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Angelus News | May 31, 2024 | Vol. 9 No. 11

On the cover: The 11 men being ordained June 1 make up the biggest class of new priests for the LA Archdiocese in 16 years. On Page 10, they introduce themselves by recounting their roots, explaining how they experienced God’s call, and laying out what they hope God will accomplish through them in the City of Angels.

On the cover: The 11 men being ordained June 1 make up the biggest class of new priests for the LA Archdiocese in 16 years. On Page 10, they introduce themselves by recounting their roots, explaining how they experienced God’s call, and laying out what they hope God will accomplish through them in the City of Angels.

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THE ELEVEN<br />

LA welcomes its biggest class of<br />

new priests in 16 years<br />

ANGELUS<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 9 <strong>No</strong>. <strong>11</strong>


B • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


ANGELUS<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 9 • <strong>No</strong>. <strong>11</strong><br />

3424 Wilshire Blvd.,<br />

Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241<br />

(213) 637-7360 • FAX (213) 637-6360<br />

Published by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles by The Tidings<br />

(a corporation), established 1895.<br />

Publisher<br />

ARCHBISHOP JOSÉ H. GOMEZ<br />

Vice Chancellor for Communications<br />

DAVID SCOTT<br />

Editor-in-Chief<br />

PABLO KAY<br />

pkay@angelusnews.com<br />

Associate Editor<br />

MIKE CISNEROS<br />

Multimedia Editor<br />

TAMARA LONG-GARCÍA<br />

Production Artist<br />

ARACELI CHAVEZ<br />

Photo Editor<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

Managing Editor<br />

RICHARD G. BEEMER<br />

Assistant Editor<br />

HANNAH SWENSON<br />

Advertising Manager<br />

JIM GARCIA<br />

jagarcia@angelusnews.com<br />

ON THE COVER<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

The <strong>11</strong> men being ordained June 1 make up the biggest<br />

class of new priests for the LA Archdiocese in 16 years.<br />

On Page 10, they introduce themselves by recounting their<br />

roots, explaining how they experienced God’s call, and<br />

laying out what they hope God will accomplish through<br />

them in the City of Angels.<br />

THIS PAGE<br />

VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

Deacon Gabriel Saavedra, director of Deacons<br />

in Ministry for the LA Archdiocese, gets the attention<br />

of a young parishioner at the Cathedral<br />

of Our Lady of the Angels while helping give<br />

out carnations to mothers at Sunday Mass on<br />

Mother’s Day, <strong>May</strong> 12.<br />

ANGELUS is published biweekly by The<br />

Tidings (a corporation), established 1895.<br />

Periodicals postage paid at Los Angeles,<br />

California. One-year subscriptions (26<br />

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publication may be reproduced without the written<br />

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CONTENTS<br />

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Hahn................................................................................................................................... 44<br />

Events Calendar......................................................................................................................... 45<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong> <strong>News</strong><br />

@<strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong><br />

@<strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong><br />

34<br />

36<br />

Jesus crosses bridges, floats on boats to begin West Coast pilgrimage<br />

John Allen: Why the pope’s pro-fertility campaign doesn’t mix well in Italy<br />

angelusnews.com<br />

lacatholics.org<br />

38<br />

Opinion: The real reason an NFL kicker’s speech missed the mark<br />

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

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

40<br />

42<br />

Ryan Gosling’s ‘The Fall Guy’ struggles to stick the landing<br />

Heather King: The brilliance of a bishop’s new book on … chastity?<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 1


POPE WATCH<br />

Babies are not the problem<br />

Blind, unbridled consumerism and<br />

selfishness — not the number of<br />

people on the planet and having<br />

children — are the root causes of the<br />

world’s problems, Pope Francis said.<br />

The reasons for pollution and world<br />

hunger, for example, are not based on<br />

the number of children being born, but<br />

on “the choices of those who think only<br />

of themselves, the delusion of unbridled,<br />

blind, and rampant materialism,<br />

of a consumerism that, like an evil<br />

virus, erodes at the root of the existence<br />

of people and society,” he said.<br />

“Human life is not a problem, it is a<br />

gift,” he said.<br />

“The problem is not how many of us<br />

there are in the world, but what kind of<br />

world we are building.”<br />

Pope Francis made his remarks at a<br />

meeting in Rome <strong>May</strong> 10 focused on<br />

pursuing concrete ways to reverse Italy’s<br />

steeply declining birthrate, one of the<br />

lowest in Europe.<br />

Gianluigi De Palo, president of the<br />

Foundation for Natality, said in his<br />

talk before introducing the pope, that<br />

the group’s mission is to encourage<br />

Italy’s demographic winter to turn into<br />

springtime.<br />

“<strong>No</strong>t because we are worried about<br />

who will pay for our pensions or who<br />

will support the national health care<br />

system, but because we want our children<br />

to be free” to choose what they<br />

want to do with their future, he said.<br />

“It is not about convincing young<br />

people to have more children; it is not<br />

about convincing couples, families,<br />

women to have children,” he said.<br />

In his talk, Francis said the root cause<br />

of problems in the world “is not babies<br />

being born: it is selfishness, consumerism,<br />

and individualism, which make<br />

people satiated, lonely, and unhappy.”<br />

“Selfishness makes one deaf to the<br />

voice of God, who loves first and<br />

teaches how to love, and to the voice<br />

of the brothers and sisters around us; it<br />

anesthetizes the heart,” making people<br />

live for things and possessions, losing<br />

the capacity to know “how to do good.”<br />

Homes become “very sad places,” he<br />

said, emptied of children and “filled<br />

with objects,” dogs or cats.<br />

The pope said what is needed are<br />

long-term approaches, effective<br />

policies, and bold, concrete decisions<br />

so that what seeds are sown today, children<br />

“can reap tomorrow.”<br />

“Serious and effective family-friendly<br />

choices” need to be made, he said.<br />

For example, women should never be<br />

put in a position where they have to<br />

choose between work and child care,<br />

and young people should not carry the<br />

paralyzing burden of job insecurity and<br />

the inability to buy a home.<br />

Older generations should reassess<br />

their habits and lifestyles, “giving up<br />

what is superfluous in order to give<br />

the youngest hope for tomorrow” and,<br />

he said, younger generations should<br />

recognize and show gratitude for the<br />

sacrifices and hard work of those who<br />

helped them grow.<br />

It is “cultural suicide” to “discard”<br />

grandparents or let them live solitary<br />

lives, he said.<br />

“The future is made by young and old<br />

together,” the pope added. “Courage<br />

and memory together.”<br />

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

Service Rome correspondent Carol<br />

Glatz.<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>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


NEW WORLD OF FAITH<br />

ARCHBISHOP JOSÉ H. GOMEZ<br />

Do you love me more than these?<br />

On <strong>May</strong> 17, Archbishop Gomez celebrated<br />

the Baccalaureate Mass for the<br />

Queen of Angels Center for Priestly Formation.<br />

The following is adapted from<br />

his homily. The day’s Gospel reading<br />

was John 21:15–19.<br />

Congratulations to all our graduates!<br />

And what a beautiful<br />

Gospel we’ve just heard; it’s<br />

perfect for men who are preparing for<br />

the priesthood.<br />

We can think about this Gospel as a<br />

kind of “job interview.” The questions<br />

Jesus asks Peter today are the questions<br />

that he asks of every man who would be<br />

his priest:<br />

Do you love Jesus more than anything<br />

else? Are you ready to shepherd his<br />

people, to feed them with the Word of<br />

God and the Bread of Life? Are you<br />

ready to tend to their spiritual needs<br />

and guide them in the ways of holiness?<br />

This scene today takes place on the<br />

shore at the Sea of Galilee. It is the<br />

third and final appearance of the risen<br />

Lord in the Gospel of John. And it is a<br />

scene filled with powerful emotion.<br />

Here is Peter, the “rock” upon whose<br />

faith Jesus said he would build his<br />

Church. Peter who fell away, who was<br />

scattered with all the rest when the<br />

Shepherd was struck. Peter, who three<br />

times denied the Lord before the cock<br />

crowed, though he had vowed, “Even<br />

if I must die with you, I will not deny<br />

you.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>w Peter stands before Jesus in<br />

humility and contrition. And the Lord<br />

looks upon him, not with anger or<br />

judgment. But with eyes of love.<br />

Jesus asks Peter to make a new confession<br />

of faith: “Simon, son of John, do<br />

you love me more than these?”<br />

Three times Jesus asks Peter, just as<br />

Peter had denied him three times.<br />

Peter doesn’t try to justify himself or<br />

explain. He puts it all in Jesus’ hands,<br />

making that beautiful, humble confession:<br />

“Lord, you know everything, you<br />

know that I love you.”<br />

I’m always touched at how tender<br />

Jesus is with Peter.<br />

Because we are all like Peter. We love<br />

Jesus, but sometimes we don’t act like<br />

it. We are weak, we get afraid, we make<br />

mistakes. Sometimes we deny him by<br />

our words and actions, sometimes by<br />

our indifference.<br />

But like Peter we can always turn to<br />

Jesus with a contrite heart and confess:<br />

“Lord you know all things, you know<br />

that I love you.”<br />

And in the Lord’s mercy, we can find<br />

forgiveness and strength. In his mercy,<br />

we can begin again. To love him, to<br />

follow him, and to serve him.<br />

Jesus said that if we love him, we<br />

will keep his commandments. So, he<br />

commands Peter three times: “Feed my<br />

lambs … Tend my sheep … Feed my<br />

sheep.”<br />

For our brothers who are preparing to<br />

be priests, these are “marching orders.”<br />

Jesus entrusts the priest with caring for<br />

his flock, with caring for his Church.<br />

And the priest knows that those he serves<br />

belong to Jesus, they do not belong<br />

to him.<br />

These are “my” sheep, Jesus tells<br />

Peter, these are “my” lambs. Each one<br />

of us is precious to him, each one of us<br />

is worth the price of his own blood.<br />

Later Peter will write to his own<br />

priests: “Tend the flock of God … Do<br />

not lord it over those assigned to you,<br />

but be examples to the flock.”<br />

The priest is not the boss, he is the<br />

model, he is the image of the Good<br />

Shepherd. And the Good Shepherd<br />

lays down his life for the sheep.<br />

That’s what Jesus is telling Peter in<br />

the final part of today’s Gospel. And of<br />

course we know he is talking about how<br />

Peter will die, crucified as Jesus was.<br />

The point for priests — the point for<br />

all of us — is that loving Jesus means<br />

putting our lives in his hands.<br />

Loving Jesus means following him.<br />

Even though he might “lead you where<br />

you do not want to go,” as Jesus says to<br />

Peter.<br />

The priest is not the boss, he is the model, he is<br />

the image of the Good Shepherd. And the Good<br />

Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.<br />

Today in this holy Mass, Jesus is speaking<br />

your name and my name.<br />

He’s asking each of you, personally,<br />

the same question that he asked Peter:<br />

Do you love me more than whatever<br />

the world has to offer? Will you follow<br />

me wherever I lead you?<br />

Let us ask for the grace to respond<br />

as Peter did, with confidence and joy:<br />

“Lord, you know all things! You know<br />

that I love you!”<br />

Let’s keep praying for our brothers<br />

who are graduating today, and let’s pray<br />

for the new priests who will be ordained<br />

on June 1!<br />

And let us ask the holy Virgin Mary,<br />

mother of fair love, to help us all to<br />

grow in love for her Son. <strong>May</strong> she help<br />

us to respond with a generous heart<br />

when he calls to us, as he called to<br />

Peter: “Follow me!”<br />

All with Peter to Jesus through Mary!<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 3


WORLD<br />

■ Communion<br />

and Liberation<br />

founder closer to<br />

sainthood<br />

Msgr. Luigi Giussani,<br />

the late founder of the<br />

Communion and Liberation<br />

movement, is one<br />

step closer to becoming a<br />

saint.<br />

A formal Vatican inquiry<br />

into Giussani’s writings<br />

and stories about his<br />

life began in 2012. This<br />

month, the Vatican began<br />

interviewing a few dozen<br />

people familiar with Giussani’s<br />

life and spirituality<br />

to help illustrate his reputation<br />

for holiness.<br />

St. Pope John Paul II greets Servant of God Luigi<br />

Giussani in 1998. | CNS<br />

This “testimonial stage,” however, is considered mostly procedural,<br />

according to the inquiry’s leader, Msgr. Ennio Apeciti of the<br />

Archdiocese of Milan. The findings will be submitted to the Vatican<br />

to have Giussani declared “Venerable,” just a miracle away<br />

from being declared a “Blessed,” the final step before sainthood.<br />

■ Chinese bishop close to<br />

government speaks at Vatican<br />

conference<br />

In a sign of the complex relationship between<br />

Beijing and the Vatican, a state-appointed Chinese<br />

Catholic bishop was invited to speak at a Vatican-sponsored<br />

conference.<br />

Bishop Joseph Shen Bin, head of the Chinese government’s<br />

official conference of bishops, was set to<br />

give greeting remarks at a <strong>May</strong> 21 event organized<br />

by Rome’s Pontifical Urban University marking the<br />

100th anniversary of the Council of Shanghai, a<br />

historic meeting of China’s bishops.<br />

Last year, Shen Bin was initially transferred by<br />

the government to Shanghai without Pope Francis’<br />

approval. Francis formally appointed him three<br />

months later.<br />

Shen Bin is a vocal proponent of Sinicization,<br />

which calls for Catholic liturgy and art to be adapted<br />

to Chinese culture and for interpreting Catholic<br />

theology through a Chinese Communist lens.<br />

“Sinicization is a directional issue: a signpost and<br />

a direction to adapt to the socialist society, as well<br />

as an inherent rule and a fundamental requirement<br />

for the survival and development of the Catholic<br />

Church in China itself,” Shen said last year.<br />

■ Experts: Global fertility rates<br />

now below replacement level<br />

Global birthrates may have already fallen below<br />

levels needed to keep population stable, kicking<br />

off what some experts fear could be a drastic<br />

demographic decline.<br />

A <strong>May</strong> 13 Wall Street Journal report cited Jesús<br />

Fernández-Villaverde, an economist at the University<br />

of Pennsylvania, who recently compared<br />

U.N. estimates on global fertility levels with data<br />

from national birth registries. Those numbers, he<br />

found, were 10% to 20% below projections.<br />

Fernández-Villaverde estimates that last year<br />

global fertility rates fell below the 2.2 rate needed<br />

to keep populations stable for the first time in<br />

human history.<br />

While wealthier countries have declined in<br />

fertility levels since the 1970s, the global rates<br />

show a trend of developing nations declining<br />

birthrates. As a result, some demographers no<br />

longer believe 2017 U.N. estimates that global<br />

populations would climb to <strong>11</strong>.2 billion by 2100.<br />

Instead, they estimate that populations will start<br />

shrinking within the next four decades.<br />

“The demographic winter is coming,” said the<br />

economist.<br />

Reality among the rubble — Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, center,<br />

visits the streets of Gaza City <strong>May</strong> 16 with Catholic and Orthodox clergy still ministering in the<br />

war-torn area. Together they visited the premises of St. Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church campus<br />

in Gaza City, bombed on Oct. 19, 2023, leaving 17 people dead and the administration building<br />

in ruins. “It was a long time I wanted, desired, to be with them, to meet them,” Cardinal Pizzaballa<br />

said of his time at Gaza’s only Catholic parish, Holy Family, during the visit. | OSV NEWS/LATIN<br />

PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


NATION<br />

■ Missouri: Vatican overturns parish mergers<br />

Catholics in St. Louis, Missouri, successfully petitioned the Vatican to stop two<br />

planned parish mergers.<br />

St. Angela Merici Church in Florissant, Missouri, was set to be combined with St.<br />

<strong>No</strong>rbert Church and Holy Name of Jesus Church as part of the Archdiocese of St.<br />

