Angelus News | May 17, 2024 | Vol. 9 No. 10

On the cover: Emma D. and Roberto M. read during a class session at San Miguel School in Watts, one of 24 schools in lower-income areas across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles participating in the new Solidarity Schools initiative. On Page 10, Theresa Cisneros examines the program’s ambitious goals and talks to participants who describe its early success in creating a ‘culture of literacy’ among disadvantaged students.

On the cover: Emma D. and Roberto M. read during a class session at San Miguel School in Watts, one of 24 schools in lower-income areas across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles participating in the new Solidarity Schools initiative. On Page 10, Theresa Cisneros examines the program’s ambitious goals and talks to participants who describe its early success in creating a ‘culture of literacy’ among disadvantaged students.


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TIME FOR A<br />


How LA’s new ‘Solidarity Schools’<br />

are beating the odds<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 9 <strong>No</strong>. <strong>10</strong>

B • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 9 • <strong>No</strong>. <strong>10</strong><br />

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Emma D. and Roberto M. read during a class session at San<br />

Miguel School in Watts, one of 24 schools in lower-income<br />

areas across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles participating<br />

in the new Solidarity Schools initiative. On Page <strong>10</strong>, Theresa<br />

Cisneros examines the program’s ambitious goals and talks<br />

to participants who describe its early success in creating a<br />

‘culture of literacy’ among disadvantaged students.<br />



Pope Francis meets privately with Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez in the library of the Apostolic<br />

Palace at the Vatican Monday, April 29. After<br />

Rome, Archbishop Gomez traveled to Lourdes,<br />

France, as part of an annual pilgrimage to<br />

Lourdes organized by the Order of Malta<br />

(coverage to follow in the next issue).<br />

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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 />

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22<br />

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26<br />


LA’s Polish parish marks Pope John Paul II’s <strong>10</strong> years of sainthood<br />

What’s behind the Easter <strong>2024</strong> bump in new Catholics?<br />

John Allen: Pope’s CBS interview ‘normalizes’ relations with U.S. media<br />

A former Catholic Worker’s take on the pro-Palestine campus protests<br />

Grazie Pozo Christie: U.S. immigration policy isn’t just broken — it’s cruel<br />

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28<br />

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The burden of portraying Flannery O’Connor in ‘Wildcat’<br />

Heather King: If we cater so much to kids, why are they so unhappy?<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 1


Repairing the irreparable<br />

The following is adapted from the Holy<br />

Father’s <strong>May</strong> 4 address at the Vatican to<br />

a conference titled “Repairing the irreparable,”<br />

marking the 350th anniversary<br />

of the apparitions of Jesus to St. Margaret<br />

Mary in Paray-le-Monial, France.<br />

Reparation is a concept we find<br />

often in the Sacred Scriptures. In<br />

the Old Testament, it takes on a<br />

social dimension of compensation for<br />

evil committed, like in the Mosaic law,<br />

which provides for the restitution of<br />

what had been stolen, or the reparation<br />

of the damage caused (cf. Exodus 22:1-<br />

15; Leviticus 6:1-7). It was an act of<br />

justice aimed at safeguarding social life.<br />

But in the New Testament it takes the<br />

form of a spiritual process, within the<br />

framework of the redemption brought<br />

about by Christ. Reparation is fully<br />

manifested in the sacrifice of the cross.<br />

The novelty here is that it reveals<br />

the Lord’s mercy toward the sinner.<br />

Reparation therefore contributes to<br />

the reconciliation of men between<br />

themselves, but also to reconciliation<br />

with God, because the wrong done to<br />

our neighbor is also an offense to God.<br />

As Ben Sirac the Wise says, “Do not<br />

the tears of the widow fall on the face<br />

of God?” (cf. Sirach 35:18). How many<br />

tears still flow on the face of God,<br />

while our world experiences so much<br />

abuse against the dignity of the person,<br />

even within the people of God!<br />

Full reparation at times seems impossible,<br />

such as when goods or loved ones<br />

are definitively lost, or when certain<br />

situations have become irreversible.<br />

But the intention to make amends and<br />

to do so in a concrete way is essential<br />

for the process of reconciliation and<br />

the return to peace in the heart.<br />

Reparation, to be Christian, to touch<br />

the heart of the offended person and<br />

not to be a simple act of commutative<br />

justice, presupposes two demanding<br />

attitudes: recognizing oneself as guilty<br />

and asking for forgiveness.<br />

Recognizing oneself as guilty. Any<br />

reparation, human or spiritual, begins<br />

with acknowledgment of one’s own sin.<br />

It is from this honest acknowledgment<br />

of the wrong done to one’s brothers<br />

or sisters, and from the profound<br />

and sincere sentiment that love has<br />

been harmed, that the desire to make<br />

amends arises.<br />

Asking for forgiveness. It is the confession<br />

of evil committed, following the<br />

example of the prodigal son who says<br />

to the Father: “I have sinned against<br />

heaven and before you; I am no longer<br />

worthy to be called your son” (Luke<br />

15:21).<br />

Asking for forgiveness reopens<br />

dialogue and manifests the will to reestablish<br />

the bond of fraternal charity.<br />

And reparation — even a beginning of<br />

reparation or simply the will to make<br />

amends — guarantees the authenticity<br />

of the request for forgiveness …<br />

it touches the heart of the brother,<br />

consoling him and inspiring in him<br />

acceptance of the forgiveness requested.<br />

Therefore, if the irreparable cannot<br />

be completely repaired, love can<br />

always be reborn, making the wound<br />

bearable.<br />

Jesus asked St. Margaret Mary for acts<br />

of reparation for the offenses caused<br />

by the sins of humanity. If these acts<br />

consoled his heart, this means that<br />

reparation can also console the heart of<br />

every wounded person.<br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>May</strong>: We pray that religious<br />

women and men, and seminarians, grow in their own<br />

vocations through their human, pastoral, spiritual, and<br />

community formation, leading them to be credible witnesses<br />

to the Gospel.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>



The promise of ‘Infinite Dignity’<br />

I<br />

have been reading and reflecting<br />

on Dignitas Infinita (“Infinite Dignity”),<br />

the declaration on human<br />

dignity published last month by the<br />

Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine<br />

of the Faith.<br />

It is an important restatement of<br />

the Catholic vision for the human<br />

person, and it comes at a time when<br />

there is widespread confusion about<br />

where human dignity and rights<br />

come from, and even what it means<br />

to be human.<br />

It’s telling that this new document<br />

is dated April 2, which is the anniversary<br />

of the death of the great St. Pope<br />

John Paul II.<br />

Throughout his long pontificate,<br />

John Paul reminded us that our societies<br />

in the West are founded on the<br />

Jewish and Christian understanding<br />

of the human person.<br />

He would often quote those stirring<br />

words of the Second Vatican Council:<br />

“Christ the Lord … fully reveals<br />

man to man himself and makes his<br />

supreme calling clear.”<br />

From the Jewish people, we inherit<br />

the revelation that all creation is<br />

God’s handiwork, that the human<br />

being is created in God’s image, with<br />

a body and a soul, and called to walk<br />

with God, forming families and being<br />

fruitful, caring for creation and loving<br />

goodness and doing justice.<br />

In the story of the Jewish people’s<br />

exodus out of Egypt, God reveals<br />

that his name is mercy, that he hears<br />

the cry of the poor, and that he has<br />

created the human person to worship<br />

him in freedom.<br />

In Jesus Christ, this God enters into<br />

human history and takes on human<br />

flesh, sharing in our humanity in<br />

order to show us both the human<br />

face of God and the true “face” of our<br />

humanity.<br />

In Jesus we come to understand that<br />

we are more than mere creatures.<br />

We are God’s children, his sons and<br />

daughters, and he loves each of us so<br />

much that his Son was willing to give<br />

his own life to save us from sin and<br />

death.<br />

What runs like a bright line through<br />

our biblical inheritance is the greatness<br />

to the human person in God’s<br />

plan for creation. As one of the saints<br />

said, “The glory of God is the human<br />

being fully alive!”<br />

All of the great achievements of the<br />

West — in science and technology, in<br />

medicine, in the arts and architecture;<br />

all our beliefs about charity, empathy,<br />

compassion, and social justice<br />

— are the fruits of the Incarnation<br />

and the glorious truth it reveals about<br />

human nature and human destiny.<br />

We can forget that before the appearance<br />

of Jews and Christians, the<br />

world had never heard the good news<br />

of God’s love, or the truth that human<br />

life is sacred and endowed by the<br />

Creator with dignity and rights.<br />

Values and concepts that we take for<br />

granted are all rooted in this vision<br />

that we have inherited from the<br />

Bible — our belief that people have<br />

the right to food, shelter, health care,<br />

and work; to be free from violence<br />

and coercion; our presumptions that<br />

human beings are born equal, that<br />

society has the duty to care for the<br />

weak and vulnerable.<br />

As our societies become more secularized,<br />

and more guided by a materialist<br />

and technocratic understanding<br />

of the world, we risk forgetting God<br />

and the true meaning of human life.<br />

Dignitas Infinita identifies many<br />

“grave violations” of human dignity<br />

already growing in the world today:<br />

abortion, euthanasia, the death<br />

penalty; poverty and war; the plight of<br />

migrants; human trafficking; violence<br />

against women, discrimination<br />

against the disabled; the practice of<br />

surrogate motherhood and gender<br />

theory; “new forms of violence …<br />

spreading through social media.”<br />

In confronting these challenges,<br />

the Church must continue to defend<br />

every human life as sacred, regardless<br />

of its condition, from conception to<br />

natural death.<br />

We need to insist that human dignity<br />

and rights are transcendent, that<br />

they come from God and not from<br />

governments.<br />

Only this truth guarantees the<br />

greatness and freedom of the human<br />

person. Only this truth guarantees<br />

that our rights do not become arbitrary,<br />

something to be granted or taken<br />

away at the whim of those in power.<br />

It’s also important that we hand<br />

on to our young people the sense of<br />

excitement and joy that comes with<br />

knowing that our lives are a beautiful<br />

gift from our Creator.<br />

We are called to a friendship with<br />

Jesus that gives our lives their true<br />

purpose and direction: following in<br />

his footsteps, being transformed in his<br />

likeness through the Eucharist and<br />

the sacraments, striving together as<br />

brothers and sisters to reach our destination,<br />

which is communion with<br />

God in love for all eternity.<br />

This is the promise of our infinite<br />

dignity. We should rejoice in this every<br />

day and share our joy with others.<br />

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

And let us ask our Blessed Mother<br />

Mary to bring a new awareness that<br />

we are all children of God, made<br />

with infinite dignity and bound for<br />

glory.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 3

WORLD<br />

■ Mexican bishop<br />

a victim of ‘express<br />

kidnapping’<br />

Bishop Salvador Rangel in 2018. | OSV NEWS/GUSTAVO GRAF,<br />


A Mexican bishop famous<br />

for his work mediating with<br />

drug cartels ended up in<br />

the hospital after being<br />

kidnapped.<br />

Seventy-eight-year-old<br />

Bishop Salvador Rangel<br />

is the retired bishop of<br />

Chilpancingo-Chilapa<br />

in the state of Guerrero,<br />

where the government has<br />

endorsed his efforts to mediate<br />

between gang leaders<br />

to end the region’s violent<br />

turf wars. Already in poor<br />

health, he was abducted<br />

April 27 but released hours<br />

later.<br />

<strong>No</strong>body has claimed responsibility<br />

for the kidnapping, but it appears to be part of a trend of “express<br />

kidnappings,” or quick abductions by low-level criminals with low ransom<br />

demands. These kidnappings are meant to receive random funds more<br />

quickly than regular kidnappings with large random demands.<br />

■ More than half of Sudan<br />

faces starvation, aid groups<br />

warn<br />

Catholic charities are desperately working<br />

to ramp up food distribution campaigns in<br />

Sudan as civil war continues to cause extreme<br />

hunger.<br />

“People are going through trauma and<br />

staring at the looming famine they have<br />

never experienced before,” said Telley Sadia,<br />

country representative for Sudan for the<br />

Catholic Agency for Overseas Development<br />

(CAFOD). “They have no way to come<br />

out of this situation; thus, there’s a need to<br />

increase lifesaving food aid and allow humanitarian<br />

access to save the lives of women and<br />

children.”<br />

Civil war has enveloped the African nation<br />

for over a year, with more than 8.6 million<br />

people displaced and half of the country’s 46<br />

million population requiring life-saving assistance,<br />

according to the United Nations.<br />

According to Catholic aid group Caritas<br />

International, a lack of funding is preventing<br />

secular and faith-based organizations from<br />

reaching more people facing starvation.<br />

■ Don’t expect US to<br />

save the day, Jerusalem<br />

patriarch says<br />

The Holy Land’s top Catholic bishop<br />

warned against putting too much<br />

hope in a “miracle” that ends the war<br />

between Israel and Hamas.<br />

“We are all waiting for something<br />

big, something that changes the<br />

course of the history of events,” Cardinal<br />

Pierbattista Pizzaballa, patriarch<br />

of Jerusalem, said <strong>May</strong> 1. “We all<br />

want the United States to resolve<br />

the problem; we all want the peace<br />

negotiations to end in something big,<br />

important, in a way that marks the<br />

course of history.”<br />

“This is not the way the kingdom of<br />

God grows,” he said. “The kingdom<br />

of God grows in community, with<br />

communal gestures, calmly, little by<br />

little.”<br />

The cardinal made the remarks at<br />

a Mass in which he formally took<br />

possession as a cardinal of a historic<br />

church in Rome, St. Onuphrius.<br />

Papal cruise — Pope Francis waves as he arrives by boat from Giudecca Island to the Basilica of St. Mary of<br />

