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Angelus News | March 8, 2024 | Vol. 9 No. 5

On the cover: Few details are actually known about the life of St. Patrick. But he made sure to document one key chapter: his falling away from the Catholic faith, and the discovery of God’s love that led him back. On Page 10, Mike Aquilina sets the historical scene of Patrick’s fateful reversion and points to the aspects of his story that offer hope for bringing the lapsed-Catholic teens of our time back to the Church.

On the cover: Few details are actually known about the life of St. Patrick. But he made sure to document one key chapter: his falling away from the Catholic faith, and the discovery of God’s love that led him back. On Page 10, Mike Aquilina sets the historical scene of Patrick’s fateful reversion and points to the aspects of his story that offer hope for bringing the lapsed-Catholic teens of our time back to the Church.

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ANGELUS<br />

ST. PATRICK’S<br />

WAY BACK<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 9 <strong>No</strong>. 5


<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 9 • <strong>No</strong>. 5<br />

3424 Wilshire Blvd.,<br />

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ANGELUS<br />

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ON THE COVER<br />

JACOB POPCAK<br />

Few details are actually known about the life of St. Patrick. But<br />

he made sure to document one key chapter: his falling away<br />

from the Catholic faith, and the discovery of God’s love that led<br />

him back. On Page 10, Mike Aquilina sets the historical scene of<br />

Patrick’s fateful reversion and points to the aspects of his story<br />

that offer hope for bringing the lapsed-Catholic teens of our<br />

time back to the Church.<br />

THIS PAGE<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

A woman receives ashes on her forehead<br />

from a deacon at the Cathedral of Our Lady<br />

of the Angels on Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday.<br />

Thousands filled the cathedral and parishes<br />

around the Archdiocese of Los Angeles<br />

throughout the day to mark the start of Lent.


CONTENTS<br />

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Hahn.............................................. 32<br />

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

14<br />

18<br />

22<br />

24<br />

26<br />

28<br />

30<br />

A report from LA Congress, America’s ‘great synodal gathering’<br />

The inside story of a canceled Junípero Serra statue’s new life in Ventura<br />

How genuine was Pope Francis’ reconciliation with Argentina’s president?<br />

The Holocaust victim who could not be ‘resigned’ to live without God<br />

Robert Brennan on the contradictions of atheism in <strong>2024</strong><br />

New ‘Guadalupe’ film offers more than just an image of Our Lady<br />

Heather King: A Harvard collection of glass creatures makes a comeback<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 1


POPE WATCH<br />

The laziest capital sin<br />

The vice of “acedia,” often<br />

translated as “sloth,” can cause<br />

laziness, but it is much more<br />

than that; it is a lack of caring for anything<br />

and being bored with everything,<br />

even one’s relationship with God, Pope<br />

Francis said.<br />

“The demon of acedia wants precisely<br />

to destroy the simple joy of the here<br />

and now, the grateful wonder of reality;<br />

it wants to make you believe that it is all<br />

in vain, that nothing has meaning, that<br />

it is not worth taking care of anything<br />

or anyone,” the pope said at his weekly<br />

general audience Feb. 14.<br />

Holding his audience on Ash Wednesday<br />

(which coincided with Valentine’s<br />

Day this year), Francis prayed that God<br />

would accompany and bless people<br />

through their Lenten journey, but his<br />

main talk was a continuation of his<br />

series on vices and virtues.<br />

People spend too little time talking<br />

about “the capital sin” of acedia, he<br />

said, and even when they do, they refer<br />

to it as sloth or laziness.<br />

But “in reality, laziness is an effect<br />

more than a cause,” the pope said.<br />

“When a person is idle, indolent,<br />

apathetic, we say he is lazy. But as the<br />

wisdom of the ancient desert fathers<br />

teaches us, often the root is acedia,<br />

which from its Greek origin literally<br />

means a ‘lack of care.’ ”<br />

Francis described acedia as “a very<br />

dangerous temptation that one should<br />

not mess around with,” because it<br />

makes a person “feel disgust at everything;<br />

their relationship with God<br />

becomes boring to them; and even<br />

the holiest acts, those that in the past<br />

warmed their hearts, now appear entirely<br />

useless to them.”<br />

Acedia can sometimes feel like depression,<br />

but it is a vice that tempts people<br />

to let go of caring for themselves and<br />

for others, he said. “For those caught up<br />

in acedia, life loses meaning, praying<br />

is boring [and] every battle seems<br />

meaningless. If in youth we nurtured<br />

passions, now they seem illogical,<br />

dreams that did not make us happy.”<br />

“It is a bit like dying in advance and<br />

it’s awful,” the pope said.<br />

When a person feels acedia creeping<br />

in, he said, they need to try to cultivate<br />

“the patience of faith” with a few small<br />

steps.<br />

“In the clutches of acedia, one’s desire<br />

is to be elsewhere, to escape from<br />

reality,” the pope said, so to fight it<br />

“one must instead have the courage to<br />

remain and to welcome God’s presence<br />

in the ‘here and now,’ in the situation<br />

as it is.”<br />

Take a breath, he said, set smaller<br />

goals and “persevere by leaning on<br />

Jesus, who never abandons us in temptation.”<br />

“Faith, tormented by the test of acedia,<br />

does not lose its value. On the contrary,<br />

it is the true faith, the very human faith,<br />

which despite everything, despite the<br />

darkness that blinds it, still humbly<br />

believes.”<br />

The pope ended the audience<br />

encouraging Catholics to live Lent<br />

“as an opportunity for conversion and<br />

inner renewal in listening to the Word<br />

of God and in caring for our brothers<br />

and sisters most in need,” including by<br />

praying for those suffering because of<br />

war and violence in Ukraine, Palestine,<br />

and Israel.<br />

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

Service Rome bureau chief Cindy<br />

Wooden.<br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>March</strong>: We pray that those who<br />

risk their lives for the Gospel in various parts of the world<br />

inflame the Church with their courage and missionary<br />

enthusiasm.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


NEW WORLD OF FAITH<br />

ARCHBISHOP JOSÉ H. GOMEZ<br />

‘<strong>No</strong> one else but Jesus alone’<br />

It was a joy to be with so many of<br />

you at our Religious Education<br />

Congress. I came away inspired by<br />

your passion to pass on the faith to our<br />

young people and to share the Gospel<br />

with our neighbors.<br />

Our conversations at Congress were<br />

deep and far-reaching. We all recognize<br />

that as our society becomes more<br />

secularized, we face many obstacles to<br />

living our faith and proclaiming it.<br />

We talked about the cultural pressures<br />

on believers to regard their faith as<br />

something private, something we keep<br />

to ourselves.<br />

We also talked about the growing<br />

influence of technology, especially<br />

“smartphones” and social media, not<br />

only on our young people and each of<br />

us, but also on our society.<br />

I think we all agree that in this environment,<br />

we cannot take the handing<br />

on of our Catholic faith for granted.<br />

The question that Our Lord asked<br />

in the Gospel — “But when the Son<br />

of Man comes, will he find faith on<br />

earth?” — defines our mission.<br />

At the heart of this mission is Jesus<br />

himself.<br />

Our faith is an encounter with the<br />

divine Person, Jesus of Nazareth, who<br />

suffered and died for you and for me,<br />

and for each and every person who<br />

ever was and ever will be.<br />

Our faith is a friendship with this<br />

Jesus who now, risen from the dead,<br />

lives with us and walks with us on our<br />

journey. This Jesus who is the way, and<br />

the truth, and the life.<br />

Over and over in the Gospels, we see<br />

how the encounter with Jesus changes<br />

people’s lives. His Word burned in<br />

their hearts, no one was left untouched<br />

by his love!<br />

We remember the woman at the well,<br />

Zacchaeus the tax collector, Mary<br />

Magdalene, the fishermen by the sea,<br />

Andrew and Peter, James and John.<br />

These men and women were transformed,<br />

their hearts and their lives were<br />

changed forever by the presence and<br />

love of Jesus.<br />

Our task right now is to go deeper<br />

in our own love and friendship with<br />

Jesus and to seek out new ways to bring<br />

others to that life-changing encounter<br />

with Jesus and his saving grace.<br />

It is true that we face unique challenges<br />

as we seek to share our faith and<br />

proclaim Jesus in this culture.<br />

But as Pope Francis has said, “Let us<br />

not say, then, that things are harder<br />

today; they are simply different. But let<br />

us learn also from the saints who have<br />

gone before us, who confronted the<br />

difficulties of their own day.”<br />

In every age, the saints find a way to<br />

work with God’s grace and to proclaim<br />

the good news that God is alive, that he<br />

is our Creator and our Father, and that<br />

he has entered into our world to speak<br />

with us, to love us, and to be our friend<br />

and Savior.<br />

Our neighbors are longing to hear<br />

this good news! Our fellow Catholics,<br />

too, are longing to be renewed in the<br />

beautiful truth of God’s love.<br />

In our day, we understand that being<br />

Catholic is not only a cultural inheritance<br />

or an identity that we are “born<br />

into.”<br />

Whether we are raised in a Catholic<br />

home or become Catholic later in life,<br />

for every one of us, following Jesus<br />

Christ must become a spiritual decision<br />

that we make, an act of conversion<br />

that we renew again and again.<br />

As a Church, part of our mission is<br />

also to “convert the baptized,” inspiring<br />

our brothers and sisters to continue in<br />

their conversion to Christ, to continue<br />

to make that daily decision to follow<br />

Jesus, conforming their lives to his, and<br />

loving him and loving others as he calls<br />

us to love.<br />

Since Congress, I have been thinking<br />

about a line from the Gospel story of<br />

the Transfiguration.<br />

After seeing the astonishing vision of<br />

the Lord transfigured, his face shining<br />

like the sun, his clothes dazzling white;<br />

after hearing the voice of God speaking<br />

from heaven; the apostles were lying<br />

face down on the ground, and very<br />

much afraid, the Gospel tells us.<br />

Jesus tells them to rise and not to fear.<br />

The Gospel continues: “When the<br />

disciples raised their eyes, they saw no<br />

one else but Jesus alone.”<br />

<strong>No</strong> one else but Jesus alone can<br />

tell us the truth about our lives. <strong>No</strong><br />

one else but Jesus alone can show us<br />

the way to happiness and the way to<br />

heaven.<br />

In our day, we understand that being Catholic is<br />

not only a cultural inheritance or an identity that<br />

we are “born into.”<br />

So, as we continue this week on our<br />

Lenten journey, pray for me and I will<br />

pray for you.<br />

May holy Mary, the mother of God,<br />

be with us, and give us new creativity<br />

and new courage in our service of the<br />

Church’s mission of bringing our world<br />

to Jesus.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 3


WORLD<br />

■ Hong Kong<br />

Catholic’s prison<br />

drawing finds<br />

home in DC<br />

Jimmy Lai, imprisoned<br />

pro-democracy activist and<br />

Catholic in Hong Kong,<br />

gifted an image of the crucifixion<br />

he drew while in<br />

prison to The Catholic University<br />

of America (CUA) in<br />

Washington, D.C.<br />

The image is on permanent<br />

display by the St.<br />

Michael the Archangel<br />

Chapel in CUA’s Busch<br />

School of Business after<br />

being blessed and installed<br />

at a Feb. 22 ceremony.<br />

Lai founded pro-democracy<br />

newspaper Apple Daily.<br />

He was imprisoned in 2020<br />

for his free speech advocacy<br />

following the implementation<br />

of a national security<br />

law, prompted by the<br />

Chinese Communist Party,<br />

on the semi-autonomous<br />

region.<br />

Jimmy Lai’s drawing of the Crucifixion created in prison. | PATRICK G.<br />

RYAN/THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA VIA CATHOLIC NEWS<br />

AGENCY<br />

“If I go away, I not only give up my destiny, I give up God, I give up my religion,<br />

I give up what I believe in,” Lai said in 2020. “I am what I am. I am what I believe.<br />

I cannot change it. And if I can’t change it, I have to accept my fate with praise.”<br />

