/ SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

stop at Our Lady of the Pines?” — a<br />

chapel in Parsons, West Virginia, built<br />

in 1957-58 by Lithuanian immigrant<br />

Peter Milkint and his wife Elizabeth in<br />

memory of their parents.<br />

Amberg takes us to shrines, retreat<br />

centers, cathedrals, cemeteries, museums,<br />

basilicas, convents, and abbeys.<br />

We learn of apparition sites, replicas of<br />

Holy Land sites, and exorcism sites.<br />

With all that, most of the entries are<br />

churches. And as I riffed through the<br />

pages of “Monuments, Marvels and<br />

Miracles,” I couldn’t help but think of<br />

a cross-country road trip I took myself<br />

a decade or so ago.<br />

34 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>

Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

At the time I was suffering a<br />

long-standing mental torment, a form<br />

of obsessive thinking that, like the<br />

thorn in the side of St. Paul, was resistant<br />

to all forms of prayer, confession,<br />

moral inventory, and outside help.<br />

My one thought, my only hope, was<br />

to stay close to Jesus. I came under the<br />

sway of something akin to the force<br />

that tells birds to fly south in winter.<br />

I decided to get in my 1996 Celica<br />

convertible and drive cross-country<br />

from LA to the coast of New Hampshire,<br />

where I was born and raised<br />

and where my mother at the time still<br />

lived.<br />

I would make it a pilgrimage, not by<br />

going to holy sites, but simply by going<br />

to Mass, wherever I was, every day.<br />

Over the course of seven weeks, I<br />

went to Mass every day. In Silver City,<br />

Arizona, just one other parishioner<br />

showed up besides me — a woman<br />

who handed me a breviary and invited<br />

me to join her in Morning Prayer<br />

while we waited for the priest to show<br />

up. In Hot Springs, Arkansas, we sat<br />

on folding chairs in a makeshift sanctuary<br />

for the memorial of St. Augustine,<br />

Aug. 28. In my hometown, I went<br />

to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal,<br />

where all my now-lapsed Catholic<br />

friends had attended CCD and grade<br />

school.<br />

I made my way back through Watsonville,<br />

Pennsylvania; Akron, Ohio; Madison,<br />

Wisconsin; Pipestone, Minnesota;<br />

Kearney, Nebraska; and Colorado<br />

Springs. My Blundstone boots, made<br />

to withstand the Australian outback,<br />

were in tatters.<br />

My mind continued to run in the<br />

same obsessive rut for years afterward.<br />

But something had happened to me<br />

on that pilgrimage. Catholic trivia is<br />

fine, but perhaps the one essential fact<br />

to memorize is this: “Healthy people<br />

don’t need a doctor: sick people do.”<br />

To have everything stripped away is a<br />

great gift. To know that under our own<br />

steam — our own willpower, intelligence,<br />

drive, charm, good looks, money,<br />

or whatever else we think we might<br />

have going for us — we can never<br />

begin to get where we want to go, is<br />

the revelation of a lifetime. “I am the<br />

vine, you are the branches. Without<br />

me, you can do nothing.” Christ never<br />

exaggerated. <strong>No</strong>thing.<br />

I hadn’t been looking for the remarkable,<br />

the noteworthy, the quirky, or<br />

Our Lady of the Pines<br />

Church, the smallest<br />

church in the 48<br />

states. | WIKIPEDIA<br />

even the beautiful.<br />

I needed an altar,<br />

a priest, however<br />

outwardly ordinary,<br />

stumbling, broken.<br />

“Ecclesia supplet”<br />

— the Church<br />

supplies — is a term of art in Catholic<br />

canon law, but to my mind it applies<br />

to our whole lives in Christ.<br />

The Church supplied. Christ poured<br />

himself out in the Eucharist, as he<br />

does each day, around the world, for<br />

all of us. So when you visit those monuments,<br />

marvels, and miracles, don’t<br />

forget to hang around for Mass: the<br />

biggest marvel and miracle of all.<br />

As Catholic author Flannery O’Connor<br />

observed, Mass involves the same<br />

act if it’s said out of a suitcase in a<br />

boiler room as it is said at St. Peter’s in<br />

Rome.<br />

“They think faith is a big electric<br />

blanket,” she also once said, “when of<br />

course it is the cross.”<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 35



Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

Converted and still converting<br />

St. Paul is a special patron to me.<br />

He isn’t any ordinary saint. He’s unique. And the<br />

Church calendar reflects the extraordinary role he<br />

played in God’s revelation. The Apostle to the Gentiles gets<br />

not one but two feasts. At the end of this month, on <strong>June</strong><br />

29, he shares a feast with St. Peter, with whom he died as a<br />

martyr as they consecrated Rome with their blood.<br />

On Jan. 25 the Church also celebrates the Conversion of<br />

St. Paul, for St. Paul’s conversion<br />

marks a milestone not<br />

only in his own life, but in the<br />

life of God’s people.<br />

Once a persecutor of Christ,<br />

he became the Lord’s preacher.<br />

Once an impediment<br />

to the Gospel, he became<br />

its great champion. Once a<br />

guardian of Israel as an ethnic<br />

preserve of holiness, St. Paul<br />

came to serve as a father in<br />

the worldwide (literally, Catholic)<br />

Church that included<br />

both Jews and Gentiles.<br />

The story of St. Paul’s<br />

conversion is told repeatedly<br />

in the New Testament,<br />

three times in the Acts of the<br />

Apostles and then, briefly,<br />

in St. Paul’s own correspondence<br />

with the Galatians and<br />

Corinthians. In all of history,<br />

no other conversion gets that<br />

kind of special coverage,<br />

with God himself as primary<br />

author of the narrative!<br />

It’s possible, though, to overemphasize<br />

the uniqueness of<br />

his conversion. When we consider the lives of the saints,<br />

we can be tempted to miss the lessons that apply especially<br />

to us.<br />

We’re all called to conversion — and we’re always called<br />

to conversion, even if we’ve been Catholics since the cradle<br />

and attending Mass daily for decades.<br />

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and<br />

become like children, you will never enter the kingdom<br />

of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). The word he used for “turn”<br />

is at the root of all our Christian terms and notions about<br />

conversion.<br />

Conversion is a turning toward God. It is a turning away<br />

from sin and from attachment to worldly things and worldly<br />

cares. This is the work of a lifetime. It’s not the matter of<br />

a moment. It’s not just “once and done.”<br />

Unless we turn — unless we become “converts” — we’re<br />

not Christian. Unless we make a habit of repentance, we’re<br />

not disciples of Jesus Christ. We must convert again and<br />

again. We celebrate our conversions<br />

whenever we go to<br />

confession. We celebrate our<br />

conversions, in fact, whenever<br />

we resist distraction and turn<br />

to our Father God in prayer.<br />

In his Apostolic Exhortation<br />

“Evangelii Gaudium” (“The<br />

Joy of the Gospel”), Pope<br />

Francis makes this matter<br />

abundantly clear. He is worried<br />

less about the enemies<br />

“out there” in the world than<br />

the enemies within — the<br />

vices and the unconverted<br />

habits that tempt us away<br />

from Christ and threaten our<br />

perseverance in the faith.<br />

He calls baptized Christians<br />

to “experience a conversion<br />

which will restore the joy<br />

of faith to their hearts and<br />

inspire a commitment to<br />

the Gospel.” He defines<br />

conversion as “openness to<br />

a constant self-renewal born<br />

of fidelity to Jesus Christ.”<br />

He emphasizes that even the<br />

“Conversion of St. Paul,” by<br />

Nicolas Bernard Lépicié, 1735-<br />


pope must undergo such a<br />

conversion.<br />

If we work on this, he says,<br />

all else will fall into place, in<br />

society and in the Church.<br />

St. Paul should be our model for conversion. His conversion<br />

was ongoing, lifelong, never easy, but always joyful.<br />

“Rejoice in the Lord always,” he said in his Letter to the<br />

Philippians (4:4). “Again I will say, Rejoice.” St. Paul is<br />

joyful not because of how good things are getting, but how<br />

good God is. That’s the fruit of true conversion.<br />

36 • ANGELUS • <strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>


“Walking with Jesus in Difficult Times” SCRC virtual event. Available to view online 24/7 for free. Event<br />

includes teachings by Father Bill Delaney, SJ, Sister Regina Marie Gorman, OCD, and Patti Mansfield, with a<br />

special video tribute to the late Father John H. Hampsch, CMF. Register for free at events.scrc.org.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 29<br />

