Thursday, May 30, 2013

A World United in Adoration

Written by Archbishop José H. Gomez 
Friday,  May 31 2013 

To celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis has asked for an hour of “worldwide Eucharistic devotion.”

So for the first time in the Church’s history, Catholics all over the world will be gathered before the Eucharist in adoration at the same time, praying for the same intentions as the Pope.

Here in Los Angeles, I will celebrate Mass for Corpus Christi at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels at 8 a.m. Following the Mass, I will lead a procession with the Blessed Sacrament, and then the Sacrament will be exposed for adoration in one of the Cathedral chapels.

All of this will coincide with the start of a holy hour of Eucharistic adoration that Pope Francis will lead in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5 p.m. Rome time.

This time of prayer will be a beautiful witness of the universality of our Catholic Church. It is beautiful to imagine — Jesus Christ will be present and adored in Cathedrals and cloisters, chapels and churches from Iceland to Chile and everywhere to the ends of the earth, from the rising of the sun to its setting.

The Church lives from the Eucharist, which is the living sign of Christ’s love for us, making present his redeeming sacrifice on the Cross. The Eucharist is Christ in his love, giving himself to us as our food and drink, to strengthen us for our journey of faith and our mission of evangelization.

And the Eucharist is always the sign of our unity as one family of God. All of us who share in the Body and Blood of Christ are made one by the Holy Spirit. As St. Paul said, “We, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”

These are the beautiful mysteries that we celebrate on Corpus Christi. And this year, our new Holy Father has given us a visible symbol of these mysteries.

During this hour of worldwide adoration, our Holy Father wants us to be united with him in praying for two very specific intentions — one for the Church and the other for those in the world in need:

—“For the Church … May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing his Word in order to stand before the world ‘ever more beautiful, without stain or blemish, but holy and blameless.’ That through her faithful announcement, the Word that saves may still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may increase love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, giving back joy and serenity.”

—“For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labor. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence. Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalization. That the Church’s prayer and its active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity.”

As we pray together this week, let’s remember these intentions of our Holy Father. In this week of Corpus Christi, let’s also try to make time for adoration and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

Pope Francis has given us a timely reminder that our Christian life and mission depends on a deep personal encounter with the risen Lord in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is a mystery to be lived. And we are called to be Eucharistic people. We are called to live from the graces we receive in the Eucharist and to make our lives something beautiful that we offer to God.

The love that we receive in the Eucharist is the love that we are called to share with the world. Day by day we are called to grow in holiness and to become an offering more and more acceptable to God. We are called to make our lives a kind of prayer — doing everything for God’s glory and for the good of our brothers and sisters.

So let’s take this beautiful opportunity this Sunday morning — no matter where we are — to unite ourselves with Pope Francis in prayer for the holiness of the Church and for justice for those in need.

And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help unite us as one Body in Christ.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Answering God's Call!

The following is adapted from an interview that Archbishop Gomez gave recently to the magazine, The Franciscan Way. 

How would you describe the state of vocations today?

There has been a crisis for some time now in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Now, however, that’s true not just of the priesthood and consecrated life, but also of vocations to the married life. People used to get married when they were very young. Now it takes a long time for them to make a decision.

One of the reasons for all of these problems is the breakdown of the family. In the 1960s, the family entered a very challenging situation with divorce rates going up, more mobility, and less stability. It used to be that everyone sat down around the table and ate lunch and dinner together. There were family gatherings every weekend. That’s no longer the case.

I think this plays into young people not really understanding vocations or being willing to commit to one. Again, because many never had a stable family life, it is more difficult for young people to make decisions to commit to something that will last forever. Every vocation is born at home. The family is a domestic church. It is important for us to understand the role of family.

A couple of weeks ago in Rome, I had the opportunity to meet the Holy Father. At one point during the meeting, one of the priests with me asked the Holy Father to bless a zucchetto. The priest said, “Holy Father, could you bless this because my mother asked me to ask you.” The Holy Father’s eyes brightened and he replied, “One of the most important things in the life of a priest is his mother.”
I think for any vocation to be embraced, you have to have a good family environment. Again, 
this is true of marriage, too. How you think about married life and family life is so strongly influenced by what you experienced growing up in your parents’ home.

Are there any other reasons behind this crisis?

There is a lack of contact or relationship with consecrated people. A couple of generations ago, there were many priests and nuns that were visible to people. A vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life was an option most young Catholics at least thought about. We saw somebody living that vocation and could relate to it. Not anymore.

Along with that — and this is the most important thing — is the lack of depth in our understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church and how to develop a spiritual life. In the old days, at Catholic schools, we had Mass and Holy Communion daily. We prayed the Rosary, and we were taught how to start a spiritual life. But, since the 1960s, we have little by little lost our sense of prayer. We don’t understand the importance of spending time with God, or how to pray and relate to God. We are more interested in material things or having fun, and sitting down to pray doesn’t seem like fun to a lot of people these days. It doesn’t seem as attractive.

