Thursday, April 9, 2015

UNIQUE STATIONS of the CROSS

On Good Friday this year I was privileged to make the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross, with the parishioners of St. Patrick's Parish in central Los Angeles.

The Stations were written and acted out by young people of the parish.  What made these Stations unique was the integration of the traditional Stations with the realities of their own community.  A brief summary of each of the 14 Stations follows:

1st:     We stopped at an intersection near the Church where where a young man who was mentally disabled was struck and killed by a car as he walked home on Ash Wednesday night from Church; ashes still on his forehead.  Remembrance of senseless accidents.

2nd:     An elementary school was the next stop; reflection on Jesus' care and concern for children in his ministry; remembrance of children suffering in broken or violent homes.

3rd:     Stopped opposite two Botanicas, or drug stores, where in the past sales of drugs took place.

4th:     Next location was a former small church, now covered in graffiti.

5th:     Paused in front of a high school and pondered the love of Jesus for young people, especially those living in barrios.

6th:     Stopped in front of an old hotel--the only place where African-Americans could stay in past years, especially when they were forbidden to stay in all other Los Angeles hotels.  Prayed for an end to racism.

7th:     Next location was next to a new Police Station, prayed for our law enforcement officials to help bring an end to street violence.

8th:     Paused opposition two liquor stores; prayed for an end to alcohol abuse and recovery for all addicted to various substances.

9th:     Stopped in front of one of the dozens of small clothing manufacturing plants where so many parishioners work; considered Jesus working there along side of these men and women.

10th:     Next stop was an ally behind clothing plants; reflected on so many people earning a minimum wage, no benefits, no rights; Jesus is here with the workers day and night.

11th:     Paused in the midst of a residential area, reflecting on Jesus knocking on the doors wanting to enter and dwell with our families.

12th:     Stopped in an ally and reflected on Jesus dying for all of us, abandoned and alone.

13th:     Next stop was another alley where the dirty sights and smells reminded us of so many people who mourn the loss of a loved one; Jesus there in our midst.

14th:     Returned to the interior of the Church to reflect on the burial of Jesus, awaiting the miracle of his resurrection in three days.


These Stations of the Cross were creative and imaginative, all situated in the living reality of the people of St. Patrick's Parish on Central Avenue and 34th Street.  The young people who developed them were amazing, and filled with faith a deep love for Jesus in his self-giving for all of us.

I have already entered this parish on my calendar for Good Friday 2016.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

ATTITUDES TOWARDS IMMIGRANTS CHANGES

In a recent study published by the Public Policy Institute of California it is reported that the attitudes among California residents have changed dramatically over the years.  Gone are the harsh and repressive attitudes of people 21 years ago when the infamous Proposition 187 was passed.

The following question was given to respondents:

"If you had to choose, what do you think should happen to most illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the United States for at least two years?  They should be given a chance to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status, or they should be deported back to their native country."

The results were both gratifying and a bit surprising:

70%      they should be given a chance to keep their jobs

25%      they should be deported back to their native country

5%         don't know

To view the full report on immigration in California, please see this link:

http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/atissue/AI_711HJAI.pdf


While this study was done in California, across the country similar studies suggest that between 62% and 85% of all Americans surveyed would respond in the same way.

If this substantial support to allow unauthorized immigrants to keep their jobs and begin down an earned path towards legal status, why is it impossible to get members of Congress to pass needed legislation to make this possible?  That remains a mystery.

Each one of us needs to send an email to our House of Representative member and to our U.S. Senators urging them to pass needed immigration reform.

Let's continue praying for this intention, especially as we approach Holy Week and enter the joyous Easter Season.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

POPE FRANCIS TO MEET WITH CARDINALS

Pope Francis will meet with all the Cardinals of the world, along with those to be created on February 14, in Rome on Thursday and Friday, February 12 and 13.

We have been informed that the agenda will focus on the ongoing restructuring of the Vatican Curia, the various offices which assist the Pope in his governance of the Universal Church.

This will be fascinating, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that Pope Francis is leading all of us disciples of Jesus into a fuller and deeper relationship with Jesus as a first step.  Any renewal of the broader Church must begin with our own personal renewal in and through Jesus.  Then, Pope Francis is pointing us to a simpler organizational and administrative structure, preferring the simpler model of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles.  This model places greater autonomy at the local levels of the Church, as lived out historically in  the Eastern Catholic Churches and in the Orthodox Churches.

Over the centuries, the local level model gave way to a more centralized governing in the Vatican.  It is apparent that Pope Francis is now helping to re-shape the Church and using more fully those ancient structures which have been so pastorally fruitful:  Councils, Metropolitan Provinces, Synods, and Patriarchs. Note the Pope's decision to have the Pallium for new Archbishops bestowed in their Metropolitan Sees, not in Rome; and involving all of the Suffragan Dioceses in that process.

I have great hopes for the direction which Pope Francis is guiding us, and the Holy Spirit will surely be present and active the week of February 9 to 15.

Please pray for Pope Francis and all of the Cardinals attending these important sessions.

