Angelus News | February 9, 2024 | Vol. 9 No

On the cover: Catholic worshippers recite lines during the Stations of the Cross prayers at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos, Nigeria, on Feb. 24, 2023. On Page 10, John Allen takes a closer look at the unfolding pattern of violence targeting Catholics there, and what it means for the universal Church.

On the cover: Catholic worshippers recite lines during the Stations of the Cross prayers at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos, Nigeria, on Feb. 24, 2023. On Page 10, John Allen takes a closer look at the unfolding pattern of violence targeting Catholics there, and what it means for the universal Church.


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<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 9 <strong>No</strong>. 3<br />

LAND OF<br />


How Nigeria<br />

became a hotbed<br />

of anti-Christian<br />


B • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 9 • <strong>No</strong>. 3<br />




3424 Wilshire Blvd.,<br />

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Catholic worshippers recite lines during the Stations of the<br />

Cross prayers at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos, Nigeria,<br />

on Feb. 24, 2023. On Page 10, John Allen takes a closer<br />

look at the unfolding pattern of violence targeting Catholics<br />

there, and what it means for the universal Church.<br />


Artist Gustavo Zermeño Jr. poses with the mural<br />

he created at St. Anne School in Santa Monica<br />

during an unveiling on Jan. 17. The mural features<br />

St. Anne holding her child, the Blessed Mary, with<br />

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

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

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

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

14<br />

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Thousands march for the unborn, shrug off the rain at OneLife LA<br />

The personal story of sin and redemption behind LA’s Requiem Mass<br />

John Allen: As Pope Francis ages, a few Vatican figures to watch<br />

Embrace this year’s odd couple: Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day<br />

Has our divided society created a more polarized TV experience?<br />

Sign up for our free, daily e-newsletter<br />

Always Forward - newsletter.angelusnews.com<br />

28<br />

30<br />

50 years later, what Jack Nicholson’s ‘Chinatown’ still gets right about LA<br />

Heather King delves into the diaries of Carmen Hernández<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 1


Blessing people, not unions<br />

Pope Francis insisted that an<br />

informal blessing of a gay or other<br />

unmarried couple is not a blessing<br />

of their union but a sign of the Catholic<br />

Church’s closeness to them and its<br />

hope that they will grow in faith.<br />

“The intent of ‘pastoral and spontaneous<br />

blessings’ is to concretely show the<br />

closeness of the Lord and the Church<br />

to all those who, finding themselves in<br />

different situations, ask for help to carry<br />

on — sometimes to begin — a journey<br />

of faith,” Francis said Jan. 26 at an<br />

annual plenary meeting with members<br />

of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the<br />

Faith.<br />

While Francis’ remarks to the members<br />

focused on their discussions about<br />

the sacraments, human dignity, and<br />

faith, particularly the centrality of evangelization,<br />

he also mentioned Fiducia<br />

Supplicans (“Supplicating Trust”) on<br />

“the pastoral meaning of blessings,”<br />

which was published by the dicastery<br />

and signed by Francis Dec. 18.<br />

Francis told dicastery members that he<br />

wanted to make two points about the<br />

document. The first, he said, was that<br />

“these blessings, outside of any liturgical<br />

context and form, do not require<br />

moral perfection to be received.”<br />

Second, he said, “when a couple spontaneously<br />

approaches to ask for it, one<br />

does not bless the union, but simply the<br />

people who made the request together.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t the union, but the people, taking<br />

into account, of course, the context, the<br />

sensitivities, the places where people<br />

live and the most appropriate ways to<br />

do it.”<br />

In early January, Cardinal Víctor Manuel<br />

Fernández, prefect of the dicastery,<br />

issued a note clarifying that “prudence<br />

and attention to the ecclesial context<br />

and to the local culture could allow<br />

for different methods of application” of<br />

Fiducia Supplicans.<br />

In his speech to dicastery members,<br />

Francis also mentioned a document<br />

on human dignity that the dicastery is<br />

working on.<br />

In an interview with the Spanish news<br />

agency EFE Jan. 13, Fernández said,<br />

“We are preparing a very important<br />

document on human dignity which<br />

includes not only social issues, but also<br />

a strong critique of moral issues such as<br />

sex change, surrogacy, gender ideologies,<br />

etc.”<br />

“As Christians, we must not tire of<br />

insisting on the primacy of the human<br />

person and the defense of his or her<br />

dignity beyond every circumstance,”<br />

the pope said, adding that he hoped<br />

the new document “will help us, as a<br />

church, to always be close to all those<br />

who, without fanfare, in concrete daily<br />

life, fight and personally pay the price<br />

for defending the rights of those who do<br />

not count.”<br />

As the Church prepares to celebrate<br />

the Holy Year 2025 and as it strives to<br />

preach the Gospel to a changing world,<br />

he said, the dicastery must lead the way<br />

in helping the Church “reflect again<br />

and with greater passion on several<br />

themes … especially, the centrality of<br />

the kerygma [“proclamation”] in the life<br />

and mission of the Church.”<br />

“For us, that which is most essential,<br />

most beautiful, most attractive and, at<br />

the same time, most necessary, is faith<br />

in Christ Jesus,” the pope told dicastery<br />

members. “All of us together, God<br />

willing, will solemnly renew it in the<br />

course of the jubilee year and each one<br />

of us is called to proclaim it to every<br />

man and woman on earth.”<br />

Reporting courtesy of Catholic <strong>News</strong><br />

Service Rome bureau chief Cindy<br />

Wooden.<br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>February</strong>: We pray that those with<br />

a terminal illness, and their families, receive the necessary<br />

physical and spiritual care and accompaniment.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>



This Lent, be converted<br />

Lent comes early this year. In fact,<br />

Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 14,<br />

and Lent begins.<br />

The Church gives us this season of<br />

grace each year as a privileged moment<br />

to concentrate on our spiritual<br />

lives, and to really work on making<br />

progress in our ongoing conversion to<br />

Christ.<br />

One of the saints said: “I have decided<br />

not to let this Lent go by like rain<br />

on stones, leaving no trace. I will let it<br />

soak into me, changing me. I will be<br />

converted, I will turn again to the Lord<br />

and love him as he wants to be loved.”<br />

That is the attitude we need, as we<br />

enter into this holy season.<br />

Let’s not miss this beautiful opportunity<br />

that we have to grow in our<br />

relationship with Jesus, to improve<br />

ourselves, to be converted more and<br />

more in the image of Jesus!<br />

This is what our life is meant for. We<br />

are here to be changed, to be transformed,<br />

to be converted.<br />

We are here to become, more and<br />

more, every day like Jesus — in the<br />

way we think and act, in the way we<br />

treat other people and in the priorities<br />

that we set for our lives.<br />

This is why Jesus gave his life for us<br />

on the cross. So that we could be set<br />

free. Free to follow him, and free to<br />

live as he intends us to live, according<br />

to his teachings and his example.<br />

We know that we are not there yet,<br />

that our hearts are still divided. We<br />

want to do good, we want to be good.<br />

But still we find that we are pulled in<br />

the opposite direction.<br />

So Lent gives us a new opportunity<br />

to be more serious about our personal<br />

conversion to Christ, more serious<br />

about becoming the people that God<br />

wants us to be.<br />

Our Christian life is a daily work<br />

of striving for self-mastery, striving to<br />

overcome our natural inclinations to<br />

selfishness and self-love, and to direct<br />

our love totally to God and to our<br />

neighbors.<br />

The traditional practices of Lent —<br />

fasting, prayer, penance, and almsgiving<br />

— are all meant to strengthen us<br />

in our identity as children of God and<br />

followers of Jesus.<br />

We should consider these practices<br />

to be the “pillars” of our daily lives as<br />

Catholics.<br />

As Catholics, we should be praying<br />

every day; we should be making<br />

sacrifices, little offerings to God; and<br />

we should be living with generosity,<br />

compassion, and mercy toward others.<br />

Lent also deepens our awareness that<br />

we are walking with Jesus. It is he who<br />

sets us on this path. He is the One who<br />

calls each of us by name to follow him,<br />

to be holy as he is holy.<br />

During Lent, we are more conscious<br />

that we are following Jesus on his way<br />

to the cross, carrying our own crosses<br />

along with him.<br />

St. Augustine famously said that if we<br />

think we have done enough already,<br />

we are lost. “Go further, keep going,”<br />

he said. “Don’t stay in the same place,<br />

don’t go back, don’t go off the road.”<br />

This is what Lent is all about, staying<br />

on the path, the way of the cross. How<br />

will we grow in holiness during these<br />

40 days, what practical measures will<br />

we take?<br />

These are good questions for us as we<br />

enter into this holy season.<br />

In addition to the pillars of prayer,<br />

fasting, and almsgiving, maybe you can<br />

try to get to Mass more often during<br />

the week, or to make more time to pray<br />

and meditate in the presence of the<br />

Blessed Sacrament.<br />

Maybe you can make more time each<br />

day for a prayerful reading of a passage<br />

of the Gospels. And of course, we<br />

should make at least one good confession<br />

during this season.<br />

The point is that, as Augustine said,<br />

we must keep moving forward.<br />

St. Paul used to speak of pressing on<br />

toward the higher calling of the Lord,<br />

pressing on toward holiness, or as he<br />

described it: “It is no longer I who live,<br />

but Christ who lives in me.”<br />

This is the glorious promise that Jesus<br />

makes to each one of us, so let us make<br />

progress toward that goal this Lent!<br />

As I often say, being a Catholic, a follower<br />

of Jesus, is the work of a lifetime,<br />

Let’s not miss this beautiful opportunity that we<br />

have to grow in our relationship with Jesus, to improve<br />

ourselves, to be converted more and more<br />

in the image of Jesus!<br />

and it is always a work of beginning<br />

and beginning again.<br />

So let us begin again, let us not let<br />

Lent go by, leaving no trace! Let us be<br />

converted, turning to the Lord again to<br />

love him as he wants us to love him.<br />

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

Let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary<br />

to help us all to have a holy Lent<br />

and to go further and to deepen our<br />

conversion to her Son, our Lord Jesus<br />

Christ.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 3

WORLD<br />

■ Belgian officials order<br />

destruction of baptismal record<br />

Belgian bishops are fighting requests to erase baptism<br />

records in a court case that could change precedent across<br />

Europe.<br />

The country’s Data Protection Authority ruled Dec. 19<br />

that the Diocese of Ghent must comply with an unnamed<br />

person’s request to have their baptismal record deleted. The<br />

diocese has appealed the decision and said it would continue<br />

its standard practice of noting requests for disaffiliation on a<br />

person’s baptismal record, but would not destroy the entry.<br />

The case follows a similar request to delete baptismal<br />

records for disaffiliated Catholics in Ireland, but the Irish<br />

Data Protection Commission ruled in favor of maintaining<br />

baptismal records in <strong>February</strong> 2023.<br />

The Church in Belgium received 5,237 requests for disaffiliation<br />

in 2021, a significant increase from 2020 (1,261) and<br />

2019 (1,800).<br />

Flames engulf St. Jean Baptiste Church in Morinville, Alberta,<br />


■ As Canadian churches burn,<br />

where are the mass graves?<br />

Catholic leaders in Canada are connecting a rash of arson<br />

and vandalism to unverified comments made by Canadian<br />

public leaders, as excavations into purported mass graves at<br />

former residential school sites come up empty.<br />

At least 85 Catholic churches have been burned or vandalized<br />

since May 27, 2021, when a news story alleged 215 unmarked<br />

graves near the former Church-operated Kamloops<br />

Indian Residential School. While no sanctioned excavations<br />

have been conducted at Kamloops, excavations at three other<br />

sites have failed to discover the reported mass gravesites.<br />

“The reality is when we have a continued assertion of false<br />

claims of mass graves and missing children or speculation in<br />

the absence of better evidence, much of this criminal activity<br />

is likely to continue,” Philip Horgan, president of the Catholic<br />

Civil Rights League, told The Catholic Register.<br />

Haitian National Police patrol in Port-au-Prince Jan. 22, days after the six nuns were<br />


■ Haitian nuns released on day of prayer<br />

Six Haitian nuns who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince Jan.<br />