Louis’ “All Things New” pastoral plan. The plan, announced last year by Archbishop<br />

Mitchell Rozanski, would have reduced the number of parishes by nearly 50<br />

through mergers and closures.<br />

But following appeals by parishioners at several parishes, the Vatican’s Dicastery of<br />

Clergy ruled to overturn that merger and another one between St. Martin of Tours<br />

Church in Lemay and St. Mark Church in St. Louis, citing the lack of just cause<br />

required by canon law in such cases. However, the dicastery rejected an appeal of<br />

one of the other planned mergers.<br />

■ Pro-life activists sentenced for<br />

blocking abortion clinic access<br />

Seven pro-life activists were sentenced to prison for violations of the Freedom<br />

of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.<br />

Lauren Handy, 30, received the harshest sentence (57 months) for her role in<br />

organizing a group of nine pro-life activists for a “lock and block” at the Washington<br />

Surgi-Clinic in October 2020. A tactic often used by Operation Rescue<br />

in the 1980s, the blockade involved using chains, bike locks, and furniture to<br />

prevent access to the abortion clinic.<br />

According to the Department of Justice, the nine — who received felony<br />

convictions August 2023 — used “physical obstruction to injure, intimidate, and<br />

interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient because they were providing<br />

or obtaining reproductive health services.”<br />

Six others, including famed activist Joan Andrew Bell, also received sentences<br />

ranging from just under two years to nearly five years. A lawyer for the activists<br />

said they would appeal.<br />

■ Oklahoma tornado<br />

damages church but<br />

spares Blessed Sacrament<br />

A devastating tornado that blew<br />

through northeastern Oklahoma<br />

<strong>May</strong> 6 didn’t spare little St. Mary’s<br />

Church in the town of Barnsdall: six<br />

stained-glass windows were broken,<br />

the back door was blown out, and<br />

debris was scattered everywhere.<br />

But despite the damage, St. Mary’s<br />

pastor Father Emmanual Nduka was<br />

surprised to find the stone church’s<br />

altar “seemed completely undisturbed”<br />

— with candlesticks still<br />

standing — and its tabernacle intact.<br />

“It is very, very mind-boggling to see<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>unteers clean up after a tornado hit St. Mary’s Church in<br />

Barnsdall, Oklahoma. | DEACON HARRISON GARLICK/X.COM<br />

that the tabernacle was still standing there in the sanctuary, and the sanctuary light<br />

was still burning,” Nduka told Catholic <strong>News</strong> Agency.<br />

Reaching speeds of 175 mph, the tornado killed one and injured at least eight,<br />

according to local news reports.<br />

Bree Solstad made her first Communion at<br />

Easter this year. | COURTESY BREE SOLSTAD<br />

■ Former adult actress<br />

converts, enters Catholic<br />

Church<br />

A woman once considered a “top<br />

pornographic content creator” credits<br />

a trip to Italy with her decision to walk<br />

away from her previous career and<br />

convert to Catholicism.<br />

In an interview with OSV <strong>News</strong>,<br />

Alaska native Bree Solstad recalled<br />

how she found “the attention, the<br />

power trip, the ego, the wealth, the<br />

vanity, and the pride” of working in<br />

porn “intoxicating.” But, she said, “I<br />

was also very unhealthy … it was all<br />

very dark. The whole scene became<br />

really ugly to me.”<br />

But during a trip last year to Italy,<br />

something about seeing images of the<br />

Virgin Mary “on street corners all over<br />

the place” struck Solstad.<br />

“I really felt like Mary was calling me<br />

… I felt compelled to seek her out.”<br />

said Solstad, who also recalled praying<br />

at the tomb of St. Clare in Assisi for<br />

help.<br />

Back home, a conversation with a<br />

local Catholic priest led Solstad to<br />

eventually enter the Catholic Church<br />

this year: “I am now so grateful and<br />

my heart is constantly full.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 5


LOCAL<br />

■ $150 million complex to involve St. Bernard High<br />

St. Bernard High School will be part of a $150 million project in Westchester with<br />

educational and athletic facilities designed to serve local and underserved youth.<br />

Auxiliary Bishop Matthew Elshoff and LA <strong>May</strong>or Karen Bass were among the<br />

community leaders at the <strong>May</strong> 8 groundbreaking ceremony for “Lulu’s Place.”<br />

The <strong>31</strong>-acre space just north of LAX will house a complex for academics and<br />

sports, including a STEM lab at the nearby St. Bernard campus, courtesy of Tiger<br />

Woods’ TGR Foundation.<br />

The complex is named for the late Carol “Lulu” Kimmelman, a champion USC<br />

women’s tennis player and longtime LAUSD teacher. The project is expected to be<br />

completed in 2026.<br />

“Lulu’s Place is a huge win for all students in the Westchester community, including<br />

our students at St. Bernard High School and area Catholic schools, and will be<br />

a catalyst for positive change for the youth of Los Angeles,” said Paul Escala, senior<br />

director and superintendent of Catholic schools in the archdiocese.<br />

A place to heal — Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Slawomir Szkredka cuts the ceremonial ribbon at a groundbreaking<br />

event at Old Mission Santa Inés in Solvang for the construction of a new healing garden. | OLD<br />

MISSION SANTA INÉS<br />

■ LA City Council honors<br />

Homeboy Industries’<br />

Father Greg Boyle<br />

After being awarded the Presidential<br />

Medal of Freedom earlier this month<br />

by President Joe Biden, Father Greg<br />

Boyle — the founder and director of<br />

Los Angeles-based Homeboy Industries<br />

— received another honor: the<br />

Los Angeles City Council named <strong>May</strong><br />

19 as Father Greg Boyle Day.<br />

“It is an honor to recognize you here<br />

today and for being a reminder of<br />

the importance of championing this<br />

work,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember<br />

Eunisses Hernandez. “Your<br />

impact will be felt for generations to<br />

come.”<br />

At its <strong>May</strong> 17 meeting, the council<br />

recognized Boyle for his decades of<br />

community work and for helping to<br />

transform thousands of lives. After<br />

presenting Boyle with the framed proclamation,<br />

the audience sang “Happy<br />

Birthday” and ended with a Homeboy<br />

Industries saying, “And I’m glad you<br />

were born.”<br />

“It’s the privilege of my life to know<br />

the thousands of men and women<br />

who have come through our doors<br />

at Homeboy,” Boyle said. “The day<br />

won’t ever come when I have more<br />

courage or more nobility or dignity<br />

than all those people who have walked<br />

through our doors since 1988.”<br />

Y<br />

■ Salesian High statue unveiled<br />

after decade-long effort<br />

Students, alumni, and supporters were on hand during a<br />

special event on <strong>May</strong> 17 as Bishop Mora Salesian High School<br />

unveiled its 18-foot “Once a Mustang” statue — a project 10<br />

years in the making.<br />

The bronze monument features plaques for every graduating<br />

class since 1962, with the proceeds from those nameplates<br />

going to the school’s scholarship funds.<br />

The statue was created by 1986 Salesian High alumnus Dan<br />

Medina, who has designed many notable works, including the<br />

memorial statue for Kobe Bryant at the site of the helicopter<br />

crash in Calabasas, and the Bracero Monument featured at<br />

Migrant’s Bend Plaza near Olvera Street in downtown Los<br />

Angeles.<br />

Students at Bishop Mora Salesian High pose in front of the school’s new 18-foot statue<br />

during an unveiling event on <strong>May</strong> 17. | BISHOP MORA SALESIAN HIGH SCHOOL<br />

Medina was originally commissioned to create the statue — related to the school’s mascot, the Mustangs — about 10 years<br />

ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues caused delays.<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


V<br />

IN OTHER WORDS...<br />

Letters to the Editor<br />

Baptism needs to be part of any liturgical renewal<br />

I was pleasantly surprised to read the interview with Archbishop Salvatore<br />

Cordileone of San Francisco in the <strong>May</strong> 17 issue.<br />

One of the greatest developments in Catholicism following the Second Vatican<br />

Council was a reappreciation of the centrality of baptism. This sacrament has a<br />

great importance and dignity, and thankfully, the riches of the liturgical renewal<br />

of the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults are gradually being opened up for all<br />

Christians.<br />

One particular aspect of the Christian tradition that is being rediscovered is the<br />

importance of baptism by immersion. Number 1239 of the Catechism of the<br />

Catholic Church tells us that “Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by<br />

triple immersion in the baptismal water.”<br />

Long may such attention to the signs of the various liturgical celebrations continue!<br />

— Father Neil Xavier O’Donoghue teaches at St. Patrick’s Seminary in <strong>May</strong>nooth,<br />

Ireland, and is the executive secretary for liturgy for the Irish bishops’ conference.<br />

Correction<br />

Gina Aguilar, managing director of the Academic Excellence team for the archdiocese’s<br />

Department of Catholic Schools, has an Ed.D. doctorate degree. Her<br />

degree was incorrectly stated in the “Unlocking the Door to Literacy” story in the<br />

<strong>May</strong> 17 issue of <strong>Angelus</strong>.<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 />

The month of Mary<br />

“If you saw someone on<br />

a bridge about to jump,<br />

would you support them in<br />

the name of choice?”<br />

~ Liz Carr, a woman who became disabled as a child,<br />

in a <strong>May</strong> 14 The Guardian article on the “Better Off<br />

Dead?” documentary about assisted suicide.<br />

“Politics is almost a religion<br />

and sometimes it’s a sport.<br />

It’s not supposed to be<br />

either.”<br />

~ Brownsville (Texas) Bishop Daniel Flores,<br />

in a <strong>May</strong> 15 Catholic <strong>News</strong> Agency article on<br />

Catholic bishops warning of a growing ideological<br />

polarization within the Church.<br />

“I was a god to myself,<br />

and everything was<br />

subordinated to me.”<br />

~ Marko Purišić, a musician who performs as Baby<br />

Lasagna, in a <strong>May</strong> 14 The Pillar article on how he<br />

converted to Catholicism.<br />

“I feel like I’m in the worst<br />

‘Twilight Zone’ ever.”<br />

~ Ted Sullivan, TV writer and producer, in a <strong>May</strong><br />

13 LA Times article on how Hollywood writers are<br />

faring a year after striking.<br />

Vibiana Schalow, Junior Catholic Daughter secretary, crowns Mary during a <strong>May</strong> Crowning<br />

event on <strong>May</strong> 4 at Sacred Heart Church in Lancaster. <strong>May</strong> Crowning events were plentiful<br />

at parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. | KATIE HERNANDEZ<br />

View more photos<br />

from this gallery at<br />

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

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

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

“I think it’s a broader, more<br />

elemental thing going on<br />

now, an interest — people<br />

crossing a river, people<br />

entering a door. They’re<br />

coming toward it.”<br />

~ Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester,<br />

Minnesota, on the recent spike in adult conversions<br />

in a <strong>May</strong> 12 Fox <strong>News</strong> Digital profile titled, “The<br />

most popular Catholic outside the Vatican.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 7


IN EXILE<br />

FATHER RONALD ROLHEISER, OMI<br />

Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronrolheiser.com<br />

Some advice on prayer from an old master<br />

At the risk of being simplistic, I<br />

want to say something about<br />

prayer in a very simple way.<br />

While doing doctoral studies, I had a<br />

professor, an elderly Augustine priest,<br />

who in his demeanor, speech, and<br />

attitude, radiated wisdom and maturity.<br />

Everything about him bespoke integrity.<br />

You immediately trusted him, the<br />

wise old grandfather of storybooks.<br />

One day in class he spoke of his own<br />

prayer life. As with everything else<br />

he shared, there were no filters, only<br />

honesty and humility. I don’t recall<br />

his exact words, but I remember well<br />

the essence of what he said and it has<br />

stayed with me for the nearly 40 years<br />

since I had the privilege of being in his<br />

class.<br />

Here’s what he shared: Prayer isn’t<br />

easy because we’re always tired, distracted,<br />

busy, bored, and caught up in<br />

so many things that it’s hard to find the<br />

time and energy to center ourselves on<br />

God for some moments. So, this is what<br />

I do: <strong>No</strong> matter what my day is like, no<br />

matter what’s on my mind, no matter<br />

what my distractions and temptations<br />

are, I am faithful to this: Once a day I<br />

pray the Our Father as best I can from<br />

where I am at that moment. Inside of<br />

everything that’s going on inside me<br />

and around me that day, I pray the Our<br />

Father, asking God to hear me from<br />

inside of all the distractions and temptations<br />

that are besetting me. It’s the best<br />

I can do. <strong>May</strong>be it’s a bare minimum<br />

and I should do more and should try<br />

to concentrate harder, but at least I do<br />

that. And sometimes it’s all I can do,<br />

but I do it every day, as best I can. It’s<br />

the prayer Jesus told us to pray.<br />

His words might sound simplistic and<br />

minimalistic. Indeed, the Catholic<br />

Church challenges us to make the<br />

Eucharist the center of our prayer lives<br />

and to make a daily habit of meditation<br />

and private prayer. As well, many<br />

classical spiritual writers tell us that we<br />

should set aside an hour every day for<br />

private prayer, and many contemporary<br />

spiritual writers challenge us to daily<br />

practice centering prayer or some other<br />

form of contemplative prayer. Where<br />

does that leave our old Augustinian<br />

theologian and his counsel that we pray<br />

one sincere Our Father each day — as<br />

best we can?<br />

Well, none of this goes against what<br />

he so humbly shared. He would be the<br />

first to agree that the Eucharist should<br />

be the center of our prayer lives, and<br />

he would agree as well with both the<br />

classical spiritual writers who advise an<br />

hour of private prayer a day, and the<br />

contemporary authors who challenge<br />

us to do some form of contemplative<br />

prayer daily, or at least habitually.<br />

But he would say this: At one of those<br />

times in the day (ideally at the Eucharist<br />

or while praying the Office of the<br />

Church but at least sometime during<br />

your day), when you’re saying the Our<br />

Father, pray it with as much sincerity<br />

and focus as you can muster at the<br />

moment (“as best you can”) and know<br />

that, no matter your distractions at the<br />

moment, it’s what God is asking from<br />

you. And it’s enough.<br />

His advice has stayed with me through<br />

the years, and though I say a number of<br />

Our Fathers every day, I try, at least in<br />

one of them, to pray the Our Father as<br />

best I can, fully conscious of how badly<br />

I am doing it. What a challenge and<br />

what a consolation!<br />

The challenge is to pray an Our<br />

Father each day, as best we can. As we<br />

know that prayer is deeply communitarian.<br />

Every petition in it is plural<br />

— “our,” “we,” “us” — there’s no “I” in<br />

the Our Father. Moreover, all of us are<br />

priests from our baptism, and inherent<br />

in the covenant we made then we are<br />

asked daily to pray for others, for the<br />

world. For those who cannot participate<br />

in the Eucharist daily and for<br />

those who do not pray the Office of the<br />

Church, praying the Our Father is your<br />

Eucharistic prayer, your priestly prayer<br />

for others.<br />

And this is the consolation: none of us<br />

is divine. We’re all incurably human,<br />

which means that many times, perhaps<br />

most times, when we’re trying to<br />

pray, we’ll find ourselves beset with<br />

everything from tiredness, to boredom,<br />

to impatience, to planning tomorrow’s<br />

agenda, to sorting through the hurts<br />

of the day, to stewing about who we’re<br />

angry at, to dealing with fantasies. Our<br />

prayer seldom issues forth from a pure<br />

heart but normally from a very earthy<br />

Our restless, distracted heart is also our existential<br />

heart and is the existential heart of the world.<br />

one. But, and this is the point, its very<br />

earthiness is also its real honesty. Our<br />

restless, distracted heart is also our<br />

existential heart and is the existential<br />

heart of the world. When we pray from<br />

there, we are (as the classical definition<br />

of prayer would have it) lifting mind<br />

and heart to God.<br />

Try, each day, to pray one sincere Our<br />

Father! As best you can!<br />

8 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


A HARVEST TO REMEMBER<br />

When it comes to making history, this year’s class of<br />

new LA priests is just getting started.<br />

BY MIKE CISNEROS & PABLO KAY<br />

PHOTOGRAPHY BY VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


There are a few special things<br />

about this year’s class of new<br />

priests for the Archdiocese of<br />

Los Angeles.<br />

For one, they are big in number:<br />

<strong>11</strong> men in total, the biggest priest<br />

ordination class since 2008.<br />

The group is also remarkably<br />

diverse, coming from backgrounds<br />

that include Mexican, Croatian,<br />

Vietnamese, and Korean.<br />

And perhaps more than previous<br />

classes, the stories of this year’s class<br />

are a testament to the importance<br />

of parish-level religious education.<br />

While all have had their fair share<br />

of life-changing conversion moments,<br />

several also had decisive<br />

experiences during catechism and<br />

confirmation programs — experiences<br />

that helped point them<br />

toward the priesthood.<br />

But most importantly, their vocation<br />

stories are proof that when<br />

God calls, he doesn’t give up easily.<br />

When they are ordained priests by<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez on June<br />