Health during a one-day trip to Venice, Italy, April 28. The visit included stops at a women’s prison, a meeting<br />

with young people, Sunday Mass, and private prayer before the relics of St. Mark the Evangelist in the famous<br />

basilica built in his honor. In his remarks at St. Mary of Health, the pope said that just like Venice, people are<br />

beautiful and fragile at the same time. “Take care of these fragilities and recognize that God always extends a<br />

hand, not to blame or punish, but to heal and lift people back up,” he said. | CNS/LOLA GOMEZ<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

NATION<br />

■ Op-ed: Transitional deacons<br />

no longer necessary<br />

Is it necessary to become a deacon before<br />

ordination to the priesthood? A prominent<br />

Catholic deacon doesn’t think so.<br />

In a new cover story for America magazine,<br />

Deacon William T. Ditewig followed up on<br />

an October 2023 joint interview in which<br />

Cardinals Robert McElroy of San Diego and<br />

Blase Cupich of Chicago questioned the<br />

need for the transitional diaconate.<br />

Ditewig, the former executive director for<br />

the USCCB’s Secretariat for the Diaconate,<br />

wrote that not only is now “the perfect time<br />

to re-envision the diaconate as a whole,” but<br />

“I would go so far as to say it is long past time<br />

to do so.”<br />

Too often, Ditewig claimed, the diaconate<br />

is treated like an apprenticeship, dismissing<br />

the sacramental grace specific to a deacon<br />

and instead treating it as “on-the-job<br />

training.” Referring to seminarian deacons as<br />

“transitional” and other deacons as “permanent,”<br />

makes the problem worse, Ditewig<br />

argued.<br />

“To think of the diaconate as a temporary<br />

stop on the road to somewhere else minimizes<br />

the sacramental significance of where one<br />

is already,” he wrote.<br />

A homeboy’s high honor — President Joe Biden presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to LA’s<br />

Father Greg Boyle, SJ, during a ceremony at the White House <strong>May</strong> 3. The 69-year-old alumnus of Loyola<br />

High School established Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles in 1992 to improve the lives of former gang<br />

members. The other Catholic honorees were former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (left), retired Sen.<br />

John Kerry, Olympian swimmer Katie Ledecky, and longtime TV commentator Phil Donahue. | OSV<br />


■ Catholic<br />

Answers’ AI<br />

priest gets<br />

faculties revoked<br />

An artificial intelligence<br />

(AI) avatar of a Catholic<br />

priest created by popular<br />

apologetics website Catholic<br />

Answers didn’t last<br />

very long in ministry.<br />

A screenshot of “Father Justin.” | CATHOLIC ANSWERS<br />

“Father Justin,” a<br />

3D-animated parish priest who would answer questions about<br />

Catholicism, quickly averaged some 1,000 interactions an hour<br />

after launching April 22. But concerning stories started to emerge,<br />

like reports that he was claiming to be a real priest from Assisi, and<br />

appearing to hear confession and offer absolution.<br />

Two days later, Catholic Answers pulled the plug, announcing<br />

that they would work on a new AI lay apologist named “Justin.”<br />

“We chose the character to convey a quality of knowledge and<br />

authority, and also as a sign of the respect that all of us at Catholic<br />

Answers hold for our clergy,” said the organization’s president,<br />

Christopher Check. “Many people, however, have voiced concerns<br />

about this choice.”<br />

■ Miami archbishop slams Biden,<br />

DeSantis on Haiti policy<br />

Miami’s archbishop slammed both President Joe Biden<br />

and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for their approach to<br />

the Haitian migrant crisis.<br />

“What President Biden has done is unconscionable<br />

when you think of the fact that he’s deported over<br />

28,000 Haitians back to Haiti in the last three years, at<br />

a time when Haiti has been in a political, social, and<br />

economic free fall,” Archbishop Thomas Wenski told<br />

Catholic <strong>News</strong> Agency April 29. “If a house is on fire,<br />

you don’t force people to run back into the burning<br />

house.”<br />

After months of unrest, gangs now control Haiti’s<br />

capital city and prime minister Ariel Henry resigned last<br />

month after two months in exile. Despite an estimated<br />

2,500 Haitians being killed or injured in the first quarter<br />

of <strong>2024</strong>, the U.S. resumed deportation of illegal Haitian<br />

migrants in April.<br />

Wenski also criticized DeSantis for deploying state<br />

troops throughout South Florida to “stop the potential<br />

influx of illegal immigration” from Haiti.<br />

“They are speaking about them as if they were an invasive<br />

species, [when] they’re human beings,” said Wenski.<br />

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

LOCAL<br />

Processing for prevention — Parishioners at St. John the Evangelist Church in South LA processed<br />

through the neighborhood with a statue of the Virgin Mary to raise awareness for April’s Child Abuse<br />

Prevention Month. Following the procession, first Communion and confirmation students at the parish<br />

formed into a circle to lead a rosary in the church parking lot. | ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST<br />

■ Free delivery: Prayer<br />

petitions for Guadalupe<br />

pilgrimage<br />

LA Catholics can submit prayer petitions<br />

to be blessed and offered before the tilma<br />

image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.<br />

This year’s archdiocesan pilgrimage to<br />

the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in<br />

Mexico City will take place July 4-9, with a<br />

special Mass celebrated by Archbishop José<br />

H. Gomez at the basilica July 5.<br />

Petitions will be collected at the Chapel of<br />

the Relic of the Tilma of St. Juan Diego inside<br />

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

through Father’s Day, June 16. Faithful can<br />

also submit prayer petitions online that will<br />

be printed out and taken to the basilica.<br />

Prayer petitions will be blessed and placed<br />

on the altar during the Mass on July 5.<br />

Add a petition or join a pilgrimage group at<br />

lacatholics.org/pilgrimage.<br />

■ LA kicks off Popeinspired<br />

‘ball of rags’<br />

program<br />

Local high school students gathered<br />

at <strong>No</strong>rwalk Youth Center Park for<br />

Scholas Occurrentes’ inaugural Pelota<br />

de Trapo (“Ball of Rags”) event on<br />

<strong>May</strong> 4-5.<br />

The event, created by the Los Angeles<br />

chapter of Scholas Occurrentes<br />

— a program created by Pope Francis<br />

to bring together young people of<br />

different backgrounds — assembled<br />

students to foster teamwork and outside-the-box<br />

thinking.<br />

On the first day, students were required<br />

to create and play recreational<br />

games from recycled materials, similar<br />

to the ball of rags that Pope Francis<br />

used as a soccer ball growing up. The<br />

second day was focused on service, as<br />

students led sports and recreational<br />

workshops for children and families in<br />

the community.<br />

Additionally, Bridget Nunez, a sophomore<br />

at Sacred Heart High School<br />

in Los Angeles, was chosen to go to<br />

Rome at the end of <strong>May</strong> to be part of<br />

a Scholas educational summit with<br />

Pope Francis.<br />

■ Serra’s ‘Space Team’ recognized in Sacramento<br />

Members of Junipero Serra High School in Gardena’s National Society of Black<br />

Engineers Space Team were honored April 22 by the California State Assembly<br />

at the State Capitol.<br />

The students were recognized for their ground-breaking engineering work,<br />

which most recently involved NASA’s International Space Station Program. The<br />

students engineered experiments that would be sent into orbit, analyzed, and<br />

studied for potential future uses.<br />

In 2023, the team sent into space an experiment involving getting a seed to germinate<br />

and grow, while in <strong>2024</strong> the project examined the different properties of<br />

3D printing<br />

in microgravity.<br />

Serra students<br />

are also<br />

participating<br />

in SpaceX’s<br />

XPrize science<br />

competition,<br />

where<br />

its experiment<br />

involves<br />

carbon<br />

capture and<br />

storage. Serra<br />

High said<br />

they are only<br />

the third high<br />

school in the<br />

world invited<br />

to participate.<br />

Serra’s Space Team honorees pose with State Sen. Steven Bradford inside the Senate Chamber<br />

in Sacramento. | STATEHOUSE STAFF<br />

Y<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

V<br />


Letters to the Editor<br />

Time to tell the truth about ‘the pill’<br />

Katie Breckenridge’s essay about the medical dangers of the contraceptive<br />

pill in the <strong>May</strong> 3 issue track with issues I’ve seen in young women for<br />

years.<br />

<strong>No</strong>w, my young adult granddaughter tells me that her friends are going off the<br />

pill, after experiencing weight gain and severe emotional instability. Some resent<br />

their mothers for recommending the pill for menstrual irregularities and acne.<br />

As a doctor, I warned my daughters that its dangers included risk of stroke, emotional<br />

disturbance, and even possibly difficulties with fertility in the future.<br />

As a Catholic, I’m happy that my daughters understand that the pill only interferes<br />

between a man and his wife when it comes to establishing a happy marriage.<br />

— Dr. Graciela C. Pozo, Miami, Florida<br />

Another story to make me grateful for being Catholic<br />

I got choked up reading the beautiful article by Theresa Cisneros about the<br />

reunification of families split across the U.S.-Mexico border.<br />

Imagine not seeing your Mom or your child for 20 years or more! It was truly<br />

heartwarming the way community and church organizations helped the parents in<br />

making the 2,500-mile journey to reunite with their families, in time to celebrate<br />

the Resurrection together on Easter this year.<br />

I was especially touched by the way my fellow Catholics were so committed to<br />

this compassionate project. Every day I find another reason to thank God that I’m<br />

Catholic.<br />

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

Y<br />

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

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

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

Co-producers with the pope<br />

“The church has<br />

buried every one of her<br />

undertakers.”<br />

~ Father Scott Emerson, pastor at St. Maria Goretti<br />

Church in Wisconsin, in an April 30 Associated<br />

Press article on the Catholic Church in the U.S.<br />

shifting more conservative.<br />

“The secular story — the<br />

godless story — ends up<br />

being too sad to want to<br />

continue the human race.”<br />

~ Timothy Carney, author and senior fellow at the<br />

American Enterprise Institute, in a <strong>May</strong> 3 National<br />

Catholic Register article on what is causing the<br />

fertility crisis in the U.S.<br />

“They didn’t throw me a<br />

going away party.”<br />

~ Mother Marla Marie, foundress of the Maronite<br />

Servants of Christ the Light, in a <strong>May</strong> 4 Catholic<br />

<strong>News</strong> Agency article on her journey from the<br />

Washington Post to becoming a nun.<br />

“Church is a village — what<br />

modern motherhood tries<br />

to make up for with gadgets<br />

and money and apps.”<br />

~ Kailyn McCord, in an April 26 The Cut essay on<br />

seeking salvation from postpartum anxiety.<br />

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles helped produce this month’s “Pope Video” for Pope Francis’ prayer intention for<br />

<strong>May</strong>, which focused on the formation of men and women religious, and seminarians. The video includes Pope<br />

Francis speaking about the importance of religious formation, with visuals featuring archdiocesan priests, religious<br />

sisters, and seminarians participating in ministry and community life. Watch the video at thepopevideo.org. |<br />


To view this video<br />

and others, visit<br />

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

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

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

“But I’m pretty friendly. I’m<br />

Texan, after all!”<br />

~ Father Clinton Ressler, a priest in Texas City,<br />

Texas, in a <strong>May</strong> 2 Religion <strong>News</strong> Service article<br />

on meeting with Pope Francis at the International<br />

Meeting of Parish Priests.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 7