19 were set free Jan. 24, a day of prayer dedicated for their<br />

release.<br />

“God always hears the cries of the poor and frees the unfortunate<br />

from all his distress (Psalm 33:6–7),” read a statement<br />

from the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince to Aid to the Church<br />

in Need. “We cried unto him, he made us strong in trial, and<br />

he set our captives free.”<br />

The abductions were suspected to be the work of a gang.<br />

Eighty percent of the Caribbean nation’s capital is controlled<br />

by gangs, and clergy kidnapping has grown in regularity.<br />

Other passengers and the bus driver had also been abducted<br />

with the sisters and were likewise released.<br />

■ Why Indonesia is having Ash Thursday<br />

Citizens in Indonesia have only a handful of hours — from<br />

7 a.m. and 1 p.m. — to cast their ballots on Wednesday,<br />

Feb. 14. To accommodate the timing, Catholic bishops are<br />

moving Ash Wednesday.<br />

Though Catholics make up just 3% of the electorate,<br />

Church leaders expressed a concern that Catholic voters<br />

attending liturgy might miss their chance at the polls, which<br />

will determine a new president, vice president, and 711<br />

members of the national assembly.<br />

“Both the general election and Ash Wednesday are important<br />

for us as Catholics and Indonesians,” said Bishop<br />

Antonius Subianto Bunjamin of Bandung, president of the<br />

Indonesian bishops’ conference. “The active involvement in<br />

both events are the responsibility to fulfill our duty as citizens<br />

and our call to repent as Christians.”<br />

Dioceses are accommodating the liturgical shift differently.<br />

Some will observe Ash Wednesday on Thursday, Feb. 15,<br />

while at least one other will administer ashes on the first<br />

Sunday of Lent, Feb. 19.<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

NATION<br />

■ Still trending: Spiritual<br />

but not religious<br />

The religiously unaffiliated, or “nones,” now are the largest<br />

religious category in the U.S. at 28% of the population,<br />

according to a Jan. 24 Pew Research Center report.<br />

The majority of nones point to bad experiences with religious<br />

organizations or religious people for their lack of affiliation,<br />

and 43% say they believe organized religion does more<br />

harm than good. Forty-four percent say they either don’t need<br />

religion or don’t have time for it.<br />

But among those who identify with no religion, 70% still<br />

say they believe in God or a higher power, with roughly half<br />

describing themselves as “spiritual.”<br />

A sudden passing — Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, the fifth bishop of<br />

Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, passed away at age 63. He died Jan. 19 from<br />

complications related to recent health problems. Originally from Colombia,<br />

Dorsonville was named an auxiliary bishop for Washington, D.C., in 2015, before<br />

being named to lead the Louisiana diocese last <strong>February</strong>. From 2019 to 2022, he<br />

was the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ conference migration committee. A funeral<br />

Mass for the bishop was set for Feb. 1 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Thibodauxe.<br />


■ Group of bishops to government:<br />

Fight poverty, not wars<br />

Eighteen U.S. bishops have joined a call to cut military<br />

spending and instead invest in fighting poverty.<br />

In an open letter from Pax Christi USA, a Catholic peace<br />

organization led by Lexington Bishop John Stowe, the<br />

bishops called for the diversion of military funds, which were<br />

authorized at a record $886 billion a year in December, to<br />

fight food insecurity, which has risen to 12.8% of all U.S.<br />

households.<br />

“Pax Christi USA sees the U.S. military budget, especially<br />

the part earmarked for weapons development, as offering<br />

stones when so many social programs in the U.S. are underfunded,<br />

resulting in poor nutrition and hunger in our country,”<br />

Stowe said in a statement to National Catholic Reporter.<br />

The letter is part of a “Bread <strong>No</strong>t Stones” campaign, in<br />

reference to Matthew 7:9. The signatories included Cardinal<br />

Robert McElroy of San Diego and Cardinal Joseph Tobin of<br />

Newark.<br />

■ HHS doubles down on abortion,<br />

contraception access<br />

The Biden administration announced new rules aimed<br />

at expanding contraception and abortion access Jan. 22,<br />

the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade.<br />

The Department of Health and Human Services<br />

(HHS) declared its intention to expand no-cost contraceptives<br />

under the Affordable Care Act and for federal<br />

employees, issuing a letter to insurers instructing them of<br />

an obligation to provide these services.<br />

The HHS also announced a team that will enforce its<br />

interpretation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and<br />

Labor Act, which they say requires hospitals to provide<br />

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a “Reproductive Freedom Campaign<br />

Rally” Jan. 23 in Manassas, Virginia. | ANNA MONEYMAKER/GETTY IMAGES<br />

emergency abortions even in states that limit or abolish abortion.<br />

The changes are part of a push from the Biden administration to focus on abortion access as part of the president’s <strong>2024</strong><br />

reelection campaign.<br />

“Where abortion has been on the ballot, the American people have overwhelmingly voted to protect reproductive freedom,”<br />

Jennifer Klein, director of the White House’s Gender Policy Council, told reporters last week.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 5

LOCAL<br />

■ Thousand Oaks girls<br />

school to close<br />

La Reina High School and Middle<br />

School, an all-girls Catholic school in<br />

Thousand Oaks, announced on Jan. 24<br />

that it will close at the end of the school<br />

year.<br />

Due to “significant under-enrollment,”<br />

La Reina President Tony<br />

Guevara said in an email to parents that<br />

the school was no longer “responsibly<br />

sustainable.”<br />

“We trust you will understand that this<br />

decision is not an easy one,” Guevara<br />

said. “It was made after careful discernment<br />

and after multiple continued<br />

efforts to improve La Reina’s sustainability<br />

over many years.”<br />

Many parents and alumni were upset<br />

with the decision and have attempted<br />

to try to stop the closure, first by speaking<br />

at a community meeting on Jan.<br />

25 and by spreading the word online,<br />

including “Save La Reina” social media<br />

accounts.<br />

The school, sponsored by the Sisters of<br />

<strong>No</strong>tre Dame, was founded in 1964.<br />

■ Latest archdiocese healing garden opens<br />

at St. Bernadette<br />

A fourth Garden of<br />

Healing was unveiled by<br />

the Archdiocese of Los<br />

Angeles’ Victims Assistance<br />

Ministry at St. Bernadette<br />

Church in Baldwin Hills<br />

with a blessing from<br />

Auxiliary Bishop Matthew<br />

Elshoff on Jan. 17.<br />

With plans to have<br />

a garden dedicated to<br />

victim-survivors of sexual<br />

abuse in each of the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles’<br />

Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Matthew Elshoff blesses the water feature at<br />

five regions, St. Bernadette the latest healing garden completed at St. Bernadette Church. | PABLO KAY<br />

joins St. Camillus Center<br />

in Los Angeles, Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Ventura, and St. Francis<br />

de Sales Church in San Fernando. The next garden will be built in the San Pedro<br />

Region.<br />

Along with greenery and benches for reflection, there’s a water feature in each<br />

garden meant to evoke the sorrow of the abuse, but also the promise of renewal.<br />

“I pray St. Bernadette’s garden — and all the healing gardens — will be received as<br />

a sacred space to hold and acknowledge the pain of those impacted by sexual abuse<br />

in the Church, their families, or communities, while renewing their spirits and fostering<br />

healing,” said Victims Assistance Ministry Coordinator Heather Banis, Ph.D.<br />

Y<br />

A new LA Catholic for the Chargers — Jim Harbaugh, shown here with Pope Francis in 2017, was recently<br />

hired as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. Harbaugh, who most recently coached the University<br />

of Michigan’s football team, is a well-known Catholic and spoke at last month’s March for Life event in Washington,<br />


■ Mass to mark one-year<br />

anniversary of Bishop<br />

Dave’s death<br />

To mark the one-year anniversary<br />

of his passing, there will be a memorial<br />

Mass for Auxiliary Bishop David<br />

O’Connell at Mission San Gabriel<br />

Arcángel on Feb. 24.<br />

The 10 a.m. Mass will be presided<br />

over by Archbishop José H. Gomez<br />

and will feature the blessing of a memorial<br />

exhibit afterward.<br />

A new Native garden and fountain<br />

were installed at Mission San Gabriel<br />

Arcángel in <strong>No</strong>vember, and since it<br />

had been sponsored by O’Connell, a<br />

monument was placed there in memory<br />

of him.<br />

O’Connell, who was the episcopal<br />

vicar of the Archdiocese of Los<br />

Angeles’ San Gabriel Region, was<br />

killed in his Hacienda Heights home<br />

on Feb. 18, 2023. Carlos Medina, the<br />

man suspected of killing O’Connell,<br />

remains in jail and is awaiting trial.<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

V<br />


Letters to the Editor<br />

Thankful for this characteristic of Catholic schools<br />

Thank you for the uplifting, faith-filled article on Atticus Maldonado<br />

(“The Miracle of Gardendale Street” in the Jan. 26 issue of <strong>Angelus</strong>),<br />

a Downey student who got cancer, and who was healed by the grace of God<br />

through prayers of his fellow students and their families. This story made me feel<br />

so happy to be Catholic. It also made me sad to think of secular public schools,<br />

where prayer is not permitted, and where students undergoing serious illness<br />

might not find this kind of prayer support, or have confidence in God’s love for<br />

them.<br />

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

Correction: In the article “Searching in the Desert” in the Jan. 26 issue of <strong>Angelus</strong>,<br />

the names of Ann Koshute and Caroline Gindhart were misspelled. We regret<br />

the errors.<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 />

Under the protection of ‘Santo Niño’<br />

“You could really say the<br />

Ten Commandments is<br />

etiquette, right?”<br />

~ Andrea Voyer, associate professor of sociology<br />

at Stockholm University, in a Jan. 21 Vox article on<br />

who etiquette is for.<br />

“Kenny is a human being,<br />

not an experiment.”<br />

~ Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director<br />

of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, in a Jan. 25<br />

National Catholic Reporter article on Alabama’s<br />

first nitrogen gas execution.<br />

“Opinion is cheap.<br />

Reporting is expensive.”<br />

~ Terry Mattingly, editor of GetReligion.org, in a<br />

Jan. 17 Religion <strong>News</strong> Service article on his site<br />

shutting down after 20 years.<br />

“We give birth. We can<br />

drive trucks.”<br />

~ Ramona, a trucker, in a Jan. 16 Harper’s Magazine<br />

article on long-haul trucking and the shortage of<br />

truckers.<br />

“Compared to politics and<br />

advertising, hypnotists are<br />

amateur.”<br />

~ Hypnotist Gerard V, in a Jan. 25 Longreads article<br />

on a writer remembering being hypnotized as a<br />

teenager.<br />

Hundreds of Filipino Catholics hold up their Santo Niño statues to be blessed during the annual Feast of<br />

Santo Niño Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Jan. 21. | 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 />