■ Haiti: Bishop injured in suspicious explosion<br />

Bishop Pierre-André Dumas, vice president of the Haitian<br />

Bishops’ Conference, is recovering after being badly burned in a<br />

mysterious explosion.<br />

The Feb. 18 explosion in the capital Port-au-Prince came amid<br />

a wave of gang violence and kidnappings in Haiti following the<br />

assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.<br />

The cause of the explosion remains unknown, though some<br />

believe it was a targeted attack against Dumas, who is bishop of the<br />

Diocese of Anse-à-Veau-Miragoâne and has been a vocal critic of<br />

the country’s increasing violence and gang rule.<br />

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami told The Tablet, the news<br />

publication of the Diocese of Brooklyn, that Dumas was coming<br />

to Miami in late February to be treated for his burns. He explained<br />

that the Church in Haiti is perhaps the only source of stability in<br />

the country.<br />

“The Church in Haiti is still, perhaps right now, the best hope<br />

of Haiti because it’s an institution that is present throughout the<br />

island,” Wenski said.<br />

■ Vatican pulls brakes on<br />

German governance plan<br />

Bishops in Germany called off a vote<br />

on their controversial governance plan<br />

after the Vatican threatened canonical<br />

action.<br />

The German church had been set<br />

to adopt a new national “Synodal<br />

Council,” made up both of bishops<br />

and laypeople, that would permanently<br />

oversee the operations of the Church<br />

in Germany. The mandate to create<br />

the synodal council was approved as<br />

part of the country’s “Synodal Path”<br />

<strong>No</strong>v. 2023, which called for a “synodal<br />

committee” by 2026.<br />

The first step to the new governance<br />

plan is the adoption of a set of statutes<br />

by the synodal committee. But the<br />

vote was called off after a Feb. 16 letter<br />

signed by three top Vatican cardinals<br />

stating that the statutes would “be<br />

contrary to the Holy See’s instructions<br />

issued by special mandate of the Holy<br />

Father.”<br />

After the decision, the head of the<br />

German bishops’ conference sounded<br />

more conciliatory than usual.<br />

“We see the need for good and<br />

successful communication with those<br />

responsible in Rome and will soon take<br />

these talks, which began last July, a step<br />

further,” said Bishop Georg Bätzing.<br />

Bishop Pierre-André Dumas. |<br />

CNS/PAUL HARING<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


NATION<br />

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. | CNS/ELIZABETH<br />

FRANTZ, REUTERS<br />

■ El Paso bishop defends<br />

Catholic shelter sued by<br />

Texas<br />

A Catholic migrant shelter is being<br />

sued by the state of Texas for allegedly<br />

aiding illegal immigration.<br />

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton<br />

opened legal proceedings Feb.<br />

20 to bar Annunciation House from<br />

operating in the state. The shelter<br />

said the claims of human smuggling,<br />

alien harboring, and operating a stash<br />

house were “unfounded.”<br />

“Annunciation House has kept<br />

hundreds of thousands of refugees<br />

coming through our city off the streets<br />

and given them food,” read a Feb. 21<br />

statement. “If the work that Annunciation<br />

House conducts is illegal — so<br />

too is the work of our local hospitals,<br />

schools, and food banks.”<br />

Bishop Mark Seitz defended the<br />

house for its work on the border and<br />

condemned the state’s actions.<br />

“We are now witnessing an escalating<br />

campaign of intimidation, fear,<br />

and dehumanization in the State of<br />

Texas,” Seitz said, “one characterized<br />

by barbed wire, harsh new laws penalizing<br />

the act of seeking safety at our<br />

border, and the targeting of those who<br />

would offer aid as a response of faith.”<br />

■ ‘America’s Cathedral’ embroiled<br />

in ‘sacrilegious’ funeral controversy<br />

A Mass of Reparation will be offered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City<br />

after it hosted a Feb. 15 funeral service for a transgender personality that the city’s<br />

cardinal said devolved into “irreverence and disrespect.”<br />

The deceased, Cecilia Gentili, was a biological man who identified as a woman.<br />

The service drew nearly a thousand attendees, many in drag or provocative outfits<br />

and an image of Gentili, a baptized Catholic, was labeled with vulgar Spanish<br />

words.<br />

Originally intended to be a funeral Mass, the celebrant switched to a funeral<br />

service without the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the start of the service. New York’s<br />

Cardinal Timothy Dolan commended the cathedral’s priests for changing plans<br />

when they realized who the service was honoring.<br />

“We didn’t know the background,” said Dolan. “We don’t do FBI checks on people<br />

who want to be buried.”<br />

Cathedral pastor Father Enrique Salvo said they “only knew that family and<br />

friends were requesting a funeral Mass for a Catholic, and had no idea our welcome<br />

and prayer would be degraded in such a sacrilegious and deceptive way.”<br />

■ Alabama’s Supreme Court says<br />

frozen embryos have human rights<br />

Frozen human embryos have the same protections as unborn children in the<br />

womb, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled Feb. 16.<br />

In an 8-1 ruling, the court found that the state’s “Wrongful Death of a Minor Act”<br />

— which provides for legal avenues for parents or guardians whose minor children<br />

are killed — applied in a lawsuit brought by parents whose frozen embryos were<br />

accidentally destroyed at a fertility clinic.<br />

“<strong>No</strong>thing about the Act narrows that definition to unborn children who are physically<br />

‘in utero’,” the majority opinion said. “Instead, the Act provides a cause of<br />

action for the death of any ‘minor child,’ without exception or limitation.”<br />

Critics say that it would effectively end in vitro fertilization services in the state<br />

due to increased risk of lawsuits. Providers of the procedure announced they were<br />

ceasing operations pending review of legal risk.<br />

Star-powered ashes — Two big-name actors received ashes on Ash Wednesday from Father Mark-Mary Ames,<br />

a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, in New York City. Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus Christ in the hit series<br />

“The Chosen,” and Mark Wahlberg received the ashes at an early morning Mass in New York City before the pair<br />

appeared on “Fox and Friends” to talk about Catholic prayer app Hallow’s huge increase in users following an<br />

advertisement it ran during the Super Bowl Feb. 11. | COURTESY PREVISH MARKETING<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 5


LOCAL<br />

■ Two California dioceses begin<br />

kneeling after the ‘Lamb of God’<br />

Starting on Ash Wednesday, Mass-goers in the Dioceses of Oakland and Stockton were<br />

instructed to begin kneeling after the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) going forward.<br />

In the U.S., the practice of kneeling during the prayer varies by diocese. According to<br />

a letter to Catholics from Bishop Myron J. Cotta of Stockton, the change from standing<br />

to kneeling will remove confusion and offer consistency with surrounding dioceses,<br />

including Oakland.<br />

The Vatican’s “General Instruction of the Roman Missal” offers specifics for how the<br />

Mass should be conducted, with certain parts available to be changed by diocesan<br />

bishops.<br />

“Kneeling is a sign of reverence, prayer, and belief in the Real Presence of Christ in<br />

the Eucharist,” Oakland Bishop Michael Barber said in the diocesan magazine, The<br />

Catholic Voice. “St. Paul says, ‘At the name of Jesus, every knee must bend.’ We are<br />

going to follow that.”<br />

Shooting their shot — Junior high and high school students at St. Julie Billiart’s pose before participating in a freethrow<br />

contest as part of the parish’s youth ministry on Feb. 25. The Knights of Columbus provided pizza, snacks, and<br />

drinks as part of the event. | PAM LIST<br />

■ Catholic groups<br />

among those receiving<br />

Hannon Foundation<br />

grants<br />

Religious of the Sacred Heart<br />

of Mary and the Jesuit <strong>Vol</strong>unteer<br />

Corps were among 16 social services<br />

organizations benefiting from<br />

a new round of Hannon Foundation<br />

grants.<br />

The grants were given to groups<br />

that provide support in the Los<br />

Angeles area to those experiencing<br />

food insecurity, homelessness,<br />

mental health issues, and more.<br />

Other Catholic organizations that<br />

received grants included: American<br />

Federation Pueri Cantores,<br />

which is the student choral organization<br />

of the Catholic Church;<br />

Maryvale, which offers an array of<br />

services for underserved families;<br />

and St. James Inn, which provides<br />

housing for families of critically ill<br />

patients.<br />

“Our founder, my late uncle William<br />

Hannon, made it a priority to<br />

support organizations that are making<br />

a substantial difference in our<br />

communities, especially helping<br />

the underserved,” said Kathleen<br />

Hannon Aikenhead, president<br />

of the foundation. “Today, that is<br />

more critical than ever before.”<br />

Y<br />

■ LA parishes sending pilgrims to<br />

Indianapolis for Eucharistic Congress<br />

More than 100 pilgrims in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles have<br />

signed up so far for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress in<br />

Indianapolis this July.<br />

St. Joseph Church in Hawthorne, St. Agnes Church near Exposition<br />

Park, St. Mary Church in Whittier, and St. John the Baptist<br />

Church in Baldwin Park are among the local parishes sending<br />

pilgrims for the event.<br />

Congress organizers are also encouraging people to make at least<br />

part of the trip by foot as part of a “National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.”<br />

“A cross-country pilgrimage of this scale has never been attempted<br />

A map showing the four routes of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage that will<br />

converge on Indianapolis July 16. The west coast “Serra Route,” which begins in<br />

San Francisco, is shown in red. | COURTESY NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS<br />

before. All told, it will travel through 27 states and 65 dioceses, covering a combined distance of 6,500 miles on foot and with<br />

the help of support vehicles,” said Tim Glemkowski, CEO of the National Eucharistic Congress, Inc.<br />

A series of pre-pilgrimage events will be held the weekend of Pentecost (May 18-19) at the starting points of the four different<br />

national pilgrimage routes. San Francisco, where the West Coast’s “Serra Route” begins, will host a Eucharistic procession<br />

May 19 across the Golden Gate Bridge led by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.<br />

For more information, visit LACatholics.org/eucharist.<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


V<br />

IN OTHER WORDS...<br />

Letters to the Editor<br />

An ‘ashy’ Valentine’s Day<br />

I must confess that upon first seeing the headline of Father Peter<br />

Cameron’s article in the Feb. 9 issue, “Lent is for lovers,” I thought the<br />

comparison of Ash Wednesday with Valentine’s Day seemed a bit forced.<br />

That may still be the case. But reading it did help me to live both festivities a<br />

little differently this year.<br />

For example, I realized Ash Wednesday doesn’t have to be so gloomy. My<br />

thoughts in Mass on Feb. 14 turned to some of the miracles I’ve seen in my life,<br />

including my rebuilt marriage and reconciliation with my dad before his death.<br />

Both wouldn’t have been possible without the “ultimate love” of God that I experienced<br />

in tough times.<br />

As for St. Valentine’s Day … well, I think I ate a little less candy than last year.<br />

— Carlos Martinez, Fresno<br />

Correction<br />

Fernando Rios was misidentified in the article, “Roots worth celebrating” on<br />

Page 15 of the Feb. 23 issue of <strong>Angelus</strong>. We regret the error.<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 />

Another look back at RE Congress<br />

“There’s a broken world<br />

out there this Lent. Just ask<br />

Elmo.”<br />

~ Effie Caldarola, in a Feb. 22 OSV <strong>News</strong><br />

commentary on how the “Sesame Street” character<br />

is informing her Lent.<br />

“Though we’ve been here<br />

for centuries, we still feel<br />

like we’re in a ghetto,<br />

keeping quiet so no one will<br />

notice us.”<br />

~ An anonymous Russian laywoman to OSV <strong>News</strong><br />

on the Catholic Church’s low profile there. The<br />

woman called on Church leaders to commemorate<br />

opposition leader Alexi Navalny following his Feb.<br />

16 death in a remote prison camp.<br />

“One opportunity [this<br />

Lent] is to accept being<br />

contradicted, to give up<br />

justifying oneself and<br />

always wanting to be right.”<br />

~ Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the<br />

Papal Household, in his first Lenten homily to the<br />

Roman Curia Feb. 23.<br />

“I don’t have the ability<br />

to pick up the phone<br />

or have coffee with my<br />

predecessor.”<br />

~ LA Auxiliary Bishop Brian Nunes, in a Feb. 17<br />

San Gabriel Valley Tribune article on the one-year<br />

anniversary of Bishop David O’Connell’s death.<br />

“We belong to a loving God”: Relive the <strong>2024</strong> Los Angeles Religious Education Congress with a highlight video<br />

produced by the Archdiocese of LA’s Digital Team capturing the joy, music, and unique experiences during the event. |<br />

ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES<br />

To view this video<br />

and others, visit<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 />

“It is a dream weight until<br />

you spend $25,000 on<br />

plastic surgery.”<br />

~ Jeniffer Brown, a hairstylist from Kentucky, in a<br />

Feb. 22 LA Times article on people losing weight on<br />

Ozempic, then needing plastic surgery.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 7