1, <strong>2024</strong>, at the Cathedral of Our<br />

Lady of the Angels, they will begin a<br />

new journey with the certainty that<br />

God called them for this mission, in<br />

this city, at this moment in history.<br />

These are their stories.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>11</strong>


THOMAS<br />

GREEN<br />

Age: 29<br />

Hometown: Glendora<br />

Home parish: St. Dorothy Church, Glendora<br />

Parish assignment: St. Philomena Church, Carson<br />

There was a lot of quitting involved<br />

in Thomas Green’s road<br />

to priesthood.<br />

First he quit college football, then<br />

college itself. A few years later, he quit<br />

seminary, and eventually quit his job<br />

as a football coach and high school<br />

teacher only to re-enter the seminary.<br />

Thomas Green<br />

played in three<br />

games as an offensive<br />

lineman for<br />

the Citrus College<br />

Owls before a<br />

fateful injury.<br />

Thankfully, the<br />

quitting stopped<br />

there.<br />

Before all those<br />

decisions, “Tommy”<br />

grew up the<br />

youngest of three<br />

in a nominally<br />

Catholic family.<br />

That changed<br />

when his mother<br />

had a life-changing experience at<br />

a Cursillo retreat. As the Greens<br />

became more involved in church,<br />

Tommy became an altar server, a<br />

leader in the confirmation program,<br />

and even active in the Divine Mercy<br />

prayer group.<br />

After graduating from Glendora<br />

High School, Green got the chance<br />

to pursue his dream of playing college<br />

football. At 18, he enrolled at nearby<br />

Citrus College to play as an offensive<br />

lineman, hoping to catch the eye of<br />

recruiters and land a big-time scholarship.<br />

It only took three games for that<br />

dream to fall apart. Green was<br />

blocking on a play when an opposing<br />

lineman jumped to tackle the running<br />

back — but crashed into the side of<br />

Green’s left knee instead.<br />

“It was like Rice Krispies’ ‘Snap,<br />

Crackle, and Pop,’ ” joked Green<br />

Thomas Green (right) as a small child with his brother, sister, and parents.<br />

when asked to describe the impact<br />

that tore just about every ligament<br />

with initialisms found in his left knee:<br />

ACL, MCL, PCL, and meniscus.<br />

Green remembered crying on the<br />

sideline, sensing that his Heisman<br />

dreams were over. Later, while laying<br />

in bed after the surgery to rebuild<br />

his knee, he told God: “OK, maybe<br />

there’s something else you have in<br />

store for me. Let your will be done in<br />

my life.”<br />

As he drew closer to God through<br />

adoration and daily Mass during his<br />

recovery, the thought of the priesthood<br />

appeared. After confiding in an<br />

ex-seminarian friend and a few priests,<br />

he decided to enter the seminary.<br />

“Go change the world, man,” he was<br />

surprised to hear his football coach<br />

say when Green told him why he was<br />

quitting the football team.<br />

From there Green enrolled at Juan<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


Diego House to finish his college studies.<br />

But after a year at St. John’s Seminary<br />

in Camarillo he began to struggle<br />

with his vocational discernment, and<br />

concluded God must want something<br />

else for him — so he quit.<br />

Soon after, Green got a job teaching<br />

and coaching football — two things<br />

he loved doing — at St. Paul’s High<br />

School in Santa Fe Springs. He dated<br />

a bit as well, but the thought of the<br />

priesthood kept coming back.<br />

One day during a prayer break, he<br />

struck up a conversation with a priest<br />

in the high school chapel. “The joys<br />

outweigh the struggles,” confided a<br />

priest to Green about his own vocation.<br />

The words echoed in Green’s head.<br />

Returning to his classroom, he came<br />

upon a piece of paper left by a student<br />

that read, “Come follow me.”<br />

The message was clear enough<br />

to make Green quit — again. He<br />

reentered formation at St. John’s, and<br />

hasn’t looked back since: “When you<br />

give everything to God, he can never<br />

be outdone in generosity,” he said with<br />

certainty.<br />

Green’s biggest discovery has been<br />

to find that generosity hiding behind<br />

seemingly tragic events in life.<br />

“<strong>No</strong>w that I look back at it, when I<br />

thought my life was falling apart, it was<br />

really kind of falling together,” Green<br />

said.<br />

As if to prove that point, the imposing<br />

ex-lineman with a hearty laugh still<br />

enjoyed athletic success while in seminary<br />

anyway, winning the game MVP<br />

award at two consecutive archdiocesan<br />

Priests vs. Seminarians basketball<br />

games.<br />

Today, he credits former spiritual<br />

director Father Ricky Viveros — “an<br />

incredible influence and incredible<br />

friend” — as well as Fathers Jim<br />

Anguiano and Ron Clark as invaluable<br />

mentors during formation.<br />

As a priest at the parish level, Green<br />

said he looks forward to “finding opportunities<br />

to bring people together” to<br />

find friendship with God and one another<br />

— and is ready to put his cooking<br />

skills into practice if needed.<br />

“That’s what Jesus did,” said Green.<br />

“He invested in people, in relationships,<br />

and it was through those relationships<br />

that he changed a lot of lives.<br />

He certainly changed mine.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 13


EDUARDO<br />

PRUNEDA<br />

Age: 33<br />

Hometown: Bocas, San Luis Potosí, Mexico<br />

Home parish: St. Mariana de Paredes Church,<br />

Pico Rivera<br />

Parish assignment: Mission Basilica San<br />

Buenaventura, Ventura<br />

Growing up in the small town of<br />

Bocas, Mexico, there were few<br />

parts of Eduardo Pruneda’s<br />

upbringing that didn’t yell “cradle<br />

Catholic.”<br />

His family — especially his Mom’s<br />

side — were devout churchgoers. His<br />

aunts were catechists. Priests could<br />

often be found having dinner at his<br />

grandparents’<br />

home. Pruneda<br />

himself was an<br />

altar server from<br />

a young age, and<br />

before that, acted<br />

as priest when<br />

playing Mass at<br />

home with his<br />

Eduardo Pruneda with his<br />

pastor in Mexico on the day<br />

of his first Communion.<br />

Eduardo Pruneda, right, in the arms of his mother, Maria del<br />

Carmen, with his father José Félix and two older brothers.<br />

three brothers.<br />

The cultural<br />

Catholicism<br />

found in Bocas<br />

left its mark on<br />

Pruneda, the<br />

third of four<br />

brothers.<br />

“As a Mexican<br />

family, we<br />

had those little<br />

traditions and<br />

devotions that<br />

helped me to<br />

get stronger in<br />

my faith growing<br />

up,” said Pruneda.<br />

For as early as<br />

he can remember, Pruneda felt an<br />

“attraction” to the priesthood. He felt<br />

especially drawn to the “superpower”<br />

he sensed while watching the priest<br />

celebrate the Eucharist, “knowing<br />

that he had something that I didn’t<br />

have.”<br />

Soon, the adolescent Pruneda<br />

became insistent with his parents: he<br />

wanted to enter the seminary.<br />

“I always knew it,” Pruneda said<br />

about his vocation. He just didn’t<br />

know where that calling would take<br />

him.<br />

Pruneda first entered minor seminary<br />

in Mexico while in high school,<br />

before continuing in Mexico City. A<br />

few years later, while taking a year off<br />

to visit the U.S. and learn English, he<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


Eduardo Pruneda with<br />

village children during the<br />

mission trip to Sierra Leone<br />

that changed his life.<br />

Returning to<br />

Mexico, his plans<br />

to resume formation<br />

there were<br />

scrambled. Despite<br />

reservations about<br />

the thought of<br />

becoming a priest<br />

in the U.S., he was<br />

convinced to apply<br />

for formation in Los<br />

Angeles. There, his<br />

studies took him<br />

from Juan Diego<br />

House in Gardena<br />

to St. John’s Seminary<br />

in Camarillo,<br />

with a parish internship<br />

year at St.<br />

Anthony of Padua in<br />

Gardena.<br />

During these<br />

years apart from<br />

his family, Pruneda<br />

is grateful for the<br />

spiritual “moms”<br />

in LA who’ve kept<br />

him fed, the “dads”<br />

who’ve kept him in line, and the<br />

“brothers” in seminary who’ve kept<br />

him company.<br />

“The Lord has provided a family for<br />

me,” he believes.<br />

Having been born on <strong>No</strong>v. 1, the<br />

feast day of All Saints, Pruneda has<br />

also leaned on several intercessors for<br />

prayers during times of struggle and<br />

doubt. Two of them aren’t even saints<br />

yet: Blessed Miguel Pro, a young<br />

Jesuit martyred during the Cristero<br />

War; and Blessed María Inés Teresa of<br />

the Blessed Sacrament, founder of the<br />

Van-Clar missionaries.<br />

“When I see her, I feel like I’m at<br />

home,” he said. “I see her as a spiritual<br />

mother.”<br />

Pruneda said he’s particularly excited<br />

to serve as a priest in a place with people<br />

of so many different backgrounds<br />

— quite different from his hometown<br />

of 2,000 people.<br />

“I hope that people feel that we are a<br />

multicultural archdiocese, but at the<br />

same time just one Church,” said Pruneda.<br />

“I knew that here is the place<br />

where the Lord wants me to serve.”<br />

came into contact with the Van-Clar<br />

missionaries at St. Rose of Lima in<br />

<strong>May</strong>wood, a lay missionary group<br />

with the spirituality of the Poor Clare<br />

Sisters.<br />

Eventually, Pruneda accepted an invitation<br />

to join the group on a mission<br />

trip to the African country of Sierra<br />

Leone. The experience shook him up.<br />

“It was a very hard experience in<br />

the beginning,” said Pruneda. “I was<br />

thinking, I have the tools, I’ve been in<br />

formation for a couple years, I come<br />

to evangelize and things like that. But<br />

then it becomes nothing when you<br />

see the reality of the people.”<br />

Pruneda’s group spent a lot of time<br />

helping at a school run by nuns but<br />

attended by more Muslim children<br />

than Catholics. For many, their only<br />

meal of the day was the one they<br />

received at school.<br />

But the experience also gave Pruneda<br />

hope, seeing the zealous spirit<br />

of the sisters and the generosity of<br />

children with no material possessions<br />

sharing the little they had.<br />

“That gave me a lot of strength to<br />

continue my vocation,” said Pruneda.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 15


LUCIO<br />

TRINIDAD<br />

Age: 28<br />

Hometown: Atemajac de Brizuela, Jalisco, Mexico<br />

Home parish: St. Philip Neri Church, Lynwood<br />

Parish assignment: St. John the Baptist Church,<br />

Baldwin Park<br />

The norm in most Catholic families,<br />

parents will tell you, is that<br />

children require some effort —<br />

even convincing — to get to church<br />

on Sundays.<br />

Lucio Trinidad was not one of those<br />

children.<br />

“Growing up, I’d force my Mom to<br />

take me to Mass,” confessed Trinidad,<br />

who grew up the fourth of five children<br />

in a small town in Jalisco, Mexico.<br />

Looking back, Trinidad credited his<br />

great-grandparents for transmitting that<br />

love for the faith. Although he moved<br />

to Southern California at the age of<br />

<strong>11</strong>, he believes they played the most<br />

important role in his vocation: teaching<br />

Lucio Trinidad at a college graduation celebration in 2019 with his siblings, mother<br />

Alejandra (third from left) and grandfather Eugenio (third from right).<br />

him about the<br />

faith, bringing<br />

him to daily Mass,<br />

and encouraging<br />

his prayer life.<br />

There were<br />

other influences,<br />

too, like Trinidad’s<br />

uncle, a priest, and<br />

the parish pastor who recruited Trinidad<br />

as an altar server in his early years.<br />

When his family moved to the LA area,<br />

the thought of a possible life as a priest<br />

faded as he focused on learning English<br />

and getting used to a new country.<br />

“It was mostly a culture shock,” remembered<br />

Trinidad. “In the beginning<br />

Lucio Trinidad (second boy from right) and his brothers and sisters as children in Mexico<br />

with their great-grandmother Maria del Refugio and great-grandfather Juan (center).<br />

At far right is grandmother Natalia.<br />

it was hard.”<br />

But while attending confirmation<br />

classes, God “sparked the fire again” in<br />

Trinidad to take discernment seriously.<br />

In particular, he remembered the joy<br />

he experienced helping in first Communion<br />

classes while earning service<br />

hours.<br />

“I really enjoyed doing that, helping<br />

the kids build a relationship with God,”<br />

said Trinidad. “I think that influenced<br />

my decision a lot, just finding that joy<br />

every week in being there with the kids<br />

and sharing the faith with others.”<br />

After graduating from Dominguez<br />

High School in Compton, he returned<br />

to Mexico for a year to take care of his<br />

great-grandmother, and even considered<br />

enrolling in seminary there. But<br />

after her death, he returned to California<br />

and entered seminary formation in<br />

Los Angeles: first at Juan Diego House<br />

in Gardena as an undergraduate in<br />

college, and then St. John’s Seminary<br />

in Camarillo.<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


Trinidad considers himself an introvert,<br />

a trait he wasn’t sure was a right fit<br />

for the priesthood. But a turning point<br />

came during his internship year serving<br />

under Msgr. Jarlath Cunnane at St.<br />

Cornelius in Long Beach. While still<br />

an introvert who knows how to “enjoy<br />

solitude,” he found himself becoming<br />

more outgoing and open to people.<br />

“That’s when everything flourished,”<br />

recalled Trinidad. “I saw myself as<br />

doing this for the rest of my life.”<br />

Trinidad’s path to the priesthood has<br />

not come without tests. Months into<br />

the COVID-19 pandemic, his beloved<br />

great-grandfather died. Being unable<br />

to travel to Mexico for the funeral<br />

was hard, he remembered. But being<br />

instituted to the order of “acolyte” at<br />

the seminary a few months later helped<br />

Trinidad realize the source of a new<br />

special connection.<br />

“That was part of my growth in the<br />

Eucharist, to know that every time that<br />

I offer the Sacrifice, [my late relatives]<br />

will be by my side.”<br />

There will certainly be relatives at<br />

Trinidad’s side on Ordination Day,<br />

including his grandfather and the 13<br />

nephews and nieces who jokingly<br />

call him “Tio Bruno,” a reference to<br />

the mysterious, hidden character in<br />

the 2021 Disney film “Encanto” (“I<br />

don’t really show up for many things,”<br />

since entering the seminary, Trinidad<br />

laughed).<br />

Looking ahead, Trinidad sees the<br />

mission of a priest as more than just<br />

administering sacraments. He sees a<br />

need to “meet people where they’re at”<br />

and accompany them, especially those<br />

still searching for answers.<br />

“The biggest law of the Church is the<br />

salvation of souls, but how can I save<br />

souls without using my own soul?”<br />

Trinidad believes that a key task ahead<br />

will be teaching people “how to have<br />

a relationship” with one another and<br />

with God, something he’s seen lacking<br />

in the aftermath of the COVID-19<br />

pandemic. His dream for the Church<br />

in Los Angeles, he said, is that every<br />

encounter people have be one that<br />

leads to Jesus.<br />

“God is love, God is forgiveness, God<br />

is merciful,” said Trinidad. “That is the<br />

base for people to start a relationship,<br />

for them to walk and have a meaning<br />

in their life.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 17


STEPHEN PHILIP<br />

WATSON<br />

Age: 34<br />

Hometown: Modesto<br />

Home parish: St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church,<br />