“<strong>No</strong>w, if you’ll excuse me,<br />

I’m gonna go have a cookie.”<br />

~ Writer Drew Magary, in a Jan. 18 Men’s Health<br />

article on weight loss in today’s age of radical body<br />

positivity.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 7

IN EXILE<br />


Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronrolheiser.com<br />

The spirituality of Eugéne de Mazenod<br />

During the years I have been<br />

writing this column, I have<br />

rarely mentioned the fact that<br />

I belong to a religious order, the Missionary<br />

Oblates of Mary Immaculate.<br />

That omission is not an evasion, since<br />

being an Oblate of Mary Immaculate<br />

is something of which I am quite<br />

proud. However, I rarely flag the fact<br />

that I am a priest and a member of a<br />

religious order because I believe what<br />

I write here and elsewhere needs to<br />

ground itself on things beyond titles.<br />

In this column, however, I want to<br />

speak about the founder of the Missionary<br />

Oblates of Mary Immaculate,<br />

St. Eugéne de Mazenod, because<br />

what he had to say about Christian<br />

discipleship and spirituality is something<br />

of value and importance for<br />

everyone, like the legacies that have<br />

been left us by other great religious<br />

founders like Bernard, Francis, Dominic,<br />

Angel Merici, Ignatius of Loyola,<br />

Vincent de Paul, and others.<br />

De Mazenod (1779-1861) was a<br />

French bishop of aristocratic origins<br />

who some popular myths identify<br />

as the bishop in “Les Miserables.”<br />

He was a man whose personality ran<br />

somewhat naturally in the direction of<br />

the stern, the introverted, the strongly<br />

inner-directed, the mystical, and the<br />

single-minded. He wasn’t the type<br />

of person most people would choose<br />

as their first choice for light dinner<br />

conversation, but he was the type of<br />

person who is often God’s first choice<br />

to found a religious order.<br />

Soren Kierkegaard once stated that<br />

“to be a saint is to will the one thing.”<br />

De Mazenod clearly did that and, in<br />

his case, that one thing had a number<br />

of aspects which, taken together,<br />

form the basis of a very rich, balanced<br />

spirituality — one that emphasizes<br />

some salient aspects of Christian discipleship<br />

that are often neglected today.<br />

What shaped the spirituality of de<br />

Mazenod and the charism he left<br />

behind?<br />

First, he emphasized community.<br />

For him, a good life is not just one of<br />

individual achievement, fidelity, or<br />

even greatness; it is a life that links<br />

itself to the power inherent within<br />

community. He was a firm believer<br />

in the axiom: what we dream alone<br />

remains a dream, what we dream with<br />

others can become a reality.<br />

In his view, compassion only<br />

becomes effective when it becomes<br />

collective, when it issues forth from<br />

a group rather than from just one<br />

individual. He believed that alone you<br />

can make a splash but not a difference.<br />

He founded a religious order<br />

because he deeply believed this.<br />

In the face of all the issues confronting<br />

the world and the Church<br />

today, if someone were to ask him,<br />

“What’s the one single thing I might<br />

do to make a difference?” He would<br />

reply: Connect yourself with others<br />

of sincere will within community,<br />

around the person of Christ. Alone<br />

you cannot save the world. Together<br />

we can!<br />

Second, he believed that a healthy<br />

spirituality makes a marriage between<br />

contemplation and justice. Judged in<br />

the light of our contemporary sensitivities,<br />

his exact expression of this is perhaps<br />

linguistically awkward today, but<br />

his key principle is perennially valid:<br />

only an action that issues forth from a<br />

life that is rooted in prayer and deep<br />

interiority will be truly prophetic and<br />

effective. Conversely, all true prayer<br />

and genuine interiority will burst<br />

forth in action, especially in action for<br />

justice and the poor.<br />

Third, in his own life and in the<br />

spirituality he laid out for his religious<br />

community, he made a strong<br />

preferential option for the poor. He did<br />

this not because it was the politically<br />

correct thing to do, but because it was<br />

the correct thing to do; the Gospel<br />

demands this, and it is non-negotiable.<br />

His belief was simple and clear:<br />

as Christians, we are called to be with<br />

and work with those whom nobody<br />

else wants to be with and work with.<br />

For him, any teaching or action that<br />

is not good news for the poor cannot<br />

claim to be speaking for Jesus or for<br />

Scripture.<br />

Fourth, he put all of this under the<br />

patronage of the mother of Jesus,<br />

Mary, whom he saw as an advocate<br />

for the poor. He recognized that the<br />

poor turn to her, for it is she who gives<br />

voice to the Magnificat.<br />

Finally, in his own life and in the<br />

ideal he laid out, he brought together<br />

two seemingly contradictory tendencies:<br />

a deep love for the institutional<br />

Church and the capacity to prophetically<br />

challenge it at the same time.<br />

He loved the Church, believed that it<br />

was the noblest thing for which one<br />

might die; but at the same time, he<br />

wasn’t afraid to publicly point out the<br />

Church’s faults or to admit that the<br />

Church needs constant challenge and<br />

self-criticism … and he was willing to<br />

offer it!<br />

His personality was very different<br />

from mine. I doubt that he and I<br />

would spontaneously like each other.<br />

But that’s incidental. I’m proud of his<br />

legacy, proud to be one of his sons,<br />

and convinced enough of his spirituality<br />

to give my life over for it.<br />

8 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>


The bloody campaign against Christians in Nigeria is an<br />

especially urgent case of a broader phenomenon.<br />


ROME — In light of the recent<br />

furor over Fiducia Supplicans<br />

(“Supplicating Trust”), a Dec.<br />

18 Vatican declaration authorizing<br />

nonliturgical blessings of same-sex unions,<br />

one might almost be forgiven for<br />

thinking it’s a matter of life and death.<br />

Of course, in truth that’s a merely<br />

rhetorical assertion. However important<br />

the doctrinal issues may be,<br />

nobody’s going to live or die depending<br />

on how they’re resolved.<br />

On the other hand, the same cannot<br />

be said for the issue currently dominating<br />

Catholic discussion in Nigeria,<br />

Africa’s most populous nation, which<br />

Christians hold signs as they march on the streets<br />

of Abuja during a prayer and penance for peace and<br />

security in Nigeria in Abuja on March 1, 2020. The<br />

Catholic bishops of Nigeria gathered faithful as well as<br />

other Christians and other people to pray for security<br />

and to denounce the barbaric killings of Christians by<br />

the Boko Haram insurgents and the incessant cases of<br />

kidnapping for ransom in Nigeria. | KOLA SULAIMON/<br />


10 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

isn’t the theology of same-sex relationships<br />

or any of the other topics that<br />

often loom so large in Catholic debate<br />

in affluent societies.<br />

Instead, it’s what a growing chorus<br />

of observers describe as a “genocide”<br />

directed against Christians in a country<br />

that has the largest mixed Muslim/<br />

Christian population in the world.<br />

According to some estimates, Nigeria<br />

now accounts for almost 90% of all<br />

Christians martyred worldwide each<br />

year.<br />

In its latest annual report, Aid to the<br />

Church in Need, a papally sponsored<br />

foundation supporting persecuted<br />

Christians, reported<br />

that more than 7,600 Nigerian<br />

Christians had been<br />

murdered between January<br />

2021 and June 2022.<br />

Nigeria is merely an<br />

especially urgent case of<br />

a broader phenomenon.<br />

According to an annual<br />

report of “Open Doors,”<br />

an ecumenical watchdog<br />

group on anti-Christian<br />

persecution, more than 365<br />

million Christians in the<br />

world, that is 1 in 7, faced<br />

high levels of persecution<br />

for their faith as of late<br />

2023.<br />

The threat to Christians<br />

in Nigeria has been clear<br />

for some time, but it’s<br />

been driven home of late<br />

in the wake of Christmas<br />

massacres in the country’s<br />

Plateau State that claimed<br />

the lives of more than 300<br />

Christians.<br />

The assaults have continued<br />

into the new year. On Jan. 4, Boko<br />

Haram insurgents killed a pastor and<br />

at least 13 members of his Church,<br />

according to local news site Sahara<br />

Reporters. Pastor Elkanah Ayuba was<br />

the leader of a Church of Christ in<br />

Nations congregation.<br />

While the violence is sometimes<br />

characterized as more social and economic<br />

than religious, pitting members<br />

of the Fulani ethnic group who are<br />

herdsmen against Igbo and Yoruba<br />

farmers and pastors, religion is inevitably<br />

part of the picture given that the<br />

Fulani are largely Muslim while their<br />

victims are mostly Christian.<br />

In addition, there’s a clear pattern<br />

in the violence of targeting Christian<br />

churches, schools, residences, and<br />

other facilities.<br />

At least 52,000 Christians have been<br />

killed in Nigeria since 2009, according<br />

to the International Society for Human<br />

Rights and the Rule of Law (“Intersociety”),<br />

an international monitoring<br />

group tracking genocide in Nigeria.<br />

Last year, Fulani herdsmen were<br />

responsible for the deaths of at least<br />

3,500 Christians, the group said.<br />

The same report published in April<br />

also asserted that 18,000 Christian<br />

churches and 2,200 Christian schools<br />

have been set ablaze, and around<br />

34,000 moderate Muslims also have<br />

been killed in Islamist attacks.<br />

Within the same period, at least 707<br />

Christians were kidnapped, out of<br />

which the <strong>No</strong>rthern Nigerian Niger<br />

State recorded more than 200 abductions,<br />

including the March 14 abduction<br />

of more than 100 Christians in<br />

Adunu. Roughly 5 million Christians<br />

have been displaced and forced into<br />

Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)<br />

camps within Nigeria and refugee<br />

Flowers lie on caskets during a funeral Mass in the<br />

parish hall of St. Francis Xavier Church in Owo,<br />

Nigeria, June 17, 2022. The Mass was for some of the<br />

40 victims killed in a June 5 attack by gunmen during<br />

Mass at the church. | OSV/TEMILADE ADELAJA,<br />


camps at regional and sub-regional<br />

borders, according to Intersociety.<br />

The director of the Christian-inspired<br />

human rights organization said the<br />

genocide of Christians in Nigeria is<br />

being carried out with the complicity<br />

of the government.<br />

“The government of Tinubu is part<br />

of the butchering machinery,” said<br />

Emeka Umeagbalasi, a criminologist<br />

and grassroots human rights and<br />

Democracy campaigner, referring to<br />

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who<br />

took office in late March.<br />

“The Fulani jihadi rose to power under<br />

the Buhari administration and was<br />

able to take control of everything,” he<br />

said, asserting that Tinubu is set to perpetuate<br />

that heritage. The reference<br />

was to Nigeria’s previous government<br />

under former President Muhammadu<br />

Buhari.<br />

Umeagbalasi said that international<br />

pressure should be brought to bear on<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 11

