Angelus News | April 5, 2024 | Vol. 9 No. 7

On the cover: Archbishop José H. Gomez lights the paschal candle in the plaza of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels during the 2014 Easter Vigil. As we begin the season of Easter, on Page 10 Father Peter John Cameron, OP, reflects on how the rite of the paschal fire transcends tradition and represents an explosion of hope worth celebrating for 50 days.

On the cover: Archbishop José H. Gomez lights the paschal candle in the plaza of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels during the 2014 Easter Vigil. As we begin the season of Easter, on Page 10 Father Peter John Cameron, OP, reflects on how the rite of the paschal fire transcends tradition and represents an explosion of hope worth celebrating for 50 days.


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HOPE IS<br />


How to keep the Easter fire<br />

burning for 50 days<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 9 <strong>No</strong>. 7

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 9 • <strong>No</strong>. 7<br />

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Archbishop José H. Gomez lights the paschal candle in the plaza<br />

of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels during the 2014 Easter<br />

Vigil. As we begin the season of Easter, on Page 10 Father Peter<br />

John Cameron, OP, reflects on how the rite of the paschal fire<br />

transcends tradition and represents an explosion of hope worth<br />

celebrating for 50 days.<br />



Archbishop José H. Gomez, along with<br />

Auxiliary Bishops Matthew Elshoff, Brian<br />

Nunes, and Marc Trudeau, pose with<br />

attendees and the scholars honored at the<br />

50th Annual Christian Service Awards<br />

Mass on March 12.<br />

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

Always Forward - newsletter.angelusnews.com


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 />

16<br />

20<br />

22<br />

24<br />

26<br />

28<br />

30<br />

This LA Catholic went blind. That didn’t stop him from reading during Mass<br />

Q&A: El Salvador’s cardinal warns country could become next Nicaragua<br />

John Allen: Why Pope Francis’ ‘white flag’ remarks caused a diplomatic crisis<br />

Could Rose Hawthorne become America’s next canonized saint?<br />

The tragedy of IVF: Exploitation, eugenics, and severe side effects<br />

Grazie Pozo Christie on Easter as the true answer to our cynicism<br />

A local Holocaust survivor’s gratitude — and frustration — with the Church<br />

Heather King: When it comes to the cross, who’s carrying whom?<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 1


Defining virtue<br />

The following is adapted from the<br />

Holy Father’s catechesis to visitors and<br />

pilgrims during his weekly Wednesday<br />

audience in St. Peter’s Square March 13.<br />

The exercise of the virtues is<br />

the fruit of long germination,<br />

requiring effort and even<br />

suffering. The virtuous person does<br />

not become warped by distortion, but<br />

remains faithful to his own vocation,<br />

fully realizing himself.<br />

We would be off course if we thought<br />

that the saints were the exceptions of<br />

humanity: a sort of restricted circle of<br />

champions who live beyond the limits<br />

of our species. The saints are instead<br />

those who become themselves fully,<br />

who fulfill the vocation proper to every<br />

man or woman.<br />

What a happy world it would be if<br />

justice, respect, mutual benevolence,<br />

broadmindedness, and hope were the<br />

shared normality, and not instead a<br />

rare anomaly! This is why the chapter<br />

on virtuous action, in these dramatic<br />

times of ours in which we often have<br />

to come to terms with the worst of<br />

humanity, should be rediscovered and<br />

practiced by all. In a distorted world,<br />

we must remember the form in which<br />

we were shaped, the image of God<br />

that is forever imprinted upon us.<br />

The Catechism of the Catholic<br />

Church defines virtue as a “habitual<br />

and firm disposition to do the good”<br />

(no. 1803). Therefore, it is not an<br />

improvised or somewhat random good<br />

that falls from heaven sporadically.<br />

History shows us that even criminals,<br />

in moments of lucidity, have performed<br />

good deeds; certainly, these<br />

deeds are inscribed in the “book of<br />

God.”<br />

But virtue is something else. It is<br />

a goodness that stems from a slow<br />

maturation of the person, to the point<br />

of becoming an inner characteristic.<br />

Virtue is a habitus [habit] of freedom.<br />

If we are free in every act, and<br />

every time we are required to choose<br />

between good and evil, virtue is what<br />

enables us to have a tendency toward<br />

the right choice.<br />

If virtue is such a beautiful gift, a<br />

question immediately arises: how is<br />

it possible to obtain it? The answer<br />

to this question is not simple, it is<br />

complex.<br />

For the Christian, the first aid is<br />

God’s grace. Indeed, the Holy Spirit<br />

acts in us who have been baptized,<br />

working in our soul to lead it to a virtuous<br />

life. How many Christians have<br />

reached holiness through tears, finding<br />

they could not overcome some of their<br />

weaknesses! But they experienced that<br />

God completed that work of good that<br />

for them was only a sketch. Grace always<br />

precedes our moral commitment.<br />

Moreover, we must never forget the<br />

very rich lesson from the wisdom of<br />

the ancients, which tells us that virtue<br />

grows and can be cultivated. And for<br />

this to happen, the first gift to ask of<br />

the Spirit is precisely wisdom. The<br />

human being is not a free territory for<br />

the conquest of pleasures, emotions,<br />

instincts, passions, without being able<br />

to do anything against these forces, at<br />

times chaotic, that dwell within.<br />

A priceless gift we possess is<br />

open-mindedness, it is the wisdom that<br />

can learn from mistakes in order to<br />

direct life well. Then, it takes goodwill:<br />

the capacity to choose the good,<br />

to form ourselves with ascetic exercise,<br />

shunning excesses.<br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>April</strong>: We pray that the dignity and<br />

immense value of women be recognized in every culture,<br />

and for the end of discrimination that they experience in<br />

different parts of the world.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>



The encounter with Easter<br />

It was still dark in the early morning<br />

hours when Mary Magdalene<br />

returned to the tomb.<br />

She had been with Jesus when the<br />

Roman soldiers came to arrest him,<br />

when the Twelve and his other disciples<br />

ran away.<br />

When they crucified him, she was<br />

there at the foot of the cross, alongside<br />

Mary, his mother, and St. John, the<br />

only apostle who didn’t run.<br />

She watched him die and then with<br />

the other women helped prepare the<br />

Lord’s body to be placed in the tomb.<br />

And as the light began to dawn on that<br />

first Easter Sunday, Mary Magdalene<br />

would be the first one to see Jesus<br />

Christ risen from the dead.<br />

It is a beautiful mystery that the story<br />

of salvation begins with two women,<br />

the Blessed Virgin Mary, who carries<br />

the incarnate Jesus in her womb,<br />

and St. Elizabeth, who is the first to<br />

proclaim this Child as “my Lord.”<br />

God chose a third woman, Mary<br />

Magdalene, to be the first witness of his<br />

empty tomb, and the first to see him<br />

alive, and the first to proclaim the truth<br />

of his resurrection.<br />

One of the ancient prayers for Easter<br />

remembers the scene:<br />

Magdalene. The Gospel tells us she<br />

was possessed by seven demons and<br />

that Jesus set her free. In gratitude and<br />

love, she became one of his first and<br />

most devoted disciples.<br />

She followed him in faith and the<br />

journey led her to his cross and then to<br />

his resurrection.<br />

The story of her meeting with Jesus in<br />

the 20th chapter of St. John’s Gospel<br />

is filled with specific details: when she<br />

stood and when she bent down, the<br />

position of the angels where the Lord’s<br />

body had been; what she said to Jesus,<br />

and the things he told her.<br />

It’s as if Mary Magdalene didn’t want<br />

to forget a single moment of that Easter<br />

encounter.<br />

“Why are you weeping, whom do you<br />

seek?” The questions that Jesus asked<br />

her, he asks now of each one of us.<br />

Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize<br />

Jesus until he said her name. When he<br />

spoke, “Mary!” her eyes were opened<br />

and her heart understood.<br />

freedom in accepting the Lord’s forgiveness<br />

and living the new life that he has<br />

won for us by laying down his life on<br />

the cross and rising on the third day.<br />

Jesus said he would never leave us<br />

orphans, that he would be with us until<br />

the end of the age. On Easter, he keeps<br />

that promise.<br />

Because he has destroyed death by<br />

his death, the dividing wall between<br />

heaven and earth has been broken<br />

down.<br />

He goes with us now as a friend,<br />

a companion. As he shared in our<br />

humanity, he understands everything<br />

about us.<br />

We can speak to him of our deepest<br />

thoughts, our hopes and fears and<br />

dreams. He is with us in our joy and<br />

suffering. Though we do not see him,<br />

we know by faith that he is at our side.<br />

In the Eucharist he comes again and<br />

makes a gift of himself, in the breaking<br />

of the bread, he continues to draw us<br />

more deeply into the mystery of his<br />

The Risen Christ goes with us now as a friend,<br />

a companion. As he shared in our humanity, he<br />

understands everything about us.<br />

Tell us Mary,<br />

What did you see on the way?<br />

I saw the tomb of the living Christ<br />

and the glory of his rising,<br />

the angelic witnesses,<br />

the shroud and his clothes.<br />

Christ, my hope, has risen:<br />

He will go before his own into Galilee.<br />

In the life of Mary Magdalene, we see<br />

the paschal mystery unfold, the mystery<br />

of Our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection,<br />

the mystery of his love for every<br />

one of us. The mystery of Easter.<br />

We don’t know much about Mary<br />

In his love, the Risen Lord now calls<br />

our names. If we hear his voice, and<br />

if we don’t harden our hearts, we will<br />

realize, as Mary Magdalene did, that<br />

long before we were a thought in our<br />

mother’s womb, he has known us and<br />

loved us and longed for our love.<br />

Christ is risen, he is alive! He will turn<br />

our every sorrow into joy. He will wipe<br />

away every tear from our eyes, for death<br />

is no more, and whatever came before<br />

has passed away.<br />

On Easter he calls us to rise up and to<br />

follow him away from his empty tomb.<br />

Like Mary Magdalene, we can find<br />

dying and rising.<br />

“Do not hold me,” Jesus said to Mary<br />

Magdalene, “But go to my brothers and<br />

tell them.”<br />

Jesus calls us now too, to go out and<br />

tell others the truth of his resurrection,<br />

the truth of his love.<br />

The encounter of Easter is a call to<br />

mission, a call to proclaim with Mary<br />

Magdalene: “I have seen the Lord!”<br />

In our Easter joy, pray for me and I<br />

will pray for you.<br />

And let us ask our Blessed Mother<br />

Mary to keep us always close to her Son<br />

and our Risen Lord.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 3

WORLD<br />

■ Three killed in Coptic<br />

monastery attack<br />

Three Egyptian Coptic monks were killed<br />

in their South African monastery March<br />

12, as rising levels of violence plague the<br />

country.<br />

“The Church expresses its deep anguish<br />

over the occurrence of such a tragic incident,<br />

and extends its sincere condolences to the<br />

families of the three monks,” the Coptic<br />

Orthodox Church said in a statement. “Our<br />

pain and sadness, no amount [of] words can<br />

express, but we know that they rejoice in<br />

paradise.”<br />

The motive for the attack — which killed<br />

Fathers Takla Moussa, Minah ava Marcus,<br />

and Youstos ava Marcus — are unclear, but<br />

police have arrested an Egyptian member of<br />

the church as a suspect.<br />

Moussa was especially loved by the country’s<br />

Black community, who hoped he would be<br />

ordained bishop.<br />

“This is a great loss for us. We will never<br />

find a father like Father Takla Moussa, who<br />

loved and served us unconditionally for about<br />

20 years since he has been in South Africa,” a<br />

statement from the community said.<br />

■ A victory for marriage, motherhood in Ireland<br />

Irish voters soundly rejected a pair of amendments that Catholic bishops<br />

warned would have undermined marriage and motherhood.<br />

One of the amendments voted on March 8 would have widened the definition<br />

of the family to include “durable relationships” as well as marriage. It<br />

was defeated 67.7% to 32.3%.<br />

The other would have removed a 1937 provision that said women should<br />

not be forced to take a job “to the neglect of their duties in the home” by<br />

economic necessity. That was rejected 73.9% to 26.1%, the largest no vote<br />

on a referendum<br />

in Irish history.<br />

The defeats came<br />

as a surprise, as<br />

both amendments<br />

were supported<br />

by virtually all political<br />

parties and<br />

polling showed<br />

that passage was<br />

favored. Prime<br />

Minister Leo<br />

Varadkar expressed<br />

disappointment<br />

with the results,<br />

but admitted:<br />

“We clearly got it<br />

wrong.”<br />

A person wearing a costume holds a sign March 9 opposing a referendum<br />

to delete wording on stay-at-home mothers in the Irish Constitution. | OSV<br />


Calling on a friend — Catholics carry a statue of St. Gauderique, patron saint of farmers, into the<br />

Tet River in Perpignan, in southwestern France on March 10, during a procession to pray for rain<br />

amidst the drought that is hitting the Pyrenees-Orientales region. | VALENTINE CHAPUIS/AFP<br />


