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EPISODE#109OC CATHOLIC RADIO: GUEST IS DR. LOUISE DUNN

Host Rick Howick interviews guests on a variety of topics. On this week’s program, Rick welcomes Dr. Louise Dunn of...

LET JESUS BE ‘YOUR TEACHER, YOUR LIFE COACH,’ ARCHBISHOP URGES TEENS

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told 1,600 Catholic teens gathered for the “City of...

Let Jesus be 'your teacher, your life coach,' archbishop urges teens

IMAGE: Victor Aleman, Angelus News

By

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told 1,600 Catholic teens gathered for the "City of Saints" conference that their faith and love for Jesus was an inspiration.

"Your desire to live your faith and share your faith -- it is so beautiful to witness. And it is so inspiring," he said in an Aug. 5 homily at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The archbishop and the Office of Religious Education of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles hosted the third annual "City of Saints" conference for teens, offering them an encounter with Christ through fellowship, praise and worship.

Teenagers attended from 80 parishes and schools throughout Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the three counties that make up the archdiocese.

The Aug. 4-6 event featured speakers as well as music with contemporary Catholic-Christian band WAL.

Attendees had an opportunity to participate in facilitated group time and the sacrament of reconciliation. Archbishop Gomez celebrated an afternoon Mass Aug. 4 to welcome the teens, then led them in an outdoor eucharistic procession to open a area designated as "Sacred Space," where spiritual directors described different paths of prayer for the weekend..

"I want to say, as we heard St. Peter say in the Gospel passage tonight -- 'It is good that we are here, Lord!' Thanks be to God!" the archbishop said in his homily at the Aug. 5 Mass closing the full day of the conference.

"Our Gospel tonight, leads us up the high mountain -- the mountain of God," he continued. "It is almost like we are chosen witnesses to go up with Jesus. Just as he chose the three apostles to go with him in the Gospel -- St. Peter, St. James and St. John."

"We have the privilege tonight in this Gospel to see what they saw, to hear what they heard -- the 'transfiguration' of our Lord Jesus Christ," Archbishop Gomez said.

That scene was amazing, he said, with the face of Jesus "shining like the sun," his clothes turning into "white light," and the prophets Moses and Elijah appearing "out of nowhere."

Imagining what they saw "reminds us that our lives are part of a great mystery -- a cosmic reality -- the loving plan of the living God. My young friends, you and me, we are 'part of the plan,'" the archbishop told the teens.

"The purpose of our lives is to be transformed and transfigured. To become more like Jesus every day of our lives. Until one day we will shine like the sun -- just we saw his face shine like the sun in the Gospel today," Archbishop Gomez explained. "This is God's plan for your lives -- to be his sons and daughters. Just as Jesus was his beloved Son."

"Jesus is the answer" as to how to do this, he said. "Listen to him! This is the best advice you will ever receive, because it comes from God himself. Let Jesus be your teacher -- your 'life coach,' your 'personal trainer.' Enter into his plan for your life. It is a plan of love, a plan that will lead you to happiness."

Archbishop Gomez told the teens about two practical things in his life that he said have helped him listen to Jesus -- prayer and reading the Gospels. He urged them to make those two things a habit in their own lives.

He suggested they download a Bible app onto their smartphones, so "you will have the Gospels with you everywhere you go."

"When you get a minute, you can read a passage from the Gospel," Archbishop Gomez said. "It is way better than checking your Instagram feed."

And "it is true that you can follow me on Instagram, so you should check that out, too!" he added.

"The more we pray, the easier it becomes to open our hearts to God," Archbishop Gomez said. "The more we reflect on the Gospels -- the more we begin to see Jesus alive and working in our lives and in the world."

"The more we try to listen to Jesus, the easier it becomes to hear him," he said. "The more we want to be with him -- in the Eucharist, in the sacrament of reconciliation."

By following these practices, Archbishop Gomez said, "slowly, we have a 'transfiguration' in our lives. That is how it works."

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE MOVIE REVIEW: ‘A GHOST STORY’

NEW YORK (CNS) — “A Ghost Story” could be the best film about purgatory you’ll see this year.  That depends,...

THE MAKING OF A CATHOLIC TRAVEL DOCUMENTARY

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Pope says he's saddened by 'perfect' Catholics who despise others

IMAGE: CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God did not choose perfect people to form his church, but rather sinners who have experienced his love and forgiveness, Pope Francis said.

The Gospel of Luke's account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how his actions went against the general mentality of his time, a way of thinking that saw a "clear separation" between the pure and impure, the pope said Aug. 9 during his weekly general audience.

"There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect," the pope said. "And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad."

Continuing his series of audience talks about Christian hope, the pope reflected on Jesus' "scandalous gesture" of forgiving the sinful woman.

The woman, he said, was one of many poor women who were visited secretly even by those who denounced them as sinful.