IN EXILE<br />

FATHER RONALD ROLHEISER, OMI<br />

Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronrolheiser.com<br />

After the bloom has left the rose<br />

What is our deepest center?<br />

<strong>No</strong>rmally we take that to<br />

mean the deepest part of<br />

our heart, the deepest part of our<br />

soul, our affective center, our moral<br />

center, that place inside of us which<br />

Thomas Merton called le pointe<br />

vierge (“the blank stitch”). And that<br />

is a good way of imagining it. But<br />

there’s another.<br />

The classical mystic John of the<br />

Cross saw things differently. For him,<br />

the deepest center of anything is<br />

the furthest point attainable by that<br />

object’s being and power and force of<br />

operation and movement. What does<br />

he mean by that? In essence, this is<br />

what he is saying: The deepest center<br />

of anything, be it a flower or a human<br />

being, is the furthest point to which it<br />

can grow before it dies.<br />

Take a flower for example: It begins<br />

as a seed, then grows into a tiny bud<br />

that sprouts into a young plant. That<br />

plant eventually bursts forth in a<br />

beautiful bloom. That bloom lasts<br />

for a while and then begins to dry<br />

out and wither. Eventually, what was<br />

once the substance of a beautiful<br />

bloom turns into seeds, and then<br />

in its very act of dying, the flower<br />

gives off those seeds to leave new life<br />

behind.<br />

Thus, for John of the Cross, the<br />

deepest center for a flower is not its<br />

moment of spectacular beauty, its<br />

bloom, but its last moment when its<br />

bloom has turned to seed, and it is<br />

able to give off that seed in its very<br />

act of dying.<br />

There’s a lesson in which goes<br />

against how we commonly assess<br />

things. When are we the most<br />

generative potentially? When do we<br />

have the greatest capacity to use our<br />

lives to give off the seeds for new<br />

life? What is our deepest center of<br />

growth?<br />

<strong>No</strong>rmally, of course, we think of the<br />

deepest center as the bloom, namely,<br />

that period or moment in our<br />

lives when a combination of good<br />

health, physical attractiveness, talent,<br />

achievement, and influence make<br />

us someone who is admired and perhaps<br />

envied. This is the time in our<br />

lives when we look our best and, as<br />

they say, are at the peak of our game.<br />

This is our bloom! The best we will<br />

ever look!<br />

John of the Cross wouldn’t denigrate<br />

that moment in our lives.<br />

Indeed, he would challenge us to<br />

be in that moment, to enjoy it, be<br />

grateful to God for it, and to try to<br />

use the advantages and privileges that<br />

come with that to help others. But he<br />

wouldn’t say this is the peak moment<br />

of our generativity, that this is the<br />

moment or period of our lives when<br />

we are giving off the most seeds for<br />

new life.<br />

<strong>No</strong>, like a flower that gives off its<br />

seeds in its very act of dying, we<br />

too are potentially most generative<br />

after the bloom has given way to the<br />

grey of age and our achievements<br />

have given way to a different kind of<br />

fruitfulness.<br />

Imagine a young woman who is<br />

beautiful and talented and becomes<br />

a famous movie actor. At the height<br />

of her career, she is in full bloom<br />

and is given the gaze of admiration.<br />

Indeed, she is adulated. Moreover,<br />

in her life outside of the movies she<br />

may be a generous person, a wonderful<br />

wife, a dedicated mother, and a<br />

trusted friend. However, that bloom<br />

is not her furthest point of growth,<br />

her deepest center, that time in her<br />

life when she is giving off the most,<br />

vis-a-vis generating new life.<br />

Instead, when she is an aged grandmother,<br />

struggling with health issues,<br />

her physical looks diminished, facing<br />

the prospect of assisted living and<br />

imminent death that, potentially, like<br />

the flower whose bloom has dried<br />

and turned to seed, she can give<br />

her life away in a manner that helps<br />

create new life in a way she couldn’t<br />

do when she was young, attractive,<br />

admired, envied, and in full bloom.<br />

A similar case might be made for<br />

a star male athlete. At the height of<br />

his career, winning a championship,<br />

becoming a household name, his<br />

envied youthful athletic image seen<br />

everywhere in ads and on billboards,<br />

he is in full bloom; but at that time,<br />

he is not optimally generative in<br />

terms of his life giving off seeds to<br />

bring about new life.<br />

That can happen later, in his old<br />

age, when his achievements no<br />

longer define him, and he, like<br />

everyone else, with his hair graying,<br />

is facing physical diminishment, marginalization,<br />

and imminent death.<br />

It’s then, after the bloom has left the<br />

rose, that in his dying he can give off<br />

seeds to create new life.<br />

We tend to identify a spectacular<br />

bloom with powerful generativity.<br />

Fair enough, that bloom has its own<br />

importance, legitimate purpose, and<br />

value. Indeed, one of our challenges<br />

is to give that bloom the gaze of<br />

admiration without envy. <strong>No</strong>t easy to<br />

do, and something we often don’t do<br />

well. The bigger challenge however<br />

is to learn what we ourselves are<br />

called to do after the bloom has left<br />

the rose.<br />

8 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


THE RETURN OF<br />

ST. PATRICK<br />

Rebellion. Tragedy. Redemption.<br />

The little-known story of the saint’s unlikely<br />

conversion as a teen has something to say to all of us.<br />

BY MIKE AQUILINA<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


Statue of St. Patrick at Croagh Patrick in<br />

Westport, Ireland. | SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

Adolescence is hard. The body<br />

puts a kid through years of<br />

daily shapeshifting. The mind<br />

throws everything into question. And<br />

the emotions, like the universe itself,<br />

seem to expand at high speed in all<br />

directions simultaneously.<br />

Imagine going through all that<br />

at what seems to be the end of the<br />

world?<br />

I’m not talking about kids today.<br />

I’m talking about another time the<br />

world came to an end, and I’m talking<br />

about a teen named Patrick. We<br />

would later come to know him as St.<br />

Patrick. But as a teen he was no saint.<br />

He’d had promising beginnings. He<br />

was a cradle Catholic, born into a<br />

family inclined to the service of the<br />

Church. His father was a deacon,<br />

and his grandfather had been a priest.<br />

(The practice of celibacy was irregular<br />

in Britain back then. Everything was<br />

irregular.)<br />

His family was well off, and they<br />

could afford to give him what passed<br />

for an education in those days.<br />

The problem, though, was with those<br />

days. The world seemed to be collapsing<br />

quickly. For 3 1/2 centuries, the<br />

island of Britain had rested securely<br />

in the Roman Empire. It was the frontier,<br />

and its borders and coastal lands<br />

were guarded by military personnel.<br />

They kept the barbarians out. They<br />

kept the pirates away.<br />

But then Italy was breached, and<br />

later Rome, and the emperors moved<br />

their divisions away from the edges of<br />

the empire to guard its center.<br />

The edges collapsed. Piracy returned<br />

to the seas. The towns and cities were<br />

destabilized. And ordinary people<br />

began a slide into moral carelessness<br />

and then moral lawlessness.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 11


Patrick’s life suffered the same degradation.<br />

The child of Christian clergy<br />

would confess in his late-life memoir:<br />

“I did not know the true God.”<br />

At some point during his youth,<br />

Patrick committed a grave sin. He<br />

revealed it to a friend, who later went<br />

on to blab it to the world. We don’t<br />

know what his sin was. He doesn’t<br />

bother to name the sin in his memoir,<br />

because he assumes all of his readers<br />

are already aware, thanks to his friend’s<br />

gossip. All we know of the sin is that<br />

it was the matter of a day — and not<br />

even that. It was the matter of an hour.<br />

But it was a sign of how far Patrick<br />

had strayed from God. And he kept<br />

straying. “In fact,” he said, “I remained<br />

in death and unbelief until I<br />

was reproved strongly.”<br />

Reproof came when the world in its<br />

dissolution consumed Patrick in his.<br />

Pirates, now roaming freely along the<br />

coastline, conducted raids by night on<br />

the towns near the shore. One night<br />

they came to Patrick’s town, Bannavem<br />

Taburniae, and they did what<br />

pirates do. Patrick suffered the havoc<br />

of violence, fire, the rage of men,<br />

and the screams of women. All the<br />

valuable possessions of the town were<br />

taken to the ship — and among them<br />

was Patrick.<br />

Somewhere between a boy and a<br />

man, he would surely fetch a high<br />

price as a slave.<br />

Patrick saw immediately that he was<br />

now just another of the many who had<br />

disappeared from the coastal region.<br />

“I was taken into captivity in Ireland,<br />

along with thousands of others. We<br />

deserved this, because we had gone<br />

away from God, and did not keep his<br />

commandments. We would not listen<br />

to our priests, who advised us about<br />

how we could be saved.”<br />

Hours before his capture, he had<br />

been a teen full of bluster. Immediately,<br />

however, “among foreigners ... it<br />

was seen how little I was.”<br />

In Ireland, Patrick the slave was<br />

made to tend herds of sheep. It was<br />

hard, dirty, and lonely work — outdoors<br />

in all elements: rain, snow, and<br />

high heat. He was “brought low by<br />

hunger and nakedness daily.”<br />

He wallowed in misery awhile, but<br />

Patrick eventually remembered the<br />

lessons his parents and schoolteachers<br />

had taught him. “My sins [had]<br />

prevented me from really taking in<br />

what I read,” he explained. But now<br />

repentance opened his mind.<br />

From his earliest years he recalled<br />

his lessons on prayer, and he put them<br />

to use. Gradually he built up the frequency<br />

and duration of his devotions:<br />

“I prayed often during the day. More<br />

and more the love of God increased.<br />

... In one day I would pray up to a<br />

hundred times, and at night perhaps<br />

the same.”<br />

While exiled in a pagan land — and<br />

without Christian books or guides —<br />

Patrick became adept at the interior<br />

life. He learned to listen for God.<br />

He learned to wait. He learned to<br />

persevere.<br />

He implored God to help him find<br />

his way home, and after some indeterminate<br />

time he discovered the way to<br />

freedom. A voice told him one night:<br />

“You have fasted well. Very soon you<br />

will return to your native country.”<br />

And then later: “Look! Your ship is<br />

ready!”<br />

That was good news indeed, except<br />

that Patrick was 200 miles from the<br />

nearest port.<br />

He didn’t care. He started walking.<br />

That began another series of journeys<br />

for Patrick, but eventually he did<br />

find his way home. And then, in troubling<br />

dreams, he received the call to<br />

return to Ireland — the land that had<br />

enslaved him — and evangelize the<br />

people there. His family and friends<br />

begged him not to leave them again,<br />

and he would have preferred to stay<br />

home. But he had learned to trust the<br />

promptings of God.<br />

By his own reckoning, Patrick went<br />

on to baptize thousands of people<br />

in Ireland, including many from the<br />

families of kings. The great warriors<br />

were alarmed when their sons and<br />

daughters eagerly responded to celibate<br />

vocations.<br />

Patrick responded with prayerful diplomacy,<br />

and by the end of his life he<br />

had conquered the island for Christ.<br />

<strong>No</strong> one had seen that coming — not<br />

his parents, not his teachers, not the<br />

local clergy in his British hometown.<br />

At home, Patrick was a typical<br />

lapsed-Catholic teen, disaffected from<br />

religion, bored by prayer, and sinning<br />

without compunction. His world,<br />

the Roman world, was falling apart;<br />

and perhaps he assumed the Christian<br />

religion was crumbling with it.<br />

Whatever.<br />

Yet his parents had given him what<br />

they could. They had given God<br />

something to work with.<br />

And God worked what he could.<br />

Patrick won Ireland for Christ, and<br />

it was Ireland that won the West back<br />

from its decline.<br />

Those children of the warrior-kings?<br />

They brought new life to Western<br />

monasticism.<br />

The Irish monks went abroad to<br />

re-evangelize the dispirited continent<br />

of Europe. They were there at the<br />

establishment of schools and universities.<br />

Later in history, Irish clergy,<br />

sisters, and laypeople would immigrate<br />

to the United States and astonish<br />

the continent with their system of<br />

schools, hospitals, orphanages, and<br />

vast network of other charities.<br />

As the author Thomas Cahill put it<br />

in his book: because of Patrick, the<br />

Irish “saved civilization.”<br />

Yet, in some ways, Patrick never<br />

made up for his teenage laziness. He<br />

While exiled in a pagan land, Patrick became<br />

adept at the interior life. He learned to listen for<br />

God — and to wait.<br />

never got good at Latin, and his grammar<br />

was so bad that he apologized<br />

repeatedly for it and confessed himself<br />

embarrassed by his own writing.<br />

But it didn’t matter. God overachieved<br />

through Patrick the self-professed<br />

sinner.<br />

Which of today’s disaffected teens<br />

will God summon to become Patrick<br />

for tomorrow’s world?<br />

Mike Aquilina is the author of the<br />

new book “St. Patrick and His World”<br />

(Scepter, $15.99).<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 13


EMBRACING A<br />

‘NOBLE VOCATION’<br />

This year’s RE Congress looked to help Catholics take on<br />

the spiritual and practical ‘obstacles’ faced in daily ministry.<br />

BY MIKE CISNEROS AND PABLO KAY<br />

Participants react during a workshop at the<br />

<strong>2024</strong> LA Religious Education Congress, the<br />

68th edition of the event. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

The challenge of overcoming obstacles — whether<br />

they be cultural, spiritual, or even ecclesial — shaped<br />

much of the conversation at this year’s Los Angeles<br />

Religious Education Congress.<br />

Held Feb. 16-18 at the Anaheim Convention Center, the<br />

event’s adult sessions drew some 12,000 participants and<br />

more than a hundred speakers from around the world. A day<br />

earlier, 6,500 local teens attended the Congress Youth Day,<br />

which featured a series of youth-themed workshops, prayer<br />

opportunities, and a magic show by speaker Giancarlo<br />

Bernini.<br />

The theme of this year’s Congress was “Be Loved!” and at<br />

the opening ceremony Friday morning, its lead organizer<br />

invited participants to reflect on the things that get in the<br />

way of accepting God’s love.<br />

“It is not enough to perceive God’s love only once,” said<br />

Sister Rosalia Meza, VDMF, director of the Archdiocese of<br />

Los Angeles’ Office of Religious Education. “The invitation<br />

and challenge are to choose this incredible truth of being a<br />

beloved child of God every day.”<br />

In his welcome remarks, Archbishop José H. Gomez<br />

began by remembering the late LA Auxiliary Bishop David<br />

O’Connell as a man who “loved Jesus Christ and was always<br />

a joyful presence” at past Congresses. O’Connell was found<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