■ Hong Kong: Could new treason<br />

law threaten the confessional?<br />

Observers are worried that a new law in Hong<br />

Kong threatening prison time for those who fail to<br />

disclose “knowledge of treason” could extend to<br />

the seal of confession.<br />

The new National Security Law, also known as<br />

Article 23, includes sentencing provisions of up<br />

to life in prison for treason, and up to 14 years for<br />

failure to disclose treason.<br />

Following the release of the draft text, 16 international<br />

experts on freedom of religion — including<br />

former chair of the U.S. Commission on International<br />

Religious Freedom, Nadine Maenza —<br />

issued a statement warning that priests may face<br />

prison time by upholding the confidentiality of<br />

confession and called on Pope Francis and other<br />

faith leaders to publicly oppose the law.<br />

“We call for immediate, urgent, and collective<br />

international action to defend freedom of religion<br />

or belief in Hong Kong,” the group said.<br />

The law is seen as consistent with efforts by mainland<br />

China’s Communist government to exert<br />

greater control on speech in Hong Kong, which is<br />

a semiautonomous region.<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

NATION<br />

Padre Pio comes to PA — The sole replica of a statue of Padre Pio by famous sculptor Timothy<br />

Schmalz was installed in St. Mary Church in New Castle, Pennsylvania, March 9. Named “I<br />

Embrace You,” it shows the Italian Capuchin saint clinging to a crucifix atop a bronze globe. The<br />

original resides in the saint’s hometown of Pietrelcina, Italy. | SAINT PIO FOUNDATION<br />

■ Paulists downsize as<br />

membership shrinks<br />

The Paulist Fathers announced March 13 the<br />

closure of five ministries as the order consolidates<br />

due to a lack of vocations.<br />

The cuts include ending the Paulist’s 117-yearold<br />

presence at the University of California at<br />

Berkeley, which will continue to be served by<br />

the Diocese of Oakland. The order’s campus<br />

ministry at Rensselaer Polytechnic in New York<br />

will also end, as well as three other corporate<br />

apostolates.<br />

The change is precipitated by a halving of<br />

priests in active ministry — from 98 in 2004 to<br />

50 today. Of those priests, nearly two-thirds are<br />

in their 60s or older.<br />

“Certainly, people live longer these days, and<br />

many of our beloved senior priests have generously<br />

and selflessly continued working well into<br />

their 70s and beyond, but it is obvious that the<br />

current situation is not sustainable,” said Paulist<br />

Fathers president Father René Constanza in a<br />

statement.<br />

Paulist Press, Paulist Productions, and Busted<br />

Halo — the order’s three media ministries —<br />

will continue to be operated by the priests.<br />

■ Wisconsin court denies tax<br />

exemption for Catholic Charities<br />

In a ruling that could have implications for religious<br />

liberty cases around the country, Wisconsin’s<br />

top court ruled that the Catholic Charities Bureau<br />

(CCB)’s activities were not “primarily” religious,<br />

making them ineligible for a significant tax break.<br />

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 4-3 ruling<br />

hinged on whether CCB “operated primarily for<br />

religious purposes,” after the state revoked the<br />

group’s designation as a religious organization<br />

last year. By losing the designation, the group was<br />

forced to pay into the state-run unemployment<br />

system rather than using a Church-run system.<br />

“An objective examination of the actual activities<br />

of CCB and the sub-entities reveals that their<br />

activities are secular in nature,” the court argued,<br />

saying that the group “offers services that would<br />

be the same regardless of the motivation of the<br />

provider.”<br />

Several religious groups, including those from<br />

Jewish, Mormon, Sikh, and Muslim faith traditions<br />

had filed court briefs supporting the bureau.<br />

Becket, a religious liberty law firm representing<br />

CCB, said they will appeal the decision to the<br />

United States Supreme Court.<br />

■ Abuse<br />

survivor, Jesus<br />

actor ‘chosen’<br />

to speak at CUA<br />

graduation<br />

Teresa Pitt-Green is<br />

the director of Spirit<br />

Fire, a Christian restorative<br />

justice initiative<br />

and fellowship of<br />

survivors of abuse in<br />

Teresa Pitt-Green<br />

the Church. She is also<br />

speaks to American<br />

a victim-survivor of sexual<br />

abuse by a priest,<br />


bishops in 2019. |<br />

and has written several<br />

books on the topic while advocating for abuse survivors around the<br />

country.<br />

In a surprise choice, the Catholic University of America in Washington,<br />

D.C., announced Pitt-Green will receive an honorary degree and<br />

speak at the school’s May 11 graduation ceremony along with one of<br />

the biggest names in TV right now: Catholic actor Jonathan Roumie,<br />

who plays Jesus in the hit show “The Chosen.”<br />

Pitt-Green told OSV <strong>News</strong> that her work with survivors of abuse<br />

is “necessarily very private and low visibility” and that receiving the<br />

news was “one of the happiest moments” of her life.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 5

LOCAL<br />

■ Serra High students launch<br />

another experiment into space<br />

Students at Junipero Serra High School in Gardena held a viewing party on<br />

March 21 to watch another of their experiments launched to the International<br />

Space Station.<br />

On Aug. 1, 2023, Serra High students Isaiah Dunn, Christopher Holbert, Travis<br />

Leonard, Anderson Pecot, and Henry Toler saw their first experiment — attempting<br />

to get a seed to germinate and grow in space — launched on a SpaceX rocket<br />

as part of NASA’s International Space Station Program.<br />

This year’s project involved the same five students plus newcomers Keith Davie,<br />

Jonathan Cruz, and Sasha Leverett, and incorporated 3D printing in microgravity.<br />

The experiment will be<br />

studied at the International<br />

Space Station for<br />

a month before being<br />

returned to students for<br />

further analysis.<br />

According to the<br />

school, Serra is one of<br />

only nine high schools<br />

in the United States<br />

to participate in the<br />

space program this year<br />

and is one of the high<br />

schools competing in<br />

Students at Serra High’s space team were honored by LA County Supervisor<br />

Holly J. Mitchell’s office after the March 21 launch event. | SERRA HIGH SCHOOL<br />

■ Stockton pastor chosen<br />

for Rome synod meeting<br />

of priests<br />

A priest from the Diocese of Stockton was<br />

one of five priests chosen nationwide to<br />

travel to Rome in <strong>April</strong> to share their parish<br />

life experiences as part of the upcoming<br />

Synod of Bishops on Synodality.<br />

Father Luis Navarro is the pastor of St.<br />

George Church in Stockton. He and four<br />

other priests from New Mexico, Arkansas,<br />

Virginia, and Wisconsin were chosen by<br />

the U.S. bishops’ conference to represent<br />

the country at an international meeting of<br />

300 priests who will speak with Pope Francis<br />

during the sharings on <strong>April</strong> 28-May 2.<br />

The Vatican said the listening sessions<br />

seek “to develop ways for a more active involvement”<br />

of clergy in the synod process:<br />

“A synodal Church cannot do without<br />

their voices, their experiences, and their<br />

contribution.”<br />

The results of those experiences will be<br />

considered when the Synod meets again in<br />

October.<br />

Ready to race — A large group of some of the 114 students, teachers, parents, and supporters of Catholic<br />

Education Foundation of Los Angeles smile while participating in the Los Angeles Marathon weekend on<br />

March 16-17. Runners participated in the marathon, half-marathon, LA BIG5K, and the Kids Run 1/2K to<br />

raise funds to support the foundation’s tuition assistance. | CATHOLIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION OF LOS<br />


the prestigious XPrize<br />

competition.<br />

■ ADLA holds extra round<br />

of synod listening sessions<br />

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles held<br />

two virtual synod listening sessions<br />

on Zoom during the Lenten season<br />

after U.S. dioceses were asked to stage<br />

additional gatherings following the first<br />

phase of the Synod on Synodality in<br />

October 2023.<br />

Both sessions were led by the archdiocese’s<br />

Vice Chancellor and Senior<br />

Director of Ministerial Services Father<br />

Parker Sandoval, with Auxiliary Bishops<br />

Matthew Elshoff and Slawomir Szkredka<br />

making appearances as well.<br />

During each session, participants<br />

were placed in conversational breakout<br />

groups and asked to ponder and discuss<br />

two questions related to the Church’s<br />

structures and organization and their<br />

successes and failures.<br />

Discussion points were documented<br />

and will be sent to the U.S. Conference<br />

of Catholic Bishops, where they will<br />

be used as part of a report presented<br />

during the next synod gathering in<br />

October.<br />

Y<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

V<br />


Letters to the Editor<br />

On presidential ‘embarrassment’<br />

I take issue with Francis X. Maier’s dismissal of both of our presidential<br />

candidates as “embarrassments to our system of government” in the<br />

March 22 issue.<br />

Joe Biden is a man of faith, a family man, and a longtime legislator who has<br />

helped our country return to a productive nation after the pandemic, and much<br />

more. Though not a perfect person, he does represent many good qualities not<br />

evident in the other candidate.<br />

— Claire Marmion, Seal Beach<br />

More than ‘disruptor moments’<br />

I was stunned to see the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis paired with the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic as the two of the biggest “disruptor” moments for priests in<br />

one of Pablo Kay’s questions to Francis X. Maier in “Confession Time for America”<br />

in the March 22 issue.<br />

Each of these events did not just “disrupt” the lives of priests. One involved serious<br />

crimes by priests and bishops that destroyed the lives of thousands of children,<br />

and the other involved a deadly virus that killed over a million Americans. One<br />

was purely the fault of the Catholic Church, while the latter was the fault of a<br />

virus and those who would not follow the advice of medical experts to avoid its<br />

spread.<br />

One should never view the crime of child sexual abuse — or a deadly pandemic<br />

— as just a “disruptor” moment in a priest’s life.<br />

— Donald Bentley, La Puente<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 />

Passion for Palm Sunday<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez blesses the throng of Massgoers who<br />

celebrated Palm Sunday on March 24, the first of the several annual<br />

Holy Week liturgies at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. |<br />


View more photos<br />

from this gallery at<br />

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

Do you have photos or a story from your parish that you’d<br />

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

“My secret, my great secret,<br />

is to pray.”<br />

~ Sister Inah Canabarro Lucas, the oldest nun in the<br />

world at 115 years of age, in a March 20 Catholic<br />

<strong>News</strong> Agency article on her longevity.<br />

“The crisis at the border<br />

will not be solved by<br />

an enforcement-only<br />

approach nor a totalamnesty<br />

approach.”<br />

~ Jennifer Carr Allmon, director of the Texas<br />

Catholic Conference of Bishops, on the controversy<br />

over Catholic groups helping undocumented<br />

migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.<br />

“I think that Las Vegas<br />

stands for intentional<br />

Catholicism.”<br />

~ Las Vegas Archbishop George Leo Thomas, in a<br />

March 16 Crux story on the population boom in his<br />

newly designated archdiocese.<br />

“My belief in God is<br />

undergirded by calculus.”<br />

~ Samuel Rodriguez, CEO of the National Hispanic<br />

Christian Leadership Conference, in a March 13<br />

Free Press article on Latinos flocking to evangelical<br />

Christianity.<br />

“Instead of trying to catch<br />

the whole world with a<br />

giant net, I want to catch<br />

one fly with one net at a<br />

time.”<br />

~ Varen Swaab, owner of ISawYou.com, in a March<br />

16 Guardian article on finding romance after<br />

“missed connections.”<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 7

IN EXILE<br />


Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronrolheiser.com<br />

Easter light<br />

The earth was dark twice. Once<br />

at the original creation before<br />

God first created light. But later<br />

there was an even deeper darkness, on<br />

Good Friday, between the sixth and<br />

ninth hour, when we were crucifying<br />

God, and as Jesus dying on the cross<br />

cried out, “My God, my God, why have<br />

you forsaken me!” Utter darkness. In<br />

response to that, God created the most<br />

staggering light of all — the resurrection.<br />

It is interesting to look at how Scripture<br />

describes the creation of original<br />

light. The Bible opens with these<br />

words: “In the beginning God created<br />

heaven and earth. <strong>No</strong>w the earth was<br />

a formless void and God breathed over<br />

the waters. God said, ‘Let there be light’<br />

and there was light.”<br />

A combination of God’s breath and<br />

God’s word produced the first light.<br />

The ancients identified God’s presence<br />

very much with light. For them, God<br />

was the antithesis of all darkness and,<br />

indeed, the symbol of God’s fidelity was<br />

the rainbow, namely, refracted light,<br />

light broken open to reveal its spectacular<br />

inner beauty.<br />

But it got dark a second time! The<br />

Gospels tell us that as Jesus hung on the<br />

cross, though it was midday, darkness<br />

beset the whole land for three hours.<br />

We don’t know exactly what occurred<br />

here historically. Was the entire earth<br />

plunged into darkness? Perhaps. After<br />

all, the earth was crucifying God, and<br />

God is light! Irrespective of how literally<br />

or not we take this, what happened on<br />

Good Friday triggered a different kind<br />

of darkness, a moral one — the darkness<br />

of godlessness, hatred, paranoia, fear,<br />

misguided religion, cruelty, idolatry,<br />

ideology, and violence. This is the most<br />

blinding darkness of all.<br />

What was God’s response? God’s response<br />

to the darkness of Good Friday<br />

was to say a second time, “Let there be<br />

light!” The resurrection of Jesus is that<br />

new light, one which at the end of the<br />

day eclipses all other lights.<br />

It is interesting to compare how<br />

Scripture describes God creating the<br />

new light of the resurrection with how<br />

God created the original light at the<br />

origins of creation. The Gospel of John<br />

has a wonderfully revealing passage that<br />

describes Jesus’ first appearance to the<br />

whole community after his resurrection.<br />

It tells us that on the evening of Easter<br />

Sunday the disciples (representing here<br />

the Church) were gathered in a room<br />

with the doors locked because of fear.<br />

Jesus comes to them, passing right<br />

through their locked doors, and stands<br />

in the middle of their huddled fearful<br />

circle and says to them, “Peace be with<br />

you!” And after saying this, he breathes<br />

on them and says, “Receive the Holy<br />

Spirit.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>te the parallels to the original<br />