Santa Clarita<br />

Parish assignment: St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church,<br />

Santa Clarita<br />

Stephen Watson, far left,<br />

sits on Santa’s lap as a<br />

child with siblings Robert,<br />

Neil, Katie, and Michelle.<br />

For being the happiest place on<br />

earth, working at Disney World<br />

ultimately isn’t what made Stephen<br />

Watson happy.<br />

Working in the culinary world, he had<br />

reached a dream destination but was<br />

still left unfulfilled.<br />

This was where Watson found himself:<br />

A culinary graduate from Modesto<br />

who had landed a dream gig at Disney<br />

World, and was now grinding 75<br />

hours a week as a caterer in Portland,<br />

Oregon.<br />

“I do think it was God’s way of saying<br />

Stephen Watson poses with his parents, Daniel<br />

and Deanna, at the Louvre Pyramid in France.<br />

if this is what<br />

you want to do,<br />

I think you need<br />

to do it before<br />

you come to me,”<br />

Watson said.<br />

The middle<br />

child of five kids,<br />

Watson grew up<br />

the “peacekeeper”<br />

in his family and with a more agricultural<br />

upbringing having been raised<br />

in Modesto. Rather than taking physics<br />

or chemistry in school, he studied agri-<br />

cultural science or horticulture.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t that school was something that<br />

was interesting to him.<br />

“While I was in high school, I made<br />

the decision that I wasn’t going to a<br />

four-year college,” Watson said. “It<br />

wasn’t that I didn’t like school or I<br />

wasn’t good at it. It just didn’t appeal<br />

to me.”<br />

What he did enjoy was cooking, and<br />

especially baking. After graduating<br />

high school, he attended culinary<br />

school in Portland, where he had<br />

family living.<br />

And that’s where the Disney World<br />

opportunity came to be, with a Disney<br />

representative at the school offering a<br />

1-in-2,500 chance to join its culinary<br />

intern program.<br />

Incredibly, Watson earned the spot.<br />

“I don’t know how,” he said.<br />

During this time, balancing all that<br />

was going on in his life, he had fallen<br />

away from the Church.<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


Back in Portland and working as a caterer,<br />

he decided to start going back to<br />

Mass and later to adoration regularly.<br />

It was then he realized that he had<br />

been following the wrong path and so<br />

did what anyone might do in 2010: He<br />

messaged his parish pastor on Facebook,<br />

“Father, can we talk?”<br />

Waiting outside the pastor’s office, he<br />

finally had this undeniable feeling he<br />

was meant to become a priest.<br />

“He said, ‘Stephen, what do you want<br />

to talk about?’ ” Watson said.<br />

“I said, ‘Well, Father, I think I might<br />

be called to be a priest.’<br />

“That’s great. How long have you<br />

been thinking about it?”<br />

“Well, about five seconds.”<br />

When it came to telling his family, he<br />

planned to make a big meal and read a<br />

letter he had written because he didn’t<br />

think he could say it out loud.<br />

“I read them this letter thinking it<br />

would be this grand revelation, and<br />

they all said, ‘Oh, we knew that,’ ”<br />

Watson said.<br />

Then discernment came, and like<br />

the rest of his life so far, that process<br />

wasn’t a straight line either. After a few<br />

months of spiritual direction, he was<br />

told that he needed to make a decision,<br />

take a leap of faith, and enter into a<br />

formation program.<br />

Having already gone from Modesto<br />

to Florida to Oregon, Watson found<br />

himself in San Diego at a formation<br />

house run by the Eudists. He spent<br />

nine years there, but not after discerning<br />

out after a few years and spending a<br />

year in France.<br />

In 2017, he entered St. John’s Seminary<br />

and finally felt like he had found<br />

the right fit and where he was called<br />

to be.<br />

“Like in dating, it takes a couple of<br />

people before you get to the right one,”<br />

Watson said.<br />

As his ordination arrives, and after a<br />

formation journey that lasted 14 years,<br />

he is ready to serve in a region that<br />

did not start out as his home but has<br />

become one.<br />

“At 17 or 18 years old, if you were to<br />

ask me to move to Los Angeles and<br />

become a priest here, I could not have<br />

imagined that,” Watson said. “God was<br />

the great storyteller and the one who<br />

married our lives that really brought<br />

me here.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 19


ALEJANDRO<br />

REYNAGA<br />

Age: 33<br />

Hometown: Baldwin Park<br />

Home parish: St. John the Baptist Church,<br />

Baldwin Park<br />

Parish assignment: St. Anthony Church, Oxnard<br />

Alejandro Reynaga, left,<br />

poses with his parents,<br />

Jose and Afra, older brother<br />

Hector, and younger<br />

sister Lorena.<br />

In trying to figure out what to do<br />

with his life, Alejandro Reynaga<br />

went through a lot of schooling.<br />

Sierra Vista High School in Baldwin<br />

Park; Pasadena City College; Cal State<br />

Dominguez Hills.<br />

He was a nursing major. Then, pharmacy.<br />

Finally, psychology.<br />

He was going to be a pharmacist. <strong>No</strong>,<br />

a therapist.<br />

“I don’t regret any of it,” Reynaga<br />

said. “I’ve enjoyed learning everything<br />

I have as much of a struggle as it’s<br />

been.<br />

“I’d do it all again.”<br />

What he didn’t<br />

realize until later<br />

was the work he<br />

had been doing<br />

as a catechist<br />

teaching confirmation<br />

class was<br />

setting him up<br />

to be what God<br />

wanted for him.<br />

Growing up the<br />

middle child of<br />

a family of three<br />

children, Reynaga<br />

was raised<br />

Alejandro Reynaga is carried by his parents, Afra and Jose, along with his maternal<br />

grandparents and godparents, Inocencio Sánchez Curiel and Magdalena Preciado de<br />

Sánchez.<br />

Catholic, but it<br />

wasn’t until his<br />

first Communion<br />

that he truly felt<br />

at home in the<br />

Church.<br />

He hadn’t yet<br />

thought of the<br />

priesthood but<br />

felt strongly that<br />

he was called to<br />

serve.<br />

“I always knew<br />

I wanted to go back to the church and<br />

serve one way or another,” Reynaga<br />

said. “And the same thing happened<br />

when I was in the confirmation program.<br />

I remember that’s when I really<br />

decided that at some point in the<br />

future, I would go back and probably<br />

teach, volunteer, and give back what I<br />

had received.”<br />

A few years later he got his wish as<br />

both he and his younger sister became<br />

confirmation teachers. It was in doing<br />

those duties and working with young<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


Alejandro Reynaga, right, poses with his parents, Jose and Afra, older brother Hector, and younger sister Lorena.<br />

people where he felt most satisfied and<br />

began setting his sights even higher.<br />

“I was inspired by them to continue<br />

living my life for Christ,” Reynaga<br />

said. “I think I always knew that I was<br />

doing God’s work. Even in difficult<br />

moments, going to school and working<br />

and still wanting to go back and share<br />

my faith with the kids, with the teens,<br />

was something that I felt very fulfilling.”<br />

The thought of religious life occurred<br />

to him in an unlikely place: history<br />

class.<br />

During a discussion of the Middle<br />

Ages, his teacher spoke about how<br />

the monks lived and their prayer life.<br />

Reynaga thought that maybe one day<br />

he might become a monk, but since<br />

he was young, that was a long way off.<br />

“I didn’t know that young people<br />

could actually live a life like that,”<br />

Reynaga said. “I didn’t know that<br />

they could live a life devoted to God,<br />

which I wish I had known, but I guess<br />

I found that out later.”<br />

Thinking he might want to live religious<br />

life as a monk or in a community,<br />

he began attending discernment<br />

retreats, including with the Discalced<br />

Carmelites. But ultimately, he realized<br />

that he was being called to the priesthood,<br />

so he called the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles and applied for the<br />

seminary.<br />

What Reynaga is most looking<br />

forward to in becoming a priest is to<br />

continually grow into being a spiritual<br />

father for those who need it.<br />

“I’m looking forward to growing in<br />

that understanding,”<br />

he said. “I hear a lot of<br />

the priests and recently<br />

ordained that after ordination,<br />

there’s a change.<br />

You definitely recognize<br />

it. So I’m looking forward<br />

to seeing that and hoping<br />

that those changes are<br />

something that I come to<br />

grow into.”<br />

Recognizing that we’re<br />

living in as distracted a<br />

world as ever, Reynaga<br />

hopes to cut through it<br />

all to announce the love<br />

of Jesus Christ.<br />

“I know that’s a tall<br />

order, especially now<br />

when there’s so many<br />

other loud voices and<br />

so much noise,” he said.<br />

“But it’s to quickly or<br />

slowly reintroduce Jesus<br />

into the world.<br />

“It’s an uphill battle, but we’re<br />

fighting it together. We’re doing what<br />

we can to be united and deliver the<br />

Gospel.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 21


ANTHONY<br />

HUYNH<br />

Age: 29<br />

Hometown: Garden Grove<br />

Home parish: Maria Regina Church, Gardena<br />

Parish assignment: St. Mary of the Assumption<br />

Church, Whittier<br />

Anthony Huynh<br />

and a former seminary<br />

classmate in<br />

the sacristy of the<br />

Guadalupe Basilica<br />

during a trip to<br />

Mexico in 2019.<br />

Born the only child of Vietnamese<br />

immigrant parents in Garden<br />

Grove, Anthony Huynh had<br />

all the fundamentals of a good Catholic<br />

upbringing.<br />

He watched his<br />

parents sing in<br />

the parish choir,<br />

went to Catholic<br />

school until 8th<br />

grade, and even<br />

played piano at<br />

Mass.<br />

It was during<br />

those years, he<br />

realizes now, that<br />

the seed of his<br />

vocation to the<br />

priesthood was<br />

quietly planted.<br />

“It was just<br />

always there, but<br />

I just never really<br />

looked into it,” said Huynh.<br />

What Huynh did know was that he<br />

wanted to help people for a living. So<br />

after graduating from high school, he<br />

pursued a bachelor’s degree in social<br />

work at Cal State LA. But during<br />

vacation one summer in Vietnam, he<br />

crossed paths with an old priest friend<br />

of his father’s who was involved in a<br />

slightly different kind of social work.<br />

“He was doing ministry in one of<br />

those villages way out in the mountains,<br />

very poor, with one road in, one<br />

road out.” Huynh remembered being<br />

struck by the simplicity of how he<br />

Anthony Huynh as a deacon with family after Mass<br />

at the shrine of Lourdes, France, in July 2023.<br />

lived.<br />

“He didn’t own a lot of things materially,<br />

but just the fact that he was happy<br />

with life, doing his priestly ministry,<br />

working with the locals in the villages<br />

… that kind of sparked curiosity,”<br />

recalled Huynh.<br />

That led Huynh to start praying<br />

seriously about his future and talk to<br />

a priest at his home parish of Maria<br />

Regina Church in Gardena, Father<br />

Sang Tran. After graduating from Cal<br />

State LA in 2017, he decided to enter<br />

formation for the Archdiocese of LA.<br />

One of the key sources of encour-<br />

22 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


agement during discernment was<br />

Huynh’s father, who grew up attending<br />

a boarding school in Vietnam run<br />

by Redemptorist priests. Some of his<br />

dad’s classmates went on to become<br />

priests themselves. Hearing stories<br />

about their lives as priests — not just<br />

their joys, but their difficulties, too —<br />

spoke to the younger Huynh.<br />

“It just gave me at least that knowledge<br />

that if I were to pursue this<br />

vocation, there was something good to<br />

be had,” remembered Huynh.<br />

Huynh also found plenty of affirmation<br />

in the bonds formed with his<br />

seminary classmates. He recalled one<br />

trip that several of them took to Mexico,<br />

where they attended first Masses<br />

for two new LA priests celebrated at<br />

the Basilica of Guadalupe.<br />

“Coming out of that trip, we made<br />

a lot of memories together, and that<br />

helped carry this momentum into the<br />

rest of our formation,” said Huynh.<br />

“We’re not just guys who attend class<br />

together, but we’re really brothers<br />

who are trying to walk together and<br />

support each other in our calling to<br />

holiness.”<br />

The similarities between his original<br />

career path and the priesthood are<br />

not lost on Huynh. Like social work,<br />

priestly ministry begins with “meeting<br />

people where they’re at,” whether<br />

struggling with their faith or carrying<br />

the “baggage” of difficulties in life.<br />

“We’re meeting people who come<br />

from these unique environments<br />

where there’s a lot of different influences<br />

all trying to grab their attention,”<br />

said Huynh. “I believe it’s being<br />

able to enter into the complexity of<br />

their lives and being able to see how<br />

God can touch them, and accompany<br />

them into the life of God himself.”<br />

Huynh credited a long list of people<br />

— family, friends, classmates, and<br />

parishioners at places like Our Lady<br />

of Loretto Church near downtown,<br />

where he spent his parish internship<br />

year — with helping him make it this<br />

far. All have convinced him that ordinary<br />

encounters with people — believers<br />

and nonbelievers alike — have<br />

a special ability to reveal God’s love.<br />

“It’s not just something we practice<br />

only on Sundays when we’re inside<br />

the church,” he said of faith. “It’s a life<br />

that continues outside.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 23


MIGUEL<br />

CABRERA<br />

Age: 30<br />

Hometown: Oxnard<br />

Home parish: St. Mary Magdalen Church, Camarillo<br />

Parish assignment: St. Pancratius Church, Lakewood<br />

The youngest of five (with<br />

four older sisters) to parents<br />

who emigrated from Mexico,<br />

Miguel Cabrera grew up in a Mexican<br />

culture that is so intertwined with<br />

Catholicism that it is often difficult to<br />

separate the two.<br />

“It’s something that belonged to my<br />

culture, something that belonged to<br />

my family, but not something that<br />

belonged to me personally,” he said.<br />

This faith was helpful but didn’t<br />

really come to the surface until later<br />

in life.<br />

His childhood was filled with riding<br />

horses at his father’s and uncle’s small<br />

ranch and his family’s participation in<br />

Aztec-esque dance styles like danza de<br />

matachines (“sword dance”).<br />

He went to Catholic school throughout<br />

his early life, eventually graduating<br />

from Santa Clara High School in<br />

Oxnard.<br />

It wasn’t until he started attending<br />

college — first Ventura College, then<br />

San Diego State — that he actually<br />

began confronting the strength of his<br />

faith.<br />

“I was faced with the decision of am<br />

I going to pursue the faith on my own<br />

or am I going to abandon it?” Cabrera<br />

said. “<strong>No</strong>w, a lot of people my age at<br />

that time, especially on the college<br />

campus, leave the faith while they’re<br />

in college. And<br />

so I had a choice<br />

to make.”<br />

The answer<br />

came in the form<br />

of a donut.<br />

Cabrera heard<br />

that the Newman<br />

Center at San<br />

Diego State was<br />

hosting Mass and offering free donuts<br />

afterward.<br />

Although he enjoyed the free breakfast<br />

— “it was a really good donut”<br />

— Cabrera decided to come back the<br />

next weekend.<br />

And the next.<br />

And again.<br />

“I noticed<br />

when I got to<br />

the Newman<br />

Center that they<br />

were people my<br />

age, my peers,<br />

who were there<br />

without their<br />

family,” Cabrera<br />

said. “There were<br />

no parents that<br />

dragged them<br />

there. It was just<br />

them and they<br />

were happy to be<br />

there. I sensed<br />

a joy in them<br />

that I’ve always<br />

wanted.”<br />

From there, his<br />

faith snowballed:<br />

He did his confirmation,<br />

joined a<br />

Bible study, and<br />

began attending<br />

adoration for the<br />

Blessed Sacrament. He learned how<br />

to really pray — not just say the words<br />

— something that even a lifetime of<br />

Catholic school hadn’t given him.<br />

As he neared the end of his college<br />

career, with a focus on criminal<br />

justice, he decided to take a job with<br />

the Fellowship of Catholic University<br />

Students (FOCUS) ministry group.<br />

Thinking he would work there for two<br />

years, then return to criminal justice,<br />

God had other plans.<br />

One year into his FOCUS work, he<br />

started feeling a call to the priesthood.<br />

He prayed on it. He went to a discern-<br />

Miguel Cabrera has been<br />

riding horses since he was<br />

a child at a small ranch<br />

owned by his father.<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


ment retreat. And like many had done<br />

before him, he ignored it.<br />

But when he attended the Theology<br />

of the Body Congress in Ontario, God<br />

questioned why Cabrera hadn’t taken<br />

action.<br />

“I remember asking the Lord some<br />

follow-up questions myself being like<br />

‘What if I am called to the priesthood,<br />

but I’m not happy?’ ” Cabrera said.<br />

“In response, I felt the Lord just say,<br />

‘Do you not trust me? If I am calling<br />

you to the priesthood, there’s nothing<br />

that will make you happier. And if I’m<br />

not calling you to the priesthood, that<br />

will be revealed to you while you’re in<br />

the seminary.’<br />

“And here I am, seven years later,<br />

still in love with Christ and his<br />

Church.”<br />

Although there’s a special place in<br />

his heart for young-adult ministry,<br />

Cabrera has found a love for ministering<br />

to the sick, especially those in the<br />

hospital.<br />

“There isn’t a lot of relationship-building<br />

with patients that you<br />

might encounter because they might<br />

not be there for that long,” Cabrera<br />

Miguel Cabrera with priests and fellow St. John’s seminarians during a trip to Mexico City in 2019.<br />