IN EXILE<br />


Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronrolheiser.com<br />

Who are our real faith companions?<br />

I<br />

work and move within church circles<br />

and find that most of the people<br />

there are honest, committed,<br />

and for the most part radiate their faith<br />

positively. Most churchgoers aren’t<br />

hypocrites. What I do find disturbing<br />

in church circles though is that many<br />

of us can be bitter, mean-spirited, and<br />

judgmental in terms of defending the<br />

very values that we hold most dear.<br />

It was Henri <strong>No</strong>uwen who first<br />

highlighted this, commenting with<br />

sadness that many of the bitter and<br />

ideologically driven people he knew,<br />

he had met inside of church circles<br />

and places of ministry. Within church<br />

circles, it sometimes seems, almost<br />

everyone is angry about something.<br />

Moreover, within church circles, it<br />

is all too easy to rationalize that in<br />

the name of prophecy, as a righteous<br />

passion for truth and morals.<br />

The algebra works this way: Because<br />

I am sincerely concerned about an<br />

important moral, ecclesial, or justice<br />

issue, I can excuse a certain amount<br />

of anger, elitism, and negative judgment,<br />

because I can rationalize that<br />

my cause, dogmatic or moral, is so<br />

important that it justifies my mean<br />

spirit, that is, I have a right to be cold<br />

and harsh because this is such an<br />

important truth.<br />

And so we justify a mean spirit by giving<br />

it a prophetic cloak, believing that<br />

we are warriors for God, truth, and<br />

morals when, in fact, we are struggling<br />

equally with our own wounds, insecurities,<br />

and fears. Hence we often look<br />

at others, even whole churches made<br />

up of sincere persons trying to live the<br />

gospel, and instead of seeing brothers<br />

and sisters struggling, like us, to follow<br />

Jesus, we see “people in error,” “dangerous<br />

relativists,” “New Age pagans,”<br />

“religious flakes,” and in our more<br />

generous moments, “poor misguided<br />

souls.” But seldom do we look at what<br />

this kind of judgment is saying about<br />

us, about our own health of soul and<br />

our own following of Jesus.<br />

Don’t get me wrong: Truth is not<br />

relative, moral issues are important,<br />

and right truth and proper morals,<br />

like all kingdoms, are under perpetual<br />

siege and need to be defended. <strong>No</strong>t<br />

all moral judgments are created equal,<br />

and neither are all churches.<br />

But the truth of that doesn’t override<br />

everything else and give us an excuse<br />

to rationalize a mean spirit. We must<br />

defend truth, defend those who cannot<br />

defend themselves, and be faithful<br />

in the traditions of our own churches.<br />

However, right truth and right morals<br />

don’t all alone make us disciples of<br />

Jesus. What does?<br />

What makes us genuine disciples<br />

of Jesus is living inside his Spirit, the<br />

Holy Spirit, and this is not something<br />

abstract and vague. If one were searching<br />

for a single formula to determine<br />

who is Christian and who isn’t, one<br />

might look at the Epistle to the Galatians,<br />

Chapter 5. In it, St. Paul tells us<br />

that we can live according to either the<br />

spirit of the flesh or of the Holy Spirit.<br />

We live according to the spirit of<br />

the flesh when we live in bitterness,<br />

judgment of our neighbor, factionalism,<br />

and nonforgiveness. When<br />

these things characterize our lives, we<br />

shouldn’t delude ourselves and think<br />

that we are living inside of the Holy<br />

Spirit.<br />

Conversely, we live inside of the<br />

Holy Spirit when our lives are characterized<br />

by charity, joy, peace, patience,<br />

goodness, longsuffering, constancy,<br />

faith, gentleness, and chastity. If these<br />

do not characterize our lives, we<br />

should not nurse the illusion that we<br />

are inside of God’s Spirit, irrespective<br />

of our passion for truth, dogma, or<br />

justice.<br />

This may be a cruel thing to say,<br />

and perhaps more cruel not to say,<br />

but I sometimes see more charity,<br />

joy, peace, patience, goodness, and<br />

gentleness among persons who are<br />

Unitarian or New Age (people who<br />

are often judged by other churches as<br />

being wishy-washy and as not standing<br />

for anything) than I see among those<br />

of us who do stand so strongly for certain<br />

ecclesial and moral issues that we<br />

become mean-spirited and noncharitable<br />

inside of those convictions.<br />

Given the choice of whom I’d like<br />

as a neighbor or, more deeply, the<br />

choice of whom I might want to spend<br />

eternity with, I am sometimes conflicted<br />

about the choice. Who is my real<br />

faith companion? The mean-spirited<br />

zealot at war for Jesus or cause, or the<br />

gentler soul who is branded wishywashy<br />

or New Age? At the end of the<br />

day, who is living more inside the<br />

Holy Spirit?<br />

We need, I believe, to be more<br />

self-critical vis-a-vis our anger, harsh<br />

judgments, mean spirit, exclusiveness,<br />

and disdain for other ecclesial and<br />

moral paths. As T.S. Eliot once said:<br />

“The last temptation is the greatest<br />

treason: To do the right deed for the<br />

wrong reason.” We may have truth<br />

and right morals on our side, but our<br />

anger and harsh judgments toward<br />

those who don’t share our truth and<br />

morals may well have us standing outside<br />

the Father’s house, like the older<br />

brother of the prodigal son, bitter both<br />

at God’s mercy and at those who are,<br />

seemingly without merit, receiving it.<br />

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



San Miguel Catholic School students<br />

Xaribel G. and Andres R. do<br />

classwork after reading as part of a<br />

new program designed to help kids<br />

improve in reading and math.<br />

A new, hands-on learning initiative is showing fast results for<br />

Catholic school kids in some of LA’s most disadvantaged areas.<br />


At the start of the school year last fall, the group of kids<br />

who’d transferred from nearby public elementary<br />

schools to Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Oxnard<br />

were still learning English, and couldn’t read or identify<br />

certain letter sounds.<br />

But a few months later, something had changed. After 90<br />

days of personalized instruction, the students now know letter<br />

sounds, can read full sentences, and have a higher level of<br />

fluency.<br />

Such turnaround stories are the goal of Solidarity Schools,<br />

a three-year initiative aimed at helping students in disadvantaged<br />

areas with limited proficiency in English perform at or<br />

above grade level in reading and math.<br />

Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of 18 elementary schools in<br />

the Archdiocese of LA participating in the initiative, which is<br />

also present at six Catholic high schools in the archdiocese.<br />

It uses a common curriculum, intervention programs, and<br />

professional development to create a “culture of literacy” at<br />

<strong>10</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

Izabel Duenas teaches the<br />

youngest students at San Miguel<br />

Catholic School in her transitional<br />

kindergarten class.<br />

schools where literacy doesn’t always come so easily.<br />

Our Lady of Guadalupe principal Lionel Garcia said he’s<br />

seen students in the program become more confident, more<br />

involved on campus, and more enthusiastic about reading.<br />

“It’s huge for the community, especially for marginalized<br />

communities, because it<br />

provides accessibility and<br />

resources that support all<br />

types of learners,” he said.<br />

“For a principal, it’s honestly<br />

a great initiative. And it<br />

works.”<br />

The Solidarity Schools<br />

program serves more<br />

than 4,000 students and<br />

is being launched with<br />

more than $2 million in<br />

support from the archdiocese<br />

and donors, said Paul<br />

Escala, senior director and<br />

superintendent of Catholic<br />

schools.<br />

The initiative was born<br />

after Escala’s team discovered<br />

that at many archdiocese<br />

schools, 70% or more of students were performing<br />

below grade level in reading coming out of the COVID-19<br />

pandemic.<br />

They also noticed a pattern: Many of those underperforming<br />

students came from chronically impoverished backgrounds,<br />

and in many cases, their schools lacked<br />

the proper resources to help.<br />

To launch the program, the Department of<br />

Catholic Schools (DCS) started looking for<br />

funding and identified schools that had experienced<br />

three or more years of below-grade-level<br />

performance in reading.<br />

“Christ teaches us that we must find the lost<br />

sheep and bring them back to the flock,” said<br />

Robert Tagorda, chief academic officer. “That’s<br />

what this initiative represents for us. We’re doing<br />

it in a way that targets the academic needs of<br />

these students.”<br />

First-grade teacher<br />

Carmen Arreola offers<br />

some extra support for<br />

her student, Karla M.<br />

The Solidarity Schools<br />

program is being rolled out<br />

over three years.<br />

At the high school level,<br />

the program is focused on<br />

boosting math proficiency<br />

this year. At elementary schools, it’s mostly<br />

focused on implementing Success for All (SFA),<br />

a literacy program that provides phonics-based<br />

language arts curriculum, coaching, and professional<br />

development.<br />

Each week, members of the DCS team<br />

overseeing the program’s rollout visit schools to<br />

provide feedback, review results, and organize<br />

materials.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 11

“The work that we’re doing with these<br />

schools really speaks to what our faith calls us<br />

to do,” said Gina Aguilar, Ph.D., managing<br />

director of the DCS Academic Excellence<br />

team. “To journey together, and support our<br />

students, and help them become who God<br />

called them to be.”<br />

For elementary students, the program<br />

emphasizes letting students learn at their own<br />

pace while continuously challenging them,<br />

even as their literacy skills improve.<br />

Christian C., a fifth-grader at San Miguel<br />

Catholic School in Watts, said he’s learned<br />

new words this year through SFA that are<br />

strengthening his vocabulary and reading<br />

comprehension skills.<br />

“<strong>No</strong>w I can use bigger words, longer words to<br />

make better sentences,” he said.<br />

Valery R., also a fifth-grader at San Miguel,<br />

said that while her reading scores have always<br />

been solid, SFA challenges her to achieve<br />

even higher.<br />

“I feel like SFA is just a great way to impact<br />

and expand our reading level,” she said.<br />

In the program’s second year, students will<br />

also get help with math, as well as continued<br />

literacy support.<br />

In the third year, the department will focus<br />

on making the program permanent at the<br />

schools before tapering off its daily support.<br />

Its supporters say Solidarity Schools goes<br />

beyond academic growth in the classroom:<br />

By targeting attendance, behavior, and parent<br />

and family involvement, it also gives valuable<br />

skills to help break the cycle of poverty in which some of their<br />

families live.<br />

At least two-thirds of Solidarity School participants come<br />

from low-income backgrounds, and 94% are Black or Latino,<br />

according to DCS.<br />

Many live in historically underserved communities, where<br />

access to quality housing, health care, and other services<br />

critical to families’ stability are limited, Tagorda said.<br />

Many also come from families still reeling financially from<br />

the COVID-19 pandemic, which can create instability at<br />

home and detract from student performance, he added.<br />

So far, testing data shows that Solidarity Schools students are<br />

making “huge” gains in literacy, Aguilar said. In just the first<br />

three months of the program, the percentage of participants<br />

reading at or above grade level increased by eight points.<br />

Studies also show that the number of elementary students<br />

needing “urgent intervention” is down and schools are meeting<br />

the program’s implementation goals.<br />

At St. Malachy School in South LA, Rosio Orozco — who<br />

serves as both the principal and a full-time fifth-grade teacher<br />

— said the school has seen major improvements in student<br />

behavior and achievement since joining the program.<br />

Orozco said she’s changed her classroom management<br />

style after participating in the program. Instead of “hovering”<br />

over students to ensure they stay on task, she’s now able to let<br />

San Miguel Catholic School student<br />

Keeban M. reads quietly in<br />

class. Supporters of the Solidarity<br />

Schools program have said it<br />

not only helps students in the<br />

classroom, but at home as well.<br />

them set their own learning routine.<br />

“There’s no need for reminders anymore because they are<br />

so involved in it and understand how the process works,” said<br />

Orozco, who’s been teaching for more than 25 years. “That<br />

allows me to take a step back and just see everything come<br />

alive on its own.”<br />

At San Miguel, Maryann Davis, principal, said she’s also<br />

noticed that students are more excited about reading.<br />

“It’s become a community where everybody’s looking out<br />

for each other,” she said. “The students are being responsible<br />

for each other because they care about each other. They’re<br />

working in teams and they want their team to be successful.”<br />

Looking toward the future, Escala said the department has<br />

already been contacted by other schools interested in seeking<br />

to join the Solidarity Schools program.<br />

Escala said he hopes the program grows, because the more<br />

students that are reached, the more lives can be changed.<br />

“In my heart, I believe that this is where our job is as a<br />

church, as a ministry,” he said. “Ending the cycle of poverty<br />

for many children by unlocking the door of literacy is going<br />

to be the biggest upside of this project.”<br />

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

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

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

her husband and four children.<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 13


