Angelus News | November 4, 2022 | Vol. 7 No. 22

On the cover: Los Angeles said goodbye to native son and construction magnate John Shea, a devout Catholic who made it his mission to steer millions toward Catholic schools at home and around the U.S. On Page 10, Tom Hoffarth hears from those who knew the modest benefactor best and details how Shea and his family effectively “changed the face of LA” through their generosity.

On the cover: Los Angeles said goodbye to native son and construction magnate John Shea, a devout Catholic who made it his mission to steer millions toward Catholic schools at home and around the U.S. On Page 10, Tom Hoffarth hears from those who knew the modest benefactor best and details how Shea and his family effectively “changed the face of LA” through their generosity.


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A QUIET<br />

HELPER<br />

Remembering<br />

John Shea,<br />

champion<br />

of LA’s Catholic<br />

schools<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 7 <strong>No</strong>. <strong>22</strong>

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 7 • <strong>No</strong>. <strong>22</strong><br />

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Los Angeles said goodbye to native son and construction<br />

magnate John Shea, a devout Catholic who made<br />

it his mission to steer millions toward Catholic schools<br />

at home and around the U.S. On Page 10, Tom Hoffarth<br />

hears from those who knew the modest benefactor best<br />

and details how Shea and his family effectively “changed<br />

the face of LA” through their generosity.<br />



Local members of the Fraternity of the Señor de<br />

los Milagros (Lord of Miracles) processed into the<br />

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for Mass Sunday,<br />

Oct. 16 with an image representing the 17th-century<br />

devotion from Peru. The annual gathering was the<br />

culmination of a special novena and was followed by a<br />

Peruvian food festival nearby at La Placita Church.


Pope Watch............................................... 2<br />

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.............................................. 32<br />

Events Calendar..................................... 33<br />

14<br />

18<br />

20<br />

<strong>22</strong><br />

26<br />

28<br />

30<br />

Twenty years later, PREP prison ministry keeps plugging away<br />

A chilling act of vandalism meets a parishioner’s labor of love<br />

What the synod’s surprise extension says about the pope’s plans<br />

Mike Aquilina gets started on a eucharistic explainer course<br />

Greg Erlandson: Is community the Church’s greatest need right now?<br />

How ‘Folk Horror’ makes fun of watered-down paganism<br />

Heather King on the clever charm of ‘Dearest Sister Wendy’<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 1


The medicine for faith<br />

The following is adapted from the<br />

Holy Father’s <strong>Angelus</strong> address on<br />

Sunday, Oct. 16, with the faithful and<br />

pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.<br />

The troubling question posed by<br />

Jesus: “When the Son of Man<br />

comes, will he find faith on<br />

earth?” (Luke 18:8) is a serious one.<br />

Let us imagine that the Lord came<br />

today on earth. Unfortunately, he<br />

would see many wars, much poverty<br />

and many inequalities. At the same<br />

time, he would see tremendous technical<br />

conquests, modern means, and<br />

people who are always running, who<br />

never stop.<br />

But would he find someone who<br />

dedicates time and affection to him,<br />

someone who would put him in first<br />

place?<br />

Above all, let us ask ourselves, “What<br />

would he find in me, if the Lord were<br />

to come today, what would he find<br />

in me, in my life, in my heart? What<br />

priorities would he see in my life?”<br />

We often focus on so many urgent<br />

but unnecessary things. We occupy<br />

and preoccupy ourselves with so<br />

many secondary realities. And perhaps<br />

without even recognizing it, we<br />

neglect what counts the most and we<br />

allow our love for God to grow cold<br />

bit by bit.<br />

And what is the remedy? Prayer.<br />

Prayer is the medicine for faith, it restores<br />

the soul. It needs to be constant<br />

prayer, however. If we must undergo<br />

treatment to get better, it is important<br />

to follow the treatment plan well,<br />

to take the medicine faithfully and<br />

regularly in the right way and at the<br />

right times. Or, like a houseplant, we<br />

need to water it consistently every day.<br />

We cannot soak it and then leave it<br />

without giving it water for a week!<br />

Even more so with prayer. We<br />

cannot live only on strong moments<br />

of prayer or occasional intense encounters,<br />

and then “go into hibernation.”<br />

Our faith would dry up. Like a<br />

houseplant, we need the daily water<br />

of prayer, we need time dedicated<br />

to God, so that he can enter into<br />

our time, into our lives; we need<br />

consistent moments in which we<br />

open our hearts to him so that he can<br />

daily pour out on us love, peace, joy,<br />

strength, hope, thus nourishing our<br />

faith.<br />

This is why Jesus tells his disciples<br />

— to everyone, not only to some! —<br />

“that they ought always to pray and<br />

not lose heart” (v. 1). <strong>No</strong>w someone<br />

might object: “But, how can I do that?<br />

I don’t live in a convent. I don’t have<br />

much time to pray!”<br />

Perhaps a wise spiritual practice for<br />

this real difficulty that the elderly,<br />

especially our grandparents, know<br />

well can come to our aid: very short,<br />

easy to memorize prayers that can be<br />

repeated often throughout the day,<br />

in the course of various activities, to<br />

remain “in tune” with the Lord.<br />

For example, as soon as we awaken,<br />

we can say, “Lord, I thank you and I<br />

offer this day to you.” Then, before an<br />

activity, we can repeat, “Come, Holy<br />

Spirit.” Between one thing and another,<br />

we can pray thus, “Jesus, I trust in<br />

you. Jesus, I love you.” Really short<br />

prayers that help us stay in contact<br />

with the Lord. How often we send instant<br />

messages to the people we love!<br />

Let’s do this with the Lord as well, so<br />

that our hearts remain connected to<br />

him.<br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong>: We pray for children<br />

who are suffering, especially those who are homeless,<br />

orphans, and victims of war; may they be guaranteed access to<br />

education and the opportunity to experience family affection.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>



Born to make a difference<br />

Several years ago, a journalist<br />

coined an expression. It occurred<br />

to him, he said, that there are<br />

two kinds of virtues: résumé virtues<br />

and eulogy virtues.<br />

Résumé virtues are the skills that<br />

qualify you for a job. Eulogy virtues<br />

are those qualities that you hope you<br />

will be remembered for at your funeral<br />

— things like honesty, faithfulness,<br />

courage, love.<br />

This was a clever way to describe a<br />

real tension that many of us feel in<br />

our daily lives. We all know that eulogy<br />

virtues are more important than<br />

résumé virtues. But because of the<br />

pressures of life, often we spend more<br />

time and energy building our career<br />

than we do in forming our character.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> for Catholics is the<br />

month of all saints and all souls. This<br />

month is given for us to reflect on our<br />

mortality, the meaning of our lives.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> is the time for us to think<br />

about the “eulogy virtues.”<br />

The Scriptures teach that our lives<br />

are brief, like grass or a breath of<br />

wind. We are here for a time and then<br />

gone. This is not cause for sadness. It’s<br />

a reminder of the joyful hope that we<br />

have in Jesus Christ.<br />

A few months back, the legendary<br />

Dodgers broadcaster, Vin Scully,<br />

passed away. He had a great résumé.<br />

But he also was known to be a fine<br />

Catholic gentleman who lived with<br />

virtue and integrity.<br />

I was interested to read in <strong>Angelus</strong><br />

that he kept a prayer from St. John<br />

Henry Newman on his desk: “God has<br />

created me to do him some definite<br />

service. He has committed some work<br />

to me which he has not committed to<br />

another. I have my mission … a part<br />

in this great work.”<br />

This prayer tells the truth. We are<br />

born for greater things. We are born in<br />

time, but we are made to dwell with<br />

God for eternity. Our lives matter, we<br />

are made to make a difference.<br />

We are called to be holy as Jesus is<br />

holy, called to be saints.<br />

Saints are not born, they are made.<br />

Saints are formed in the duties and<br />

details of daily life. Holiness consists<br />

in all the habits of virtue that we develop<br />

out of all the decisions that we<br />

make every day to do what is right, to<br />

seek what is true, good, and beautiful.<br />

Jesus teaches us that there are only<br />

two ways to live. We can live for the<br />

love of God and the love of others, or<br />

we can live selfishly, out of love for<br />

ourselves.<br />

The saints teach us that in the evening<br />

of our lives, everything else will<br />

fall away, and we are judged by our<br />

love.<br />

I quoted those words in a short<br />

eulogy I delivered last week at the<br />

funeral Mass for John Shea, who I<br />

was privileged to know as a friend and<br />

mentor.<br />

John had all the résumé virtues. He<br />

was remarkably successful in business,<br />

a leader in the community, one of<br />

the nation’s great philanthropists. He<br />

and his wife, Dorothy, built Catholic<br />

schools throughout Los Angeles and<br />

in other parts of the country, and they<br />

changed tens of thousands of lives.<br />

But in the end, what defined him<br />

was love. “For the love of Christ<br />

impels us,” St. Paul said. That same<br />

love impelled John to serve and to try<br />

to make life better for others.<br />

Love is the legacy that all of us want<br />

to leave behind. Love in our families,<br />

love in our friendships, love in our<br />

relationship with God.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> for Catholics is the month of all saints<br />

and all souls, given for us to reflect on our mortality,<br />

the meaning of our lives.<br />

<strong>No</strong> matter what our position in<br />

life is, we are called to be saints and<br />

heroes among the people that God<br />

entrusts to our care and the people<br />

that God puts in our lives. In our homes<br />

and families, in school, at work,<br />

in our neighborhoods and communities.<br />

In the lives of the saints, there is this<br />

story: One day a saint came to a large<br />

Catholic university. He was talking to<br />

one of the deans, who was complaining<br />

about things at the school.<br />

The saint said to him, “Why are you<br />

here?” He replied, “I came here to<br />

help build this university.”<br />

The saint said, “<strong>No</strong>, my son, you<br />

have come here to become a saint. If<br />

you succeed in doing that, you will<br />

have accomplished everything.”<br />

The most important thing in our<br />

lives is not our résumé. Love is the<br />

most important thing. Because love<br />

is what makes us saints. If we seek<br />

holiness and bring love, we will have<br />

accomplished everything, as the saint<br />

said.<br />

Pray for me and I will pray for you.<br />

In this month of all souls and all<br />

saints, let us ask Mary, our Blessed<br />

Mother, to help us to become the<br />

saints we are made to be.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 3

WORLD<br />

The 3D recreation of the body of Christ in Salamanca, Spain. | NICOLÁS DE CÁRDENAS/ACI PRENSA<br />

■ Spanish artists create 3D Shroud of Turin model<br />

The first hyper-realistic recreation of the body of Christ made its public debut<br />

in Spain on Oct. 14.<br />

The sculpture is based on 3D studies using data obtained from the Shroud of<br />

Turin. A group of artists under the direction of curator Álvaro Blanco used latex,<br />

silicone, and even human hair to depict Christ in rigor mortis with details down<br />

to skin pores and freckles.<br />

Blanco said that, when he first saw the finished sculpture, he was convinced<br />

that “he was before Jesus, he was before the image of the body of Jesus of Nazareth.”<br />

“The mystery has become flesh, but it has become flesh to die for us, and then<br />

rise again,” said Bishop José Luis Retana of Salamanca, who hosted the statue<br />

in the sacristy of the city’s cathedral. “I believe that the exhibition can foster the<br />

faith of believers and arouse the faith of nonbelievers.”<br />

The statue is part of an exhibit called “The Mystery Man,” which includes<br />

research on the Shroud of Turin and the realities of scourging and crucifixion.<br />

It is expected to remain in Salamanca for the next several months before touring<br />

different parts of the world.<br />

■ Mozambique’s<br />

unholy war<br />

A leading Catholic peace organization<br />

said “petro-dollars,” not Islamic<br />

terrorism, is chiefly to blame for<br />

violence in the African country of<br />

Mozambique.<br />

The country’s Cabo Delgado<br />

region, which is rich in natural gas<br />

and precious stones, has seen fighting<br />

from a group called al-Shabab<br />

since 2017, which the government<br />

has labeled Islamist terrorists. This<br />

summer, al-Shabab launched a new<br />

offensive that has displaced 80,000<br />

people and killed at least 4,000.<br />

But Johan Viljoen, director of the<br />

Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI)<br />

said that the area’s Islamic majority is<br />

at peace with the Christian minority,<br />

and that Mozambique is using the<br />

label “terrorist” to achieve international<br />

support for relocation aims.<br />

“The easiest way to get people off<br />

the land is by fueling this so-called<br />

insurgency,” he said in a television<br />

interview. “The people have to flee<br />

and the permission [that the government<br />

grants for them to occupy<br />

land] is canceled and the land can<br />

be given to multinational corporations.”<br />

■ Infant euthanasia in Quebec?<br />

Canadian pro-life advocates fear the country is<br />

moving closer to “legalized infanticide.”<br />

Dr. Louis Roy of the Quebec College of Physicians,<br />

which sets medical standards in the region,<br />

said that euthanasia can be appropriate for infants<br />

born with “severe malformations” in an Oct. 7<br />

address to a government committee studying assistant<br />

suicide. Canada expanded legal euthanasia<br />

and assisted suicide to the mentally ill in 2021.<br />

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the<br />

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told Catholic<br />

<strong>News</strong> Agency Oct. 12 that euthanizing infants, or<br />

infanticide, “is very different than killing competent<br />

adults by euthanasia.”<br />

“Canada cannot begin killing babies when<br />

doctors predict there is no hope for them,” said-<br />

Krista Karr, executive vice president of Inclusion<br />

Canada. “Predictions are far too often based on<br />

discriminatory assumptions about life with a<br />

disability.”<br />

Mummies on the move — Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, president of the Pontifical<br />