Sister Rosalia Meza, VDMF, left, director of the<br />

archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education and<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez pose with Jessica<br />

Sarowitz, the keynote speaker at the <strong>2024</strong> LA Religious<br />

Education Congress. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

murdered in his home days before last<br />

year’s Congress.<br />

“I still miss Bishop Dave every day,”<br />

said Archbishop Gomez. “I know he is<br />

looking down on us this weekend from<br />

heaven, and he is smiling on us all.”<br />

Cardinal Robert W. McElroy<br />

of the Diocese of San Diego<br />

celebrates Eucharist during the<br />

<strong>2024</strong> LA Religious Education<br />

Congress. McElroy also<br />

gave a talk about the Synod<br />

of Bishops on Synodality. |<br />

ISABEL CACHO<br />

A pilgrim entrepreneur speaks<br />

Congress keynote speaker Jessica Sarowitz<br />

talked about the ways her recent<br />

pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago<br />

in Spain gave her a new perspective<br />

on the power of spiritual mentorship<br />

in life.<br />

Sarowitz, a business entrepreneur and<br />

self-described “social impact investor,”<br />

cited two mentors in her talk: Sister<br />

Maria Rosa Leggol, known as the “Mother Teresa of Honduras”;<br />

and someone she referred to as “Sister Joan,” whom she<br />

met during a Zoom book club during the pandemic.<br />

Sarowitz, herself a native of Honduras, is the executive producer<br />

of “With This Light,” a 2023 documentary on Leggol.<br />

She first met the Franciscan sister at the age of 8.<br />

“I knew she was extraordinary,” said Sarowitz. “And she<br />

gave great hugs.”<br />

Getting to know Sister Joan over Zoom discussions about<br />

Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for the environment,<br />

helped inspire her to embark on a six-day, 100-plus<br />

kilometer Camino journey with her husband. Over the<br />

pilgrimage, she recalled, she came to realize her 40-pound<br />

backpack stuffed with so many things she thought she needed<br />

had become a metaphor for her life.<br />

By the third day, she started to empty the backpack of<br />

things that weren’t necessary.<br />

“It bore the weight of my anxiety, negativity, distrust, pain,<br />

grief, and past disappointments,” said Sarowitz. “The weight<br />

mirrored the heaviness in my spirit. I soon found solace in<br />

the support of my fellow travelers and in Scripture.”<br />

The answer, suggested Sarowitz, is to form deeper relationships<br />

as God’s children.<br />

“You have a loving, supportive<br />

community. Just look around this<br />

room at how glorious it is. Spiritual<br />

mentors are everywhere, ready to<br />

welcome and accept you. We know<br />

society thrives by service and deep<br />

connection. That is the core of trust<br />

and God’s love.”<br />

A synodal intermission<br />

Beyond the Congress’ spiritual message, perhaps the most<br />

prominent theme reflected in the event’s most well-attended<br />

talks was the ongoing Synod of Bishops on Synodality, set to<br />

conclude next fall with a second monthlong gathering made<br />

up of bishops, men and women religious, and lay delegates.<br />

In a talk titled “Our Synodal Journey,” synod delegate Cardinal<br />

Robert W. McElroy of San Diego began by praising<br />

LA Congress as “one of the great synodal gatherings that take<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 15


place in this nation every year.”<br />

McElroy’s presentation offered a summary of the deliberations<br />

at last fall’s session in Rome, and a look at some of the<br />

synod’s “overarching questions” going forward, including<br />

decentralization of Church authority, inclusion, and the<br />

possible changes to Church teaching.<br />

On decentralization, for example, McElroy said the Vatican’s<br />

recent decision to allow varying implementations of<br />

its recent document on blessings for people in irregular and<br />

same-sex unions was due to different “cultural and pastoral<br />

factors, as well as neocolonialism” in some countries.<br />

But while it is “wholly legitimate” for a priest to decline<br />

performing the blessings outlined in Fiducia Supplicans<br />

(“Supplicating Trust”), Catholics have a “rigorous obligation”<br />

to accompany people who identify as LGBT, said<br />

McElroy.<br />

The 70-year-old prelate blamed opposition to such blessings<br />

on “an enduring animus among far too many toward<br />

LGBT persons.”<br />

McElroy also said there was consensus at the synod in<br />

calling for a “paradigm shift” in giving women more decision-making<br />

roles and responsibilities in the Church. In<br />

another talk on synodality later that afternoon, Sister Teresa<br />

Maya, CCVI, said she was surprised to hear similar proposals<br />

about women in the Church — including the possibility of<br />

ordained ministry — from the different reports that emerged<br />

during the synod.<br />

“I never thought I would read [these statements] in my<br />

lifetime,” said Maya, a theologian and former head of the<br />

Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).<br />

“Something is shifting.”<br />

Both talks were well attended, and Congress-goers had<br />

different views on what such shifts should look like.<br />

Eileen Givens of Orlando, Florida, is the director of the<br />

Missionaries of the Precious Blood’s “Companions” charism.<br />

She agreed with Maya’s assessment that women’s voices are<br />

“starting to be heard.”<br />

“We have men in the leadership role of ordination, but<br />

the women are in the ministries, are leading them. There’s<br />

excitement and energy behind that.”<br />

Stephanie Hardy, RCIA coordinator at Holy Apostles<br />

Church in Meridian, Idaho — the state’s largest Catholic<br />

parish — said she’d like to see women be equal in the<br />

Church, “not do men’s jobs.”<br />

“There’s some things we’re not called to do … and that’s<br />

OK,” said Hardy. “Too many times, women think we need<br />

to be men in order to be acknowledged, to be special, to<br />

bring people to the Church. But frankly, I can do more as a<br />

woman than I could as a man because that’s my gift.”<br />

“didn’t want somebody to think there is something missing<br />

in their lives because there’s no one to tell them about Our<br />

Lord.”<br />

“In our culture, things are changing a lot to very anti-God<br />

in our public schools,” where most of the children in the<br />

parish are educated, said Castillo.<br />

Michelle White came to the Congress with a cohort of<br />

educators all the way from the Archdiocese of Brisbane in<br />

Australia, where she’s a Catholic school principal in the<br />

town of Maryborough.<br />

On Friday, she tuned into Sr. Patricia McCormack’s<br />

workshop titled “Engage, Evangelize, and Empower Parking<br />

Lot Parents.” The topic hit home for White, whose parish’s<br />

Catholic population is aging and in decline — with virtually<br />

no children being raised to replace them.<br />

“It’s very sad, and we are trying to do so many things and<br />

just feel like we’re hitting our heads against the wall,” said<br />

White. “So I’m just hoping, if anything, to come away with<br />

my own faith life fulfilled, just to continue on.”<br />

Albert Landa, a teacher at Paraclete High School in Lancaster,<br />

has been coming to the Congress for the last 30 years.<br />

Every year, he said, there’s at least one “really good inspirational<br />

moment or talk that really hits me where I need it<br />

most.”<br />

Asked about the most pressing challenges his students face<br />

today, Landa said the perils of the “electronic age” topped<br />

the list.<br />

“They’re so leashed and tethered to their phones and<br />

electronics that they can’t listen to God or anyone else,” said<br />

Landa, who comes to the Congress every year with his wife,<br />

a teacher at St. Mary’s School in Palmdale.<br />

Landa also sees a problem in youth whose “parents don’t<br />

take them to church and aren’t bringing them up in the<br />

faith.<br />

“They’re Catholic but they don’t know what that means<br />

anymore,” he said.<br />

Sister Teresa Maya, CCVI,<br />

spoke during the <strong>2024</strong><br />

LA Religious Education<br />

Congress about the role<br />

of women in the synod<br />

and why they matter in the<br />

overall framework of the<br />

Church. | KATIE TREJO<br />

Where is the faith?<br />

Catholic educators in Anaheim for the weekend said they<br />

came to the Congress looking for resources for an increasingly<br />

complicated mission.<br />

First-time Congress attendee Nati Castillo, a catechist at<br />

Our Lady of Grace Church in Encino, said that being at the<br />

Congress helped her with her faith simply by being “with<br />

other similar people that are trying to do the same.”<br />

In answering the call to be a catechist, Castillo said she<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


Thousands of high<br />

school students descended<br />

upon the Anaheim<br />

Convention Center for<br />

the RE Congress Youth<br />

Day. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

Later, on Sunday, a joint workshop hosted by a bishop and<br />

a layman unpacked a national framework for young adult<br />

ministry intended to bridge that gap: “Listen, Teach, Send,”<br />

modeled after Jesus’ approach on the road to Emmaus as a<br />

way of reaching young people.<br />

“Ministry with young people does not start with just ‘I’m<br />

going to tell you something’ but begins in a posture of listening,<br />

just as Jesus began,” said Paul Jarzembowski, the U.S.<br />

Conference of Catholic Bishops’ associate director for the<br />

laity, who presented alongside Auxiliary Bishop José Arturo<br />

Cepeda of Detroit, chair of the bishops’ cultural diversity<br />

committee.<br />

While listening is about trying to understand and empathize<br />

with what young people experience, “teaching” involves<br />

showing them what faith and the word of God might<br />

mean for their lives, Jarzembowski explained.<br />

To “send” means giving young people “the tools now to<br />

share their faith with others, be champions for the marginalized,<br />

and to empower them so that they can make an impact<br />

on the Church now, not sometime in the future.”<br />

A celebration of a ‘noble vocation’<br />

At the welcoming ceremony on Friday, Meza had invited<br />

participants to write messages of how they know God’s love<br />

and to pin them on panels in the convention center lobby.<br />

By the end of the weekend, the notes overflowed as a mosaic.<br />

Teresa Cordeiro, a parishioner at St. Monica Church in<br />

Santa Monica, was one of the first to pin her paper message<br />

to the panel.<br />

“I wanted as many people as will read it to know that God<br />

loves each of us,” Cordeiro said. “There’s nothing to be<br />

afraid of. When I look back, I see his hand throughout my<br />

life. He’s taken care of me.”<br />

In his homily at the closing Mass, Archbishop Gomez<br />

reflected on God’s love in the context of the Sunday’s Mass<br />

readings, which spoke of Christ’s call to repent and believe<br />

in the gospel.<br />

“Jesus loves us for who we are, and he meets us where he<br />

finds us. But he never leaves us there.”<br />

Quoting Pope Francis’ Lenten message this year describing<br />

Lent as “a season of conversion, a time of freedom,” Archbishop<br />

Gomez urged Congress-goers to ask God “for the<br />

courage to continue our conversion to him, to continue our<br />

walk with him and to deepen our conformity to his life.”<br />

And, he added, “let us renew our commitment to the noble<br />

vocation of being disciples and apostles, catechists and teachers<br />

in the Church. Let us ask for new creativity and courage<br />

in our service of the Church’s mission of bringing our world<br />

to Jesus.”<br />

Pablo Kay is the editor-in-chief of <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

Mike Cisneros is the associate editor of <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

Tom Hoffarth also contributed to this report.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 17


Standing up for Serra<br />

How a city and a mission came together to save the truth<br />

about California’s Catholic beginnings.<br />

BY ANN RODGERS<br />

Late last month, a larger-than-lifesize<br />

bronze statue of St. Junípero<br />

Serra came home to the last of<br />

the nine missions that the 18th-century<br />

Spanish missionary founded: the Mission<br />

Basilica San Buenaventura.<br />

The return of the statue from<br />

Ventura’s city hall, originally driven<br />

by disputes over Serra’s legacy and<br />

threats to deface or destroy his image,<br />

is a remarkable example of cooperation<br />

between the Catholic Church,<br />

Chumash tribal leaders descended<br />

from those who built the mission in<br />

1782, and civic leaders committed<br />

to building community rather than<br />

tearing it down.<br />

The cooperation occurred despite<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