Ten years after his canonization, local<br />

Polish Catholics remembered the pope<br />

who changed their lives.<br />

An image of St. Pope John Paul II looks<br />

down from the altar during a special<br />

Mass event on April 28 celebrating the<br />

<strong>10</strong>th anniversary of the former pope’s<br />

canonization. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />


When the relic of St. Pope John<br />

Paul II touched his head,<br />

Andrew Lelonek felt like a<br />

new man.<br />

“I feel rejuvenated,” said a beaming<br />

Lelonek, a parishioner at St. Mary<br />

Magdalen Church in Camarillo. “I<br />

leave with hope for the things I pray<br />

for, hope for miraculous change.”<br />

The memorable moment came during<br />

a special Mass and celebration April<br />

28 at Our Lady of the Bright Mount<br />

Church in LA’s West Adams neighborhood<br />

marking the <strong>10</strong>th anniversary of<br />

the Polish pope’s canonization.<br />

Bright Mount also serves as the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles’ official shrine<br />

to John Paul, and its only Polish parish.<br />

Regional dean Father Luis Espinoza,<br />

pastor of nearby St. Agnes Church,<br />

presided the Mass offered in English,<br />

Spanish, and Polish.<br />

In his homily, Bright Mount pastor<br />

Father Miroslaw “Mirek” Frankowski,<br />

S.Ch., reflected on how the relatively<br />

unknown Polish churchman — who<br />

visited Bright Mount during a trip to<br />

LA in 1976 — went on to become a<br />

global force for good during his 27-year<br />

reign.<br />

“Pope John Paul II changed the whole<br />

world,” Frankowski said. “He was not<br />

afraid to go to the places where people<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

were oppressed and suffering because<br />

of political conflicts or wars.<br />

“He tried to reach every heart and<br />

every soul of all peoples with his compassion,<br />

love, and mercy.”<br />

The celebration began with the<br />

Divine Mercy chaplet, a devotion<br />

originated by Polish mystic St. Faustina<br />

Kowalska and made popular by John<br />

Paul’s establishment of Divine Mercy<br />

Sunday. During the recitation, parishioners<br />

asked for God’s grace and the<br />

faith to trust in Jesus.<br />

“Jesus, I trust in you; this is my prayer<br />

every day,” said Boguslawa Doerr, who<br />

heads the Los Angeles chapter of the<br />

John Paul II Foundation. “It makes me<br />

stronger. St. John Paul II gave us this.<br />

He has been a huge influence on my<br />

life.”<br />

John Paul was officially canonized<br />

by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014, on<br />

Divine Mercy Sunday. He was found<br />

eligible for sainthood after being credited<br />

with two miracles that happened<br />

after his death on April 2, 2005.<br />

Frankowski told parishioners their<br />

beloved intercessor healed thousands<br />

more, including one man sitting in the<br />

pews whose story was so compelling it<br />

was submitted to the Vatican.<br />

In the early 2000s, Michael Mietek<br />

Dutkowski was suffering from multiple<br />

health conditions, including liver<br />

failure. He says parishioners from Our<br />

Lady of the Bright Mount and the St.<br />

John Paul II Polish Center in Yorba<br />

Linda began praying for his recovery<br />

through the intercession of John Paul.<br />

“Prayers were answered, I was healed,”<br />

Dutkowski said. “My documents with<br />

medical history were delivered to the<br />

Vatican by the president of the John<br />

Paul II Foundation and included in the<br />

process of the beatification … [but] I<br />

believe he was a saint while alive.”<br />

In addition to individual blessings with<br />

the first-class relic of John Paul’s hair,<br />

worshippers were invited to kneel and<br />

pray where the saint once sat. In 1976,<br />

then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla visited the<br />

parish, stayed overnight in the rectory,<br />

then celebrated Mass.<br />

Several parishioners remember that<br />

day with awe. Andrew Goska was only<br />

<strong>10</strong> years old at the time but sensed<br />

something special about the man and<br />

the moment.<br />

“The way he spoke to people, it was<br />

like the Holy Spirit was present,” said<br />

Goska, a parishioner at Our Lady of the<br />

Bright Mount. “I feel [my faith] has a<br />

lot to do with him being there shaking<br />

our hands and touching our souls. It<br />

was very powerful.”<br />

Casey Habrat was also at this acclaimed<br />

Mass. He remembers the<br />

cardinal trying to connect with every<br />

person, a trait he carried into his<br />

papacy.<br />

“What I really respect about him is<br />

that he took the Vatican out of the Vatican,”<br />

said Habrat, a parishioner at Our<br />

Lady of the Bright Mount. “He went<br />

out where the people were and didn’t<br />

wait for them to come to him.”<br />

Most of the Mass-goers seemed to<br />

have a personal story about John Paul,<br />

including Father Frankowski. The Polish<br />

native said when he was discerning<br />

the priesthood, he prayed for a sign and<br />

got one through a dream.<br />

“There’s Pope John Paul II sitting in<br />

the main chair of the sanctuary of the<br />

church,” Frankowski recalled. “My<br />

Mom says, ‘Well, Mirek, go and serve<br />

the pope.’ When I woke up, I knew<br />

what I had to do and I entered seminary.”<br />

Admiration for John Paul and Polish<br />

culture was evident throughout the<br />

Mass. Father Espinoza wore a vestment<br />

bearing John Paul’s face while some<br />

parishioners opted for classic folk attire.<br />

Chris Grzelecki, in a dark wool vest<br />

and colorful striped pants, helped bring<br />

the gifts to the altar.<br />

“I came here for tradition, a lot of<br />

tradition,” said Grzelecki, a parishioner<br />

at Our Lady of the Bright Mount. “Yet<br />

it was nice to see so many different<br />

nationalities come together and share a<br />

reverence for Pope John Paul.”<br />

Following Mass, attendees enjoyed a<br />

reception that included kielbasa, pierogies,<br />

stuffed cabbage, and further reminiscing<br />

about John Paul. Frankowski<br />

hopes the saint’s lessons are remembered<br />

in these times of global peril.<br />

“His legacy is the same as Jesus<br />

Christ,” Frankowski said. “He taught<br />

us to love one another, respect one<br />

another, and respect the freedom of all<br />

people.”<br />

Father Miroslaw “Mirek” Frankowski, S.Ch., left, pastor at Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church, and Father Luis<br />

Espinoza look on as a parishioner kisses the relic of John Paul. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

Natalie Romano is a freelance writer<br />

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

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

San Bernardino.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 15

LOST AND<br />

FOUND<br />

What’s behind this year’s apparent spike<br />

in adult baptisms around the country?<br />


Archbishop José H. Gomez with the adult catechumens<br />

and candidates welcomed into the Catholic Church<br />

at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels March 29. | ARCHDIOCESE OF LA<br />

At the Easter Vigil last month in the Cathedral of Our<br />

Lady of the Angels, 66-year-old Michael Cardona was<br />

received into the Catholic Church after a spiritual<br />

journey that included two Protestant baptisms and 30 years as<br />

a Hindu guru.<br />

“I was lost,” said Cardona, who identifies with the prodigal<br />

son. He had significant health problems and sensed the Holy<br />

Spirit urging him not to delay.<br />

“I had to make sure that I at least got the Eucharist one time<br />

before I die,” he said.<br />

He joined a surge of adults who entered the Church nationwide<br />

this Easter. Baptisms of adults, older children, and teens<br />

hit an all-time high in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with<br />

2,075 — an increase of 38% over the 2016 record. Cardona<br />

was among 1,521 candidates received after baptism in other<br />

Christian traditions, bringing the total to 3,696.<br />

National numbers are unavailable, but many individual<br />

dioceses reported dramatic increases. The Archdiocese of<br />

Baltimore rose more than a third to 663. The 2,364 converts<br />

in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston marked the first<br />

total above 2,000 since 2019. Increases were not confined to<br />

large, urban archdioceses. The Diocese of Yakima in the high<br />

desert of central Washington reported the most converts in its<br />

73-year history, with 460.<br />

Social scientists attribute the increase to pent-up demand<br />

after COVID-19.<br />

Mark Gray crunches sacramental statistics as the senior<br />

research associate at the Center for Applied Research in<br />

the Apostolate (CARA). Pointing to indications that Sunday<br />

Mass attendance is back to pre-COVID levels, he believes<br />

increased conversions reflect that rebound.<br />

During COVID, “a lot of parishes were unable to have<br />

Mass and to celebrate the sacraments. There are people who<br />

would have entered the Church at that time, but couldn’t,”<br />

he said.<br />

Engagement to a Catholic is the most common reason<br />

people enter RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), he<br />

said.<br />

“So not only did you probably have a delay in those marriages,<br />

but it also delayed people being able to go through RCIA.”<br />

Marilyn Santos, associate director of the Secretariat of Evangelization<br />

and Catechesis at the U.S. Conference of Catholic<br />

Bishops, believes that post-COVID catch-up is just one part<br />

of the story.<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

She hears increasing reports of<br />

whole families participating in the<br />

RCIA (which the U.S. bishops now<br />

refer to with a slightly changed<br />

translation: the OCIA, or “Order of<br />

Christian Initiation of Adults.” While<br />

most converts enter the Church at<br />

the Easter Vigil, this new structure<br />

acknowledges that converts could be baptized or welcomed<br />

into the Church at any point in the year, even taking multiple<br />

years before making the final decision. Practically speaking,<br />

parishes will be adjusting to this new term over the next<br />

few years, phasing out the term RCIA and switching over to<br />

the use of the term OCIA.)<br />

Perhaps, she said, part of COVID’s impact was to show the<br />

value of family, faith, and community. She also wonders if<br />

the explosion of devotion to Blessed Carlo Acutis during the<br />

National Eucharistic Revival has played a part, since he led<br />

his own parents into the Church.<br />

“We have heard some incredible stories during the National<br />

Eucharistic Revival of people who have experienced total<br />

conversion because of the revival,” she said.<br />

Regardless of why non-Catholics are attracted to the<br />

Church, “kindness and hospitality mean a lot,” she said. “If<br />

you do something as simple as being welcoming, the rest<br />

will come.”<br />

Just before COVID struck, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles<br />

had committed to upgrading its adult initiation process<br />

with better training for parish leaders. Leticia Perez, now<br />

archdiocesan coordinator for Christian initiation, began<br />

full-time assistance to parish initiation ministries after years<br />

of juggling it with other duties.<br />

During COVID, it was impossible to do RCIA online because<br />

it required liturgical gatherings. However, the sudden<br />

shift to virtual meetings allowed the archdiocese to immediately<br />

involve RCIA leaders from every parish in its extensive<br />

new training. Participants emerged from COVID far more<br />

prepared to lead the initiation of adults, Perez said.<br />

Candidate Sarah Engelman receives her first<br />

holy Communion from Archbishop Gomez at<br />

the Easter Vigil. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

Former Evangelical pastor<br />

and Hindu guru Michael<br />

Cardona with Archbishop<br />

Gomez after entering<br />

the Catholic Church at<br />

Easter this year. | MICHAEL<br />


She believes that’s a key to the record baptisms and receptions<br />

in the LA Archdiocese.<br />

Unlike when she was a parish RCIA leader years ago, “we<br />

have a lot of resources. They can call me and ask questions.<br />

If I don’t know the answer, I can find out.”<br />

A new trend she has recently become aware of is for some<br />

parents to delay their children’s baptism for years, so they<br />

receive all three sacraments through RCIA at age 7 or 8.<br />

She suspects that some parents think it will be too difficult<br />

to prepare adolescents for confirmation.<br />

“I think parents (are concerned) that they<br />

cannot control teenagers to bring them to the<br />

Church,” Perez said. “That is one of the realities.<br />

Another is work, another is convenience.<br />

Or you can have a situation of divorce, where<br />

the child isn’t baptized, or they were raised<br />

in another denomination. So, there are many<br />

different reasons.”<br />

Regardless of why more people became<br />

Catholic this year, it’s a sign that God is at<br />

work, said Santos at the U.S. bishops’ conference.<br />

“The message is that, in spite of the hard times<br />

— that are sometimes by our own fault — God<br />

is bigger,” she said.<br />

Ann Rodgers is a longtime religion reporter<br />

and freelance writer whose awards include the<br />

William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award<br />

from the Religion <strong>News</strong> Association.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>17</strong>