Commission for Vatican City State, and Peruvian Foreign Minister César Landa Arroyo<br />

exchange documents after signing an agreement Oct. 17 in the Vatican Museums to<br />

repatriate three mummies that have been in the Vatican collection since 1925. | VATICAN<br />

MUSEUM<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

NATION<br />

■ Christ crosses<br />

the Mississippi<br />

The bishops of Davenport, Iowa, and<br />

Peoria, Illinois, made history by leading<br />

the first eucharistic procession to cross<br />

the Mississippi River.<br />

“The Eucharist unites us,” Davenport<br />

Bishop Thomas R. Zinkula said in his<br />

homily before the Oct. 8 procession.<br />

“Whether we live on the east or the west<br />

side of the Mississippi River, Catholic<br />

Christians share a communal love.<br />

What is the purpose of our journey with<br />

and as the body of Christ?”<br />

An estimated 1,000 Catholics joined in<br />

the procession, which began at Sacred<br />

Heart Cathedral in Davenport and continued<br />

five miles to St. Mary Church in<br />

Moline for benediction. It crossed over<br />

the Mississippi River at the Government<br />

(Arsenal) Bridge, where Peoria Bishop<br />

Louis Tylka received the monstrance<br />

from Bishop Zinkula.<br />

Bishop Thomas R. Zinkula of Davenport carries the<br />

Blessed Sacrament over the Mississippi River Oct. 8.<br />


The major faith of a minor leaguer — A display dedicated to the memory of Philadelphia Phillies minor league<br />

pitcher Corey Phelan is seen in the vestibule of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York,<br />

during his funeral Mass Oct. 19. Phelan, 20, died Oct. 12 after a six-month battle with cancer. Lauded by family,<br />

friends, and teammates as a person of great faith and courage, Phelan would often use the words “God has me”<br />

when addressing his illness. | CNS/GREGORY A. SHEMITZ<br />

■ New Jersey diocese saves money going green<br />

The Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, is going all-in on solar panels and<br />

energy-efficient equipment to implement the environmental vision of Pope Francis’<br />

encyclical, “Laudato Si” (“Praise Be to You”).<br />

One thousand, two hundred twenty-eight solar panels were added to Immaculata<br />

High School in Somerville, making it the first Catholic school in the diocese to<br />

adopt the renewable energy source. Several parishes and the chancery also have<br />

been equipped with solar panels.<br />

The switch to solar has three benefits, according to the official who oversees management<br />

of the diocese’s properties.<br />

“We are aligned with Pope Francis, it’s environmentally friendly, and it’s fiscally<br />

responsible,” Steve Machalek told The Catholic Spirit. “Over 25 years, we will likely<br />

save $3 million, so that’s the financial beauty of it.”<br />

■ Is Catholic health care the real villain?<br />

A leading figure in Catholic health care is pushing back against a Washington Post<br />

report that warned of Catholic hospitals limiting abortion and contraception services.<br />

The Oct. 11 article claimed the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade is “revealing the growing<br />

influence of Catholic health systems and their restrictions on reproductive services.”<br />

It comes as the Biden administration is expected to issue regulations requiring<br />

hospitals to perform abortions or transgender surgeries, regardless of religious beliefs.<br />

“They’re trying to get at us for a long time, and now they’re using Dobbs,” Sister<br />

Mary Haddad, RSM, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, told<br />

America magazine. “But quite honestly, nothing has changed. This has always been<br />

the way Catholic [health networks] provided care in their communities. It’s not as if<br />

we’ve done anything different.”<br />

“[W]e have a large and stellar history of providing care in communities where no<br />

one wants to go and no one wants to stay,” she said. “This country would be in dire<br />

straits without Catholic health care. I think people are smart enough in Washington<br />

that they’re not going to let that happen.”<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 5

LOCAL<br />

■ Guadalupe, St. Juan<br />

Diego images on tour<br />

in LA churches<br />

The pilgrim images of Our Lady<br />

of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego<br />

began their annual tour through the<br />

Archdiocese of Los Angeles with a<br />

kickoff celebration at Our Lady of<br />

Guadalupe “La Lupita” Church in<br />

El Monte on Oct. <strong>22</strong>. The “tardeada”<br />

(“evening”) was a fundraising<br />

event with singing, dancing, food,<br />

and raffles open to all LA Catholics.<br />

Each year, the images travel to<br />

different parishes around the archdiocese,<br />

where they are venerated at<br />

special Masses and celebrations.<br />

The Guadalupe image is an exact<br />

digital reproduction of the original<br />

image in Mexico City’s Basilica of<br />

Our Lady of Guadalupe and has<br />

been blessed and touched to the<br />

original image.<br />

For a full schedule of events, visit<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com/Peregrina<strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>.<br />

■ Catholic student rally<br />

promises a pro-life push<br />

The Shrine Auditorium near USC<br />

will host this year’s annual Christian<br />

Service 4LIFE event <strong>No</strong>v. 9. The<br />

daylong event typically draws thousands<br />

of junior high and high school<br />

students from local Catholic schools.<br />

This year’s theme, “Life and Science,”<br />

will feature benediction,<br />

confession opportunities, talks from<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez and<br />

Father Robert Spitzer, as well as performances<br />

from magician Giancarlo<br />

Bernini and Catholic musician Joe<br />

Melendrez.<br />

The event is a joint collaboration between<br />

LIFEsocal, a pro-life nonprofit<br />

organization, and the archdiocese’s<br />

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

aimed at advancing the pro-life cause<br />

through positive change instead of<br />

politics.<br />

For more information, visit lifesocal.<br />

org.<br />

■ New Thomas Aquinas president<br />

Paul O’Reilly officially begins tenure<br />

Thomas Aquinas<br />

College’s (TAC)<br />

new president<br />

promised a<br />

rededication<br />

to the school’s<br />

“unique mission”<br />

of pursuing truth<br />

in learning at<br />

his inauguration<br />

ceremony on St.<br />

Pope John Paul<br />

II’s feast day.<br />

Paul J. O’Reilly,<br />

O’Reilly with several of his children and his granddaughter at his inauguration<br />

celebration Oct. <strong>22</strong>. | THOMAS AQUINAS COLLEGE<br />

Ph.D., is TAC’s fifth president and a 1984 graduate of the liberal arts school. He<br />

was sworn in Oct. <strong>22</strong> at the college’s Santa Paula campus, where he promised to<br />

carry out his new responsibilities with “great vigor and fidelity.”<br />

“The pursuit of truth requires discipline and method, it requires guidance and<br />

docility, it requires the right dispositions of the soul,” O’Reilly said in remarks after<br />

the ceremony, which was attended by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez<br />

and Bishop William Byrne of Springfield, Massachusetts, where TAC has a second<br />

campus.<br />

O’Reilly and his wife, Peggy, a fellow TAC alum, have 12 children, several of<br />

whom have attended or are currently attending the college.<br />

Celebrating missionary spirit — Msgr. Terrance Fleming poses with LA Catholic school students honored at the<br />

annual Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) Mass Oct. 19. Third-grader Violet Hsu from All Souls World<br />

Language School in Alhambra (second from left) and sixth-grader Liliana Espinoza from St. Gregory the Great<br />

in Whittier (far right) were national finalists for this year’s MCA Christmas Artwork Contest. The other three<br />

students received $500 scholarships from the Lay Mission-Helpers Association as winners of an essay contest<br />

about the importance of mission. From left to right: Angelina Escudero (seventh grade, St. James, Torrance), Jason<br />

Cheung (sixth grade, Our Lady of the Assumption, Ventura) and Gavin Scarlett (eighth grade, Our Lady of the<br />

Assumption, Ventura). | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

Y<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

V<br />


Letters to the Editor<br />

A marriage story that rings true<br />

Jenny Gorman Patton’s article in the Oct. 21 issue, “Where love<br />

remains,” resonated with me so much! I married my non-Catholic,<br />

Methodist-raised husband in 1982. He agreed to let me raise our children Catholic<br />

— in his words, “It was close enough to Christian.”<br />

By 1995 at the Easter Vigil, he had joined the Catholic Church after seeing<br />

the outreach programs at the parish I attended, St. Lawrence Martyr Church in<br />

Redondo Beach. In 2004, he joined the diaconate program and was ordained in<br />

2009.<br />

For all those years, I never pushed him, never asked him to come to Mass, just<br />

quietly took our children. Apparently it was God that opened his eyes to the community,<br />

to the words in the Bible, and the wonderfulness of the Eucharist.<br />

— Kim Sheckler, St. Lawrence Martyr Church, Redondo Beach<br />

“The idea that bringing<br />

children into the world in a<br />

21st-century-level quality<br />

of life would be somehow<br />

ill-advised compared to<br />

other periods of world<br />

history requires some<br />

unpacking.”<br />

~ Patrick T. Brown, in “Why Some Americans Don’t<br />

Want Kids” for Institute for Family Studies Oct. 18.<br />

Admiration from this side of the Mississippi<br />

Thank you for the wonderful, uplifting article on <strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com on the<br />

eucharistic procession that made history crossing the Mississippi River from Iowa<br />

to Illinois. There is nothing like a peaceful public display of faith as a way to<br />

preach the Gospel and give glory to God.<br />

— Marilyn Boussaid, St. James Church, Redondo Beach<br />

Y<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 />

Young disciples<br />

“Christianity is not<br />

something that we<br />

have invented; instead,<br />

it is something that we<br />

have received.”<br />

~ Bishop Robert E. Barron, writing for Word on Fire<br />

on “Dei Verbum and the 60th Anniversary of Vatican<br />

II” Oct. 13.<br />

“These are the death<br />

camps of America.”<br />

~ Eva Edl, an 87-year-old concentration camp<br />

survivor and pro-life champion, discussing abortion<br />

clinics in an article from Live Action Oct. 10.<br />

“We can’t just enjoy<br />

our newfound flexibility<br />

when it is built on the<br />

backs of those who can<br />

never have it.”<br />

~ David Cloutier, in an Oct. 17 U.S. Catholic essay,<br />

“Remote work has real ramifications for society.”<br />

Hundreds of Catholic school students gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Oct. 19 for the<br />

annual Missionary Childhood Association Mass. | 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 parish that you’d<br />

