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.