Gathering with Archbishop Gomez
Frs. Francisco Sandoval, OAR, and Euben Capacillo, OAR, attended the annual priests' gathering with Archbishop Jose Gomez at Our Lady of Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, California, on October 6th. Hundreds of priests from the Archdiocese gathered with their bishop for a day of fellowship and unity.
Fr. Jorge Alberto Nino Gomez, OAR, arrives in St Benedict
On October 10th, Fr. Jorge Alberto Niño Gomez, OAR, arrived in St. Benedict Parish from our sister province of Candelaria to help with ministries here. Fr. Jorge was happily welcomed by community and parish alike to begin immediately the many duties our life as religious and pastors of God’s people. He was immediately sent to night school for adult English classes and a tutor was found for him who continues to help him in the afternoons. We welcome Father Jorge Alberto and hope that his time with us will be fruitful and joyous.
Tardeada in the Hall
On October 11th, the “nececidad comite” prepared for Día de la Hispanidad with a dinner dance on Saturday where parishioners were able to mingle and to celebrate the different cultures present at St. Benedict's. The proceeds of the dinner dance went to help with our church renovation project.
Tardeada in the Parish Hall for the Día de la Hispanidad
Dia de la Hispanidad
At 12:30 pm on October 12th, a solemn bilingual Mass marked the parish celebration of Día de la Hispanidad. It began with a procession of flags representing the different Hispanic groups present in this country. There were readings in English, Spanish and Italian with music in English, Spanish and Tagalog. It was a great occasion for the different parish cultures to get together as one and celebrate the one thing that makes us all one, our faith in the One and True God.
Cena Encuentro Matrimonial Cristiano
On the evening of October 16, Frs. Francisco Sandoval, OAR, and Jorge Alberto Niño Gomez, OAR, were invited by the Encuentro Matrimonial Cristiano of St. Benedict to a dinner in honor of priests celebrating World Day for Priests at the Los Angeles Arboretum in Arcadia. They were welcomed at the entrance in the dark with a flashlight and taken to a very elaborately decorated room where they were given a gift and seated at a table. Dinner was served immediately and all present were delighted with a play prepared by the Encuentro Matrimonial couples.
School Halloween Party
Fr. Francisco joined the school festivities on October 31st as they celebrated Halloween on the school patio. Children were given prizes for the best costume and the most original in each grade. Fr. Francisco bestowed the awards although he himself, dressed as a scary clown, did not compete.
Halloween Party in the School Patio with Fr. Francisco dressed as a clown.
Fr. Francisco Sandoval’s Birthday
On November 17th, Fr. Francisco celebrated his birthday with the community.
Day of Recollection – Cristo Rey
Our November day of recollection was at Cristo Ray Church on November 20th, and after midday prayers and a commemoration of the province's deceased, all gathered in the dining room for a meal where the host parish surprised Fr. Sandoval with a cake for his birthday. After a fraternal time together, all returned to their respective communities.
Fr. Euben Capacillo’s Birthday
Fr. Euben’s birthday was celebrated on November 23rd, and the local community surprised him with one of his favorite cakes.
Thanksgiving Day, November 26th, was a very special one. The communities of Our Lady of the Pillar, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Cristo Rey joined us for a celebratory dinner. The generosity of some kind parishioners enabled us to provide a very elegant and delicious meal for all those present. But more important than the beautiful decorations and the delicious meal was the time we spent together as brothers. It was a happy occasion to give thanks to God for the gift of fraternal love and his blessing on us throughout this year.
Altar Society Luncheon
The Altar Society had their annual lunch on December 5th for all the past presidents and presented a $3000 dollar donation for the church project. All those present were delighted not only by a delicious meal, but by the school students who performed a folkloric dance, among others.
Altar Society Luncheon, school ballet folkloric performing to the delight of all present.
South Pasadena Tiger Run
On December 6th, Fr. Sandoval competed in a race for the first time since arriving in California in 2013 and placed eighth in the South Pasadena Tiger 10K Run at South Pasadena High School where he rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous. In the same race was the movie star Scott Speedman from the vampire saga Underworld, but time did not permit signing autographs. Maybe next time!