like to share? Please send to editorial @angelusnews.com.<br />

“Water is not alive. It<br />

supports life.”<br />

~ Wesley J. Smith of National Review, in “Science<br />

Journal Claim: ‘Ocean’ Is a ‘Living Entity’ with<br />

Inherent Rights.”<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 7

IN EXILE<br />


Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronaldrolheiser.com.<br />

Celebrating 50 years of ordination<br />

Fifty years ago, on an overcast,<br />

cold, fall day in the gymnasium<br />

of the local public high school,<br />

I was ordained to the priesthood.<br />

Beyond the gray sky, another thing<br />

marked the event. This was a tender<br />

season for my family and me. Both<br />

our parents had died (and died young)<br />

within 1 1/2 just prior to this and we<br />

were still somewhat fragile of heart. In<br />

that setting, I was ordained a priest.<br />

Within the few words allowed in a<br />

short column, what do I most want<br />

to say as I mark the 50th anniversary<br />

of that day? I will borrow from the<br />

novelist Morris West, who begins his<br />

autobiography this way: “When you<br />

reach the age of seventy-five, there<br />

should only be three phrases left in<br />

your vocabulary, thank you, thank<br />

you, and thank you!”<br />

I just turned 75, and reflecting on<br />

50 years of priesthood, many thoughts<br />

and feelings come to mind; life, after<br />

all, has its seasons. However, the<br />

feeling that overrides all others is that<br />

of gratitude, thank you, thank you,<br />

and thank you! Thank you to God, to<br />

grace, to the Church, to my family,<br />

to the Oblates, to the many friends<br />

who have loved and supported me, to<br />

the wonderful schools I have taught<br />

in, and to the thousands of people I<br />

have encountered in those 50 years of<br />

ministry.<br />

My initial call to the priesthood and<br />

the Oblate congregation was not the<br />

stuff of romance. I didn’t enter religious<br />

life and the seminary because<br />

I was attracted to it. The opposite.<br />

This was not what I wanted. But I felt<br />

called, strongly and clearly, and at the<br />

tender age of 17 made the decision to<br />

enter religious life.<br />

Today, people may well raise questions<br />

about the wisdom and freedom<br />

of such a decision at age 17, but<br />

looking back all these years later, I can<br />

honestly say that this is the clearest,<br />

purest, and most unselfish decision<br />

that I have yet made in my life. I have<br />

no regrets. I wouldn’t have chosen<br />

this life except for a strong call that I<br />

initially tried to resist; and, knowing<br />

myself as I do, it is by far the most<br />

life-giving choice that I possibly could<br />

have made.<br />

I say this because, knowing myself<br />

and knowing my wounds, I know too<br />

that I would not have been nearly<br />

as generative (nor as happy) in any<br />

other state in life. I nurse some deep<br />

wounds, not moral ones, but wounds<br />

of the heart, and those very wounds<br />

have been, thanks to the grace of God,<br />

a source of fruitfulness in my ministry.<br />

Moreover, I have been blessed in<br />

the ministries that have been assigned<br />

to me. As a seminarian, I dreamed<br />

of being a parish priest, but that<br />

was never to be. Immediately after<br />

ordination, I was sent to do graduate<br />

studies in theology and then taught<br />

theology at various seminaries and<br />

theology schools for most of these 50<br />

years, save for 12 years that I served<br />

as a provincial superior of my local<br />

Oblate community and on the Oblate<br />

General Council in Rome.<br />

I loved teaching! I was meant to be a<br />

religious teacher and religious writer<br />

and so my ministry, all of it, has been<br />

very satisfying. My hope is that it has<br />

been generative for others.<br />

In addition, I have been blessed by<br />

the Oblate communities within which<br />

I lived. My ministry usually had me<br />

living in larger Oblate communities<br />

and through these 50 years, I estimate<br />

that I have lived in community with<br />

well over 300 different men. That’s a<br />

rich experience.<br />

Moreover, I have always lived in<br />

healthy, robust, caring, supportive,<br />

and intellectually challenging communities<br />

that gave me the spiritual<br />

and human family I needed. There<br />

were tensions at times, but those<br />

tensions were never not life-giving.<br />

Religious community is unique, “sui<br />

generis.” It isn’t family in the emotional<br />

or psychosexual sense, but family<br />

that is rooted in something deeper<br />

than biology and attraction — faith.<br />

There have been struggles, of course,<br />

not least with the emotional issues<br />

around celibacy and living inside a<br />

loneliness which (as Father Thomas<br />

Merton once said) God condemned.<br />

“It is not good for someone to be<br />

alone” (Genesis 2:18). It is here too<br />

where my Oblate religious community<br />

has been an anchor. Vowed<br />

celibacy can be lived and can be<br />

fruitful, though not without community<br />

support.<br />

Let me end with a comment that<br />

I once heard from a priest who was<br />

celebrating his 85th birthday and his<br />

60th anniversary of ordination. Asked<br />

how he felt about it all, he said, “It<br />

wasn’t always easy! There were some<br />

bitter, lonely times. Everyone in my<br />

ordination class left the priesthood,<br />

every one of them, and I was tempted<br />

too. But I stayed and now, looking<br />

back after 60 years, I’m pretty happy<br />

with the way my life turned out!”<br />

That sums up my feelings too after<br />

50 years — I’m pretty happy with the<br />

way it has turned out — and deeply,<br />

deeply grateful.<br />

8 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>


Brother Hilarion O’Connor with John and Dorothy Shea<br />

in 2019, when the couple received the Evangelii Gaudium<br />

award from St. John’s Seminary. | ST. JOHN’S SEMINARY<br />

The full impact of<br />

John Shea’s quiet<br />

generosity to Catholic<br />

education at home and<br />

nationwide may never<br />

be known.<br />


More than 2,000 people filled<br />

the Cathedral of Our Lady<br />

of the Angels for the Oct. 21<br />

funeral of John Shea, a Los Angeles<br />

native who purposefully steered clear<br />

of attention and acknowledgement<br />

for being one the most prolific donors<br />

to U.S. Catholic schools in the last<br />

several decades.<br />

Members of John Shea’s family (left) and students from Cathedral High School (right) sat in the front row at the late<br />

philanthropist’s funeral at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Oct. 21. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

hea<br />

dium<br />

RY<br />

Shea, whose family’s giving is<br />

believed to be one of the largest in<br />

Catholic school philanthropy in the<br />

last several decades, died Oct. 16 at<br />

the age of 96. Among those paying<br />

tribute at the funeral were students<br />

from some 50 LA-area Catholic<br />

schools that Shea had helped over the<br />

years.<br />

“Our friend, John Shea, left a legacy<br />

of love,” said Los Angeles Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez in eulogy remarks.<br />

“Love in his family, love in his friendships,<br />

and love in this city.”<br />

Much of the support from John and<br />

wife, Dorothy, was given to schools in<br />

the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. By<br />

modest estimates, his family foundation<br />

steered hundreds of millions of<br />

dollars over the last 35 years to create<br />

tens of thousands of scholarships, fund<br />

more than 1,000 school renovations,<br />

and support the operations of more<br />

than 500 campuses across the country.<br />

“John did everything behind the<br />

scenes,” said Archbishop Gomez,<br />

who was the principal celebrant of<br />

the funeral Mass. “He didn’t do it to<br />

get awards, to be recognized. I doubt<br />

whether most of the people he helped<br />

even knew his name.”<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong> and its predecessor publication,<br />

The Tidings, have reported<br />

on the multitude of projects over the<br />

years supported by grants from the<br />

Sheas, including in Compton, La<br />

Puente, Downey, East and South LA,<br />

<strong>No</strong>rth Hollywood, Long Beach, and<br />

Bell Gardens.<br />

The construction magnate’s philanthropic<br />

approach could be summed<br />

up in a rare quote given at the unveiling<br />

of renovations at two South LA<br />

Catholic schools, St. Raphael and St.<br />

Malachy, in 2005:<br />

“If you really want to help inner-city<br />

families, the best place to put your<br />

efforts and your dollars is in Catholic<br />

schools,” he then told The Tidings.<br />

“They are very, very effective.”<br />

According to Brother Hilarion<br />

O’Connor, the operations director<br />

and Strategic Capital Projects leader<br />

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

Angels, the Shea Foundation has been<br />

involved in 15 to 25 projects a year.<br />

They expanded past LA to areas of the<br />

Coachella Valley, San Bernardino,<br />

and San Diego, as well as Arizona,<br />

Seattle, and New York.<br />

Brother O’Connor said it started in<br />

1993, when Shea financed three bungalows<br />

to be built on an archdiocesan<br />

school campus. Brother O’Connor<br />

had been in the education department<br />

for 10 years and got to know<br />

Dorothy Shea, one of the founding<br />

members of the Catholic Education<br />

Foundation (CEF). When Brother<br />

O’Connor moved into the construction<br />

office, he worked more directly<br />

with John Shea to consult with him<br />

and Dorothy on worthwhile projects.<br />

“I remember one instance when a<br />

school in a poor area needed help,<br />

and John was in a quandary whether<br />

he should support it or not,” he said.<br />

“He called me and after about 10<br />

minutes, going back and forth, I didn’t<br />

seem to be helping him too much to<br />

make up his mind. He finally said to<br />

me: ‘You know, if I don’t do it, then<br />

who will?’ So that’s how it came to<br />

be.”<br />

Most of the recent construction<br />

projects have focused on modernizing<br />

current school sites with STEM<br />

technology and infrastructure, Brother<br />

O’Connor pointed out. During their<br />

last conversation, he said, Shea asked<br />

from his hospital bed how some of<br />

their current projects were moving<br />

along.<br />

Still, he said Shea enjoyed making<br />

campus visits in recent years to see the<br />

progress of the students’ education.<br />

Brother O’Connor<br />

saw Shea’s “biding<br />

Catholic faith”<br />

in the Pasadena<br />

resident’s regular<br />

participation in<br />

daily Mass at St.<br />

Philip the Apostle<br />

Church.<br />

“There were<br />

many things he<br />

Love of God Sister Azucena<br />

del Rio, then the<br />

principal of St. Martha<br />

School in Valinda, at an<br />

official ribbon-cutting<br />

of the school’s new<br />

additions with Shea in<br />

2013. | ANGELUS FILE<br />

PHOTO<br />

was approached with, but he never<br />

diverted from the mission to support<br />

inner-city Catholic schools,” said<br />

Brother O’Connor. “And it was a<br />

tremendous partnership with Dorothy<br />

as well as with his family.”<br />

Among those concelebrating the<br />

funeral Mass with Archbishop Gomez<br />

were Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange,<br />

Bishop Alberto Rojas of San Bernardino,<br />

LA Auxiliary Bishop David G.<br />

O’Connell, retired Auxiliary Bishop<br />

Gerald Wilkerson, and several dozen<br />

priests. Msgr. Clem Connolly, the pastor<br />

emeritus of Holy Family Church<br />

in South Pasadena and a close friend<br />

of Sheas, was the homilist.<br />

At an award ceremony honoring<br />

John and Dorothy at St. John’s Seminary<br />

in Camarillo in 2019, Bishop<br />

O’Connell recalled how the Sheas<br />

were “the saving grace” for the schools<br />

of the two South LA parishes where<br />

he was pastor, St. Michael’s and St.<br />

Frances X. Cabrini.<br />

When the couple were honored<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 11

y the Leadership Roundtable with<br />

the prestigious J. Donald Monan, SJ<br />

Distinguished Catholic Philanthropy<br />

Medal the same year, Archbishop<br />

Gomez described the Sheas as “a<br />

quiet source of hope for people who<br />

are usually forgotten in our city — the<br />

poor, the immigrants, those living on<br />

the margins from paycheck to paycheck;<br />

and especially their children.”<br />

“So many of these young people are<br />

the first in their families to get out of<br />

high school and go on to graduate<br />

college,” said the archbishop at the<br />

Washington, D.C., event. “Many are<br />

now leaders in the communities they<br />

came from.”<br />

John and Dorothy Shea, married<br />

for 54 years, had eight children, 31<br />

grandchildren and one great-grandson<br />

(all are Catholic school educated).<br />

John was predeceased by his first wife,<br />

Susan, who died in 1967.<br />

Known in business circles for the<br />

success of his families’ generational<br />

construction companies, John Shea<br />

was a graduate of Los Angeles High<br />

School and USC’s School of Engineering.<br />

He was a regular on the Los<br />

Angeles Business Journal’s list of the<br />

wealthiest people in the city. His last<br />

estimated wealth was $2.3 billion.<br />

But in a release announcing his<br />

passing, his family said Shea discovered<br />

“his true calling” in supporting<br />

Catholic education in the inner-city.<br />

And for all that Shea channeled<br />

into projects, Paul Escala, the senior<br />

director and superintendent of the<br />

Department of Catholic Schools, said<br />

it would be shortsighted to try measuring<br />

his impact on Catholic education<br />

in dollar figures.<br />

“John’s generosity was transformative<br />

in the impact on the life of the<br />

children,” said Escala. “Each dollar is<br />

translated into a high-quality school<br />

environment where principals and<br />

teachers care and know each child<br />

like Christ knows everyone by name.<br />

That level of impact can’t be measured<br />

or quantified monetarily.”<br />

According to Escala, Shea saw<br />

Catholic schools as “ground zero of<br />

where every aspect of social life is<br />

met.”<br />

“For someone with incredible worth<br />

and privilege, this is a man who<br />

didn’t need accolades, which is what<br />

I admired deeply about him. He just<br />

wanted to see good in the world and<br />

it was his responsibility to meet needs<br />

and give back.”<br />

Escala said he<br />

talked last with<br />

Shea on his<br />

birthday with<br />

an update on<br />

the Educator<br />

Investment<br />

Initiative, recently increased from<br />

$6 million to $7.5 million, which<br />

the Shea Family Foundation had<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez<br />

greets Dorothy Shea during<br />

the Rite of Committal for<br />

John Shea in the Cathedral of<br />

Our Lady of the Angels mausoleum.<br />


engineered in collaboration with the<br />

Catholic Community Foundation of<br />

Los Angeles (CCF-LA). Its goal is to<br />

retain and recruit more than 650 fulltime<br />

teachers and 74 principals in the<br />

archdiocese’s greatest-need areas.<br />

The Shea family is also behind a twoyear<br />

program called Vision To Learn,<br />

with intentions to give free eyeglasses<br />

to as many as 20,000 students in the<br />

Archdiocese of LA.<br />

CCF-LA’s relationship with the Shea<br />

family began in 2015 with the creation<br />

of the John and Dorothy Shea<br />

Charitable Fund. CCF-LA manages<br />

the Shea’s charitable assets.<br />

Kathy Anderson, president and executive<br />

director of CCF-LA, has worked<br />

with Shea for more than 20 years. She<br />

estimates that more than 1 million<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

students have attended schools<br />

“touched by his vision to provide our<br />

most financially deserving students<br />

with safe, updated, and brand-new<br />

facilities.”<br />

“He recognized that tuition was not<br />

affordable for many, if not most, so<br />

tuition assistance was added to his<br />

vision,” said Anderson, the former<br />

executive director of CEF.<br />

When contacted over the phone by<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong>, Escala was in Washington<br />

