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EPISODE#178
OC CATHOLIC RADIO: DEDICATION DAY FOR CHRIST CATHEDRAL

Today’s program is a very, VERY special broadcast for all of us at OC Catholic Radio.

On Wednesday, July 17th, 2019, our beautiful Christ Cathedral was officially dedicated. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime occasion for all who were blessed to be there that day.

Our own Rick Howick was on-site, and he was able to secure several brief interviews with many different attendees to get their reactions – both before and after the dedication Mass.

Please listen and SHARE this very special podcast!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 8/3/19

AMERICA NEEDS ‘NEW SENSE OF OUR COMMON HUMANITY,’ SAYS RED MASS HOMILIST

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez on Oct. 1 asked the Supreme Court justices, government officials, lawyers and other members of the judiciary gathered at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington to renew a commitment to a government that “serves the human person.”

He was the homilist at the 65th annual Red Mass in the nation’s capital. Celebrated the Sunday before the opening of the Supreme Court’s term, the annual Mass invokes the Holy Spirit upon those who are responsible for the administration of justice.

The Mass is sponsored by the John Carroll Society, a network that aims to enhance fellowship among Catholic leaders in the Washington area and serve the archbishop of Washington.

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl was the main celebrant. Concelebrants included Washington Auxiliary Bishops Barry C. Knestout, Mario E. Dorsonville and Roy E. Campbell Jr.; Archbishop Gomez; Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia; Auxiliary Bishop Richard B. Higgins of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services; and Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria.

The distinguished guests at the Mass included five members of the Supreme Court: John G. Roberts Jr., chief justice of the United States; and Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr.; and U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

In his homily, Archbishop Gomez spoke about St. Junipero Serra, the newest American saint who was one of the founding missionaries of Los Angeles as part of a string of missions in California and was canonized by Pope Francis during the pontiff’s 2015 visit to Washington.

By canonizing him, Archbishop Gomez said Pope Francis was making a point that “we should honor St. Junipero Serra as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States,” since the missionaries came here before the pilgrims and began their outreach before the nation’s first president was inaugurated.

“It reminds us that America’s first beginnings were not political,” he said. “America’s first beginnings were spiritual.”

Those missionaries, along with the colonists and statesmen later on, laid the groundwork for “a nation conceived under God and committed to promoting human dignity, freedom and the flourishing of a diversity of peoples, races, ideas and beliefs,” said Archbishop Gomez, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The reason the Red Mass is so important each year, Archbishop Gomez said, is because “there is a time for politics and a time for prayer. This is a day for prayer.”

The readings for the Mass included the story of Pentecost, which Archbishop Gomez said “reveals the Creator’s beautiful dream for the human race,” where people from different nations were brought together through the Holy Spirit, who spoke to each of them in their native tongues.

“The mission that Jesus gave (the church) is the beautiful mission of gathering all the peoples of the earth into one family of God,” said Archbishop Gomez. “In God’s eyes, there are no foreigners, there are no strangers. … When God looks at us, he sees beyond the color of our skin, or the countries where we come from, or the language that we speak. God sees only his children — sons and daughters made in his image.”

Archbishop Gomez noted that before God created the earth, he knew each person he would create and had a plan for each of their lives.

“Every life is sacred, and every life has a purpose in God’s creation,” he said.

The Founding Fathers understood this teaching so well that they called the truths “self-evident,” said Archbishop Gomez.

“America’s founders believed that the only justification for government is to serve the human person — who is created in God’s image; who is endowed with God-given dignity, rights and responsibilities; and who is called by God to a transcendent destiny,” said Archbishop Gomez.

Addressing the guests at the Mass, Archbishop Gomez said, “My brothers and sisters, you all share in the responsibility for this great government.”

He called public service a “noble vocation” that requires honesty, courage, prudence, humility, prayer and sacrifice.

