At the beginning of 2021, the pastor of San Francisco’s Star of the Sea parish invited parishioners to make a Consecration to their Guardian Angels. Throughout the year, Fr. Illo has been giving monthly talks about the role the Guardian Angels can play in our lives. As the year comes to an end, the parish will host a series of talks by noted retreat Master Fr. Wolfgang Seitz. Fr. Seitz is a member of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, an international Order which has its Mother House in Austria. The talks will be in the evenings of Sunday, December 5 through Tuesday, December 7.

Fr. Illo told CalCatholic about Fr. Seitz and the talks: “I’ve known Fr. Seitz for 20 years, when a parishioner recommended him. He has done three missions for my parishes over the years. I also attended his retreat for clergy last year in Detroit, and consecrated myself to All the Angels (I made my consecration to the Guardian Angels in 2010). Fr. Seitz will speak to us about the work of the Holy Angels, and how they help us, in promoting the message of Fatima, which is the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Fr. Illo was asked about Cardinal Pell’s planned visit. The Cardinal has been on a coast to coast tour of the United States, promoting the third volume of his memoir “Prison Journal 3, The Court Frees an Innocent Man.” The Cardinal had spent 404 days in solitary confinement in an Australian prison until the Australian Supreme Court exonerated him in April of 2020. Fr. Illo told CalCatholic that the Cardinal will discuss “his experience of being falsely accused and then exonerated, and the kind of soft persecution the Church may likely face in the near future.”

In his November 28 parish bulletin, Fr. Illo wrote “On December 8th our parish will be privileged to receive one of the great prelates of our time, George Cardinal Pell of Sydney, Australia. In 2010 I was on sabbatical in Rome and somewhat aware of Vatican politics. Word came down that Cardinal Pell had been tapped to be Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, arguably the most powerful and important Vatican department because it selects the world’s bishops. One morning, however, all the talk at breakfast was how Cardinal Pell’s appointment had been contravened, and another man appointed. Clearly, some people in the labyrinth of Vatican politics did not want Cardinal Pell overseeing the selection of the world’s bishops. In 2014 Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Pell as Prefect to the newly-created “Secretariat for the Economy.” The Vatican had been leaking millions of euros every year and Cardinal Pell’s first task was to clean up the mess. Within a year, with the Pope’s support, he instituted “financial management practices in line with international standards,” as he wrote, that “will help all Entities and Administrations of the Holy See and the Vatican City State prepare financial reports in a consistent and transparent manner.” Apparently Cardinal Pell was uncovering some sources of the financial leakage and making enemies. In 2017 he was thanked for his service as one of the Pope’s senior advisors and let go. In 2019 his term as head of Vatican finances was not renewed. In the same month, charges of sexual abuse were made against him from Australia. The actions of which he was accused would have been physically impossible in the time and place in which they were alleged, as his lawyers proved later during his trial. As a citizen of the Vatican City State with diplomatic immunity, Cardinal Pell did not have to respond to litigation that was preposterous and unprovable, but he returned to Australia to clear his name and to defend the honor of the Church. With a coordinated media campaign against him, he lost the first court case, and he lost an appeal, and so he spent more than a year in prison for a crime he did not commit. Finally Australia’s High Court dismissed the charges on the grounds that conclusive evidence was simply lacking. Through all this, Cardinal Pell did not complain, nor lose his patience and good humor, nor refuse to suffer unjustly. I’ve read his first of three Prison Journals, and what impresses me most about this man is his serenity, his confidence in the perfect will of God in all circumstances. This faith preserves him from anger or discouragement in the face of life’s manifold injustices.”

Fr. Seitz’s talks will be on December 5 at 6pm, and on December 6 and 7 at 7PM, and Cardinal Pell’s talk will be on December 8 at 7PM. Star of the Sea Parish is located at 4420 Geary Blvd., in San Francisco