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Join Deacon Steve Greco and his guest, our very own Bishop Kevin Vann from the Diocese of Orange.

Today, the Bishop catches us up on some of the latest goings-on at Christ Cathedral; and, he shares some fascinating stories of some of his favorite Christmas traditions.

Tune in for a wonderful, heartfelt conversation! 





Originally broadcast on 12/20/20


This evening as I am writing these reflections, I think of my origin in the Midwest–Illinois–and a song whose words are: “By the rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois.” I think of the leaves that are changing at the moment and the frost and the rain and the soon-to-come snow. I remember the lessons of life that I learned from my parents and friends and family that were grounded in the soil of Illinois and its crops and the change of seasons. And those lead me, as well, to the people of Illinois. And I would like to acknowledge two of them at this moment, separated by years, but not separated by Faith and its witness. 

I would like to congratulate and acknowledge my friend Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., whose nomination to the College of Cardinals was just announced by our Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome. I was a “downstater,” but he grew up in Chicago. We had the same influences that helped us to hear the voice of the Lord to “COME FOLLOW ME.” I was personally blessed to come to know him when, as a priest, I would often be in Chicago to work on the Appellate Court for the Province of Illinois. One time I was walking toward Holy Name Cathedral and we were able to stop and visit. When he was the Bishop of Belleville, he was our neighbor to the south of Springfield and we would visit at Provincial gatherings on various occasions. His love of the Liturgy, from his time in Rome where he earned a Doctorate in Liturgy from San Anselmo, showed in his care for the Liturgy and the way he would celebrate Mass. I am sure that it was his love for the Liturgy that strengthened him in the challenges of his years as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and his ongoing commitment to racial justice, rooted in his Faith and vocation.   

I would like now to refer back to another Illinois native, also African American, Father Augustine Tolton, a former slave, who was born April 1, 1854 in Ralls County, Missouri, and died from heat stroke on July 9, 1897 while pastor of St. Monica’s parish in Chicago. Augustine always wanted to be a priest, growing up in Quincy, Illinois, and was encouraged by his pastor in Quincy, Fr. Peter McGirr, who stood up to the racism of the day and encouraged young Augustine in his vocation, and eventually helped him to enter the seminary of the Propaganda Fide in Rome when no seminary in the United States would accept him.  His faithfulness and his perseverance, and his love for those whom he served, despite the racism in Quincy, continue to be a great testimony of holiness and a witness to truth, justice and love. I knew of Fr. Tolton when I would stop at his grave at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Quincy. Fr. Tolton, from his place in Eternity, I am sure is very grateful and proud to see an African American, Archbishop Gregory, like himself from Illinois, take his place in the College of Cardinals as one of the Holy Father’s College of advisors.   

From another proud Illinoisan grateful to the Lord for the witness of both of them.  


+Kevin W. Vann  


Diocese of Orange Bishop Kevin W. Vann on Sept. 13 joined in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Cross Melkite Church in Placentia. Bishop Vann offered his condolences after the Aug. 4 explosion at the port in Beirut, Lebanon, and then in September joined the Melkite community in prayer for those impacted by the tragedy. 

“I wanted to come to you personally to assure you of my support and prayers for all of you and for your friends and families in Lebanon in these days after the terrible explosion,” Bishop Vann said in his homily during his visit. 

After the service, Fr. François Beyrouti, pastor of Holy Cross Melkite Church said, “We were blessed this weekend with the visit of Bishop Kevin Vann, the first ordinary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us.”  He added, “The Archdiocese of L.A. and the Diocese of Orange have been a great blessing to Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church since our foundation in 1973 by then-Father Nicholas Samra, now our Bishop. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange continues to assist us with marriage preparation, workshops, and a variety of spiritual ways.” 

   Fr. François continued: “Our hearts and doors are always open to Roman Catholic parishes and priests who regularly visit to learn more about our Melkite Catholic Church, our beautiful Divine Liturgy, and our Apostolic faith that is rooted in Jerusalem and the city of Antioch. We continue to breathe with our Eastern and Western lungs of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” 


Get ready for an extra special episode of Cathedral Square featuring host Fr. Christopher Smith.

