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Episode No. 53 Saturday, December 1, 2018. Music from the Tower… “ON THE ROAD” with the Bishops of the Diocese of Orange and members of the Diocesan Choir and Christ Cathedral Choirs

This special edition of MUSIC FROM THE TOWER is beautiful choral music and commentary from this year’s Diocese of Orange Bishops Pilgrimage and Cruise.  During these 12 days we visited three countries, Italy, Spain, and France, and some of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals, monasteries and churches.  Our pilgrimage began at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome with a wonderful Mass in Italian with our Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Timothy Freyer concelebrating. Along with our Bishops we had about 25 choir members from Christ Cathedral and our Diocesan Choir, with over 100 pilgrims.  In Rome we also sang at Rome’s Cathedral Church, St. John in Lateran, and San Lorenzo in Lucina.  From Rome se headed to our cruise ship, the Symphony of the Seas, the world’s newest and largest cruise ship.  We set sail for Naples where we toured and sang in the Naples Cathedral of the Assumption. Traveling by bus we went down to the Amalfi coast to Sorrento where we had Mass in the Cathedral of Saints Philip and James.

Our next day was at sea where we had a lovely Mass on board our ship to honor Bishop William Johnson, the first bishop of Orange.  We next landed in Barcelona Spain with Sunday morning Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  Back on our ship we headed to Palma Majorca to visit the shrines of St. Junipero Serra. We had a spectacular mass at the Basilica and Cloisters of St. Francis, where St. Serra lived from age 16 until he was 34 when he left for Mexico and California. We traveled on to Avignon, France where we celebrated a Mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  Our final Mass was back in Italy at Santa Trinita in Florence. We were joined by St. Patrick Cathedral’s (New York) organist, Michael Hey and violinist Christiana Liberis (They were on Episode No 47 of MFTT).  It was an astonishing trip of prayer, music, fellowship and fun.

MUSIC:  I Was Glad  Thomas Matthews  (Sung in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome)
MUSIC:  Cantate Domino  Giuseppe Pitoni (Sung at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Naples)
MUSIC:  Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether Harold Friedell (Sung in the Cathedral of SS Philip and James, Sorrento)
MUSIC:  Nos Autem Gloriari  Felice Anerio (Sung at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Barcelona)
MUSIC:  Faithful Cross Leo Nestor (Sung at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Barcelona)
MUSIC:  Go to the World  Sine Nomine  (Sung in the Basilica of St. Francis, Majorca)
MUSIC:  Psalm 34 Taste and See  James Chepponis.  Cantor Lauren McCaul (Sung in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Avignon, France)
MUSIC: O Taste and See  Richard DeLong  (Sung in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Avignon, France)
MUSIC: Ave Verum William Byrd (Sung in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Avignon, France)
MUSIC: Pavane  Gabriel Fauré Christiana Liberis, violin, Michael Hey, organist (Performed in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC: O Holy Spirit  Christopher Tye  (Sung in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC:  Psalm 119  James Chepponis  Robert DeCarlo and Lauren McCaul, cantors  (Sung in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC:  Lux Beatissima   Howard Helvey  (Sung in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC:  Panis Angelicus  César Franck (Sung in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC:  Praeludium and Allegro Fritz Kreisler   Christiana Liberis, violin, Michael Hey, organist (Performed in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)


Host Rick Howick interviews guests on a variety of topics. On this week’s program, Rick welcomes Ron Adcock back to the studio. Ron is the owner of one of our local partners in the diocese, Travel of Orange. Today, Rick and Ron are talking about the upcoming ‘Bishop’s Pilgrimage Cruise,’ which is happening in July of 2018. Listen in, and hear all about it!






Originally broadcast on 10/26/17



Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, has passed. By now, many have already made their summer travel plans. For those who want to do more than simply lay on the beach, those plans may include destinations and experiences that nurture their spirituality. It’s a trend that is expected to continue.

According to, “The spiritual journey makes it possible to discover a destination in a slower and a more immersive way, and to combine culture, spirituality, and adventure into the same unique experience. While 2017 is considered the year of the spiritual journey, it will be only the beginning, as tourists of the future should increasingly take an interest in the religious testimonies of destinations.”