Although Jesus' love toward the sick and the marginalized "baffles his contemporaries," it reveals God's heart as the place where suffering men and women can find love, compassion and healing, Pope Francis said.

"How many people continue today in a wayward life because they find no one willing to look at them in a different way, with the eyes -- or better yet -- with the heart of God, meaning with hope," he said. But "Jesus sees the possibility of a resurrection even in those who have made so many wrong choices."

Oftentimes, the pope continued, Christians become accustomed to having their sins forgiven and receiving God's unconditional love while forgetting the heavy price Jesus paid by dying on the cross.

By forgiving sinners, Jesus doesn't seek to free them from a guilty conscience, but rather offers "people who have made mistakes the hope of a new life, a life marked by love," the pope said.

The church is a people formed "of sinners who have experienced the mercy and forgiveness of God," Pope Francis said. Christians are "all poor sinners" who need God's mercy, "which strengthens us and gives us hope."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

ORANGE COUNTY’S CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOLS

The Diocese of Orange offers a unique high school system that encompasses seven Catholic high schools throughout Orange County. There...

A CATHOLIC EDUCATION

Catholic schools have a rich legacy of providing students in kindergarten to high school with a quality education that encourages...

Bishop attends ICE meeting for mother fearing separation from sick child

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Dylan Corbett, Hope Border Institute

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After hearing about the plight of a cancer-stricken child whose mother was facing imminent deportation, a U.S. border bishop, Texas Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, decided to pay the pair a visit at the hospital.

On Aug. 7, he prayed at a Texas hospital with bed-ridden 8-year-old Alia Escobedo, suffering from bone cancer, and her mother Maria De Loera, the child's only caretaker, before heading to a meeting with immigration officials -- a hearing in which the mother was to report for deportation but one which the bishop attended in her place.

"I was informed about the situation over the weekend, I'd heard rumblings," said Bishop Seitz in an Aug. 7 phone interview with Catholic News Service. "As a parish priest, one of the most rewarding ministries was through the sick. I always felt close to children who were sick."

At the hospital, he said, he read Scriptures with the mother and daughter, who are Catholic, and prayed. He said he tried to reassure the mother that there were a lot of people trying to help.

"It was a pleasure to be able to meet them and hopefully bring a bit of a consolation to this young child," he said. "They're amazingly resilient. This mom had her husband killed in (Ciudad) Juarez, escaped to El Paso running for her life. When she came here, her youngest daughter was diagnosed with bone cancer."

The last two and half years have been filled, not just with treatments at the hospital, but also with the threat of deportation. An asylum request De Loera filed in 2014 was denied the following year, and since then, she has been in the process of being removed from the country by immigration officials.

Bishop Seitz, along with other clergy, accompanied De Loera's lawyer to see officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, "to reconsider ' given the circumstances," he said.

He said he met with a case worker and a supervisor as well as other officials.

"I think they were relatively receptive," he said.

On Aug. 8, ICE officials granted De Loera a six-month stay to continue watching over her daughter during treatment, said Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, which also has been involved calling in attention to the case. At her daughter's bedside, De Loera wears an ICE-issued ankle monitor to track her location even though she has not committed a crime and arrived seeking asylum, Corbett said.

"Maria and Alia are the human face of a broken immigration system and militarized border enforcement," said the Hope Border Institute in an email statement. "They're the reason we're fighting for reform and a more human border."

"I'm concerned about the very fact that we had to intercede on behalf of this mother under these circumstances," Bishop Seitz said to CNS, because it shows that "even the most obvious humanitarian reasons for allowing a person to stay are no longer sufficient."

Bishop Seitz made headlines in July because of a pastoral letter in which he denounced the "demonization of immigrants" and pleaded with others for compassion and solidarity. He said he's aware that even among Catholics, the issue of immigration can spark disagreement.

"I just ask them to bring these issues to their prayer," he said. "And also, to get to know a recent immigrant and, especially, to get to know one who fled here without the opportunity to arrange documents because they were fleeing for their lives, before deciding what the proper resolution of these cases should be."

Jesus, he said, spoke to questions of law and recognized that there is the law of God and human laws, and human laws can be good or they can be bad.

"Bad laws need to be changed and sometimes bad laws cannot be followed," he said. "One example is the law that permits abortion. Just because the law says it's OK, it does not make it OK."

He also asked others to think about the circumstances that lead others to flee their native countries.

"If any of us lived in a situation, in a country where there is extreme violence, we would do whatever it took to find a situation of safety, even if it meant crossing a border," he said. "We would do it if our children were starving. We wouldn't say 'I guess we'll just stay here and watch our children die.' Nobody would do that. We would do whatever we needed to do."

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Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

SAINT PROFILE: JUSTUS AND PASTOR

In 304 during the persecution of Diocletian, Dacian, the brutal governor of Spain, pursued and tortured Christians in the town...