Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On-Demand from Disneyland: "Incredible Abundance"

On the 35th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony opened his archdiocese's signature event by correcting unspecified reports on "some of the websites" that've described the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress as the largest event of its kind in the Stateside church.

In reality, the LA prelate declared, the weekend's 40,000-strong turnout "is the largest church gathering like it in the entire world!"

And, well, if that's the only error these pages have made about the place of late, no complaints here. Still, it's worth highlighting another year of Congress as there really is nothing quite like it anywhere else -- for starters, it's not every day that The Church sets up shop across the street from Disneyland... and, well, inculturates accordingly.

In a first (after years of bootleg videos invariably made the rounds), the annual Lenten mega-retreat hosted by the continent's largest local church was finally officially shared with the world, with the livestreaming then YouTubing of Congress' major events...

Ergo, here's a taste of Friday's Opening Rite...

...and with the cardinal in Washington, where he spoke at Sunday's "March for America" rally on immigration reform -- which drew a crowd of some 200,000, filling half a square mile on the National Mall -- the presiding duties for Sunday's climactic liturgy fell to LA's senior auxiliary: 58 year-old Gabino Zavala, currently the US church's Media Czar as head of the bishops' committee on communications.

Here, Zavala's homily:

...all of which reaffirms the longstanding point that American Catholicism's Latin revolution is far less "et cum spiritu tuo" than it is "y con tu espĂ­ritu."

With a national majority in sight, the reality just keeps growing... and, as they say, resistance is futile.

* * *
Of course, looming over it all was talk of Mahony's expected 2011 retirement, which -- in his first public comments on the matter -- the cardinal addressed in his traditional Friday web-chat.

While the highly-anticipated appointment of a coadjutor to the 5 million-member archdiocese was envisioned to be settled on or around the quarter-century incumbent's late February 74th birthday, the file has reportedly undergone, er, prolonged deliberation at the Congregation for Bishops, where native son Cardinal William Levada -- now prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- was said to have been tapped to present the case.

In keeping with a custom for the revelation of major announcements dating to the tenure of Mahony's predecessor, Cardinal Timothy Manning, some of the Angeleno crowd are looking for something to pop at Monday's Chrism Mass -- for which, according to one local op, "everyone" is planning to show.

For now, only time will tell if said scenario pans out... at best, though, it's looking like even-money odds... again, at best.

In the meanwhile, as the old sign says, "Keep calm and carry on"... and of course, as always, stay tuned.

PHOTO: Archdiocese of Los Angeles