creation story. For the writer of John’s<br />

Gospel, this huddling in fear behind<br />

locked doors is the darkness of Good<br />

Friday, a moral “formless void.” And<br />

Jesus brings light to that darkness in<br />

the same way light was brought to the<br />

original creation, through God’s word<br />

and God’s breath.<br />

Jesus’ words, “Peace be with you!” are<br />

the resurrected Jesus’ way of saying,<br />

“Let there be light!” Then, just as at the<br />

original creation, God’s breath begins<br />

to order the physical chaos, Jesus’<br />

breath, the Holy Spirit, begins to order<br />

the moral chaos, continually turning<br />

darkness into light — hatred into love,<br />

bitterness into graciousness, fear into<br />

trust, false religion into true worship,<br />

ideology into truth, and vengeance into<br />

forgiveness.<br />

The staggering new light that Jesus<br />

brings into our world in the resurrection<br />

is also one of the things that our<br />

Christian creed refers to in its stunning<br />

phrase that, in the darkness of Good<br />

Friday, Jesus “descended into hell.”<br />

What’s meant by this? Into what hell<br />

did he descend?<br />

Simply put, the new light of the Resurrection<br />

(unlike natural light that can<br />

be blocked out) can go through every<br />

locked door, every blocked entrance,<br />

every impenetrable cell, every circle of<br />

hatred, every suicidal depression, every<br />

paralyzing anger, every kind of darkness<br />

of the soul, and even through sin itself,<br />

and breathe out peace. This light can<br />

penetrate into hell itself.<br />

Good Friday was bad long before<br />

it was good. We crucified God and<br />

plunged the world into darkness at<br />

midday. But God created light a second<br />

time, a light that cannot be extinguished<br />

even if we crucify God — and<br />

we have never really stopped doing<br />

that! Good Friday still happens every<br />

day. But, beyond wishful thinking and<br />

natural optimism, we live in hope because<br />

we now know God’s response to<br />

any moral darkness, God can generate<br />

resurrection, the creation of new light,<br />

life beyond death.<br />

The renowned mystic Julian of<br />

<strong>No</strong>rwich coined the famous phrase, “In<br />

the end, all will be well, and all will be<br />

well, and every manner of being will<br />

be well.” To which Oscar Wilde added,<br />

“And if it isn’t well, then it is still not<br />

the end.” The resurrection of Jesus has<br />

brought a new light into the world,<br />

one that proclaims against all counter<br />

claims that light still triumphs over<br />

darkness, love over hatred, order over<br />

chaos, and heaven over hell.<br />

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



For Catholics, the joy of Easter<br />

can’t be fit into one day. Here’s<br />

why they need 50.<br />


Even if you are not a big J.R.R.<br />

Tolkien fan, if you have ever<br />

watched the film “The Lord of<br />

the Rings: The Return of the King,”<br />

you were probably moved by one powerful<br />

scene.<br />

At the instigation of the wizard Gandalf,<br />

the hobbit Pippin secretly climbs<br />

up a tower in order to light the signal<br />

beacon that will summon the allies of<br />

a far-distant kingdom to come to the<br />

military aid of their own. The beacon<br />

erupts in a blaze. Mere seconds later,<br />

on a distant mountain peak, another<br />

beacon fire suddenly alights…and then<br />

another and another and another, covering<br />

a massive geographical span.<br />

At the sight of the flaming beacon,<br />

Gandalf quietly declares, “Hope is<br />

kindled.”<br />

Dispelling the darkness<br />

Such is the power of fire. The Church<br />

knows this. The Church’s genius shines<br />

in her Easter Vigil liturgy which begins<br />

with the Lucernarium — the blessing<br />

of the Easter fire and the preparation of<br />

the paschal candle. As the priest blesses<br />

the new fire, he prays that we may<br />

be “inflamed with heavenly desires.”<br />

Then, having lit the paschal candle<br />

from the new fire, the priest prays:<br />

“May the light of Christ rising in glory<br />

dispel the darkness of our hearts and<br />

minds.”<br />

With that, the people of God, carrying<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez lights the Easter<br />

candle during last year’s Holy Saturday Vigil<br />

Mass. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

lighted candles, follow the paschal<br />

candle in procession into the church,<br />

where the priest or deacon sings the<br />

Easter Proclamation, the Exsultet, once<br />

known as the “Praise of the Candle”<br />

(Laus Cerei). Why do Catholics sing to<br />

a candle?<br />

Because this candle represents the<br />

risen Son of God, “the one Morning<br />

Star who never sets,” who, “coming<br />

back from death’s domain, has shed his<br />

peaceful light on humanity.”<br />

But most wondrous of all, the Church<br />

begs that this “pillar,” which is “a torch<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

so precious,” may throughout the whole<br />

of the night “persevere undimmed to<br />

overcome the darkness of this night.<br />

May this flame be found still burning<br />

by the Morning Star: Christ your Son”<br />

on Easter morning. Because we all<br />

need a beacon. We all need a fire that<br />

enkindles our hope.<br />

The great Cistercian abbot Bl. Guerric<br />

of Igny (+1157) seems to be speaking<br />

for us today when he writes in an Easter<br />

homily:<br />

“For myself, when I looked upon<br />

the dead Jesus I was overwhelmed by<br />

despairing grief. My heart was sorrowing<br />

for him as slain, but now that he is<br />

risen, not only my heart but my flesh<br />

also rejoices in the confident hope of<br />

my own resurrection and immortality.”<br />

His best expression of this rejoicing<br />

alludes to light:<br />

“As the new sun rises from below, the<br />

grace of the Resurrection already casts<br />

its radiance over the whole world, a<br />

radiance reflected in the eyes of those<br />

who have watched for him since daybreak,<br />

a dawn that ushers in the day of<br />

eternity. This is the day that knows no<br />

evening, the day whose sun will never<br />

set again.”<br />

The Via Lucis<br />

During these 50 days of Easter, we<br />

do not want to return to the darkness<br />

again. How can we keep the sun from<br />

setting?<br />

The Church comes to our aid with an<br />

apt devotional practice recently developed<br />

— the Via Lucis. The Church’s<br />

“Directory for Popular Piety” describes<br />

the Via Lucis this way:<br />

“Following the model of the Via<br />

Crucis, the faithful process while<br />

meditating on the various appearances<br />

of Jesus — from his Resurrection to<br />

his Ascension…. Through the Via<br />

Lucis, the faithful recall the central<br />

event of the Faith — the Resurrection<br />

of Christ — and their discipleship in<br />

virtue of Baptism…. The Via Lucis …<br />

can effectively convey a living understanding<br />

to the faithful of the second<br />

moment of the Pascal event, namely<br />

the Lord’s Resurrection…. Using the<br />

The season of Easter allows for the mystery of<br />

Christ’s resurrection to take hold of us, especially<br />

where we are most prone to anxiety, hopelessness,<br />

or sorrow.<br />

metaphor of a journey, the Via Lucis<br />

moves from the experience of suffering<br />

… to the hope of arriving at man’s true<br />

end: liberation, joy, and peace which<br />

are essentially Paschal values” (#153).<br />

As we follow the beacon of the Via Lucis,<br />

moving from Easter event to Easter<br />

event, the mystery of Christ’s resurrection<br />

will take hold of us, especially<br />

where we are most prone to anxiety,<br />

hopelessness, or sorrow.<br />

In the words of Servant of God Luigi<br />

Giussani:<br />

“Unless you recognize the presence<br />

of Mystery, night advances, confusion<br />

abounds and — when it touches<br />

your freedom — rebellion erupts, or<br />

disappointment is so overwhelming that<br />

you’ll wait for nothing more and live<br />

desiring nothing more. From the mystery<br />

of Christ’s Resurrection a new light<br />

floods the world, fighting for territory,<br />

inch by inch, pushing back the night.”<br />

Altarpiece depicting the resurrection<br />

of Christ in the Cathedral of St. Martin<br />

in Lucca, Italy. | SHUTTERSTOCK<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 11

Pushing back the night<br />

Let’s push back the night, taking to<br />

heart Pope Benedict XVI’s awesome<br />

assurance:<br />

“Where there is light, life is born,<br />

chaos can be transformed. The Resurrection<br />

of Jesus is an eruption of light.<br />

This Light alone — Jesus Christ — is<br />

the true light, something more than<br />

the physical phenomenon of light.<br />

Let us pray to the Lord that the fragile<br />

flame of the candle he has lit in us, the<br />

delicate light of his word and his love<br />

amid the confusions of this age, will not<br />

be extinguished in us, but will become<br />

ever stronger and brighter, so that we,<br />

with him, can be people of the day,<br />

bright stars lighting up our time.”<br />

Or in the words of a 6-year-old student<br />

of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd<br />

meditating on the light of the<br />

risen Christ radiating from the paschal<br />

candle: “It isn’t light; it’s goodness.”<br />

Father Peter John Cameron, OP, is the<br />

Carl J. Peter Chair of Homiletics at the<br />

Pontifical <strong>No</strong>rth American College in<br />

Rome.<br />

Spitting at the devil:<br />

A cherished Easter tradition<br />

“For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the<br />

west, so will be the coming of the Son of man” (Matthew 24:27).<br />

In ancient times, Christians took that verse quite literally, and so<br />

they built churches so that the worshiping congregation always<br />

faced east. The Church buried its dead so that their rising bodies<br />

would behold Jesus when he returned.<br />

If the direction of Christ was the East, they reasoned, the devil<br />

must symbolically come from the west.<br />

In the fourth century St. Cyril of Jerusalem instructed those who<br />

were newly baptized and explained the rite of renunciation. It was<br />

“necessary,” he said, for them to “stand facing to the west.” They<br />

did this because “the West is the region of sensible darkness” —<br />

the place where the sun sets. Thus, Satan, “being darkness, has his<br />

dominion also in darkness.”<br />

These soon-to-be Christians were confessing their former bondage<br />

to the devil, and renouncing him “to his face,” as St. Ambrose<br />

put it.<br />

They were to reject Satan “and all his works, and all his pomps.”<br />

And then, in some places they would enact their renunciation by<br />

spitting westward, in the devil’s direction.<br />

The practice endures in churches of some Eastern rites.<br />

— Mike Aquilina<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

A SIGHT TO<br />

BEHOLD<br />

After a <strong>No</strong>rwalk youth went blind due to a<br />

rare cancer, he gained a new kind of vision.<br />


When a lector finishes the<br />

reading in Mass, parishioners<br />

don’t typically clap or cry.<br />

Then again, Ryan Rohrich isn’t your<br />

typical lector.<br />

Because while the 29-year-old may be<br />

sharing Scripture, he can’t actually see<br />

Ryan Rohrich, who lost his<br />

sight after being diagnosed<br />

with a rare cancerous tumor,<br />

recites a reading using braille<br />

during a recent Mass at St.<br />

John of God Church in <strong>No</strong>rwalk.<br />


it. He’s blind.<br />

“I’m grateful to be proclaiming the<br />

word of God,” said Rohrich, a parishioner<br />

of St. John of God Church in<br />

<strong>No</strong>rwalk. “In those moments I feel his<br />

presence with me.<br />

“I am more than my disability.”<br />

Rohrich wasn’t born blind but lost his<br />

sight due to a cancerous brain tumor<br />

a decade ago. But that hasn’t dampened<br />

his desire to serve his parish and<br />

beyond. Every day, he dons his dark<br />

sunglasses, grabs his cane, and goes<br />

where “God leads.”<br />

At a recent Youth Mass at St. John of<br />

God, Rohrich’s presence at the ambo<br />

took some parishioners by surprise, but<br />

that quickly gave way to admiration.<br />

Father Nitesh Gomez saw the transformation<br />

ripple through the crowd.<br />

“It was really amazing,” said Gomez,<br />

associate pastor at St. John of God.<br />

“Everyone was paying more attention.<br />

They were looking at him like he was<br />

achieving something great and he is.<br />

We all have these abilities, we can see,<br />

but we hesitate to do something like<br />

Ryan did.”<br />

Instead of ordering braille Scripture,<br />

Rohrich makes his own. Before<br />

Mass, he listens to the readings on his<br />

cellphone and then transcribes it with<br />

a braille typewriter. During Mass, he<br />

uses a cane to navigate out of the pews<br />

and to the ambo. Finally, he grazes<br />

his fingers over the embossed text and<br />

shares the word.<br />

“I would be less nervous if I read<br />

braille faster,” Rohrich chuckled as he<br />

often does. “But I’ve been told over and<br />

over again the whole point of proclaiming<br />

is to read slowly and I can do that!”<br />

The <strong>No</strong>rwalk native said he’s needed<br />

his trademark sense of humor, especially<br />

when his life took a dramatic turn<br />

at age 18. On a family outing to Lake<br />

Elsinore, Rohrich noticed his vision<br />

was “grainy” and he was never hungry<br />

but constantly thirsty. An eventual CT<br />

scan revealed a tumor had formed<br />

behind his right eye and was destroying<br />

the optic nerves and pituitary gland.<br />

If that wasn’t enough, the tumor was<br />

potentially cancerous. His parents and<br />

five siblings grappled with the news the<br />

only way they knew how — through<br />

prayer. His dad immediately went to<br />

the hospital chapel and placed his hand<br />

on the Bible.<br />

“I said to the Lord, I need you. I don’t<br />

know what to do. I don’t even understand<br />

what’s happening,” said Ryan’s<br />

father, Paul. “Please help me.”<br />

There were long waits for appointments<br />

and an even longer wait to find a<br />

skilled enough surgeon to perform the<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