D.C., at a leadership summit with a<br />

delegation from the National Catholic<br />

Education Association (NCEA) for<br />

a leadership summit.<br />

That day, the group was at the U.S.<br />

Capitol to advocate on behalf of<br />

the 1.6 million children who attend<br />

Catholic schools.<br />

“I feel John with me right now, reinforcing<br />

us to share the stories of our<br />

young people and invoke the good<br />

work of our schools,” said Escala.<br />

“We’re doing all this through John’s<br />

generosity.”<br />

The family asked that in lieu of flowers,<br />

donations in his name be made to<br />

the Catholic Education Foundation<br />

of Los Angeles, which is celebrating<br />

its 35th anniversary this year. CEF<br />

said it has generated some $<strong>22</strong>5<br />

million for tuition assistance over the<br />

year, much of it from Shea. The CEF<br />

website — cefdn.org — now has a<br />

link for donors on Shea’s behalf.<br />

“It was my privilege to know him,<br />

to learn from him, and to work with<br />

him in support of the mission of the<br />

Catholic Education Foundation,”<br />

said CEF Executive Director Doug<br />

Cooper.<br />

“The impact of John Shea’s generosity<br />

throughout the Archdiocese of Los<br />

Angeles will be felt for generations to<br />

come. His passion for Catholic education<br />

was immeasurable. We take<br />

seriously the responsibility to ensure<br />

that Mr. Shea’s legacy be honored<br />

and fulfilled.”<br />

Tom Hoffarth is an award-winning<br />

journalist based in Los Angeles.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 13

In the mercy business<br />

For 20 years, PREP has harnessed<br />

hope and the power of community<br />

to accomplish the unthinkable.<br />


Staff and supporters at PREP’s offices in LA. | PREP<br />

Sister Mary Sean Hodges and Tony Kim could hardly<br />

believe their ears.<br />

They had just received the news that their prison<br />

ministry, the Partnership for Re-Entry Program (PREP),<br />

had been awarded $800,000, the biggest grant in its history.<br />

It was an anniversary gift of sorts from the Conrad N.<br />

Hilton Foundation, coming as PREP celebrates 20 years of<br />

restorative justice in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.<br />

“We were shocked,” said Kim, the director of PREP. “<strong>No</strong>w<br />

that it’s settled in we feel very grateful and blessed.”<br />

Founded by Sister Mary Sean in 2002, PREP aims to help<br />

those with life sentences become productive members of<br />

society through in-prison mentoring and correspondence<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

courses that focus on personal growth. Completing the<br />

courses not only benefits inmates emotionally, but gives<br />

them a better chance of being released early.<br />

“The old thinking was, you go into prison and you come<br />

out in a pine box,” said Sister Mary Sean. “People also<br />

believed that if you did wrong you belonged in prison and<br />

you couldn’t change. Restorative justice believes otherwise.”<br />

The “Beacon of Hope” grant will allow PREP to add staff,<br />

new office equipment, and better services. Employees, usually<br />

former inmates, will teach more classes on the inside<br />

— and on the outside, connect parolees with skills training,<br />

jobs, and housing.<br />

PREP estimates it has worked with some 400,000 participants<br />

over the years nationwide. As a restorative justice<br />

ministry, it has not only the inmates it serves in mind, but<br />

the wider ripple effect on families and communities.<br />

“So many of our inmates, once they get on the road to<br />

healing, absolutely want to, have to, give to others,” explained<br />

Sister Mary Sean. “They know who they are now,<br />

they’re good guys.”<br />

Mark Baker didn’t feel like a good guy for a long time. He<br />

served 43 years for first degree murder stemming from a<br />

fight with another man.<br />

“I lived with that death every day,” said Baker, a PREP<br />

alum. “I still do.”<br />

But he credits PREP courses with helping him work<br />

toward achieving some peace and, eventually, his release<br />

from prison. He now cares for his elderly parents — once<br />

upon a time, an unimaginable scenario.<br />

“I used to be self-centered,” admitted Baker. “The modules<br />

changed my thought patterns. They made me think<br />

inward. I owe Sister Mary Sean my life.”<br />

The Dominican sister marvels out loud about the longevity<br />

of her ministry (“How did it really get to 20?”), but<br />

keeps plugging away. She writes up to 40 letters a week<br />

to inmates and visits them, too, making her a well-known<br />

figure inside California correctional institutions. <strong>No</strong>t only<br />

is she unafraid to meet the inmates, but it’s her favorite part<br />

of the job.<br />

“It has such a strong influence on that inmate, it says you<br />

care enough to come,” said Sister Mary Sean.<br />

Chris Wedel, 40, couldn’t agree more. The PREP participant<br />

was released from prison this summer after serving 19<br />

years for second degree murder.<br />

“Everything that comes from that organization comes<br />

from the love of God and an appreciation for those of us<br />

who are genuinely broken and need someone to believe<br />

in us when we can’t believe in ourselves,” said Wedel, his<br />

voice breaking. “That’s the reason there’s thousands of<br />

‘lifers’ on the outside now and they’re making a difference<br />

in our community.”<br />

Sister Mary Sean’s philosophy of restorative justice, honed<br />

through the years, is that inmates need to take accountability<br />

for their actions, go through rehabilitation, then get a<br />

fresh start. She believes lengthy sentences are outdated and<br />

unnecessary.<br />

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) supports<br />

PREP’s model, noting it creates a safer society for all of us<br />

and calls Sister Mary Sean a leader in the movement.<br />

“We’re in the mercy business. … It’s part of our calling<br />

as a Church,” said Debbie McDermott, CCC Restorative<br />

Justice associate director. “[Sister Mary Sean] sticks to her<br />

mission and makes lives better.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>t all inmates stick with the program, however. Others<br />

may stop and start again, but Sister Mary Sean said there’s<br />

usually a moment of transformation. For Wedel, it was<br />

when his daughter cut off contact.<br />

“I had nothing left,” recalled Wedel. “My daughter was<br />

gone. She was the only person left and she was finally at<br />

a point where she was just tired of my behavior and the<br />

choices I was making.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>t only did Wedel take in-prison courses, he eventually<br />

helped write one designed for inmates like himself, trying<br />

to overcome childhood sexual abuse. Wedel said now that<br />

he’s out, he’s interning for a nonprofit, going to school, and<br />

reconnecting with his daughter.<br />

After two decades of experience, Sister Mary Sean believes<br />

childhood trauma is one of the major contributors to a life<br />

of crime, saying whatever “wound goes into the soul” will<br />

eventually come out. PREP alum Lawrence Alvitre had<br />

plenty of time to reflect on that while serving 26 years for<br />

PREP founder Sister Mary Sean Hodges with the program’s director, Tony Kim. | PREP<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 15

kidnapping for the purpose of robbery.<br />

“I was raised in a gang family, gang<br />

culture,” recalled Alvitre. “My father<br />

was an alcoholic, he was abusive to<br />

my mother. [PREP] allowed me to see<br />

how that played a part in why I hung<br />

around the people I did, why I made<br />

the choices I did … it allowed me to<br />

change my life.”<br />

Beyond dealing with childhood trauma,<br />

inmates can take courses tackling<br />

other issues like anger management<br />

or racism. They receive certificates<br />

upon completion that can be shared<br />

in parole hearings. California statistics<br />

show lifers, once on the outside, only<br />

have a 3% recidivism rate.<br />

“People who desire to change can,”<br />

said an emotional Alvitre. “I lost my<br />

parents when I was on the inside. I<br />

know life is short. I’m 51 already, so<br />

I’m experiencing everything I missed.<br />

That was the beauty of me opening up<br />

my eyes.”<br />

Inmates like Alvitre are what keep<br />

the 81-year-old sister motivated.<br />

“Every morning when I pray I say,<br />

‘Lord, are we ever going to make it to<br />

where we want to go on this?’ It takes<br />

so long,” shared Sister Mary Sean.<br />

“But here it is: When you get into the<br />

stories of a person, it’s life-changing<br />

and that helps you stay in there.”<br />

Sister went from teaching Catholic<br />

high school students to teaching inmates<br />

when she needed a new direction.<br />

Part of her inspiration: a beloved<br />

brother who struggled with addiction<br />

and ended up in prison.<br />

“He wanted so badly to change his<br />

life,” said Sister Mary Sean. “He<br />

would go into a program, come back<br />

home, abuse, and then repeat the<br />

cycle. I think that was always with me.<br />

What is it that we can do to change<br />

our lives? My brother was a big influence.”<br />

Kim also does the work for a very<br />

personal reason. At age 17, he was<br />

charged with homicide and spent the<br />

next 32 years behind bars.<br />

“I never thought I would be out<br />

here … no lifer was coming out at<br />

the time,” said Kim. “I told myself, if<br />

I ever get a chance, this is what I was<br />

going to do.”<br />

Just one week after his release, Kim<br />

started volunteering at the office he<br />

now runs. He said he hates to call<br />

PREP a “program” and thinks of it<br />

as more of a community of friends or<br />

“accountability partners” that call one<br />

another for support or advice.<br />

In August, hundreds of those<br />

friends celebrated Sister Mary Sean<br />

and PREP’s anniversary at St. Basil<br />

Church in Koreatown. Sister credits<br />

her success to having a good team and<br />

a good vision. She joked she won’t<br />

stop working as long as Kim helps<br />

with the computers.<br />

“I don’t think there’s a day that goes<br />

by that I don’t ask for help. So I’ll do<br />

anything but technology,” she said.<br />

“I just want to keep going until I<br />

can’t.”<br />

Natalie Romano is a freelance writer<br />

for <strong>Angelus</strong> and the Inland Catholic<br />

Byte, the news website of the Diocese<br />

of San Bernardino.<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

A chance<br />

to rebound<br />

How gratitude inspired<br />

one parishioner’s<br />

generous response to<br />

a vandal’s attack on a<br />

beloved statue.<br />


In the darkness of an early Saturday<br />

morning last March 19, Father<br />

Steve Davoren and his golden lab,<br />

Blue, came out the back exit of the<br />

rectory at St. Mel’s Church in Woodland<br />

Hills for a pre-dawn run.<br />

But before he could start, the priest’s<br />

heart sank when he saw what the<br />

floodlights pointing at the church’s<br />

iconic statue cluster of Jesus and<br />

three children revealed.<br />

Grainy security footage only captured<br />

the arm of a person repeatedly<br />

swinging an unidentified weapon at<br />

the statues. Pieces fell from what has<br />

been a longtime centerpiece of the<br />

parish, in a highly visible spot off of<br />

busy Ventura Boulevard.<br />

Chunks of the marbled concrete that<br />

came off the twisted, exposed rebar<br />

were everywhere: in the raised flower<br />

bed flanked by white rose bushes, in<br />

the parking lot, on the sidewalk next<br />

to the parish office.<br />

Father Davoren immediately called<br />

the church’s business manager, Lisa<br />

Feliciano, who threw on a hoodie and<br />

came right over.<br />

“It was horrific,” said Feliciano. “But<br />

now we were putting pieces in a box,<br />

crying. I couldn’t believe anyone<br />

could have this much hate to do this.”<br />

Feliciano filed a police report along<br />

with the surveillance video, which<br />

she described as “two minutes of<br />

torture.”<br />

“I see it and it still makes me cry,”<br />

she said.<br />

It fell to Father Davoren to explain<br />

the attack to parishioners the next day<br />

at Sunday Masses, preaching understanding<br />

and forgiveness in the place<br />

of anger and frustration.<br />

“To me, the irony of this was the person<br />

who did this Michael Stucchi poses in<br />

had to be a broken front of the restored statue<br />

person himself,” of Jesus with children at St.<br />

said Father Davoren,<br />

pastor at St. Hills. | TOM HOFFARTH<br />

Mel’s Church in Woodland<br />

Mel’s since 2018.<br />

“Through Scripture<br />

we know we need to pray for<br />

people who feel they have to destroy.”<br />

Michael Stucchi heard Father Davoren’s<br />

message loud and clear that<br />

weekend. A systems software engineer<br />

by trade, Stucchi has found satisfac-<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

