Sign Up for Our Newsletter!

Sign-Up to receive updated stories from OC Catholic.

EPISODE #267
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND WITH GUEST FR. DAVE HENEY

Join Deacon Steve Greco as he welcomes Fr. Dave Heney back to the program.

In addition to being pastor at St. Bruno Parish in Whittier, CA, he was also the longtime daily host on Relevant Radio’s “Family Rosary Across America” program.

Today we’ll be taking a virtual tour through the Holy Land!

Listen, and be sure to SHARE this podcast!

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 1/3/21

O HOLY NIGHT!

Having recently returned from my second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I can say with certitude that nothing compares to exploring the land where God entered into history. These are the areas where Jesus gathered and taught His apostles, affirmed His power through miracles, and then, following His death and resurrection instituted the Catholic Church.   

Each day and in a myriad of ways the feeling of His presence was palpable. It increased my longing for the worthwhileness of my existence. It helped me better understand my sufferings and my moments of joy. It was overwhelming and yet all so wondrous and wonderful.   

To witness this land where events took place from around the 20th century BC until the end of the 1st century AD simply can’t compare with anything outside its borders. Just as these places witnessed His presence thousands of years ago, they continue proclaiming that “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (Jn1:14). Beyond beliefs and disbeliefs, its mysterious and holy sites challenge one’s heart.  

And so, with that as a backdrop, I share my unique and most remarkable experience; being locked inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher overnight. A series of circumstances and introductions led me and my pilgrimage partner, Father Darrin Merlino, to this opportunity of a lifetime. To appreciate the value of this, let me explain. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is an enormous basilica reconstructed multiple times over the remains of Calvary and Christ’s tomb. Through its massive doors you enter the most holy and historic sites on our planet. This is where Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead.   

From the cross on Calvary Jesus pronounced His last teachings while being mocked; forgave the thief on an adjacent cross, asked his beloved disciple to take care of His mother as she, in turn, became the mother of all; and finally turned His spirit over to His Father, consummating human redemption. 

Next to Calvary was a garden where a tomb had been carved out of the rock. That tomb and the night of the third day were the only witnesses to the Resurrection. All of this agrees with the Gospel readings and is confirmed by archaeological excavations. The identification of this as the place of where the death and resurrection of Jesus took place date back to the 1st century.   

And so, on Thursday evening, June 6, as the sun was setting on Jerusalem and pilgrims were being led out of this enormous church with a capacity of over 8,000, only 14 pilgrims remained inside. Of them, three were nuns from Uganda, one of whom it turned out is of the same order and a friend of Fr. Achilles who, as a missionary, frequents St. Edward the Confessor Parish in Dana Point. Such a small world!  

On the steps leading to Calvary and in front of the monumental doors through which thousands of people pass each day, we watched in amazement at the closing ceremony as a Greek Orthodox priest closed the doors, an Armenian priest then opened a small door within a door to pass out a ladder received by a Muslim who climbed the ladder, locked the door and then returned the ladder through the door within a door. Finally a Catholic priest closed that and we were officially locked in for the night. A similar process would take place to open the doors at 5 a.m. the next morning. 

There was no time or desire to sleep that night. With our hearts on fire and in a state of awe, we walked the empty hall directly to the tomb. There we stayed and knelt inside the inner chamber. With hands and face on the stone, I prayed and prayed like never before. It was difficult to understand what was happening. I was praying to Jesus in the very room in which His body laid for 3 days and then brilliantly arose from the dead. Words will never suffice to explain this feeling. Nor would they be enough to explain the experience of kneeling on Calvary in the area where His mother Mary and His disciple John knelt, watching Him die for us. No. There are no words. And although we did this for 8 hours, I still find it hard to grasp. Suffice it to say, I will never forget this most holy night in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

EPISODE#176
OC CATHOLIC RADIO: THE MAKING OF A TRULY “DYNAMIC CATHOLIC”

Each week, we bring you compelling conversation with church leaders and laity.

Today, Rick Howick welcomes an individual who, although her office is in the same building as our radio studios, this is the first time she’s been on-air with us. The question is: what took us so long?

Her name is Evelyn Garcia; and, she plays a key role for the well-known nationwide Catholic ministry called DYNAMIC CATHOLIC. She’s got a great job, too. In fact, when she tells most folks about the nature of the work she does, most of them wish they could be so lucky.

Tune in and enjoy this fascinating conversation. Please SHARE this podcast with someone else!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 7/13/19

VATICAN APPROVES ELECTION OF ITALIAN FRANCISCAN AS ‘CUSTOS’ OF HOLY LAND

JERUSALEM (CNS) — The Holy See has approved the election of Franciscan Father Francesco Patton as the new “custos” of the Holy Land, replacing Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who held the position for 12 years.

The “custos” is the provincial minister of the Franciscans in almost all of the Middle East, with jurisdiction over territory extending through Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus and Rhodes, and at their monastery in Cairo. In these countries he serves as a liaison among the patriarchs, bishops and apostolic nuncios. In addition, he is authorized to sign statements with the Middle East patriarchs and must navigate the current delicate political landscape of the region.

The “custos” also cares for the needs of the local Catholic Community, “the living stones” of the region, and is responsible on behalf of the Catholic Church to care for and guard some 50 shrines, where the Franciscans welcome and coordinate the reception of pilgrims and tourists.

A date for Father Patton’s installation, which is marked by three traditional ceremonies in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, West Bank, has not yet been announced.

Father Patton received written statements of congratulations from Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem and the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land. Patriarch Twal assured Father Patton of “the full cooperation of the Latin Patriarchate.” The ordinaries said they welcomed Father Patton’s appointment and wished Father Pizzaballa well, thanking him for his years of devoted service.

Father Patton, 52, currently lives in Italy and belongs to the Franciscan Province of St. Anthony. He was ordained in May 1989.

He served as secretary-general of the general chapters in 2003 and 200, and as visitator general in 2003. He was minister provincial in Trent, Italy, from 2008 to 2016 and has served as president of the Conference of Provincial Ministers of Italy and Albania. He also has served in various capacities outside of the order, including as a member of the presbyteral council and secretary of the pastoral council of the Archdiocese of Trent. He also has been a professor of social communications and contributed to archdiocesan publications, radio and TV.

Father Patton was elected beginning with the traditional two rounds of voting by secret ballot by the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land. The first three names of the second round were then sent to the general council of the Order of Friars Minor in Rome, which nominated Father Patton.

Traditionally, the “custos” serves a six-year term, which can be renewed for another three years and, if many of the friars desire it, it can also be renewed for another three years, as in the case of Father Pizzaballa, another Italian.

Father Pizzaballa previously served as vicar of the Hebrew-speaking Catholic community in Israel. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1990 and studied and taught at the Franciscan Studium Biblicum in Jerusalem.