said. “But that doesn’t make the encounters<br />

any less meaningful.<br />

“Just seeing the comfort that it brings<br />

a family to be visited by someone<br />

who’s clergy or just having someone<br />

who comes in and cares to pray with<br />

them for a bit, reminding them that<br />

their spiritual care is important.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 25


MARKO RUDELA<br />

Age: 30<br />

Hometown: Covina<br />

Home parish: Immaculate Conception Church,<br />

Monrovia<br />

Parish assignment: St. Clare of Assisi Church,<br />

Santa Clarita<br />

As someone who was born on the<br />

day of the <strong>No</strong>rthridge earthquake<br />

in 1994, you might expect Rudela’s<br />

path to the priesthood to be full of<br />

jolts, shakes, and aftershocks.<br />

Instead, it has been a slow and steady<br />

rumble of faith, love, and perseverance,<br />

with a strong foundation set by his Croatian<br />

immigrant parents.<br />

One of four boys, Rudela had a typical<br />

experience of a devout Catholic family:<br />

Mass every Sunday, Catholic school,<br />

youth ministry.<br />

His parents had emigrated separately<br />

from Croatia, then met and married in<br />

Los Angeles. The family spoke Croatian<br />

at home and participated in cultural<br />

things like dance groups and watching<br />

Croatia in soccer.<br />

It all felt very normal until having to<br />

face some things that were uniquely<br />

American.<br />

“I was like one of the very few immigrant<br />

families at my grade school<br />

growing up,” Rudela said. “So they’d<br />

mention things like we’re gonna throw a<br />

’50s party. Well, what did that look like?<br />

And they’ll say, ‘Go ask your grandparents.’<br />

I can’t ask my grandparents, they<br />

have no idea. So you’re really learning<br />

the American culture.”<br />

Youth ministry continued in high<br />

school at Don Bosco Tech in Rosemead,<br />

and that’s when people began<br />

asking him if he had considered becoming<br />

a priest. It stuck with him into<br />

college at UC Riverside, where he was<br />

studying to become an engineer.<br />

One day in college, Rudela’s friend,<br />

Mike, offered<br />

him a sort of faith<br />

challenge.<br />

“He told me,<br />

‘You know, Marko,<br />

real men pray<br />

the rosary,” Rudela said. “He told me<br />

to pray the rosary every single day. So I<br />

started doing that, praying the rosary in<br />

the evening before I went to bed, sometimes<br />

falling asleep before finishing it.<br />

But what happened was I realized that<br />

three months into praying the rosary,<br />

I felt called to go even deeper into my<br />

relationship with Jesus.”<br />

He began going to adoration every day<br />

for a couple of semesters and slowly he<br />

began to feel God calling him to the<br />

priesthood. So he called the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles vocations office,<br />

graduated college in March, and started<br />

at St. John’s Seminary that August.<br />

“Engineers were promised, if you get<br />

your degree, you’ll have a decent salary<br />

by the time you’re finished,” Rudela<br />

said. “So that was my hope. But you<br />

know, God called and he had a different<br />

plan for me.”<br />

He really felt the profound call of the<br />

priesthood while at the seminary, especially<br />

after the Rite of Admission to Candidacy,<br />

where he<br />

officially professed<br />

his intention to<br />

become a priest.<br />

“I still have<br />

the candle for<br />

candidacy up in<br />

my room,” Rudela<br />

said. “And that<br />

moment of candidacy<br />

really stood<br />

out to me. This<br />

is the moment<br />

when, in a sense,<br />

I have firmly promised to start this path<br />

of discernment toward priesthood. <strong>No</strong>w<br />

with ordination around the corner,<br />

looking back at those five years since<br />

candidacy, you can really see the way<br />

that God was working in my life.”<br />

It’s no surprise that someone so steady<br />

in his faith would find inspiration in St.<br />

Josemaría Escrivá, who was called the<br />

“saint of the ordinary” and found Jesus<br />

in the midst of our regular, daily lives.<br />

“That’s really helped me realize<br />

that every task I do in the parish,<br />

every prayer that I offer, any work I do<br />

throughout my life, it’s ordinary, but<br />

consecrated,” Rudela said. “To God it’s<br />

something.”<br />

With that inspiration in his heart as<br />

his big day nears, Rudela is not looking<br />

forward to anything major, but instead<br />

the everyday things in the life of a priest<br />

that many may take for granted.<br />

He cites accompanying priests on<br />

sick calls and seeing the joy that the<br />

sacrament of confession brings to other<br />

people as experiences that have spoken<br />

to him while serving in the parish.<br />

“I really hope to be able to be there<br />

for the people of God, especially if they<br />

need some spiritual guidance, and offering<br />

Masses for them,” said Rudela.<br />

Marko Rudela poses with his<br />

parents, Nikola and Andja,<br />

after he completed the Rite of<br />

Admission to Candidacy at St.<br />

John’s Seminary.<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 27


JOSEPH<br />

EUNWOO CHO<br />

Age: 33<br />

Hometown: Highland<br />

Home parish: St. Joseph Church, Pomona<br />

Parish assignment: St. John Vianney Church,<br />

Hacienda Heights<br />

Having a brother with cerebral<br />

palsy can be a difficult challenge<br />

for anybody. Certainly<br />

for Joseph Cho, who didn’t always get<br />

a chance to go play sports or spend<br />

time at a friend’s house because his<br />

parents spent so much of their time<br />

taking care of his brother. For better<br />

or worse, life revolved around him.<br />

“He was a big impact in my life,”<br />

Cho said. “I do love my brother but<br />

like all siblings, you tend to think<br />

negatively of your<br />

sibling because<br />

they’re taking<br />

something away<br />

from you.<br />

“The positive<br />

side is I got to<br />

learn maturity.<br />

Helping my parents<br />

take care of<br />

my brother, taking<br />

care of his needs, helping him get<br />

to bed. And<br />

humility.”<br />

What it also<br />

did was to<br />

push him to<br />

church. His<br />

parents were<br />

devout Catholics,<br />

but when<br />

his brother<br />

got older,<br />

bigger, and<br />

they couldn’t<br />

take him to<br />

church, they<br />

would send<br />

Cho with a<br />

neighbor and<br />

their children<br />

who also<br />

attended St.<br />

Andrew Kim<br />

Joseph Cho holds his younger brother, John, in a childhood photo.<br />

Korean Church in Riverside.<br />

“At that time, I didn’t really see the<br />

value of going to church,” Cho said.<br />

“Then I remember my dad telling me<br />

one time that I’m a representative of<br />

our family going to church. If I go and<br />

pray, I’m praying for the whole family.<br />

So I really took that to heart.”<br />

For Cho, this is where the seeds of<br />

his vocation were planted. Being from<br />

South Korea — his parents immigrated<br />

to the United States when he was<br />

2 years old — his family found strong<br />

bonds in the Korean community at St.<br />

Andrew Kim. His uncle on his father’s<br />

side was a priest in South Korea, so<br />

the idea of Cho someday becoming<br />

one wasn’t so far-fetched.<br />

“Everyone knew who my family was<br />

and knew my uncle also,” Cho said.<br />

“Knowing you should carry on the<br />

family tradition, the family job per se,<br />

by becoming a priest.”<br />

Joseph Cho poses with Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez.<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


But having others wanting you to<br />

become a priest and you actually<br />

wanting it yourself are two different<br />

things.<br />

Cho hadn’t fully felt the call and so<br />

went about his life. He went to college<br />

not really knowing what he wanted to<br />

do with his life, only hoping to have a<br />

career where he could make enough<br />

money to help his brother and parents,<br />

who had sacrificed so much.<br />

After graduating from Chapman<br />

University with a degree in Business<br />

Administration, he began studying<br />

for his CPA exam. While studying,<br />

thoughts about becoming a priest<br />

suddenly resurfaced.<br />

So he prayed. And prayed. Went to<br />

the Blessed Sacrament. And prayed.<br />

It was while his mother was at a<br />

retreat that God acted in the form of<br />

the priest she met there.<br />

“My Mom said, ‘You should call this<br />

priest’ and talk about vocations in general,”<br />

Cho said. “I did and the priest<br />

forwarded me to the vocations director<br />

of Los Angeles. So I met with them<br />

and started going through the process<br />

of discernment.<br />

“Next thing I know they gave me a<br />

piece of paper. I didn’t really read it<br />

and I signed it. Next thing I know, I<br />

was entering the seminary. I think this<br />

Joseph Cho, right, stands with his uncle, Father<br />

Paul Cho, left, a priest in South Korea, and<br />

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul.<br />

was God’s way to give me the push I<br />

needed.”<br />

He struggled a bit going from his<br />

business background to theology —<br />

and plenty of doubts about whether<br />

he should actually become a priest<br />

— but the experience during his<br />

internship at St. Philomena Church<br />

in Carson made things clear.<br />

“They were always supporting me<br />

and showing me the ropes of how<br />

priest life was like,” Cho said. “At the<br />

end. I was saying, yeah, I could do<br />

this. And it finally became something<br />

I want to do.”<br />

Preparing for his new life, Cho can’t<br />

help but look back on the community<br />

that helped nurture his faith, and how<br />

he can use that to forge his future<br />

role.<br />

“If there’s no community, I don’t<br />

think there will be a church or the<br />

church that we see right now,” Cho<br />

said. “Having the community really<br />

helps someone to find their faith.<br />

We’re all relational beings, so building<br />

that relationship and working together<br />

is one of the teachings that God is<br />

really giving us. It’s not my faith. It’s<br />

not just my faith to have. It’s a faith<br />

that we all could share.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 29


JAIME<br />

ARRIAGA<br />

Age: 40<br />

Hometown: Tenancingo, Mexico<br />

Home parish: St. Louis of France Church, La Puente<br />

Parish assignment: Our Lady of Perpetual Help<br />

Church, Downey<br />

When Jaime Arriaga was a kid,<br />

he told his Mom he was<br />

going to be a father.<br />

“Oh yes, you’re going to be the father<br />

of many children,” she said.<br />

“But I specifically told her no, I will<br />

be a father like those who say Masses,”<br />

Arriaga said.<br />

What he didn’t expect is that he<br />

might be saying those Masses outside<br />

of his hometown in Mexico. Arriaga,<br />

the youngest boy with two older<br />

sisters, moved to California when he<br />

was <strong>11</strong> years old.<br />

While he was happy in Mexico<br />

running in cornfields and playing<br />

soccer with neighborhood children, in<br />

California it was more stifling.<br />

“We did things as a family, but mostly<br />

going to the mall, to the market, going<br />

to do our laundry,” he said. “And that<br />

was basically it. If I wanted to go to<br />

the market, I couldn’t go by myself.<br />

So I felt that I didn’t have the same<br />

freedom as I did over there.”<br />

He went to La Puente High School<br />

for one year, but then the family<br />

moved back to Mexico. At age 17,<br />

Arriaga returned to California, but<br />

rather than go back to school, he<br />

instead went to work.<br />

Working in a food-processing plant<br />

is a far cry from priesthood, but that’s<br />

where he felt the first pangs of God<br />

calling him.<br />

One day while<br />

talking with a<br />

coworker, the<br />

man spoke of his<br />

experience in<br />

the seminary in<br />

Mexico. Arriaga<br />

was moved by<br />

the possibility.<br />

“I just felt this burning sensation in<br />

my chest,” he said. “And I was thinking<br />

to myself, I could probably do<br />

that. But I didn’t<br />

say anything to<br />

him, to no one.”<br />

Another<br />

encounter<br />

happened when<br />

a friend invited<br />

him to a young<br />

adult retreat and<br />

something inside<br />

of him changed<br />

after that.<br />

“I think it was<br />

the happiness<br />

that I saw in the<br />

young adults,”<br />

Arriaga said.<br />

“And that’s<br />

something that I<br />

needed in my life<br />

at that time.”<br />

The experience<br />

prompted him<br />

to get more<br />

involved at his<br />

home parish,<br />

becoming a<br />

lector and an<br />

extraordinary<br />

minister of holy<br />

Communion.<br />

But still, there was something missing.<br />

He was still yearning for something<br />

else, something more.<br />

“So I was like, ‘What more is there<br />

for me?’ ” Arriaga said. “And as I kept<br />

asking this question, I finally asked<br />

God, what do you want from me?<br />

And that’s when I started considering<br />

priesthood.”<br />

The problem is, he didn’t know anything<br />

about the priesthood or how you<br />

became one. So after doing research<br />

Jaime Arriaga blesses a family following a Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual<br />

Help Church in Downey.<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


Jaime Arriaga, left, and Eduardo Pruneda<br />

assist Bishop Marc Trudeau during their<br />

diaconate ordination Mass last <strong>May</strong>.<br />

online, he contacted the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles and left a message. <strong>No</strong>t<br />

expecting to ever receive a response,<br />

he was contacted a couple of days<br />

later.<br />

He spent two years discerning, then<br />

more years at the Juan Diego House<br />

(now Queen of Angels Center for<br />

Priestly Formation) before continuing<br />

at St. John’s Seminary.<br />

Despite finally being on a path to<br />

priesthood, he remained racked with<br />

doubt, wondering if he should continue<br />

or not. At the year-end retreat, he<br />

received a book on St. John Vianney.<br />

In it, he read that St. John Vianney<br />

had a devotion to St. Philomena and<br />

encouraged people to pray for her<br />

intercession.<br />

Knowing that nearby was St. Philomena<br />

Church in Carson, he took it as<br />

a sign and went to the parish to pray.<br />

“And that’s when I finally felt at<br />

peace,” Arriaga said.<br />

As his ordination approaches, Arriaga<br />

hopes to minister and be a sign to<br />

everyone, but especially those less<br />

fortunate, including immigrants and<br />

the homeless.<br />

“Sometimes we have the impression<br />

that they chose to be there, but it’s<br />

not,” Arriaga said. “Some people just<br />

don’t have an option and that’s where<br />

they end up. And we are called to be<br />

the face of Jesus. We have to show<br />

them that God loves them and hasn’t<br />

abandoned them.<br />

“Even if it’s one person who gets out<br />

of homelessness, I think that’s something<br />

very good.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • <strong>31</strong>