tion working for the parish to restore<br />

four in-church statues in the past as<br />

well as Nativity scene statues.<br />

He has been their humble go-to,<br />

fix-it man. But this was something<br />

bigger.<br />

“When I spoke to Father Steve<br />

about it a few days after it happened,<br />

I admit, I was angry, mad, indignant<br />

because the statues were special to<br />

me and my family,” said Stucchi,<br />

whose son works in the parish office.<br />

“But then I heard his sadness and<br />

concern for the mental state of the<br />

person who damaged the statues.<br />

That’s so much like him. This really<br />

altered my paradigm from reactive to<br />

proactive — to ask if I could look into<br />

ways of repairing them.<br />

“Father Steve’s compassion is what<br />

Jesus would want us to have. All the<br />

people who work here are in the same<br />

mindset of love and forgiveness. We<br />

have no idea what terrible things are<br />

in that person’s life.”<br />

Stucchi and Feliciano started the<br />

reconstruction by collecting and<br />

studying photographs of the statues<br />

to examine all their features. The<br />

depiction of Jesus is about 6 feet tall<br />

and weighs about 1,000 pounds; each<br />

child on its own concrete base weighs<br />

about 300 pounds.<br />

The collection dates to the 1950s,<br />

when the parish was first built. It had<br />

once been part of a fountain display<br />

in front of the school office and later<br />

relocated near the church’s west<br />

doors in the 1990s when the new<br />

parish center was built.<br />

Feliciano had contacted the archdiocese<br />

about filing an insurance claim,<br />

and was told it might cost as much as<br />

$30,000 to repair.<br />

Stucchi said he could take care of it,<br />

with no charge to the parish.<br />

That didn’t surprise Feliciano, who<br />

calls Stucchi “a true angel.”<br />

“Look at the difference between<br />

someone filled with hate and destruction<br />

… and then someone like Michael<br />

who spends his time showing<br />

pure love and joy putting it back together,”<br />

said Feliciano. “Both are our<br />

neighbors, they live among us. How<br />

can there be such a vast difference in<br />

someone’s heart and soul?”<br />

Stucchi experimented with different<br />

combinations of compounds<br />

— crushed marble, white Portland<br />

cement and waterproof exterior grout.<br />

Most of the work had to be done on<br />

site, with some pieces taken to his<br />

home garage.<br />

“I was super cautious about not making<br />

anything worse,” said Stucchi,<br />

noting the materials often dried too<br />

quickly in the summer heat, causing<br />

more delays. “The saddest part to me<br />

was the damage to Jesus. We know<br />

enough about the pain and suffering<br />

Jesus went through in his life, but to<br />

see an image of him obliterated, that’s<br />

too much.”<br />

Slowly and meticulously, Stucchi<br />

has pieced together the statues to<br />

where they may even be in better<br />

condition now because of the ways<br />

weather and age already caused<br />

cracks and decay before the vandalism.<br />

Seven months later, Stucchi has a<br />

few finishing touches — and plenty of<br />

gratitude — still left.<br />

“As a priest’s sacrifice and commitment<br />

are beyond my comprehension<br />

or capabilities, having seen their<br />

dedication and that of the other volunteers<br />

and staff, I felt it’s the least I<br />

can do,” said Stucchi. “<strong>No</strong>twithstanding,<br />

the Catholic Church was always<br />

there for me when I was a child and<br />

young adult.”<br />

From a business perspective, Feliciano<br />

said the experience has taught<br />

her about the need for better security.<br />

The statues also were previously<br />

vandalized in 2021 when someone<br />

painted the faces a green color, but<br />

they were easy enough to repaint<br />

white.<br />

“As a parishioner, the kindness of<br />

Michael reminds me that there is<br />

goodness in the world,” said Feliciano,<br />

who noted the 100 degree<br />

days Michael spent<br />

Details of the damaged<br />

statues of Jesus<br />

and a child.<br />


with the statue last<br />

summer. “I am reminded<br />

to pray for<br />

the person who was<br />

filled with enough<br />

hate to do the damage<br />

and thank God<br />

for blessing us with Michael.”<br />

Father Davoren believes that “to<br />

some degree, we’re all broken and<br />

damaged, but our faith in the love of<br />

God allows people like Michael the<br />

tenderness to painstakingly put those<br />

pieces of the statue back together.<br />

“It’s about giving people the right<br />

amount of grace to rebound in their<br />

lives.”<br />

Tom Hoffarth is an award-winning<br />

journalist based in Los Angeles.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 19

Pope Francis meets with leaders of the Synod of Bishops’ general secretariat in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Oct. 14. Pictured with the pontiff are Xavière<br />

Missionary Sister Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary; Bishop Luis Marín de San Martín, undersecretary; Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, relator general; Cardinal<br />

Mario Grech, secretary-general; and Father Giacomo Costa, SJ, consultant. | CNS/VATICAN MEDIA<br />

The pope’s synodal endgame?<br />

What Francis’ decision to extend the ongoing Synod of Bishops<br />

on Synodality means for the Church — and his legacy.<br />


ROME — Pope Francis made<br />

headlines Oct. 16 when he<br />

announced the extension of the<br />

ongoing Synod of Bishops on Synodality<br />

by an additional year, prompting<br />

many to question the reasoning for<br />

prolonging the three-year process even<br />

further.<br />

In his <strong>Angelus</strong> address to pilgrims in<br />

St. Peter’s Square that day, Pope Francis<br />

voiced hope that the move would<br />

“foster understanding of synodality as a<br />

constitutive dimension of the Church,<br />

and help everyone to live it in a journey<br />

of brothers and sisters who bear<br />

witness to the joy of the Gospel.”<br />

Though notoriously difficult to define<br />

even among Church hierarchy, “synodality”<br />

is generally understood to refer<br />

to a collaborative and consultative style<br />

of management in which all members,<br />

clerical and lay, participate in making<br />

decisions about the Church’s life and<br />

mission.<br />

Typically a monthlong gathering of<br />

bishops at the Vatican, this synod has<br />

been reconceived as a multiphase<br />

process beginning with a local consultation<br />

carried out among pastors and<br />

faithful around the world.<br />

The first diocesan stage of the synod<br />

lasted from October 2021 to April <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong><br />

and consisted of a consultative process<br />

outlined by synod organizers. A second<br />

“continental” phase began in September<br />

and will last through March 2023,<br />

with continental bishops’ conferences<br />

comparing and evaluating the results<br />

of the diocesan consultations.<br />

For the United States, which does not<br />

belong to a continental conference<br />

of the bishops, the second phase will<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

e a meeting between American and<br />

Canadian bishops.<br />

A final, universal phase was set to<br />

conclude the process during next year’s<br />

Oct. 4-29 gathering in Rome, but with<br />

Pope Francis’ announcement Sunday,<br />

that universal phase is now extended<br />

to 2024.<br />

“Synodality” has become a buzzword<br />

of the Pope Francis papacy, and in the<br />

wake of his announcement Sunday,<br />

many observers have asked what’s behind<br />

the extension, especially given the<br />

notorious lack of participation among<br />

laypeople, especially in many western<br />

nations, whereas participation in places<br />

like Asia or Africa, while still low, was<br />

significantly higher.<br />

Some have suggested that Pope<br />

Francis is recreating his ecumenical<br />

council, something like a “Vatican III”<br />

to discuss and evaluate the failed implementation<br />

of reforms that came out<br />

of the Second Vatican Council, which<br />

launched 60 years ago this month.<br />

An op-ed in the Vatican newspaper<br />

L’Osservatore Romano recently argued<br />

that a so-called “Vatican III” is “an<br />

open question” and something potentially<br />

needed in the current social and<br />

ecclesial climate.<br />

Some have pondered whether the<br />

pope is trying to put off difficult conversations<br />

likely to end in controversy<br />

over ideological differences. Others<br />

assert he is attempting to garner more<br />

participation, that he has a specific unstated<br />

objective in mind at the end of<br />

it all. There’s also the theory that he’s<br />

hitting back against those inclined not<br />

to take the synod too seriously, since it<br />

won’t last much longer.<br />

One thing is for certain: With this<br />

announcement Pope Francis has more<br />

or less communicated his intention to<br />

stick around until at least 2024, given<br />

the significant weight that synodality<br />

holds in his papacy and his commitment<br />

to this particular synod process.<br />

For those who compare the synod to<br />

some form of Pope Francis’ own Vatican<br />

council, it’s helpful to look back at<br />

what he said during his Mass commemorating<br />

the 60th anniversary of<br />

Vatican II, when he cautioned that the<br />

goal of the devil is to “sow the darnel of<br />

division” within the Church.<br />

Opened by St. Pope John XXIII on<br />

Oct. 11, 1962, and closed by St. Pope<br />

Paul VI on Dec. 8, 1965, the Second<br />

Vatican Council produced sweeping<br />

reforms and laid the groundwork for<br />

landmark developments in interfaith<br />

relations, the liturgy, and the Church’s<br />

own pastoral perspective and approach<br />

to the world.<br />

These reforms caused intense<br />

controversy and were met with fierce<br />

resistance by some who argued that<br />

the Church was watering down and<br />

abandoning the essentials, while others<br />

were accused of taking the reforms too<br />

far, becoming lax. Much of the resistance<br />

to the Vatican II reforms exists to<br />

If that’s the case, then the “endgame”<br />

is not recreating the Second Vatican<br />

Council — or calling a new one<br />

altogether.<br />

On one hand, the synod calls for<br />

broad consultation on challenges,<br />

divisions, and hot-button topics of the<br />

day beginning at the local level, with<br />

a special emphasis on a greater role<br />

and voice for the laity. On the other<br />

hand, Pope Francis is clearly targeting<br />

issues he sees as feeding divisions, such<br />

as clericalism in the Church and the<br />

embrace of the Traditional Latin Mass.<br />

Whether Pope Francis’ “endgame” is<br />

any of these things is anyone’s guess.<br />

But as his pontificate moves into what<br />

may be its final years, the concept of<br />

synodality and Pope Francis’ attempts<br />

to push forward the reforms of the Second<br />

Vatican Council are shaping up to<br />

be the protagonists of his legacy.<br />

Elise Ann Allen is a senior correspondent<br />

for Crux in Rome, covering the<br />

Vatican and the global Church.<br />

It could be argued that Pope Francis blames<br />

misinterpretation of Vatican II and its reforms for<br />

many of the divisions splitting Catholics today,<br />

and that synodality is his idea of a remedy.<br />

this day.<br />

At the Mass celebrating the 60th<br />

anniversary of Vatican II, Pope Francis<br />

condemned extreme reactions to the<br />

council on either side, saying, “both<br />

the ‘progressivism’ that lines up behind<br />

the world and the ‘traditionalism’ that<br />

longs for a bygone world are not evidence<br />

of love, but of infidelity.”<br />

“Let us not give in to his enticements<br />

or to the temptation of polarization,”<br />

he said, asking, “How often, in the<br />

wake of the council, did Christians<br />

prefer to choose sides in the Church,<br />

not realizing that they were breaking<br />

their mother’s heart!”<br />

In this context, it could be argued that<br />

Pope Francis blames misinterpretation<br />

of Vatican II and its reforms for many<br />

of the divisions splitting Catholics<br />

today, and that synodality is his idea of<br />

a remedy.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 21

A stained-glass window in a monastery in Austria. | WOLFGANG SAUBER/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />


In the ‘Holy! Holy! Holy!’ of the Eucharist, the Church worships God in<br />

awe, on earth as in heaven.<br />


The U.S. bishops are encouraging<br />

Catholics to deepen their love for the<br />

Eucharist as part of the ongoing National<br />

Eucharistic Revival initiative.<br />

In light of that effort, the following<br />

is the first in a series from <strong>Angelus</strong><br />

contributing editor Mike Aquilina<br />

on the meaning and makeup of the<br />

Eucharistic Prayers.<br />

Holy! Holy!”<br />

So we sing (or say) at<br />

“Holy!<br />

every celebration of the<br />

Mass.<br />

We call it the “Sanctus” (Latin for<br />

“Holy”) or the “Trisagion” (Greek<br />

for “Thrice-Holy”), and it marks the<br />

beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer,<br />

the most important moment in our<br />

worship.<br />

In fact, God’s people have used it<br />

in worship since centuries before<br />

the coming of Jesus. In many ways,<br />

it is the song at the heart of biblical<br />

religion.<br />

The prophet Isaiah provided history’s<br />

first witness to the use of the hymn.<br />

He heard the seraphim sing it on a<br />

particular day in the year King Uzziah<br />

died, around 740 B.C.<br />

While serving as a priest in the<br />

Temple, Isaiah suddenly had a vision<br />

of the worship that takes place in<br />

heaven. He saw six-winged seraphim<br />

<strong>22</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

standing at God’s throne. “And one<br />

called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy,<br />

holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole<br />

earth is full of his glory’ ” (Isaiah 6:3).<br />

Awestruck and terrified, Isaiah recognized<br />

that he stood in the sight of<br />

God, his judge, and he was profoundly<br />

conscious of his own sins: “Woe is<br />

me! For I am lost; for I am a man of<br />

unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst<br />

of a people of unclean lips” (v. 5).<br />

Ever afterward the hymn was integral<br />

to Jewish piety. It appears in ancient<br />

texts, some of which predate the<br />

Gospel, such as the “First Book of<br />

Enoch,” the “Testament of Abraham,”<br />

and the “Apocalypse of Moses.” There<br />

is evidence that it was used in the<br />

liturgy of the Jerusalem Temple. And<br />

it was sung in the synagogue — and<br />

still is today. Scholars believe that in<br />

the practice of the Jerusalem Temple<br />

the “Sanctus” was followed by a “Benedictus,”<br />

an invocation that begins,<br />

“Blessed is he…” (perhaps Ezekiel<br />

3:12 or Psalm 72:19).<br />

Chanted in these places, the “Holy,<br />

Holy, Holy” represents a correspondence<br />

between worship on earth and in<br />

heaven. God’s people raise the same<br />

hymn offered by his angels.<br />

For the Jews this was a sign of restoration,<br />

of harmony between God and<br />

his people. In one apocryphal text,<br />

Adam recalled that the “Trisagion”<br />

was the mid-morning prayer of the<br />

seraphim, and in Eden he could hear<br />

them sing it. “But after I transgressed<br />

against the law,” he added, “I no<br />

longer heard that sound.”<br />

With the arrival of the Gospel, the<br />

song remained at the heart of the<br />

Bible’s understanding of worship. In<br />

the Book of Revelation, John recorded<br />

heavenly visions like Isaiah’s, but he<br />

described them in greater detail. In<br />

chapter 4 he showed us “four living<br />

creatures,” each with six wings, “and<br />

day and night they never cease to sing,<br />

‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God<br />

Almighty, who was and is and is to<br />

come!’ ” (Revelation 4:8).<br />

The “Sanctus” likely became part<br />

of the Church’s ritual public worship<br />

at a very early date. Pope St. Clement<br />

mentioned it in his letter to the<br />

Corinthians, written in the second<br />

half of the first century. Several<br />

bishops of the early Church discussed<br />

the “Sanctus” in their preaching for<br />

Easter Week, when it was customary<br />

to explain the parts of the Mass. Both<br />

Cyril of Jerusalem and Theodore of<br />

Mopsuestia believed that its use in the<br />

liturgy was a sign of the reconciliation<br />

won through Jesus Christ.<br />

For Cyril, the “Sanctus” was a necessary<br />

prelude to the Lord’s eucharistic<br />

presence. “Then having sanctified<br />

ourselves by these spiritual hymns,”<br />

he said, “we beseech the merciful<br />

God to send forth his Holy Spirit<br />

upon the gifts lying before him; that<br />

he may make the Bread the Body of<br />

Christ, and the Wine the Blood of<br />

Christ.”<br />

Like the Jews before them, the early<br />

Christians often paired the “Sanctus”<br />

with a “Benedictus,” this one from<br />

the New Testament: “Blessed is he<br />

who comes in the name of the Lord”<br />

(Matthew 21:9, 23:39).<br />

So it has been since the Temple<br />

was standing in Jerusalem. So it has<br />

been since the visions of Isaiah and<br />

John. The “Holy, Holy, Holy” rises<br />

as an expression of awe and wonder,<br />

unworthiness, and praise. It is a sign<br />

that God’s presence is imminent.<br />

In Hebrew, to repeat an adjective<br />

three times was to express its superlative<br />

form. In English we say something<br />

is “holy,” or “holier” in comparison<br />

to something else, or “holiest” in<br />

comparison to everything else. In this<br />

hymn a congregation makes clear that<br />

no one and nothing is as holy as God<br />

is holy.<br />

For Christians, moreover, the<br />

thrice-holy hymn is a suggestion of<br />

the three-personed God: Father, Son,<br />

and Holy Spirit.<br />

Modern scholars believe that the<br />

first Christians drew the texts of their<br />

Eucharistic Prayers from simple Jewish<br />

meal blessings. But they upped the<br />

solemnity by adding the “Sanctus.”<br />

Said the great historian of the Mass,<br />

Enrico Mazza: “It serves to define<br />

the nature of the [earthly] liturgy as<br />

participation in the celestial liturgy.”<br />

And so Pope Clement of Rome,<br />

around A.D. 67, said to the Christians<br />

of Corinth: “Let us consider<br />

the whole multitude of his angels,<br />

how they … cried, ‘Holy, holy, holy,<br />

[is] the Lord of Hosts; the whole<br />

creation is full of his glory.’ And let<br />

us therefore, conscientiously gathering<br />

together in harmony, cry to him<br />

earnestly, as with one mouth, that we<br />

may be made partakers of his great<br />

and glorious promises.”<br />

Mike Aquilina is author of “The Mass<br />

of the Early Christians” and a contributing<br />

editor to <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

The revival<br />

continues<br />

in LA<br />

Following the archdiocesan<br />

Eucharistic Congress<br />

celebrated at the Cathedral<br />

of Our Lady of the Angels<br />

Aug. 13, regional Eucharistic<br />

Congresses are being planned<br />

in each of the five pastoral<br />

regions of the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles as part of the<br />

National Eucharistic Revival.<br />

The first two regional<br />

congresses will be held in<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong>:<br />

San Gabriel Pastoral Region<br />

Saturday, <strong>No</strong>v. 5,<br />

9 a.m.-1 p.m.,<br />

Sacred Heart Church,<br />

344 W. Workman St.,<br />

Covina, CA 91723.<br />

San Pedro Pastoral Region<br />

Saturday, <strong>No</strong>v. 19,<br />

9 a.m.-1 p.m.,<br />

St. Gertrude Church,<br />

7025 Garfield Ave.,<br />

Bell Gardens, CA 90201.<br />

In addition, a special<br />

Eucharistic Revival event for<br />

young adults is planned for:<br />

Saturday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m.,<br />

Holy Family Church,<br />

209 E. Lomita Ave.,<br />

Glendale, CA 91205.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 23

Mary’s<br />

race to the<br />

finish line<br />

This fall, the Getty<br />

showcases medieval<br />

musings about the<br />

mother of God’s<br />

everyday life.<br />


To Catholics, the Virgin Mary<br />

has long been, among other<br />

things, the mother of God, the<br />

ultimate model of faith, and our most<br />

powerful intercessor.<br />

At the same time, she also was a<br />

simple woman, a human being who<br />

suffered like us, both physically and<br />

spiritually. She experienced poverty,<br />

precariousness, and loss, so it’s no surprise<br />

her everyday life as a spouse and<br />

mother has fascinated Christians from<br />

the beginning.<br />

The new “Visualizing the Virgin<br />

Mary” exhibit at the Getty Center Museum<br />

brings that religious fascination<br />

to a secular space, aiming to capture<br />

the ways Christians have imagined the<br />

everyday life of Mary and her intervention<br />

in their own lives.<br />

This is a small exhibit, less impressive<br />

than the previous ones drawn from<br />

the Getty’s manuscript collection.<br />

The bulk of the exhibit is made up of<br />

illuminated manuscripts from Europe,<br />

dating from the Middle Ages to the<br />

early Renaissance.<br />

The exhibition is divided into three<br />

parts. The first part, “Mary beyond the<br />

Bible,” looks at how artists imagined<br />

events in the life of Mary that are not<br />

narrated (or if so, only briefly) in the<br />

Bible.<br />

The second part, “Miraculous Mary,”<br />

“Initial G: The Death of the Virgin,” about 1270, by Jacobellus of Salerno | GETTY MUSEUM<br />

looks at the cult of Mary and her role<br />

as healer and performer of miracles.<br />

The last part, titled “Mary in the<br />

Americas,” explores the legacy of Marian<br />

imagery in the Americas, especially<br />

the virgin of Guadalupe.<br />

Ancient religions were full of goddesses<br />

and demi-goddesses, women of<br />

extraordinary beauty and wisdom who<br />

were the object of cult and meddled<br />

in the life of humans. They were cold,<br />

majestic, and distant, unable to fully<br />

sympathize with mortals, having never<br />

felt pain, sorrow, or hunger.<br />

The Virgin Mary is different. She<br />

is the object of cult, but she is fully<br />

human. She was the mother of God,<br />

but she lived an ordinary life.<br />

This distinction comes across clearly<br />

in the first “Mary beyond the Bible”<br />

section of the exhibit, which includes<br />

a 15th-century illuminated manuscript<br />

from Paris depicting Mary reading a<br />

book to a toddler Jesus while he rides a<br />

hobby horse.<br />

The exhibit’s most striking, beautiful<br />

image is from a Renaissance manuscript<br />

in Bruges portraying the Virgin<br />

Mary surrounded by seven spears<br />

representing the Seven Sorrows of<br />

the Virgin Mary, which are depicted<br />

separately in rectangular spaces on the<br />

page margins.<br />

The artwork conveyed how the<br />

prophecy of Simeon from the Gospel<br />

of Luke (“And a sword will pierce your<br />

soul too”) did not only concern the<br />

passion of Jesus: the whole life of Mary<br />

was marked by the cross. In the lower<br />

left corner, she makes her way to Bethlehem<br />

on a donkey, a prelude to Jesus’<br />

birth in utter poverty and precariousness.<br />

At the bottom right Mary receives<br />

Simeon’s ominous prophecy.<br />

Above, on the right side, is the loss of<br />

Jesus for three days in Jerusalem and<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

his recovery in the<br />

Temple among<br />

the doctors. The<br />

three days that<br />

Mary spent in<br />

anxious search for<br />

her son prepared<br />

her for the loss of<br />

Jesus, for three<br />

days, in a tomb.<br />

And on the top<br />

and right margins<br />

she follows Jesus<br />

in his passion,<br />

from the Via<br />

Crucis to the<br />

sepulcher.<br />

Mary’s humanity<br />

— seen in<br />

her closeness to<br />

those who invoke<br />

her — is also<br />

crucial to the<br />

cult of Mary as<br />

miracle worker.<br />

Several illuminations<br />

focus on<br />

Mary’s miraculous<br />

interventions: Her<br />

portrait comes to<br />

life in response<br />

to the prayer of a<br />

woman in a manuscript<br />

miniature,<br />

or she miraculously<br />

brings Communion<br />

to the imprisoned<br />

St. Avia<br />

in a 14th-century<br />

French illumination.<br />

What makes the<br />

Virgin Mary so unique and so important<br />

is, in other words, the mystery of<br />

incarnation, which ancient pagan writers<br />

found impossible to understand:<br />

that the infinite, God, became finite,<br />

taking our flesh, in all its weakness, so<br />

that ours could also enter eternity.<br />

In the words of Pope Francis, Mary “is<br />

the first creature who, with her whole<br />

self, body, and soul, victoriously crosses<br />

the finish line of heaven.”<br />

Later in the exhibit, a 16th-century<br />

miniature from an Armenian manuscript<br />

places her at the scene of Jesus’<br />

assumption into heaven (a detail not<br />

recorded in the Gospels), standing at<br />

the center of the picture surrounded<br />

“The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin,” about 1525–1530, by Simon Bening. | GETTY MUSEUM<br />

by the apostles, looking up at her son<br />

already in heaven. The work suggests<br />

that she will follow him as he enters<br />

divine life.<br />

Another miniature portrays the scene<br />

of Mary’s death and assumption: the<br />

dying Virgin Mary is on a bed, surrounded<br />

by the apostles, and her soul,<br />

depicted as a little baby, is already in<br />

her child’s hands. The mother of God<br />

is also her daughter, being born again<br />

to eternal life.<br />

There’s also a 13th-century German<br />

manuscript showing Mary during the<br />

annunciation as she believes the words<br />

of the angels and the Holy Spirit,<br />

depicted as a little dove issuing from<br />

the mouth of<br />

Gabriel, comes to<br />

reside in her. The<br />

scene recalls St.<br />

Ambrose’s famous<br />

exhortation on<br />

the episode: “You<br />

too, my people,<br />

are blessed, you<br />

who have heard<br />

and who believe.<br />

Every soul that<br />

believes — that<br />

soul both conceives<br />

and gives<br />

birth to the word<br />

of God and recognizes<br />

his works.”<br />

This small<br />

collection is a<br />

reminder of the<br />

most important<br />

thing we share<br />

in common with<br />

Mary: Just as she<br />

received this announcement<br />

from<br />

an archangel,<br />

we, too, receive<br />

life-changing<br />

news every time<br />

we hear the Gospel<br />

announced by<br />

another Christian.<br />

As a result, Mary<br />

believed and a<br />

new, divine life<br />

was generated in<br />

her. Likewise, our<br />

faith promises that<br />

a new creature is<br />

generated in those<br />

who receive the good news and believe<br />

it, one with the same spirit of Jesus: a<br />

person who is able to love, to forgive,<br />

and to give his life for others.<br />

As so many Christian artists throughout<br />

the centuries have understood, this<br />

new life reaches its fullness in heaven,<br />

thanks to the path opened by Christ<br />

and followed by his mother.<br />

“Visualizing the Virgin Mary” went on<br />

view at the Getty Center Museum Oct.<br />

11 and is open through Jan. 8, 2023.<br />

Stefano Rebeggiani is an associate<br />

professor of classics at the University of<br />

Southern California.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 25



Biking alone, worshipping apart<br />


Pope Francis once cited an African<br />

proverb: “If you want to go fast,<br />

go alone; if you want to go far, go<br />

with others.”<br />

This may hold true for pedestrians,<br />

but when it comes to bicycling, I’ve<br />

found that, whether you wanted to go<br />

fast or far, it helps to ride with others.<br />

Unfortunately, I’ve become a solitary<br />

cyclist, riding river trails and country<br />

roads alone. To go faster and farther,<br />

I’d enjoy riding with others, but as of<br />

yet I’ve not found a group that pedals at<br />

my pace. Either I’m too slow or occasionally<br />

too fast to make it an enjoyable<br />

group ride. Yet I know that on those<br />

occasions when I do link up with another<br />

rider who is a bit faster than me,<br />

I get better. Maybe it’s the competition,<br />

maybe it’s the fellowship. In either<br />

case, I keep looking for a community to<br />

ride with.<br />

A lot of us are looking for community<br />

these days. Social scientists have been<br />

chronicling how many of us go it alone<br />

on the trails of life, or with a relatively<br />

few number of friends. The statistics<br />

about loneliness are well known: We<br />

are a mobile society, families are spread<br />

out and friendships are sometimes dependent<br />

on mutual concerns or needs<br />

of the moment. We friend up with the<br />

parents of kids the same age as ours,<br />

but those friendships may last only as<br />

long as our kids are friends. We move<br />

for jobs or divorce or weather. We are<br />

individuals on the move, but at a cost.<br />

At the same time, we have superficial<br />

contact in many ways with a broad<br />

group of people through social media.<br />

We “friend” people but we aren’t<br />

friends with people in a deep, community<br />

building sense. In the United<br />

States, we use the word “friends” to<br />

denominate a wide variety of acquaintances,<br />

but what we might think of as<br />

friendship is often transactional and<br />

relatively shallow.<br />

In looking at some of the madness<br />

all around us these days — from hate<br />

groups to conspiracy hunters to identity<br />

group cloisters — I keep seeing lost<br />

human beings in search of community,<br />

identity, and purpose. If these can no<br />

longer be found in society’s traditional<br />

institutions, then they might be found<br />

in the Proud Boys, Antifa, or QAnon.<br />

But a lot of us are a bit lost, and<br />

people are searching for what religious<br />

faith should offer everyone: Community.<br />

Identity. Purpose. And yet religious<br />

practice is declining across the board,<br />

and certainly in Catholic circles. Initiation<br />

in the sacraments of initiation is<br />

down. There are fewer Catholic marriages<br />

and Catholic funerals. Numbers<br />

were dropping before COVID, but<br />

have gotten worse since then. Bishops<br />

and pastors are worried as church<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

