A memo from Bishop Marc about the Jubilee Year
As you know, the Archdiocese is celebrating a Year of Jubilee in honor of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Mission San Gabriel, the first church in what was to become the City of the Angels. The year was started with a prayer service at the mission that included a blessing by leaders of the Tongva Tribe, whose ancestors built, lived and worked in the mission as well as a message by Archbishop Gomez. The theme for the year is “Forward in Mission”, drawn from St. Junípero Serra’s motto “Always Forward” and the challenge for each of us to become missionary disciples of Jesus.
During this year of Jubilee, consider focusing on our mission of evangelization as we reopen our ministries.
Twenty-two parishes have been declared ‘pilgrimage sites’ with holy doors for pilgrims to enter in order to pray. The pilgrimage parishes for our Region include:
Deanery 17: St. Emydius, Lynwood. St. Emydius was chosen because of his intercession against earthquakes. We have seen and experienced the devastation caused by earthquake and other natural disasters and rely on St. Emydius to pray for our protection.
Deanery 18: St. Mary of the Assumption, Whittier. Mary, the mother of God is the prime example of discipleship and is rightly named the Star of the New Evangelization. As we begin to reopen our parishes after the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we turn to Mary to inspire and guide us so that we follow her suggestion to do whatever Jesus tells us.
Deanery 19: St. Joseph, Hawthorne. St. Joseph’s, Hawthorne, is celebrating their one hundredth anniversary this year in the year of St. Joseph. As husband of Mary and Foster Father of Jesus, he is a model for all of us.
Deanery 20: St. Anthony, Long Beach. St. Anthony’s is the mother church of Long Beach and Anthony, himself, was a Franciscan like Junípero Serra.
Special Status Site: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Avalon (Catalina Island). The first recorded Mass in what is now the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was celebrated on Catalina, near Avalon on November 26, 1602. To put this into context, this predates the establishment of the colony of Jamestown, Virginia by five years. Although it was to take another 169 years for the founding of San Gabriel Mission, the Catholic Faith had already been planted in the Southland.
Individuals and groups are encouraged to visit one or all of the pilgrimage sites during this Year of Jubilee. A plenary indulgence is offered to anyone who visits the site, goes to confession, receives Holy Communion and prays for the intentions of the Holy Father and for the advance of evangelization in the archdiocese. Parishes or parish groups might want to organize trips to visit the sites. If you are planning a group visit, consider calling the parish beforehand.
Consult the website https://forwardinmission.com for information on archdiocesan programs.
Serra Historical Information
A great deal of a-historical misinformation has been circulated about the mission period in the history of California with special focus on St. Junípero Serra. The California legislature has even promulgated some of this misrepresentation of both the times and the saint. Unfortunately, St. Junípero has become a convenient scapegoat for both the imperial exploitation of the Spanish monarchy and the greed and genocidal policies of the first governors of California. The truth is that the mission system, though far from perfect, was an attempt at protecting both the rights of indigenous people and maintaining and developing the land we now call the Golden State. That is not saying that there were no mistakes made. But California in the mission era was centuries ahead of both the British colonies and subsequent American states in its relations with the people of the First Nations.
The Knights of Columbus produced an excellent video on the ministry and history of Padre Serra. We really need for people to know the truth about this incredible saint. Share the following link on your teachers and catechists. I sent this out last year but it is worth seeing.
For those who want to learn more, Dr. Rubén Mendoza, archeologist and professor at California State University Monterey Bay, gives an excellent lecture at the following link. Dr. Mendoza shares how his own research and archeological work at the missions changed his opinion from a Serra detractor to a Serra supporter. It is crucial that we understand our American history, even the ugly side, so that we can confront and change what we need to change. I highly recommend Dr. Mendoza’s lecture.
Laudato Si’ Action Platform
With the growing crisis of climate change, increasing drought and magnification of weather systems, the Vatican and an international coalition of Catholic organizations have launched the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. (https://laudatosiactionplatform.org) Using this platform, a family, parish, school or any other group can work together to develop a plan and pledge to be better stewards of our earth, recognizing that we share the planet and its resources with others and are called to care for it and each other. You might like to share this with any of your groups as an outreach of Life, Justice and Peace. The website will offer resources for parishes, groups, institutions and companies to help identify practical steps for reducing waste and cleaning our environment.
Synod on Synodality:
For a Synodal Church, Communion, Participation and Mission
The Synod of Bishops is an advisory council to the Holy Father made up of bishops from around the world as well as invited experts and other guest participants. Since the year 1967, there have been sixteen “ordinary” synods, the last four occurring during the papacy of Francis. The topics discussed during the synods are varied, evangelization, catechesis, the consecrated life, formation of priests, the family, bishops, the Eucharist and the youth being some of the themes. Generally, after a synod gathering, either a concluding report or an apostolic exhortation is produced to summarize and propose next steps for the participants to share with their dioceses and national groups.
One of the great contributions of Pope Francis to the Church has been his insistence on synodality as the framework for the work of the Church as outlined in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, synodality as defined as the collaboration of the People of God, inspired and transformed by the Holy Spirit and informed by the tradition and teaching of Sacred Scripture and the Church throughout the ages. It is with this in mind, that the Church enters into a synodal process that will encompass three years of discussion, reflection and debate on synodality, itself, a Church that defines itself as a Communion that invites participation and requires its members to be on mission.
The purpose of the Synod is not to produce documents but “to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.”
The Synod on Synodality will be initiated in October and will begin with discussions in the Local Church and in the Parish. In this first year, we will discuss how we all respond to the call to holiness. The pastoral councils of each parish, the Regional Pastoral Councils and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, as well as Religious communities, lay movements, universities and faculties of theolog will be encouraged to discuss how God is calling us to be a Christ-Centered Church that is inclusive, and participatory, humble, healing and merciful, prayerful and Eucharistic, missionary and evangelizing, a joyful, hope-filled and servant community that is open to conversion, renewal and reform. After discussion on the local level, it will move to national, continental and world-wide with a final gathering in 2023 in Rome.
In the coming weeks, you will be receiving resources to help in the discussion on Synodality.
Blessings! Bishop Marc