ERIC MEJIA<br />

Age: 29<br />

Hometown: Pacoima<br />

Home parish: Guardian Angel Church, Pacoima<br />

Parish assignment: Our Lady of the Assumption<br />

Church, Ventura<br />

Mejia with his<br />

mother, Paula.<br />

If you’d have told Mario Felix 13<br />

years ago that one of his confirmation<br />

students would go on to<br />

become a priest, Eric Mejia wouldn’t<br />

have been his first guess.<br />

“Would it have even registered? I’d<br />

probably say no,” said Felix, who’s<br />

taught confirmation at Guardian Angel<br />

Church in Pacoima for the last 30<br />

years.<br />

“He had a lot of things going against<br />

him, just like most kids do here,” said<br />

Felix, himself the father of LA priest<br />

Father Christopher Felix. “But God<br />

Mejia with young men in Guardian Angel Church’s “Guardians of the<br />

Altar” altar serving group at his first Mass as a deacon in <strong>May</strong> 2023.<br />

moves in mysterious<br />

ways.”<br />

Mejia’s mother<br />

was just 16 when<br />

she had him, an<br />

emigrant from<br />

El Salvador who<br />

didn’t know<br />

English, or what<br />

to do next.<br />

“She had to<br />

just figure out how to raise me,” Mejia<br />

recalled.<br />

After Mejia came five brothers. Things<br />

at home weren’t always easy, and by<br />

the time he got to East Valley High<br />

School in <strong>No</strong>rth Hollywood, Mejia was<br />

a self-proclaimed troublemaker.<br />

“All that caught up with me and I<br />

ended up being a really unhappy and<br />

angry son,” he remembered.<br />

But that was when Mejia’s mother<br />

made a decision that would alter the<br />

course of her son’s life: enrolling him in<br />

the confirmation program at Guardian<br />

Angel, near the housing projects where<br />

they lived. As Mejia tells it, his mom<br />

didn’t know what else to do with him.<br />

“She would say, ‘If the Church doesn’t<br />

fix you, I don’t know what else could fix<br />

you,’ ” he recalled.<br />

Mejia didn’t have much of a faith life.<br />

He didn’t even know the words of the<br />

Our Father, Felix remembered. But<br />

something about his new confirmation<br />

teacher surprised him.<br />

“He treated us like adults,” said Mejia.<br />

“He was very just honest about his faith<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


towards us. That struck a chord with<br />

me and made me start wanting to have<br />

more of a change.”<br />

Mejia had found an angel at Guardian<br />

Angel.<br />

“We just did a lot of talking, we<br />

focused a lot on their relationship with<br />

God,” remembered Felix. “And so, he<br />

took it and liked what he heard.”<br />

After a year in the confirmation<br />

program, “Mr. Felix” invited Mejia to<br />

join “Guardians of the Altar,” an altar<br />

serving ministry for young men he’d<br />

started in the parish.<br />

Eventually, Mejia found himself helping<br />

around the parish as a first Communion<br />

teacher and then as a sacristan,<br />

too. It was a time when he felt his faith<br />

“was always going up and down,” but<br />

with the guidance of then-pastor Father<br />

Steve Guitron, he turned to daily<br />

prayer, helping him discern what to do<br />

next in life.<br />

After finishing community college,<br />

Mejia decided it was time to give the<br />

priesthood a chance. He entered Juan<br />

Diego House in Gardena and, after<br />

graduating, continued at St. John’s<br />

Seminary in Camarillo.<br />

During seminary, Mejia got to<br />

give back what he’d received. At his<br />

internship parish and back at Guardian<br />

Angel, he had the chance to help in<br />

confirmation and invite people back to<br />

church after the COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

Just as the Church found him during<br />

a difficult time in his life, he sees his<br />

mission as a priest as “providing a place<br />

of support, of listening, of encouragement”<br />

for those who need it most.<br />

As if to confirm that nothing in Mejia’s<br />

vocation story has been by chance,<br />

his ordination to the priesthood comes<br />

as Guardian Angel prepares to dedicate<br />

a new church building later this year, a<br />

sign of hope in one of the San Fernando<br />

Valley’s toughest areas.<br />

The future priest hopes that the<br />

people he encounters in his ministry<br />

can have the same experience of Jesus<br />

Christ that he’s had, “to discover how<br />

much they are worth in the eyes of<br />

God.”<br />

“I’ve encountered people throughout<br />

the years who talk about the impact<br />

that other priests have had on them.<br />

That’s what I would want,” said Mejia.<br />

“It’s really just being a father for somebody<br />

else.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 33


JESUS UPON THE WATER<br />

With the help of flotillas, bridges, and the zeal<br />

of ordinary Catholics, the National Eucharistic<br />

Pilgrimage’s West Coast journey is off to an<br />

‘epic’ start.<br />

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone<br />

elevates the monstrance as he blesses the<br />

city and pilgrims after crossing the Golden Gate<br />

Bridge <strong>May</strong> 19. | OSV NEWS/BOB ROLLER<br />

BY PABLO KAY<br />

By the time the monstrance carrying the Blessed Sacrament<br />

had completed the California leg of the National<br />

Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s Serra Route <strong>May</strong> 19-24,<br />

it had been carried across the Golden Gate Bridge, led a<br />

flotilla of boats down the Sacramento River, drawn people<br />

to adoration at a homeless shelter, and led another flotilla of<br />

boats across Lake Tahoe and into Nevada.<br />

Just talking about it, Deacon Kevin Staszkow could hardly<br />

contain his excitement.<br />

“This Eucharistic Revival is a historic thing for the Church<br />

in the United States, and it needs to be marked by something<br />

epic,” said Staszkow, the lead planner for the pilgrimage’s<br />

four-day segment in the Diocese of Sacramento.<br />

Beginning in <strong>No</strong>rthern California and Nevada before proceeding<br />

north to Oregon and Idaho and then east, the Serra<br />

Route is one of four national itineraries established to bring<br />

Catholic pilgrims — led by the Blessed Sacrament — to<br />

Indianapolis, the site of the National Eucharistic Congress<br />

July 17-21.<br />

For months, organizers like Staszkow have been determined<br />

to make the most of it.<br />

It was the deacon’s boss, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento,<br />

who first had the idea of moving parts of the route from land<br />

to water. So from <strong>May</strong> 21 to 22, Soto was set to accompany<br />

the Blessed Sacrament aboard a 64-foot boat (borrowed from<br />

a Catholic benefactor) with a flotilla following in procession,<br />

34 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


making several stops along the<br />

Sacramento River.<br />

After all, Staszkow explained, the<br />

river itself was named after the<br />

Blessed Sacrament, as was the city.<br />

“It really doesn’t make sense<br />

to do anything except have the<br />

Eucharist travel on the Sacramento<br />

River,” said Staszkow, who<br />

heads the Diocese of Sacramento’s<br />

young adult ministry and faith<br />

formation offices. He remembers<br />

that the plan was first met with<br />

skepticism.<br />

“Everybody said, oh, you’re not<br />

going to be able to get a boat,”<br />

Staszkow said. “But I got a boat.”<br />

Before the Sacramento portion,<br />

the pilgrimage kicked off in San<br />

Francisco with a <strong>May</strong> 19 bilingual<br />

Pentecost Sunday Mass at the Cathedral<br />

of St. Mary of the Assumption<br />

celebrated by Archbishop<br />

Salvatore Cordileone. Immediately<br />

after, Cordileone led some<br />

4,000 people in procession across<br />

the Golden Gate Bridge which,<br />

perhaps in a stroke of Providence,<br />

had already been closed earlier<br />

that day for the city’s annual “Bay<br />

to Breakers” footrace.<br />

Cordileone then led pilgrims<br />

in Benediction at Point Cavallo,<br />

a lookout point with views of the<br />

San Francisco Bay. The pilgrimage<br />

continued through Marin<br />

County, including Mission San Rafael Arcángel, before<br />

moving on to the Diocese of Sacramento.<br />

While the procession made for a visual spectacle, Cordileone<br />

said before the event that the procession was not about a<br />

photo op.<br />

“It’s a public manifestation of faith,” Cordileone told <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

“That’s what processions are, and this is a very powerful<br />

one because it’s encompassing the whole country. Our faith<br />

is not meant to be kept within the walls of the churches, but<br />

to be brought out into the public square.”<br />

Crossing <strong>No</strong>rthern California, the pilgrimage included<br />

planned stops that Bishop Soto hoped would connect with<br />

different “marginalized populations,” including a Mass with<br />

farm workers in Vallejo, a walking procession leaving from<br />

Folsom State Prison, and a visit to Sacramento homeless<br />

shelter Loaves and Fishes.<br />

The route’s California portion ended on Friday, <strong>May</strong> 24,<br />

when Soto was set to again accompany the Blessed Sacrament<br />

leading a flotilla of boats, this time crossing Lake<br />

Tahoe at sunset (approximately a 26-mile journey) before arriving<br />

at Incline Village, Nevada, for a Eucharistic “handoff”<br />

to the neighboring Diocese of Reno.<br />

Sister Maria, a woman religious from the Archdiocese<br />

of Los Angeles, made plans to travel the Serra Route as a<br />

pilgrim by car from San Francisco to Indianapolis. She is<br />

making the pilgrimage out of gratitude to the Eucharist for<br />

bringing her to the Church when she was in her 20s, but<br />

also as an opportunity to pray for others’ intentions (she’ll<br />

carry a prayer book for people to write them in) and in<br />

reparation for the lack of belief in the Eucharist she sees<br />

firsthand.<br />

“[Many Catholics] don’t believe in Jesus and the Eucharist<br />

anymore, and that is the whole point of this Eucharistic<br />

Revival, to draw people back to Mass and love of Jesus and<br />

the Eucharist,” said Sister Maria, who asked to remain<br />

anonymous.<br />

As it makes its way through parts of the western U.S.,<br />

Cordileone hopes the pilgrimage will “reignite an authentic<br />

Eucharistic faith” among Catholics.<br />

“I hope it instills in our Catholic people a reminder of<br />

the sacredness of what the Eucharist is, and who it is,” said<br />

Cordileone.<br />

Crossing the country over the course of two months, Sister<br />

Maria plans to be hosted in some places by friends or in<br />

convents with other women religious. In others, she’ll have<br />

to leave it to Providence.<br />

“You make your plan, but God always changes it,” said<br />

the sister, who works in youth ministry at a parish in the LA<br />

Archdiocese. “But at least you do your part and then you see<br />

what unfolds.”<br />

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

The team of “Perpetual Pilgrims” traveling<br />

the entirety of the National Eucharistic<br />

Pilgrimage’s Serra Route began by crossing<br />

the Golden Gate Bridge <strong>May</strong> 19. | ARCH-<br />

DIOCESE OF SAN FRANCISCO<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 35