the Tinubu administration if<br />

Nigerian Christians must be<br />

set on the way to freedom.<br />

“The destiny of Nigerian<br />

Christians lies in the hands<br />

of international state actors<br />

and nonstate actors to pile<br />

enough pressure on the<br />

government of Nigeria and<br />

compel the government of<br />

Nigeria to do the needful,”<br />

Umeagbalasi told Crux.<br />

He said one way of compelling<br />

the government to<br />

act is by tying foreign aid to<br />

religious freedom. Otherwise,<br />

he said, “the killings<br />

are going to continue and<br />

with catastrophic consequences,<br />

including the total<br />

Islamization of the Middle<br />

Belt.”<br />

Johan Viljoen, director<br />

of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute,<br />

an entity of the Southern Catholic<br />

Bishops’ Conference, recently said the<br />

Nigerian government is at fault for the<br />

mounting threats to Christians in the<br />

country and should be held accountable.<br />

“Any foreign assistance or investment<br />

to Nigeria should be made conditional<br />

to the strict observance of human<br />

rights,” Viljoen said, insisting that victims<br />

of anti-Christian violence should<br />

receive financial compensation for<br />

property destroyed and lives lost.<br />

“The Nigerian government should<br />

pay. It was, after all, the Nigerian government<br />

that failed to ensure the safety<br />

and security of its citizens — one of<br />

the prime duties of any national government,”<br />

he said. Viljoen blamed the<br />

Rebecca Agidi with her son, Oryiman,<br />

pictured in an undated photo in a camp for<br />

internally displaced persons in the Diocese<br />

of Makurdi, Nigeria. In September 2022,<br />

Agidi’s husband was killed and Oryiman<br />

was injured in an attack on the family’s<br />

village by Fulani extremists. | OSV/COUR-<br />

TESY ACN<br />

government of new Tinubu<br />

for doing little to change the<br />

situation, noting that attacks<br />

have continued in Nigeria’s<br />

Middle Belt.<br />

All this background,<br />

perhaps, makes a simple<br />

point for Catholics in the<br />

developed world, including<br />

the United States.<br />

Yes, we may have issues<br />

around which great passions<br />

can be aroused, and their<br />

theological and sacramental<br />

significance shouldn’t be underestimated.<br />

At the same time, however, we<br />

can still go to Mass on Sunday without<br />

taking our lives into our hands —<br />

and, frankly, the same cannot be said<br />

of Catholics everywhere, a fact that<br />

perhaps deserves a greater claim on<br />

our attention.<br />

John L. Allen Jr. is the editor of Crux.<br />

Global hotspots of hate<br />

Although Nigeria may be dominating<br />

headlines in terms of<br />

anti-Christian violence as <strong>2024</strong><br />

opens, it’s hardly the only spot on the<br />

map where Christians face severe<br />

threats.<br />

According to Open Doors International,<br />

a nondenominational watchdog<br />

group, 365 million Christians around<br />

the world face high levels of persecution<br />

and discrimination, representing<br />

15% of all Christians worldwide.<br />

In the organization’s <strong>2024</strong> “World<br />

Watch List,” Nigeria actually ranks just<br />

sixth in terms of where Christians face<br />

the most extreme persecution. The top<br />

five countries are:<br />

1. <strong>No</strong>rth Korea: Tens of thousands of<br />

Christians are believed to be incarcerated<br />

in labor camps across the country,<br />

with the mere fact of being a Christian<br />

or possessing a Bible considered a criminal<br />

act under the country’s notorious<br />

“anti-reactionary thought law.”<br />

2. Somalia: The handful of Christians<br />

in the overwhelming Muslim nation<br />

are mostly converts from Islam, and<br />

are subject to immediate execution if<br />

detected by the militant jihadi group<br />

al-Shabab that operates with impunity<br />

in most parts of the country.<br />

3. Libya: Lacking any effective political<br />

authority, Libya is dominated by a<br />

competing cluster of militias and armed<br />

groups, most with a strong Islamic<br />

identity. Christians, including migrants<br />

from sub-Saharan Africa seeking to<br />

make their way to Europe, are frequent<br />

targets for violence, kidnapping, and<br />

trafficking.<br />

4. Eritrea: The country’s intense authoritarian<br />

government perceives Christians<br />

as a special threat to stability, and<br />

operates an extensive prison network.<br />

Many Christian inmates are held in the<br />

desert in metal shipping containers,<br />

which become extremely cold at night<br />

and can reach temperatures as high as<br />

115 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.<br />

5. Yemen: A strongly conservative<br />

Islamic society, threats to Christians in<br />

Yemen, especially Muslim converts,<br />

also have been amplified by a 10-year<br />

civil war. Tribal punishments for deserting<br />

Islam in Yemen generally prescribe<br />

death or banishment.<br />

— John L. Allen Jr.<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 13

Thousands of marchers walked in the rain from Olvera<br />

Street to LA State Historical Park. The sign displays the<br />

theme from the event: “10 Years Together as One.”<br />

RIGHT<br />

AS RAIN<br />

Rather than dampen<br />

the enthusiasm, the<br />

wet weather at this<br />

year’s OneLife LA<br />

seemed to strengthen<br />

the resolve of<br />

participants from<br />

around California.<br />




There was no escaping the rain.<br />

It permeated everything:<br />

clothes, jackets, socks, shoes. It<br />

soaked everything trying to prevent it,<br />

from umbrellas to hats to ponchos to<br />

covered baby strollers.<br />

Signs were drenched, whether it was<br />

the sturdy ones handed out for the<br />

event, or the handmade variety that<br />

people brought from home. Water-logged<br />

signs that said things like<br />

“Pregnancy is not a disease, abortion<br />

is not a cure” or “Protect all children,<br />

even if they’re not yours.”<br />

But there was one thing the rain<br />

couldn’t dampen: The resolve of nearly<br />

7,000 to speak out for and celebrate<br />

the dignity of life at the 10th annual<br />

OneLife LA event on Jan. 20, titled<br />

“10 Years Together as One.” As in past<br />

years, it started with a rally at La Placita<br />

Olvera in downtown LA and made its<br />

way to Los Angeles State Historic Park,<br />

where music, activities for families, and<br />

a lineup of pro-life speakers awaited.<br />

Later, the day was capped by the annual<br />

Requiem for the Unborn Mass at the<br />

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

Hundreds of miles to the north, tens<br />

of thousands were also gathering for<br />

a sometimes-rainy 20th annual Walk<br />

for Life West Coast in San Francisco,<br />

while across the country in Washington,<br />

D.C., demonstrators braved frigid<br />

temperatures and snowfall for the 51st<br />

annual March for Life.<br />

“This is how dedicated we are to our<br />

faith,” said Cecilia Hernandez, 14, who<br />

attended OneLife LA with her mom,<br />

Rosario. “The fact that we’re out here<br />

in the pouring rain, it’s below 60 degrees.<br />

It just shows how much we care.”<br />

“God gives us all challenges, only to<br />

make us stronger,” said Buzz Wallick,<br />

who walked with his pregnant wife,<br />

Mary. “It’s just a little wet. Who cares?<br />

And as you can see, everyone rose to<br />

the occasion and rose to the challenge.”<br />

“As long as we can keep the baby dry,<br />

I’m going to go,” joked Allan Herrera,<br />

their friend from Holy Family Church<br />

in Glendale who was pushing his<br />

young son, Dominic, in a stroller.<br />

***<br />

Los Angeles Archbishop José H.<br />

Gomez kicked off the event at the state<br />

park by reminding people that celebrating<br />

life meant treating people, no<br />

matter their color, class, or condition,<br />

with tenderness.<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

Despite the rain, marchers happily<br />

gathered at Olvera Street for music<br />

and prayer before walking to LA<br />

State Historical Park.<br />

“We face many big ‘issues’ in our society,”<br />

said Archbishop Gomez, joined at<br />

the park by several other local bishops,<br />

including Bishop Joseph Brennan of<br />

Fresno. “But behind every one of these<br />

‘issues’ are real people, with their own<br />

stories, their own dreams, their own<br />

struggles. Every one of them is a child<br />

of God, and every one of them is our<br />

brother or our sister.<br />

“And we are called to love them. As<br />

Jesus loves them. Without exception,<br />

without judgment, with no conditions.”<br />

That sentiment was backed up by several<br />

of the guest speakers, who spoke<br />

of the importance of meeting people<br />

where they’re at rather than trying to<br />

impose their will.<br />

Catholic speaker and author Katie<br />

Prejean McGrady was prevented by<br />

weather from making it to LA from the<br />

East Coast, but sent a video message<br />

inviting participants to celebrate life by<br />

making it better for others, including<br />

“the perfect stranger that we see in<br />

the grocery store, the man begging on<br />

the side of the road, the woman who’s<br />

been unjustly accused, the immigrant<br />

who has been unwelcomed, the unborn<br />

child that has been cast aside.”<br />

“We’re able to give witness to the value<br />

and dignity and goodness of human<br />

life, long past an event’s end,” she said.<br />

Another popular pro-life speaker,<br />

Father Josh Johnson of the Diocese of<br />

Baton Rouge, spoke about the lessons<br />

that could be learned from his prison<br />

ministry, where an inmate confided<br />

about his initial reluctance to evangelize<br />

to violent prisoners, having been<br />

spit on, cursed at, and worse.<br />

“We have so many people in our<br />

schools, in our workplace environments,<br />

in our neighborhoods, even<br />

in our family, who are opposed to the<br />

gospel of life,” Johnson said. “Even<br />

then, we must be willing to go to them<br />

again and again and again. And if they<br />

spit on us, or curse us out, or reject<br />

our message, or resist this invitation<br />

we have for them, we must go to them<br />

over and over again.<br />

“We must not live as if we can have<br />

heaven without them. God wants<br />

them. But he wants to send us to get<br />

them.”<br />

***<br />

While the event promoted the dignity<br />

of all life, the fight over abortion<br />

remained high on the priority list for<br />

many in the crowd.<br />

Despite Roe v. Wade being overturned<br />

by the Supreme Court in 2022, several<br />

in attendance expressed concern over<br />

pro-abortion state policies being enacted<br />

all over the country, and especially<br />

in California, where several recent laws<br />

have protected the right to an abortion<br />

in the state.<br />

Frida Plata, 19, a parishioner at St.<br />

Peter Chanel Church in Hawaiian<br />

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los<br />

Angeles received a $10,000 OneLife LA Service Grant<br />

to support its pastoral work and its Santa Teresita<br />

Assisted Living facility in Duarte.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 15

Nearly 7,000 event participants braved the<br />

rain to support the dignity of life and enjoy<br />

guest speakers, music, food, and vendors.<br />

Gardens, held her head high as she<br />

marched with a homemade anti-abortion<br />

sign. As someone who works with<br />

Vox Vitae, a pro-life nonprofit that<br />

works with teens and young adults, she<br />

was adamant that abortion was hurting<br />

our way of life.<br />

“In today’s society, we can see there’s<br />

a lot of wrong things going on,” Plata<br />

said. “Abortion. Human trafficking.<br />

Our babies are being affected.<br />

“My goal has always been to help<br />

women and save those children.”<br />

Elizabeth Macias, a parishioner at<br />

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in<br />

El Monte and one of the coordinators<br />

of a church group called “Prevention<br />

and Rescue,” was listening to speakers<br />

as she held her youngest daughter and<br />

several of her other kids ran around. As<br />

someone who got pregnant at age 18<br />

and who recently had her fifth child 10<br />

years later, she believes there needs to<br />

be a rethinking of how pregnancy and<br />

abortion are framed.<br />

“My thought is now what do I have<br />

to sacrifice more to be able to feed my<br />

fourth, fifth kid versus I’m going to<br />

go abort so I don’t have to sacrifice,”<br />

Macias said. “If you think more about<br />

sacrificing versus getting rid of, God<br />

blesses you. God doesn’t fail. He’s not<br />

human.”<br />

***<br />

Others simply basked in the joy of the<br />

life that was brought into the world.<br />

Ruben and Maggie Cardenas —<br />

parishioners at St. Peter & St. Paul<br />

Church in Rancho Cucamonga —<br />

were taking photos of their daughter,<br />

Emily, holding a OneLife LA sign.<br />

Emily held a special place in their<br />

heart, being their first child after having<br />

spent their first 10 years of marriage<br />

childless. Emily is now 19 and the<br />

couple has four other children.<br />

“We prayed and asked God for a child<br />

and Emily is an answer,” Ruben said.<br />

So we’ve been in that space of wanting<br />

to have children and yet being around<br />

a society where so many people were<br />

aborting children.”<br />

“It’s easy to get caught up in the culture<br />

where anything goes, euthanasia<br />

and abortion,” Maggie said. “For us, it’s<br />

important to make sure our kids know<br />

that no matter how popular the culture<br />

of death is, it’s wrong.”<br />

For Carolina Jara, who attends Sacred<br />

Heart Church in Jurupa Valley, there’s<br />

a reason why she’s been to OneLife LA<br />

for all 10 years, bringing her husband<br />

and five kids with her: She herself was<br />

almost aborted. Her mother was 38, her<br />

family was poor, and her parents were<br />

already struggling with five kids.<br />

“My mom always mentions the story<br />

of when she was pregnant with me, the<br />

doctor told her to have an abortion,”<br />

Jara said. “I think that always stuck with<br />

me. So I’ve always been pro-life.”<br />

For those who argue as pro-choice and<br />

who see nothing wrong with abortion,<br />

Jara has a simple message to try and<br />

change their minds.<br />

“I think the first thing I mention is,<br />

hey, I wouldn’t be here if my mom<br />

would’ve aborted me,” Jara said. “My<br />

kids wouldn’t be here. It’s a huge deal<br />

to think about missing a person in your<br />

life.<br />

“Imagine if you didn’t exist, all the<br />

things you do in your life, all the people<br />

you share your life with. We’re all<br />

important members of society. Without<br />

that one person, there’s something<br />

missing.”<br />

As the rain welcomed the event, it also<br />

had the final say. As Francis Cabildo<br />

and friends took the stage for the final<br />

performance, the downpour came<br />

down heavily again and the concert was<br />

cut short for safety reasons.<br />

“God’s mercy is pouring on us,”<br />

Cabildo said.<br />

It was at that point the date for next<br />

year’s OneLife LA was announced:<br />

Saturday, Jan. 18, 2025.<br />

The rain is TBD.<br />

Mike Cisneros is the associate editor of<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>


This year’s Requiem Mass asked Catholics to<br />

embrace a different ‘vision’ as California moves<br />

to expand abortion access.<br />

Mass participants carry 120 white candles<br />

to the altar to represent the lives that were<br />

lost to abortion in the greater Los Angeles<br />

area. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />


Maria Consuelo Carrera has dedicated her public<br />

— and private — life to defending the rights of<br />

the unborn and praying for an end to abortion.<br />

The 49-year-old mother of four has routinely participated<br />

in pro-life events since she was a teen, and remained open<br />

to life even after having two children with autism and<br />

doctors warning her that any subsequent babies could have<br />

special needs as well.<br />

On Saturday, Carrera lovingly tended to her adult son in<br />

his wheelchair during the Requiem for the Unborn Mass at<br />

the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, celebrated after<br />

the 10th annual OneLife LA Walk for Life Jan. 20.<br />

“I came here today to use my voice to speak up for the<br />

children who have no voice,” said Carrera, one of the 2,200<br />

faithful from around Southern California who attended the<br />

Requiem Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez.<br />

“If I stay quiet, if we all stay home, then who is going to<br />

speak up?”<br />

Michael Donaldson, senior director for the archdiocese’s<br />

Office of Life, Justice and Peace, opened the Mass by congratulating<br />

OneLife LA participants who braved the rain<br />

and pushed through fatigue that day.<br />

“We thank you for your willingness to accept God’s mission,<br />

advocating for the unborn, the most vulnerable in our<br />

society, the poor, the sick, the prisoner, the migrant, and<br />

the refugee,” he said.<br />

Among those at the Mass were LA’s five active auxiliary<br />

bishops, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Bishop Joseph Brennan<br />

of Fresno, leaders from various faith traditions, and deacons<br />

and Knights of Columbus from across Southern California.<br />

In his homily, Auxiliary Bishop Matthew Elshoff compared<br />

California’s 2022 decision to enshrine a right to<br />

abortion up to the point of delivery into the state Constitution<br />

to the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford decision, in which<br />

the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Constitution did<br />

not guarantee the rights of American citizenship to people<br />

of African American descent, even if they were no longer<br />

slaves.<br />

“When you think about it, government is not supposed<br />

to define who is created in God’s image and likeness,” he<br />

said. “Government is not supposed to define who is created<br />

equal or not. And they are not to define who has certain in-<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 17