The statue of St. Junípero Serra that stood<br />

in front of Ventura City Hall until 2020. |<br />

SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

significant differences over the meaning<br />

and impact of Serra’s legacy. The<br />

Catholic Church, which canonized<br />

him in 2015, maintains that history<br />

shows him to be a loving evangelist<br />

who strove to protect Indigenous Californians<br />

from abuse by the Spanish<br />

military.<br />

“On the ancestral land of the Chumash,<br />

Serra sought to be a spiritual<br />

father to the Indigenous people in<br />

Alta California,” said Father Thomas<br />

Elewaut, pastor of the Mission Basilica<br />

San Buenaventura and director of Historic<br />

Mission Sites for the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles.<br />

“It is fitting that his image will<br />

continue to involve peaceful and open<br />

dialogue regarding the history of the<br />

Indigenous people, the mission era,<br />

the Spanish conquest, the Mexican<br />

occupation, the Gold Rush, and finally<br />

California statehood in the United<br />

States of America, all of which have<br />

impacted and influenced the history of<br />

this land.”<br />

Recently, the mission created a<br />

GoFundMe campaign to raise $30,000<br />

for the transfer, reinstallation, and adjacent<br />

landscaping of the Serra statue.<br />

Franciscan Father Junípero Serra<br />

came in 1769 to what was then the<br />

northernmost frontier of New Spain,<br />

along with a small contingent of Spanish<br />

troops, to try to convert the peoples<br />

of Alta California to Christianity.<br />

His method of protecting them from<br />

the sort of violence and exploitation<br />

Native Americans had suffered earlier<br />

in New Spain was to build missions organized<br />

around the traditional monastic<br />

rhythms of work and prayer. Some<br />

historians have compared the work<br />

done at the missions in that period to<br />

slavery, particularly given 18th-century<br />

European disciplinary practices that included<br />

stocks, whipping, and shackles.<br />

After Serra’s death in 1784, the Franciscans<br />

built 12 more missions over<br />

the next 40 years. All 21 missions were<br />

secularized by the Mexican government<br />

in the mid-1830s. Most quickly<br />

fell into ruin and were only restored<br />

decades later. Though diseases that<br />

were not understood two centuries ago<br />

began to kill Indigenous Californians<br />

during Serra’s lifetime, the overwhelming<br />

percentage of Indigenous<br />

deaths — due to disease, violence, and<br />

related maltreatment — occurred after<br />

secularization.<br />

The death and marginalization of Indigenous<br />

Californians “had a layering<br />

effect,” Elewaut said. “It’s not just the<br />

missions and it’s certainly not Serra, in<br />

my opinion. He defended their dignity<br />

and rights.”<br />

This statue of Serra, which stands<br />

over 9 feet high and weighs about<br />

3,000 pounds, was cast in 1988 to replace<br />

a concrete original that had stood<br />

in Downtown Ventura since 1936. It<br />

was unveiled in front of Ventura City<br />

Hall on October 20, 1989.<br />

Long-simmering debates about Serra’s<br />

impact on the First Peoples of California<br />

boiled over in the summer of<br />

2020. Protests over the police killings<br />

of George Floyd and other unarmed<br />

Black persons led to attacks on statues<br />

that honored defenders of slavery.<br />

Some protesters saw Serra as part of<br />

that legacy.<br />

Matt LaVere, now a Ventura County<br />

supervisor, was mayor of the city of<br />

Ventura at the time.<br />

“We had received some actionable<br />

intelligence through our police department<br />

that there were plans to come<br />

and tear down or deface the statue<br />

here,” he said.<br />

“At that point I realized, that’s the last<br />

thing I wanted.”<br />

He decided to contact both Elewaut<br />

and Julie Tumamait Stenslie, then the<br />

longtime tribal chair of the Barbareño/<br />

Ventureño Band of Mission Indians,<br />

whose proper name is Chumash.<br />

Meanwhile, Elewaut had already<br />

received a call from Stenslie, who has<br />

since stepped down from her tribal<br />

role and could not be reached for this<br />

article.<br />

Despite deep disagreements over the<br />

ministry of Serra, they had a longstanding<br />

respectful relationship. Both firmly<br />

believed that the Chumash had built<br />

Mission San Buenaventura on Chumash<br />

land and that only the Chumash<br />

people had the right to address how the<br />

mission affected Chumash heritage.<br />

She called to tell him that social media<br />

was filled with calls for a protest to<br />

take down the statue in Ventura. “She<br />

said, ‘I think you and I and the mayor<br />

should all get together and talk about<br />

this,’ ” he recalled.<br />

They met for hours at City Hall.<br />

“I think, at the end of the day, we all<br />

wanted the same thing,” LaVere said.<br />

“We didn’t want the statue torn down<br />

or defaced. We wanted to protect the<br />

statue but look at keeping it in an area<br />

where it wasn’t so in-your-face to residents<br />

who had different beliefs.”<br />

Moving it to the mission was a logical<br />

solution. But there were hurdles to<br />

overcome.<br />

On June 18, the three issued a joint<br />

letter on the City of Ventura letterhead,<br />

stating that “the three of us are<br />

confident that a peaceful resolution<br />

regarding the Father Junípero Serra<br />

statue can be reached, without uncivil<br />

discourse and character assassination,<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 19


San Buenaventura pastor Father Tom Elewaut<br />

speaks at a Mass celebrating the elevation of<br />

Mission San Buenaventura to the rank of minor<br />

basilica in July 2020. | COLTON MACHADO<br />

Matt LaVere. | IMAGE VIA FACEBOOK @<br />

REELECTMATTLAVERE<br />

much less vandalism of a designated<br />

landmark.”<br />

The decision, they wrote, must involve<br />

the City Council, the Chumash<br />

tribe and Ventura residents.<br />

“To honor the cultural heritage of<br />

Ventura and its earliest residents is our<br />

ultimate goal,” they wrote.<br />

“We all believe that the removal of the<br />

statue should be accomplished without<br />

force, without anger, and through a<br />

collaborative, peaceful process.”<br />

Protesters arrived the next day. Their<br />

leaders were prepared to let Stenslie<br />

speak, but not Elewaut. She gave him<br />

the chance by calling him to the microphone<br />

as she finished speaking.<br />

Her own remarks, which included<br />

criticism of the missions, had also been<br />

pointed about who had a right to determine<br />

the fate of the statue.<br />

“She said, ‘This is our challenge,’ ”<br />

meaning the Chumash, he recalled.<br />

She told the protesters who were not<br />

Chumash and who did not come from<br />

Ventura that they should stay out of it.<br />

That July the City Council voted<br />

to store the statue until it could be<br />

removed to the mission. However, a<br />

lawsuit by local people who wanted it<br />

to stay at city hall caused a three-year<br />

delay.<br />

While Elewaut appreciated their concerns,<br />

“If you put the statue back up,<br />

how long do you think it’s going to be<br />

there?” he asked. “I wanted to preserve<br />

the statue.”<br />

Once the legal battle ended, moving<br />

the statue has required major preparations,<br />

including erecting a new base,<br />

and flexible planning to accommodate<br />

weather, traffic, and even a last-minute<br />

change of contractors. Elewaut<br />

anticipates reinstalling the statue in<br />

late February but<br />

could not give an<br />

Julie Tumamait Stenslie.<br />

exact date.<br />

| SCREENSHOT VIA YOU-<br />

After that, he<br />

TUBE @OJAIFESTIVALS<br />

expects both a<br />

private unveiling<br />

for a few individuals who have been<br />

closely involved in its transfer and a<br />

public liturgy in the spring.<br />

LaVere looks forward to seeing the<br />

statue in its new home.<br />

“It took a lot of courage for Father<br />

Tom and Julie,” he said.<br />

“Both of them took some blowback<br />

from it from their respective camps. I<br />

have an immense amount of respect<br />

for both of them that they were able to<br />

come to this agreement, to this decision<br />

and this opportunity.”<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 />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 21