Why is it important that we say “Yes” when we hear God calling us to a particular vocation?

When we believe in God, we want to do God’s will. To listen to what God wants and answer him is essential for our own fulfillment. It is essential to our happiness on earth and in getting us to Heaven. The decision we make to answer God’s call, wherever that call may take us, will make all the difference in life.

What else can the family do to encourage vocations?

Pray together. Go to Mass together. Just talk about the important things in life. When something bad happens, say a prayer. Make an effort to go to religious events at the parish or make a pilgrimage. Usually the children don’t want to do that, and the parents worry about forcing their children to go. But they should. In the long term, it is something they will never forget, and it will make a difference.

Finally, this whole idea of knowing who we are is fundamental. Parents need to talk to children about that in a deep way, helping their children understand they are not just a Lakers fans or some other superficial thing, but a child of God. The best way a young person can learn that is to talk about it with their parents and see that reflected in the life of their parents.

What can pastors do to help the young adults in their parish discern their vocation?

The first thing pastors need to do is talk about vocations. They need to talk about it because people don’t know there is such a thing as a vocation, a particular call from God to the priesthood, consecrated life, or marriage. In the world, vocation is just a word. It doesn’t mean anything. We need to explain what it is.

The second thing the pastor must do is ask the young people what they think their vocation is. He must ask that question of every young person.

Just the fact of having the priest ask you what you are going to do with your life makes a difference. It gets you to start thinking about God’s will for your life and what Jesus is asking you to do. After that, it also helps for the priest to talk about the beauty of saying “Yes” to God and tell his own vocation story.

What else can be done to encourage a culture of vocations?

Strong Catholic schools are very important. They provide not only academic and spiritual formation, but also human formation, helping young people understand who they are as human persons.

Catholic universities are also absolutely important in this. During the college years, you discover what is out there in the world. It’s when you have to make decisions about what really matters and how you will live your life. Before that, in high school, you have the shelter of your family and a small community helping you make those decisions. But when you go to college, everything is wide open.

So what young people receive in college is going to mark their lives. That’s why it’s so important for universities to teach men and women the truth about God and the truth about who they are. Once they know that, they can make the right decisions.

What helped you pursue your vocation to the priesthood?

First, I went to Catholic schools, and they always asked the boys if we wanted to be priests. I also learned the basics of the Faith there and at home.

Then, my mother got sick with cancer. She was later cured, but while she was sick, I remember thinking that life is not easy. I also saw my father going to daily Mass at that time. That caught my attention and helped me see that faith is important.
Later, a cousin who was a hero of mine was killed in a car accident. Those things helped me to think deeply about what I was going to do with my life.

Were you ever afraid to answer that call?

Yes, of course. There is always fear, regardless of the vocation. But the fear will not go away until you make a decision.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I have just completed the second semester of Fr. Francis's Vatican II Class.  Read some of the amazing things about it on the "VATICAN II", page!    Scroll down.  New material begins with Ecumenism.    

God Bless!  And Love of Our Lady!  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pope Calls for Respect of Life!

VATICAN CITY, May 13, 2013 ( - Before concluding the Mass that gave the Church 802 new saints, Pope Francis greeted the official delegations from their respective countries. The Holy Father’s address was followed by the recitation of the Regina Caeli.
Addressing the Italian delegation who were present for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto, the Pope invoked the newly canonized saints to help all Italians “to look to the future with hope, trusting the nearness of God, who never abandons us even in difficult moments.”

The 800 martyrs of Otranto were beheaded in the 15th century for refusing to convert to Islam after the Turkish invasion in Italy.
Invoking the intercession of Mother Laura Montoya of Colombia, the Holy Father expressed his hope for “a new missionary and evangelizing impulse to the Church.” Through her example, the Pope said, “may the beloved sons and daughters of Colombia continue to work for peace and the just development of their homeland.”

Pope Francis also cited the example of St. Guadalupe García Zavala as model of Christian love and charity for the Mexican people, placing under her intercession the poor, the sick and those who suffer in areas afflicted by violence.

The Holy Father also took the occasion to greet the participants of the March for Life which took place in Rome on Sunday morning, calling on the faithful to be attentive to the issue of respecting life from the moment of conception. The 76 year old Pontiff acknowledged the “One of Us” campaign which took place in all parishes in Rome. The campaign seeks to gather signatures in support of legislation within Europe to protect life.
“In this regard I would like also to mention the gathering of signatures that is taking place today in Italian parishes to support the “One of Us” initiative in Europe to guarantee legal protection of the embryo, protecting every human being from the first instant of his existence.”

