December 22, 2020  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

—The writers include a local filmmaker, a Cardinal released from one year in prison, a longtime Los Angeles pastor healed from a terminal cancer, and a Catholic writer who narrates her painful experience of accompanying a dying parent diagnosed with a degenerative disease—

In its final issue of the year, Angelus News, the official magazine of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is publishing “Rescuing 2020,” a series of personal essays from a diverse lineup of Catholics reflecting on why, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been a “providential year.” To view the first two of eight stories, please visit and The reflections will be published from Dec. 21-24.

“2020 was a year marked by sickness, death, unrest, isolation, and economic difficulty — a year that has challenged the faith of many,” said Editor-in-chief Pablo Kay in his introduction to the series. “And so, one might ask: What good could come out of a year like this one?”

Among the answers to that question is an exclusive reflection for Angelus by Cardinal George Pell, archbishop emeritus of Sydney and former prefect of the Holy See’s Secretariat for the Economy. Pell was acquitted by Australia’s High Court on charges of sexual abuse this year after spending more than a year in prison (

“Where was God in all of this?” the 79-year-old writes of his ordeal in his essay for Angelus. “Is there a God, or the one God, who might be watching and interested in our suffering? An enormous amount depends on how we answer this question, because being a monotheist or an atheist, or not knowing, makes a world of difference.”

Also featured is Msgr. Jim Gehl, a longtime Los Angeles pastor who miraculously survived a bout with Burkitt Lymphoma this year (, and Elise Italiano Ureneck, a mother of a newborn son who narrates her time at the hospital in times of pandemic in the company of other women who were all giving birth in isolation, without their husbands by their side, or their support system (

“My doctor had a difficult ‘heart to heart’ chat with me, and we decided to discontinue the chemo,” wrote Msgr. Gehl. “Afterward, I was referred to a hospice worker. I was, to put it plainly, being sent home to die. …Throughout all of this, I never questioned God’s will for me. He helped me to be totally open to whatever he had in mind for me. Throughout my life, I’ve made a point of thanking God every day that I wake up, placing my life in his hands. There was no reason to stop doing this during my illness.”

“Mothers are having a tough time keeping their heads above water in this pandemic,” says Italiano Ureneck in her essay. “Whether they work inside or outside of the home, moms statistically take on the majority of childcare and household duties. They’re hardwired for relationships and meeting needs. The moms I know are finding the circus act of balancing laundry, meal preparation, children’s Zoom classes, and professional deadlines to be dizzying.”Other writers in the series include LA-based film producer TJ Berden, co-producer and screenwriter for the 2018 film “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” and Catholic writer Patty Breen, who shares her painful experience as she takes care of her dying father, who suffers from a neurodegenerative disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),

The full planned online publishing schedule includes Msgr. Jim Gehl and Elise Italiano Ureneck (Dec. 21), Cardinal George Pell and Patty Breen (Dec. 22), Alison Nastasi, who narrates her journey back to the Church and learning that her pastor was diagnosed with Covid-19, and Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, a Dominican priest of the Province of St. Joseph and assistant chaplain at Providence College in Rhode Island (Dec. 23), and Greg Erlandson, president and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service, and filmmaker TJ Berden (Dec. 24).

About Angelus, the multimedia and digital platform was launched four years ago and redesigned in September 2019, replacing The Tidings, which had been the Archdiocesan publication since 1895. Angelus is the weekly print “home” for Crux, led by renowned Vatican reporter, John Allen and his colleague, Inés San Martín, one of the top writers on the Church in Latin America. It includes voices like  Kathryn Lopez (National Review, Wall Street Journal), Grazie Pozo Christie (CNN, Miami Herald, New York Times, USA Today), and Mike Aquilina (national speaker and author of more than 50 books on Catholic themes). Best-selling Catholic author, Dr. Scott Hahn, writes a weekly Scripture column. These voices complement key contributors like Archbishop Gomez, Father Ronald Rolheiser and Heather King. For more information,,,