Friday, April 12, 2013

Bishop Vann in Rome

As I write these words, Fr. Binh and I are in Rome this week at the Pontifical North American College for the annual “Rector’s Dinner” at the College. This is a time also for us to meet with our seminarians and priests here. The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (C.A.L.L.) are present to meet with the various individuals who work at the Holy See and to acquaint them with C.A.L.L. On Tuesday morning (April 9) we had the blessing to meet with Pope Francis after Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, and we met with him again during the Wednesday audience (April 10).

There are a number of postings on these pages in these days that reflect not only important current themes of the moment (for example, the reflection that I printed on the month of April for Child Abuse Prevention Month) but other matters such as religious liberty, conscience and immigration. However, there are also events in the Diocese that illustrate the strength and vitality of our Catholic Life in liturgy, catechetics, and evangelization, for example. I want to thank Fr. Al Baca of St. Cecelia’s in Tustin and Fr. Tim Peters of Mission San Juan Capistrano who have written reflections for these pages. Fr. Tim will be sharing some reflections on “Divine Mercy” Sunday also.

On Easter Sunday, after the early morning Mass at Holy Family Cathedral, I had the blessing to celebrate the 11:00 AM Mass in English and the 1:00 Mass in Spanish at St. Joseph’s parish in Santa Ana. Thanks to all of our local media people for their efforts in televising this, along with the Eternal Word Television Network. Special thanks to Fr. Ed Becker, Fr. Philip Smith and the parish staff of St. Joseph’s for their dedication and patience with all of these arrangements. The parish Church of St. Joseph’s is beautiful in its architecture and spirit, and the parish school and community are certainly clear examples of outreach to the poor and marginalized, and of evangelization.

Last Friday I had the blessing to participate (along with other priests including Msgr. Art Holquin and Fr. Steve Sallot) at a Mass in the Serra Chapel at San Juan Capistrano to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Portola ride. After the Mass, there was a ceremony honoring those individuals who had participated in the past and who have passed over into Eternity. The great crowds of people and the prayer at the Mass made it a very moving morning.

The next day, Saturday, saw the blessing
and commissioning of Mission Teams for
the “great mission” of taking the good news of the Gospel to the streets and homes of our city. This endeavor, which certainly is reflective of the New Evangelization, was sponsored worldwide the Neocatechumenal Way. There were around 2000 people present at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa for the blessing of the Mission Teams. This was held at the same time in Rome, and Pope Francis, I understand, hopes to meet these teams at some time. “Street preaching” does have a tradition within our tradition, coming from such movements as Catholic Action and the Catholic Evidence Guild in years past. The faith and example of the Mission Team is certainly reflective of the necessity of preaching the Faith and bringing the Gospel to as many as possible, and inviting people to meet the Lord, and for some, an important way to return to the practice of the Faith.

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