A round-the-world conversion<br />

Michael Cardona, then known<br />

as Madhavananda das Babaji,<br />

was enjoying life as a Hindu<br />

guru in India in 2018, when he sensed<br />

Jesus calling him.<br />

Christ showed him the suffering he<br />

had caused by leading thousands of<br />

Christians to renounce their faith, he<br />

said.<br />

“He told me, you can come back to<br />

me if you go west, leave India as soon<br />

as possible, and help poor, sick, and<br />

homeless people with your own hands.”<br />

Today, Cardona, 66, lives and works in<br />

the Emmanuel Baptist Rescue Mission<br />

on Skid Row in Los Angeles. He entered<br />

the Catholic Church at the <strong>2024</strong><br />

Easter Vigil.<br />

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

Angels, Caterina Krai, the director of<br />

sacramental life, had welcomed him.<br />

She has seen many dramatic journeys<br />

of conversion — from Islam, atheism,<br />

dark occultism, and even a homeless<br />

teenager who faithfully rode his<br />

bicycle to Order of Christian Initiation<br />

of Adults (OCIA) sessions. Cardona<br />

stood out as much for his humility and<br />

graciousness as for his radical change<br />

of faith.<br />

“He was a bright light even when he<br />

was suffering greatly,” she said. “He was<br />

a great example of perseverance, hope,<br />

and God’s merciful love.”<br />

Born near Philadelphia, he was<br />

baptized and raised Methodist. In the<br />

1970s he joined the Jesus Movement.<br />

Baptized again in the Delaware River,<br />

he became an assistant pastor in a<br />

Christian commune in New York City,<br />

where he slept on the floor in imitation<br />

of Jesus.<br />



Stepladders, east vs. west, and a new pool: Why adult baptisms<br />

at San Francisco’s cathedral looked different this Easter.<br />


Initiation into the Catholic faith as an adult involves a<br />

yearslong process of discernment and formation leading<br />

up to one life-changing moment: baptism.<br />

It’s a moment that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San<br />

Francisco believes should be expressed more “forcefully and<br />

convincingly.” So this year, at his cathedral’s Easter Vigil<br />

liturgy, he incorporated some rarely used elements of the rite<br />

of baptism that date back to the first centuries of Christianity.<br />

In a phone interview, Cordileone explained the symbolism<br />

of the changes and shared his thoughts on what’s behind the<br />

apparent rise in adult conversions to Catholicism.<br />

Archbishop, you did baptisms at your Easter Vigil this<br />

year a little differently. What did you change, and why?<br />

The Church has always drawn spiritual lessons from space<br />

and time. The symbolism of east and west, for example, was<br />

part of an ancient practice when Christians being baptized<br />

renounced sin and professed their faith.<br />

First, the catechumens and I stood on the west side of the<br />

baptismal font, with them facing west (toward me) as they<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

Then law enforcement showed up<br />

to investigate the group’s leader for<br />

financial fraud, he said. Disillusioned,<br />

Cardona sought other paths to God, including<br />

the Hare Krishnas and Russian<br />

Orthodox Christianity. He kept moving<br />

east — geographically and spiritually.<br />

Enthralled by encounters with Hindu<br />

gurus, he followed them. As a former<br />

evangelical pastor, his testimony was<br />

in demand. He moved to England,<br />

becoming a globe-trotting guru who<br />

led Christians into Hinduism. He<br />

spent seven years in Hong Kong before<br />

settling in India in 2013.<br />

Five years later, he said, Jesus called<br />

him, showing him his sins so graphically<br />

that Cardona wept for three days<br />

and asked God why he didn’t just let<br />

him die.<br />

He heard a voice in his heart reply,<br />

“It’s because I love you.”<br />

That is when, Cardona said, Jesus told<br />

him to go west and serve the poor.<br />

Back in Pennsylvania, he fell in with<br />

missionaries who lived in a motorhome,<br />

traveling with them across the<br />

south. But when he was sent to meet<br />

their leader in Australia, he realized he<br />

had joined another corrupt ministry.<br />

Flat broke, Cardona contacted a<br />

former Hindu disciple in Hong Kong,<br />

who booked him a flight to Los Angeles.<br />

“I didn’t have a penny in any currency<br />

and a Mexican cleaning lady gave me<br />

bus fare to come downtown so I could<br />

sign up for food stamps,” he said.<br />

A street preacher directed him to the<br />

Emmanuel Baptist Rescue Mission,<br />

which is run by some of its residents.<br />

Cardona served as director until his<br />

health declined.<br />

He began to reread the early Church<br />

Fathers, who he had encountered decades<br />

earlier in Russian Orthodoxy. But<br />

this time he was drawn west. What he<br />

read made him love and trust in Mary<br />

and long for the Eucharist.<br />

“I found myself awash in God’s love<br />

and [Mary’s] sweet love and assurance.<br />

That was when I knew I had to become<br />

Catholic,” he said.<br />

— Ann Rodgers<br />

did the renunciation of sin. The west is the last place where<br />

the light of the sun arrives, so it’s a place of darkness. So,<br />

renouncing sin is renouncing the darkness.<br />

Then I walked to the other side and they turned around<br />

and faced toward the east (toward me) to profess their faith,<br />

because east is the source of light, where the sun rises. The<br />

rising sun symbolizes Christ rising from the dead, dispelling<br />

the darkness of sin and death. The east is also symbolic of<br />

paradise, where God created man and woman. The garden,<br />

located in the east, symbolizes the Christian journey from<br />

this world to the light of God’s kingdom.<br />

Another detail: This year, with help from local communities<br />

of the Neocatechumenal Way, we had an immersion<br />

baptismal font built in front of the regular font at St. Mary’s<br />

Cathedral here in San Francisco. On the sides there are icons<br />

painted in the style of Kiko Argüello, a Spanish artist who<br />

started the Neocatechumenal Way.<br />

So, after professing their faith, the catechumens climbed<br />

a stepladder to enter the baptismal font from the west side.<br />

They went three steps down into the water and were immersed<br />

three times, symbolizing the three days Christ spent<br />

in the tomb. Then they walked three steps back up, symbolizing<br />

their being united with Christ in his resurrection.<br />

St. Cyril of Jerusalem spoke about these signs, telling Christians<br />

that “when you were immersed in the water it was like<br />

night for you and you could not see; but when you rose again<br />

it was like coming into broad daylight. In the same instant<br />

you died and were born again; the saving water was both your<br />

tomb and your mother.”<br />

You had <strong>17</strong> adult baptisms at this year’s vigil. For the sake<br />

of time, why not just pour a little water on their foreheads,<br />

if the sacrament is still valid?<br />

Validity is a pretty low bar to determine how we celebrate<br />

the sacraments. Think of a married couple celebrating their<br />

wedding anniversary: You can take your wife to McDonald’s,<br />

or you can have a special candlelight dinner. They’re both<br />

meals, ways to mark your anniversary. But which one is really<br />

proper to the occasion?<br />

Baptism is the door to all of the other sacraments. Yes, it’s a<br />

lot of heavy lifting to do a baptism by immersion — especially<br />

with the number of adults this year — but it’s very profound.<br />

The meaning of the sacrament is conveyed so much<br />

more forcefully and convincingly.<br />

A couple of my traditionally minded friends were kind of<br />

suspicious about this idea of baptism by immersion. But what<br />

they saw at the Easter Vigil changed their minds, because<br />

they saw what it conveys and that it’s authentically within our<br />

tradition. In fact, we know from his writings that this was how<br />

baptisms were done in St. Cyril’s time.<br />

Your diocese, like many others around the country, saw<br />

a rise in adult baptisms this year. What do you think is<br />

behind it?<br />

A lot of what I hear is anecdotal, but do I know that we’ve<br />

been emphasizing that faith has to be a personal encounter.<br />

I recently had dinner with FOCUS missionaries serving<br />

here at San Francisco State University. And they’ll do things<br />

like play frisbee on the lawn and the students will come over<br />

and talk to them, and are surprised that they are Catholic<br />

missionaries.<br />

I would imagine the whole COVID-19 experience was part<br />

of it, too: People realized that we need in-person community,<br />

that virtual doesn’t work.<br />

I also wonder whether everything going on in society — the<br />

dehumanization, the different ideologies, the role of social<br />

media — kind of aggravates the sense of isolation, which<br />

leads to depression and anxiety. People are realizing that<br />

there must be a better way, and that it goes beyond this idea<br />

of being spiritual but not religious: They realize spirituality<br />

has to be within the context of a community of faith. My gut<br />

feeling is that these things have something to do with it.<br />

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

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 19

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 21


Pope Francis’ decision to sit down with a major U.S.<br />

news network was a statement in itself.<br />


ROME — Sometimes the most<br />

important aspect of a development<br />

isn’t its content, but the<br />

fact it happened at all. For instance,<br />

when a U.S. president throws out the<br />

first pitch at a baseball game, the news<br />

generally leads off with his presence,<br />

not the fact the throw was low and in<br />

the dirt.<br />

One might well apply the same<br />

principle to Pope Francis’ recent<br />

interview with <strong>No</strong>rah O’Donnell of<br />

CBS, excerpts from which aired on the<br />

network’s nightly news April 24, and<br />

the full version of which is set for a “60<br />

Minutes” episode on <strong>May</strong> 19, and then<br />

an hour-long prime time broadcast on<br />

<strong>May</strong> 20.<br />

In many ways, the news is not what he<br />

said, but rather to whom he said it.<br />

Despite the fact that Francis often<br />

seems to be on the “interview a week”<br />

plan, with two new book-length interviews<br />

appearing in just the past month,<br />

this was the first time the pope sat<br />

down with an American news anchor<br />

for an extended exchange.<br />

At the level of content, there was<br />

precious little we haven’t heard before,<br />

at least in the excerpts released by CBS<br />

in April. Francis repeated his calls for a<br />

negotiated peace in both Ukraine and<br />

Gaza, saying negotiations are always<br />

preferable to a “war without end.” He<br />

Pope Francis sits down exclusively with CBS<br />

Evening <strong>News</strong> anchor <strong>No</strong>rah O’Donnell at the<br />