Friday, January 2, 2015

CALIFORNIA DRIVERS' LICENSES

Today, January 2, 2015 over a million California undocumented residents will be able to legally apply for a Driver's Privilege card here in California.  Thank God!

Over the years I have heard the difficult stories of so many men and women who were forced because of job, school, or other need to get behind the wheel of a car without a license.  Their fears of being stopped, of possibly being deported, of suffering in many ways--all haunted them day after day.

Now, they must pass a written test, a vision test, and a driving test in order to qualify for a driver's licence in our State.  Some 250 of our parishes have been working with the possible applicants to prepare them to understand the Department of Motor Vehicles driver's booklet and to prepare for the tests.  It has been a long and important task for all of them, but they are anxious to become "legal" in at least this aspect of their daily lives.

It is possible that as many as 800,000 would be eligible here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for this driving privilege, and the Church is working diligently with many volunteers to help our people prepare well.

May this be a first step in a long journey bring our undocumented brothers and sisters fully out from the shadows so that they can participate fully in the life of our country where they have sacrificed and served for so many years.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

THE OUTCASTS AMONG US

As we celebrate once again the graces of the Incarnation of Jesus into our lives, we are always reminded with the fact that so many outcasts are the first to hear the good news of salvation.

It is the shepherds--the outcasts of that era--were the first ones to whom the angels proclaimed the good news.  And they responded with joy and disbelief.  They were the first ones to come to behold the new-born Jesus.

Down through the ages, the poorest and the outcasts have been the ones to whom God has spoken first.

In our own time, I am convinced that the immigrants, migrants, and refugees of our time are the ones to whom the new-born Jesus Christ is being revealed even now.

Blessings upon all during the coming New Year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

PRIEST CELEBRATES HIS 100th BIRTHDAY

On Sunday, November 2, Monsignor Felix Diomartich celebrated his 100th Birthday and the 77th Anniversary of his Priesthood Ordination with a special Mass at St. Anthony's Croatian Parish in Los Angeles.

I could find no other Archdiocesan priest in the history of our Archdiocese who reached the age of 100 years.

Monsignor Diomartich is a native of Croatia where he studied theology and was ordained a priest.  He subsequently was sent to Rome where he obtained doctorates in both theology and in canon law.  Because of World War II he was impeded from returning to Croatia, and found himself in New York city where he worked as a young priest.

Then then Archbishop James Francis McIntyre was transferred to Los Angeles, he invited then Father Diomartich to come to Los Angeles to serve the Croatian Catholics living there.  He became an official member of the presbyterate of Los Angeles in 1963.

Over the years he served the Croatian community both in Los Angeles and in San Pedro.  He was pastor of St. Anthony's Parish for several decades, and greatly loved by all the people.

He also helped begin the ethnic ministry of the Archdiocese under Cardinal Timothy Manning, and served in the Tribunal and in other leadership roles.

He is retired at Nazareth House where he enjoys his sunset years with many brother priests.

In 2015, Monsignor Richard Murray, pastor emeritus of St. Bernardine of Siena Parish in Woodland Hills, will celebrate his 100th birthday.  Then a year later in 2016, Monsignor John Fosselman, pastor emeritus of Assumption Parish in East Los Angeles, will celebrate his 100th birthday.

Incredible:  three priest centenarians in the space of three years!

May the spirit and example of these wonderful priests inspire us all, and especially, young men who are listening carefully to the call of Jesus Christ to serve as a priest.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CALIFORNIA WATER ISSUES

Across California prayers are being raised up to God seeking adequate rains and snows for the State and for all of the Western States experiencing significant drought.

Even with a normal rain year, the drought has created such a water deficit that it would take years to make up for that deficit.

On the November 4 election ballot in California we have Proposition 1--a measure crated with full bipartisan efforts in Sacramento and sanctioned by Governor Jerry Brown.  Prop. 1 places before the voters a bond measure in the amount of $7.5 billion dollars.  The measure will provide for:

*     projects that improve water quality or help provide clean, safe, and reliable drinking water

*     grants for multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects

*     integrated regional water management plan projects that respond to climate change and contribute to regional water security

*     new water storage projects to capture melting snow and other runoff

*     water recycling and advanced treatment technology projects

*     projects to prevent or clean up the contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water

*     statewide flood management projects and activities.

An obvious example of what can help for the future:  almost all of the rainfall in southern California flows out to the Pacific Ocean.  Very few measures in effect to capture this water and to divert it to underground storage and to replenish water tables.

Personally, I intend to vote YES on Proposition 1 since it is an important broad-based effort to assist our State deal with water needs for decades to come.

As always, we continue to life up our prayers:

Let us pray:

Our loving God, we are in need of rain and snow.  We realize now, looking up into the clear, blue sky what a marvel even the least drop of rain really is.  To think that so much water can really fall out of the sky, which now is empty and clear!  We place our trust in you.  We are sure that you know our needs.  But you want us to ask you anyway to show that you that we know we are dependent on you.

Look to our dry hills and fields, loving God, and bless them with the living blessing of soft rain and abundant snows.  Then the land will rejoice and rivers will sing your praises, and the hearts of all will be made glad.  Amen.