THE MILEI MIRACLE?<br />

Pope Francis and Argentine President Javier<br />

Milei share a laugh during a private audience at<br />

the Vatican Feb. 12. | CNS/VATICAN MEDIA<br />

The Argentinean<br />

leader’s public<br />

reconciliation<br />

with Pope Francis<br />

has surprised the<br />

world. But how<br />

genuine was it?<br />

BY ELISE ANN ALLEN<br />

ROME — When Pope Francis<br />

shared a warm embrace with<br />

Argentina’s new rightwing populist<br />

President Javier Milei in February,<br />

the image provoked a bit of whiplash<br />

among those who could remember the<br />

Milei of just a few months ago.<br />

A former television pundit and an<br />

ultra-libertarian economist, Milei was<br />

elected president of Argentina with<br />

56% of the national vote in <strong>No</strong>vember.<br />

Among other things, Milei during<br />

his fiery electoral campaign raised<br />

eyebrows for the remarkable language<br />

he used to describe the pope, calling<br />

Francis an “imbecile,” a “communist,”<br />

a “filthy leftist,” and a “son of a b****,”<br />

just to offer a sampling.<br />

Milei’s critiques of social policies<br />

advanced by leftwing governments<br />

and his radical reform strategies to<br />

pull Argentina out of a decades-long<br />

economic and social crisis were seldom<br />

polite. To add to the controversy, many<br />

of his tirades have targeted the Catholic<br />

Church’s social doctrine.<br />

Yet all that seemed to fade into the<br />

background during a highly anticipated<br />

meeting between Francis and Milei<br />

during the Feb. 11 canonization Mass<br />

in Rome of Argentina’s first female<br />

saint, Maria Antonia of Saint Joseph de<br />

Paz y Figueroa, affectionately known by<br />

Argentinians as “Mama Antula.”<br />

The two Argentine leaders met briefly<br />

before the ceremony, and Francis<br />

paused to greet Milei and other government<br />

ministers again before leaving St.<br />

Peter’s Basilica. <strong>No</strong>tably, Milei chose<br />

to break protocol and asked to give the<br />

22 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


pope a beso, a kiss on the cheek that<br />

is a customary greeting in most South<br />

American nations.<br />

Images of the encounter portray a<br />

smiling pope, who reportedly jested<br />

with Milei, asking if he’d gotten a<br />

haircut, and a grinning Argentine president<br />

who stooped low to embrace the<br />

leader of the world’s roughly 1.3 billion<br />

Catholics.<br />

The two held an hourlong private<br />

meeting the next day, with a brief<br />

Vatican statement describing the discussion<br />

as “cordial” and having focused<br />

on relations between the Holy See and<br />

Argentina, Milei’s strategy to counter<br />

the country’s economic crisis, and<br />

the need to promote peace in light of<br />

global conflicts.<br />

Afterward, Milei described Francis on<br />

a radio interview in Rome as “the most<br />

important Argentinian in history.”<br />

How did Francis and Milei go from<br />

insults to embrace, from opposition to<br />

high praise? The answer comes down<br />

to the difference between campaigning<br />

and governing.<br />

During his electoral campaign, Milei<br />

focused on making the kind of statements<br />

that would get him consistent<br />

publicity while also firing up his base.<br />

However, as the new leader of a deeply<br />

divided country grappling with a severe<br />

and protracted financial crisis, Milei’s<br />

focus has shifted to building consensus,<br />

if he wants progress to be made.<br />

According to Argentina’s INDEC<br />

statistics agency, some 40.1% of the<br />

population currently lives in poverty<br />

and inflation rates stand at over 200%,<br />

leaving much of the country destitute<br />

and desperate for a solution.<br />

One clear way to reach out to the opposition<br />

and thus attempt to build this<br />

consensus is to reach out to the person<br />

the opposition looks up to and who is<br />

seen as their champion. In this case,<br />

that is Francis.<br />

Francis himself seemed to handle<br />

Milei’s oratorical creativity as a candidate<br />

extremely graciously, dismissing<br />

Milei’s remarks in an interview shortly<br />

after Milei was elected.<br />

“You have to distinguish a lot between<br />

what a politician says in the election<br />

campaign and what he actually does<br />

afterward, because then comes the<br />

moment of concreteness, of decisions,”<br />

he said.<br />

A woman prays while holding a newspaper with<br />

an image of Pope Francis during a Mass celebrated<br />

Sept. 5, 2023, in Buenos Aires to rebuff verbal<br />

attacks on the pontiff by presidential candidate<br />

Javier Milei, of La Libertad Avanza coalition. |<br />

OSV/AGUSTIN MARCARIAN, REUTERS<br />

For Francis, there is also the factor<br />

of ego, in that a pope generally carries<br />

more global significance than most<br />

presidents of individual nations, and as<br />

a prominent religious leader, is seen as<br />

occupying a higher moral ground.<br />

If Francis were to respond to Milei in<br />

kind, he would essentially be stooping<br />

to Milei’s level, implying they are<br />

in some way equals. Yet by ignoring<br />

Milei’s remarks and choosing to stay<br />

above the fray, Francis helped ease tensions<br />

and make such a turnabout with<br />

Milei possible.<br />

Their encounter should also be seen<br />

in the lens of a potential papal trip.<br />

Francis has repeatedly expressed his<br />

desire to visit Argentina this year, a<br />

potential trip Milei has also publicly<br />

voiced support for. In this sense, both<br />

men want the trip, and they need each<br />

other to make it happen.<br />

Francis has consistently voiced his fear<br />

that a return trip to Argentina would<br />

be manipulated for political ends, and<br />

by diffusing tension with Milei from<br />

the start, he is basically trying to take<br />

the air out of the balloon so that a trip<br />

becomes possible in a political context.<br />

Milei, for his part, faces an imploding<br />

economy and an urgent need for the<br />

type of social cohesion that a papal trip<br />

could offer at such a critical juncture,<br />

so being friendly with Francis is also a<br />

step in the direction of potentially keeping<br />

the country from falling apart.<br />

Age is also a factor for Francis, who is<br />

87 and suffers from several health-related<br />

maladies, and who desperately<br />

wants to make his long-awaited return<br />

to his home country while international<br />

travel, though not uncomplicated, is<br />

still possible.<br />

In terms of how much of Francis and<br />

Milei’s apparent reconciliation is genuine,<br />

and how much is simply politics,<br />

the best answer would probably be that<br />

it’s a little of both.<br />

They obviously each have their own<br />

agenda in the relationship, and they in<br />

some way depend on one another for<br />

that agenda to be accomplished, but<br />

their friendly encounter shows there is<br />

also likely a good deal of respect, too,<br />

whatever their differences may be.<br />

Elise Ann Allen is a senior correspondent<br />

for Crux in Rome, covering the<br />

Vatican and the global Church.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 23


Benjamin Fondane on the cover<br />

of the book “Existential Monday:<br />

Philosophical Essays.” | NEW YORK<br />

REVIEW BOOKS<br />

The man who<br />

refused to be<br />

resigned<br />

A victim of the Holocaust,<br />

Benjamin Fondane was a<br />

prophet against 20th-century<br />

godlessness.<br />

BY MSGR. RICHARD ANTALL<br />

A<br />

Romanian Jew who became a<br />

French intellectual, Benjamin<br />

Fondane was a man of many<br />

parts.<br />

A poet, a philosopher, a cineaste with<br />

connections to the French avant-garde,<br />

he was a citizen of the world<br />

involved in the cultural life of three<br />

countries: Romania, France, and<br />

Argentina, where he lived briefly. He<br />

was also a friend of leading cultural<br />

figures in France, including the<br />

formidable Catholic thinkers Jacques<br />

Maritain and his wife, Raissa.<br />

The man lived in the whirlwind<br />

of the chaotic first half of the 20th<br />

century, always as an outsider to the<br />

many movements he encountered. He<br />

died the quintessential outsider — a<br />

victim of the Nazi genocide, killed<br />

at Auschwitz just days before the<br />

Russians liberated the camp. Fondane<br />

was, besides, a prophet. In philosophy,<br />

he was close to a Russian existentialist<br />

and religious thinker, Lev Shestov.<br />

Maritain, who tried unsuccessfully to<br />

save him from the Holocaust, described<br />

him as “a disciple of Shestov,<br />

but one inhabited by the Gospel.”<br />

Fondane, the Jew, said that “the<br />

powerlessness of Christ” was “stronger<br />

than all the powers of the world.”<br />

I only recently encountered Fondane<br />

in a book of his writings entitled “Existential<br />

Monday: Philosophical Essays”<br />

(New York Review Books, $16).<br />

Eclectic is a word that would have to<br />

be invented for Fondane had it never<br />

existed. He told Maritain that he and<br />

his mentor Shestov were attempting a<br />

thought rooted in Judaism but indebted<br />

to the Christianity of Kierkegaard,<br />

Martin Luther, and Tertullian.<br />

Besides those heretics, throw Pascal,<br />

Kafka, Baudelaire, and Rimbaud into<br />

the mix and you have a sense of the<br />

reach of Fondane’s culture.<br />

It is a testament to both Maritain and<br />

Fondane that they could be friends<br />

despite such different ideas. I think<br />

what united them was a deep skepti-<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


cism of modern culture, which, since<br />

the Enlightenment, has attempted to<br />

find meaning for mankind without<br />

resorting to the God of revelation.<br />

In words that are as true today as they<br />

were in his time, Fondane said “we<br />

think that we are sheltered from the<br />

convulsions of a culture that risks burying<br />

us in the debris of its collapse.”<br />

Kant and Hegel, Heidegger and Sartre,<br />

even Camus, seemed to Fondane<br />

to be part of a conspiracy to limit<br />

humanity with a bleak future based<br />

solely on reason, defined in a way that<br />

demanded a transcendence without<br />

a transcendent, and condemned the<br />

individual to a stoic meaninglessness.<br />

“Human nature,” he wrote, “has not<br />

withstood the inhuman Tower of Babel<br />

which we have erected and which<br />

we have called civilization.”<br />

Fondane saw the “Nazi Caliban”<br />

threatening Europe not as an aberration<br />

of the progress of the Enlightenment<br />

but as its final fruit. Civilization<br />

without God ended up in the cul-desac<br />

of the concentration camps.<br />

Jacques Maritain. |<br />

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

He called for a “far-sighted humanism<br />

based on human wretchedness.”<br />

The “overestimation of reason,” as<br />

he saw it, resulted in putting “all of<br />

science’s trump cards in the hands of”<br />

the enemies of humanity.<br />

This has application today: Nazi<br />

science presaged the horrors of all<br />

the Frankenstein experiments today<br />

accepted by modern researchers, for<br />

instance, the frozen embryos and<br />

fetal flesh used by Big Pharma in its<br />

insatiable thirst for profits. The Nazis<br />

were the advance guard for abortion,<br />

certainly. Planned Parenthood, recognize<br />

your ancestor!<br />

Fondane called for an “irresignation”<br />

with regard to what was called “humanism”<br />

(really, secular humanism).<br />

He said the modern proponents of<br />

humanism “staked too much on the<br />

separate and divine intellect [of human<br />

beings] and neglected more than<br />

it ought to have real man, whom we<br />

had treated as an angel only to finally<br />

reduce him to a level lower than the<br />

beasts.”<br />

This “irresignation,”<br />

a word<br />

he coined, was<br />

not the same as<br />

unresignation.<br />

More than a<br />

failure to be<br />

resigned to the<br />

meaninglessness<br />

of life, it was<br />

a refusal to be<br />

resigned to a<br />

world that was<br />

not open to God.<br />

“As long as we<br />

hope to be victorious<br />

by our<br />

own strength<br />

and the strength<br />

of the Idea, as<br />

long as we have<br />

not yet lost<br />

everything and<br />

lost it irremediably,<br />

the relationship<br />

between<br />

man and God<br />

has still not<br />

been opened,”<br />

he asserted.<br />

Fondane not<br />

only preached<br />

irresignation, he also lived it.<br />

Although a naturalized French<br />

citizen married to a Gentile, the<br />

poet was arrested several times by the<br />

Germans who occupied Paris. Once<br />

captured while serving in the French<br />

military, he escaped, another time<br />

he was released. But the third time<br />

he was detained, he was taken to the<br />

infamous Drancy concentration camp<br />

where the French Catholic poet and<br />

convert Max Jacob died.<br />

Fondane’s sister was arrested with<br />

him. When it came about that his<br />

friends had negotiated his release<br />

again, he refused to go without his<br />

sister. He could not be “resigned”<br />

to saving himself while allowing his<br />

sister to be taken. They both died in<br />

Auschwitz. That is irresignation incarnate,<br />

and merits as much admiration<br />

as his intellectual stance.<br />

In the years since his death, his<br />

work in literature and philosophy has<br />

been recognized in France. In English-speaking<br />

countries, he is far less<br />

known but that seems to be changing.<br />

Fondane has a lesson for people of<br />

faith. In a poem about his military<br />

service fighting the Nazi onslaught, “I<br />

myself carried a rifle,” he talked about<br />

his connection with salvation history.<br />

“I crossed the Red Sea on foot,” he<br />

said and then remarked about his understanding<br />

that without God we are<br />

nothing. “Did I think that I could halt<br />

History with a rifle but without Him?”<br />

There is a lovely Catholic epilogue<br />

to his story. The Maritains entered his<br />

history after death, also, especially by<br />

their friendship with Fondane’s wife,<br />

Genevieve Tissier-Fondane. They<br />

secured employment for her after the<br />

end of World War II and coaxed her<br />

back to the practice of the Catholic<br />

faith. She eventually became a sister<br />

of the Congregation of <strong>No</strong>tre-Dame<br />

de Sion, a congregation that had as<br />

its hallmark the evangelization of the<br />

Jewish people.<br />

Msgr. Richard Antall is pastor of<br />

Holy Name Church in Cleveland,<br />

Ohio, and the author of several books.<br />

He served as a missionary priest in<br />

El Salvador for more than 20 years<br />

and was named a “<strong>No</strong>ble Friend of<br />

El Salvador” in 2011 by the country’s<br />

National Assembly.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 25


AD REM<br />

ROBERT BRENNAN<br />

Robert<br />

he has<br />

Cathol<br />

The atheism challenge<br />

Growing up, the only atheist<br />

I remember knowing was<br />

“Junior,” the resident bully<br />

who lived five or six houses down our<br />

street. He was older than the group I<br />

ran with, and he towered over us with<br />

his crew cut red hair and his menace.<br />

When I got a little older, I realized<br />

Junior probably said outrageous things<br />

just to get a rise out of the adults, and<br />

to further intimidate the more timid<br />

block residents who would always<br />

walk a little faster or pedal harder<br />

A man leaves an empty church in Bonn,<br />

Germany. | CNS/HARALD OPPITZ, REUTERS<br />

when passing by his house.<br />

For the greater part of my life,<br />

atheism was relegated to a cultural<br />

ghetto, something not discussed in<br />

polite company unless a Junior the<br />

bully-type wanted to make his fellow<br />

adults uncomfortable.<br />

But today, atheism is out and proud.<br />

According to the most recent polling<br />

data, approximately 4% of the American<br />

populace identifies as atheist,<br />

not to mention the more substantial<br />

percentage who claim agnostic status.<br />

Meanwhile, research shows the number<br />

of “nones” — those who reject<br />

any formal religious association but<br />

hold on to some form of spirituality —<br />

is growing rapidly.<br />

According to Pew Research, Europe,<br />

the continent where the Church once<br />

flourished and from where our country<br />

inherited so much rich spiritual<br />

sustenance, is even further along the<br />

road to disbelief. Nearly one-quarter<br />

of the population of France, once<br />

called the “Daughter of the Church,”<br />

identifies as atheist. Things are not<br />

much better for Spain, responsible for<br />

bringing Christianity to California,<br />

Mexico, and so much of the Southern<br />

Hemisphere, which has a nonbelieving<br />

population double that of the<br />

United States.<br />

You would be right to qualify these<br />

statistics as a crisis, but the upheaval<br />

may be less about the rise of atheism<br />

than it is the shrinking of Christianity/<br />

Catholicism.<br />

The situation here in our own<br />

backyard is all the more urgent when<br />

considering the majority of American<br />

journalists are self-identifying as irreligious<br />

and a poll of American academics<br />

revealed 9.8% of college professors<br />

are avowed atheists.<br />

Spend some time Googling famous<br />

people who are atheist, and you’ll find<br />

a virtual who’s who of powerfully influential<br />

people who likewise deny the<br />

existence of God: A-list movie stars,<br />

social media moguls, and cultural influencers<br />

with seven-digit followings.<br />

The bad news is the data shows our<br />

popular culture is over-represented<br />

by those who have excised God from<br />

their moral compasses. This could<br />

explain the confusion over things like<br />

gender and the value of human life<br />

at any stage of beginning or end. But<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