Vatican April 24, for an interview ahead of the Vatican’s<br />

inaugural World Children’s Day. | OSV NEWS/<br />


described, as he often has, his nightly<br />

phone calls to the lone Catholic parish<br />

on the Gaza strip and the hardships<br />

encountered by the people sheltering<br />

there.<br />

As he has on many other occasions,<br />

the pope also criticized climate change<br />

skeptics.<br />

“There are people who are foolish,<br />

and foolish even if you show them<br />

research, they don’t believe it,” he said.<br />

22 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

“Why, because they don’t understand<br />

the situation, or because of their interest,<br />

but climate change exists.”<br />

Also in keeping with previous declarations,<br />

Francis insisted that there’s room<br />

for everybody in the Catholic Church.<br />

“I would say that there is always a<br />

place, always. If in this parish the priest<br />

doesn’t seem welcoming, I understand,<br />

but go and look elsewhere, there is<br />

always a place,” Francis said.<br />

If we put the focus just on the content<br />

of the interview, the raw truth is that<br />

Francis almost didn’t have to be there.<br />

Regulars on the Vatican beat could<br />

have delivered his answers from memory,<br />

virtually word-for-word, so familiar<br />

are they by now.<br />

The fact he said all this to an American<br />

network, however, is still noteworthy<br />

for a couple of reasons.<br />

First, by this stage in his papacy no<br />

one any longer has an accurate count<br />

of all the interviews Francis has given<br />

over the last 11 years. The conventional<br />

tally is “more<br />

than 200,” but that’s<br />

really just a way<br />

of saying it’s a lot.<br />

Francis probably has<br />

done more media<br />

interviews not only<br />

than any previous<br />

pope, but than all<br />

previous popes<br />

combined.<br />

The fact that amid<br />

this flurry of papal<br />

chatter he’d never<br />

agreed to talk to<br />

an American news<br />

anchor, and has<br />

only spoken to a<br />

handful of American<br />

journalists of<br />

any sort, stood out<br />

like a sore thumb,<br />

and has been widely<br />

seen in the press<br />

corps as confirmation<br />

of the pontiff’s<br />

ambivalence about<br />

the United States.<br />

By agreeing to sit<br />

down with CBS,<br />

therefore, the pope<br />

effectively may<br />

have signaled a<br />

normalization of his<br />

relations with America and Americans,<br />

at least as far as the press goes.<br />

Second, Pope Francis showed his<br />

media savvy in the interview as well,<br />

adroitly side-stepping a couple of possible<br />

landmines along the way.<br />

This wasn’t exactly a hard-hitting interview,<br />

in part because the ostensible<br />

subject was the pontiff’s first-ever World<br />

Day of Children set for <strong>May</strong> 25-26 in<br />

Rome. <strong>No</strong>netheless, O’Donnell is a<br />

skilled veteran journalist, and for at<br />

least a couple of points she gave Francis<br />

the opportunity to make some waves.<br />

On Gaza, for instance, here was<br />

O’Donnell’s question: “There are now<br />

pictures of starving children coming<br />

out of Gaza. What about those who<br />

call this a genocide?”<br />

It’s important to recall that in <strong>No</strong>vember,<br />

a mini-tempest erupted when a<br />

group of Palestinians who had a private<br />

meeting with the pope claimed Francis<br />

had called the Israeli incursion in Gaza<br />

a “genocide.” A Vatican spokesman<br />

issued a mild denial but the Palestinians<br />

insisted, so in effect O’Donnell was<br />

offering Francis a chance to settle the<br />

confusion.<br />

He didn’t bite.<br />

Instead, the pope simply paused,<br />

repeated the word “genocide” as if<br />

to acknowledge that he’d heard the<br />

question, and then began discussing his<br />

nightly calls to Gaza. In so doing, he<br />

emphasized the suffering going on, but<br />

avoided getting drawn into the genocide<br />

debate.<br />

At another point, O’Donnell asked<br />

Francis, “Do you have a message<br />

for Vladimir Putin when it comes to<br />

Ukraine?”<br />

The pontiff has faced criticism since<br />

the outbreak of the war two years ago<br />

for his unwillingness to directly condemn<br />

Putin’s aggression, and has occasionally<br />

irked Ukrainians by describing<br />

Putin instead as a man of culture with<br />

whom one can dialogue.<br />

O’Donnell was giving him a chance<br />

to take Putin on, but<br />

once again the pope<br />

Palestinian <strong>No</strong>zha Awad<br />

flees Al Shifa Hospital<br />

with her malnourished<br />

triplet children following<br />

an Israeli raid, moving<br />

southward in the central<br />

Gaza Strip March 21. |<br />



demurred.<br />

“Please, in countries<br />

at war, all of<br />

them, stop the war<br />

… look to negotiate,<br />

look for peace,” the<br />

pope said, clearly<br />

unwilling to put the<br />

focus specifically on<br />

Putin or Russia.<br />

The bottom line<br />

from his sit-down<br />

with CBS, therefore,<br />

is that we saw<br />

a pope seemingly<br />

wanting to improve<br />

his relations with<br />

Americans, especially<br />

the American media,<br />

without creating<br />

new headaches with<br />

anyone else.<br />

We’ll know for<br />

sure in <strong>May</strong> how<br />

well he succeeded,<br />

when the full<br />

interview airs, but<br />

early returns seem<br />

promising.<br />

John L. Allen Jr. is<br />

the editor of Crux.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 23



Protesters gather at the University of California<br />

Los Angeles <strong>May</strong> 1 to demonstrate<br />

against Israel’s ongoing military offensive<br />

on the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in<br />

response to the Oct. 7, 2023, attacks on<br />

Israel by Hamas that resulted in kidnappings<br />

and hundreds of deaths. | OSV NEWS/<br />


A retired LMU<br />

professor and<br />

longtime peace activist<br />

offers perspective<br />

on the pro-Palestine<br />

campus protests<br />

sweeping the country.<br />


What are we to make of the<br />

widespread pro-Palestine<br />

campus protests across the<br />

country?<br />

Here in Southern California, their<br />

epicenter has been at UCLA and<br />

USC, and counter-protests have led<br />

to violence. <strong>May</strong>or Karen Bass and<br />

Gov. Gavin <strong>News</strong>om are calling for<br />

investigations. They’ve even gotten the<br />

attention of leaders in the Holy Land,<br />

where Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa,<br />

the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said<br />

he struggled to understand their logic.<br />

“Universities are places … where<br />

engagement with strong ideas that are<br />

completely different, must be expressed<br />

not with violence, not with boycotts,<br />

but with knowing how to engage,” he<br />

said earlier this month.<br />

Closer to home, one of my friends<br />

thinks that the protests reflect a student<br />

cohort that’s been molded by social media<br />

and that doesn’t really know what<br />

it’s rebelling against. Another friend has<br />

wondered out loud where the students’<br />

money is coming from.<br />

Pundits are also comparing today’s<br />

escalating protests with the student<br />

protests of the Vietnam War era.<br />

Commentators are asking whether<br />

something like the protests that roiled<br />

Chicago’s Democratic Convention<br />

in 1968 will upend the Democratic<br />

Convention of <strong>2024</strong> (also taking place<br />

in Chicago, coincidentally).<br />

Well, I remember 1968. That year,<br />

Providence had led my wife and I to<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

start a Catholic Worker House in Saginaw,<br />

Michigan. Folks came and left.<br />

Some committed, some not. Among<br />

them were members of the Weather<br />

Underground on their way to the Democratic<br />

Convention to “do their thing.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>t long afterward, we read that some<br />

of them managed to blow themselves<br />

up in a basement bomb factory. Violent<br />

protest has a cruel trajectory.<br />

What about <strong>2024</strong>? Sure, there’s plenty<br />

to protest about and grieve for. War<br />

is always a human failure. Hamas<br />

fighters initially killed about 1,200<br />

Israelis, mostly civilians, and took about<br />

250 hostages. Israel, in response, has<br />

reportedly killed more than 34,000<br />

Palestinians in Gaza. Hamas continues<br />

to use civilians as shields. Israel continues<br />

its often indiscriminate attacks.<br />

Indifference in light of these actions is<br />

inexcusable.<br />

To be sure, we need discernment if we<br />

are to judge today’s protests. True discernment<br />

makes use of pivotal criteria.<br />

First, since protest is a means to an<br />

end, the end that protesters seek must<br />

be worthy and clearly stated. Protest is<br />

expressive, but it must be much more.<br />

Second, the means of protest must be<br />

nonviolent. The means are the end,<br />

so to speak, in its coming to be. Terror<br />

becomes tyranny. Third, those who<br />

protest need the personal discipline<br />

without which they cannot succeed.<br />

Without discipline, the end is lost sight<br />

of, and the means become disproportionate.<br />

It’s important to apply these criteria,<br />

and their application calls for prudence,<br />

that is, right reason in acting.<br />

It is a virtue at once intellectual and<br />

moral. So in exercising prudence we<br />

begin with taking counsel; having done<br />

so we take action. Conscience comes<br />

into play. Indeed, conscience as judge<br />

is one’s last best exercise of practical<br />

reason, of informed reason. <strong>No</strong> one can<br />

examine the conscience of another.<br />

Protesters, like the rest of us, must<br />

examine their own.<br />

A thought experiment comes to mind.<br />

Suppose I am having a conversation<br />

with <strong>May</strong>or Bass, Gov. <strong>News</strong>om,<br />

Cardinal Pizzaballa, and some of my<br />

dear and candid friends I referenced<br />

earlier. What would I offer for their<br />

consideration in light of the criteria I<br />

have identified?<br />

To begin with, I would politely tell the<br />

mayor and the governor that investigations<br />

must have their own criteria and<br />

that they should be made public. If<br />

they fail to do so, they lack credibility.<br />

And what would I say to the cardinal?<br />

For (another) start, I would say that<br />

universities are places of engagement,<br />

but equally they are places that ought to<br />

uphold justice and respect human dignity.<br />

Yet here in California, one major<br />

university helps develop the country’s<br />

nuclear weaponry while another<br />

conducts grotesque fetal experimentation.<br />

Students do well to hold them to<br />

account.<br />

As the thought experiment comes<br />

closer to home, what do I say to my<br />

candid friends? Yes, social media shapes<br />

and sometimes deforms students. But<br />

social media also conveys a measure of<br />

self-criticism. It admits to the sinkhole<br />

of excessive screen time, and students<br />

know as much. And, yes, students can<br />

be distressingly inarticulate about their<br />

own rebellion.<br />

But their suffering should be no<br />

surprise when, as happens in postmodernity,<br />

they have grown up in a<br />

culture of the absurd. That leaves my<br />

friend who bids us to follow the money,<br />

the money that props up the student<br />

encampments. But in most cases, there<br />

probably isn’t much money to follow:<br />

In Los Angeles, hundreds — probably<br />

thousands — of students are living out<br />

of their cars (plus, eating ramen in a<br />

tent doesn’t cost more than eating it in<br />

a dorm).<br />

The late<br />

Dorothy Day,<br />

founder of<br />

the Catholic<br />

Worker<br />

movement<br />

and recently<br />

Anti-abortion activist<br />

Joan Andrews Bell<br />

listens during a<br />

news conference<br />

on April 5, 2022, in<br />

Washington, D.C.<br />

She is a member of<br />

the Progressive Anti-Abortion<br />

Uprising<br />

(PAAU) group. |<br />



recognized as “Servant of God” by the<br />

Catholic Church, spoke and wrote<br />

often about personal responsibility.<br />

Reflecting on today’s situation, I<br />

remembered a pertinent exchange we<br />

had in 1968 in which she lamented the<br />

fecklessness of some of my generation.<br />

I wasn’t shy about expounding on, in<br />

her presence, Gandhi’s insistence on<br />

discipline in the practice of satyagraha,<br />

or passive political resistance, and how<br />

demonstrations would achieve nothing<br />

without it.<br />

“You are not Gandhi,” she replied to<br />

me. It was enough to shut me up.<br />

Her point, of course, was not that I was<br />

mistaken about what Gandhi taught.<br />

Rather, it was that I should spend more<br />

time becoming like Gandhi and less<br />

time bewailing the shortcomings of<br />

others. <strong>No</strong>wadays, though, I am most<br />

thankful for a different and living example:<br />

a woman named Joan Andrews<br />

Bell, who today sits in jail for joining a<br />

nonviolent rescue action taken to save<br />

the most vulnerable of us all, preborn<br />

babies scheduled for abortion.<br />

Bell’s was an exemplary protest. Even<br />

in the silence of a cell, her discerning<br />

witness to life speaks clearly: a costly act<br />

for which she pays up personally.<br />

James G. Hanink, Ph.D., taught<br />

philosophy at Loyola Marymount<br />

University for 40 years before retiring in<br />

2015. A parishioner of St. John Chrysostom<br />

Church in Inglewood, he was the<br />

American Solidarity Party’s candidate<br />

for California governor in 2022.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 25



Our immigration disgrace<br />

Orlando, a migrant from Ecuador,<br />

carries 4-year-old Peter as they wade<br />

through the Rio Grande from Mexico<br />

into Eagle Pass, Texas, Oct. 6, 2023. |<br />


The United States has a long<br />

history of embracing successive<br />

waves of immigrants and integrating<br />

them into a varied and colorful<br />

populace with a shared, stable national<br />

identity. We Americans are hugely<br />

proud of being a land of immigrants<br />

— a hospitable, open-hearted country<br />

which has for centuries offered the<br />

hard-working poor and oppressed of<br />

the world a welcoming home with opportunities<br />

to flourish. This is the story<br />

that we tell ourselves, and one that I<br />

believe in, having lived it myself, and<br />

seen so many others live as well.<br />

We are that land, and we should be<br />

proud. But today, I think that this very<br />

legitimate pride risks interfering with<br />

a proper reaction to the humanitarian<br />

disaster which is our southern border.<br />

The correct reaction is horror, accompanied<br />

by a fierce desire to see order<br />

restored. Instead, we tend to equate<br />

an open border with kindness. It is<br />

anything but.<br />

I’m not referring here to the heartlessness<br />

of letting an uncontrolled border<br />

facilitate the flow of fentanyl and other<br />

illicit drugs into our country, a tragedy<br />

that has resulted in more than <strong>10</strong>0,000<br />

deaths each year. <strong>No</strong>r am I referring to<br />

the exposure of Americans, especially<br />

those who live near the border but<br />

increasingly in the rest of the country,<br />

to violence from a criminal element<br />

that moves unconstrained by national<br />

boundaries.<br />

My concern, rather, is with the<br />

unkindness of policies that entice a<br />

growing number of poor and vulner-<br />

able people to make an increasingly<br />

dangerous trek to our southern border.<br />

The journey, which for most starts in<br />

South America, the crossing itself, and<br />

the aftermath, are rife with cruelty and<br />

violence. The victims of the poverty,<br />

corruption, and criminality of their<br />

own countries become victims again<br />

— this time of rape, prostitution, child<br />

labor, and human trafficking.<br />

Recent reporting on the conditions<br />

in the Darien Gap, the 60-mile-wide<br />

dense jungle separating Colombia<br />

and Panama, which most migrants<br />

must cross, describes a tragic situation<br />

comparable to that of war zones.<br />

The Gap’s rough terrain, its frequent<br />

landslides, lack of roads, and drinking<br />

water, scorching heat, insects, venomous<br />

snakes, and crocodiles, are just the<br />

beginning of the migrants’ troubles.<br />

The hordes of economic migrants<br />

(over half a million in 2023, and<br />

expected to be much higher this year<br />

according to Panama’s government)<br />

face much greater perils: The very people<br />

they pay to lead them through the<br />

jungle, their coyotes or traffickers, are<br />

just as likely as not to be members of<br />

the many narcotic and criminal gangs<br />

that roam the Gap, robbing, assaulting,<br />

raping, and killing the migrants with<br />

impunity. Even if the coyotes are not<br />

members of the Gulf Clan, Colombia’s<br />

largest drug cartel and a paramilitary<br />

group, they are certainly incapable<br />

of defending their charges from the<br />

cartel’s depredations.<br />

The stories and statistics are chilling.<br />

The actual number of dead is hard<br />

to know, but is believed to be in the<br />

hundreds per year.<br />

A recent New York Times report<br />

describes victims beaten and robbed of<br />

food, and even baby formula, “leaving<br />

people battered and starving in the for-<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a mother of five<br />