delicate biopsy. All the while, Rohrich’s<br />

vision was getting worse until one day<br />

he awoke in total darkness. That’s when<br />

panic set in.<br />

“It felt like the world closed on me,”<br />

Rohrich said. “I felt extremely claustrophobic.<br />

I had to feel the sheets, feel the<br />

wall. … I thought, OK, I can’t see the<br />

world, but the world is still here.”<br />

Doctors at City of Hope Cancer<br />

Center in Duarte eventually performed<br />

the biopsy and determined the tumor<br />

was a germinoma, a rare but largely<br />

curable cancer that strikes young people.<br />

The radiation and chemotherapy<br />

that followed were tough on Rohrich<br />

and tough on his family to witness.<br />

Rohrich lost his strength, his hair, and<br />

even some of his hearing, but never lost<br />

his trust in God.<br />

“Ryan was squirming in bed from the<br />

pain,” Paul said. “I could hear him<br />

giving his pain to the Lord, offering<br />

up his suffering for the other children<br />

going through chemotherapy at the<br />

hospital. <strong>No</strong>t one time do I recall him<br />

ever questioning or calling out to God<br />

‘Why did you do this?’ ”<br />

Four-and-a-half grueling months later,<br />

the cancer was gone. While relieved<br />

he didn’t die, Rohrich now had a new<br />

challenge: How to live blind.<br />

Through a state-funded program,<br />

Rohrich attended the Orientation<br />

Center for the Blind in the Bay Area.<br />

For more than a year, he lived<br />

at the residential school to learn<br />

skills he would need, like reading<br />

braille and how to walk with a<br />

white cane. Guide Dogs for the<br />

Blind also provided Rohrich<br />

with Twain, an English Labrador<br />

Retriever.<br />

Once Rohrich returned to<br />

<strong>No</strong>rwalk, he attended Cerritos<br />

College, where he developed<br />

a passion for pottery. Using his<br />

sense of touch and visual memory,<br />

Rohrich makes clay bowls,<br />

vases, and sculptures. He starts<br />

each piece with a prayer.<br />

“Lord, as I center this clay, may<br />

I be continually reminded how<br />

important it is that you are the<br />

center of my life,” Rohrich said.<br />

“I, as the clay, and you as my<br />

potter.”<br />

Rohrich feels God is molding<br />

him into something more. He<br />

Despite being blind, Ryan<br />

Rohrich finds ways to serve<br />

God and others and is<br />

considering religious life. |<br />


said he experienced an internal “vision”<br />

where Mary appeared before him and<br />

revealed the crucified Jesus.<br />

Rohrich believes the answer is a<br />

vocation, perhaps as a religious brother.<br />

The idea is something he’s considered<br />

before thanks to the example of Capuchin<br />

friars Father Peter Mary Banks and<br />

personal friend Father Victor Taglianetti,<br />

who performs Catholic rap music<br />

under the moniker “Bro Vic.”<br />

Rohrich said blindness may make it<br />

harder to pursue a vocation, but it may<br />

also make him better suited.<br />

“All your prejudice about people goes<br />

away when you can’t see them and<br />

you get to experience a person for their<br />

character and not their appearance,”<br />

Rohrich said. “I am able to give more<br />

generously, share more generously. The<br />

virtues that I’ve developed through this<br />

redemptive suffering have allowed me<br />

to have a greater capacity for love.”<br />

At St. John of God, members of the<br />

Serviam Men’s Group said they’re not<br />

surprised that Rohrich may enter religious<br />

life. Each month when they feed<br />

the homeless in Long Beach, Rohrich<br />

acts as the group’s unofficial “Prayer<br />

Master” and spends time with those<br />

seeking spiritual comfort.<br />

“Just to hear the way Ryan prayed over<br />

people, the words, the emotion, the<br />

affection … he considers all of them<br />

children of<br />

Twain, an English God,” said<br />

Labrador Retriever Rick Ochoa,<br />

and Ryan Rohrich’s leader of St.<br />

guide dog, lounges<br />

John of God’s<br />

with him outside of<br />

the City of Hope Cancer<br />

Center in Duarte | Men’s Group.<br />

Serviam<br />

PAUL ROHRICH “Ryan is a<br />

very humble<br />

servant.”<br />

As Rohrich continues to discern<br />

and volunteer, he hopes his<br />

journey is a reminder that even<br />

during dark times God keeps his<br />

promises.<br />

“<strong>No</strong> matter the state of your<br />

life, as long as you give God your<br />

yes, he’ll walk with you on the<br />

pathway to heaven,” he said.<br />

Natalie Romano is a freelance<br />

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

Catholic Byte, the news website of<br />

the Diocese of San Bernardino.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 15


Cardinal Gregorio<br />

Rosa Chávez greets<br />

parishioners after Mass at<br />

St. Marcellinus Church in<br />

Commerce March 18. |<br />


El Salvador’s cardinal<br />

on his message to<br />

LA, his country’s<br />

controversial<br />

president, and the<br />

‘pornographic’<br />

situation in Nicaragua.<br />


At the age of 81, Cardinal Gregorio<br />

Rosa Chávez remains the<br />

best-known champion of the legacy<br />

of his friend and mentor St. Óscar<br />

Romero, who was killed 44 years ago<br />

during El Salvador’s civil war and today<br />

is considered an icon of the Catholic<br />

Church’s social justice advocacy.<br />

In 2017, Pope Francis surprised observers<br />

by making Rosa Chávez the first<br />

cardinal in El Salvador’s history, despite<br />

only being an auxiliary bishop. A year<br />

later he declared Romero a saint, the<br />

culmination of a long, difficult effort<br />

led by Rosa Chávez.<br />

Much has changed in El Salvador<br />

since then. In 2019, the country elected<br />

as president outsider politician Nayib<br />

Bukele, who has used heavy-handed<br />

tactics to bring sweeping changes to the<br />

country once known as the “murder<br />

capital of the world.” The most well<br />

known is the “state of exception”<br />

declared by Bukele, which has given<br />

the government emergency powers to<br />

arrest and imprison tens of thousands of<br />

suspected gang members without due<br />

process.<br />

The result is a country almost unrecognizable<br />

compared to just a few<br />

years ago. Homicide rates have plummeted,<br />

tourism has risen, and there<br />

have been small signs of improvement<br />

in the country’s economy — all factors<br />

that contributed to Bukele’s reelection<br />

in February.<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

But Rosa Chávez has since emerged<br />

as the Catholic Church in El Salvador’s<br />

leading critic of Bukele’s measures,<br />

arguing that the means do not justify<br />

the ends: not only the damage to the<br />

country’s judicial system, but also the<br />

potential imprisonment of thousands of<br />

innocent young men.<br />

Rosa Chávez visited Los Angeles in<br />

the days leading up to Romero’s March<br />

24 feast day, where he visited several<br />

parishes — including St. Thomas the<br />

Apostle Church in Pico-Union and St.<br />

John the Baptist Church in Baldwin<br />

Park — to spend time with the local<br />

Salvadoran community.<br />

He sat down to speak with <strong>Angelus</strong><br />

before Mass with parishioners at St.<br />

Marcellinus Church in Commerce<br />

March 18.<br />

Your Eminence, what brought you to<br />

Los Angeles this time?<br />

For me, this city is very important in<br />

the history of our country.<br />

Today it’s considered the<br />

second largest city of El<br />

Salvador, because it has<br />

the largest population of<br />

Salvadorans outside of San<br />

Salvador.<br />

So I wanted to be here with<br />

the people close to the feast<br />

day of our beloved St. Óscar<br />

Romero, March 24. I was<br />

here in 2018 for the Religious<br />

Education Congress<br />

in Anaheim and it was great<br />

to be with everyone there.<br />

We’ve always been grateful<br />

to the help we’ve received<br />

from the Church here.<br />

I was reminded of 1986,<br />

when a large [magnitude<br />

5.7] earthquake struck El<br />

Salvador and a plane full of<br />

aid supplies arrived to help.<br />

We will never forget that.<br />

According to you, what<br />

would St. Óscar Romero<br />

have to say about the situation<br />

of El Salvador — and<br />

of the Church there —<br />

right now?<br />

Let me tell you an anecdote<br />

to explain what is going<br />

on right now.<br />

Last year, the archbishop<br />

of San Salvador, José Luis Alas, asked<br />

me to celebrate the March 24 Mass for<br />

Romero’s feast day. “You do it, I can’t,”<br />

he said.<br />

And I thought: “This means I have<br />

to preach. What am I going to say at<br />

that Mass?” It cost me a lot to give that<br />

homily, and I suffered a lot giving it.<br />

A quote from Romero came to my<br />

mind: “The shepherd has to be where<br />

the suffering is.” I ended the homily<br />

with that quote. That’s the part that<br />

didn’t make the international headlines.<br />

I paid deeply for that homily, because<br />

there was a terrible attack against me as<br />

a result. But I didn’t say anything more<br />

than what I thought.<br />

So, I had the same question: What<br />

would Romero say in this moment?<br />

That’s a subversive and demanding<br />

question, but if one doesn’t ask himself<br />

that question, he’s not a shepherd, he’s<br />

just taking the easy way out.<br />

And being here, I also thought: What<br />

am I going to say in LA? At Mass last<br />

Sunday, March 17, at St. Thomas the<br />

Apostle Church, I talked about three<br />

countries: the El Salvador we have, the<br />

one that we want, and the one we used<br />

to hope for, the one that Archbishop<br />

Romero gave his life for.<br />

How is El Salvador doing? You’ll get<br />

a different answer depending on who<br />

you ask. We have a great image from<br />

the outside of what El Salvador is like:<br />

that being there feels nice, feels safe.<br />

And on this, we all agree that this is the<br />

El Salvador we want: a country with<br />

justice, where everyone can fulfill their<br />

full potential, that has health care, education,<br />

employment, shelter. A country<br />

where you can have dreams, plans, feel<br />

at peace … we all want that right now.<br />

<strong>No</strong>w, which country did Archbishop<br />

Romero want? What was his utopia of a<br />

country? He used to say: a country after<br />

God’s own heart. A country of brothers.<br />

And we’re not that country right now.<br />

We’re not a country where<br />

we’re all God’s children.<br />

I use the image of a rainbow,<br />

which features seven<br />

primary colors, or that of the<br />

guacamaya bird [macaw]<br />

to explain that peace is<br />

composed of many colors,<br />

where we all fit together. If<br />

not, there’s no peace. That’s<br />

why it’s important to have<br />

dialogue, for each one to<br />

be able to share their own<br />

proposals, to walk together<br />

toward a common goal. This<br />

is how peace is built.<br />

Cardinal Rosa Chávez speaks to <strong>Angelus</strong><br />

at St. Marcellinus Church in Commerce. |<br />


Until now that hasn’t<br />

been possible, because we<br />

have a polarized country,<br />

where there’s practically a<br />

pensamiento unico, a single<br />

line of thought. And the one<br />

who dissents ends up badly.<br />

That’s not how you build<br />

peace!<br />

I dream of a country where<br />

the people are truly a people.<br />

There’s a famous line that<br />

says, “God wants to save us<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 17

as a people. God doesn’t want a mass<br />

of people. What’s a mass of people? It’s<br />

just a bunch of persons, and the more<br />

alienated they are, the better.<br />

And what is a people? It’s an organized<br />

community that looks for the common<br />

good. That’s what Archbishop Romero<br />

worked for. And he would tell people<br />

what was going on in the country, what<br />

needed to be thought about, what<br />

should be done … that’s what a critical,<br />

proactive laity does, it dreams of a world<br />

of justice and truth.<br />

If you read Archbishop Romero’s last<br />

homily the day he was killed, he ends<br />

saying exactly this: to give your life to<br />

suffering, as Christ did, so that we may<br />

have a country where peace and justice<br />

reign. That was his dream. And that’s<br />

what we don’t have right now. So we<br />

need to work to make that possible in<br />

this country that’s suffering so much<br />

right now.<br />

Some would say that in these last few<br />

years, peace has finally come to El<br />

Salvador. But others would argue that<br />

this peace has come at the expense of<br />

justice. Is it possible to have both in<br />

El Salvador?<br />

Those who visit El Salvador feel happy<br />

to be able to walk the streets without<br />

Detainees in 2023 at the Terrorist Confinement Center (CECOT), a mega-prison in<br />

