Letters to the Editor

Why Padre Serra is so important

I enjoyed reading Msgr. Antall's article on Padre Serra.

I don’t believe we should be pressured into removing Padre Serra’s statue, as is the case here in Ventura.  Leaders should launch in-person or online seminars for the community describing what Serra attempted to do and avoid closed-door discussions and decisions. It would be good for the bishops to develop a comprehensive program in California to explain to the communities why Padre Serra is so important. Of all the notable California figures, Serra was, I think, the most altruistic.

By the way, Serra did not start work as an academic.  In his youth he knew well the agricultural world in Mallorca and its hard physical labor.  This made him all the stronger and ready to apply the best agricultural methods, including the building of aqueducts to ensure a steady source of water, in Alta California.

- Laura Roberts

Rolheiser's message is one everyone needs to hear

Brilliant and timely article by Fr. Ron Rolheiser on "Our deep failure in charity."

This is the kind of message I've been trying to communicate to some of my very pious friends who are enamored of Archbishop Vigano and others whose messages foster division and hatred. Unfortunately, Fr. Rolheiser's message of unity and love will fall on deaf ears, the very ears that need to hear it.

Thank God for Archbishop José Gomez and for our Holy Father Pope Francis. We are blessed to have such leaders in our Church today.

Marilyn Boussaid

Overlooking an incoming Jesuit's political views

Simple comment: You reported the news of Cyrus Habib's entering the Jesuits this fall. Given his important position in government makes this a great story; except you did not state the positions he took when it came to his support of abortion and gay marriage.

While it is a news story, you are a Catholic publication and should always state a politicians views on such intrinsic evils.

- Hilmar A. Rosenast, Valencia

Concerns about Church's "all-or-nothing response" to coronavirus

As a healthcare worker for the past 35 years I am concerned about public safety during this pandemic and I believe our President took brave steps in thwarting a catastrophe. Hopefully the curve will be flattened and lives have already and will be saved. I can understand how the Church came to the decision to lift the obligation to go to Sunday Mass, but I do not understand why the churches have to be closed all together through at least April 19th.

Catholics should have the right to go into a Church in the real presence of Jesus during Lent and Holy Week and Easter Week. This all-or-nothing response concerns me. I think we are making a huge mistake.

Currently March 25th there are 11 deaths in LA County. We are cancelling all Church because of the potential of transmitting a disease with a 98 percent survival rate. Yet we have no problem celebrating Mass as the deliberate daily genocide of hundreds of unborn continues. There needs to be consistency. The Archdiocesan response must be proportionate to the threat.

I believe we as the local Church need to come together to create opportunity to worship in community in the Presence of the Eucharist. Why couldn’t we increase the frequency of prayer services with social distancing? Consider outside worship in a larger space offering social distancing. To eliminate all possibility of prayer and worship in a Church setting sets a terrible precedent.

Live streaming Mass is not enough. Some form of communal worship is important during this Holy Season. Even Disney World is considering opening up to millions 10 days before the Catholic Church. Lets be open to the idea that perhaps the curve will be flattened enough for some sort of Church worship during Easter Week.

-Carla Kazimir, Granada Hills

A plea to reconsider 'drastic' measures

Catholics in our diocese have sustained one blow after another, and the pummeling seemed to have reached a crescendo today with the startling news of blanket church closures.

Our family is utterly disillusioned and shocked, especially in light of Pope Francis’ own exhortation to keep churches open and to keep priests visible and accessible to their flocks. “The faithful should find courage and comfort from seeing their shepherds. They should know that they can run in any moment and find refuge in their churches and parishes and find them open and welcoming.” (Angelus magazine, 3/20/20).

This Archdiocese is treating churches and the Sacraments, not to mention the physical closeness of our pastors, as if they are all optional and disposable, as if there is no greater good than bodily health.

Imagine if all supermarkets were to close with the rationale that - for the protection of the employees and customers - individuals should simply fend for themselves or, for extra edification, watch the Food Network.

What could possibly be more powerful, more healing, and more critical than the Sacraments, the lifeblood of a Catholic Christian? The salvation and nourishment of souls, the intended focus of Jesus Christ’s mission for the Church, is being replaced by something far less eternal.

We implore our dear Archbishop Gomez to reconsider the drastic measures that he has imposed.

May the Holy Spirit illuminate his path and reveal to him creative solutions that will serve the starving souls of our diocese.

Elizabeth and Cedric Ebiner, Pomona

Thank you, Archbishop, for taking this crisis seriously

I appreciate Archbishop Gomez’s liturgical guidelines published on March 13. It is clear that he is taking the COVID-19 crisis seriously and trying to think well about Catholics in Los Angeles. However, the guidelines do not go far enough. Dispensing people from attending mass does not communicate the graveness of the situation. Masses throughout L.A. county should be cancelled for at least two weeks and likely longer. Italy and the state of Maryland have done this. Governor Newsom has put forth new guidelines, so I’m sure the L.A. Archdiocese’s will be updated. In the next several months, the Church needs to lead the way in moral and ethical leadership, prioritizing people no matter what.

What makes this virus so dangerous is that people can have it but show no signs of being sick, so they spread it without knowing they have it. When elders or those with health challenges contract it, the situation can quickly turn fatal.

The Church must lead the way in protecting the most vulnerable. Elders are having a hard time thinking of themselves as vulnerable and are going about their lives as usual. They are often the most involved parishioners and see worshiping and volunteering as moral obligations they cannot stop. The Church must stop them.

I know this firsthand. Last weekend, thanks to the Archbishop’s guidelines, a retreat my father was refusing to miss was canceled. A devout 76-year-old with “underlying issues,” he would not listen to anyone in our family beg him not to go. The final word had to come from the Church.

There are lots of creative alternatives, such as Mass for the Homebound. Parishes can send out letters and emails asking people to consider donating online or mailing in offertory donations so that they can keep serving those in need.

Stephanie Abraham, Holy Name of Mary Church, San Dimas

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