Today he welcomes our very own Bishop Kevin Vann to the studio. Bishop Vann has been on a few other shows we produce at the diocese, but this is his first time having an exclusive conversation with Fr. Christopher.

You are sure to enjoy these wonderful stories and reflections!




Originally broadcast on 9/26/20


My relationship with Sister Jeanine stretches from that year (kindergarten) at St. Agnes Catholic School to over all of these years until the present day. 

I remember clearly those good days at St. Agnes. Sr. Mary DeCarmel was the principal. One of our neighbors, Cathie Williams, would walk me to school, and if we got there early (I was in the morning class) I would stay in Sr. Jean Michael’s fourth-grade classroom for a while. The kindergarten classroom was in the basement of the old school, and one had to exit up a flight of steps on the playground. It was next door to Sr. Herman Joseph’s music room! 

We all liked Sr. Jeanine a lot and she always had a lot of art classes. One of these was to take glass casters, put our pictures into them, and then put in some blue plaster. I kept mine for many years and in recent years gave it back to her! 

My next memory of Sr. Jeanine was during the great 100th Jubilee celebration in 1973, visiting with her then.  

The next important time for Sister and I was during the years that she was taking care of her brother Francis (“Babe”) after he had been mugged and beaten. I kept in touch with her then through Sr. James Marie, her classmate.  I knew personally the sacrifice that she made to take a leave of absence from the community to take care of him, and then to eventually have to leave the community.  

In those days I was in Chicago regularly to work on the Appellate Court for the Province of Illinois. I would stay at either St. Andrew’s or Our Lady of Grace. I would take the bus to her and Babe’s apartment and visit with them and at times go out to dinner. After she made the difficult sacrifice to leave the community to continue Babe’s care she was teaching at Our Lady of Grace. When I would stay with Fr. Tivy, I would visit her classroom, and “Miss McGinley” would proudly introduce me to her students! 

 One of St. Paul’s letters says (Romans 8:28) “All things work to the good for those who love God” – that certainly reflects the next part of Sr. Jeanine’s life when, after the death of her brother, she was able to return to the community. She called me to let me know and was especially grateful for Sr. Rose Miriam’s kindness and help in that important time. She was so grateful to be back in community and for her to be able to have the Dominican habit again and be back involved with kindergarten and primary students. 

 In the years that followed we always visited when I was able to come back to Springfield and visit the Motherhouse. She was certainly proud of her Irish heritage. When I would visit her, when she was taking care of “Babe,” there was an older Irish woman, Julia Duffy, living by herself in the same complex, and Sister would help her as well. 

 Sister’s faithfulness to her vocation is a powerful sign of “only goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life” for all of us, her students, over these many years. 

Her vocational story is also a powerful reminder that, trusting in God, “all shall be well,” as Julian of Norwich proclaimed. This is certainly a reminder of God’s everlasting presence and love and faithfulness to His people in these very challenging times. 



Editor’s note: On June 14, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Diocese of Orange begins the phased reopening of our churches. In a recently produced video, Bishop Vann discussed the reopening. Here is an excerpt. 


“It won’t be like it was before, at least initially. We have to bear in mind our God-given responsibility to our brothers and sisters. As I remember from my training in microbiology and epidemiology not to be bearers of an infection and make the virus even stronger. 

With things like distancing and hand sanitizing we will be able to open our churches on a limited basis in the months ahead. And we’ll see how that goes. There will be detailed instructions coming forth that we’ll be publishing so that you can see that.  

But we bless God at all times. We give thanks to God at all times…We’re grateful to God for having brought us to this day, and we’re grateful to God for all the people that have come together to be able to bring us to a different time where our houses of worship can be open a little bit, and we can come together to pray as the Body of Christ in a way that is safe, in a way that gives Glory to God and in a way that protects. That’s a lot to bless God and to be thankful for. 


When we began producing the OC Catholic Radio Show in early 2015, many referred to this program as ‘The Bishop’s Hour.’ In other words, this broadcast would always be the vehicle where he could get the word out to the faithful, via the radio (and now podcast) airwaves.

On today’s show, host Rick Howick has the opportunity to catch up with our very own Bishop Kevin Vann. What is on his mind and heart during these days of the COVID-19 pandemic? Tune in and find out!