who practices radiology in the Miami area.<br />

est. And the assaults often involve cases<br />

in which dozens of women are violated<br />

in a single event.”<br />

Approximately one-fifth of the migrants<br />

are children, and half of those<br />

are under 5. Hundreds of children<br />

have been orphaned or separated<br />

from parents while going through the<br />

jungle, eventually becoming an “unaccompanied<br />

minor” with all the danger<br />

that entails (for instance, the U.S.<br />

reports losing track of 85,000 of them).<br />

Adults and children who survive the<br />

journey through the jungle are housed<br />

in detention centers in Panama,<br />

waiting to board a bus to the Texas<br />

border, with free passage granted by<br />

the intervening countries. This means,<br />

effectively, that our own southern border<br />

has been outsourced to Panama, as<br />

one Panamanian government official<br />

recently put it.<br />

Arriving in the U.S. traumatized,<br />

robbed, sometimes orphaned or raped,<br />

migrants’ troubles continue. They have<br />

to pay their traffickers and the cartels<br />

they work for, often through labor and<br />

sex slavery. Children are not exempt,<br />

as the Labor Department reports that<br />

child labor cases have risen steeply,<br />

with some jobs being dangerous or brutal.<br />

The children in inadequate foster<br />

care, left with sex traffickers, or simply<br />

“lost” to the system, present nightmarish<br />

possibilities to the imagination.<br />

I cannot blame a single man, woman,<br />

or child living in one of the many<br />

hellscapes of our hemisphere, be it<br />

Haiti, Venezuela, or Cuba, for accepting<br />

the invitation of a disordered U.S.<br />

immigration policy. But if we have sent<br />

a signal that all are welcome — even<br />

as we have no plan to successfully<br />

assimilate them, are not blessed with<br />

infinite resources for them, and have<br />

not talked about how fair this is to vulnerable<br />

Americans — we have made<br />

ourselves responsible for the migrants’<br />

suffering.<br />

Thinking of ourselves as a kindhearted<br />

and openhanded nation may be, at<br />

this point, a huge mistake. The depravity,<br />

violence, and heartbreak that our<br />

policies are driving in the already-miserable<br />

lives of our neighbors make us<br />

downright cruel, no matter how good<br />

our intentions.



Ethan Hawke’s new biopic shows the difficulty<br />

of capturing Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor’s<br />

brilliance on screen.<br />

<strong>May</strong>a Hawke as Flannery<br />

O’Connor in “Wildcat.” |<br />

IMDB<br />


A<br />

big part of what made Flannery<br />

O’Connor stand out as a Catholic<br />

writer was her honesty about<br />

sin — including her own.<br />

“Ideal Christianity doesn’t exist,” she<br />

once wrote to a nun, “because anything<br />

the human being touches, even<br />

Christian truth, he deforms slightly in<br />

his own image.”<br />

O’Connor’s life — and her stories<br />

— form the basis of “Wildcat,” a<br />

long-awaited film directed by Hollywood<br />

actor Ethan Hawke, and written<br />

by Hawke and Shelby Gaines. “Wildcat”<br />

stars Hawke’s daughter <strong>May</strong>a as<br />

O’Connor, and includes performances<br />

from Philip Ettinger as the poet<br />

Robert Lowell and Liam Neeson as a<br />

priest who visits O’Connor’s bedside.<br />

The film, like O’Connor’s stories, is<br />

ambitious. But in attempting to emulate<br />

her ambition, it falls short.<br />

Such a result was perhaps inevitable.<br />

Ethan Hawke’s vision is passionate;<br />

he clearly enjoys and appreciates<br />

O’Connor’s fiction. Yet she was both<br />

a singular and strange talent. Her<br />

strangeness arose from a willingness to<br />

embrace and channel the mystery of<br />

her art, a Catholic vision of the world.<br />

The film depicts a scene at a party<br />

where writers at a dinner table speak<br />

skeptically of the Eucharist, including<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

Elizabeth Hardwick, who dismisses it<br />

as merely a symbol.<br />

O’Connor responds: “Well, if it’s a<br />

symbol, to hell with it.” It’s a great<br />

line, and it affirms O’Connor as a<br />

defender of the faith among secular<br />

intellectuals. Yet the line lands oddly<br />

in the film — and encapsulates one<br />

challenge in adapting O’Connor’s life<br />

for the screen.<br />

In “Wildcat,” the quip about the<br />

symbol is spoken by a Protestant<br />

writer at a party in Iowa City. The<br />

reality is much different. In a December<br />

1955 letter, O’Connor described<br />

the event as a scene. Around 1950,<br />

O’Connor went to dinner with Lowell<br />

and Hardwick, along with Mary<br />

McCarthy, a novelist who grew up<br />

Catholic but left the Church. O’Connor<br />

felt terribly out of place.<br />

“Having me there,” O’Connor recalled,<br />

“was like having a dog present<br />

who had been trained to say a few<br />

words but overcome with inadequacy<br />

had forgotten them.” McCarthy,<br />

in reality, was the one to make the<br />

comment about the Eucharist being<br />

a symbol — the comment having the<br />

sharpness of a Catholic who had left<br />

the faith, and now only appreciated it<br />

for its literary trappings.<br />

This isn’t merely splitting hairs. By<br />

having Hardwick deliver the line<br />

in the film, O’Connor comes off as<br />

a provincial, small-town scold who<br />

corrects a Protestant on a manner of<br />

life in “Wildcat” — including an<br />

implied attraction between her and<br />

Lowell, who is recast in the film as her<br />

professor — distract from the arresting,<br />

central story of her life.<br />

The film is at its best when it creates<br />

sharp, almost hallucinatory moments<br />

that blur O’Connor’s life and her<br />

fiction. O’Connor often wrote about<br />

Christians who skewed religion in<br />

their own interests, including literalists<br />

whose misunderstanding of<br />

Scripture led to prejudice.<br />

That vision comes alive in the film’s<br />

depiction of her story “Parker’s Back,”<br />

a brilliant tale of how a fundamentalist<br />

woman falls for a heavily tattooed,<br />

often acerbic man. In the story, Sarah<br />

Ruth and Obadiah Elihue Parker<br />

make an unlikely couple; she is<br />

attracted to him, but also repelled by<br />

his atheism.<br />

After an accident stirs his fascination<br />

with God, he gets a deeply intricate<br />

tattoo of the face of Christ on his<br />

back. He returns to Sarah Ruth and<br />

takes off his shirt, hoping that she will<br />

recognize his faith and accept him<br />

again, but she reacts violently, screaming<br />

at him that the tattoo is sinful.<br />

Her fundamentalist view causes her<br />

to mistake iconography for idolatry;<br />

in ways both literal and metaphorical,<br />

she is unable to see Christ when he is<br />

right in front of her.<br />

<strong>May</strong>a Hawke’s portrayal of Sarah<br />

Ruth and Rafael Casal’s performance<br />

through her characters; not through a<br />

desire to be like them, but to investigate<br />

the mysteries of this world.<br />

“Wildcat” is marked by an unusual<br />

structure, interspersing real and imagined<br />

moments without transitions,<br />

effectively capturing the drifting and<br />

brilliant mind of a fiction writer. Yet<br />

the challenge of the movie is that it<br />

will make the most sense to those who<br />

already know O’Connor well, and it<br />

will frustrate those same viewers. The<br />

blessing and burden of O’Connor,<br />

perhaps, is that we can never recreate<br />

her short, troubled, and brilliant life.<br />

Her fiction is her best testament.<br />

Nick Ripatrazone is a culture editor<br />

for Image Journal and a high school<br />

literature teacher in New Jersey. He is<br />

the author of the book, “The Habit of<br />

Poetry: The Literary Lives of Nuns in<br />

Mid-century America” (Fortress Press,<br />

$28.99).<br />

Film is always fiction; a movie requires a bending<br />

and flattening of reality. Yet the revisions to<br />

O’Connor’s life in “Wildcat” distract from the<br />

arresting, central story of her life.<br />

doctrine. In reality, O’Connor was<br />

challenging a fellow Catholic to confront<br />

her lost faith. She was affirming<br />

the real presence of Christ.<br />

Film is always fiction; a movie<br />

requires a bending and flattening of<br />

reality. Yet the revisions to O’Connor’s<br />

of Parker show two people falling into<br />

each other in lust and repelling in anger.<br />

Hawke, as director, almost seems<br />

freed in these moments of depicting<br />

literature rather than life. O’Connor<br />

died at 39 from lupus; her existence<br />

was marked by suffering. She lived<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 29