Parishioners from the Diocese of Orange are proof that the trend is real. Several hundred have already booked passage on the first-ever Diocese of Orange Catholic Cruise to Mexico in July. They’ll be led on this faith-filled pilgrimage by the Diocese’s own Bishop Kevin Vann and Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Freyer.

Ryan Lilyengren, director of communications for the Diocese, said: “If you are looking for the perfect summer vacation, this is it. Never before have two bishops led a cruise pilgrimage to Mexico that will be filled with special Catholic entertainment on the ship, live performances by our music ministers, charitable outreach in Mexico, Mass on the boat and in Mexico, and all the amazing amenities on a state-of-the-art cruise ship.”

The four-day Carnival Cruise will depart from the Port of Long Beach on July 21 and travel to Ensenada, Mexico and back.

On the trip, travelers will be entertained by acclaimed musician Francis Cabildo, Director of Christ Cathedral Music Ministries Dr. John Romeri, and others. A special Mass, concelebrated by bishops Vann and Freyer is scheduled at the cathedral in Ensenada, Santuario. There are several day-trip options for travelers, including a service project at a local orphanage.


Day 1 – Sail to Ensenada Mexico / XLT Praise and Worship with Francis Cabildo

Day 2 – Bishops’ Mass at Santuario / Day-Trip options / Evening Vespers with music by Dr. John Romeri

Day 3 – Fun Day at sea / Activities / Evening concert with Francis Cabildo

Day 4 – Disembark between 7 – 10 a.m.

It’s not too late to book your cruise. Call Travel of Orange for more information: (714) 538-0010.


LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Akbar Pathan of Mumbai, India, had on the red vest and dress slacks he wears during his shifts as a bartender on the Princess Cruise line. The 36-year-old married father of two sons has been serving on crews for 13 years.

“I can make more money as a bartender on a ship like the Ruby Princess than any job I could get back home,” he said Dec. 30 at the Apostleship of the Sea’s cozy center near berth 93 of the Port of Los Angeles. He offered a half-smile when asked about being away from his family for as long as nine months at a time.

“Now I’m used to that different way to live,” he mused. “We have, like, nice facilities, and we get along nicely. We are like family, so it’s not that bad.”

After a moment, he added: “I like it. It’s a good income with friends. This is like my second home now. Really! I have been almost all around the world: Alaska, Europe, Mexico, South America. When I get lonely, I call my wife. That’s what I’m doing right now. With the free Wi-Fi here, I’m calling everybody,” he added with a chuckle.

Pathan, who is not Catholic, said Mary Star of the Sea Parish’s maritime ministry is good because he gets to “hang out with the crew here, to relax and get some coffee. So I always come here. You don’t have much time off the ship in ports, but it’s so close to the ship. It’s nice.”

The Port of Los Angeles looks like its own city on water, with ships stacked high with 20- and 40-foot metal containers carrying every kind of cargo conceivable. From the Harbor Freeway, one can see cranes, which resemble giant mechanical grasshoppers from a Star Wars movie, loading these containers that can be easily transferred onto tractor-trailers.

Cargo ships carry heavy loads like iron, copper and chrome, as well as cereals, sugar and fertilizers. Tankers carry hundreds of tons of crude oil destined for depots and refineries in consumer countries.

But the number of workers on these pale to the crew and workers on multideck cruise ships. Many ships from lines like Royal Caribbean and Princess carry 2,500 to 3,000 passengers apiece along with crews of 1,000. And these ocean-going behemoths continue to be one of the fastest-growing of all shipping sectors, with more than half of their staffs coming from Catholic countries like the Philippines.

Passengers taking a cruise are pampered with gourmet meals, formal-attire dances and first-rate entertainment, including gambling, well-known comedians and Broadway-like stage shows.

But for the crew, it’s a whole different story. These men and women work eight to 10 hours, seven days a week, for weeks at a time. And contracts with cruise lines mean six to nine months away from their families. Most return home for a break of one or two months before beginning a new contract.

Crew members often come from poor or developing nations such as India, Indonesia and, especially, Philippines.

More than eight decades ago, Mary Star of the Sea Parish in the San Pedro section of Los Angeles recognized the hardships seafaring workers face, so it started the maritime ministry at the Port of Los Angeles under the auspices of the Apostleship of the Sea, the Catholic Church’s maritime ministry.

