Transcript of online session with Cardinal Roger Mahony and students from Holy Family School

Wednesday, September 26, 2001
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

In February Cardinal Roger Mahony conducted an online chat session with school children from the Los Angeles Archdiocese. This is the second time he has scheduled a private chat session, this time with Eighth Grade students from Holy Family School in South Pasadena, Calif. The Cardinal [LosAngCardinal] spoke with students logged on as Holy Family's Ed Center [HFEDCENTER].

Special thanks to Elaine Ricci (Computer Technology) and Tad Shaw (Data System Administrator) at Holy Family.

The following is a transcript from that online chat session.

RECongress:             Great, we're all here

HFEDCENTER:     Your Eminence the children will be here shortly.

RECongress:             We have Tad Shaw online right now

LosAngCardinal:        Is Tad with Holy Family?

HFEDCENTER:     Yes, I am with Elaine Ricci at Holy Family School

LosAngCardinal:        Thanks, Tad, for being with us!!

LosAngCardinal:        Do you have a special room at Holy Family for this purpose?

HFEDCENTER:     Yes we are in the computer lab.

HFEDCENTER:     We have a projector on the PC.

LosAngCardinal:        Terrific!

RECongress:             How many students will be with us? Do you know?

HFEDCENTER:     There will be about 35 students

RECongress:             That's great!

LosAngCardinal:        Yes, a good number.

LosAngCardinal:        How are the young people dealing with the aftermath of the WTC [World Trade Center] attacks?

HFEDCENTER:     They have questions about it

LosAngCardinal:        I find enormous insecurity, fear, and uncertainty among people--it must be very present in children.

RECongress:             Cardinal, where are you right now?

LosAngCardinal:        I'm at the Cathedral residence.

RECongress:             What is the current work on the cathedral now being done?

LosAngCardinal:        Lots of Cathedral work--bell tower, inside, plaza, street work, etc.

RECongress:             When will scaffolding be removed on the cross

LosAngCardinal:        The scaffolding around the Cross will come down in October, should be all done by Nov. 1st.

RECongress:             Tad, what is the Ed Center like?

HFEDCENTER:     The Ed Center is great; with a new computer room, science room and multipurpose room.

RECongress:             Is that also a computer lab at Holy Family?

HFEDCENTER:     Yes, the lab has 20 computers hooked up to the network

RECongress:             Sounds like a great place. How new is it all?

HFEDCENTER:     Two years old now.

RECongress:             Cardinal, are you going to have any further statements on tragedy? The Office of Religious Education has a links page they're updating.

LosAngCardinal:        No, I am not doing any special statements at this time--just using existing occasions to speak about it all.

HFEDCENTER:     Your Eminence, the students have arrived.

LosAngCardinal:             Greetings to all of you!!

LosAngCardinal:        What grades are represented?

HFEDCENTER:     The Eighth Grade class.

LosAngCardinal:        It is a joy to have this chat with you.  Your pastor, Msgr. Connolly, is a fine friend and a terrific pastor.

HFEDCENTER:     First Question: Cardinal, was your faith challenged on Sept. 11th?

LosAngCardinal:        No, it was actually my faith and my belief in God's presence in the midst of all our troubles that gave me strength.

LosAngCardinal:        There was an enormous outpouring of faith that day; people rushing to Churches and places of worship.  People turned to God and prayer.

LosAngCardinal:        What are you studying right now in your Religion Class?

HFEDCENTER:     We are studying our Catholic heritage.

LosAngCardinal:        HF [Holy Family] parish must have had special Masses and services also.

HFEDCENTER:     We had an ecumenical Mass on Sept. 13th.

LosAngCardinal:        I had a special Mass last Sunday for firefighters and police; it was just fantastic.  They are real heroes for us, as are so many professions in our midst.

HFEDCENTER:     What do you feel about the statement On Sept 11th, the question is not where was God but where was man?

LosAngCardinal:        Since the creation of the world and the human race, evil has been present.  Evil arises constantly throughout our history.  But the heroism and generosity of countless numbers countered the evil in a manner that was just fantastic.