“So today, let us ask the Holy Spirit for His gifts and renew our commitment to this vision of a government that serves the human person,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Let us commit ourselves to an America that cares for the young and the elderly, for the poor and the sick; an America where the hungry find bread and the homeless a place to live; an America that welcomes the immigrant and refugee and offers the prisoner a second chance.”

While at times our nation has failed to live up to its founding vision, Archbishop Gomez said, “that should not make us give in to cynicism or despair.”

“For all our weakness and failure: America is still a beacon of hope for peoples of every nation, who look to this country for refuge, for freedom and equality under God,” he added.

Jesus gave the Apostles the power to forgive sins, but he also is “giving every one of us the power to forgive those who trespass against us,” said Archbishop Gomez, who noted that this gift of forgiveness is “part of the unfinished revolution in American society.”

“True forgiveness sets us free from the cycles of resistance and retaliation; it sets us free to seek reconciliation and healing,” said Archbishop Gomez. “And this is what we need in America today — a new spirit of compassion and cooperation, a new sense of our common humanity. We need to treat others as our brothers and our sisters — even those who oppose or disagree with us. The mercy and love that we desire — this is the mercy and love that we must show to our neighbors.”

LET JESUS BE ‘YOUR TEACHER, YOUR LIFE COACH,’ ARCHBISHOP URGES TEENS

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told 1,600 Catholic teens gathered for the “City of Saints” conference that their faith and love for Jesus was an inspiration. 

“Your desire to live your faith and share your faith — it is so beautiful to witness. And it is so inspiring,” he said in an Aug. 5 homily at the University of California at Los Angeles. 

The archbishop and the Office of Religious Education of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles hosted the third annual “City of Saints” conference for teens, offering them an encounter with Christ through fellowship, praise and worship. 

Teenagers attended from 80 parishes and schools throughout Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the three counties that make up the archdiocese. 

The Aug. 4-6 event featured speakers as well as music with contemporary Catholic-Christian band WAL. 

Attendees had an opportunity to participate in facilitated group time and the sacrament of reconciliation. Archbishop Gomez celebrated an afternoon Mass Aug. 4 to welcome the teens, then led them in an outdoor eucharistic procession to open a area designated as “Sacred Space,” where spiritual directors described different paths of prayer for the weekend.. 

“I want to say, as we heard St. Peter say in the Gospel passage tonight — ‘It is good that we are here, Lord!’ Thanks be to God!” the archbishop said in his homily at the Aug. 5 Mass closing the full day of the conference. 

“Our Gospel tonight, leads us up the high mountain — the mountain of God,” he continued. “It is almost like we are chosen witnesses to go up with Jesus. Just as he chose the three apostles to go with him in the Gospel — St. Peter, St. James and St. John.” 

“We have the privilege tonight in this Gospel to see what they saw, to hear what they heard — the ‘transfiguration’ of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Gomez said. 

That scene was amazing, he said, with the face of Jesus “shining like the sun,” his clothes turning into “white light,” and the prophets Moses and Elijah appearing “out of nowhere.” 

Imagining what they saw “reminds us that our lives are part of a great mystery — a cosmic reality — the loving plan of the living God. My young friends, you and me, we are ‘part of the plan,'” the archbishop told the teens. 

“The purpose of our lives is to be transformed and transfigured. To become more like Jesus every day of our lives. Until one day we will shine like the sun — just we saw his face shine like the sun in the Gospel today,” Archbishop Gomez explained. “This is God’s plan for your lives — to be his sons and daughters. Just as Jesus was his beloved Son.” 

“Jesus is the answer” as to how to do this, he said. “Listen to him! This is the best advice you will ever receive, because it comes from God himself. Let Jesus be your teacher — your ‘life coach,’ your ‘personal trainer.’ Enter into his plan for your life. It is a plan of love, a plan that will lead you to happiness.” 

Archbishop Gomez told the teens about two practical things in his life that he said have helped him listen to Jesus — prayer and reading the Gospels. He urged them to make those two things a habit in their own lives. 

He suggested they download a Bible app onto their smartphones, so “you will have the Gospels with you everywhere you go.” 