NOT<br />

PREACHING<br />

TO PLEASE<br />

BY JOHN L. ALLEN JR.<br />

Pope Francis speaks<br />

at a meeting on Italy’s<br />

declining birthrate at an<br />

auditorium in Rome <strong>May</strong><br />

10. | CNS/LOLA GOMEZ<br />

As he compares contraception to the arms<br />

industry, Pope Francis knows his pro-fertility<br />

message can’t make everyone happy.<br />

ROME — Given their home<br />

court advantage, it’s natural that<br />

nobody covers the Vatican quite<br />

like the Italian press. For most countries,<br />

the Vatican beat is like football,<br />

something to pay attention to maybe<br />

once a week, usually on Sunday. For<br />

Italians, it’s more akin to baseball —<br />

there’s a game every day, and sometimes<br />

a doubleheader.<br />

One of the more provocative recent<br />

pieces of Vatican commentary in<br />

the Italian press came <strong>May</strong> <strong>11</strong> from<br />

Massimo Gramellini, who writes the<br />

“Morning Coffee” column for Corriere<br />

della Sera, Italy’s newspaper of record.<br />

The intriguing headline was “Francesco<br />

il guastafeste,” which roughly translates<br />

as “Francis the Party-Pooper.”<br />

Gramellini was reacting to a <strong>May</strong> 10<br />

talk by the pontiff at a Roman event<br />

titled “General States of the Birth<br />

Rate,” which has become an annual<br />

event devoted to addressing Italy’s fertility<br />

crisis. Last year, according to the<br />

official national statistics office, Italy set<br />

another historical low with just 379,000<br />

live births, while demographers say that<br />

at least 500,000 births a year would be<br />

necessary to avoid a dangerous imbalance<br />

between young and old in the<br />

country.<br />

The <strong>May</strong> 10 event made headlines in<br />

large part because of heated scuffles in<br />

the streets of Rome between police and<br />

youthful protesters, who were objecting<br />

to the presence of Italian Family Minister<br />

Eugenia Roccella.<br />

The protesters identify Roccella with<br />

a recent move by the conservative<br />

government of Prime Minister Giorgia<br />

Meloni to permit the presence of prolife<br />

groups at publicly funded family<br />

planning clinics where women seeking<br />

an abortion are required to obtain a<br />

certificate attesting to the state of their<br />

pregnancy.<br />

In the eyes of the opposition, allowing<br />

pro-life consulters to set up shop in the<br />

clinics amounts to an assault on a woman’s<br />

right to choose an abortion. Four<br />

police officers and at least one young<br />

female demonstrator were treated for<br />

minor injuries as a result of the fracas,<br />

while inside the meeting Roccella<br />

was shouted down and eventually left<br />

without giving her talk.<br />

Never one to be upstaged, however,<br />

Pope Francis nevertheless managed<br />

to make waves himself with his own<br />

remarks, in which, among other things,<br />

he encouraged more family-friendly<br />

policies from governments, such as en-<br />

36 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


suring that women don’t have to choose<br />

between work and raising children, or<br />

that young couples are able to afford a<br />

home.<br />

The line that really got tongues<br />

wagging, however, came as Francis<br />

was describing the dreary demographic<br />

landscape of contemporary Europe,<br />

marked by rapid aging and plummeting<br />

birthrates.<br />

“How is it possible?” the pope asked.<br />

“Why can’t this hemorrhage of life be<br />

stopped?”<br />

Then, departing from his prepared<br />

text, the pope added a zinger: “Here’s a<br />

fact an expert on demography told me:<br />

Right now, the most profitable investments<br />

are the manufacture of arms<br />

and contraceptives — one destroys life,<br />

the other prevents life. These are the<br />

investments that make the most money,<br />

it’s ugly.”<br />

As Gramellini noted, the pope’s comment<br />

generated consternation among<br />

extremists of both left and right.<br />

“Will the pacifist left, which has<br />

elected Francis as its undisputed leader,<br />

be able to digest his juxtaposition of a<br />

machine gun with a pill? What about<br />

the portion of the right that’s contrary<br />

to the Russian invaders, but favorable to<br />

the invasion of the pro-life consulters?”<br />

In effect, Gramellini argued, Francis<br />

is a living challenge to political fault<br />

lines.<br />

“He helps unmask the limits of the<br />

grotesque contraposition, which by now<br />

is virtually anthropological, between<br />

the two extremes: ‘Us’ and ‘Them.’<br />

Francis demonstrates that it’s possible to<br />

be oneself without adhering to prefabricated<br />

schemes and parroting automatic<br />

slogans and withered prejudices,” he<br />

wrote.<br />

“Like many people, I have different<br />

ideas from the pope about contraceptives,<br />

and also partly about weapons,<br />

especially when they serve to defend<br />

yourself from guys like Putin,” Gramellini<br />

concluded.<br />

“However, it’s impossible not to feel<br />

respect for a man who doesn’t try to<br />

please everyone, even at the cost of not<br />

completely pleasing anybody,” he said.<br />

Therein lies the real point about the<br />

pro-fertility push, which is rapidly becoming<br />

a defining theme of this phase<br />

of Francis’ papacy.<br />

You can always tell when a subject has<br />

truly captured the pope’s imagination,<br />

because he generates a new soundbite,<br />

which he then repeats ad nauseam. In<br />

the case of the fertility issue, that trope<br />

has become his lament about a “veterinary<br />

culture” in contemporary Europe,<br />

especially Italy, in which people prefer<br />

cats and dogs to human children.<br />

(So strong has the rhetorical drumbeat<br />

become that Il Sole 24 Ore, more or<br />

less Italy’s equivalent of the Wall Street<br />

Journal, did a statistical analysis in 2022<br />

and concluded the pope has a point: In<br />

Italy’s 20 regions, there actually is an inverse<br />

relationship between the number<br />

of pet dogs per every 100 persons and<br />

the birthrate.)<br />

As Gramellini suggests, the pontiff’s<br />

growing obsession with the birthrate<br />

alarms his progressive base, and not<br />

merely because it places him uncomfortably<br />

close to the sort of conservative,<br />

pro-family, and pro-life movements<br />

which the left distrusts.<br />

It’s also because concern for Europe’s<br />

low birthrate has also long been part of<br />

the “clash of civilizations” hypothesis,<br />

which holds that Islam is winning the<br />

demographic battle for control of the<br />

future. Anti-Muslim hawks love to cite<br />

Yasser Arafat’s famous dictum that his<br />

most powerful weapon is the womb<br />

of the Arab woman, and the idea that<br />

Francis, who’s made outreach to Islam<br />

a cornerstone of his interfaith agenda,<br />

might be lending credibility to such<br />

concerns won’t be seen favorably in<br />

Italian Family Minister<br />

Eugenia Roccella speaks<br />

on International Women’s<br />

Day <strong>2024</strong>. | QUIRINALE.<br />

IT VIA WIKIMEDIA<br />

COMMONS<br />

many progressive<br />

circles.<br />

Meanwhile,<br />

militant pro-lifers,<br />

who tend to be<br />

single-issue voters<br />

when it comes to<br />

abortion, have a<br />

hard time accepting the way this pope<br />

insists on linking the defense of life<br />

with other social concerns, including<br />

war and peace.<br />

There’s no indication, however, that<br />

any of this particularly concerns Francis,<br />

who seems determined to continue<br />

his pro-fertility campaign regardless of<br />

whom it may annoy.<br />

In that sense, this maverick pope is<br />

once again living up to his reputation<br />

as a lightning rod … though with<br />

apologies to Gramellini, not really a<br />

“party-pooper” — because, let’s face it,<br />

things on the Vatican beat would be<br />

a lot less fun without him continually<br />

stirring the pot.<br />

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

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 37


Believe me, I did not want to comment<br />

on Kansas City Chiefs kicker<br />

Harrison Butker’s controversial<br />

commencement address this month<br />

at Benedictine College, which made<br />

headlines for its criticism of “woke”<br />

culture, American Catholic bishops,<br />

abortion, gender theory, President Joe<br />

Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and women<br />

in the workplace.<br />

I am not interested in engaging<br />

in online iterations of the “working<br />

mother” wars in the Catholic world,<br />

where much of the commentary has<br />

been Jaime centered. Arriaga, left, along I find with it fellow all mostly just<br />

seminarian Eduardo Pruneda, participates<br />

self-justification and sloganeering.<br />

in the transitional diaconate Mass in 2023<br />

But with here’s Auxiliary my Bishop comment: Marc Trudeau. the speech<br />

is a mess. It’s also probably a lesson<br />

FLAILING TO SCORE<br />

A Catholic Super<br />

Bowl champion’s<br />

controversial<br />

graduation speech<br />

lacked some basic<br />

self-awareness.<br />

BY AMY WELBORN<br />

to colleges everywhere to vet your<br />

commencement speeches: I am sure<br />

that people at Benedictine could have<br />

shaped the Catholic athlete’s ramblings<br />

into something coherent that still maintained<br />

his central point.<br />

That point — I think — is that Catholics<br />

should be courageous and prophetic,<br />

both in their daily lives and in the<br />

public square. But while I probably<br />

don’t disagree with much of what he<br />

said, I would describe the speech as a<br />

whole as “flailing.”<br />

Sure, you can criticize American bishops<br />

for being weak and careerist, but is<br />

this where you want to do it? And in a<br />

way that sounds like a mashup of various<br />

gripes you’ve heard from your circle<br />

Harrison Butker, kicker for the Super Bowl LVIII<br />

champion Kansas City Chiefs, delivers the <strong>May</strong><br />

<strong>11</strong> commencement address at Benedictine<br />

College in Atchison, Kansas. | OSV NEWS/TODD<br />

NUGENT, COURTESY BENEDICTINE COLLEGE<br />

of friends? And if you’re going to do so<br />

without mentioning recent problems<br />

related to sexual and spiritual abuse,<br />

how courageous are you, actually?<br />

I came away from the speech with two<br />

main thoughts.<br />

First, while the most controversial<br />

elements of Butker’s talk concerned<br />

women and work outside the home,<br />

it is important to note that his words<br />

on this certainly came from a place of<br />

deep appreciation and love for his wife.<br />

That said, how much more helpful<br />

would his points on the relationship of<br />

life, family, and career have been if they<br />

considered the challenge of balancing<br />

these values for both men and women<br />

in today’s human-consuming world of<br />

ours?<br />

One could take a page, for example,<br />

from a recent online essay in Christian<br />

commentary site Mockingbird titled<br />

“Overselling Vocation.” Writing about<br />

the false promises of the sexual revolution<br />

and the egalitarian movement,<br />

author Alex Sosler imagines a world<br />

“where men and women were called<br />

to mutual homemaking, where the<br />

career vs. family struggle disappeared<br />

altogether.”<br />

How would homes be different, Sosler<br />

writes, “if we were building something<br />

together versus being exhausted away<br />

from home and apart? Instead, we’re<br />

part of an exploitative economy that<br />

doesn’t end with the products we buy<br />

or those who make them. The exploitation<br />

comes after us all, twisting<br />

our desires and priorities into mutual<br />

enmity.”<br />

Butker certainly might have interesting<br />

things to say about faith and vocation<br />

in today’s culture. But what if they<br />

came from a place of willingness to be<br />

honest about his own career and place<br />

in the world, and a deep understanding<br />

of Catholic spirituality?<br />

In short: Dude, you make millions<br />

of dollars a year for kicking a ball for<br />

38 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


an employer that does not embody<br />

traditional Christian values on basically<br />

anything, from economic justice to<br />

sexuality.<br />

Far more interesting than excoriating<br />

others who, in his view, fail to live up to<br />

the standards of Christian discipleship,<br />

would be an explanation of where he<br />

sees his role as a Christian in the context<br />

of the NFL industrial complex.<br />

You are a part of — and therefore<br />

support — an institution that is deeply<br />

oriented toward profit and exploits human<br />

desires and yearnings for belonging,<br />

combat, entertainment, one that<br />

turns a blind eye to criminal behavior,<br />

and the physical harm this work causes<br />

its own employees.<br />

How do you understand your role to<br />

be a prophetic disciple of Jesus there?<br />

How do you balance your huge income<br />

with Catholic teaching on justice and<br />

the dangers of wealth? How do you use<br />

your position to speak up for the truth<br />

in your own workplace?<br />

This is not a screed against the NFL<br />

or professional sports. All of us who<br />

work do so for imperfect, compromised<br />

institutions. But how do we make that<br />

fit with our call to be conformed to<br />

Christ, no matter where we work? And<br />

what about when that daily work means<br />

being part of a corrupt, venal, anti-human<br />

institution?<br />

In short — you’re doing a stupid job<br />

for The Man. What’s the Christian path<br />

in and through that life?<br />

If he is thoughtful, I do think that the<br />

millionaire football player who professes<br />

faith in Jesus would have something<br />

useful to say to the young person in the<br />

audience who’s looking at a first job in<br />

front of a laptop doing data entry, or to<br />

the cashier who hates her job but catches<br />

a glimpse of this talk on YouTube.<br />

It’s within Butker’s right to use his platform<br />

to spout off about others — bishops,<br />

priests, and politicians included.<br />

But it’s harder to hold up a mirror and<br />

speak honestly about the challenges of<br />

Christian discipleship from the fraught,<br />

conflicted, compromised place where<br />

we — not others — find ourselves.<br />

Amy Welborn is a freelance writer living<br />

in Birmingham, Alabama, and the<br />

author of more than 20 books. Her blog<br />

can be found at AmyWelborn.wordpress.<br />

com.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 39


NOW PLAYING THE FALL GUY<br />

FALLING …<br />

BUT IN LOVE?<br />

The stuntman comedy starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt<br />

trips over its ambitions, but still delivers a valuable romance.<br />

An action scene from “The<br />

Fall Guy.” | IMDB<br />

BY JOSEPH JOYCE<br />

Behind every great artist is the<br />

person who does all the actual<br />

work. For instance, no pop star<br />

born outside Liverpool has ever written<br />

their own songs. Dostoyevsky used<br />

to compose his novels by pacing the<br />

floor and dictating to his wife, who<br />

would transcribe and shape his rants<br />

into a narrative that would pay off his<br />

gambling debts. Even I, literary wunderkind,<br />

rely on an editor to hack my<br />

paragraphs into something resembling<br />

coherent thoughts.<br />

“The Fall Guy” (now in theaters,<br />

starring Ryan Gosling and Emily<br />

Blunt) is not about ghostwriters, but<br />

another profession in the category of<br />

unsung heroes: stuntmen.<br />

The modern stuntman is what happens<br />

when someone in a film studio’s<br />

accounting department runs the<br />

numbers and realizes it will cost them<br />

more money than they’ll save if the<br />

lead dies. So instead, they hire someone<br />

of his/her approximate height and<br />

build to perform those life-threatening<br />

stunts. It is deliberately a thankless<br />

position; any recognition means you<br />

didn’t do the job right.<br />

Director David Leitch, who began<br />

his career as a stuntman for the likes<br />

of Brad Pitt and Jean-Claude Van<br />

Damme, clearly relishes the chance<br />

to champion those men and women<br />

whose faces are always just a frame<br />

off camera. That he also gets to settle<br />

some scores with the actors they<br />

replace is just a bonus.<br />

Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is the<br />

stuntman for movie star Tom Ryder<br />

(Aaron Taylor-Johnson), whom he<br />

thankfully resembles in looks only.<br />

After Colt injures himself in a stunt<br />

gone wrong, he retreats from both<br />

stunt work and Jody (Emily Blunt), a<br />

camerawoman he started dating during<br />

the production. A year later and<br />

slightly less sorry for himself, producer<br />

Gail (Hannah Waddingham) approaches<br />

Colt with an offer from Jody<br />

to work on “Metalstorm,” her directorial<br />

debut being filmed in Australia.<br />

The offer turns out to be a ruse<br />

intended to use Colt both to stand<br />

in for Ryder, who has gone missing<br />

during filming after crossing paths<br />

with some Aussie drug dealers, and<br />

help track him down. To make things<br />

worse, Gosling’s character has crossed<br />

the Pacific only to find that Jody did<br />

not ask for him, and certainly hasn’t<br />

forgiven his ghosting.<br />

This is a rather hectic plot, with Colt<br />

having to simultaneously solve the<br />

mystery, save “Metalstorm,” patch<br />

things up with Jody, while also delivering<br />

a nifty stunt every 15 minutes<br />

or so. Yet eventually the table setting<br />

begins to feel like plate spinning,<br />

40 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


distraction for the sake of spectacle.<br />

That is the tug-of-war at the heart<br />

of every blockbuster; we pay our<br />

20 dollars and demand to see some<br />

return on investment, yet if all we<br />

receive is empty calories (beyond just<br />

the popcorn), then we feel our souls<br />

growl and grumble as we exit the<br />

theater. “The Fall Guy” is at its best in<br />

those breathing moments between set<br />

pieces, when it’s too exhausted to be<br />

anything except human.<br />

This is a movie quite literally built<br />

around stunt work, but its romantic<br />

plotline proves more interesting.<br />

Stunts are inherently deterministic;<br />

they even follow a track. A stunt is a<br />

promise sold, the thrill coming from<br />

how that promise is kept. The motorcycle<br />

that tries to cross Snake River<br />

Canyon is going over regardless — the<br />

landing part is the variable.<br />

But human beings are forever<br />

surprising, especially when the matter<br />

at hand is a simple one. Boy meets<br />

girl should be a shorter and straighter<br />

journey than Burbank to Glendale,<br />

yet it’s remarkable how frequently<br />

we get lost. I am reminded of Walker<br />

Percy’s observation that despite all<br />

the quasars and nebulas, humanity<br />

remains the oddest phenomenon in<br />

the universe.<br />

The chemistry of the two stars<br />

certainly contributes. “The Fall Guy”<br />

frames itself as an ode to practical effects,<br />

but it is also an ode to traditional<br />

Hollywood stardom. Gosling these<br />

days has stopped straining for greatness<br />

and accepted his likability, which<br />

is a far rarer commodity these days.<br />

Any hack can fake a limp to an<br />

Oscar, how many could cry to Taylor<br />

Swift’s “All Too Well” and make you<br />

believe it? Blunt could have chemistry<br />

with a broom wearing a hat, so lining<br />

up across a reciprocal talent like Gosling<br />

infinitely eases her burden. You<br />

believe her when she barks orders into<br />

a megaphone and when she mourns<br />

Phil Collins into a karaoke mic.<br />

The best scene in the movie is when<br />

Jody screeches her own movie to a<br />

halt, setting Colt on fire for take after<br />

take as she works through her frustration<br />

toward him. There is no promise<br />

to be fulfilled here, because there’s<br />

no simple track to a woman’s forgiveness.<br />

(If there were, the last 15 years<br />

of my life would have been far less<br />

adventurous.) Evel Knievel’s problem<br />

is simple: you either cross Snake River<br />

Canyon or you don’t. It’s far more<br />

difficult to solve a woman’s problems<br />

when the problem is you. Sometimes<br />

we, like poor Colt, would rather jump<br />

a thousand canyons.<br />

“The Fall Guy” is ultimately a movie<br />

at odds with itself. The film is disdainful<br />

of actors, portraying them as<br />

vapid drug addicts too cowardly for<br />

real risk but wanting all the credit. Yet<br />

the movie depends on its own stars,<br />

demonstrating their value almost<br />

against its will.<br />

The movie adores its stunts, each<br />

shot with a clear affection to the craft<br />

and crafters behind them. Yet as anyone<br />

who has attended a Latin Mass<br />

will tell you, benediction isn’t always<br />

a roller coaster ride. So here I am, left<br />

with one final contradiction: Despite<br />

all my reservations, why do I want to<br />

see it again?<br />

Joseph Joyce is a screenwriter and freelance<br />

critic based in Sherman Oaks.<br />

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt<br />

in “The Fall Guy.” | IMDB<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 41