alienable rights or not. Our democracy is designed to protect<br />

the rights of all people, and in this case, the unborn.”<br />

Elshoff also encouraged the faithful to keep advocating for<br />

life “from the womb to the tomb” even when laws don’t.<br />

“Let’s not be discouraged that we seem to take two steps<br />

forward and one step back,” he said. “Rather our goal is to<br />

listen, to respond, to follow God’s call, and to embrace this<br />

vision with our whole being, with Jesus at the center.”<br />

The Requiem Mass also included a witness reflection by<br />

Jess Echeverry — a Catholic speaker and family advocate<br />

who experienced healing and discovered Christ and the<br />

Church after undergoing an abortion 32 years ago as a<br />

young homeless woman.<br />

Echeverry — who is now married with five children and<br />

started a nonprofit ministry called Sofesa to help homeless<br />

and low-income families — said research shows that 1 in 5<br />

women seeking an abortion is homeless, and urged attendees<br />

to show empathy for those who’ve had an abortion.<br />

“My brothers and sisters, if we want to end abortion,<br />

which we all should, we need to open our hearts and our<br />

minds to the truths of the traumas and the life experiences<br />

of the women who are walking into the abortion businesses,”<br />

she said. “We need to recognize their dignity, seek out<br />

their story and relationship, and accompany them into<br />

God’s love and mercy.”<br />

Echeverry’s remarks were followed by a ceremony of light,<br />

in which Mass participants carried 120 tall, white candles<br />

up to the sanctuary and placed them side-by-side on the<br />

altar, representing the lives that were lost to abortion that<br />

day in the greater Los Angeles area. As in years past, the<br />

candles will be placed in the windows of the cathedral colonnade<br />

for the coming week, visible from the 101 freeway<br />

below. Those who attended Saturday’s Requiem Mass said<br />

they did so to stand up for life, and to pass faith traditions<br />

onto their children.<br />

Karina Salas, of St. Hedwig Church in Los Alamitos, has<br />

attended OneLife LA with her family every year since its<br />

inception. She said she was particularly touched by this<br />

year’s personal testimonies.<br />

“It’s always good to put faces to stories and know that real<br />

people are impacted by the awful reality of what abortion<br />

is,” she said. “It’s not just something that you can just brush<br />

away, a one-and-done thing. It follows you your entire life<br />

and it impacts everyone, it impacts generations.”<br />

Minh Hoang, of Annunciation Byzantine Church in Anaheim,<br />

said he attended the Requiem Mass and OneLife<br />

LA to be a witness to the pro-life position. He said he was<br />

inspired by the sense of community that he found being<br />

among thousands of like-minded Catholics.<br />

“To see so many college students gives me a lot of joy,”<br />

said Hoang, 21.<br />

Attending the Requiem Mass and placing candles in the<br />

cathedral colonnade has become a tradition for the Angeles<br />

family, of St. Edward Church in Corona.<br />

Reirich Angeles said it allows him and his wife, Maggie,<br />

to pass down the faith to their four children.<br />

“I’m happy to see that they participate in Mass, that they<br />

are engaged in their Catholic faith, and that they are intrigued<br />

and that they ask questions,” he said.<br />

Watching the crowd disperse, Carrera said she plans to attend<br />

next year’s Requiem Mass and OneLife LA event even<br />

though she’s moved from Cudahy to San Bernardino.<br />

“It’s important that we stay united in prayer for an end to<br />

abortion,” she said, “and that we don’t lose faith that one<br />

day it will end.”<br />

Theresa Cisneros is a freelance journalist with 24 years of<br />

experience in the news industry. She is a fourth-generation<br />

Southern California resident and lives in Orange County<br />

with her husband and four children.<br />

The Mass was presided over by Archbishop José<br />

H. Gomez, along with LA’s five active auxiliary<br />

bishops, Cardinal Roger Mahony, and Bishop<br />

Joseph Brennan of Fresno. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

NOTES OF<br />


How a local composer’s experience of sin<br />

and forgiveness gave birth to the Requiem<br />

for the Unborn.<br />

Local composer John Bonaduce leads the choir<br />

at the annual Requiem for the Unborn Mass at<br />

the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Jan. 20. |<br />



For a generation, Catholics from<br />

the Archdiocese of Los Angeles<br />

have sung, prayed, lit candles,<br />

and wept each January during the<br />

Requiem Mass for the Unborn.<br />

Offered at the Cathedral of Our Lady<br />

of the Angels for two decades, and in<br />

parishes before that, the Mass mourns<br />

every unborn child killed by abortion<br />

during a single day in the greater Los<br />

Angeles area. It began as a memorial<br />

to one of those children — the son<br />

or daughter of its composer, John<br />

Bonaduce.<br />

<strong>No</strong>w 72, Bonaduce is a church musician<br />

known for combining traditional<br />

and contemporary styles in a way that is<br />

both reverent and unabashedly joyful.<br />

After an early career in Hollywood, he<br />

entered liturgical music fulltime in<br />

1990.<br />

The turning point of his faith journey<br />

had come decades earlier, when at the<br />

age of 26 he paid for his girlfriend to<br />

have an abortion.<br />

By that time, he had unthinkingly<br />

slipped away from his Catholic roots. It<br />

never occurred to him that an abortion<br />

took a child’s life. His friends assured<br />

him it was the best decision.<br />

When he realized that there had been<br />

a child, “my conscience was seared,”<br />

he said.<br />

That night he rushed to a church in<br />

Santa Monica and pounded on the<br />

rectory door. When a priest answered,<br />

Bonaduce begged to make a confession<br />

then and there.<br />

“He was very good to me,” Bonaduce<br />

recalled.<br />

“It was genuine. I had come to it on<br />

my own — that this was a bad thing<br />

I had invested in. It’s 135 bucks for<br />

an abortion to get me out of a jam. A<br />

terrible, terrible idea. But embracing it<br />

is powerful. And God is your friend on<br />

a whole new level after you’ve acquired<br />

this level of self-knowledge.”<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

Bonaduce sings at St. Bernardine of Siena<br />

School in Woodland Hills’ weekly school<br />

Mass. | PETER LOBATO<br />

His return to the Church took three<br />

years. He wrote “Requiem for the<br />

Unborn” with support and input from<br />

his wife, Eileen.<br />

Some of the musical settings came to<br />

him almost instantly, while others took<br />

years to compose. It debuted in 1995.<br />

The heart of the Mass — which was<br />

offered this year on Jan. 20 — is a<br />

candle-lighting ritual. Parishioners in<br />

the darkened cathedral carry forward<br />

large votive candles, each representing<br />

a child who died in an abortion that<br />

day in greater Los Angeles.<br />

Two decades ago, there were more<br />

than 450 candles. This year there were<br />

120, though part of the reduction<br />

is due to increased use of abortion<br />

pills that aren’t registered in surgical<br />

statistics.<br />

Bonaduce considers those candles the<br />

heart of the “Requiem.”<br />

“That is the power of this piece. It is<br />

not the music,” he said.<br />

He wants others like himself, people<br />

who bear responsibility for an abortion,<br />

to share with him in mourning and<br />

repentance — as well as forgiveness<br />

and renewal.<br />

“I want them to embrace what we’ve<br />

done,” he said. “We’ve sinned on a<br />

magnificent scale.”<br />

He believes that music can reach people<br />

who have tried to close off communication<br />

on this difficult subject.<br />

The use of music for the Requiem<br />

Mass means that “I don’t have to<br />

explain my opposition to abortion in<br />

political or theological terms,” he said.<br />

Katy Kruska, who has sung the<br />

“Requiem” since its debut, has seen its<br />

impact.<br />

“People love that music and they<br />

come year after year because it is so<br />

touching,” said Kruska, the principal<br />

at St. Bernardine of Siena School in<br />

Woodland Hills, where Bonaduce<br />

directs a renowned Sunday evening<br />

parish choir.<br />

“It is preaching pro-life and it is<br />

against abortion, but in a very quiet,<br />

tactful, meaningful prayerful way,”<br />

Kruska said. “You’re not just out there<br />

with picket signs, but you’re bringing<br />

up a candle that symbolizes a loss to<br />

abortion that very day. You’re watching<br />

that one baby’s life come down the<br />

aisle.”<br />

Alicia Laski, who sings and plays<br />

bass guitar in Bonaduce’s choir at St.<br />

Bernardine, has sung the “Requiem for<br />

the Unborn” since 1996 — as has her<br />

mother — and her two adult children<br />

have participated as well.<br />

The “Requiem” carried a special<br />

meaning for Laski, who gave up a child<br />

for adoption when she was in her midteens.<br />

She had fallen away from church<br />

after confirmation. As a 21-year-old<br />

newlywed, she resolved to return and<br />

joined the choir at St. Bernadine’s to<br />

help her keep that commitment.<br />

“The music of the ‘Requiem’ really<br />

brought out something inside of me,”<br />

she said. “It makes people feel like it’s<br />

a relatable subject and they can come<br />

forward and get the support or help<br />

that they need, whether it’s something<br />

happening now or some past trauma.<br />

It opens conversations that people are<br />

afraid to have.”<br />

That’s because singing “gets the faith<br />

inside you,” Bonaduce said. “You don’t<br />

have to think about it. You are it.”<br />

Although he is best known for his<br />

“Requiem for the Unborn,” the word<br />

he uses to describe his work is “joy.”<br />

“That’s my job description,” he said.<br />

“You show kids that you can be an<br />

adult man, who’s still alive after seven<br />

decades, and you find life joyful. I don’t<br />

need much of a mission statement, and<br />

that will do it.”<br />

Ann Rodgers is a longtime religion reporter<br />

and freelance writer whose awards<br />

include the William A. Reed Lifetime<br />

Achievement Award from the Religion<br />

<strong>News</strong> Association.<br />

Bonaduce being interviewed<br />

for an LA Catholics story by<br />

the Archdiocese of LA’s Digital<br />

Team. To watch the video story,<br />

visit <strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com/video.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 21


A brief guide to some of the Vatican figures poised to take on more<br />

visible roles in this stage of Pope Francis’ pontificate.<br />


ROME — In many ways, Pope Francis sailed through<br />

the demanding holiday season with flying colors.<br />

Despite a series of health scares throughout 2023,<br />

and despite, at 87, now being the oldest reigning pontiff in<br />

120 years, he seemed remarkably strong, engaged and in<br />

command, even delivering a 45-minute speech to diplomats<br />

Jan. 8 with gusto.<br />

In a recent interview, Francis confirmed plans to travel to<br />

Belgium this year and dangled the prospect of additional<br />

outings to Polynesia and his native Argentina, and of late he’s<br />

been taking planning meetings for the Great Jubilee of 2025<br />

— none of which necessarily suggests a pope who’s winding<br />

down.<br />

Yet, of course, time and the tides stop for no one.<br />

Inevitably, in <strong>2024</strong> the combination of age and health will<br />

impose increasing restraints on the pontiff, perhaps limiting<br />

his mobility and energy and forcing him increasingly to focus<br />

on the essentials. More and more, that reality will mean<br />

that much routine administration of the Vatican and the<br />

papacy will be handled by people around the pope, acting in<br />

his name and with his approval.<br />

Some of the people called upon to carry an increasing<br />

share of the load are already well-known figures, others personalities<br />

whose profile seems destined to rise.<br />

Herewith, then, a brief guide to figures on the Vatican<br />

scene likely to become steadily more visible and consequential.<br />

Msgr. Paolo Luca Braida<br />

Originally from Lodi in northern Italy, the 59-year-old<br />

Braida enjoyed a brief run in the spotlight in late <strong>No</strong>vember<br />

and early December, when Francis’ bronchitis rendered him<br />

short of breath and unable to read his public addresses, so he<br />

turned to Braida to become his voice.<br />

It’s a role that can signify bigger things to come. In 2003-<br />

2004, for instance, then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, at the<br />

time the sostituto, or “substitute,” in the Vatican’s Secretariat<br />

of State, sometimes was called upon to read St. Pope John<br />

Paul II’s speeches in public when the ailing pontiff couldn’t<br />

do it for himself.<br />

Pope Francis leads a livestreamed recitation of the <strong>Angelus</strong> last <strong>No</strong>vember with the help<br />

of Msgr. Paolo Braida, who read the pope’s commentary on the Sunday Gospel for him.<br />

22 Francis • ANGELUS was suffering • from <strong>February</strong> a lung infection 9, <strong>2024</strong>at the time. | CNS/VATICAN MEDIA