What’s with all the therapy?<br />

Therapy: Why the Kids<br />

Aren’t Growing Up” (Penguin<br />

Random House, $30) “Bad<br />

has become an instant best-seller.<br />

Author Abigail Shrier, an LA-based<br />

investigative journalist, also wrote<br />

“Irreversible Damage: The Transgender<br />

Craze Seducing Our Daughters”<br />

(Regnery, $26). Her new book promises<br />

to be equally controversial.<br />

Basically, says Shrier, the kids aren’t<br />

growing up because — with urgent<br />


encouragement from the pharmaceutical<br />

and mental health industries —<br />

they’ve been hovered over, catered to,<br />

coddled, protected, consulted as to their<br />

preferences, accommodated to within<br />

an inch of their lives, shielded from all<br />

risk, and medicated to the gills since<br />

practically the moment they exited the<br />

womb.<br />

Some of the most privileged human<br />

beings ever born, they’ve been given to<br />

believe they’re “traumatized.” They’re<br />

asked the minute they enter school in<br />

the morning how they “feel.” They’ve<br />

been sent to therapists, given diagnoses,<br />

and labeled special problem people: a<br />

badge they come to wear with honor.<br />

Their entire childhoods they’ve hardly<br />

enjoyed an unsupervised, unplanned,<br />

unscheduled moment. They’re surveilled<br />

at all times by their mothers,<br />

who constantly text, track their whereabouts,<br />

and apprise themselves of the<br />

kids’ daily homework assignments.<br />

If taking a classroom test makes the<br />

kid anxious, they’re allowed to go sit in<br />

a room by themselves. If they don’t like<br />

what’s for dinner, they throw tantrums<br />

and insist on having an alternate meal<br />

prepared. They’re shielded from the<br />

slightest discomfort and praised for the<br />

smallest accomplishment.<br />

When I reported this state of affairs<br />

to a few of my six siblings we howled<br />

with laughter. The idea of turning up<br />

our noses at food — any food — was<br />

ludicrous. “Okay, starve,” we would<br />

have said. “Give it to us.”<br />

We’d bring home straight-A report<br />

cards: “Good for you,” Mom would say.<br />

“I need you to fold the laundry.”<br />

In those long-ago days, we had no<br />

computer games to absorb us. We<br />

arrived home from school, changed our<br />

clothes, and disappeared until supper.<br />

We hung out at a cattail-choked<br />

pond, in which we could easily have<br />

drowned, and caught tadpoles.<br />

We played baseball in the vacant lot<br />

across the street, our knuckles swollen<br />

from catching line drives with our bare<br />

hands.<br />

Our brother Geordie once jumped<br />

off the highest point of the garage roof<br />

clutching a bedsheet he’d hoped would<br />

deploy into a parachute. “I was on an<br />

Evel Knievel kick,” he chuckled. “I<br />

limped around for a few days but I got<br />

over it.”<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

Granted, this was rural New Hampshire<br />

in the ’50s and ’60s, and the<br />

neighbors up and down the street knew<br />

every kid.<br />

Granted as well, there were things that<br />

went on in our family and childhoods<br />

that shouldn’t have.<br />

There were wounds suffered in silence<br />

and not shared till years later.<br />

But maybe the point is that there’s no<br />

perfect childhood. And the effort to<br />

create one seems to have stripped us of<br />

all common sense.<br />

What self-respecting kid, bursting<br />

to explore, wants his or her mother<br />

hovering over every thought, word, and<br />

deed?<br />

How did humankind manage for<br />

thousands of years without stuffing their<br />

young with psychotropic meds?<br />

Or clamping a helmet on their heads<br />

every time they went outdoors?<br />

It would be one thing if all these<br />

careful, protective measures were<br />

producing emotionally stable, healthily<br />

curious, responsible adults.<br />

Instead, “When asked, our kids said<br />

they were miserable. Our kids didn’t<br />

want to leave their rooms. Our kids<br />

didn’t date. Our kids moved home and<br />

stayed. They didn’t want to marry and<br />

have kids.”<br />

Small wonder.<br />

Psychological research shows — and<br />

again, common sense dictates — that<br />

kids “thrive with a certain amount<br />

of independence, a certain level of<br />

responsibility and autonomy and, yes,<br />

failure. … Small failures and injuries<br />

help rather than hurt kids.”<br />

In fact, “[U]ntil very recently in human<br />

history,” notes Shrier, “nearly all<br />

markers of what we now call ‘childhood<br />

trauma’ were just facts of life: hunger,<br />

loss of a parent or sibling, war, even<br />

occasions of physical abuse.”<br />

Most to the point, as Shrier observes,<br />

children are actually incredibly<br />

resilient, sturdy, and strong. A happy<br />

childhood, she avers, consists of “experiencing<br />

all of the pains of adulthood,<br />

in smaller doses, so that [kids] build up<br />

immunity to the poison of heartache<br />

and loss.”<br />

In an especially interesting passage,<br />

she pooh-poohs the notion that<br />

teaching kids to strive for “happiness” is<br />

beneficial.<br />

In truth, she observes, as adults we’re<br />

almost always in some kind of physical,<br />

emotional, or psychic pain. We’re<br />

worried about paying a bill, or our back<br />

aches, or the guy next to us on the bus<br />

is playing his music too loud. Reaching<br />

maturity requires taking the focus<br />

away from these minor discomforts and<br />

inconveniences, and carrying on in<br />

spite of them.<br />

I don’t want to brag, but in our family<br />

any internal ailment short of a ruptured<br />

appendix was treated with a glass of<br />

ginger ale. Sprains merited a warm<br />

washcloth. Gashes rated a Band-Aid —<br />

if we hadn’t run out of Band-Aids.<br />

We managed just fine without Ritalin,<br />

Adderall, or Klonopin. We grew into<br />

caring, thoughtful adults who read<br />

books and have a sense of humor without<br />

having to monitor our emotional<br />

temperature every two minutes.<br />

Granted Mom — who once went 36<br />

years without seeing a doctor — could<br />

take things to extremes. Her theory was<br />

simple: If you go, they’ll find something<br />

wrong with you.<br />

After reading “Bad Therapy,” turns out<br />

she was right.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 31



Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

Of mice and Mom<br />

Small children never doubt their need for a family.<br />

They live in utter dependency. Without help, they<br />

can’t eat, or get dressed, or hear their favorite stories<br />

read aloud.<br />

They are on the receiving end of everything, and it makes<br />

for a good life. But, at some point, they become aware of<br />

yet another need: the need to be needed. They know that<br />

they’re not quite in “full communion” with the older family<br />

members, because they’re<br />

not yet contributing their<br />

fair share. To be needed —<br />

and not just to be loved —<br />

is what it means to be fully<br />

engaged in family life.<br />

One afternoon when I<br />

was very young, I heard a<br />

scream from the kitchen. It<br />

was Mom’s voice! Immediately,<br />

I bolted down the<br />

hall and arrived to see<br />

my dear Mom backed up<br />

against the kitchen counter,<br />

terror flashing in her<br />

eyes. Mom scared? It was<br />

something I’d never seen<br />

before.<br />

Her eyes were fixed<br />

downward, and she could<br />

barely get the words out:<br />

“Th- th-there’s a mouse!”<br />

Then I realized: My<br />

mother needed me. Little<br />

me.<br />

With the fire of filial<br />

courage inflaming my<br />

breast, off I went.<br />

It took less than a minute.<br />

After cornering it, I<br />

reached down and grabbed<br />

it by the tail and picked it<br />

up. It was teeny-tiny. But<br />

Mom still looked on with terror in her eyes.<br />

I then asked what seemed to be a very logical question,<br />

“What should I do?”<br />

“Just get it out of here!”<br />

“St. Mary (the Blessed Virgin) with the Christ Child” icon. | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

Dutifully, I evicted the creature from the house and the<br />

drama was over.<br />

But I knew that I had ascended to a new plane.<br />

For the first time in my life, my Mom needed me! I could<br />

actually meet the needs of the person who had been meeting<br />

all of mine, all my life.<br />

It was a moment of illumination, a full initiation into<br />

family life, a first glimpse of a mystery that dwelt at the heart<br />

of our family home.<br />

What I glimpsed was the<br />

mysterious and inseparable<br />

relationship between love<br />

and sacrifice. We need<br />

to be needed for our own<br />

unique contribution, our<br />

own unique gifts. What we<br />

have been given, we long<br />

to give away in turn, and<br />

we won’t be happy until<br />

we fulfill that longing,<br />

until we give ourselves<br />

to someone else in love,<br />

holding nothing back.<br />

The family is where<br />

these needs are satisfied in<br />

the natural way that was<br />

ordained by God. St. Augustine<br />

spoke of the family<br />

as a network of mutual,<br />

natural needs, which were<br />

really God’s gentle way<br />

of getting us to love one<br />

another (see “Confessions”<br />

1.6).<br />

The sacrament of marriage<br />

raises these natural<br />

drives and natural fulfillment<br />

to a supernatural<br />

level, so that all our loving<br />

and all our giving prepares<br />

us for the supreme and<br />

ultimate act of loving and giving, which we call heaven.<br />

In <strong>May</strong> we traditionally honor our mothers, and especially<br />

Mary, the mother we share with Jesus. Do something great<br />

for them.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>

■ FRIDAY, MAY <strong>10</strong><br />

Bereavement Retreat. St. Mary of the Assumption Church,<br />

7215 Newlin Ave., Whittier, 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, <strong>May</strong><br />

11, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Register at bereavement.ministry@yahoo.<br />

com. Cost: $75/person, covers all food and materials. Pay<br />

by Zelle to 562-631-8844 by <strong>May</strong> 3.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 11<br />

Eucharistic Revival Retreat. Visitation Church, 6561 W.<br />

88th St., Los Angeles, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Father Parker Sandoval<br />

will lead a parish-wide retreat on “Who is Jesus? The Real<br />

Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and our Mission as<br />

Catholics to share the Good <strong>News</strong> with Others.” Cost: $35/<br />

person, includes continental breakfast, lunch, and retreat<br />

materials. Visit VisRetreat0524.givesmart.com.<br />

Mother’s Day Rosary. Catholic Cemeteries, 2 p.m. Rosary<br />

will be held at all 11 Catholic cemetery locations. Livestream<br />

available at facebook.com/lacatholics and catholiccm.org/rosary.<br />

Santacruzan Marian Celebration. Cathedral of Our Lady<br />

of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 2:30 p.m.<br />

Filipino Catholic community will celebrate with a pre-procession<br />

at 2:30 p.m. and Mass at 3 p.m.<br />

■ MONDAY, MAY 13<br />

Blue Army Statue of Our Lady of Fátima Mass. St.<br />

Dorothy Church, 241 S. Valley Center Ave., Glendora, 8:30<br />

a.m. and 7 p.m. Masses, <strong>10</strong> a.m.-6:30 p.m. Exposition of the<br />

Blessed Sacrament. Visit stdorothy.org.<br />

Rosary for Eastertide and the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima.<br />

Zoom, 7 p.m. Join in praying the rosary, reflecting on<br />

the Glorious Mysteries and engaging Imago Divina. Email<br />

ebeall@csjorange.org to receive a link.<br />

■ TUESDAY, MAY 14<br />

Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San Fernando<br />

Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, 11 a.m. Mass is open to<br />

the public. Limited seating. RSVP to outreach@catholiccm.<br />

org or call 213-637-78<strong>10</strong>. Livestream available at Catholic-<br />

CM.org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<br />

When They Don’t Go: Responding When a Loved One<br />

Leaves the Church. Padre Serra Church, 5205 Upland Rd.,<br />

Camarillo, 7 p.m. Session explores constructive ways to<br />

respond when loved ones disengage from their Catholic<br />

faith. Email teresa@padreserra.org.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, MAY 15<br />

Record Clearing Virtual Clinic for Veterans. 3-6 p.m.<br />

Legal team will help with traffic tickets, felony reductions,<br />

and expungement of criminal convictions. Participants can<br />

call in or join online via Zoom. Registration required. Call<br />

213-896-6537 or email inquiries-veterans@lacba.org. For<br />

more information, visit lacba.org/veterans.<br />

■ THURSDAY, MAY 16<br />

Eviction Response Clinic. LA Law Library, 301 W. 1st<br />

St., Los Angeles, 12-3 p.m. Provides legal assistance with<br />

eviction court cases. Open to LA County tenants with disabilities<br />

and limited income. Spanish assistance available.<br />

Registration required. RSVP to 213-896-6536 or email<br />

inquiries-veterans@lacba.org.<br />

Children’s Bureau: Foster Care Zoom Orientation. 4-5<br />

p.m. Live Zoom orientation will be hosted by a Children’s<br />

Bureau team member and a foster parent. To RSVP for the<br />

live orientation or to request the online orientation, email<br />

rfrecruitment@all4kids.org.<br />

■ FRIDAY, MAY <strong>17</strong><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<br />

business world to discuss how ethical practices positively<br />

impact our community. For more information, visit lacatholics.org/events.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 18<br />

37th Annual Walk for Life South Bay. Veterans Park, 309<br />

Esplanade, Redondo Beach, 8:30 a.m. Fun, family-friendly<br />

three-mile walk for all abilities, includes food, music, kids’<br />

activities, and more. Register by April 23 and raise or pay<br />

$45/walker for the event T-shirt. Registration at the event<br />

starts at 7:30 a.m., walk starts at 9 a.m. Proceeds benefit<br />

Pregnancy Help Center in Torrance. Visit event.fundeasy.<br />

com/27239, supportphctorrance.org, or call 424-263-4855.<br />

Fresh Fire of God’s Spirit: Pentecost Rally. St. John the<br />

Baptist Church, 3883 Baldwin Park Blvd., Baldwin Park,<br />

<strong>10</strong> a.m.-4 p.m. Teachings, prayer, and Pentecost vigil Mass.<br />

Presenters include Father Ismael Robles, Dr. Elizabeth Kim,<br />

and Dominic Berardino. Free event. For more information,<br />

call 818-771-1361, email spirit@scrc.org, or visit events.<br />

scrc.org.<br />

Mother Luisita Dinner. Casa Sanchez, 4500 S. Centinela<br />

Ave., Los Angeles, 6 p.m. Join Marycrest Manor in raising<br />

funds for new beds for the residents. Fritz Coleman as emcee.<br />

Cost: $150/person, includes dinner and valet parking.<br />

Contact 3<strong>10</strong>-838-2778, ext. 4004 or visit marycrestculvercity.com/dinner/.<br />

■ SUNDAY, MAY 19<br />

Congress of the Divine Mercy. Santa Maria Fairpark, 937<br />

S. Thornburg St., Santa Maria, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Organized by<br />

Father John <strong>May</strong>hew of St. Louis de Montfort Church, the<br />

event features priests, special guests, concerts, and food,<br />

along with Holy Hour, Mass, and confessions. Cost: $20/<br />

person; children 11 and under are free. For more information,<br />

call 805-478-3123.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, MAY 22<br />

Healthcare Professionals <strong>2024</strong> Spring Conference: Pastoral<br />

Care Conversations. Bishop Alemany, 1111 N. Alemany<br />

Dr., Mission Hills, 9:30 a.m. check-in and hospitality,<br />

<strong>10</strong> a.m.-2 p.m. survey presentation, round table, discussion,<br />

and lunch. Register at lifejusticeandpeace.lacatholics.org/<br />

springconference.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 25<br />

“Don Pasquale” Opera. Cathedral High Theater, 1253 Bishops<br />

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 213-248-25<strong>10</strong> or email info@<br />

operaitaliala.com.<br />

■ MONDAY, MAY 27<br />

Memorial Day Mass. Catholic Cemeteries, <strong>10</strong> a.m. Mass<br />

held at all 11 Catholic Cemetery locations. Livestream available<br />

at facebook.com/lacatholics and catholiccm.org.<br />

St. John Vianney Burial Section Dedication. Calvary Cemetery,<br />

199 N. Hope Ave., Santa Barbara, <strong>10</strong> a.m. Celebrant:<br />

Auxiliary Bishop Slawomir Szkredka. Visit catholiccm.org.<br />

Memorial Day Mass. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,<br />

555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 12:<strong>10</strong> p.m.<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>May</strong> <strong>17</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 33

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