On this weekend, as we join in the Archdiocesan Missionary Co-operative Program, please join me in welcoming Fr. Peter Linhxuan, a monk of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Divine Grace in Vietnam.
While the Missionary Co-operative Program gives us the opportunity to truly be part of the Catholic Church Universal, it also presents us with the wonderful occasion to actually meet and get to know a priest representing the religious community and abbey that we will support by our prayers and resources. I look forward with you to hearing about Fr. Peter’s personal journey and that of the other monks and brothers of Our Lady of Divine Grace. Many of us were around during the time of the Vietnam war and the fall of Saigon. It would be hard to come up with a story more fascinating than that of the emergence of a Roman Catholic Monastery in the wake of such a time of oppression and upheaval—still, no doubt, a time of great challenge! We are blessed to have Fr. Peter with us and his witness will be a blessing upon us as Christians and Catholics.
The Guadalupe Celebration
This past Sunday I was blessed and very fortunate to attend the Guadalupe Celebration at the L.A. Coliseum. One of the keynoters, Msgr. Eduardo Chavez Sanchez, Postulator for the Canonization of St. Juan Diego, told the 60 thousand Catholics gathered, “You are all Guadalupanos! And Archbishop Gomez added “You are all Missionaries!” Msgr. Eduardo spoke so eloquently of how Mary appeared “with child”—with Christ at her center, and therefore we too live with Christ at the center of our being. “Mary was ‘all about’ her Son,” he said, and “we should be ‘all about’ her Son.” Archbishop Gomez continued: “ The Virgin of Guadalupe sent Juan Diego out as missionary,” first to the bishop to present the roses that fell from his tilma to reveal the sacred image of Our Lady, and then to the world to proclaim her Son as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So with Jesus at our center we are all sent to be missionaries of His Gospel, His Good News. Our Archbishop took the occasion to invite all Angelenos to get caught up in the “New Evangelization” and to courageously proclaim our faith at courageously proclaim our faith at home, at work, and in our communities.
These messages moved me deeply as a pastor because they spoke so convincingly of what important times we live in with both as Church and country, and of how important it is here in our own parish of St. Rita to live stewardship and to ask the hard questions that, unanswered, might be holding us back from being eager and effective disciples. What hard questions? The ones that go to revealing any personal inclination to complacency or to why we simply lack “the fire in the belly” to an involved member of our parish life and ministry. To simply describe oneself as “churchgoer” just doesn’t cut it.
Yes, I would agree that overall The Guadalupe Celebration leaned toward the Spanish speaking community. But at the same time I would challenge anyone from any background to have attended this gathering of 60+ thousand and not walk away with “the WOW factor” well in place. I was a tired Catholic by the time I got back from the Coliseum, but I was also a very proud Catholic. —Msgr. Richard a Guadalupano