Originally broadcast on 5/2/20


Even amidst the COVID-19 crisis we are all dealing with right now, we must remember that we are an EASTER people!

Deacon Steve Greco is delighted to welcome our very own Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange for our Easter program.

Be sure to share this podcast with a friend.





Originally broadcast on 4/12/2020


The numbers of those infected with the coronavirus continues to swell around the world, as well as the number of deaths associated with the virus. While the CDC reports that deaths from other forms of flu should be of equal concern, it’s tough not to let the news worry us. Especially as headlines from Catholic News Service (CNS) and others continue to keep the world focused on it.

When Ash Wednesday services were cancelled in Milan, Italy, it raised eyebrows. And there is this CNS report from Lourdes that reads: “As the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Europe continued to grow, the French Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes announced that pilgrims were still welcome, but the pools the sick bathe in, hoping for healing, would be closed temporarily.”

In a Feb. 18 statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the subject of the coronavirus, the bishops said they “stand in solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus and their families, health workers who are valiantly trying to diagnose and treat patients, and those under quarantine awaiting results of their screening for the virus.” The bishops urge individuals to stay informed by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

Closer to home, as the County of Orange has declared a health emergency due to the potential for person-to-person spread of coronavirus in the U.S., Bishop Kevin Vann has, in accordance with canons 85 and 90 §1 of the Code of Canon Law, dispensed those who are sick from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation until further notice.

Additionally, Bishop Vann is mandating that the faithful are not to hold hands during the “Our Father,” nor shake hands at the sign of peace. Communion from the cup is to be discontinued until further notice. And all ministers of Holy Communion should sanitize their hands before and after distributing Holy Communion.

Dr. Tom Cesario, a Catholic physician from within our diocese who works with infectious disease, tells OC Catholic, “Today we are primarily concerned with the spread of coronaviruses, but other respiratory viruses that circulate this time of year as well.”

Here is what Dr. Cesario advises:

  • If you are ill, stay home. Do not risk infecting others.
  • The coronavirus appears to be spread by droplets, hence maintain a distance of six feet from others where possible.
  • Avoid touching surfaces.
  • Avoid hand shakes, and provide “peace” gestures with a wave instead.
  • Carry and frequently use hand disinfectant.
  • If you have concerns, or may be ill, avoid taking the sacred blood.
  • During this time cancel and avoid unnecessary meetings until the future of this virus is clear.
  • See your healthcare provider early if you think you may need to get consultation.


Advent has been with us from the earliest days of the life of the Church. It is a season of expectation and anticipation for the return of Christ. Advent has varied some over the years, but I think symbolically it is one of the most beautiful seasons of the Church. 

It has a penitential aspect to us. The color of penance is purple. If you consider the second and third Sunday of Advent, you have St. John the Baptist on the calendar, with a call to repentance and preparation for the birth of Christ. 


[On the Advent wreath…] 


There are really some beautiful prayers for the blessing of the Advent wreath and the lighting of the first candle, both at Mass and at home. I encourage folks to get an Advent wreath for their home and light it at dinner with their families. 

When the season is more than half over, given the third Sunday of Advent, it means the birth of Christ is near and there is a reason to begin rejoicing. 

The penitential color of the candle is lightened from purple to a dusty rose and the third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday, which means “rejoice.” It’s an exclamation, an imperative. 

Advent has a quiet beauty to it. It’s a time of rest and of reflection on what we’re all about. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the coming of Christ and our lives and our preparation for that. 

The season has a way of touching people’s hearts in a way that perhaps event Easter cannot. With Christmas, come memories of families, and how you’ve been, and your own relationship with God. I always, especially on Christmas Eve, I always try to welcome people and thank them for coming. I say you’re always welcome here and this season is for all of us to find God once more in our lives. 

My first four years as a priest, from 1981 to 1985 (in Rome), the symbols of the season were everywhere in Italy. I was away from home for the first time. I was walking around the city of Rome. It was cold and rainy. I’d stop in a church or a store and there was the Advent wreath. It pointed me to a reality far beyond where I was. 

Advent, with its symbols, says look! There is another way. You don’t have to live in this constant turmoil.  Look to us. Look to Christ. Look to this way of living.  


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