By Kawika Smith, Staff Writer
Fr. Steven Privett, SJ, Verbum Dei High School President, crossed paths with Cardinal Roger Mahony and invited him to visit the school. Mahony graciously accepted the offer and is scheduled to visit Verbum Dei High School on March 19. Coincidentally on March 19, Mahony will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of his ordination as bishop.
During his visit, he will also be joining the Verb community in liturgical celebration, and he is expected to preside over the mass. He will also meet and speak with students about their Jesuit-Catholic educational experience. He will share breakfast with a group of students from all grade levels, although the students are yet to be selected.
Mahony is no stranger to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he served as archbishop from 1985 to 2011. Named a cardinal in 1991, he still serves in that capacity to the Catholic Church. Mahony, who still resides in the Los Angeles area, also has been involved in VDHS history. The Verb was struggling with financial solvency in the late 1990s, and Mahony intervened to help save the South Central institution.
According to the Verbum Dei High School website:
“In the spring of 2000, Cardinal Mahony asked the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit Order) to bring their vast educational experiences and expertise to Verbum Dei High School.”
Moreover, Mahony has a long history – more than four decades – of service to people along the margins of America. He has been a long time champion in fighting for immigrants, for farm workers and for economic justice. In recent years, Mahony became a controversial figure in the media surrounding the abuse scandal within Catholic church.
As VDHS prepares to meet with Cardinal Mahony, students will likely be learning in their theology classes of the cardinals’ role in the Catholic church.