DESIRE LINES<br />

HEATHER KING<br />

Where there’s chastity, there’s freedom<br />

Erik Varden is a <strong>No</strong>rwegian<br />

Trappist monk and the bishop of<br />

Trondheim.<br />

His newest book, “Chastity: Reconciliation<br />

of the Senses” (Bloomsbury<br />

Continuum, $22), came out earlier<br />

this year.<br />

Varden has a doctorate in theology<br />

and religious studies from Cambridge<br />

and a licentiate of sacred theology from<br />

the Pontifical Oriental Institute in<br />

Rome. He speaks several languages.<br />

A consecrated virgin’s ring<br />

at the Cathedral of the Most<br />

Blessed Sacrament in Detroit<br />

in 2021. It symbolizes a commitment<br />

to live as a “bride<br />

of Christ,” taking no earthly<br />

husband and promising fidelity,<br />

chastity, and obedience<br />

to him. | CNS/TIM FULLER,<br />

DETROIT CATHOLIC<br />

“To do something beautiful for its<br />

own sake,” he writes, “for the intrinsic<br />

delight of it, without thought of gain:<br />

this, I’d say, is a way of beginning to<br />

live chastely in this world, poised to<br />

balance elegantly on whatever surging<br />

billow providence provides as a means<br />

to bear us homeward, towards the<br />

shore.”<br />

“Surging billow,” in my own experience,<br />

might be pressing the point.<br />

But if the book isn’t quite aimed at<br />

the person in the pews, it’s a beautifully<br />

written, powerful, and much-needed<br />

reflection.<br />

In fact, considering for starters that<br />

all unmarried people in the Church<br />

are called not only to chastity, but to<br />

celibacy, one wonders why the issue<br />

isn’t discussed day and night.<br />

We all know by now that chastity<br />

encompasses way more than sex.<br />

In an interview with Swedish journalist<br />

Malina Abrahamsson, Varden<br />

observed, “[Chastity is] about not<br />

instrumentalizing other people — not<br />

using them for your own purposes or<br />

your own pleasure. It is also about daring<br />

to examine oneself — one’s desires,<br />

wounds, and weaknesses and then<br />

arranging one’s drives towards a goal.<br />

In this way, you can become sanctified<br />

as a human being, living completely in<br />

balance with yourself.”<br />

Gorgeous. <strong>No</strong>netheless, the chastity<br />

we exercise in refusing to instrumentalize<br />

people in general can be no higher,<br />

or fuller, than the chastity we exercise<br />

around our sexual powers, desires,<br />

wounds, and temptations.<br />

And on the ground, the journey<br />

from those temptations to a somewhat<br />

ethereal aesthetic of chastity is messy,<br />

bloody, and ongoing.<br />

On the ground, beset by obsessions,<br />

compulsions, and hearts hemorrhaging<br />

for love, we can question our sanity,<br />

our spirituality, our God.<br />

It would hardly be appropriate for<br />

Varden to go deeply into his own<br />

journey. As he says, “I invite others to<br />

make contributions from other vantage<br />

points. More are needed, from both<br />

men and women.”<br />

Here I am, Lord. Send me!<br />

My own journey took a turn many<br />

years ago in a confessional. The priest<br />

was matter-of-fact and he was firm. And<br />

42 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

as I knelt in the pew afterward, up from<br />

my subconscious floated the question<br />

Jesus asked Peter, three times, after his<br />

resurrection. Peter, who had betrayed<br />

him; Peter who, like me, did the thing<br />

he didn’t want to do, and failed to do<br />

the thing he wanted to do.<br />

“Do you love me?”<br />

Are you serious about the Way,<br />

the Truth and the Life — or not? If<br />

everyone thought and acted as I do<br />

with respect to human relations, what<br />

would be the eventual effect upon<br />

the sacrament of marriage? Women?<br />

Children?<br />

If we’re serious, we allow ourselves to<br />

be pruned, sometimes it seems to us<br />

with needless severity. But as Varden<br />

so articulately points out: There is<br />

something in it for us. There is always<br />

something in it for us: freedom from<br />

bondage, the peace that passes all<br />

understanding, a purity of conscience<br />

that allows us to see more clearly and<br />

to love more fully.<br />

We’re hard-wired to long for eternity,<br />

Then-Father Erik Varden, abbot<br />

of Mount St. Bernard Abbey,<br />

poses in the brewery July <strong>11</strong>,<br />

2018, in Leicestershire, England.<br />

Varden, a Cistercian monk and<br />

spiritual writer, was ordained a<br />

bishop at the Cathedral of St.<br />

Olav in Trondheim Oct. 3, 2020.<br />

| OSV NEWS/SIMON CALDWELL<br />

to pass on what we’ve learned, for life<br />

to continue after we’re gone.<br />

Chastity, in all its forms, points to that<br />

longing.<br />

Chastity allows those of us without<br />

children to support — in a sense, to<br />

lay down our lives — for other people’s<br />

families and children.<br />

There’s a park near my house that’s often<br />

filled with kids. They come out in<br />

droves after school and on weekends:<br />

shouting, sprinting, frolicking.<br />

One recent afternoon a soccer game<br />

was in progress and a posse of parents<br />

had set up shop on the sidelines,<br />

snacking, chatting, and cheering. The<br />

shadows were lengthening. Beneath<br />

the pleasant surface noise lay a vespers<br />

hush.<br />

I looked at these kids, who were not<br />

mine, for whom I had done not a<br />

single corporeal work of mercy, and<br />

thought, Through my celibacy I am<br />

laying down my life for you and all like<br />

you.<br />

What I do is of course nothing com-<br />

The cover of “Chastity: Reconciliation of the Senses,” by<br />

<strong>No</strong>rwegian Bishop Erik Varden. | OSV NEWS/BLOOMS-<br />

BURY<br />

pared to what an actual parent does.<br />

But I didn’t have to compare. I didn’t<br />

have to feel “less than” or “other than.”<br />

Having taken way, way too long a<br />

walk on the wild side in my youth, I<br />

felt an incredible certainty that I was<br />

loved, that I have been forgiven, that<br />

I belong. I felt an incredible sense of<br />

gratitude for those parents who were<br />

doing the hardest and most important<br />

work any human being can ever hope<br />

to do.<br />

There are many ways we lay down<br />

our lives for one another. Chastity —<br />

celibacy, if that’s our station — is just<br />

one of them. But for me it has been a<br />

particularly rich, fruitful, utterly unexpected<br />

grace. A way of healing and<br />

of giving that seems to the world like a<br />

negative, an emptiness.<br />

But that in God’s economy is a<br />

fullness that I could never have engineered,<br />

or even imagined, on my own.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 43


LETTER AND SPIRIT<br />

SCOTT HAHN<br />

Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

Real Presence and second coming<br />

When I was an evangelical pastor, many of my<br />

colleagues were preoccupied with the “end<br />

times.” The airwaves were alive with preachers<br />

predicting Jesus’ imminent return. And bestselling books<br />

gave dates to mark on your calendar. The Greek word parousia<br />

entered the vocabulary of ordinary English-speaking<br />

Christians.<br />

Christians have always used parousia to denote the coming<br />

of Christ, with all its attendant events, such as judgment<br />

and the renewal of<br />

the world.<br />

In popular Christian<br />

parlance, though, it has<br />

come to mean, specifically,<br />

Christ’s return in glory<br />

at the end of time. Jesus<br />

himself used the term<br />

to describe that eschatological<br />

moment: “as the<br />

lightning comes from the<br />

east and shines as far as<br />

the west, so will be the<br />

coming [parousia] of the<br />

Son of man.”<br />

But parousia did not<br />

always refer to spectacular<br />

future events. In the New<br />

Testament — in most<br />

instances — parousia<br />

meant something simple<br />

and ordinary.<br />

For example, when St.<br />

Paul spoke of his own<br />

parousia, he gave it a<br />

self-deprecating cast. In<br />

Second Corinthians 10:10<br />

he’s talking about his<br />

critics, and he says: “For<br />

they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily<br />

presence is weak.’ ” In that sentence, the translators render<br />

parousia as Paul’s “bodily presence,” which is unimpressive.<br />

Paul uses the word in the same way in his Letter to the<br />

Philippians (2:12).<br />

Jesus may have intended the same humble connotations.<br />

<strong>No</strong>ne of this rules out a parousia of Christ at the end of<br />

history. Theologians call that “coming” of Christ the “final<br />

advent” or “plenary parousia” — not because Christ will<br />

have a greater fullness, but because humankind will be<br />

able to behold him in his fullness.<br />

Since Jesus’ first coming, he is present in the world in<br />

a way that he was not during the old covenant. Yet he<br />

remains veiled in a way that he will not be veiled at the<br />

consummation of history.<br />

In his incarnation, Jesus came; and, as he passed from human<br />

sight, he promised<br />

to sustain his presence<br />

forever: “I am with you<br />

always, to the close of the<br />

age.” Thus, his parousia<br />

— his presence — remained<br />

with Christians<br />

even as they prayed for its<br />

plenitude.<br />

The scholar Jaroslav<br />

Pelikan observed that in<br />

the early Church, “The<br />

coming of Christ was<br />

‘already’ and ‘not yet’: he<br />

had come already — in<br />

the incarnation, and on<br />

the basis of the incarnation<br />

would come in the<br />

Eucharist; he had come<br />

already in the Eucharist,<br />

and would come at the<br />

last in the new cup that<br />

he would drink with<br />

them in his Father’s<br />

kingdom.” The Mass was<br />

“a way of celebrating the<br />

presence of one who had<br />

promised to return.”<br />

What the ancients saw<br />

in the liturgy was the coming of Christ: the parousia; and<br />

what they meant by parousia is what Catholic theology<br />

came to express as the “real presence” of Jesus Christ.<br />

The parousia is what the Church celebrates at every Mass<br />

and in every act of Eucharistic adoration — and on the<br />

feast of Corpus Christi, which this year falls on Sunday,<br />

June 2, in the United States.<br />

“The Last Judgment,” by Francheskos Kavertzas, 1590-1647, Greek. | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

44 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> <strong>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>


■ SATURDAY, MAY 25<br />

“Don Pasquale” Opera. Cathedral High Theater, 1253<br />

Bishops Rd., Los Angeles, 2 p.m. Full orchestra performance.<br />

Adult ticket includes complimentary glass of wine<br />

and hors d’oeuvres. Call or text 213-248-2510 or email<br />

info@operaitaliala.com.<br />

■ MONDAY, MAY 27<br />

Memorial Day Mass. Catholic Cemeteries, 10 a.m. Mass<br />

will be held at all <strong>11</strong> Catholic Cemetery locations. Livestream<br />

available at facebook.com/lacatholics and catholiccm.org.<br />

St. John Vianney Burial Section Dedication. Calvary Cemetery,<br />

199 N. Hope Ave., Santa Barbara, 10 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, 12:10 p.m.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, MAY 29<br />

LACBA Family Law Virtual Clinic. 2-5 p.m. Covers child<br />

support, custody, divorce, and spousal support. Open to<br />

LA County veterans. Registration required. Call 213-896-<br />

6537 or email inquiries-veterans@lacba.org.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 1<br />

New LA Priests Ordination. Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels, 555 Temple St., Los Angeles, 9 a.m. Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez will ordain the new priests for the archdiocese.<br />

Tickets required. Livestream available at lacatholics.<br />

org/ordination.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 8<br />

Knights of Columbus Rummage Sale. St. Barnabas<br />

Church, 3955 Orange Ave., Long Beach, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Call<br />

James T. at 562-221-3296 to donate or for more information.<br />

Permanent Diaconate Ordination. Cathedral of Our<br />

Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 9<br />

a.m. Archbishop José H. Gomez will ordain the men from<br />

the diaconate class of <strong>2024</strong> to the permanent diaconate.<br />

Tickets required. Livestream available at lacatholics.org/<br />

ordination.<br />

43rd Anniversary Memorial Mass of Servant of God<br />

Father Aloysius Ellacuria, CMF. San Gabriel Mission, 427<br />

S. Junipero Serra Dr., San Gabriel, 10 a.m. Blessing of Father<br />

Ellacuria’s grave after Mass, followed by light refreshments.<br />

For more information, email edith@catholicbooks.net.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JUNE <strong>11</strong><br />

Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San<br />

Fernando Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, <strong>11</strong> a.m. Mass is<br />

open to the public. Limited seating. RSVP to outreach@<br />

catholiccm.org or call 213-637-7810. Livestream available<br />

at CatholicCM.org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<br />

■ THURSDAY, JUNE 13<br />

St. Padre Pio Mass. St. Anne Church, 340 10th St., Seal<br />

Beach, 1 p.m. Celebrant: Father Al Baca. For more information,<br />

call 562-537-4526.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 15<br />

Trauma: Walking in Solidarity. St. Christopher Church,<br />

629 Glendora Ave., West Covina, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. St.<br />

Christopher’s Mental Health Ministry event. Register by<br />

June 8 to 626-917-0040 or email FKMministry@gmail.<br />

com.<br />

Father’s Day Rosary. Catholic Cemeteries, 2 p.m. Rosary<br />

will be held at all <strong>11</strong> Catholic cemetery locations.<br />

Live-stream available at facebook.com/lacatholics and<br />

catholiccm.org.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 22<br />

St. Josemaría Escrivá Mass. Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, <strong>11</strong> a.m. Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez will celebrate Mass for the feast day.<br />

■ MONDAY, JUNE 24<br />

Summer Bible Sessions. Holy Family Church, 209 E. Lomita<br />

Ave., Glendale, 7-8:30 p.m. Immersion into the Gospels<br />

runs June 24-27. For more information, visit lacatholics.<br />

org/events.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JUNE 29<br />

Summer Bible Retreat. Holy Family Church, 209 E. Lomita<br />

Ave., Glendale, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Free event, registration required.<br />

For more information, visit lacatholics.org/events.<br />

SCRC Catholic Renewal Convention: “Refreshed in<br />

Spirit.” Anaheim Marriott Ballrooms, 700 W. Convention<br />

Way, Anaheim, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. More than a dozen popular<br />

Catholic speakers, including Father Robert Spitzer, Father<br />

Ismael Robles, and more. Presentations, reconciliation,<br />

liturgy, and live praise and worship. Register at events.scrc.<br />

org. Call or text 818-771-1361.<br />

■ FRIDAY, JULY 5<br />

Mass for Pilgrims. Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad<br />

de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, 10:30 a.m. Archbishop<br />

José H. Gomez will celebrate a special Mass for LA<br />

pilgrims.<br />

■ SATURDAY, JULY 6<br />

Mass for Pilgrims. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe,<br />

Mexico City, Mexico, 12 p.m. Archbishop José H. Gomez<br />

will celebrate a special Mass for LA pilgrims.<br />

■ SUNDAY, JULY 7<br />

Virtual Diaconate Information Day. Zoom, 2-4 p.m. Do<br />

you feel Jesus is calling you to be a deacon? Come and see.<br />

To register, email Deacon Melecio Zamora at dmz20<strong>11</strong>@<br />

la-archdiocese.org.<br />

■ TUESDAY, JULY 9<br />

Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San<br />

Fernando Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, <strong>11</strong> a.m. Mass is<br />

open to the public. Limited seating. RSVP to outreach@<br />

catholiccm.org or call 213-637-7810. Livestream available<br />

at CatholicCM.org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<br />

■ WEDNESDAY, JULY 17<br />

National Eucharistic Congress. Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S.<br />

Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, Indiana. Eucharistic Congress<br />

runs July 17-21. Join Archbishop Gomez and U.S. Catholics<br />

in a historic gathering of missionary disciples will be<br />

a new Pentecost, a powerful commission to invite others<br />

to know Christ. Register at https://lacatholics.org/event/<br />

eucharistic-congress/.<br />

■ SUNDAY, AUGUST <strong>11</strong><br />

Dedication of the Serra Statue. Mission Basilica San<br />

Buenaventura, 2<strong>11</strong> E. Main St., San Buenaventura, 6 p.m.<br />

Archbishop José H. Gomez and Bishop Slawomir Szkredka<br />

will celebrate a special Mass to dedicate the statue of St.<br />

Junípero Serra, recently moved to the Mission. Mass will<br />

also welcome the two-day “Mission Walkers” from Mission<br />

Santa Barbara to Mission Basilica San Buenaventura.<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>31</strong>, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 45

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