Robert Brennan writes from Los Angeles, where<br />

he has worked in the entertainment industry,<br />

Catholic journalism, and the nonprofit sector.<br />

these unhappy facts also reveal a great<br />

opportunity to engage in spiritual<br />

warfare. I’m not talking about battalions,<br />

weapons of mass destruction, or<br />

any other kind, but rather the radical<br />

example of holiness the Church has<br />

been calling on us to embrace for so<br />

long.<br />

It sounds like a fool’s errand, but<br />

it actually works miracles. Malcolm<br />

Muggeridge (1903-1990) was a brilliant<br />

Christian/Catholic writer and<br />

thinker. He did not start out that way.<br />

For a good portion of his long life, he<br />

was a devout atheist and apologist for<br />

Joseph Stalin. But when he discovered<br />

a frail old nun working in the slums of<br />

Calcutta, his life was transformed. He<br />

entered the Church at 79 years of age.<br />

Dorothy Day may, much to her<br />

eternal chagrin, be on her way to<br />

official sainthood. She did not begin<br />

that way. <strong>No</strong>minally spiritual, her<br />

early life was basically atheist-adjacent<br />

with a bohemian lifestyle, atheist<br />

husband, and spiritual emptiness. The<br />

miracle of her child’s birth led her<br />

into the Church in 1927, but there<br />

is no question that her interactions a<br />

few years later with Peter Maurin, a<br />

French Catholic theologian, solidified<br />

the faith she held closely for the next<br />

several decades of her life.<br />

The biggest hurdle to overcome the<br />

“problem” of atheism is not the atheist,<br />

but us. It is not heaven, but hell<br />

that resides behind fortified gates, and<br />

it was Jesus’ promise to Peter and the<br />

Church that it is hell which will yield<br />

to the force of sanctity.<br />

With so many hardened hearts ensconced<br />

behind spiritual gates it may<br />

seem like an insurmountable task,<br />

but what is a call to holiness but a big<br />

task? Since God never asks the impossible<br />

from us, we know that each<br />

and every one of us has the ability to<br />

let him change us and in the process,<br />

maybe let God change someone else,<br />

too.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 27


NOW PLAYING GUADALUPE: MOTHER OF HUMANITY<br />

MORE THAN AN IMAGE<br />

A new Spanish-made Guadalupe film weaves historical<br />

detail with personal testimonies to great success.<br />

BY DR. GRAZIE POZO CHRISTIE<br />

A scene from the movie<br />

“Guadalupe: Mother of<br />

Humanity.” | COURTESY<br />

GOYA PRODUCCIONES<br />

For many American Catholics, the<br />

immense footprint left by Our<br />

Lady of Guadalupe in the hearts<br />

and lives of millions of their co-religionists<br />

in the Southern Hemisphere<br />

remains something of a secret. This<br />

is a great shame, for she has been the<br />

Empress of the Americas since 1945<br />

by papal decree, and, one could say, by<br />

heavenly mandate since her apparition<br />

in 1531.<br />

A new movie, “Guadalupe: Mother<br />

of Humanity,” which opened Feb. 22<br />

in the U.S., proposes to break open the<br />

whole glorious story to a people that are<br />

no less in need of evangelization than<br />

the indigenous inhabitants of 16th-century<br />

America.<br />

Spanish filmmaker Pablo Moreno<br />

weaves together the narrative of Our<br />

Lady’s apparitions on the hill Tepeyac<br />

to Juan Diego, a humble convert, with<br />

heartfelt testimonies of modern individuals<br />

who have also felt her presence in<br />

their lives, including LA’s own Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez.<br />

The result is a compelling, moving,<br />

piece of art with the potential to win<br />

over new hearts to Our Lady and her<br />

son.<br />

The film treats viewers to aerial views<br />

of the thousands who throng up the<br />

long and wide avenue to her shrine in<br />

Mexico City on her feast day, carrying<br />

bouquets and babies, or dragging themselves<br />

along on their knees as a sign of<br />

penitence.<br />

The mariachis sing her special song,<br />

“Las Mañanitas,” which is also the<br />

typical song Mexicans sing to their<br />

loved ones on the days of their santos,<br />

(“patron saints”). At her shrine we see<br />

the pilgrims who have traveled from all<br />

over the world to see and venerate the<br />

miraculous image, and we watch their<br />

awe as they take in their first sight of La<br />

Morenita’s face.<br />

In one sense, the 500-plus-year story<br />

is the story of an image, a painting on<br />

cloth which has mesmerized millions<br />

over the centuries. It has been reproduced<br />

more often than any other<br />

image, according to the narrator, and it<br />

has been diffused over the whole world.<br />

The image has been closely studied,<br />

and we learn about one particularly<br />

moving finding: Drawn infinitesimally<br />

small in her pupils are two sets of<br />

people. In one are those who were<br />

watching when Juan Diego revealed<br />

the image on his tilma (“cloak”). In the<br />

other is an image of a family, the mother<br />

at its center, with baby and child,<br />

father and grandparents.<br />

The message in her eyes? My family,<br />

your family, is in the special care of Our<br />

Lady of Guadalupe.<br />

Moreno reverts to the pretty scene of<br />

1531— the shimmering Lady on the<br />

dry and rocky mount again and again,<br />

seeking to explain the enormity of the<br />

transformation she provoked. The sit-<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


uation in New Spain was dire, as far as<br />

transmission of the faith was concerned.<br />

The conquistadors (“conquerors”)<br />

found a culture bathed in the blood of<br />

innocents, worshiping pagan gods that<br />

demanded sacrifice and whose thirst<br />

was never quenched. Up to 20,000<br />

babies, children, and adults a day,<br />

tortured and torn on the great pyramids,<br />

to ensure the rising of the sun and the<br />

regularity of the rains.<br />

When the Franciscan friars introduced<br />

the bizarre idea that God’s mercy falls<br />

unmerited on the earth and its inhabitants,<br />

out of a concept called “divine<br />

love,” it seemed incomprehensible to<br />

these people.<br />

But the film’s scenes of Juan Diego’s<br />

encounters with Our Lady reveal the<br />

clues to her success. (After her apparition<br />

many millions converted, and we<br />

are told of priests hounded and harried<br />

by throngs of men and women begging<br />

for baptism.) It is her serene confidence<br />

and her warm tenderness, that of the<br />

perfect mother, whose very gaze is<br />

enough to soothe the most troubled<br />

heart. Her words to Juan Diego have<br />

been immortalized:<br />

“Hear me and understand well, my<br />

little son, that nothing should frighten<br />

or grieve you. Let not your heart be<br />

disturbed. Do not fear any sickness or<br />

anguish. Am I not here, who is your<br />

Mother? Are you not under my protection?<br />

Am I not your health? Are you not<br />

happily within the fold of my mantle,<br />

within the cross of my arms?”<br />

The Virgin (played by Angelica<br />

Chong) speaks to Juan Diego with<br />

infinite sweetness and calm strength,<br />

laying a difficult task on him:<br />

“Tell the bishop to build me a little<br />

house on this plain … so that I may<br />

therein exhibit and give all my love,<br />

compassion, help, and protection,<br />

because I am your merciful mother.”<br />

In that temple, she says, she will<br />

“listen there to their lamentations, and<br />

remedy all their miseries, afflictions,<br />

and sorrows.”<br />

The movie-watcher who learns for the<br />

first time of the radical transformation<br />

of the Americas achieved by Our Lady<br />

of Guadalupe’s apparition on Tepeyac<br />

begins to understand.<br />

A people whose conception of the<br />

divine was inseparable from cruelty and<br />

terror were introduced instead to a God<br />

of compassion, mediated by the tenderness<br />

of the ideal mother, a tenderness<br />

they can understand as all humans can.<br />

She offers them a transcendent vision<br />

in which each one of them, from the<br />

lowly Juan Diego to the most afflicted,<br />

is caught up in soft but powerful arms<br />

— arms that cradle but also ward off<br />

the terrible sadism of the pagan gods<br />

that took so much from them. In the<br />

image she stands on the moon and<br />

blocks the sun, symbols of the discarded<br />

tyrants.<br />

There is a timeliness to this movie.<br />

Our modern culture is not so different<br />

from the one that Our Lady of Guadalupe<br />

transformed over 500 years<br />

ago. We also suffer under strange and<br />

bloodthirsty gods — of radical individualism<br />

and hedonism. We toil to placate<br />

the god of wealth and honor, and our<br />

families implode. The most common<br />

altar of our sacrifice? Abortion, where<br />

our unborn children die by the many<br />

hundreds of thousands because we<br />

believe it makes<br />

Archbishop José H.<br />

Gomez is featured in the<br />

film “Guadalupe: Mother<br />

of Humanity.” | COURTE-<br />

SY GOYA PRODUCCIONES<br />

us free.<br />

Our Lady may<br />

visit us again,<br />

and transform us<br />

anew. But until<br />

she does, this film<br />

may be a sign to<br />

many that the only God is the God of<br />

love, and his mother is the sure road to<br />

his Heart.<br />

“Guadalupe” screened in selected<br />

theaters Feb. 22-29. For other possible<br />

viewing opportunities, visit GuadalupeTheMovie.com.<br />

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie practices<br />

radiology in the Miami area, where she<br />

lives with her husband and five children,<br />

and serves on the advisory board for The<br />

Catholic Association.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 29


DESIRE LINES<br />

HEATHER KING<br />

Harvard’s forgotten glass plants<br />

One of the biggest thrills of my<br />

New Hampshire childhood was<br />

the field trip my elementary<br />

school class once took to the Harvard<br />

Museum of Natural History.<br />

To a kid raised among apple orchards<br />

and grazing cows, Boston was akin to a<br />

trip to Paris, or Istanbul, or the lost city<br />

of Atlantis.<br />

Laelia crispa, an orchid indigenous to Brazil,<br />

by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, on display as<br />

part of the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass<br />

Models of Plants at the Harvard Museum of<br />

Natural History. | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

Harvard represented a foray into<br />

unimaginable sophistication.<br />

And a visit to the Museum of Natural<br />

History meant that we got to see The<br />

Glass Flowers gallery.<br />

Commissioned by professor George<br />

Lincoln Goodale, founder of Harvard’s<br />

Botanical Museum, the flowers were<br />

made by the father-and-son team of<br />

Leopold (1822-1895) and Rudolph<br />

Blaschka (1857-1939).<br />

From 1887 through 1936 at a studio<br />

near Dresden, the Blaschkas — descendants<br />

of a long line of Czech glass<br />

artists — turned out more than 4,300<br />

models of 780 plant species.<br />

My height at that age would have put<br />

me eye-to-eye with the flowers: wondrous,<br />

vividly colored, unimaginably<br />

detailed reproductions with such lifelike<br />

leaves, blooms, stamens, and pistils<br />

— how could they have been made of<br />

glass? — I felt I could have reached out<br />

and plucked from their stems.<br />

There were lilies, asters, rhododendrons;<br />

a maple leaf in full fall color;<br />

a branch heavy with pale pink apple<br />

blossoms.<br />

The flowers and fruit had been commissioned<br />

as teaching aids but to my<br />

mind they were more like relics. They<br />

were beautiful, they were marvels, they<br />

were mysterious. The way they were<br />

made, we were told, was a secret.<br />

The Glass Flowers gallery underwent<br />

a historic renovation in 2016, and is<br />

now known as the Ware Collection of<br />

Blaschka Glass Models of Plants.<br />

But I prefer to remember it as it was:<br />

the creaking wood floors; the glass<br />

cases that were old even then; the dire<br />

warnings that the slightest movement<br />

could shatter the flowers, or separate<br />

a head from a stem, or a petal from a<br />

bloom.<br />

Such carelessness, I instinctively understood,<br />

would have been a sacrilege.<br />

<strong>No</strong>w, it turns out, the world-renowned<br />

Glass Flowers were preceded by<br />

another astounding, almost-forgotten<br />

collection.<br />

“Spineless: A Glass Menagerie of<br />

Blaschka Marine Invertebrates” is on<br />

view at Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport<br />

Museum through <strong>March</strong> 2, 2025.<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