Tecoluca, El Salvador. | HANDOUT PHOTO<br />

fear, to see the beaches, the airport …<br />

and it’s true, there are reasons to feel<br />

good.<br />

But I say this: Do any of you have the<br />

deeper life, the truth of God? Because<br />

God conquers all.<br />

There are more than 70,000 people<br />

imprisoned [in El Salvador] under this<br />

“state of exception” from these last two<br />

years. Let’s estimate that each one has<br />

10 people in their lives who love them:<br />

parents, family, friends. What’s 70,000<br />

times 10? In a country of about 7 1/2<br />

million people, that means that about<br />

10% of the population don’t have freedom.<br />

How does this make the people<br />

suffer?<br />

Then there are those who were<br />

removed from workplaces in the city<br />

center of the capital [San Salvador]:<br />

more than 10,000. And if one speaks,<br />

there’s fear that<br />

they could be put<br />

in jail. That is not<br />

peace. That is the<br />

peace of the cemetery,<br />

in a sense.<br />

That’s why I am<br />

working patiently<br />

on proposals so<br />

that people don’t<br />

feel alone, so that<br />

they know they<br />

are listened to,<br />

because it’s about<br />

accompanying<br />

them. That’s<br />

the role of the<br />

Church, the role<br />

of Jesus, and that<br />

was Romero’s<br />

role. There’s an<br />

inspiration in people who want to do so<br />

much, even if in silence, discreetly, so<br />

that people can have hope.<br />

Pope Francis, the Catholic Church,<br />

and much of the world has been<br />

Cardinal Rosa Chávez concelebrated Sunday Mass with<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez at the Cathedral of Our Lady<br />

of the Angels March 17. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

following the situation in Nicaragua,<br />

where the Church is threatened in a<br />

very direct way, with a lot of concern.<br />

In that kind of situation, where do<br />

you start to look for this justice and<br />

peace?<br />

I’ll tell you the story of Bishop Rolando<br />

[Álvarez]. He was going to leave<br />

[Nicaragua] on a plane with several<br />

others to the United States. And he decided<br />

not to get on the plane, he chose<br />

to stay with the people. He spent more<br />

than a year in prison.<br />

I have known Bishop Rolando since<br />

he was a young priest. His gesture was<br />

marvelous: to stay with the people, to<br />

risk for the people.<br />

But what is happening in that country?<br />

The Church is not respected there.<br />

Everything is decided by the presidential<br />

couple. And they do truly absurd<br />

things, like confiscating the Church’s<br />

material goods, and not allowing those<br />

who leave the country to reenter.<br />

This is the reality, and it’s all totally<br />

in the hands of whatever those two<br />

people decide. This can also happen<br />

in El Salvador: the government has all<br />

the power, and no one has anyone to<br />

defend them. The way decisions are<br />

made there is almost pornographic. But<br />

in reality, they [the people of Nicaragua]<br />

need to feel accompanied by our<br />

prayer, that they may feel that they’re<br />

not alone, and that God will do the rest<br />

in his time.<br />

Right now, Nicaragua is going through<br />

a Good Friday. Let us hope that the<br />

Resurrection comes soon.<br />

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

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

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 19

A NEW WAR<br />

OF WORDS<br />

The pope’s controversial ‘white flag’ comments<br />

on Ukraine and Russia reveal a shift in how the<br />

Vatican views the West.<br />

A Ukrainian flag waves in the crowd<br />

gathered as Pope Francis recites the<br />

rosary with young people at the Shrine<br />

of Our Lady of Fátima in Portugal, Aug.<br />

5, 2023. | CNS/LOLA GOMEZ<br />


ROME — Generally speaking,<br />

waving a white flag is how one<br />

ends combat, not starts it. Yet by<br />

invoking the idea of Ukraine raising a<br />

white flag in its conflict with Russia,<br />

Pope Francis has managed to start a war<br />

of words that shows few signs of abating,<br />

despite multiple Vatican attempts to<br />

walk things back.<br />

While the chorus of protest from<br />

Ukraine and its Western allies, including<br />

the president of the United States,<br />

has been nearly unanimous, the incident<br />

may well be little more than another<br />

reminder that Francis simply does<br />

not see himself as a Western leader, nor<br />

the Vatican over which he presides as a<br />

Western institution.<br />

The papal utterance came in an<br />

interview with Radio Télévision Suisse<br />

(RTS), which was only broadcast in<br />

its entirety on March 20, but which is<br />

already a sensation because of advance<br />

portions released March 9.<br />

Interviewer Lorenzo Buccella asked<br />

the pope: “In Ukraine, some call for the<br />

courage of surrender, of the white flag.<br />

But others say that this would legitimize<br />

the stronger party. What do you think?”<br />

Here’s Francis’ reply, in an English<br />

translation provided by Vatican <strong>News</strong>:<br />

“That is one interpretation. But I<br />

believe that the stronger one is the one<br />

who sees the situation, who thinks of<br />

the people, who has the courage of the<br />

white flag, to negotiate. And today, negotiations<br />

are possible with the help of<br />

international powers. The word ‘negotiate’<br />

is a courageous word. When you<br />

see that you are defeated, that things are<br />

not going well, it is necessary to have<br />

the courage to negotiate. You may feel<br />

ashamed, but with how many deaths<br />

will it end? Negotiate in time; look for<br />

some country that can mediate. Today,<br />

for example in the war in Ukraine,<br />

there are many who want to mediate.<br />

Turkey has offered itself for this. And<br />

others. Do not be ashamed to negotiate<br />

before things get worse.”<br />

Aside from the white flag imagery,<br />

which in the popular mind signifies<br />

capitulation and surrender rather than<br />

simply a willingness to negotiate, it was<br />

also the pontiff’s apparent suggestion<br />

that Ukraine has been defeated that<br />

stirred blowback.<br />

Quickly, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav<br />

Shevchuk responded that “Ukraine is<br />

wounded, but not conquered! Ukraine<br />

is exhausted, but it stands and will<br />

stand!” The bishops of the Greek<br />

Catholic Church in Ukraine later put<br />

out a joint statement indicating that<br />

Ukraine cannot surrender because Putin’s<br />

objective isn’t simply some tactical<br />

gain, but the annihilation of Ukraine’s<br />

culture, history, and identity.<br />

The German bishops’ conference also<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