HFEDCENTER:     How do you feel about the idea of women priests?

LosAngCardinal:        For whatever reason, Jesus did not choose to include women as priests or apostles, even though He included them in many aspects of the Church's life.  The Church does not believe it has been given the authority to make such a change

LosAngCardinal:        The Church, at the same time, continues to involve women in the highest roles in our Church.  My top advisors in the Archdiocese are fantastic women.

HFEDCENTER:     Do you feel the Church will ever be given that authority?

LosAngCardinal:        I just don't know about that authority; we will have to see what the Holy Spirit does over the coming years.

HFEDCENTER:     When did you decide to go in to the priesthood?

LosAngCardinal:        I first thought about the priesthood in elementary school, St. Charles in North Hollywood.  We had terrific priests and sisters, and their example inspired me.

LosAngCardinal:        Anyone in your class interested in the priesthood or religious life?  We can sure use some fine new young people!!

HFEDCENTER:     We have one gentleman but he is not currently in the room.

LosAngCardinal:        Tell him that I will pray for him, and for all the students, that they be open to God's call.

HFEDCENTER:     Do you believe we should go to war with the terrorists?

LosAngCardinal:        I believe that we need to defend ourselves and the world against terrorists.  But that can be done without massive bombing wars.  It will take increased intelligence, cutting off their armaments and their money.

HFEDCENTER:     Did you ever have doubts about your calling once you were in the seminary?

LosAngCardinal:        Of course, since the seminary is a place where you test your vocation.  But with God's grace, I was able to continue.

HFEDCENTER:     What can we do as an Eighth Grade class to help prevent the war.

LosAngCardinal:        We can surely pray for peace among all peoples, and pray for world leaders that they remove this cancer from the world with the least amount of damage to innocent people.

LosAngCardinal:        We also need to learn ourselves how to live with people from different backgrounds, and to find peaceful ways to resolve our own disputes.

HFEDCENTER:     Can you see yourself becoming the first American Pope?

LosAngCardinal:        No.  There will not be an American Pope.


LosAngCardinal:        How many different nations are represented in your class?

HFEDCENTER:     More than 13.

LosAngCardinal:        How many languages do you speak?

HFEDCENTER:     English, Spanish, French, Romanian, Chinese, Korean, Tagalo

LosAngCardinal:        Wow!!  That's terrific.  We need to appreciate each other's culture and background, and learn from one another.

LosAngCardinal:        If you don't have any questions, I have some!!

HFEDCENTER:     How do feel about married priests?

LosAngCardinal:        These questions are not really about how I "feel" about issues; rather, what does the Church teach and why.

HFEDCENTER:     They all get the message.

LosAngCardinal:        The Church has consistently had married priests.  All our Eastern Catholic Churches have married priests, as well as celibate.  Both systems have worked well.

HFEDCENTER:     What are your main duties as Cardinal?

LosAngCardinal:        As Cardinal, I am primarily responsible for the care of the people here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  We are the largest in the USA. 

LosAngCardinal:        But each day is very different.  My duties take me all over the Archdiocese, and I visit parishes all the time for various events.

HFEDCENTER:     Does the Church believe that married priests will not be as devoted as non-married to the Church?

LosAngCardinal:        No, married priests must give adequate time and attention to their wives and families. Today's celibate priests work day and night for the parishioners.  That would have to change.

LosAngCardinal:        But it works out all right in our Eastern Rite Catholic Churches.

HFEDCENTER:     When were you ordained as a priest?

LosAngCardinal:        I was ordained a priest in 1962--most likely before you were born!!  I have been a priest for 39 years, and I have loved every year.

LosAngCardinal:        How many of you have seen the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels downtown?

HFEDCENTER:     18 of us.

LosAngCardinal:        That's great!  We have a website:

LosAngCardinal:        You should check out the website.  I know that your parish has a fine website as well.

HFEDCENTER:     Why did you choose a contemporary style for the Cathedral?

LosAngCardinal:             Actually, the exterior style of the Cathedral was chosen by the architect, Rafael Moneo, to allow the maximum amount of sunlight to enter.  It will be impressive.