“When you get a minute, you can read a passage from the Gospel,” Archbishop Gomez said. “It is way better than checking your Instagram feed.” 

And “it is true that you can follow me on Instagram, so you should check that out, too!” he added. 

“The more we pray, the easier it becomes to open our hearts to God,” Archbishop Gomez said. “The more we reflect on the Gospels — the more we begin to see Jesus alive and working in our lives and in the world.” 

“The more we try to listen to Jesus, the easier it becomes to hear him,” he said. “The more we want to be with him — in the Eucharist, in the sacrament of reconciliation.” 

By following these practices, Archbishop Gomez said, “slowly, we have a ‘transfiguration’ in our lives. That is how it works.” 

 

ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ BRINGS LATINO VOICE TO NEW LEADERSHIP ROLE

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said his election as vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 15 may have had more to do with his archdiocese than anything else.

“I’m grateful to my brother bishops for electing me,” he said, before adding that he thinks it was “also about the Archdiocese of Los Angeles” — the largest archdiocese in the country with about 5 million Catholics, 70 percent of whom are Latino. He said the archdiocese represents the universal church because every month there are Masses in 42 languages.

 

“Really, the presence of Catholics from all over the world is there,” he said, adding that the bishops recognize that the archdiocese represents “our church in the United States is becoming more and more diverse.”

They are also recognizing the “reality of the Latino presence” in this country, particularly in the Catholic Church, he said.

The Mexican-born archbishop, who is the first Latino to hold the vice president spot in the USCCB leadership, a position which is usually a steppingstone for USCCB president, said his background “helps everybody to understand how important it is to the church to be open and welcoming to the Latino community in the United States.”

He said he will continue to speak out in defense of immigrants.

At a prayer service in Los Angeles, two days after the presidential election, Archbishop Gomez said: “Tonight we promise our brothers and sisters who are undocumented — we will never leave you alone.” He also urged those in the congregation at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to “reach out to those who are hurting. Now is the time to build unity and heal communities, through our love for our neighbor and our care for those in need.”

He echoed this sentiment in a Catholic News Service interview Nov. 15 at the conclusion of the public session of the bishops’ meeting, saying it is important for the church to help everyone in the country understand the value of the human person.

Amid the overall sense of disunity in the nation after the presidential election campaign and vote, he said he has told people the first thing they need to do is pray. “Pray for elected officials, pray for one another and trust in the love of God that everything is going to be OK with trust in the grace of God.”

He also said the church’s message reminds us “of the value of the human person.” With that understanding, he said: “We need to go out of ourselves” and try to get to know other people, something that happens a lot, he said, in parishes where there are different ethnic communities.

“There is a sense of ‘who are these people?’ but then, when they get to know each other they love each other,” he added.

“That’s what is important for us at this time. Instead of just being afraid, let’s break the ice in a sense,” he said, stressing that this has been the message of Pope Francis, who frequently talks about the culture of encounter.

“I think that’s what the church is called to do at this time in the United States” he said, adding that this outreach should also extend beyond our borders “to go out all over the world to support our brothers and sisters.”

FAITH LEADERS CALL FOR MERCY, IMMIGRATION REFORM, END TO DEPORTATIONS

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles called for mercy and an end to deportations as he led religious leaders in an interfaith prayer service Nov. 10 for peace, solidarity and unity at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

“In this country, we need to start building bridges and bringing people together,” he said. “We need to reach out to those who are hurting. Now is the time to build unity and heal communities, through our love for our neighbor and our care for those in need. That’s what tonight is about. Not politics. It’s about people.”

The archbishop and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti organized the prayer service as a sign of unity and solidarity amid the uncertainty and fear that has followed the Nov. 8 elections. The archbishop drew particular attention to immigrant communities.

That same concern was voiced by the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, in a statement issued in Washington Nov. 11.

After pledging prayers for President-elect Donald Trump, other elected officials and those who will serve in the new administration, Bishop Elizondo assured migrant and refugee families in the United States of the bishops’ “solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life.”