Greg Erlandson is the president and<br />

editor-in-chief of Catholic <strong>News</strong> Service.<br />

attendance in most places has not<br />

rebounded to pre-COVID numbers.<br />

We may not know all the reasons for<br />

this statistical stagnation, yet it seems<br />

strange that Catholicism, which by<br />

its very nature should offer community,<br />

identity, and purpose, seems to<br />

struggle to attract people hungering<br />

for that.<br />

Catholic bishops have expressed<br />

great concern about polls suggesting<br />

there is a lack of understanding of<br />

and appreciation for the Eucharist: If<br />

we only understood this “source and<br />

summit” of our faith, we would be<br />

more committed.<br />

But I wonder if perhaps our crisis<br />

is at heart not that we don’t believe<br />

in the body of Christ present in the<br />

Eucharist. Rather, we don’t believe<br />

that we and our fellow believers are<br />

together members of the body of<br />

Christ. Maybe the sacrament we don’t<br />

understand is baptism.<br />

Near my house is an Eritrean<br />

Orthodox Church. Every Sunday<br />

they stream to their liturgy wearing<br />

white linen garments reminiscent of<br />

a baptismal robe. <strong>No</strong> fancy dresses<br />

visible. <strong>No</strong>t smart suits. The simple<br />

white garments are a visual sign of<br />

community.<br />

Look at our fragmentation as a<br />

Church — Latin Mass Catholics and<br />

social justice Catholics and Marian<br />

Catholics and charismatics. Pro-life<br />

Catholics and pro-immigrant Catholics.<br />

Democrat Catholics and Republican<br />

Catholics. Hispanic Catholics<br />

and convert Catholics. And lots of<br />

relatively disengaged Catholics, some<br />

of whom are edging toward the door.<br />

Are we one body? We are many parts,<br />

of course, and all these different ways<br />

of seeking to serve and follow Christ<br />

are not bad in and of themselves. But<br />

if we can only see ourselves as belonging<br />

to this particular group or avoiding<br />

that particular group, what is the unity<br />

we are celebrating each week at Mass?<br />

When we enter our parish church<br />

each Sunday, do we feel as if we are<br />

coming home? Are we joining our<br />

brothers and sisters? Do we have a<br />

sense of the “sacramental bond of unity”<br />

in Christ? And if so, is it obvious to<br />

others? Do they see a living community,<br />

or a community barely alive?<br />

Are too many of us walking our paths<br />


The specter of times past<br />

In an irreligious age, is ‘Folk Horror’ the last truly Christian film genre?<br />


A scene from “Midsommar.” | IMDB<br />

A<br />

friend and I recently spent<br />

a dateless October evening<br />

debating whether the 1979 film<br />

“Alien” should be classified as science<br />

fiction or horror. My friend concluded<br />

that “Alien” was the former because<br />

while that genre looks to the future,<br />

horror concerns itself with the past.<br />

That argument convinced me. After<br />

all, aren’t the villains of horror films<br />

archaic vampires and ghosts in crumbling<br />

estates, or killers returning to<br />

town to echo the crimes they committed<br />

20 years ago tonight? The monster<br />

never attacks from the front, but from<br />

behind.<br />

This characteristic is magnified in<br />

the subgenre of what’s known as “Folk<br />

Horror,” which can be safely described<br />

as horror of the past itself. While varied<br />

as any genre, there are some general<br />

consistencies throughout: A Folk<br />

Horror film is set in a rural locale, its<br />

geographic isolation mimicking its<br />

moral seclusion from modern life. In it<br />

you will likely find cairns, runes, misshapen<br />

villagers, fog rolling over the<br />

misty moors, moss-strewn cobblestones,<br />

and the inevitable maiden wearing a<br />

thin white robe in cold weather.<br />

(The category shares similarities to<br />

Hallmark movies in that it usually features<br />

a big-city outsider visiting a small<br />

town and never leaving, although here<br />

that decision is usually involuntary and<br />

with a bit more blood sacrifice.)<br />

Kier-La Janisse’s recent documentary,<br />

“Woodlands Dark and Days<br />

Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror,”<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

is a comprehensive, even exhaustive,<br />

primer on the subject. She provides<br />

a veritable syllabus of film clips, from<br />

classics such as “The Blood on Satan’s<br />

Claw” and “Children of the Corn” to<br />

more recent releases like “The Witch.”<br />

She has assembled an impressive<br />

parade of academics on the subject<br />

and seemingly every pierced nose from<br />

either side of the Atlantic. But while<br />

these experts deliberate and dissect<br />

every possible “-ism” known to man<br />

(feminism, colonialism, and classicism<br />

get particular attention,) they neglect<br />

to examine the genre’s most intriguing<br />

feature: its inseparability with Christianity.<br />

A common denominator in these<br />

films is the threat invariably coming<br />

from a pre-Christian deity or cult.<br />

Folk Horror is unique among horror,<br />

or indeed any genre, in remaining<br />

cleareyed on the realities of paganism.<br />

With the buffer of years, this brand of<br />

paganism usually represents little more<br />

than harmless tree worship, Greenpeace<br />

with the promise of an afterlife.<br />

When we think of the old gods now,<br />

our minds are likely to drift to Chris<br />

Hemsworth, or perhaps to pottery shop<br />

covens who frolic naked in state parks.<br />

But in Folk Horror, we are brought<br />

nose to nose with the actual rituals,<br />

unable to avert our gaze.<br />

For usurping paganism, Christianity<br />

is often labeled a genocidal colonizer,<br />

or worse yet a party pooper. But when<br />

rights we once presumed to be innate<br />

are yanked away, we realize how much<br />

we are indebted to the Christian tradition.<br />

For all the Church’s historical<br />

faults over the centuries, it has at least<br />

had the decency to keep our organs inside<br />

our body. There are rarely winners<br />

in a Folk Horror film, but Christianity<br />

doesn’t lose. It may not be the hero as<br />

in exorcist films, but it at least gets the<br />

dignity of not being the villain for once.<br />

2019’s “Midsommar” is the most<br />

recent and perhaps familiar example.<br />

Folk Horror is unique among film genres in remaining<br />

cleareyed on the realities of paganism.<br />

The story follows a group of American<br />

graduate students who attend a midsummer<br />

festival in rural Sweden. The<br />

villagers still follow the pagan rites and<br />

rituals, much to the fascination of the<br />

young tourists. But as the rituals grow<br />

increasingly gruesome, their academic<br />

detachment gives in to denial.<br />

They want to remain mature anthropologists,<br />

blessing the proceedings with<br />

a cultural and moral relativism and<br />

more than a hint of arrogance. They<br />

realize too late that the villagers don’t<br />

hold them with the same remove.<br />

Opting out simply isn’t an option, and<br />

by refusing to make a judgment, they<br />

expose themselves to a more proactive<br />

spirituality.<br />

But the platonic ideal of Folk Horror’s<br />

Christian sympathies is 1973’s “The<br />

Wicker Man,” in which a puritanical<br />

Christian police officer is sent to a remote<br />

Scottish island to investigate the<br />

disappearance of a little girl. There he<br />

finds that the islanders have returned<br />

Christopher Lee in “The<br />

Wicker Man.” | IMDB<br />

to Celtic but mostly harmless practices,<br />

like maypoles and free love.<br />

Our hero chafes against these hippies,<br />

and we in turn chafe against his prudish<br />

rudeness. The film exploits our natural<br />

distaste against this sort of stick-inthe-mud,<br />

the type of school-board scold<br />

who would try to ban Harry Potter and<br />

unchaste hand-holding.<br />

But as we settle into our prejudices,<br />

some doubts naggingly linger. Why are<br />

the villagers so cheerfully noncooperative?<br />

Why do they deny the missing girl<br />

even existed, when evidence abounds<br />

that she did? The questions keep piling<br />

up until our hero’s narrowmindedness<br />

calcifies into backbone.<br />

The most fascinating character of all<br />

is Lord Summerisle (played by the legendary<br />

late British actor Christopher<br />

Lee), the leader of this little hamlet.<br />

While the villagers are true believers,<br />

Summerisle remains a participating<br />

skeptic. He openly acknowledges that<br />

his grandfather coupled a pagan revival<br />

to his modern farming techniques to<br />

ensure a blissful and docile workforce.<br />

His grandson sees no reason to buck<br />

tradition.<br />

But it’s hardly tradition when it’s so<br />

patently manufactured. The rituals of<br />

the island are of questionable veracity,<br />

just transcribed from books and other<br />

popular conceptions of paganism.<br />

What the islanders practice is not<br />

pagan belief, but rather the notion of<br />

paganism filtered through modernity.<br />

Whatever evils inflicted by the cult<br />

can’t be blamed on Celtic culture, but<br />

on those wicked desires the modern<br />

mind thinks paganism permits. To<br />

borrow parlance from a different horror<br />

genre, the call is coming from inside<br />

the house.<br />

William Faulkner once said that the<br />

past is never dead, it’s not even past.<br />

Folk Horror reminds us that true terror<br />

lies not in the bad old days returning,<br />

but that those bad old impulses never<br />

left at all.<br />

Joe Joyce is a screenwriter and freelance<br />

critic based in Sherman Oaks.<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 29



Sister Wendy’s words of wisdom<br />

Sister Wendy Beckett and Robert Ellsberg in 2017.<br />


Back in the 1990s, Sister Wendy<br />

Beckett (1930-2018), a cloistered<br />

Carmelite nun and consecrated<br />

virgin, delighted audiences worldwide<br />

with her lively BBC documentaries on<br />

the history of art.<br />

Born in Johannesburg, she joined<br />

a teaching order in 1946, and then<br />

earned a degree in English Literature<br />

at Oxford, graduating with highest<br />

honors.<br />

After teaching in South Africa from<br />

1954 to 1970, she suffered a physical<br />

and emotional collapse and was granted<br />

permission to return to England.<br />

There she stayed for decades on the<br />

property of the Carmelite Monastery<br />

in Quidenham, <strong>No</strong>rfolk, first in a<br />

caravan; later in a small room. Her true<br />

vocation was to take place in silence<br />

and solitude. She prayed for seven<br />

hours a day.<br />

With permission from the Church,<br />

she began to study art history. Her first<br />

television appearance was in a 1991<br />

BBC short. In full habit, and with her<br />

trademark owlish glasses, overbite,<br />

and slight speech impediment such<br />

that her r’s became w’s, she became a<br />

sensation.<br />

She went on to host her own shows —<br />

“Sister Wendy’s Odyssey”; “Sister Wendy’s<br />

Grand Tour” — and to write more<br />

than 30 books. Hands clasped in joy,<br />

face framed by a wimple, she could<br />

hold forth with equal enthusiasm on<br />

Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn Diptych” and<br />

a Rembrandt self-portrait.<br />

The TV run faded out, she returned<br />

to her cloister, and 20 years passed. Enter<br />

Robert Ellsberg, publisher of Orbis<br />

Books, who in the spring of 2016 initiated<br />

an email exchange. An epistolary<br />

friendship developed and before long<br />

he asked if they might not continue<br />

their back-and-forth and collect their<br />

letters into a book.<br />

“Dearest Sister Wendy: A Surprising<br />

Story of Faith and Friendship” (Orbis<br />

Books, $28) is the result — and it’s a<br />

fascinating read.<br />

We get a bird’s-eye view of the life of a<br />

contemplative who crammed her tiny<br />

room with postcards and icons, barely<br />

slept or ate, and rose after an afternoon<br />

rest at 8 p.m. to begin her daily round<br />

of prayer.<br />

Still, over and over again, she insists<br />

she has nothing to say. Surely you do,<br />

counters Ellsberg. How about if I ask<br />

you questions? OK, replies Sister Wendy,<br />

but I guarantee you’ll be bored. On<br />

it goes for 2 ½ years (the book ends<br />

with Sister Wendy’s death), Ellsberg cajoling<br />

Sister Wendy against her better<br />

judgment, for the most part giving in.<br />

We’re grateful she does. Sister Wendy<br />

is utterly delightful: original, surprising,<br />

diplomatic, and profoundly loving but<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