Sandri later went on to become a cardinal, the prefect of<br />

the Congregation for Eastern Churches, and vice-dean of<br />

the College of Cardinals.<br />

Braida heads a team in the Secretariat of State responsible<br />

for producing drafts of the pope’s public remarks, making<br />

him effectively Francis’ ghostwriter. In his free time, Braida<br />

occasionally has published collections of his own spiritual<br />

poetry, and he’s also close to an Italian movement for pastoral<br />

care for the blind, a group for which a priest-relative has<br />

worked from the beginning.<br />

Maximino Caballero Ledo<br />

A Spanish economist and<br />

a former executive with<br />

Baxter Healthcare Inc. in the<br />

United States, Caballero was<br />

named the new prefect of<br />

the Vatican’s Secretariat for<br />

the Economy in <strong>No</strong>vember<br />

2022, replacing his childhood<br />

friend, Father Juan Antonio<br />

Guerrero Alves, SJ.<br />

Caballero thereby became<br />

the second layperson to head<br />

a Vatican department, after<br />

veteran Italian journalist Paolo<br />

Ruffini at the Dicastery for Communication.<br />

Given the importance of Vatican finances to the pontiff’s<br />

overall reform campaign, Caballero occupies a key role in<br />

trying to bring those reforms in for a landing, in a moment<br />

in which the pope’s capacity to oversee those efforts personally<br />

is destined to be in decline.<br />

Sister Raffaella Petrini<br />

A Franciscan Sister of the<br />

Eucharist and a sociologist<br />

by training, Petrini, 55, is<br />

arguably the single most powerful<br />

woman in the Francis<br />

papacy. A former professor<br />

of economics and sociology<br />

at the Dominican-sponsored<br />

University of St. Thomas in<br />

Rome, she also has experience<br />

in the U.S. as a graduate<br />

of the Barney School of<br />

Business at the University of<br />

Hartford.<br />

Quite obviously, she has the<br />

Maximino Caballero Ledo. | VATICAN<br />

NEWS<br />

Sister Rafaella Petrini. | FRANCISCAN<br />


favor of the current pope. She was appointed in <strong>No</strong>vember<br />

2021 as the secretary general, meaning the <strong>No</strong>. 2 position of<br />

the Vatican City State, making her by some order of magnitude<br />

the most powerful woman in the Vatican system.<br />

Then, in July 2022, Francis made Petrini a member of the<br />

Dicastery for Bishops, and in October he also made her a<br />

member of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic<br />

See, which is basically the Vatican’s central bank.<br />

In other words, Petrini is positioned to play a key role in<br />

what might arguably be called the three essential elements<br />

of the Francis reform: the administration of the Vatican,<br />

the appointment of bishops, and the management of the<br />

Vatican’s financial resources.<br />

Cardinal Mauro Gambetti<br />

A member of the conventual<br />

Franciscans, Gambetti, 58, is<br />

inextricably associated with<br />

Assisi and the charism of St.<br />

Francis. Between 2013 and<br />

2021, he was the general custodian<br />

of the Basilica of the<br />

Sacred Convent of St. Francis<br />

in Assisi, with responsibility<br />

for administering the various<br />

Franciscan sites in the city.<br />

In October 2020, Pope Francis<br />

made Gambetti a cardinal,<br />

the first time since the 19th<br />

century that a member of the<br />

conventual Franciscans received the honor. At the time it<br />

was considered anomalous, since there was already a prelate<br />

in Assisi, Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, who was now<br />

outranked by Gambetti.<br />

In <strong>February</strong> 2021, Francis resolved the anomaly by naming<br />

Gambetti vicar general for the Vatican City State and also<br />

archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter, and head of the administration<br />

of the basilica, effectively making him one of the<br />

Vatican officials with the most direct access to the pope.<br />

In June 2023, Francis also named Gambetti a judge of<br />

the Court of Cassation, in effect the supreme court of the<br />

Vatican City State.<br />

Archbishop Edgar Peña<br />

Parra<br />

A 63-year-old Venezuelan,<br />

Peña Parra is the sostituto<br />

(“substitute”) in the Vatican’s<br />

Secretariat of State, making<br />

him effectively the pope’s<br />

chief of staff. He’s the second<br />

Latin American to hold the<br />

role, after Sandri.<br />

In some ways, Peña Parra’s<br />

status under Francis was<br />

called into question by the<br />

part he played in the fiasco<br />

of the failed $400 million<br />

London property deal, which<br />

ended in convictions by a Vatican tribunal for nine defendants,<br />

including Peña Parra’s predecessor, Italian Cardinal<br />

Angelo Becciu.<br />

On the other hand, Peña Parra remains in his position,<br />

and, as the pope ages and becomes increasingly reliant on<br />

others to carry the ball, the fact of serving as the sostituto by<br />

definition means that Peña Parra will become an increasingly<br />

influential fixture on the Vatican scene as time goes on.<br />

John L. Allen Jr. is the editor of Crux.<br />

Cardinal Mauro Gambetti. | CNS/LOLA<br />

GOMEZ<br />

Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra. | CNS/<br />


<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 23

Dried palms are placed in a fire at the<br />

conclusion of a Mardi Gras evening<br />

prayer service. Ashes from the fire<br />

are used on Ash Wednesday. | CNS/<br />


Lent is for lovers<br />


Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday fall on the same day<br />

this year — and they’re trying to tell us the same thing.<br />

This also occurred a few years<br />

back: in 2018, Ash Wednesday<br />

fell on Valentine’s Day (and<br />

previously to that, in 1945). A Dominican<br />

parish in Cincinnati decided to<br />

make hay of it by sponsoring a special<br />

spiritual series for the season titled<br />

“Lent Is for Lovers.” Provocative but<br />

brilliant!<br />

Everybody knows that Valentine’s<br />

Day is a holiday celebrating the joys<br />

of romantic love, but the whole of the<br />

liturgical season of Lent is dedicated<br />

to celebrating the greatest of all loves:<br />

“There is no greater love than this: to<br />

lay down one’s life for one’s friends”<br />

— words spoken by Jesus as he entered<br />

into his Passion (John 15:13).<br />

St. Valentine and God’s friendship<br />

This co-incidence of celebrations is<br />

not coincidental. Valentine, after all,<br />

was a saint who was also a martyr. His<br />

whole existence was about laying down<br />

his life for his Beloved. St. Valentine’s<br />

witness offers the perfect way to commence<br />

our Lent on Ash Wednesday.<br />

According to the 13th- century<br />

classic lives of the saints “The Golden<br />

Legend,” the emperor Claudius one<br />

day confronted the venerable priest<br />

Valentine with these words: “Why do<br />

you not win our friendship by adoring<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

our gods and abandoning your vain<br />

superstitions?” St. Valentine replied:<br />

“If you but knew the grace of God, you<br />

would turn your mind away from idols<br />

and adore the God who is in heaven.”<br />

Whereupon, St. Valentine was tortured<br />

and beheaded.<br />

That is exactly what we want to do<br />

during Lent: to know the overwhelming<br />

grace of God, to turn our mind<br />

away from idols, and to adore the God<br />

of heaven precisely in order to live in<br />

his friendship. As ashes are placed on<br />

our forehead this Ash Wednesday, the<br />

priest will say to us: “Remember that<br />

you are dust, and to dust you shall<br />

return.”<br />

Bishop Erik Varden of Trondheim,<br />

<strong>No</strong>rway, explained the spiritual significance<br />

of this:<br />

“When I remember I am dust I also<br />

recall that I was destined to be more.<br />

To say, on these terms, that I am dust is<br />

not degrading. It is God who degrades<br />

himself for love, stooping down from<br />

celestial realms to re-shape and re-inspirit<br />

humble matter.”<br />

In other words, those ashes are the<br />

best of valentines.<br />

The perfect valentine<br />

Who doesn’t want to get a valentine?<br />

But we crave a love that surpasses the<br />

A newly engaged couple kisses after a<br />

blessing at the Shrine of St. Valentine<br />

in Dublin in 2019. | CNS/CLODAGH<br />


sentimental. We want an ultimate love<br />

… and infinite love. And it has to be<br />

comprised of three things.<br />

It has to be a love that comes to us<br />

as a gift. If instead it is something<br />

we need to “earn,” then it’s nothing<br />

but compensation — not real love.<br />

God loves us because he is good, not<br />

because we are. Ash Wednesday is the<br />

time to begin our begging for this gift.<br />

In the words of the 14th- century mystic<br />

Walter Hilton, “the lover of God is<br />

his friend, not because he has deserved<br />

to be, but because God in his merciful<br />

goodness has made him so by a very<br />

real pact.” Namely, the cross.<br />

Second, it has to be a love that keeps<br />

declaring to us, It is necessary that you<br />

exist! In the short story “Sine, Cosine,<br />

Tangent” by American author Don<br />

DeLillo, the agnostic main character<br />

decides one Ash Wednesday to present<br />

himself for ashes. It becomes for him<br />

an occasion of powerful grace, for<br />

through it he knows himself to be<br />

wanted, chosen:<br />

“I went to the altar rail and knelt, the<br />

priest approached and made his mark,<br />

a splotch of holy ash thumb-printed to<br />

my forehead. Dust you are. …”<br />

The man begins to realize: “My parents<br />

were not Catholic. I didn’t know<br />

what we were. We were eat and sleep.<br />

We were Take Daddy’s Suit to the dry<br />

cleaner.” Yet that sacred impression to<br />

his forehead continues to impress him:<br />

“But the robed priest and the small<br />

grinding action of his thumb implanting<br />

the ash. And unto dust you shall<br />

return. … I didn’t know what this was.<br />

… I wanted the stain to last for days<br />

and weeks.”<br />

And third, the love has to be a love<br />

that is indestructible. However, that<br />

love comes to us through the destruction<br />

of God’s Son on the cross … and<br />

through his resurrection. The reason<br />

we mortify ourselves during Lent is to<br />

predispose ourselves, more and more,<br />

to be able to receive and hold fast to<br />

this indestructible love. For love is<br />

what penance is all about. “Every penance<br />

that increases love is good; any<br />

penance that narrows and preoccupies<br />

the soul is harmful” (Von Balthasar).<br />

Ash Wednesday calls us to recommit<br />

ourselves to our only real priority, especially<br />

by doing away with the doubt<br />

that derails us. St. John of Ávila expresses<br />

it in a prayer we would do well to<br />

offer often this Lent:<br />

“O God who are Love itself, how we<br />

wound you if we do not trust in you<br />

with all our hearts! If, after the favors<br />

you have shown us, and after having<br />

died for us, we do not feel confidence<br />

in you, we must be worse than very<br />

brutes. In the times that we offended<br />

you, you cherished us. You followed<br />

after us when we fled from you. You<br />

drew us to yourself. Please keep us<br />

from ever distrusting you or questioning<br />

whether you do love us and intend<br />

to save us.”<br />

Being a valentine<br />

Let’s start our Lent this Ash Wednesday<br />

giving others a lasting valentine<br />

— the miracle of Divine Love made<br />

possible through the Paschal Mystery:<br />

“The ultimate miracle of Divine<br />

Love is this, that the life of the Risen<br />

Lord is given to us to give to one another.<br />

It is given to us through our own<br />

human loves” (Caryll Houselander).<br />

After all, Lent is for lovers.<br />

Father Peter John Cameron, OP, is<br />

the former editor-in-chief of Magnificat<br />

and the author of 10 books. He is now<br />

engaged in itinerant teaching, giving<br />

parish missions and retreats.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 25



Splintered screen:<br />

Our fractured television landscape<br />

If you are of a certain age, it is<br />

most likely you can still remember<br />

certain major TV events:<br />

When the Beatles first appeared<br />

on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” The<br />

last episode of “M*A*S*H.” When<br />

Sammy Davis Jr. planted a wet one<br />

on Archie in “All in the Family.”<br />

You can recall favorite episodes of<br />

“The Twilight Zone,” and if you<br />

only mention the theme (“To Serve<br />

Humans”), your friends of a similar<br />

age will know it.<br />

Network television, even when<br />

it was being critiqued as a “vast<br />

wasteland,” was one of the ties<br />

that bound us together as a nation.<br />

From the cultured to the crass, its<br />

programming was watched by huge<br />

percentages of the population, and<br />

back when we gathered around<br />

water coolers, it was relatively easy<br />

to predict what shows we were going<br />

to be talking about on Monday<br />

morning.<br />

<strong>No</strong> more. What now streams over not<br />

just our TV sets but our laptops and<br />

phones is an endless flood of visual<br />

treats and distractions: From YouTube<br />

and TikTok to burgeoning streaming<br />

services like Netflix and Hulu to<br />

traditional cable and, for the fewer and<br />

fewer of us who still watch it, network<br />

television as well.<br />

There is in fact a new conversation<br />

ritual. At some point the talk turns to<br />

inquiring what we might be watching<br />

in common, be it “The Golden<br />

Bachelor,” “Shetland,” or “Game of<br />

Thrones.” We use these conversations<br />

as a kind of geolocator for where this<br />

friend or potential friend might fall in<br />

terms of cultural interests, the same<br />

way we use Fox or CNN or MSNBC to<br />

geolocate their political leanings.<br />

This plethora of entertainment —<br />

some of it of high quality and increasingly<br />

international in nature — is one<br />

reason this is being labeled the “golden<br />

age” of television.<br />

But Robert David Sullivan begs to<br />

differ. In a fascinating commentary in<br />

the January issue of America magazine,<br />

Sullivan takes issue with the assertion.<br />

He argues that the fragmentation of<br />

channels, this multiverse of platforms,<br />

is perhaps both cause and symptom<br />

of our increasing fragmentation as a<br />

society.<br />

“Entertainment and culture, like<br />

politics, has become as balkanized as<br />

supermarkets with dozens of brands of<br />

bottled water,” he wrote.<br />


He particularly focuses on “prestige<br />

TV,” often trendy HBO shows like<br />

“The Sopranos” and “Succession,” that<br />

featured, in his words, “narcissistic and<br />

even psychotic men ruining the lives<br />

of everyone around them.” Many other<br />

prestige shows come to mind in this<br />

category: “House of Cards.” “Dexter.”<br />

“Breaking Bad.”<br />

One symptom of this trend was the<br />

“self-segregation of elitist viewers,” Sullivan<br />

said. Elites were not finding their<br />

“prestige television” in a network-aired<br />

play or a Leonard Bernstein concert,<br />

but “terrible-people” melodramas.<br />

Meanwhile, other parts of the audience<br />

drifted off to one of the endless shows<br />

produced by Dick Wolf, usually involving<br />

formulaic plots, terse dialogue, and<br />

body counts. Or they turn to “reality<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