The exhibit features 40 reproductions<br />

of small ocean invertebrates, most of<br />

them borrowed from Harvard’s Museum<br />

of Comparative Zoology (MCZ).<br />

These, too, were commissioned —<br />

the first around 1863 by the head of<br />

the natural history museum in Dresden<br />

— at a time when marine invertebrates<br />

could pretty much only be preserved in<br />

jars, or rendered in drawings.<br />

Other museums and universities<br />

placed commissions. By the 1870s, the<br />

Blaschkas had a thriving mail-order<br />

business.<br />

Hundreds of the models were acquired<br />

by Harvard during that time and<br />

used as teaching aids.<br />

But the widespread use of underwater<br />

photography eventually rendered the<br />

business obsolete, and the Harvard<br />

collection became scattered.<br />

When the university recently decided<br />

to assess the models, says former MCZ<br />

Director of Collections Operations<br />

Linda S. Ford, it took six months to go<br />

through all the departments.<br />

Some were on display; some, carefully<br />

wrapped, had been tucked away in the<br />

back of closets and drawers.<br />

Harvard originally hoped to unearth<br />

60 or 70 specimens; they found 430.<br />

Judging from the photographs, the<br />

glass sea creatures — jellyfish, anemones,<br />

and squid, among others — are<br />

just as wondrous as the flowers.<br />

Antennae, tentacles, plumes, fringes,<br />

and crowns abound.<br />

The cerata (multifunctional “fingers”)<br />

of a pale green Stiliger ornatus (“sea<br />

slug”) are delicately tipped with black<br />

and gold stripes. A Glaucus atlanticus<br />

(“blue sea dragon”) looks like a ballerina<br />

whose limbs have exploded into<br />

sparklers mid-jeté.<br />

The Blaschkas weren’t alone, naturally,<br />

in their obsessions: the exhibit also<br />

includes 19th-century sailors’ journals<br />

and rare books containing sketches,<br />

watercolors, and written descriptions of<br />

marine invertebrates.<br />

So lifelike and so otherworldly<br />

are the glass sea<br />

creatures it’s easy to forget<br />

that even more wondrous<br />

are the actual creatures.<br />

Some of which — still<br />

migrating, as the museum<br />

points out — have come<br />

to be a problem along<br />

the Eastern seaboard and<br />

beyond. Invasive species<br />

originally from Europe<br />

reproduce in such overwhelming<br />

numbers that<br />

sea squirts, for example,<br />

coat piers and pilings,<br />

befoul the waters of nearby<br />

A glass octopus by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka as part of the<br />

Stonington Harbor in<br />

exhibit “Spineless: A Glass Menagerie of Blaschka Marine Invertebrates.”<br />

| MYSTIC SEAPORT MUSEUM/JOE MICHAEL<br />

the Mystic River Estuary, and<br />

in general make giant pests of<br />

themselves.<br />

Aiming for both a local and<br />

global reach, the exhibit also provides<br />

commentary on the ocean’s changing<br />

biodiversity and features contemporary,<br />

marine-life based artwork and photography.<br />

The Blaschka models are so anatomically<br />

perfect that no artist since has<br />

been able to reproduce or equal them.<br />

But it turns out their methods were neither<br />

extraordinary nor esoteric. They<br />

melted glass tubes over an open flame<br />

like everyone else, using bellows and a<br />

foot pedal, then shaped their creations<br />

with hand tools.<br />

Their “secrets” were discipline, attention<br />

to detail, and a passion for craft<br />

that can arguably be passed on only<br />

through bloodline.<br />

Leopold once observed: “Many<br />

people think that we have some secret<br />

apparatus by which we can squeeze<br />

glass suddenly into these forms. ... The<br />

only way to become a glass modeler of<br />

skill, I have often said to people, is to<br />

get a good great-grandfather who loved<br />

glass.”<br />

<strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 31


LETTER AND SPIRIT<br />

SCOTT HAHN<br />

Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

Forward <strong>March</strong><br />

<strong>March</strong> of this year came in like a Lenten lion, but<br />

will go out like a Paschal Lamb. As April begins,<br />

we’ll find ourselves in Easter Week. We’re moving<br />

forward in small increments, sacrifice by sacrifice, prayer<br />

by prayer, alms by alms.<br />

We move toward Easter along a path well worn. The saints<br />

have gone before us to show us the way. Consider St. Cyril<br />

of Jerusalem, a fourth-century bishop and perhaps the classic<br />

preacher and teacher of the wonders of the Lenten and<br />

Easter seasons.<br />

St. Cyril is best<br />

known today for the<br />

catechetical sermons<br />

he delivered to new<br />

converts. He was a<br />

profound biblical<br />

theologian; and as he<br />

preached he ranged<br />

over many points of<br />

Christian life, from<br />

morals to prayer to<br />

the creed. He ended<br />

with a stunning series<br />

on the sacraments<br />

of initiation: his<br />

famous Mystagogical<br />

Catecheses, in which<br />

he walked step by step<br />

through the liturgies<br />

and explained the<br />

details of the rites in<br />

light of the Scriptures.<br />

When those new<br />

members of his<br />

congregation stepped<br />

into the baptismal<br />

pool on Easter Vigil,<br />

they were stepping<br />

St. Cyril of Jerusalem. | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

decisively into the<br />

stream of salvation<br />

history. The sacramental moment had been foreshadowed<br />

in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New. God had<br />

willed it from the dawn of creation. Christ had come, in the<br />

fullness of time, to call these particular men and women to<br />

the water, to the anointing, to the banquet.<br />

St. Cyril was especially good at his job. He excelled as a<br />

preacher and teacher, theologian and biblical scholar. He<br />

delivered his message with the power of a poet.<br />

But his message was not unique. What he practiced was<br />

mystagogy — guidance in the mysteries — and we find the<br />

same points touched upon in the works of other great mystagogues<br />

of the ancient Church: St. Ambrose, St. Augustine,<br />

St. John Chrysostom, and Theodore of Mopsuestia (to name<br />

just a few).<br />

They preached at<br />

the time the world<br />

was waking up to the<br />

Gospel. Over the<br />

course of their lifetimes,<br />

Greco-Roman<br />

paganism crumbled<br />

almost entirely to<br />

dust. Cyril alone<br />

probably guided tens<br />

of thousands of converts<br />

into the mysteries<br />

of faith. Even now,<br />

more than a millennium<br />

and a half later,<br />

you can sense the<br />

excitement of what<br />

was then a “New<br />

Evangelization.”<br />

When Cyril<br />

preached during<br />

Easter week, his congregations<br />

roared with<br />

applause as he spoke<br />

of the sacraments.<br />

That’s a fact, and we<br />

know it because we<br />

have the diary of a<br />

European woman,<br />

Egeria, as she traveled<br />

through his city —<br />

and she recorded that ovation for posterity.<br />

Oh, for the return of such a day, when Catholics could<br />

barely contain their love for the Eucharist, for the baptismal<br />

gift, for the strength of their anointing. May it be so this<br />

Easter.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong>


■ FRIDAY, MARCH 1<br />

Life-Giving Wounds: A Healing Retreat for Adult Children<br />

of Divorced or Separated Parents. Mission San Luis<br />

Rey, 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside. Retreat runs from 6<br />

p.m. on <strong>March</strong> 1 to 3 p.m. on <strong>March</strong> 3. Participants 18 and<br />

older are invited to move through the broken images of love<br />

in their parents’ relationship to their deepest origin and<br />

identity as God’s beloved. Co-sponsored by the Separated<br />

& Divorced Ministry. Cost: $375/single room, $325/<br />

double room, includes meals, lodging, and all materials.<br />

Partial scholarships available upon request; email jmonell@<br />

la-archdiocese.org. Visit rcbo.org/acod.<br />

Fish Fry. St. Clare Church, 19606 Calla Way, Canyon<br />

Country, 4:30-8 p.m. Runs every Friday in Lent. Includes<br />

2-3 pieces of beer-battered cod, coleslaw, choice of side, or<br />

fish tacos with rice and beans. Dine in or take out: $15, two<br />

-piece dinner or 2 tacos, $16, 3-piece dinner. Family pack<br />

available for $55. Call 661-252-3353 or visit st-clare.org.<br />

Fish Fry. St. Margaret Mary Church, 25511 Eshelman<br />

Ave., Lomita, 5 p.m. Runs <strong>March</strong> 1, 8, and 15. Baked or<br />

beer-battered fried fish, baked potato, corn on the cob, and<br />

desserts. Spirits available for purchase. Discounts available<br />

for seniors and children.<br />

Fish Fry — Knights of Columbus #4919. Nativity Church,<br />

1415 Engracia Ave., Torrance, 5-7 p.m. Runs every Friday in<br />

Lent. Baked or deep fried fish, baked potato or French fries,<br />

coleslaw, roll, and cake. Cost: $12/adults, $10/seniors, $7/<br />

children under 12. Indoor seating and takeout available.<br />

50/50 raffles as time permits.<br />

■ SUNDAY, MARCH 3<br />

100th Anniversary Celebration. St. Agatha Church, 2646<br />

S. Mansfield Ave., Los Angeles, 10:30 a.m. bilingual Mass.<br />

Celebrants: Archbishop José H. Gomez and Auxiliary<br />

Bishop Matthew Elshoff. Email pastoralcenteroffice@gmail.<br />

com.<br />

Rite of Calling. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555<br />

W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 3 p.m. for San Fernando and<br />

San Gabriel Pastoral Regions, 6 p.m for Our Lady of the<br />

Angels and San Pedro Pastoral Regions. This rite is for those<br />

journeying through RCIA to complete Christian Initiation in<br />

the Church. Email Leticia Perez at LPerez@la-archdiocese.<br />

org.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6<br />

<strong>No</strong> Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s<br />

Passion. St. John Eudes Church, 9901 Mason Ave., Chatsworth,<br />

6:30 p.m. Virtual pilgrimage runs Wednesdays from<br />

Feb. 28 to <strong>March</strong> 27 in Room AB.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MARCH 9<br />

Lenten & Eucharistic Revival Recollection. St. Barnabas<br />

Church, 3955 Orange Ave., Long Beach, 1:30-4:30 p.m.<br />

Guest speaker: Father Tony Ricard. All are welcome. Visit<br />

stbarnabaslb.org or call 562-424-8595.<br />

■ SUNDAY, MARCH 10<br />

St. Joseph’s Table. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church,<br />

23233 Lyons Ave., Newhall, 1-6 p.m. Hosted by the Italian<br />

Catholic Club of SCV, includes free plate of spaghetti and<br />

roll, other Italian foods for sale at minimal prices. Donated<br />

baked goods welcome. Call Anna Riggs at 661-645-7877<br />

for more information.<br />

■ TUESDAY, MARCH 12<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 />

Virtual Listening Session for the Synod on Synodality.<br />

7-8:30 p.m. Meeting ID: 925 1438 0827. Passcode:<br />

228359.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13<br />

St. Padre Pio Mass. St. Anne Church, 340 10th St., Seal<br />

Beach, 1 p.m. Celebrant: Father Al Baca. For more information,<br />

call 562-537-4526.<br />

■ THURSDAY, MARCH 14<br />

Passover: Why is this Night Different from All Other<br />

Nights? Zoom, 7-8:30 p.m. Led by Rabbi Jason<br />

Fruithandler. Visit lacatholics.org/events.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MARCH 16<br />

Bereavement Retreat. St. Brigid Church, 5214 S. Western<br />

Ave., Los Angeles, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Includes Mass. Everything<br />

will be provided. Cost: $60/person. RSVP to Cathy at<br />

bereavement.ministry@yahoo.com.<br />

■ SUNDAY, MARCH 17<br />

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: Irish Folklore, Prayer, and<br />

Song. Holy Spirit Retreat Center, 4316 Lanai Rd., Encino,<br />

5-7:30 p.m. Night includes traditional Irish dinner with<br />

music, silent auction, and evening concert fundraiser. Cost:<br />

$75/person. Concert only: $50/person. Call Sister Marie at<br />

818-815-4496.<br />

■ MONDAY, MARCH 18<br />

Virtual Listening Session for the Synod on Synodality.<br />

7-8:30 p.m. Meeting ID: 846 6922 5712. Passcode:<br />

009547.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20<br />

Changing Seasons: Triduum through Easter. Zoom, 7-8:30<br />

p.m. Class led by Father Parker Sandoval will explore Bible<br />

readings for Triduum through Easter. Visit lacatholics.org/<br />

events.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MARCH 23<br />

Living Art Experience Inspired by the Life of Christ.<br />

Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan<br />

Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach, 1 p.m. <strong>March</strong> 23, 2 and 5 p.m.<br />

<strong>March</strong> 24. Witness “The Last Supper” come to life before<br />

your eyes as live models pose in recreations of famous,<br />

sacred works of art. Tickets at livingartexperience.com. Call<br />

310-521-2520.<br />

Bilingual Mass for San Oscar Romero: Pastor, Prophet,<br />

and Saint. St. Mary Church, 1600 East Ave. R-4, Palmdale,<br />

2:30 p.m. Celebrants: Father John Greely and Father Joseph<br />

Brennan. Cultural reception and photo exhibition to follow.<br />

■ SUNDAY, MARCH 24<br />

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

555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and<br />

12:30 p.m. Masses will begin on the Cathedral Plaza with<br />

the blessing of the palms before proceeding inside.<br />

The Crimson Cloak. Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, 700<br />

N. Sunnyside Ave., Sierra Madre, 3 p.m. Theatrical music<br />

and dance-filled event portrays the passion of Christ<br />

through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. Soloist Erica Jones<br />

Deato and Sean Murtha will be featured, along with a cast<br />

of church, community, and retreat center members. Written,<br />

produced, and directed by St. Rita parishioner Mimi<br />

Mycroft. Free event. Email rramirez@materdolorosa.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>March</strong> 8, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 33

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