Monday, May 24, 2010

So, folks, along the course of this ride, it's become clear that some things just can't be covered from the home-office -- sometimes, you've just gotta hit the road and see a story with your eyes.

As veteran readers know, these moments have been as notable as they're rare: papal visitsNovember Meetings… and, now, the most significant transition of leadership this Stateside church has seen in some three decades.

And quite possibly even longer than that.

For a city founded in 1781 as "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de los Ángeles de Porciuncula" -- the seeds of faith planted by Spanish missionaries, its first five ordinaries of Latin birth -- the resumption of the line could be seen as something of a return to tradition.

Yet for an American Catholicism ever more driven by its Western half and its Hispanic bloc, as the lead-off hitters go, it's a whole new ballgame.

In that light, greetings from LA and the run-up to Wednesday's Mass of Reception for Coadjutor-Archbishop José Gomez, who'll succeed Cardinal Roger Mahony at the helm of the 5 million-member church -- North America's largest, and the global fold's sixth-biggest -- come March 2011.

To help set the stage for its close -- and especially for anyone just dropping in -- below you'll find the major pieces which, over the last half-year, chronicled the process that produced the figure who'll become the first American cardinal of Hispanic origin... and given the moment's Providential backdrop, God only knows what'll ensue over the coming days.

Looking forward, the livestream of Wednesday's "Show of the Century" begins at 1.30pm Pacific (4.30pm Eastern, 1830GMT); thanks to the crew on Wilshire, you'll be able to catch it... right here. (And with worship aid, to boot.)

Time to settle in and rev up. In the meanwhile, hope everything's great where you are. Wherever we might find ourselves, though, in the spirit of this place, we'd be remiss to gather without a taste of the extraordinary form of worship the local church in the spotlight has made famous:

As ever, a world of thanks to everyone whose support keeps these pages afloat and has made this coverage possible... for whatever's to come and all the rest, as always, stay tuned.