Greg Erlandson is the former president and<br />

editor-in-chief of Catholic <strong>News</strong> Service.<br />

shows,” which are anything but.<br />

High culture has been relegated to<br />

public broadcasting, where another<br />

sliver of the population can still find<br />

operas, plays, and serious documentaries.<br />

Yet this audience is a fraction of<br />

the one that watched Margot Fonteyn<br />

and Rudolph Nureyev on a variety<br />

show like “Ed Sullivan,” the same show<br />

that also introduced us to The Beatles.<br />

Sullivan concedes that television has<br />

gotten more diverse. We’ve grown beyond<br />

“The Jeffersons” and “The Cosby<br />

Show,” and that is a good thing. At the<br />

same time, lacking a shared viewing<br />

space, shows featuring this diversity are<br />

less likely to reach very far beyond their<br />

target ethnic audience.<br />

“For just about anyone,” Sullivan<br />

wrote, “there are now more shows on<br />

television that reflect your own life; the<br />

trade-off may be that there is nothing<br />

that reflects our common life, or addresses<br />

our common concerns.”<br />

Perhaps this fragmentation of television<br />

audiences simply reflects our<br />

own fragmentation. Perhaps it reflects<br />

trends in marketing, in which ad agencies<br />

want a specific demographic slice,<br />

and are willing to pay handsomely for<br />

that slice.<br />

There may be one other corrosive<br />

trend at work: that playing to our fears,<br />

our cynicism, and our baser instincts<br />

is more profitable and easier to attract<br />

audiences with short attention spans<br />

and a distrust of almost everything.<br />

Shadowy conspiracies, corrupt higher-ups,<br />

remorseless villains deserving of<br />

a remorseless response (all exemplified<br />

in Prime Video’s hit “Reacher” series)<br />

feed our cynicism.<br />

In fact, our public square, our shared<br />

space, is larded with cynicism. We<br />

have fewer heroes and more villains,<br />

dupes, and lone rangers who, in<br />

Wayne LaPierre’s cynical motto, see<br />

themselves as a good guy with a gun<br />

stopping loads of bad guys with guns.<br />

This may be all that functions as our<br />

“common conversation” today, both<br />

reflecting our fractured and distrustful<br />

culture and feeding it. I can only hope<br />

that we will soon weary of this darkness<br />

and seek to recover a shared digital<br />

space that will speak to our better<br />

angels.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 27



LA FILM?<br />

Los Angeles still suffers from the same identity issues<br />

diagnosed in ‘Chinatown’ 50 years ago.<br />

Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown.”<br />

| IMDB<br />


To explain his theory of relativity,<br />

Albert Einstein pointed out that<br />

sitting on a hot stove for five<br />

minutes feels like an hour, but sitting<br />

next to a pretty girl for an hour feels<br />

like five minutes. Los Angeles suffers<br />

from the same time dilation. My three<br />

years in the city have been more like<br />

one extended summer vacation, and<br />

any native will tell you that any car<br />

trip, no matter how short, invariably<br />

takes at least 20 minutes.<br />

The Southern California time warp<br />

comes to mind this year, 50 years<br />

since the release of “Chinatown,” a<br />

neo-noir that survived the years so well<br />

that it’s now simply considered noir.<br />

Set in 1937 and released in 1974, we<br />

are now further along from its release<br />

date than the film was from its period<br />

piece.<br />

But that’s the odd thing about LA;<br />

it’s not just that time moves differently<br />

here, it’s that it hardly moves at all.<br />

The same evils of the 1930s were echoed<br />

in the 1970s and echo still now.<br />

If an echo lasts for that long, you may<br />

have to wonder if it’s not an echo at<br />

all but a deity screaming in your ear.<br />

The protagonist of “Chinatown” is<br />

Jake Gittes (a never better Jack Nicholson),<br />

a private investigator, who<br />

like most of the shamus trade mainly<br />

snaps pictures of adulterous spouses.<br />

One such woman scorned, a Mrs.<br />

Mulwray, tasks him with catching her<br />

husband in the act.<br />

Jake knows him by his more respectable<br />

reputation, as chief engineer for<br />

the Department of Water. You would<br />

think he had bigger concerns seeing<br />

the city is in a drought, but men<br />

always seem to find the time. Time<br />

moves differently for them too.<br />

Jake does indeed spy Mulwray visiting<br />

a young woman, but also him inspecting<br />

several sluices as water spills<br />

out. But if there’s water to waste, then<br />

why is there a drought? And if there’s<br />

no drought, why are the farmers of the<br />

San Fernando Valley getting dried out<br />

and forced to sell their land?<br />

Then Mulwray is found drowned in<br />

a freshwater reservoir with saltwater<br />

in his lungs, and then the real Mrs.<br />

Mulwray (Catholic convert Faye<br />

Dunaway) arrives demanding answers,<br />

and I think it’s fair for the film itself to<br />

answer them.<br />

This is my third year in Los Angeles,<br />

or more technically my third year in<br />

the San Fernando Valley. In those<br />

three years I’ve learned that depending<br />

on the angle of the upturned nose,<br />

I may have never been in LA at all. I<br />

like the Valley for the same reasons<br />

others dismiss it; it’s nice to have a<br />

little quiet and an option other than<br />

parallel parking.<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

But that elbow room came at a cost.<br />

This is land that once belonged to<br />

Native Americans, until they found<br />

that Spain came to them. Then it was<br />

taken from the Mexicans, who found<br />

that America came to them. LA finally<br />

came for the farmers, forced out so<br />

the city fathers could build swaths of<br />

ranch houses, In-N-Outs, and a secretly<br />

better airport.<br />

I eat the fruits (and burgers) of such<br />

evil labors, while perpetuating them<br />

for the next generation. Chinatown<br />

remains relevant because LA’s original<br />

sin is hardly original at all. Locals are<br />

still forced out for their land, this time<br />

for clout rather than water. We watch<br />

helplessly as the fashionable neighborhoods<br />

creep east, like a swarm of<br />

locusts hungry for cheap rent and<br />

leaving behind nothing but stalks and<br />

Erewhon grocery stores. Even San<br />

Bernardino has begun constructing<br />

fortifications for the encroaching<br />

hipster caravan.<br />

Though hard to remember during an<br />

El Niño winter, I moved down here<br />

in a drought (a real drought, with all<br />

respect to “Chinatown”). LA already<br />

takes most of its water from the<br />

Colorado River. When the river ran<br />

low on water to borrow, city officials<br />

gingerly requested we cut back on our<br />

shower times. We, of course, refused<br />

with a patriot’s dignity and were bailed<br />

out with these last few years of storms.<br />

But ask any football team, even the<br />

Chargers, if Fullerton won’t return<br />

your calls: punting isn’t a solution.<br />

A final lesson from “Chinatown” is<br />

that geography molds a people. I am<br />

from the Pacific <strong>No</strong>rthwest, a land of<br />

beautiful people at icy remove. We<br />

take our cue from Mt. Rainier, who<br />

looms over us like an emotionally<br />

distant mother. My time in LA has<br />

made me a bit sunnier in disposition,<br />

if no less beautiful.<br />

The characters in “Chinatown” are<br />

irrevocably “LA.” The heroes are a<br />

desperate sort, unbearably present<br />

in the moment because they know<br />

there’s no backup plan. When you’re<br />

at the terminus of the rail line, you<br />

fight back because your back is to the<br />

ocean and you can’t drink a drop.<br />

The villains are modern conquistadors,<br />

forging kingdoms out of the raw<br />

material of the desert. Their evil is<br />

strong enough to mold the geography,<br />

the land withering even further like<br />

an Oedipal blight.<br />

A modern landscape image of<br />

Los Angeles. | SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

If there is an agreement between<br />

the two, it’s that LA should not exist.<br />

Its continued survival is either an act<br />

of ingenuity, hubris, or malice, often<br />

all at the same time. For the evil that<br />

existentialism is a license to remake<br />

the world in their image. For an unlucky<br />

few that is a call to purpose, to<br />

bring justice to a land without much<br />

interest.<br />

On the 405 the other day, just cresting<br />

the hills, I saw the graffiti “WE<br />

ARE ALL ALONE” spray-painted on<br />

the side of a cliff. It couldn’t help but<br />

remind me of a line from Nicholson’s<br />

character, who when asked if he was<br />

alone, quips, “Aren’t we all?”<br />

The curse and blessing of Los Angeles<br />

is that it just isn’t true. We’re all<br />

stuck here together in a land beyond<br />

time, loving and killing and sinking<br />

deeper as we fight for footing in the<br />

muck. Fitting for a city with a tar pit<br />

at its heart.<br />

Joseph Joyce is a screenwriter and freelance<br />

critic based in Sherman Oaks.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 29



What Carmen left behind<br />

Servant of God Carmen Hernández, who<br />

died in 2016, with Kiko Argüello in 1984.<br />

They are known as the “co-initiators” of<br />

the Neocatechumenal Way, an itinerary<br />

of post-baptismal Christian formation<br />

present in more than 130 countries worldwide.<br />


Servant of God Carmen Hernández,<br />

along with Kiko Argüello,<br />

co-initiated what is known as the<br />

Neocatechumenal Way.<br />

The charism grew out of the Second<br />

Vatican Council, took root in Madrid<br />

and Rome, and has spread throughout<br />

the world in innumerable communities,<br />

attracting a multitude of catechumens.<br />

The Way describes itself as “an<br />

itinerary of rediscovery of baptism<br />

and ongoing formation in the faith”; a<br />

proposition “to the faithful who wish<br />

to rekindle in their lives the richness<br />

of the Christian initiation” and live<br />

lives marked by humility, simplicity,<br />

and praise.<br />

Meant to be lived in parishes and<br />

small communities comprising people<br />

from varying demographics, ages, and<br />

social groups, the aim is to gradually<br />

lead the faithful “to intimacy with<br />

Jesus Christ and transform them into<br />

active members in the Church and<br />

credible witnesses of the Good <strong>News</strong>.<br />

It is an instrument for the Christian<br />

initiation of adults preparing to receive<br />

baptism.”<br />

Hernández (1930-2016) left 30 years<br />

of diaries, which are being transcribed<br />

bit by bit. The first three years are now<br />

available: “Diaries: 1979-1981” (Gondolin<br />

Press, $24), with a foreword by<br />

Cardinal Séan O’Malley of Boston<br />

and a preface by Cardinal Ricardo<br />

Blásquez Pérez, archbishop emeritus<br />

of Valladolid, Spain.<br />

As Blasquez notes, “Kiko was the<br />

catechist who always spoke and Carmen<br />

almost always listened, at times<br />

praying, at other times with restlessness<br />

and sometimes intervening with<br />

a pertinent reflection.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>netheless, he says, we must<br />

assume that the development of the<br />

content of the catecheses, the “steps”<br />

and “rites,” and the organization of<br />

the evangelization was due to their<br />

combined work.<br />

“Each one contributed the gifts<br />

received by God.”<br />

Argüello (born 1939, still going<br />

strong at 85) is an extrovert who<br />

thrives in the limelight, an artist<br />

whose personality was especially difficult<br />

for Hernández. Her itinerant missionary<br />

lifestyle over 50 years required<br />

constant travel, crowds, and uprootedness.<br />

She never had a permanent<br />

place to lay her head, nor the silence<br />

and solitude that her contemplative<br />

spirit craved.<br />

Her diaries are marked by an anguish<br />

that might be almost comical in its<br />

repetition, except for the genuine<br />

suffering that permeates almost every<br />

entry.<br />

“I will fight against the ghosts of<br />

darkness. I will not dialogue with<br />

them, I will not let them rope me<br />

in. Away with you, Satan! The risen<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>

Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

Lord… Gladden me Lord, fight at my<br />

side, invigorate and enliven my bones.<br />

Come, Lord. The Pope [John Paul II]<br />

is in Turin” (April 12-13, 1980).<br />

“Nighttime crisis. Crisis on top of<br />

crisis. The stinginess of my heart. The<br />

pain of money, of life. My father. The<br />

impossible. Here, wildly spending unearned<br />

money. My Jesus, architects,<br />

lawyers, the languages, the Arabs…the<br />

deceit…My Jesus, to escape…where<br />

to? All your land seems like hell…”<br />

(Jerusalem, Feb. 11, 1981).<br />

“Restlessness…itinerants, communities,<br />

pastors, Bishops. The Church,<br />

my Jesus, and the world, all is terror,<br />

terrorism, terror, terror, powerlessness,<br />

impossibility, distrust. My Jesus, my<br />

Jesus, if I had faith in You, if my feet<br />

were on your holy rock… But I don’t<br />

see your face, I don’t see anything,<br />

I suffer, I suffer, and I suffer in the<br />

helplessness of death and in a visceral<br />

silence. My Jesus, I lament… I cry out<br />

to You, answer me. Have mercy on<br />

me in this unbelief of death” (Rome,<br />

May 21, 1981).<br />

“The mystery of suffering and grief.<br />

People overwhelm me. I want to escape.<br />

Kiko terrifies me with his crazy<br />

prayers. My Jesus, the mountains:<br />

ghosts of the Gran Madre di Dio, the<br />

accusations…<br />

“Finally, peace. Incredible freedom…My<br />

Jesus, sweet company.<br />

These things that St. Teresa speaks<br />

about, we have sweetly lived for so<br />

many years. Come, accompany me. I<br />

love you. Say it to me. Come, Jesus”<br />

(Rome, May 31, 1981).<br />

During the next several months, she<br />

suffers insomnia, dentist crises, hospital<br />

stays, dissatisfaction, “groggy from<br />

smoking, fighting, yelling, my Jesus.”<br />

Darkness, terrible thoughts, sadnesses,<br />

the terror, the trial.<br />

Occasionally, she enjoys a brief<br />

reprieve: “Blessed are you. I am in<br />

grace” (Madrid, Oct. 27, 1981).<br />

Then, once again, she’s plunged<br />

into darkness: “I’m dead tired. Kiko is<br />

impossible. Help me, Jesus” (Madrid,<br />

Dec. 5, 1981).<br />

The odd-couple pairing brings to<br />

mind Servant of God Dorothy Day<br />

and Peter Maurin who, together and<br />

in spite of very different sensibilities,<br />

founded the lay Catholic Worker<br />

movement.<br />

These platonic friendship-collaborations,<br />

it seems, each resembling<br />

an incredibly difficult marriage, bore<br />

fruit only because both partners —<br />

from love of God — stuck it out till<br />

the end.<br />

I have no personal experience of the<br />

Neocatechumenal Way. Like most<br />

lay movements, it has its passionate<br />

adherents and its detractors.<br />

But the Lord works in mysterious<br />

ways, his wonders to perform. That<br />

the Way grew out of such agony, on<br />

Hernández’s part; that in a way it<br />

should not have worked, but did — is<br />

perhaps the real takeaway.<br />

And let’s not forget, there are 27<br />

more years of diaries to come!<br />

In the meantime, what struggling<br />

human being can’t relate?<br />

“Vatican. My Jesus, Fr. Maximino,<br />

itinerants, nothing consoles me. Nausea,<br />

terror, fear. My Jesus, where can I<br />

escape? Serenity.<br />

“Firenze [Florence, Italy]. My Jesus,<br />

it’s incredible that on the same day<br />

one can feel so differently about<br />

things, from fear to serenity, from difficulty<br />

to indifference. My Jesus, how<br />

mysterious the human psyche is. Help<br />

me” (Rome, May 27, 1981).<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 31



Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

Lenten back to basics<br />

I<br />

love Lent.<br />

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I take pleasure in<br />

fasting. And I don’t enjoy “giving stuff up” any more<br />

than the next guy. In my devotional life I can be a typical<br />

spoiled American.<br />

But Lent, for me, is always a hopeful time. It’s my annual<br />

reminder that change is possible. More than that, I’m reminded<br />

that God wants me<br />

to change and wills me to<br />

change. So he’ll give me the<br />

grace I need to put away vice<br />

and put on virtue. All the<br />

readings at Mass reinforce<br />

those lessons. God calls<br />

Israel to repent — to cease<br />

its sinning — and to grow by<br />

means of prayer, fasting, and<br />

almsgiving.<br />

I usually mark the season<br />

with a silent retreat, so that I<br />

can get back to the basics of<br />

the spiritual life. I’ll usually<br />

take a book with me; and<br />

I want to tell you about a<br />

book I took along a Lent or<br />

two ago. It’s “Knowing the<br />

Love of God: Lessons from a<br />

Spiritual Master” (St. Joseph<br />

Communications, $14.95),<br />

by Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange,<br />

OP.<br />

This author defined “the<br />

basics of the spiritual life”<br />

for me, way back when I<br />

was a new Catholic. Garrigou-Lagrange<br />

was perhaps the<br />

most celebrated Catholic<br />

theologian of his lifetime<br />

(1877-1964). He taught for<br />

many years at Rome’s Pontifical University of Saint Thomas<br />

Aquinas (the Angelicum), and among his illustrious<br />

students was a young Polish priest named Karol Wojtyla.<br />

Father Wojtyla (whom we now know as St. Pope John Paul<br />

II) completed his doctoral dissertation under the direction<br />

of Friar Reginald.<br />

He is best known, however, for his foundational work of<br />

spiritual theology, “The Three Ages of the Interior Life”<br />

(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, $25),<br />

which he wrote when he was young. That title, too, bears<br />

careful reading and re-reading. I cannot name — and can’t<br />

even imagine — a book more justly influential on the<br />

practice of spiritual direction.<br />

But “Knowing the Love of<br />

God” is an even better way<br />

Father Reginald<br />

Garrigou-Lagrange. |<br />

FLICKR<br />

to pass your Lenten days.<br />

It is Father Garrigou-Lagrange’s<br />

most mature work<br />

— his last writings, produced<br />

in the midst of much<br />

suffering. In fact, its chapters<br />

are mostly the notes for meditations<br />

that he preached at<br />

retreats for his fellow friars.<br />

Garrigou-Lagrange anticipated<br />

what St. Pope John<br />

XXIII called the greatest<br />

teaching of the Second Vatican<br />

Council: the universal<br />

call to holiness. Garrigou-Lagrange<br />

believed that<br />

ordinary Christians, by virtue<br />

of their baptism, were called<br />

to the mystical life and empowered<br />

for it. This doesn’t<br />

mean we’ll all be visionaries<br />

or prophets; in fact, it seems<br />

that God calls very few to<br />

experience such dramatic<br />

phenomena.<br />

But we’re all called to enjoy<br />

a life of profound, prayerful,<br />

and intimate union with<br />

God. We’re called to be<br />

God’s children, and to know<br />

his Fatherhood in an ever more powerful way. This is the<br />

ordinary vocation of Christians.<br />

It’s my vocation and yours, and we can certainly live it<br />

better. If you can’t join me on retreat this year, please join<br />

me at least in the pages of this book, which is now available<br />

again after many years out of print.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong>


Nun Run, 5K, 1-Mile, and Community Service Fair. La<br />

Reina High School, 106 W. Janss Rd., Thousand Oaks, 8<br />

a.m. Tenth annual Nun Run, hosted by Sisters of <strong>No</strong>tre<br />

Dame, will raise proceeds for local and global outreach.<br />

Visit nun.run.<br />


Rite of Election. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555<br />

W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 3 p.m. The Rite of Election is<br />

the final required step for anyone preparing to receive the<br />

sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the holy Eucharist<br />

on the Easter Vigil. Email Leticia Perez at LPerez@<br />

la-archdiocese.org.<br />

Choral Evening Prayer. Church of the Good Shepherd, 504<br />

N. Roxbury Dr., Beverly Hills, 7:30 p.m. Candlelight service<br />

of ecumenical choral and organ music will be offered in<br />

observance of the 15th anniversary of the blessing of the<br />

organ. All are welcome. Call 310-285-5425.<br />


Wellness Evening. St. Christopher Church, 629 S. Glendora<br />

Ave., West Covina, 7-8:30 p.m. Topic: “Good communication<br />

is crucial to any relationship.” Presented by Cynthia<br />

Holmes, LMFT, hosted by the Father Kolbe Missionaries<br />

of the Immaculate. Call Jillian Cooke at 626-917-0040 or<br />

email FKMministry@gmail.com.<br />


Changing Seasons: Lent to Palm Sunday. Zoom, 7-8:30<br />

p.m. Class led by Father Felix Just, SJ, will explore Bible readings<br />

for Lent to Palm Sunday. Visit lacatholics.org/events.<br />


Citizenship Workshop for Permanent Residents. Our<br />

Lady of Grace Church, 5011 White Oak Ave., Encino, 9<br />

a.m.-1 p.m. Event includes free application preparation<br />

and form completion for eligible residents, as well as free<br />

citizenship classes. Call 818-342-4686 or email BeACitizen<strong>No</strong>w@gmail.com.<br />

Marian Retreat: Blessed are you among women! Father<br />

Kolbe Missionaries Center, 531 E. Merced Ave., West Covina,<br />

9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Email FKMministry@gmail.com.<br />

Valentine’s Dinner. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church,<br />

23233 Lyons Ave., Newhall, 12 p.m. Hosted by the Italian<br />

Catholic Club of SCV, includes complimentary glass of<br />

wine. Cost: $45/person. RSVP to Anna Riggs at 661-645-<br />

7877 by Feb. 5.<br />

World Day of the Sick Mass. Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 12:30 p.m. Hosted<br />

by the Western Association of the Order of Malta, all are<br />

welcome, especially those who are suffering in body or spirit.<br />

Blessing and anointing of the sick will be administered.<br />

22nd Annual Black History Mass: “Walk Together<br />

Children.” Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W.<br />

Temple St., Los Angeles, 5 p.m. Sponsored by the African<br />

American Catholic Center for Evangelization. Celebrant:<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez. Keeper of the Flame award will<br />

be presented by Archbishop Gomez. For more information,<br />

visit aaccfe.org.<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 />


Youth Day: RECongress. Anaheim Convention Center,<br />

200 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Young<br />

people will enjoy a general session, keynote speech, two<br />

workshops, and Eucharistic liturgy. Speakers include Baby<br />

Angel, Chris Estrella, and Maggie Craig. Cost: $40/person.<br />

Register at recongress.org.<br />

LACBA CFJ Eviction Response Clinic. LA Law Library,<br />

301 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, 12-3 p.m. Providing legal assistance<br />

with eviction court summons and complaints. Open<br />

to LA County tenants with disabilities and limited incomes.<br />

Spanish assistance available. RSVP required. Call 213-896-<br />

6536 or email inquiries-veterans@lacba.org.<br />


Religious Education Congress. Anaheim Convention<br />

Center, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim. Events run Feb.<br />

16-18, and include speakers, sacraments, films, and<br />

workshops. Keynote speaker: Jessica Sarowitz, founder of<br />

Miraflores Films. Cost: $75/person until Jan. 15, $85/person<br />

after. For more information, visit recongress.org.<br />

Retrouvaille Marriage Retreat: Spanish. San Fernando.<br />

Retreat runs Feb. 16-18. Call Adolfo and Dora Rubio at<br />

818-367-4198 or Salvador and Maria Acosta at 626-934-<br />

7452 for more information or to register.<br />

Fish Fry. St. Clare Church, 19606 Calla Way, Canyon Country,<br />

4:30-8 p.m. Includes two-three pieces of beer-battered<br />

cod, coleslaw, choice of side, or fish tacos with rice and<br />

beans. Dine in or take out. Cost: $15/person, two-piece<br />

dinner or two tacos, $16/person, three-piece dinner. Family<br />

pack available for $55. Call 661-252-3353 or visit st-clare.<br />

org.<br />


Lenten Retreat. St. James Church, 415 Vincent St., Redondo<br />

Beach, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Hosted by the Catholic Daughters<br />

of America Court of Our Lady of Victory, this free retreat<br />

led by Msgr. Timothy Nichols invites men and women to<br />

get their spiritual house in order before Easter. Includes<br />

Mass and complimentary continental breakfast. Theme:<br />

“On the Road with Jesus and Mary.” Call Mary Costello at<br />

310-316-0768 or email mmcostello1@verizon.net.<br />

“Don’t Get Robbed by Satan’s Scams” Conference. St.<br />

Didacus Church, 14325 Astoria St., Selma, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.<br />

Led by Father Bob Garon and Dominic Berardino. Topics<br />

include “Old Lies of the New Age” and “God’s Remedies<br />

for the Devil’s Poisons.” Mass and catered lunch included.<br />

Register at events.scrc.org, call 818-771-1361 or email<br />

spirit@scrc.org.<br />


Career Fair. Holy Cross Cemetery, 5835 W. Slauson Ave.,<br />

Culver City, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Open positions in the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles for embalmers, funeral service assistants,<br />

and more. Bring résumé for on-the-spot interviews.<br />

For more information, visit lacatholics.org/event/career-fair.<br />


Record Clearing Virtual Clinic for Veterans. 5-8 p.m.<br />

Legal team will help with traffic tickets, quality of life citations,<br />

and expungement of criminal convictions. Free clinic<br />

is open to all Southern California veterans. Registration<br />

required. Call 213-896-6537 or email inquiries-veterans@<br />

lacba.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>February</strong> 9, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 33

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