with strong opinions. She cannot share<br />

Ellsberg’s near hero-worship of Father<br />

Thomas Merton, for example. Though<br />

she’s read everything he’s ever written<br />

with avid interest, she’s appalled that<br />

he “describes the most extraordinary<br />

breaches of the rule without the slightest<br />

contrition or even awareness that he<br />

promised to live otherwise.”<br />

Ellsberg sees this as admirable, the<br />

sign of a free spirit whose mission was<br />

to show the world a new way to be a<br />

monastic. Sister Wendy, whose life of<br />

faith means denying herself everything<br />

that “isn’t necessary or would intrude”<br />

— including, for example, music —<br />

politely but firmly disagrees. Father<br />

Merton was a genius with a heart<br />

longing for God but no saint, and she<br />

knows no contemplative who finds him<br />

remotely helpful.<br />

To their mutual credit, they both<br />

accept their differences and warmly<br />

search for the similarities. Sister confides<br />

that she’s always hated her name<br />

and cheerfully admits to her protruding<br />

teeth. Ellsberg chides Sister Wendy for<br />

her over-the-top (to him) asceticism;<br />

she chides him for his overwork.<br />

On one level, in fact, the book can<br />

be read as a dialogue about the active<br />

versus the contemplative life.<br />

The son of a “great man,” as Ellsberg<br />

puts it (his father was the Pentagon Papers<br />

whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg), he<br />

was also deeply marked by the time he<br />

spent as a youth with Servant of God<br />

Dorothy Day as managing editor of the<br />

Catholic Worker newspaper, and later,<br />

during the last five years of her life.<br />

Sister Wendy also deeply admires<br />

Day. <strong>No</strong>netheless, she seems to intuit<br />

that beneath all Ellsberg’s terrific writing<br />

on the saints, incessant travel, and<br />

friendships with “important” people,<br />

he longs to be seen, held, loved for<br />

himself alone.<br />

Another way “in which you and I are<br />

very different,” she confides almost<br />

two years into their correspondence,<br />

“is that your wonderful father has<br />

brought you up to value social justice<br />

very highly…I don’t want to shock<br />

or alienate you, dearest Robert, but I<br />

cannot take much interest in this topic<br />

so dear to you and Pope Francis and<br />

to all serious Christians. It all seems to<br />

me so obvious. Of course war is wrong;<br />

of course there should be social justice;<br />

of course we should love and revere<br />

one another…But I feel that’s a sort of<br />

a given for me. I don’t feel any call to<br />

fight for it or even to talk about it.”<br />

That’s what seven hours of prayer,<br />

every day for 70 or 80 years, will get<br />

you.<br />

One of her last nuggets of wisdom, in<br />

fact, echoes the Dorothy Day maxim:<br />

“I only love God as much as I love the<br />

person I love the least.”<br />

For those who disliked the president<br />

at the time, she said, “Perhaps you<br />

should put Mr. Trump on the altar<br />

and sacrifice all your reactions to him.<br />

Where does it get you? He needs love<br />

as does everybody and he needs reverence<br />

as does everybody. God despises<br />

nothing ‘that He has made.’ ”<br />

<strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 31



Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

The witness of history<br />

Seventh in a series on the Book of Psalms.<br />

In my last column, I mentioned that some scholars reject<br />

the Church’s “Christological” reading of the psalms. I<br />

disagree with them.<br />

As a theologian, I protest because tradition demands that<br />

we discover Christ in the Old Testament texts. According<br />

to the Church Fathers, the truths of the Incarnation were<br />

already present “in mystery” from the first moments of<br />

creation. God had been preparing the events of Jesus’ life<br />

from all eternity. To see<br />

Christ in the Old Testament,<br />

then, is to discern,<br />

with 20-20 hindsight,<br />

the workings of divine<br />

providence.<br />

Jesus himself read the<br />

Old Testament this way.<br />

He referred to Jonah<br />

(Matthew 12:39), Solomon<br />

(Matthew 12:42),<br />

the Temple (John 2:19),<br />

and the brazen serpent<br />

(John 3:14) as signs pointing<br />

to himself. In Luke’s<br />

gospel, he took “Moses<br />

and all the prophets”<br />

and interpreted for his<br />

disciples “what referred to<br />

him in all the Scriptures”<br />

(Luke 24:27). St. Paul<br />

read the Hebrew Scriptures in the same way (see Romans<br />

5:14, Galatians 4:24), as did St. Peter (see 1 Peter 3:20-21).<br />

This approach prevailed through centuries, even in places<br />

like Antioch, whose school emphasized the literal-historical<br />

meaning of biblical texts. St. Augustine summed up this<br />

method in a single phrase: the New Testament is concealed<br />

in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New.<br />

But the historical reasons for preserving the Christological<br />

reading of the “Psalter” are as compelling as the<br />

theological reasons. For the Christian interpretive tradition<br />

is an organic development of the Jewish exegesis of Jesus’<br />

contemporaries.<br />

The Jews of the first century lived in anticipation of the<br />

arrival of God’s Messiah, the redeemer who would restore<br />

the Davidic kingship over the reunited 12 tribes. “Messiah”<br />

(“Moshiach”) is Hebrew for “anointed”; its Greek equivalent<br />

is “Christos” — in English, “Christ.”<br />

Consider the situation of Second Temple Judaism.<br />

Though a remnant of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin<br />

had returned to the land, 10 tribes of Israel remained in<br />

dispersion. The Temple itself was a shadow of what it had<br />

been. The Jews were ruled by a succession of foreign powers:<br />

Persian, Greek, and Roman.<br />

David’s line was apparently snuffed out at the time of the<br />

Captivity (see 2 Kings<br />

25:7), but the Jews<br />

never ceased hoping for<br />

God’s intervention. For<br />

the Lord had promised<br />

that a king in David’s<br />

line would one day rule<br />

all the nations, and he<br />

would reign forever (2<br />

Samuel 7:12, 14).<br />

There were many messianic<br />

pretenders, and<br />

most of them met a bad<br />

end, but the people kept<br />

hoping. The messianic<br />

reading of the Old Testament<br />

is evident in many<br />

ancient Jewish texts —<br />

the Book of Enoch, the<br />

Testaments of the Twelve<br />

“Dead Sea Scroll of Pesher Isaiah,” from<br />

Qumran Cave 4, West Bank of the Jordan<br />

River, near the Dead Sea, modern-day<br />

State of Israel. Displayed in The Jordan<br />

Museum, Amman, Jordan Hashimite<br />

Kingdom. | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

Patriarchs, the Sibylline<br />

Oracles, and the Dead<br />

Sea Scrolls, among<br />

others.<br />

But nothing expressed<br />

Israel’s longing as well as<br />

the “Psalter.” As liturgical<br />

hymns, the psalms were<br />

effective in sustaining<br />

Israel’s culture. They renewed a climate of expectation.<br />

This is the plain sense of history. Israel’s own reading of<br />

the Psalter was messianic, and therefore Christological. If<br />

theology urges us toward a messianic reading of the psalms,<br />

history shows us that such a reading is not a Christian<br />

innovation.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong>

■ FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28<br />

St. Agatha Church Fall Festival. St. Agatha Church, 2646<br />

S. Mansfield Ave., Los Angeles, 4-10 p.m. Saturday, 3-11<br />

p.m, Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Live music, international foods,<br />

car raffle, and festival rides. For more information, call 323-<br />

382-2788 or 323-935-8127, or email marisol.p.gonzalez@<br />

gmail.com or pastorcenteroffice@gmail.com.<br />


God of Day and God of Darkness: All Saints, All Souls,<br />

and the Light of Hope. Holy Spirit Retreat Center, 4316<br />

Lanai Rd., Encino, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. With Father Mark<br />

Villano, SP, MFA. For more information, visit hsrcenter.com<br />

or call 818-784-4515.<br />

Día de Los Muertos Community Day. Calvary Cemetery,<br />

4201 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, 12 p.m. Mass will be celebrated<br />

by Msgr. John Moretta from Resurrection Church,<br />

and livestreamed on LA Catholics social media. Procession<br />

and blessing of altars to follow Mass. Music and folklorico<br />

dance begins at 1:30 p.m. Visit catholiccm.org/diadelosmuertos<br />

for more information.<br />

Spiritual Warfare is Real! St. Anthony of Padua Church,<br />

1050 W. 163rd St., Gardena, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Speakers<br />

include Father John Farao, OFM Con, prison chaplain and<br />

exorcist for the Diocese of Monterey, and Dominic Berardino.<br />

Topics include “An exorcist tells his story” and “God’s<br />

victorious saints.” Cost: $25/person before Oct. 26, $35<br />

after. For more information, email spirit@scrc.org.<br />

■ SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30<br />

St. Peter Claver Church 50th Anniversary Celebration.<br />

5649 Pittman St., Simi Valley, 11 a.m. Archbishop José H.<br />

Gomez will celebrate a special Mass to mark the church’s<br />

50th anniversary. For more information, visit saintpeterclaver.org.<br />


Día de Los Muertos Vigil Prayer Service. San Fernando<br />

Mission Cemetery, 11160 Stranwood Ave., Mission Hills,<br />

6:45 p.m. Presider: Auxiliary Bishop Marc Trudeau. Prayer<br />

service will be open to the public at 5:45 p.m. and livestreamed<br />

on LA Catholics social media. Visit catholiccm.<br />

org/diadelosmuertos for more information.<br />


All Souls Day Mass. All Souls Cemetery, 10 a.m. Presider:<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez. Mass also will be celebrated at<br />

10 other cemetery locations, and will be livestreamed on<br />

LA Catholics social media. Visit catholiccm.org for more<br />

information.<br />

“What Catholics Believe” Weekly Series. St. Dorothy<br />

Church, 241 S. Valley Center Ave., Glendora, 7-8:30 p.m.<br />

Series runs Wednesdays through April 26, 2023. Deepen<br />

your understanding of the Catholic faith through dynamic<br />

DVD presentations by Bishop Robert Barron, Dr. Edward<br />

Sri, Dr. Brant Pitre, and Dr. Michael Barber. Free event, no<br />

reservations required. Call 626-335-2811 or visit the Adult<br />

Faith Development ministry page at www.stdorothy.org for<br />

more information.<br />


YCP Los Angeles: Executive Speaker Series + Belong<br />

Launch. St. Monica Church, 701 California Ave., Santa<br />

Monica, 7 p.m. Join YCP (Young Catholic Professionals) for<br />

happy hour to celebrate the launch of a new membership:<br />

Belong! RSVP at ycp.squarespace.com/losangeles#launch1.<br />

For more information, email membership@youngcatholicprofessionals.org.<br />


Conscious Aging: Make a Choice. Holy Spirit Retreat<br />

Center, 4316 Lanai Rd., Encino, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. With<br />

Deborah Lorentz, SSS. For more information, visit hsrcenter.com<br />

or call 818-784-4515.<br />

Día de Los Muertos Community Day. Santa Clara<br />

Cemetery, 2370 N. H St., Oxnard, 12 p.m. Mass will be<br />

celebrated by Father Leon Hutton, episcopal vicar for the<br />

Santa Barbara Pastoral Region, and will be livestreamed on<br />

LA Catholics social media. Procession with pilgrim images<br />

of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego, and blessing<br />

of altars to follow Mass. Music and folklorico dance begins<br />

at 1:30 p.m. Visit catholiccm.org/diadelosmuertos for more<br />

information.<br />


St. Peter Claver Church 30th Anniversary Holiday Boutique.<br />

St. Peter Claver Church, 5649 Pittman St., Simi Valley,<br />

9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, <strong>No</strong>v. 6, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. More than<br />

70 vendors will sell crafts, gift items, clothing, decor, food.<br />

Includes gift card basket raffle, 50/50 drawing, photos with<br />

Santa, and baked goods. For more information, call Lisa at<br />

805-791-7283.<br />


Bosco Tech Open House. Don Bosco Technical Institute,<br />

1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead, 12-4 p.m. Elementary<br />

students, middle-school students, and families are invited<br />

to learn about the school’s academics, technology majors,<br />

internships, and college prep programs. For more information,<br />

visit boscotech.edu/openhouse, or call the admissions<br />

office at 626-940-2000, or email admissions@boscotech.<br />

edu.<br />

Healing Mass and Service. St. Ann Church, 2302 Riverdale<br />

Ave., Los Angeles, 11 a.m. Healing minister Alan<br />

Ames, from the Diocese of Perth, Australia, will share his<br />

conversion story and faith, and his gifts in healing ministry,<br />

following the 11 a.m. Mass. For more information, email<br />

lydia.a.marin@live.com.<br />


Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San<br />

Fernando Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, 11 a.m. Mass is<br />

virtual and not open to the public. Livestream available at<br />

Catholiccm.org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<br />

Preparation for Consecration to Mary in the Spirituality<br />

of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Father Kolbe Missionary Center,<br />

531 E. Merced Ave., West Covina, 7-8:30 p.m. Zoom and<br />

in-person presentations will be held Tuesdays in <strong><strong>No</strong>vember</strong><br />

through the 29th. For more information or to register, call<br />

626-917-0040 or email FKMs@kolbemissionusa.org.<br />


St. Padre Pio Holy Mass. St. Anne Church, 340 10th St.,<br />

Seal Beach, 1 p.m. Chaplain: Father Al Baca. For more information,<br />

call 562-537-4526.<br />


46th Annual Catholic-Jewish Women’s Conference.<br />

Zoom, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Theme: Justice, Racism, and the<br />

Heart of God. Speakers: Alessandra Harris and Rabbi Ruth<br />

Abusch-Magder. For more information or to register, visit<br />

catholicjewishwomenla.org.<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><strong>No</strong>vember</strong> 4, <strong>20<strong>22</strong></strong> • ANGELUS • 33

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