“We believe the family unit is the cornerstone of society, so it is vital to protect the integrity of the family. For this reason, we are reminded that behind every ‘statistic’ is a person who is a mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother and has dignity as a child of God,” the bishop said. “We pray that as the new administration begins its role leading our country, it will recognize the contributions of refugees and immigrants to the overall prosperity and well-being of our nation.”

He said the Catholic Church will work “to promote humane policies that protect refugee and immigrants’ inherent dignity, keep families together, and honor and respect the laws of this nation.”

At the prayer service in Los Angeles, Archbishop Gomez said with the U.S. election final, children “are afraid” and “men and women are worried and anxious, thinking about where they can run and hide. This is happening tonight, in America.”

“The answer is not angry words or violence in the streets. It never solves anything. It only inflames it more. We need to be people of peace, people of compassion. Love not hate. Mercy not revenge,” he added. “These are the tools to rebuild our nation and renew the American dream. Tonight we promise our brothers and sisters who are undocumented — we will never you leave you alone.”

During his campaign, Trump vowed to undo what he called President Barack Obama’s “overreaching” executive orders. In November 2014, Obama took executive action to implement a program for parents of citizen children — the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, or DAPA — and to expand the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

But despite Obama’s executive measures, as the archbishop noted, his administration has deported more than 2 million in the past eight years.

“No one seems to care. Except that little girl or little boy who comes home at night — and he or she knows his or her father isn’t there anymore,” he said. The U.S. bishops have been calling for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system for more than 15 years.

“Let’s pray tonight, in a special way — that our leaders will find it in their hearts to make a beautiful, humanitarian gesture,” the archbishop added. “Let’s pray that they can come together, in a spirit of national unity, and agree to stop the threat of deportations — until we can fix our broken immigration system.”

Garcetti called for solidarity among all people of faith.

“People turn to God in moments like this, he said. “The divisions of this last week, and for these past months, have in many ways torn us apart.”

While hundreds prayed in the cathedral, hundreds of Trump protesters gathered in the streets of downtown Los Angeles for a second consecutive night. The mayor, while applauding the “new generation” for “expressing themselves,” asked that they “respect people’s property” and be more careful where they marched.

“It’s never good to play on the freeway,” he said, referring to the Nov. 9 protesters who blocked the 101 Freeway. “I hope President-elect Trump will hear our feelings, not just in this city, but in our country, and that he will seek to understand.”

Joining the archbishop and the mayor at the service were Jewish, Muslim and other leaders.

“These are no longer ordinary times,” said Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder and senior rabbi of the Ikar Jewish Community of Los Angeles. “Now it is upon all of us to respond to the millions of immigrants, to the Muslims, to the people of color, to LGBT people and people with disabilities — all of those who have been threatened by the vicious rhetoric of the past year and a half. We are with you now and every day for the next four years and far beyond that.”

In the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, Bishop Mark J. Seitz in a postelection statement likewise described the fear being felt by immigrants, refugees and Muslims in the U.S. because of Trump’s campaign rhetoric against those groups.

“Children and young people who know nothing but life in this country as the sons and daughters of immigrants wonder if their parents will be present when they return from school,” Bishop Seitz wrote. “Those fleeing direct death threats in their home countries or the murder of their family members have heard of the fate of hundreds who were forced back to their places of origin after running from murderous gangs and narcotraffickers.”

“To you I would like to offer some assurances,” the bishop said. “This country has elected a president, not a dictator. We, in this democratic republic have a system of checks and balances so that the rights of individuals are safeguarded. Campaign rhetoric is just that. Now comes the challenge of governing. For that, a leader must work with others and seek places of compromise.”

To those who are fearful, he said Catholic leaders “will continue to stand by your side. We will do all in our power to assure that your voice is heard, that you are protected and that this nation remains true to its basic ideals.”

 

Long-Garcia is editor-in-chief of Angelus News, the multimedia platform of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.