Christmas Volunteer party
Our Christmas Volunteer party theme this year was “Candy and Toyland." All our special guests that night were welcomed to the hall which was hardly recognizable as our very dear secretaries, Rose and Eva, had transformed the room with all kinds of decorations. This was a wonderful way to say thank you to the many parishioners and volunteers who help us so much throughout the year in the parish. They danced to DJ music and enjoyed games and raffles until11 pm. The guests were reluctant to leave at the end of this happy time!
Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast
The Novena of masses in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico and the Americas, ended on December 12th with the traditional mañanitas at the 5am solemn Mass presided over by our pastor, Fr. Francisco, and concelebrated by Fr. Jorge Alberto. They were moved by the affection they witnessed on the part of the parishioners for our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Mass ended with a gathering of all those present in the hall for delicious champurrado and Mexican bread.
Santa to the Sea Half Marathon
Fr. Sandoval, after being away for 5 years from long distance running, raced in the "Santa to the Sea" Half Marathon in Oxnard on December 14th and finished 13th out of almost 1900 runners, with a time of 1hr.19min.21s. Maybe next will be the Los Angeles Marathon, Father Francisco?
The Half Marathon Santa to the Sea, Fr. Francisco on his way to the finish line.
School Christmas Concert
The School 2014 Christmas Concert held on December 18th was a very successful event which allowed the children an opportunity to show the parish and their parents the talents we have in our school of over 500 students. Parents were hardly able to contain themselves as they saw their children singing and enacting a live representation of the Christmas story. Pictures, videos and selfies were taken all over the church, and thunderous applause was consistently given to the children especially the little ones from Pre-K. At the same time, it was also a successful fundraising event for the parish project of refurbishing the church which will begin in January.
The Filipino community of St. Benedict hosted the Simbang Gabi Novena Mass for the coming of Christmas on December 21st which was concelebrated by the local community and presided over by Fr. Euben Capacillo, OAR, with music from the Filipino choirs of St. Benedict, Miraculous Medal, St. Thomas, and St. Stephen’s. Fr. Euben gave a very moving homily that inspired all those present to make the final preparations for the coming of Jesus the Messiah.
The Simbang Gabi Choir, with Fathers Francisco, Euben, and Jorge Alberto, and Deacon Estrada.
The Spanish youth group La Jar presented in the parish hall what we hope would be the first of many pastorelas in preparation for Christmas Day. Pastorelas are the live representations of the Christmas story. The youth proved to be wonderful actors leaving everyone present with a warm heart. All enjoyed a good time seeing our young people display their acting talents in the play which ran for about forty minutes. Amid the congratulations following the presentation were requests for a repeat performance next year!
The parish posada began on December 23rd with the praying of the holy rosary recited in English, Spanish, Italian and Tagalog. Every mystery was represented live inspiring those attending the celebration. After the rosary, the people processed around the block with candles while singing the posada song. Arriving at the Hall, everyone came inside where they were able to take pictures with Jesus, Mary and Joseph as mariachi sang and performed several dances. At the same time, children were given toys for Christmas, and for the adults and children alike, atole, champurrado, hot chocolate, tamales, Mexican bread and churros were distributed by the different groups and parish organizations.
The parish posada.
On December 24th, the local community gathered with the deacons assisting here at St. Benedict and their wives to celebrate the coming of our Savior. The table was prepared for this occasion, and the community and their guests had a wonderful time together as they waited for the midnight Mass that was concelebrated by all the friars and presided over by our pastor, Fr. Francisco.
Church Project Renovation Begins
After waiting patiently for all the hurdles to be overcome, the church project of refurbishment began on Monday, January 5th. It includes changing the lighting, cleaning and polishing the floor, and renovating the pews and kneelers. All the pews were removed by Wednesday, and we hope that the project will be finished before Easter. For the moment, we have rented chairs to be used for daily and weekend Masses. The parish trusts that when all is finished it will have been worth the wait.
Day of Recollection; Fr. James McGuire's and Fr. Paul Goñi’s Birthday
The January 15th day of recollection was truly a special one, not only because it is the first of the new year 2015, but also because we began to study and reflect on the new document distributed by the general curia “Life and Mission of the Order." Likewise all those gathered together for the day of recollection took the opportunity to congratulate our brothers Fr. James McGuire, OAR, and Paul Goñi, OAR, as they both celebrated their 86th birthdays.
Fr. James cutting one of his two cakes.
--Father Francisco Sandoval, OAR