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CONFIRMED: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna attended Mass before fatal crash

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Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was a committed Catholic whose faith helped turn his life around.

Staff at the Our Lady Queen of the Angels in Newport Beach confirmed on Monday that Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were present at Mass just before departing on their ill-fated trip. 

Kobe Bryant with his daughter Gianna. Both perished in the tragic crash on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.

Kobe Bryant with his daughter Gianna. Both perished in the tragic crash on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
1/29/2020 (3 weeks ago)

Published in Celebrity

Keywords: Kobe Bryant, Catholic, faith, transform, change


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Staff at the Our Lady Queen of the Angels parish in Newport Beach, California, have confirmed that Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, Gianna, attended Mass just before they perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. 

The staff confirmed that the pair received Holy Communion during Mass. 

The service was conducted by Fr. Anthony Vu, a Vietnamese parochial vicar at the parish.

According to parish staff, Bryant and his daughter entered the church at the rear, just as services began, and left just before they ended, to avoid causing a disturbance. This was common for them to do to avoid undue attention. 

After the Mass was ended, the pair boarded a helicopter along with six other passengers and a pilot. Their destination was a basketball academy in Thousand Oaks, CA, where Gianna Bryant was going for practice. 

The nature of this event is sensitive, however there is the natural question of what becomes of the soul if it should depart the body so soon after the faithful reception of Holy Communion. The explanation is lengthy, however an excerpt from the course on Purgatory, taken from Catholic Online School may offer insight into the answer. 

Catholics must also understand that sin has two kinds of consequences, temporal and eternal.Reconciliation eliminates the eternal consequence of sin, and saves us from hell. But it does not remove the temporal, or temporary, consequences. In other words, the sins forgiven by reconciliation must still be purified. This happens through penance in this life, or in Purgatory. Remember, Purgatory is a state of ongoing purification after death. 
Source: CatholicOnline.School

In other words, Holy Communion isn't a direct ticket into heaven, but it helps. While no person can casually say what becomes of the departed, the likelihood of salvation for an active participant in their faith, who frequently and regularly receives grace from God through the reception of the Sacraments, is likely to be high. 

In any case, all should pray for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and all the victims of this tragedy, and those affected by this tragedy. 

Bryant's bishop, Timothy Frayer, referred to Bryant as a "committed Catholic" who "loved his faith."

On Sunday, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez called for prayers for Bryant and his family. 

Outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, thousands of mourners have left flowers, candles and all manner of offerings for Kobe Bryant and his family. Indeed, much of the United States is in mourning for the loss of such a tremendous athlete and faithful Christian. 

While Bryant's life was troubled by scandals and allegations of impropriety when he was younger, Bryant used his faith to transform his life and character. Aided by his faith, he became a stellar role model who launched a charitable foundation for young athletes. He also saved his marriage from divorce, all while leading the Los Angeles Lakers to multiple seasons of success on the court. 

In California, investigators have refused to speculate on the cause of the crash which claimed Bryant's life. The helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76, was a luxury transport helicopter that belonged to the Island Express Holding Corp. The pilot, now identified as Ara Zobayan, was an experienced pilot who had special permission that morning to fly in the challenging conditions.

According to early reports, Zobayan circled for at least 15 minutes while waiting for a safe place to land, but this may have been due to air traffic.

Widespread fog blanketed the Los Angeles area on Sunday morning and was still present when the helicopter crashed killing all nine people on board. The conditions were so bad, the Los Angeles Police Department grounded their own helicopters from flying. 

Despite the weather conditions, there remains some mystery as to the cause of the crash. Some witnesses claimed they heard the helicopter sputtering before the crash and there is a report that the craft may have plummeted 500 feet before crashing into a hillside near the town of Calabasas. Such reports suggest a fault could have developed in the craft. 

The cause remains under investigation. 

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