I am writing these words as I am preparing to make a trip to the Philippines with a “pilgrimage group” comprised of Catholics here in Orange County and Los Angeles. I am going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the “Disciples of Mary” – the “Aligad Ni Maria.” I will also be ordaining two of their men to the diaconate in the Antipolo City.

We are blessed with the heritage of so many Filipino Catholics here in Orange County, and this is chance to further and deepen our relationship with the Body of Christ in the Philippines, and in doing so strengthen our relationships of family and faith “across the Pacific.” The Disciples of Mary minister at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, at Cal State Fullerton, at St. Irenaeus parish, and they are very present to our youth throughout the Diocese.

I return on the 15th, and after that I will share some reflections on the pilgrimage, on Labor Day (which we just celebrated) and in particular on Rerum Novarum (Pope Leo XIII) and Centesimus Annus (Pope Saint John Paul II). I also am grateful for the many opportunities for dialogue, prayer and mission among the different faith traditions here in Orange County. I will reflect on that later, as well. We can thank the history of commitment to this, here in our Diocese, and most recently especially with the ministry of Fr. Al Baca, now at St. Columban’s in Garden Grove.

Blessed early autumn days. Thank you for all that you do!

+ The Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann, Bishop of Orange