News briefs: St. Anne’s hosts Holocaust speaker

Jeanne Opdyke Smith, daughter of a woman who saved dozens of Jews during the Holocaust in Poland, will speak at the St. Anne’s Feast Day event on July 26.

Following 11 a.m. Mass, Smith will be the featured speaker at the noon luncheon, a fundraiser for the residence that assists pregnant young women, mothers and children. Irene Gut Opdyke, Smith’s mother, was a young Polish Catholic woman who hid and saved Jews from the Nazis during World War II; her story is told in the book, “In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer.”

“My mother was what we call a bystander,” Smith noted in a talk earlier this year at San Buenaventura Mission. “We are all in this group at some point during our lives. And if you see something wrong and don’t do anything, you have taken a side — the side of the perpetrator.”

St. Anne’s is located at 155 N. Occidental Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets for the event are $30. For information, call (213) 381-2931 or email

Covenant House California celebrates 25th anniversary
On June 22, Covenant House California celebrated 25 years of serving the Los Angeles community. The early afternoon event hosted by CHC’s development staff, honored donors, volunteers, community leaders and supporters who have contributed to Covenant House’s ability to transform the lives of homeless, trafficked and at-risk youths.

The celebration featured the unveiling of CHC’s new “Donor Wall of Honor,” along with tours of the Western Avenue facility in East Hollywood, a catered lunch as well as interaction with current and former residents. Perhaps the most moving moments were when youths testified how Covenant House had radically changed their lives — from literally living on the mean streets of Hollywood and other locales to getting their own apartment and a job.

Since 1988, when Covenant House California began with two volunteers and a van outreach program for homeless youths in Hollywood, its programs have expanded to include a continuum of care, with medical services, educational and employment programs, life skills training and a transitional living program called “Rites of Passage.” During the last 25 years, CHC has provided some 160,000 youths with social services and assistance.

CYO, Hilton, CEF team to enable wider participation in sports
The Catholic Youth Organization launched their Sport Development Fund this past spring with a $35,000 grant from the Hilton Foundation. The Catholic Education Foundation administered the grant working closely with the CYO in the formation of this program.

“CYO is grateful to the Hilton Foundation for this grant that allows so many youth to participate in CYO sports.” said James McGoldrick, CYO director. “Working with the CEF helped bring this program along and I appreciate the assistance they afforded in making the program occur.”

CYO’s Sport Development Fund benefitted 13 low income schools that applied to take part in the program. Requirements for participation included commitments to field a new team, provide a coach and ensure that kids participate.

Some schools had not participated in various sports in prior years, but the CYO Sport Development Fund helped start new programs in boys and girls soccer, softball and boys volleyball. The participating schools received uniforms and equipment for up to two sports per school. In addition, schools were given funds to cover costs for registration, officials, facilities, “Play Like a Champion” coaches’ training and coaches’ stipends.

Schools (all in Los Angeles except where noted) receiving grant benefits included Assumption, Blessed Sacrament, Nativity (El Monte), Our Lady of Lourdes (East L.A.), Our Lady Help of Christians, Resurrection, St. Columbkille, St. Frances X. Cabrini, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Patrick, St. Philip Neri (Lynwood), St. Thomas the Apostle and Sts. Peter & Paul (Wilmington).

“The softball season was a wonderful experience for the girls,” said Dr. Joan Shoff, principal of St. Patrick School. “They made a big improvement of their skills over the season. We are so glad to have been given the grant for softball.”

Carolina Gomez, principal of Assumption School, likewise expressed gratitude for being able to participate in the grant offering. “We are very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to offer two more sports to our students,” she said. “Thank you, CYO!”

CYO will be extending the SDF program for Boys and Girls basketball next school year. Schools that are interested in applying should contact the CYO office (213) 251-3454.

SMA student is Gates Millennium Scholar
Briana Price, a recent graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Inglewood, has been selected as a Gates Millennium Scholar by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Briana will use her scholarship to attend UCLA this fall and then graduate or professional school.

The teenager was a member of the high school’s Health Careers Program, which offers students at the all-girls’ Catholic high school to take challenging health-science courses while gaining hands-on clinical experience. The program’s goal is to prepare students for higher education and a career in medicine or other health sciences.

“Briana’s consistent dedication to her schoolwork, interest in enriching her education through a variety of venues, respectful manner and excellent attendance has truly paid off in a wonderful way,” said Jeanne Fisher, RN, BSN and director of the Health Careers Program.

Blessed Sacrament choir members perform at Carnegie Hall
Joseph Modica, director of Blessed Sacrament Sacred Music, choir members and Parish Life Director Yolanda Brown performed at Carnegie Hall over the Memorial Day weekend.

Modica conducted the New England Symphonic Ensemble, which included members of Blessed Sacrament’s choir, in Mozart’s “Requiem.”

“It was a profound experience of holiness to sing the Mass of Peace on the historical Carnegie Hall stage surrounded by its amazing architecture and precision sound system,” said Brown.

Modica directs Blessed Sacrament’s liturgies, accompanied by Hungju Hwang, who plays the Hollywood church’s 4,100 pipes organ.


How to not be a 'beige Catholic,' according to Bishop Barron

Catholic News Agency

Catholics in America today need to find ways to engage the culture with truth, and avoid “beige Catholicism” that seeks to be dominated by the culture, Bishop Robert Barron said Thursday.


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