THE ANNUAL APPEAL of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for 2015 developed the theme of “Be Imitators of Me,” from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Fathers Michael Stechmann, OAR, and Juan Jose Guzman, OAR, attended an orientation session in mid-January to keep informed as to the scope of the appeal as well as specific changes for recording of donations that were initiated this year. The Annual Appeal, “Together in Mission,” provides for necessary funds for parishes and schools within the Archdiocese. The Announcement Weekend came early in February at all of the Masses to encourage participation, and Commitment Weekend was held February 14/15 with the “in-pew process” at all of the Masses. Thanks to the generosity of Cristo Rey parishioners, we were able to reach our goal on the first weekend because of direct mail solicitation from donors in previous years and new pledges gathered at each Mass. By the following weekend, we were able to exceed our goal in pledges and in payments with congratulatory letters received from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
RELIGIOUS JUBILIARIANS were invited to attend a special liturgy at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on January 25, 2015. Father Michael Stechmann received an invitation as he had celebrated 40 years of religious profession. At the end of the Mass, jubilarians were acknowledged in groups and there was special recognition for the Augustinian Recollects who have served Cristo Rey Church continuously for these past 75 years.
Archbishop José Gomez and Father Michael Stechmann, OAR, at the reception following the Mass for religious jubilarians.
Father Michael Stechmann, OAR, and Father Frank Wilder, OAR, were invited to stand as the Augustinian Recollects were acknowledged for their years of service in the Archdiocese.
AN ORGAN CONCERT was held in the church on Sunday, February 15, with a guest organist and vocalist presenting familiar and classical hymns in honor of Mary. This was one of the activities for the parishioners that had been planned in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the parish. Prior to this, one of the parishioners made a generous donation to repair pipes and for necessary restoration of the organ. During the process of repair, we learned from the serial number that the organ was originally built for St. Alphonsus Church in Los Angeles in 1940; however, information as to the date and installation in our church is not recorded. Immediately following the concert, the Guadalupanas and representatives of other parish groups hosted a joint birthday celebration in the parish hall for Father Michael Stechmann and Father Juan Jose Guzman. The parishioners were pleased to meet Father Juan Jose’s parents who had arrived from Mexico for a visit.
A LENTEN MISSION, directed by Brother Mauricio Torres of the lay movement "Totus Tuus" was held in the parish on the evenings of March 3-5. There was a good response from the parishioners; this activity coincided with the parish anniversary. Attendance at the mission grew, and the final evening included the Consecration of homes to the Sacred Heart.
THE PARISH THEATRICAL GROUP, “Cristo Siempre,” presented the Passion Play on the afternoon of Palm Sunday to an enthusiastic group of parishioners. This group is celebrating their 40th anniversary of foundation; Deacon Ascención Esqueda, OAR, serves as their moderator and participates in their weekly meetings.
ENTERING INTO HOLY WEEK, Fathers Michael Stechmann and Juan Jose Guzman participated in the afternoon of prayer with priests of the Archdiocese prior to the celebration of the Chrism Mass. The liturgies for the Sacred Triduum were a bi-lingual experience for the second year and were very well attended. The combined choir for the services practiced for several weeks to prepare hymns in English, Spanish and Latin, and parishioners were again pleased that the organ was used to accompany the singing.
TWELVE INDIVIDUALS from catechism and adult classes were received into the church during the Easter Vigil and seven of the new members received their First Holy Communion. During this year there has been a marked increase in attendance at all of our Sunday Masses; an encouraging sign as we celebrated Easter Sunday was recognizing familiar faces. The 7:00 PM Mass on Easter Sunday was especially crowded as Cristo Rey is the only parish in the surrounding area with evening Masses for holy days and holidays.
THE PARISH YOUTH GROUP hosted a “Dinner and Show” on April 12 to raise funds for their participation in a summer conference and assisted in the preparation, serving and a variety of entertainment. The group meets on alternating Fridays in the parish hall under the direction of Frank Ramos who serves as our Confirmation Coordinator with an average of thirty young adults participating.
Members of the parish youth group who assisted at the recent gathering in the parish hall.
THE PARISH FESTIVAL was held on Sunday, May 3, from 8:00AM– 9:00PM with food booths sponsored by parish groups and individual families as well as continuous entertainment. The various musical groups scheduled during the afternoon hours were well received. This was the second year that the parish festival was held for one day only and was the most successful in recorded history. Experience has proven that such a gathering in our community proves to be more enjoyable and profitable than a full weekend with rides. Cristo Rey Church was founded on the dedication of its parishioners in simple events to bring our community together.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNIONS were held on May 16 and 17 for students from four of our religious education classes. Part of the preparation process included an afternoon retreat for the students with the assistance of members of our parish youth group.
ADULT PARISHIONERS preparing to receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation continue to increase. A group of fourteen adults received First Communion in April, and an enthusiastic class of thirty adults completed the year of studies in preparation for Confirmation.
These adult members, along with thirty-two teenagers received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday, May 23, with Bishop Oscar Solis of the San Pedro Pastoral Region here for the celebration.
-Father Michael Stechmann, OAR