Transitional Diaconate Ordination. Cathedral of Our<br />

Lady of the Angels, 9 a.m. Mass will be livestreamed at<br />

lacatholics.org/ordination<strong>2021</strong>.<br />

■ MONDAY, MAY 31<br />

Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries Memorial Day<br />

Mass. Chapel of the Risen Christ at Holy Cross Cemetery<br />

and Mortuary, 10 a.m. Celebrant: Archbishop José H.<br />

Gomez. Mass will be livestreamed and will not be open to<br />

the public.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JUNE 1<br />

LA Council of Catholic Women Rosary Conference<br />

Call. 8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. Prayer<br />

requests open. For more information, call Carol Westlake<br />

at 661-263-0435.<br />

■ THURSDAY, JUNE 3<br />

LA Council of Catholic Women Rosary Conference<br />

Call. 8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. Prayer<br />

requests open. For more information, call Carol Westlake<br />

at 661-263-0435.<br />

■ FRIDAY, JUNE 4<br />

Jesus Our Life: Virtual Retreat. Father Jeremiah Shryock,<br />

CFR, will offer live Zoom sessions on how to follow Jesus<br />

in practical, real, and concrete ways <strong>June</strong> 4-6. Register with<br />

a friend and get 2-for-1 deal with the code TOGETHER.<br />

Register at https://sacredheartretreathouse.com/<br />

events/060421/?source=500arch.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 5<br />

Priesthood Ordination. Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels, 9 a.m. Mass will be livestreamed at lacatholics.org/<br />

ordination.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JUNE 8<br />

Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries Memorial Mass.<br />

San Fernando Mission Rey de España, <strong>11</strong> a.m. Mass will be<br />

livestreamed on LA Catholics social media channels and<br />

will not be open to the public.<br />

LA Council of Catholic Women Rosary Conference<br />

Call. 8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. Prayer<br />

requests open. For more information, call Carol Westlake<br />

at 661-263-0435.<br />

■ THURSDAY, JUNE 10<br />

LA Council of Catholic Women Rosary Conference Call.<br />

8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. Prayer<br />

requests open. For more information, call Carol Westlake<br />

at 661-263-0435.<br />

■ SUNDAY, JUNE 13<br />

Five-Day Silent, Directed Retreat. Mary & Joseph Retreat<br />

Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes, <strong>June</strong> 13, 6<br />

p.m.-<strong>June</strong> 18, 1:30 p.m. Retreat led by spiritual directors<br />

Sister Pascazia Kinkuhaire, DMJ, Father Joseph Miller, SVD,<br />

and Sue Ballotti offers a unique, contemplative opportunity<br />

to commune with God in the solitude of our hearts. Cost:<br />

Single room: $600/person, commuter: $425/person. Call<br />

Jose Salas at 310-377-4867, ext. 250, for reservations or<br />

information.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JUNE 15<br />

LA Council of Catholic Women Rosary Conference Call.<br />

8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. Prayer requests<br />

open. For more information, call Carol Westlake at 661-263-<br />

0435.<br />

■ THURSDAY, JUNE 17<br />

Rosary for LA Priests with LA Council of Catholic<br />

Women. 8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. For<br />

more information, call Carol Westlake at 661-263-0435.<br />

■ SUNDAY, JUNE 20<br />

Father’s Day Virtual Rosary. The Archdiocese of Los<br />

Angeles and Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries will host<br />

a special prayer of thanksgiving for Father’s Day weekend<br />

at 2 p.m. Rosary will be livestreamed at facebook.com/<br />

lacatholics and catholiccm.org.<br />

“Pueblo Amante de Maria” Virtual Procession, Rosary,<br />

and Tagalog Mass. Incarnation Church of Glendale will<br />

host a virtual procession and rosary at 1:15 p.m. to celebrate<br />

500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. Tagalog Mass<br />

to follow. To join on livestream, visit the Incarnation Church<br />

Facebook page. For details, call 818-242-2579.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JUNE 22<br />

LA Council of Catholic Women Rosary Conference Call.<br />

8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. Prayer requests<br />

open. For more information, call Carol Westlake at 661-263-<br />

0435.<br />

■ THURSDAY, JUNE 24<br />

LA Council of Catholic Women Rosary Conference Call.<br />

8 p.m. Call 1-424-436-6200, code 410510#. Prayer requests<br />

open. For more information, call Carol Westlake at 661-263-<br />

0435.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 26<br />

Drive-Thru Food Distribution Event. St. Barnabas Church,<br />

3955 Orange Ave., Long Beach, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Sponsored<br />

by the LA County Sheriff’s Community Advisory Council.<br />

For more information, call Peter Ramirez at 213-440-2707.<br />

Items for the calendar of events are due four weeks prior to the date of the event. They may be emailed to calendar@angelusnews.com.<br />

All calendar items must include the name, date, time, address of the event, and a phone number for additional information.<br />

<strong>June</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong> • ANGELUS • 37

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