Pope Francis concluded his address, inviting all to participate in “Evangelium Vitae’ Day, a Year of Faith event  which will take place from June 15th-16th in Rome. The event, the Pope said, “ will be a special moment for those who take seriously the defense of the sacredness of human life.”

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May is the Month of Mary!

May is Mary’s Month

By Archbishop Jose H. Gomez

This has been a custom in the Church dating back many centuries. And it is beautiful to associate Mary with the coming of Spring and the new birth of flowers and plants and crops in the field.

In this special month, in which we will celebrate Christ’s Ascension into Heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, I encourage you to deepen your devotion to Mary.

In the Acts of the Apostles, we see the beautiful image of the early Church united in prayer around “Mary, the mother of Jesus.”
That’s what Jesus wanted. His last wish — some call it his last will and testament — was that his mother should become our mother. He told the apostle St. John and each one of us: “Behold, your mother!”

So we need to make sure that Mary always has an important place in our lives. The Gospel says St. John took Mary into his “own home.” We need to do that, too. We need to develop a deep personal relationship with Mary — one of love, affection, devotion and trust.

The Gospel tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom in the household at Nazareth, with Mary and St. Joseph. And we grow in faith and holiness if we stay close to Mary. If we listen to her words and learn from her example.

At the Annunciation, Mary told the angel, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

She entrusted herself totally to God’s will for her life. She made a commitment to cooperate with his will, to be a “handmaid” to his plan of salvation.

I like to think that Jesus learned something of his own attitude of trust in God’s will from Mary.

We can hear her faith reflected in the words that Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Thy will be done.” And we can hear how deeply Jesus lived this attitude of abandonment to God’s will. On the night he was asked to die for us, he prayed: “Not my will, but thine be done.”

That’s the attitude we need to live as children of God and children of Mary. Like Jesus and like Mary, we need to trust that our heavenly Father knows what is best for us, that he has a plan and a purpose for our lives.

We need to say to God in every circumstance, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

We can also learn a lot from Mary’s habit of reflecting on the life of her Son. The Gospel says she treasured his words and pondered the meaning of his actions: “She kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

In this, too, she can be our model. We should spend some time each day contemplating Jesus’ words and deeds through our prayerful reading of the Gospels. Like Mary, we should keep his words and example in our hearts. We should pray for the grace we need every day to love her more and to be more like Jesus.

We turn to Mary because in her arms we always find Jesus Christ. And in him we have safety and peace.

Mary teaches us to always look to Jesus. Her last words in the Gospels, at the wedding at Cana, should be the first words that define how we live: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Mary teaches us to be open to what Jesus wants to do in our lives. She welcomed Jesus into her life and gave him to the world. That should also be an example for us. We should be ready always to bring the gift of Jesus to others.

So in this month of Mary, as we pray for one another, let’s all try to take some practical steps to deepen our devotion to Mary. Maybe that means praying the Rosary with more devotion and affection. Maybe it means saying a special Marian prayer, like the Memorare.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Queen of Peace, so throughout this month of May we should offer prayers for peace in our city and in the world.

Let us ask Mary’s intercession to help us love her as Jesus loved her. Let’s dedicate ourselves to sharing our lives generously with others — as our Blessed Mother did. And let’s ask the Virgin Mary to be more and more a mother to us.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Welcome Home Benedict XVI!

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis had words of welcome today as he greeted Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, who returned to take up residence inside Vatican city.

In style with his own personal manner, Pope Francis left the formalities of a welcoming ceremony to Vatican authorities, who awaited the arrival of the Pope Emeritus at the Vatican heliport. These included Cardinals Bertello - President of the Governatorate, Bertone - Secretary of State, and Sodano - the deacon of the College of Cardinals as well as some bishops. But Pope Francis was awaiting his predecessor at the entrance to the “Mater Ecclesiae” Monastery in the Vatican Gardens where Benedict will be residing.
The Pope Emeritus left the Vatican on February 28th after his resignation, and had been staying at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo in the Alban Hills.
He chose to leave the Vatican immediately after his resignation to physically remove himself from the process of electing his successor.

His absence also gave workers time to finish up renovations on the monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens that until last year housed groups of cloistered nuns who were invited for a few years at a time to live inside the Vatican to pray for the Pontiff and Church at large.
In the small building, with a chapel attached, Benedict will live with his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, and the four consecrated women who do the housekeeping and prepare his meals. Inside the small building, Benedict has at his disposal a small library and a study. A guest room is available for when his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, comes to visit. 

Today’s was not the first meeting between the Pope and the Pope Emeritus. In fact Francis visited Benedict in March in Castel Gandolfo, and they have spoken by telephone. It is however the first time in history that two Popes will be next-door neighbours!