Cruise ship voyages out of Los Angeles usually last from four to 14 days. Popular destination are south along the Mexican Riviera, with stops in Puerto Vallarta, then Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and other tourist havens. Ports of call from Los Angeles to Alaska include Vancouver, British Columbia; Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan, Alaska.

For almost 12 years, Jacquiline Sumaoy has been a waitress on the Norwegian Jewel, often with nine-month contracts. Now she serves for eight months. The 32-year-old Filipina is married but has no children.

“I like it because we go to different places all the time,” she said. “Like today at 4 o’clock, we are going to the Mexican Rivera, then coming back here. And soon we have a 14-day cruise to Alaska.”

In April, Sumaoy will fly home to the Philippines for a two-month break before flying back to Los Angeles to work on another monthslong voyage.

“We work seven days a week and, like, only have a little time off every day,” she said. “For example, if we work in the morning, we don’t work in the afternoon. Then you go back to work at night. For eight months. But I don’t get tired. I’m used to doing it.

“The hardest part is being away from my family,” she said. “Yes, especially if you’re not feeling well and are sick. Yeah, it’s very hard. Especially to call back home for emergencies. On a ship we can use the satellite, which is very slow and expensive. But during the port visits, like here, you can call and chat.”

Sumaoy, who is Catholic, said she also really appreciates the center’s chapel.

“Usually, every Sunday back home we go to Mass, and here we can, too,” she said. “If you’re lonely or stressed, this is a very good place, with the Wi-Fi and just to have some coffee.”

When asked what she likes most about her job, Sumaoy did not hesitate: “I like my position as a waitress. And my salary is like a big boss’ in the Philippines if you compare the salaries. With tips and everything, you can save your money. So I just keep it and send it home.”

The Stella Maris Chapel and Hospitality Center is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when ships are in port and volunteers are available. Olga Cruz has volunteered here for more than four years, mostly on weekends. But because she works nearby, the 53-year-old woman often shows up during her lunch hour.

“I’ve always wanted to volunteer here because I thought it would be a good service to the crew members,” she said. “I’m Filipino and I speak the language. So I thought, you know, it would make them feel more at home, maybe more welcome. I can interact and help them a little bit more.”

If crew members want to go shopping for themselves or for gifts for those back home, she drives them to nearby stores in her car. And if they can’t call relatives because of time differences, she’ll sit and talk to them and, hopefully, strike up new friendships. Most like to talk about their families, especially their children and plans for their future. And, of course, they share experiences about the Philippines.

Cruz considers it a sacred ministry.

“To me, this is really serving the people,” she said. “We don’t do much. But whenever I come here on Saturday, I’ll bring a hot lunch for whoever is here. It’s just to get in touch with these people. It’s just welcoming them.”

Fran Giagalone agreed. As a parishioner at Mary Star of the Sea, the 92-year-old woman volunteered for 26 years and only stopped going down to the center a year ago. But she still raises money as a liaison to the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, who support it.

She said before computers, smartphones and iPads, the center had a bank of phones and would place calls for crew members. It also had two vans that took them shopping. In those days, the Port of Los Angeles was open, so volunteers could go onto ships.

That all changed after 9/11, said Giagalone; security has greatly tightened. In port, crews can only be off their ship for short periods, mostly just a couple hours.

“But actually our prime concern was the chapel, where a local priest would celebrate Mass and hear confessions. And also to help crews stay in touch with their families. Only now it’s all high-tech, and they have their own devices,” she said.

“I think back when the port was all open,” Giagalone said. “You could go down to the ships. The guys could come off and on the ships. We had guys who would come with greasy clothes just in time for Mass. We had guys who came regularly to sing. One played the guitar.”

After a reflective pause, Giagalone continued: “Those who come from India and the Philippines are very devout. I mean old-fashioned devout. They’ll walk into the chapel and take their shoes off. And they’ll get down on both knees. They’ll touch the crucifix with their own hands.” She paused again. “So it’s been a wonderful ministry.”

Dhan Kumari Gurung, 30, of Nepal was sitting back on a comfy couch between two co-workers and could not agree more. She works security on the Norwegian Jewel, patrolling the huge cruise ship at night. She carries handcuffs, a baton and a radio to call for help.

“Of course you get homesick because it’s a very long contract, eight months, we have,” she said. “Coming here, it’s very good. I’m Hindu but sometimes I go into the chapel and just sit. It’s very nice.”