eleased a statement calling the pope’s<br />

formula “unfortunate,” and indicating<br />

that it must be up to Ukraine — and,<br />

by implication, not the pope or anyone<br />

else — to decide when the moment has<br />

come for a negotiated settlement.<br />

Negative reaction, however, has hardly<br />

been confined to the ecclesiastical<br />

universe.<br />

As of this writing, U.S. President<br />

Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf<br />

Scholz, NATO Secretary General Jens<br />

Stoltenberg, EU Ambassador Alexandra<br />

Valkenburg, Lithuanian President Edgars<br />

Rinkevics, Polish Foreign Minister<br />

Radoslaw Sikorski, and naturally, both<br />

President <strong>Vol</strong>odymyr Zelenskyy and<br />

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, all<br />

have voiced dissent from the pope’s<br />

statements, either in their own voice or<br />

through spokespersons.<br />

That’s the very dictionary definition of<br />

a diplomatic crisis, which explains why<br />

the Vatican twice now has attempted to<br />

tamp down the controversy, first with<br />

a statement from spokesman Matteo<br />

Bruni the night the advance portion of<br />

the interview was released, and again<br />

March 12 with comments from Secretary<br />

of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin<br />

to the Italian newspaper Corriere della<br />

Sera, to the effect that Russia should be<br />

the first party to cease firing, calling it<br />

the “aggressor” and the war “unjust.”<br />

While that language likely will go<br />

some ways toward restoring calm, it<br />

won’t quell the underlying question of<br />

why Francis spoke as he did in the first<br />

place.<br />

It’s worth recalling that this isn’t the<br />

first time the pope has irked Ukraine<br />

and its supporters. Early on, he quoted<br />

an unnamed Latin American ambassador<br />

as suggesting that NATO’s “barking<br />

at Russia’s door” was partly responsible<br />

for triggering the conflict. Later, the<br />

pope praised “great Mother Russia” in<br />

a video session with Russian Catholic<br />

youth, paying tribute to Peter the<br />

Great and Catherine II as leaders of a<br />

“great, enlightened Russian empire,” in<br />

language critics found uncomfortably<br />

close to the Kremlin’s own rhetoric.<br />

Such comments might be unthinkable<br />

escaping the lips of the leader of a<br />

NATO nation — other, perhaps, than<br />

President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey —<br />

but that’s just another way of saying that<br />

Francis represents the definitive end of<br />

the Cold War era in Catholic history, in<br />

which Pope Pius XII once was dubbed<br />

the “Chaplain of NATO” because of<br />

the Vatican’s hardline anti-Communist<br />

stance.<br />

Instead, Francis is repositioning the<br />

Vatican, at least informally, as part of<br />

the “<strong>No</strong>n-Aligned Movement,” which<br />

is a forum of 120 nations that consider<br />

themselves independent of any major<br />

power bloc, meaning in practice they’re<br />

usually just as skeptical of the U.S. and<br />

West as they are of, say, Russia, China,<br />

and Iran.<br />

For Russia’s victims, both present and<br />

past, it can be a bitter pill to swallow.<br />

Recently, Polish Dominican Father<br />

Pawel Guzynski, a former Solidarity<br />

activist who’s gone on to become a<br />

progressive thorn in the side of his<br />

country’s conservative hierarchy, said<br />

the white flag episode has made him<br />

miss St. Pope John Paul II for the first<br />

time in his life, because the Polish pontiff<br />

“never would have said something<br />

like this.”<br />

“Pope Francis<br />

absorbed suspicion<br />

towards the<br />

United States and<br />

the European colonizers<br />

of South<br />

America almost<br />

from his mother’s<br />

milk. He totally<br />

refuses to be the<br />

pope of NATO<br />

and the Western<br />

states,” Guzynski<br />

said.<br />

“For this reason,<br />

he seems to<br />

idealize Russia’s<br />

aspirations as<br />

stifled by the<br />

West. And so, the<br />

pope’s statements<br />

appear closer to<br />

Pro-Russian troops move<br />

along a road in the southern<br />

port city of Mariupol,<br />

Ukraine, <strong>April</strong> 21, 2022. |<br />



the Kremlin’s rhetoric,” he said.<br />

Whether that evaluation is entirely<br />

fair, few would dispute that it contains<br />

a strong dose of truth. It’s striking that<br />

one of the few government officials to<br />

actually praise Francis’ remarks was<br />

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman<br />

Maria Zakharova, who said the pope<br />

correctly was “asking the West to put<br />

aside its ambitions and admit that it was<br />

wrong.”<br />

(Guzynski added that Poles today<br />

liken Francis’ line to that of Pope<br />

Gregory XVI, who condemned an 1830<br />

uprising in partitioned Poland against<br />

the Russian Empire, despite the fact<br />

the insurrection was led by Catholic<br />

laymen and supported by Catholic clergy<br />

and bishops. Guzynski’s point is that<br />

from the perspective of peoples who’ve<br />

been occupied by Russia over the years,<br />

this isn’t the first time a pope has been<br />

on the wrong side of history.)<br />

To be clear, however, Francis’ refusal<br />

to follow the Western anti-Russian<br />

script isn’t just a personal idiosyncrasy.<br />

Instead, it’s more akin to a reflection of<br />

Catholic demography: Two-thirds of<br />

the 1.3 billion Catholics in the world<br />

today live outside the West, a share that<br />

will be three-quarters by mid-century,<br />

and many of those Catholics share<br />

a robustly nonaligned perspective,<br />

including a refusal to demonize Russia<br />

or to idealize the West.<br />

To return to where we began, therefore,<br />

the white flag invoked by Francis<br />

would not appear to signal the end of<br />

conflict over the Vatican’s geopolitical<br />

perspective. Instead, it’s another<br />

reminder that the tectonic plates of<br />

Church history are shifting, in ways that<br />

Catholics and non-Catholics alike in<br />

the NATO sphere may not always find<br />

entirely comfortable.<br />

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

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 21

Rose Hawthorne, daughter of author Nathaniel Hawthorne,<br />

in a photo before her work with cancer patients.<br />




Rose Hawthorne endured poverty, the death<br />

of a child, and a broken marriage. <strong>No</strong>w the<br />

daughter of a literary icon is a step closer to<br />

sainthood.<br />

Losing a young child. Struggling<br />

in a troubled marriage with an<br />

alcoholic husband. Separating,<br />

starting a nursing career in midlife,<br />

downsizing to a rental apartment, and<br />

becoming a widow.<br />

And now, moving one step closer to<br />

sainthood.<br />

On March 14, Pope Francis authorized<br />

the Dicastery for the Causes of<br />

Saints to decree as “venerable” Mother<br />

Mary Alphonsa Hawthorne — also<br />


known as Rose Hawthorne, the daughter<br />

of an American literary icon and<br />

founder of the Congregation of the<br />

Dominican Sisters of St. Rose of Lima.<br />

Her extraordinary journey from<br />

19th-century U.S. and European literary<br />

circles to religious life and caring for<br />

the critically ill poor is “very relevant”<br />

to the faithful today, Mother Marie<br />

Edward Deutsch, superior general of<br />

the Hawthorne Dominicans, told OSV<br />

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

Born in 1851 in Massachusetts as the<br />

third child of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne<br />

and his wife, Sophia Peabody,<br />

Rose Hawthorne enjoyed a comfortable<br />

life as her father gained literary<br />

acclaim. She grew up in England,<br />

where her father had been appointed<br />

U.S. consul in 1853, and during their<br />

travels through Europe, the Protestant<br />

Hawthorne family encountered Catholicism.<br />

The Hawthornes returned to the U.S.<br />

in 1860, but four years after Nathaniel’s<br />

death in 1864, Sophia moved the<br />

family to Germany to conserve finances<br />

amid New England’s high cost of living.<br />

In Dresden, Rose met fellow American<br />

expat, George Parsons Lathrop, an aspiring<br />

writer from a prominent family.<br />

The Hawthornes returned to England,<br />

followed by Lathrop. Shortly after her<br />

mother’s death in 1871, Rose — over<br />

the objections of her family — married<br />

Lathrop in the Anglican Church.<br />

The couple struggled with financial<br />

difficulties and with the loss of their<br />

5-year-old son Francis (“Francie”) to<br />

diphtheria in 1881.<br />

Over the subsequent decade, Rose and<br />

George pursued their literary careers,<br />

but the latter’s depression and alcoholism<br />

began to strain their union.<br />

Returning to the U.S., the Lathrops<br />

settled in Connecticut and, to the<br />

shock of many friends, converted to<br />

Catholicism.<br />

The husband and wife founded the<br />

Catholic Summer School Movement<br />

in Connecticut and New York, and<br />

co-wrote a history of the Georgetown<br />

Visitation convent.<br />

However, the Lathrops’ marriage<br />

foundered due to George’s alcoholism,<br />

and Rose sought Church permission for<br />

a permanent separation in 1895.<br />

She then focused on a life of charity<br />

and service, training as a nurse at age 45<br />

to serve the poor, especially those with<br />

cancer — and she was at the bedside<br />

of her former husband when he died of<br />

kidney and heart disease in 1898.<br />

Following George’s death, she<br />

established St. Rose’s Free Home for<br />

Incurable Cancer, dedicated to St.<br />

22 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

Rose of Lima, in New York. In 1900,<br />

she received official Church approval<br />

to found her order, now known as the<br />

Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, Congregation<br />

of St. Rose of Lima.<br />

Hawthorne died in 1926, and her<br />

cause for canonization was opened in<br />

2003 by the late Cardinal Edward M.<br />

Egan of New York, and submitted to<br />

the Vatican in 2013.<br />

Today, the order has 47 sisters and<br />

cares for “around 45 to 50” incurably<br />

ill patients between its two facilities in<br />

Hawthorne, New York, and Atlanta,<br />

Mother Marie Edward said, adding that<br />

the charism of their foundress continues<br />

to infuse the sisters’ day-to-day<br />

ministry.<br />

“We’ve always known her to be a<br />

saint,” Marie Edward said. “She could<br />

not have done what she did without<br />

having heroic virtue.”<br />

Marie Edward said once Hawthorne<br />

accepted the Catholic faith, “she just<br />

kind of ran with it.”<br />

“Her growth in sanctity was astounding<br />

at certain parts of her life, because<br />

I think she was hungering so much<br />

for God,” Marie Edward said. She<br />

noted that the Catholic faith enabled<br />

Hawthorne to navigate “the loss of her<br />

child when he was so young and [her]<br />

marriage [which was] a tremendous<br />

frustration.”<br />

“I think that the fulfillment came as<br />

soon as she received the grace of baptism<br />

and the knowledge of the richness<br />

of the Catholic Church,” said Marie<br />

Edward, who announced the news to<br />

her fellow sisters over the Hawthorne<br />

community’s public address system and<br />

alerted their sisters in Atlanta.<br />

Marie Edward said the beauty of Hawthorne’s<br />

charism was “her dependence<br />

upon the providence of God.”<br />

“[That] has carried over to this day<br />

where we still do not take any payment<br />

— Medicare, Medicaid, insurance,<br />

anything — for the patient’s care in<br />

the order’s homes,” she said. “It’s all<br />

[funded] by the benefactors that have<br />

been so generous to us over these ...<br />

123 years.”<br />

Following the pope’s announcement,<br />

the community is mulling a request to<br />

Hawthorne’s postulator in Rome for the<br />

transfer of their foundress’ remains to<br />

their chapel in Hawthorne, New York,<br />

Marie Edward added.<br />

Marie Edward said she could not<br />

speak regarding any possible canonization<br />

miracles that may have been<br />

effected through Hawthorne’s intercession<br />

— but noted that she and her<br />

fellow sisters have an “intuition” any<br />

such miracle might be “related to a<br />

child,” since Francie’s death at age 5<br />

“broke her heart.”<br />

She said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan<br />

of New York, who extended congratulations<br />

to the order, told her, “If it weren’t<br />

Lent, I would say ‘Alleluia.’ ”<br />

Marie Edward’s response was even<br />

more succinct.<br />

“Our dear mother,” she said.<br />

Gina Christian is a multimedia reporter<br />

for OSV <strong>News</strong>.<br />

A patient is pictured in a file photo<br />

chatting with Dominican Sister<br />

Catherine Marie at Rosary Hill<br />

Home, a Dominican-run facility<br />

in Hawthorne, New York, that<br />

provides palliative care to people<br />

with incurable cancer and are in<br />

financial need. Rosary Hill was<br />

founded by Rose Hawthorne,<br />

later known as Mother Mary<br />

Alphonsa. She also founded<br />

the Dominican Sisters<br />

of Hawthorne. |<br />


A. SHEMITZ<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 23



Eugenics, sacrificed kids,<br />

and scary side effects:<br />

The ugly scientific truth<br />

behind in vitro fertilization.<br />

Embryologist Ric Ross<br />

removes a vial of frozen<br />

embryos from a storage<br />

tank at the Smotrich IVF<br />

Clinic in La Jolla, California,<br />

in this 2007 file photo. |<br />



The panic that ensued in the news media<br />

after a court in Alabama recognized<br />

embryos as persons centered on the<br />

ruling’s threat to a practice that is widely seen<br />

as a modern technological miracle: in vitro<br />

fertilization (IVF). As a result, state lawmakers<br />

moved quickly to pass legislation granting immunity<br />

to patients and clinics associated with<br />

the practice.<br />

Why are clinics concerned that deeming embryos<br />

“persons” will harm their businesses?<br />

Because the Feb. 16 decision reveals an uncomfortable<br />

truth about the process: that the<br />

experimenting on and discarding of human<br />

embryonic lives is a necessary part of IVF. As<br />

a result of this commodification of embryonic<br />

persons, only 7% of all lab-created children are<br />

born alive.<br />

The ugly truth behind IVF is not easy to<br />

digest. For many couples struggling with<br />

infertility, the procedure offers a convenient —<br />

albeit expensive — answer to their suffering,<br />

and is widely seen as a moral good.<br />

But the moral problems with IVF run deeper<br />

than many of us would like to admit.<br />

The Catechism of the Catholic Church exposes<br />

its most basic flaw: that in separating the<br />

sexual act from its procreative dimension, procedures<br />

like IVF entrust “the life and identity<br />

of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists<br />

and establishes the domination of technology over<br />

the origin and destiny of the human person” (CCC 2377).<br />

The Church’s teaching on assisted reproduction is<br />

based not on weary, outmoded legalism, but rather on<br />

an essential moral truth. As the Vatican’s 2008 bioethics<br />

document Dignitas Personae (“The Dignity of the Person”)<br />

states: “Behind every ‘no’ in the difficult task of discerning<br />

between good and evil, there shines a great ‘yes’ to the recognition<br />

of the dignity and inalienable value of every single<br />

and unique human being called into existence.”<br />

How does IVF work?<br />

IVF begins with injecting follicle stimulating hormones<br />

into a woman’s ovaries in order to hyperstimulate them and<br />

produce several eggs at once rather than the one egg that is<br />

naturally released to the fallopian tubes each month. These<br />

injections can cause severe side effects, one of which is<br />

ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which can cause pulmonary<br />

issues, stroke, blood clots, kidney dysfunction, loss<br />

of fertility, premature menopause, and even death.<br />

The extracted eggs are fertilized in a petri dish by injecting<br />

one sperm into the egg through a needle, or by allowing<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

sperm and eggs to mix “naturally” in the dish. These babies<br />

are made in glass, or in vitro, rather than in the mysterious<br />

secret sanctuary of their mothers’ wombs.<br />

IVF often involves the preimplantation screening of<br />

blastocysts (early embryos), to not only determine the<br />

likelihood of implantation success, but also to screen for<br />

chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, and<br />

inherited genetic anomalies, such as cystic fibrosis and spinal<br />

muscular atrophy. After these blastocysts are screened,<br />

only the ones determined “genetically healthy and normal”<br />

are transferred — with merely the hope of implantation.<br />

This eugenic practice opens the door to the elimination of<br />

“defective” children.<br />

Researchers have found, however, that embryos with<br />

abnormal cells have the ability to self-correct, or push the<br />

abnormal cells out and replace them with normal cells.<br />

Eliminating these early embryos, of course, destroys a vast<br />

number of developing human beings that might have later<br />

been designated as “good quality.”<br />

Untransferred embryos are then frozen, destroyed, or donated,<br />

and ultimately destroyed through scientific research.<br />

If it’s decided for any reason that too many embryos have<br />

implanted, the babies are deemed to be of the undesired<br />

sex, or they are not developing as the parents desire, often<br />

abortions are performed until only the desired number and<br />

quality remain (a common clause in surrogacy contracts,<br />

for example).<br />

The human toll of low ‘success’ rates<br />

IVF intentionally plays a reproductive gaming wheel of<br />

chance, bringing human life into existence with the knowledge<br />

that not all of the lives will make it — if any.<br />

Consider this: If 20 embryos are created through IVF, six<br />

will be discarded outright for not passing preimplantation<br />

screenings, eight won’t survive the transfer process, and<br />

five will be discarded or frozen. And all 20 will have been<br />

dehumanized and considered expendable from the first<br />

A medical lab technologist operates an embryo<br />

vitrification during an intra cytoplasmic sperm<br />

injection process at a laboratory in 2019. | OSV<br />


moment of the IVF process.<br />

It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where a parent would<br />

willingly sacrifice one of their children to save another one,<br />

and yet, this is what occurs through the experimentation<br />

of the IVF process. The sacrificing of children is so readily<br />

agreed upon by IVF pursuers because many view blastocysts<br />

as mere “clumps of cells” as opposed to the unique,<br />

unrepeatable persons that they are. But the Catholic<br />

Church teaches otherwise: “Human life must be respected<br />

and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,”<br />

the Catechism states.<br />

If you add up the numbers of embryos who are disposed<br />

of, do not survive the thawing process, or are donated to research,<br />

IVF eliminates millions of human beings. In 2012,<br />

it was found that since 1991, 3.5 million embryos had<br />

been created and that only 235,480 had been successfully<br />

implanted, 1.7 million having been discarded, with 23,480<br />

being destroyed after their removal from storage.<br />

It doesn’t end there. After the first IVF cycle, less than<br />

30% of women have a live birth, and there’s a paltry 45%<br />

success rate after three full cycles of IVF. Two-thirds of<br />

patients will be successful only after six or more cycles.<br />

How many little lives are being lost through this extensive<br />

trial-and-error transfer process?<br />

Abandoned responsibility<br />

Rather than generously create new life, the IVF process<br />

asks that children involuntarily be sacrificed to death for<br />

the desires of those who should be their greatest protectors:<br />

their parents.<br />

IVF depends on exploitation and possession to fulfill<br />

adult satisfaction: in the initial genetic screenings; in the<br />

trial-and-error process of determining which transferred<br />

embryos will implant; in the destruction and disposal of<br />

embryos through scientific research; and by the indefinite<br />

cryopreservation that is already the fate of more than a<br />

million embryonic persons.<br />

From a Christian perspective, destroying<br />

innocent human life — and calling it<br />

“good” — doesn’t let us become who we<br />

are meant to be in God’s eyes.<br />

From the standpoint of basic morality,<br />

the truth about IVF is even clearer: it’s all<br />

part of an ever-expanding, money-hungry,<br />

child-commodifying multibillion dollar<br />

fertility industry that profits off of the<br />

creation and destruction of embryonic<br />

human beings — and one that continues<br />

to get a free pass from politicians, mass<br />

media, and often, well-intentioned but<br />

ill-informed citizens.<br />

Katie Breckenridge works for the children’s<br />

rights organization “Them Before<br />

Us” and has written for several publications<br />

on beginning and end-of-life issues.<br />

She holds a master’s degree in mental<br />

health and wellness and is working toward<br />

a second master’s in bioethics.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 25