LosAngCardinal:        The new Cathedral will be dedicated Sept 2, 2002.  After that, it will be open.  You need to come for a visit!

HFEDCENTER:     Can elementary students participate in the opening mass?

LosAngCardinal:        Since the Cathedral only holds 3,000 we will not be able to invite students to the first day of ceremonies.  However, you will be invited later in the week to a special event.

LosAngCardinal:        Also, early in 2002 you will be getting some fine educational materials on Cathedrals, and our own.  Your school will get those.

HFEDCENTER:     What do you do in your free time?

LosAngCardinal:        Chat with 8th graders!!

HFEDCENTER:     The best answer ever!!!

LosAngCardinal:        I love to hike in the mountains, use my treadmill, etc.

HFEDCENTER:     What is the most impressive Cathedral you have ever visited?

LosAngCardinal:        Well, each one is different and unique.  For example, most European Cathedrals are quite dark inside--they have a unique feel to them. Ours will be much more light and exciting.

LosAngCardinal:        Our Cathedral also has a 2-1/2 acre Plaza for people to enjoy.


LosAngCardinal:        A question:  we are opening a small cafe on the property; we need a name for it!  Some suggestions already:  "Holy Grounds," "Angel Food". What do you recommend?

HFEDCENTER:     How about Soul Food!

HFEDCENTER:     Seventh Heaven gets a vote too.

LosAngCardinal:        Soul Food is used a lot in our city.  Seventh Heaven is nice!!  Keep thinking; send your name to me since I'm giving away a prize!!

HFEDCENTER:     Where should we send the name?

LosAngCardinal:        To me at the Archdiocese.  Your staff there has the address & email.

HFEDCENTER:     We have a student whose father you might know, Rick Hernandez, his son says hello.

LosAngCardinal:        Yes, they were here on Sunday night for a special dinner.

LosAngCardinal:        What are you studying now in Catholic Heritage?

HFEDCENTER:     We are studying our personal Catholic heritages and how we feel about the Trinity and other beliefs.

LosAngCardinal:        Is there a textbook for this class?

HFEDCENTER:     The book is called This Is Our Faith.

LosAngCardinal:        Great!  You should get a copy of the one volume that shows the history of our Archdiocese--fascinating way to connect your roots!

HFEDCENTER:     We have another vote for the cafe, Holy Orders.

LosAngCardinal:        Holy Orders is good, too!!  We would like to get "angels" into the title somehow, if it works.

HFEDCENTER:     How about Order of Angels.

LosAngCardinal:        Keep those names coming!!

LosAngCardinal:        Does anyone know when your parish was established??

HFEDCENTER:     We have a debate as to whether it is 1927 or 1928, this is a good homework question.

LosAngCardinal:        I think it is even earlier than that!!  Find out if your parish was first the mission of another parish, and when.  And then, when it became a parish.

HFEDCENTER:     How about Cherub's Delight.

LosAngCardinal:        That's good!!  I'm writing them all down.

HFEDCENTER:     How do you get around our Archdiocese?

LosAngCardinal:        I drive an Olds Bravada.  It is great for carrying all kinds of things around!!

LosAngCardinal:        Have any of you decided to give some of your allowance to help the people in New York?

HFEDCENTER:     We have a large jug in the office that students are filling with change to go to the Red Cross.

LosAngCardinal:             Fantastic!!

LosAngCardinal:        Any of your families know anyone killed back east?

HFEDCENTER:     A number of students have extended family who died.

LosAngCardinal:        Yes, so many people across the country were touched by those deaths.  It brought us all together.

HFEDCENTER:     We have a student whose dad is a firefighter here and we are very proud of him.

LosAngCardinal:        Yes, the firefighters are terrific!  We just had a large group here at the Cathedral yesterday to go through the facilities.

HFEDCENTER:     How do you feel about the Islamic people?

LosAngCardinal:        The Islam faith is a wonderful faith.  All peaceful, etc. These fanatics are not Islamic; they just use the name to look for support.

RECongress:             We've five minutes left, time for just a few more questions.

HFEDCENTER:     Do you believe that children's prayers are heard and seen by God first?

