The negative point that so many Catholics are leaving Los Angeles is on full display. Once more, Catholic angelenos are faced with the task of asking ourselves why we are here? what mission are we on? who are we doing this for? what difference does it even make? and, finally, does God even care that we are here and not somewhere in (say) southern Florida or midwest Kansas? Can't we be doing this – whatever "this" is – somewhere else?
These questions are pressing us on all sides, seemingly at all moments of the day when, moving from one conversation to the next, we speak with one, and then another, and yet another person who has just announced that they have found a wonderful community in Dallas, TX, or have just closed on a house a few miles outside Nashville, TN.
What purpose does my life as a Catholic Christian here in Los Angeles have? Finding that purpose seems a bit cloudy and confusing.
There are many reasons why people are leaving Los Angeles. For those of us staying, it's all the more reason to live our lives with a clear purpose, to believe in the mission that St. Junipero Serra started, to see our lives within that story, and to encourage one another to evangelize LA.
The positive point, too, is being in a city where people come and go, much like the city of Rome. It is the city that people visit, while some stay for a brief period of their lives. In the early centuries of the Church's history, heretics would flock to Rome because they understood its influence and ability to spread their message to the various Catholics that would come in and out of the city. But the orthodox would also meet them in the city to spread the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rome was the battle ground for this sort of thing.
There are many reasons why people are leaving Los Angeles. For those of us staying, it's all the more reason to live our lives with a clear purpose in mind, to believe in the mission that St. Junipero Serra started, to see our lives within that story, and to encourage one another to evangelize LA.