A day that defeats our disbelief<br />

“Initial A: The Women at the Tomb,” by Bartolomeo<br />

Rigossi da Gallarate (active about 1460-1480), Italian. |<br />


<strong>No</strong>w, on Easter, is the cause of<br />

a Christian’s joy made manifest<br />

— the resurrection of Our<br />

Lord!<br />

If Jesus Christ really defeated death by<br />

rising from a dank tomb, as he promised,<br />

then it is possible for Christians to<br />

live in steady joy. Even during the recurring<br />

seasons of sadness and perplexity,<br />

the resurrection miracle preserves<br />

room in our hearts for gladness, or at<br />

least the glow of its near promise.<br />

But the resurrection of Christ also has<br />

something special to say to the cynicism<br />

that seems to have taken hold of our<br />

society.<br />

Modern secular man’s great despair,<br />

whose fruits we see all around us in the<br />

dysfunction and hopelessness of too<br />

many people in our society, may be<br />

attributed to his disbelief in miracles.<br />

This man is taught from childhood to<br />

consider the natural, material world the<br />

entire sum of existence. When his life<br />

is just a series of natural occurrences,<br />

he is unable to look higher and think<br />

about life very seriously.<br />

This man is unable to embrace a<br />

supernatural outlook, in which the natural<br />

world is only a part of an open sys-<br />

tem, a system in which things operate<br />

by natural law most of the time but are<br />

interrupted and redirected by the hand<br />

of God. These interruptions are called<br />

miracles. And the greatest miracle is the<br />

empty tomb in the garden of Golgotha.<br />

We can’t blame people for not believing<br />

in miracles. Even the Christian<br />

establishment and its teachers have,<br />

for some time, been poo-pooing them,<br />

perhaps maintaining a belief in the<br />

Resurrection or the True Presence but<br />

putting forth psychological/material<br />

explanations for “minor” phenomena.<br />

There are those, for example, who give<br />

sermons about the Gospel accounts<br />

of Jesus feeding 5,000 people that<br />

slide right past the simple divine act of<br />

multiplication, suggesting instead that<br />

the only miracle was that the Sermon<br />

on the Mount inspired a kind of radical<br />

sharing.<br />

This downgrading of belief has had<br />

a pernicious effect. The gift of Christianity,<br />

with all the firm happiness<br />

and peace that it implies, calls us to<br />

embrace the whole gamut of Christian<br />

beliefs. And God, especially in the person<br />

of Jesus, performed miracle upon<br />

miracle, astounding and amazing the<br />

people who witnessed them.<br />

They were not, as some have postulated,<br />

ignorant and superstitious, ready to<br />

believe where educated modern man is<br />

skeptical. They knew that lepers didn’t<br />

recover, and that Lazarus had been<br />

long enough in the tomb to warn there<br />

would be a stench of rotting flesh when<br />

the rock was rolled back. Perhaps, in<br />

fact, they were more in touch with the<br />

natural world and its laws than we are,<br />

removed as we are by modern conveni-<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a mother of five<br />

who practices radiology in the Miami area.<br />

ences and man-made elaborations.<br />

But these people believed because<br />

they saw — and then they soon forgot.<br />

The palm-laying, adoring crowds of<br />

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem are very<br />

quickly transformed into the jeering,<br />

jabbering throngs along the uphill Via<br />

Dolorosa. Having seen him make the<br />

leper’s skin as pure as that of an infant<br />

and seen him return a living son to the<br />

widow of Nain, still they turn on him<br />

and the joy of having seen the mercy<br />

of God. On the day of his passion the<br />

moments of compassion are so rare<br />

that they are described in loving detail:<br />

Veronica’s tender wiping of dripping<br />

sweat and blood, the crying of a group<br />

of women of Jerusalem.<br />

It’s not as though we are not surrounded<br />

by miracles, confronted by miracles,<br />

bathed in miracles. We are just jaded<br />

and cynical, tired and grumpy, and we<br />

soon forget. Jesus turned water into<br />

wine at Cana, and we say, well, I’d sure<br />

like to see that! But, as St. Augustine<br />

pointed out, “We take for granted the<br />

slow miracle whereby water in the irrigation<br />

of a vineyard becomes wine. It is<br />

only when Christ turns water into wine,<br />

in a quick motion, as it were, that we<br />

stand amazed.” Yes, the water on God’s<br />

good earth turns into wine, and the<br />

breast milk turns into tender flesh on<br />

your beloved infant, and the ordinary<br />

love of a man and his wife generates an<br />

immortal soul.<br />

The empty tomb in the garden of<br />

Golgotha. The defeat of the great dread<br />

of our lives, the demolishing of the<br />

giant obstacle between despair and joy<br />

is the miracle of miracles. It is God with<br />

one decisive, majestic hand turning the<br />

whole sad saga of each human life into<br />

a tale of romance and adventure, in<br />

which the happy ending is assured.<br />

The cause of our joy, indeed.<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 27


A local Holocaust survivor’s memoir is a testament<br />

to the miracles that can happen amid murder and hate.<br />


In 1994, I visited the Holy Land with a tour connected to<br />

Providence College. One of the stops was the port city of<br />

Jaffa. It is not one of the area’s most common tourist sites,<br />

despite being mentioned in Maccabees and in the Acts of<br />

the Apostles, which recount that St. Peter lived there for a<br />

time.<br />

While there, one of the young coeds wanted to pick up a<br />

souvenir, and since<br />

no one else was<br />

interested, I accompanied<br />

her to a little<br />

store. We were the<br />

only customers, and<br />

it seemed that the<br />

proprietor was staring<br />

at us. I thought<br />

he was admiring<br />

the student, but he<br />

wanted to talk to me.<br />

Eventually, in<br />

broken English,<br />

he asked if I was a<br />

Catholic priest. He<br />

was originally from<br />

France and it turned<br />

out that a French<br />

priest had saved him<br />

from death by hiding<br />

him and others in a<br />

basement. He could<br />

not recall the priest’s<br />

name, but he said he<br />

would never forget<br />

what he had done<br />

for him. Neither do<br />

I recall the man’s<br />

name, but I haven’t<br />

forgotten him. It was<br />

a grace so unexpected<br />

it seemed<br />

accidental.<br />

I have been thinking about that encounter lately, since<br />

reading “Adieu,” a memoir by Alfred Lakritz, a lawyer in<br />

Southern California whose father died in the Majdanek concentration<br />

camp in Poland after being arrested in France and<br />

moved several times around Europe (one of his stops was<br />

Drancy, outside of Parish, where the Jewish-Catholic poet<br />

Max Jacob died). The rest of the family managed to escape<br />

and eventually settle in California.<br />

The book recounts the vicissitudes of the family, especially<br />

of the mother and his brother. It is carefully, at times very<br />

movingly, written and dedicated to his parents and to all<br />

who helped his family escape the Nazi Holocaust. Those<br />

included a community of nuns in Lourdes, who had an<br />

“orphanage” that was really a shelter for Jewish children.<br />

Lakritz considers it<br />

“miraculous”’ that<br />

he, his mother, and<br />

his brother survived.<br />

For me, it was another<br />

example of Our<br />

Lady of Lourdes’<br />

power to work miracles.<br />

The period covered<br />

by the heart of the<br />

book was when the<br />

author was between<br />

8 and 10. I think<br />

that should be<br />

considered in understanding<br />

some of<br />

Lakritz’s memories.<br />

For example, he recounts<br />

that peasants<br />

in southern France<br />

were taught by the<br />

priests that matzo<br />

bread was made with<br />

the blood of human<br />

victims. (I am sure<br />

he heard that ancient<br />

and terrible lie,<br />

but I doubt it was<br />

from priests.) There<br />

Alfred Lakritz. | AMAZON<br />

are hints of ambivalence<br />

in his attitude<br />

toward the Church,<br />

even though he<br />

speaks warmly of a priest in Lourdes and of the nuns who<br />

protected him. I also doubt that he was told to receive Communion<br />

at Mass, which he said he refused to do.<br />

Like so many of us, Lakritz has some contradictory<br />

thoughts. He remembers the boys at the orphanage playing<br />

in snowball fights with the German soldiers, but in another<br />

passage writes that he was (and still is) disgusted because<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

many of the soldiers attended Mass on Sunday. He calls<br />

them “hypocrites, murderers, pigs.”<br />

His take on them is, “They were murderers.” I am not so<br />

sure. Those soldiers, like many in the Nazi military, may<br />

have been forcibly recruited and many probably were praying<br />

just to survive the war. They might not have known that<br />

the boys they engaged in snowball fights were Jewish, but<br />

they indicated something of their own boyishness in playing<br />

games.<br />

Could these common<br />

soldiers ever be<br />

forgiven? “If they were<br />

entitled to such forgiveness,”<br />

Lakritz writes,<br />

“what was the Catholic<br />

Church and its clerics,<br />

bishops, cardinals, and<br />

the Pope doing for their<br />

victims?”<br />

The myth of the<br />

all-powerful Catholic<br />

Church survives<br />

despite all evidence to<br />

the contrary. In what<br />

country of Europe was<br />

the Church politically<br />

strong? In Fascist<br />

Italy? In Nazi Germany,<br />

whose ideology was<br />

frankly anti-Catholic, as<br />

he admits, saying that<br />

crucifixes were taken<br />

down and replaced with<br />

swastikas? What exactly could the pope do that would not<br />

have provoked wholesale persecution from the German regime?<br />

The pope did things quietly, saving lives that he could.<br />

He lived in Axis territory, with the Gestapo at his gates for<br />

almost a year during the German occupation of Rome.<br />

Years later, Lakritz reached out to the Archdiocese of Los<br />

Angeles in order to ascertain which group of religious had<br />

saved him and his brother. Sister Mary Jean Meier, a Mercy<br />

Sister who was the director of the archdiocese’s Office of<br />

Special Services, did a great deal of research and found out<br />

that they were sisters of St. Bernadette’s community based in<br />

Nevers, France. Lakritz arranged a meeting with the superior<br />

of the community to thank her, “for everything that was done<br />

for me — how the nuns hid me from the German military,<br />

fed me, clothed me, and showed me love and compassion.”<br />

Nevertheless, he told Meier back in LA that he “was angry<br />

with Pope Pius XII that he didn’t do anything for the Jews,<br />

and that many Catholics colluded with the Nazis and the<br />

Church described the Jews as Christ killers.”<br />

Lakritz says Meier listened in silence and then said, “You<br />

must never forget, but you must also forgive.” This is one of<br />

the themes of the greatest of memoirs about the darkness of<br />

the genocide, finding transcendent goodness in life and in<br />

people, “in spite of everything,” as Anne Frank wrote in her<br />

diary.<br />

Reading “Adieu” made me pick up a book published in<br />

the 1950s, “Why I Became A Catholic” by Eugenio Zolli.<br />

He was a tremendous Jewish scholar and the chief rabbi<br />

of Rome. When the Allies liberated Rome, he became a<br />

Catholic.<br />

It would be hard to imagine two books by European Jewish<br />

Holocaust survivors more different than these two. But I see<br />

a resemblance between the two men; both Jews who left<br />

Poland for the broader world; both passionately identified<br />

with their heritage; both<br />

extremely attached to<br />

their mothers who were<br />

“saints”; both very sensitive;<br />

both honest about<br />

their faults.<br />

I think that both men<br />

could say what the rabbi<br />

said of himself, that<br />

he was better at loving<br />

than of making himself<br />

loved. Lakritz was<br />

intense from childhood.<br />

He still regrets his<br />

grandfather’s laughing<br />

at his new suspenders<br />

when he was 4 years<br />

old.<br />

Both books are worth<br />

reading. Lakritz is much easier than the theological and<br />

mystical broodings of the unusual Christian rabbi, who<br />

never forgot his<br />

love for the book<br />

“The Zohar,”<br />

the Kabbalistic<br />

book. But both<br />

are windows to<br />

another world<br />

and an inspiration<br />

to faith. Both<br />

deal with the<br />

miracles of God’s<br />

providence.<br />

Msgr. Richard<br />

Antall is pastor<br />

of Holy Name<br />

Church in<br />

Cleveland, Ohio,<br />

and the author<br />

of several books.<br />

His latest novel is<br />

“The X-mas Files”<br />

(Atmosphere<br />

Press, $17.99).<br />

Alfred Lakritz with his parents and<br />

baby brother at the beach in Kiel,<br />

Germany, in an undated family<br />


AMAZON<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 29



Those who carry<br />

“Christ Carrying the Cross,”<br />

by Jan Gossart, 1478–1532,<br />

Netherlandish. | METRO-<br />


One recent morning, I found<br />

myself in downtown LA hanging<br />

out in front of the Superior<br />

Courthouse’s Grand Avenue entrance.<br />

I was sipping a Starbucks, idly thinking,<br />

watching the parade of humanity<br />

pass by. Kids hefting backpacks, fashionistas<br />

with crossbody bags, young<br />

guys on bikes, languidly weaving in<br />

and out of pedestrian traffic with plastic<br />

bags dangling from the handlebars.<br />

Lawyers schlepping briefcases, couriers<br />

humping banker’s boxes of files,<br />

mothers-to-be carrying babies in their<br />

wombs, fathers carrying babies in the<br />

crooks of their arms.<br />

Homeless people pushing impossibly<br />

heavy carts. Everybody carrying a<br />

phone.<br />

I myself had a purse as well as a tote<br />

bag with snacks, water, and a book.<br />

Everybody, in other words, was<br />

carrying something. Incarnate beings<br />

that we are, from the time we’re born<br />

practically till the day we die, we’re<br />

carrying loads of some sort. At first<br />

rattles, dolls, toy trains. Later, the<br />

groceries, the laundry, tool kits.<br />

Our breviaries, our missalettes, our<br />

rosaries, our prayer cards. The ushers<br />

carry the offertory, the altar server<br />

carries the water and wine, the priest<br />

lifts the chalice.<br />

Even the Russian stranniks — wandering<br />

pilgrims endlessly reciting the<br />

Jesus Prayer — carried a hunk of black<br />

bread, some salt, and a copy of the<br />

Gospels.<br />

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery of the<br />

rosary is The Carrying of the Cross. In<br />

his book “The Rosary of Our Lady,”<br />

theologian Romano Guardini observes:<br />

“In the last analysis everything is<br />

a ‘burden,’ not because it is painful<br />

instead of joyous, but because sin has<br />

stamped it with the curse of hardship.<br />

Man seeks to escape it. He will not<br />

take it upon his shoulders and persevere<br />

beneath it. Indolence, cowardice,<br />

resistance against the hardships of life,<br />

all mean here for Christ the obligation<br />

to carry a weight that is beyond His<br />

strength.”<br />

Our body is our first cross and the<br />

one we carry all our lives. In youth,<br />

we suffer its lust, hunger, and ambition.<br />

In old age, we begin to collapse<br />

beneath its weight, its aches, and<br />

pains, the psychic suffering carried for<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