LosAngCardinal:             Absolutely!  The innocence and goodness of children's prayers are incredible.  I always turn to children when I need some praying done.

LosAngCardinal:        Are any of you hesitant to fly?

HFEDCENTER:     Some of us are.

HFEDCENTER:     Are you afraid to fly?

LosAngCardinal:        No.  I have a great appreciation for flight crews and attendants.  The skies are really safe now.

LosAngCardinal:        There is greater danger on the freeways than in the air.

RECongress:             We'll have to wrap up here. Cardinal, any last comments to the school children?

HFEDCENTER:     We have a great tribute to our Faith here.  We are not all afraid!!!!!!!

LosAngCardinal:        You are just terrific!  I will pray for you and your families.  May God bless each one of you!!  And find out about your parish history!

HFEDCENTER:     Keep praying for us and we will pray for you.

LosAngCardinal:        Thanks so very much!!  Maybe we will connect another time!!

RECongress:             Thank you, Cardinal

HFEDCENTER:     We look forward to it!!!!!!!!

RECongress:             And thank you -- all of you -- at Holy Family!!

RECongress:             We'll have a transcript up of this on

HFEDCENTER:     You're very welcome.

©2001 Los Angeles Archdiocese

(According to the 2001 Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Directory, Holy Family Church was built in 1910.)


Read the transcripts from other Religious Education Congress online chats

Congress Chat History:
Beginning in 1996 on CompuServe, Cardinal Roger Mahony conducted the first nationwide, online (typing) live from Hall A at the Anaheim Convention Center. in 2001 the Cardinal suggested adding a private chat with students from a school in the Archdiocese. Since then, we have had the tradition of a private school chat.

Los Angeles Archbishop Josι Gomez continued the tradition of a Congress Chat, and now we've expanded our chats to include regional bishops and schools from their region. This year, Bishop David O'Connell joins us for our sixth video chat with a school from his region.

with Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell of the San Gabriel Region

2019 (All Souls, Alhambra)

with Los Angeles Archbishop Josι Gomez

2017 (St Francis of Assisi, L.A.)  •  2016 (St Mary Magdalen, Camarillo)  •  2015 (St Finbar School, Burbank)  •  2014 (St Columbkille School, L.A.)  •  2013 (St Bernard School, L.A.)  •  2012 (St Dorothy School, Glendora)  •  2011 (St Thomas School, L.A.)

with Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles

2010  •  2010 (St John Chrysostom School, Inglewood)  •  2009  •  2009 (St Elisabeth, Van Nuys)  •  2008  •  2008 (Sacred Heart, Covina)  •  2007  •  2007 (St Benedict, Montebello)  •  2007 (St Rita, Sierra Madre)  •  2006  •  2006 (Holy Innocents, Long Beach)  •  2005  •  2004  •  2003  •  2001  •  2001 (St Jerome, Westchester)  •   2001 (Holy Family, South Pasadena)  •  2000  •  1999  •  1998  •  1997  •  1996

with Auxiliary Bishop Edward Clark of the Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region


2016 Marks 20 Years of Congress Chats — The first (typing) RECongress chat was held on Friday, February 23, 1996 on CompuServe with Cardinal Roger Mahony. Ten years later, on Friday, March 31, 2006, the Cardinal's annual chat was conducted in a room hosted on The Cardinal participated in 22 Congress chats (both nationwide and with schools) over 14 years.

At Congress 2016, Archbishop Josι Gomez has continued the tradition of (now, video) chats with school students from the Archdiocese. This was his sixth Congress chat (and fourth video chat) conducted from the Tech Center, located in the center of Exhibit Hall A at the Religious Education Congress. The RECongress chat are now continued through the regional bishops, while the Archbishop now holds an event on Facebnook Live.

Beginning on CompuServe, the RECongress nationwide chats have been hosted by AOL Live! (1997-2000), Beliefnet (2001), (2002-2003), and (2004-2010). The school chats have been conducted on AOL (2001-2006), Yahoo (2007), Chatzy (2008-2012), Skype (2013-2014) and Google+ (2015-2016).


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