U.S. Notes & Quotes

Blessing Marriages

One Church in Costa Mesa, Calif. is addressing the problem of Mexican-Americans whose marriages are not normalized within the Church, according an article published in the Los Angeles Times Saturday, Nov. 15.

St. Joachim Catholic Church in Costa Mesa scheduled 13 marriages that day, according to the article.

“We offer them an inexpensive way to get married,” said Sister Elvita, who helped organize the biannual ceremonies. "Some of them have been married by a justice of peace but [today] they will be making their vows to each other in front of Christ.”

“The Church will perform the ceremonies at 10:00 a.m. and noon. Each will include Communion and the joining of each couple by a lazo, facilitated by the best man and maid of honor.”

“The lazo is like a garland of flowers … two circles together,” Sister Elvita said. “It is a rope that binds them together. In the first ceremony, two of the four couples being married will also have their 6- and 8-monthold babies baptized after they exchange vows.”

The Church covers everything involved in the ceremony, but does ask a $50 donation, according one of the participants quoted in the article. Sister Elvita said that the Church asks that the brides not wear white.

“It can be a simple off-white dress or a dress they can wear another day or on another occasion,” she said.

Before the couples are wed, they must meet the criteria set by the Diocese of Orange County, according to the article.

Rescuing Prostitutes

Sister Rosina Conrotto's ministry was sent in a new direction by a providential coincidence recently, according to an article published in the San Francisco Examiner Sunday, Nov. 16.

One afternoon, she is quoted saying, “I'd found some writings of our foundress, Nano Nagle. The Presentation nuns are mostly thought of as a teaching order, but in 1784, Nagle wrote that one of the order's missions was to take care of the prostitutes in her city of Cork, Ireland.”

Moments later, when she received a phone call from the prostitutionoutreach organization PROMISE, she saw an opportunity to renew that aspect of her order's original mission.

“If Nano Nagle were here today, this safe house is exactly what she'd be doing. It's exactly what we're supposed to be doing.”

Now Sister Conrotto is working with an interfaith group to minister to prostitutes in San Francisco.

“The house is the first of its kind in San Francisco and only the fourth that [organizers] have been able to find in existence in the United States. The others are in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Waikiki.”

The home will not be a place to proselytize, though spiritual help will be available on request. It will simply be a home that gives prostitutes—often, girls as young as 14—an alternative, according to the article.

The new home in San Francisco, which has not yet decided on a name, will be modeled after the highly successful 17-year-old Mary Magdalene Project in Los Angeles.