decades in our nervous systems, our<br />

minds, our hearts.<br />

That we are going to age (if we live<br />

that long) and die is our biggest cross.<br />

The carrying of the cross put Christ<br />

in eternal solidarity not only with all<br />

of humanity but, though he died at<br />

33, with the aging, the old, the dying.<br />

Like an elderly person, he was debilitated<br />

and diminished. He could no<br />

longer carry the load by himself. He<br />

had to accept help.<br />

“Truly, truly, I say to you,” he had<br />

already told Peter, “when you were<br />

young, you used to dress yourself and<br />

walk wherever you wanted, but when<br />

you are old, you will stretch out your<br />

hands, and another will dress you and<br />

carry you where you do not want to<br />

go” (John 21:18).<br />

The Apostles’ Creed we pray at the<br />

beginning of every rosary ends, “I<br />

believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy<br />

catholic Church, the communion<br />

of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the<br />

resurrection of the body, and life<br />

everlasting.”<br />

The resurrection of the body. This<br />

body that has carried us all our lives,<br />

that is our joy and our torment,<br />

that we are with 24/7 and still don’t<br />

understand or know, to which we are<br />

nailed as surely as Christ is nailed to<br />

the cross.<br />

But as with Christ, the instrument of<br />

our torture and death will also be the<br />

instrument of our redemption.<br />

As we age and mature in faith, for example,<br />

perhaps we’re freed from some<br />

of our psychic and spiritual burdens.<br />

Perhaps we then devote our lives to<br />

atoning for the sins of the world —<br />

ours, always, but the sins of others as<br />

well: those we love; those we’ll never<br />

meet; those who have no one to pray<br />

for them, and never will.<br />

The “Pange lingua,” a medieval<br />

Latin hymn written by St. Thomas<br />

Aquinas, runs:<br />

<strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 31<br />

Sweet the wood<br />

Sweet the nails<br />

Sweet the weight they bear.<br />

Do we carry our bodies, or do our<br />

bodies carry us?<br />

Did Christ carry the cross, or did the<br />

cross carry him?<br />

Anna Kamienska (1920-1986), a<br />

more contemporary poet beloved in<br />

her native Poland, lived through both<br />

the Nazi and Communist eras.<br />

In “Those Who Carry,” she writes of<br />

the men and women of the streets of<br />

Warsaw — but she could just as well<br />

be speaking of the young mothers, the<br />

guys bringing takeout to their grannies,<br />

the homeless of downtown LA.<br />

As we ache for Easter morning, she<br />

could just as well be speaking of all of<br />

us.<br />

Those who carry grand pianos<br />

to the tenth floor wardrobes and<br />

coffins<br />

the old man with a bundle of wood<br />

hobbling toward the horizon<br />

the lady with a hump of nettles<br />

the madwoman pushing her baby<br />

carriage<br />

full of empty vodka bottles<br />

they all will be raised up<br />

like a seagull’s feather like a dry leaf<br />

like an eggshell a scrap of newspaper<br />

on the street<br />

Blessed are those who carry<br />

for they will be raised.<br />

Good. Clean. Fun.<br />

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2/23/24 5:31 PM



Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

Amazed by Easter<br />

In 1986, I experienced the first Lent I ever lived intentionally.<br />

Still a Protestant, I knew I could not remain as I<br />

was, but I felt I should not — yet — become a Catholic.<br />

It was a true Lent, but there had been a Lenten quality to<br />

my life in the years just before. I spent those years “giving<br />

things up.” I gave up my Presbyterian ministry. I gave up<br />

my teaching and administrative posts at Protestant schools.<br />

But in 1986 my most painful sacrifice was my deferral of<br />

the sacraments, which I had promised for my wife Kimberly’s<br />

sake. She opposed<br />

my conversion and<br />

grieved over the possibility.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t long into Lent,<br />

however, I realized<br />

I could not bear the<br />

strain of waiting the<br />

four more years I<br />

had promised her. I<br />

begged her to release<br />

me from my promise,<br />

and she did.<br />

At the time I was a<br />

doctoral student in<br />

theology at Marquette<br />

University. I held a<br />

master’s degree from<br />

Gordon-Conwell<br />

Seminary. I had<br />

intensively studied<br />

the Scriptures, the<br />

Fathers, and the<br />

tradition. I felt I knew<br />

enough to make an<br />

informed decision;<br />

I felt I was ready;<br />

and the pastor at the<br />

parish agreed.<br />

Still today I believe<br />

I was ready. But now<br />

I also have to admit:<br />

I didn’t know what I<br />

didn’t know.<br />

At Easter Vigil,<br />

Msgr. Bruskewitz gave<br />

“The Resurrection<br />

of Jesus Christ,” by<br />

Paolo Veronese,<br />

1528-1588, Italian.<br />



me the sacramental “grand slam” of conditional baptism,<br />

holy Communion, and confirmation. And afterward, I saw<br />

things differently. <strong>No</strong>w the hard sayings of Jesus — about<br />

baptismal regeneration, about his real presence, about<br />

sacramental absolution — began to make sense deep down<br />

in my soul, in my mind, and in my bones.<br />

I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but I was undergoing<br />

what the ancient Fathers called mystagogy — the unveiling<br />

of the mysteries — and it is proper to the season of Easter.<br />

I am now beginning<br />

to realize that mystagogy<br />

is a phase that<br />

lasts the whole of a<br />

lifetime. I realize now<br />

that I still don’t know<br />

what I don’t yet know.<br />

I still don’t know what<br />

I’ve yet to learn. I am<br />

ready to be amazed by<br />

what God has yet to<br />

show me, through the<br />

ordinary sacramental<br />

life of the Church.<br />

I could not know,<br />

during Lent of 1986,<br />

that Easter Vigil<br />

would bring a decisive<br />

turn in the road, not<br />

just for me, but also<br />

for Kimberly. Though<br />

she grieved that night<br />

and even called it<br />

the worst night of her<br />

life, she also began<br />

to notice just how<br />

profoundly biblical<br />

were the rites of the<br />

Catholic Church. In<br />

a few more years, she<br />

would undergo those<br />

rites herself.<br />

We do not know, you<br />

and I, what marvels<br />

God has in store for<br />

us.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong>

■ FRIDAY, MARCH 29<br />

Passion of Our Lord. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,<br />

555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MARCH 30<br />

Easter Vigil Mass. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,<br />

555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 8 p.m. Vigil will be bilingual<br />

(English/Spanish), beginning with the blessing of the fire on<br />

the Easter Fire Hearth on the Cathedral Plaza.<br />

■ SUNDAY, MARCH 31<br />

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

555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. English Masses: 7:30 and<br />

10 a.m., Spanish Mass: 12:30 p.m.<br />

Easter Sunday Breakfast. Mary & Joseph Retreat Center,<br />

5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.<br />

Reservations required by March 25. Cost: $35/person, $15/<br />

children 4-12, children under 4 free. Visit maryjoseph.org/<br />

event.<br />

■ TUESDAY, APRIL 9<br />

Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San Fernando<br />

Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, 11 a.m. Mass is virtual and<br />

not open to the public. Livestream available at CatholicCM.<br />

org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<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 />

■ SATURDAY, APRIL 13<br />

Along the Way: A Pilgrim Walk. Mary & Joseph Retreat<br />

Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.<br />

4.8-mile walk through the streets and trails of Palos Verdes<br />

to the sacred grounds of the retreat center. All ages and<br />

faiths welcome. Cost: $40/person, $60/family, includes<br />

picnic lunch. Visit maryjoseph.org/event.<br />

Introduction to Bible Study Leadership. Zoom, 9-10:30<br />

a.m. Information session will explain the Catholic Bible Institute’s<br />

three-year process of studying Scripture. Registration<br />

not required. For more, visit lacatholics.org/catholic-laevents.<br />

Les Petits Chanteurs de France Choir Performance. St.<br />

Bede the Venerable Church, 215 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada<br />

Flintridge, 7 p.m. Internationally renowned French boys’<br />

choir will perform Handel’s “Messiah” and other well-known<br />

pieces. Free concert, open to all.<br />

■ SUNDAY, APRIL 14<br />

Diaconate Virtual Information Day. Zoom, 2-4 p.m. Email<br />

Deacon Melecio Zamora at dm2011@la-archdiocese.org.<br />

“Le <strong>No</strong>uve Musiche: The Baroque Revolution” Concert.<br />

St. Andrew Church, 311 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 7:30<br />

p.m. Performed by world renowned musicians Jordi Savall<br />

and Hesperion XXI. For more information, visit standrewpasadena.org/concerts.<br />


Shower of Roses: Cloistered Carmelite Nuns Auxiliary<br />

Annual Benefit Luncheon. San Gabriel Country Club, 350<br />

E. Hermosa Dr., San Gabriel, 10:30 a.m. social hour, raffle,<br />

silent auction, 12 p.m. luncheon and fashion show. Benefit<br />

celebrates 100 years of service for the Cloistered Carmelite<br />

Nuns. Cost: $75/person. RSVP to Kathy Cardoza at<br />

626-570-9012 by <strong>April</strong> 15, <strong>2024</strong>. Send checks payable to<br />

Cloistered Carmelite Nuns Auxiliary to 710 Lindaraxa Drive<br />

South, Alhambra, CA 91801.<br />

■ TUESDAY, MAY 7<br />

South Bay Catholic Jewish Women’s Dialogue Conference.<br />

St. Lawrence Martyr Church, 1940 S. Prospect Ave.,<br />

Redondo Beach, 8:30 a.m. “Are You There, God? It’s Me. My<br />

Relationship with God”: Rabbi Rebeccah Yussman and Anne<br />

Hansen discuss. Visit sbcjwd.com to register. Cost: $25/<br />

person, includes continental breakfast and lunch.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, MAY 8<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 />

■ TUESDAY, MAY 14<br />

Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San Fernando<br />

Mission Blvd., Mission Hills. 11 a.m. Mass is virtual and<br />

not open to the public. Livestream available at CatholicCM.<br />

org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<br />

■ FRIDAY, MAY 17<br />

Ethical Leadership Lunch. Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 11:30 a.m.-1:30<br />

p.m. Event brings together Catholic leaders from the business<br />

world to discuss how ethical practices positively impact<br />

our community. For more, visit lacatholics.org/events.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 18<br />

Fresh Fire of God’s Spirit: Pentecost Rally. St. John the<br />

Baptist Church, 3883 Baldwin Park Blvd., Baldwin Park,<br />

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Teachings, prayer, and Pentecost vigil Mass.<br />

Presenters include Father Ismael Robles, Elizabeth Kim,<br />

and Dominic Berardino. Free event. For more, call 818-771-<br />

1361, email spirit@scrc.org, or visit events.scrc.org.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 25<br />

“Don Pasquale” Opera. Cathedral High Theater, 1253<br />

Bishops Rd., Los Angeles, 2 p.m. Full orchestra performance.<br />

Adult ticket includes complimentary glass of wine and<br />

hors d’oeuvres. Call or text 213-248-2510 or email info@<br />

operaitaliala.com.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JUNE 11<br />

Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San Fernando<br />

Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, 11 a.m. Mass is virtual and<br />

not open to the public. Livestream available at CatholicCM.<br />

org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12<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 />

■ MONDAY, JUNE 24<br />

Summer Bible Sessions. Holy Family Church, 209 E. Lomita<br />

Ave., Glendale, 7-8:30 p.m. Immersion into the Gospels<br />

runs June 24-27. For more information, visit lacatholics.org/<br />

events.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 29<br />

Summer Bible Retreat. Holy Family Church, 209 E. Lomita<br />

Ave., Glendale, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Free event, registration<br />

required. For more information, visit lacatholics.org/events.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JULY 9<br />

Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San Fernando<br />

Mission Blvd., Mission Hills. 11 a.m. Mass is virtual and<br />

not open to the public. Livestream available at CatholicCM.<br />

org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<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>April</strong> 5, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 33

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