Saturday, September 25, 2010

Royal City

I am truly amazed, sometimes, at the richness of this City's and this Archdiocese's heritage. A stroll around the old plaza, with its statue of L.A.'s founder, King Charles III of Spain, never fails to remind one of this. Olvera Street, for all its touristy-ness, is always a pleasure for me. The old section of La Placita (the first parish, Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles, founded by Ferdinand VII in 1814) --- you can give the new part of it a pass --- with its Perpetually Adored Host---in---Monstrance (formerly flanked until recently by the Spanish and Vatican flags) is perhaps my favourite church in a city fille some really lovely ones. The Spanish heritage, expressed in Missions, Rancho Adobes, Presidios --- and the living expressions of fiestas, processions, and food --- are an enormous part of what I love about this City and this State.

Some of the newer churches --- from the sad bulk of St. Vibiana's Cathedral to so many others --- remind one of the hard work of our bishops, from Amat to McIntyre, in building up the Catholic presence here. Our Ethnic and Eastern Rite parishes, apostolates, and societies reflect the worldwide origins of the Catholics of this City, and the presence of St. Mary of the Angels, an historic Hollywood Anglican parish waiting for the Ordinariate, all reflect our "goodly heritage." The advent of the film industry coincided with a rush of extraordinary architectural styles; many old restaurants and bars reflect that era, and for all that seem to close one after another, there always seems to be one more to discover.

But City and State are broke (financially speaking), and social problems are immense; the Archdiocese has suffered doctrinal and liturgical blight since the 1960s --- indeed, in many ways that blight has determined the course of my life.

Nevertheless, it seems that our soon to be Ordinary, Archbishop Gomez, will be a worthy inheritor of this see. May he not only worthily preserve what we have, but use it as a stepping-stone for evagelisation, that the City of Angels may one day be worth of her name.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh Empire State!

Although this blog is intended to be Angelenocentric to a great degree, I was born in New York, and that City and its State have always held their place in my heart. Right now I am reading "The World of Washington Irving" by Van Wyck Brooks. Apart from once again marvelling over the sheer beauty of the prose, my mind is wandering back to the skyscrapers and the vales of the Hudson where my memories begin. As a boy I was thrilled by Washington Irving's tales --- had they not happened, so many of them, near where we were? And the stories and weird lore of the Dutch settlers, the battles of the Revolution, the Loyalists, Major Andre, the beautiful old mansions between Albany and the Bronx, the colonial taverns and cemeteries, and so much more! All of these remained firmly in my head when we came out here, and linger still. The memories of Autumn and Winter, Hallowe'en and Christmas, buoyed me up in the withering heat of an L.A. Summer.

But that sense of exile is, perhaps, an integral part of being an Angeleno. For people born and raised here, the Southland is simply their home. But for the millions more who have come from elsewhere --- or who so came in the past, to include the first settlers --- the sense of being shipwrecked on an island, so to speak, is a defining one. Our Autumsn, although lacking the brilliant leaves, are dreamy and mellow in their own way. Now that Autumn is here at last --- enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Well, ladies and gentlemen, behold my second attempt at blogging, launched on the feast of St. Maurice and the Theban Legion! What I will seek to address is whatever if find of interest in the City (in this case, the City of Los Angeles and its environs) and the world. We stand at a very bizarre and unusual time. Although the Recession has ended, as our government assure us, and prosperity is just around the corner, one might think otherwise given the reality in which most of us live.

The Pope has just completed a triumphant tour in Scotland and England, the snow of the White Witch is just beginning to melt in the Angeleno Narnia, and I turn 50 in November! Stay tuned!