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News from Cristo Rey Parish, Los Angeles, California PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Monday, 19 March 2018 15:17

FR. MICHAEL STECHMANN was elected to the Board of Directors of QueensCare Health Centers in July, 2017, serving on the Executive Committee with a total of 16 members. As a faith-based organization, QueensCare strives to provide accessible healthcare for uninsured and low-income individuals and families residing in Los Angeles County through a system of health care clinics and community outreach program. The roots of the organization are traced back to the Queen of Angels Catholic Hospital which, at the invitation of the State of California, merged with the troubled Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. At its foundation as a nonprofit charity almost twenty years ago, the structure and funding restrictions were determined by the Attorney General of the State of California. (A current on-going effort at this time is working with the Attorney General to expand services in other areas, especially outside of the existing zip-codes and to assist the growing homeless situation in the Los Angeles area.) There is also a system of grant distribution through the Charitable Division which supplements the healthcare services. All meetings are held at the Federal Reserve Building in downtown Los Angeles where the headquarters are located.

Board of Directors for QueensCare Health Centers at a recent meeting.

PARISH VOLUNTEERS were invited to a dinner in the parish hall in order to extend our gratitude for their generous service to Cristo Rey. A group of 100 parishioners responded to the invitation and represented catechists, choir members, lectors, Ministers of the Eucharist, ushers and various others.) Following the meal there was a raffle with a variety of prizes and special entertainment provided by our 16 year old mariachi singer, Brian Munoz. Everyone also received a note of appreciation from Fr. Michael Stechmann and the community, along with a DVD, “Saint Augustine: A Voice for All Generations” which was well received because it is able to be viewed in either English or Spanish languages.

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER were a buzz of activity with three novenas (Cristo Rey, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Las Posadas). Good weather for the feast of Cristo Rey brought a good crowd for the traditional street procession. The unusually warm weather in December found large numbers present for Las Mañanitas. We are especially grateful for the Guadalupanas who provided the mariachi for the Mass and afterwards during the celebration in the parish hall. Twenty-seven nights of special celebration can be daunting, however, these are important times for the parishioners and this was evident in their generous response in the Masses, the presentation of flowers and especially for Las Posadas. The sign-up list for the novena participants was made available in October and each novena had more than enough families for each evening. The response for Las Posadas was especially noticeable, including families who had moved out of the area years ago but still have connections here. Deacon Ascencion Esqueda again assumed responsibility for the prayers, procession and gathering in the parish hall. We made every effort to limit the number of piñatas but we still had as many as six each evening – much to the delight of the young and old.

Deacon Ascencion and Father Michael monitor excited children.

CLASSES RESUMED after the Christmas vacation and it was also time complete “Safeguard the Children” requirements as mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Parent meetings were held to apprise them of the planned sessions with each class regarding safe touch and they were asked at this time to sign permission slips for the course. Virtus Re-certification was held for parish volunteers on January 13 with Noel Lopez from the Archdiocese serving as facilitator and he also returned for a successful Pre-audit visit was held in February. The paperwork required to remain in compliance with the U.S. Bishops guidelines is becoming increasingly complicated.

Father Michael, Noel Lopez and Deacon Ascencion during the recent Virtus Re-certification.


Parish volunteers proudly display their VIRTUS certificates.

A SERIES OF MEETINGS for pastors have been held to initiate a unified program throughout the Archdiocese for payroll working with Automatic Data Processing (ADP). The majority of the parishes have already been using the services of ADP for payroll and the switch to an Archdiocesan-wide program has resulted in numerous meetings, more detailed reporting and expenses for the parishes. Fr. Michael has also had to attend several meetings to hear plans by the Archbishop for a Capital Campaign to begin later this year in pilot parishes and eventually to include all parishes. This is also a frequent agenda item for regional deanery meetings.

ON FEBRUARY 1, Fr. Michael Stechmann was present for the dedication of the Mobile Dental Unit at Esperanza School in Los Angeles. This is the largest mobile unit in the United States and was completely funded through Queenscare as part of the annual community health program and will be serving low-income students at 11 public and Catholic schools.

Mobile Dental Unit funded by Queenscare.


Fr. Michael Stechmann joins members of the Board of Directors at the dedication ceremonies.


Father Michael and Sister Ruth guiding students on a tour.

CRISTO REY HOSTED the monthly meeting of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (ACCW) on February 12. The group from each pastoral region meets monthly in various parishes and this was their second visit to our parish. Dominican Sister Catherine Marie Bazar spoke to them about her ministry in the Los Angeles County Jail and following Mass, they continued with a business meeting and luncheon.

Board members of ACCW at Cristo Rey.

IMMIGRATION FEARS that have gripped much of the nation are especially prevalent in the Los Angeles area. Deacon Ascencion Esqueda had previously participated in regional sessions and local meetings to inform parishioners of their rights. As a follow-up, Fr. Michael Stechmann invited Rafael Torres, an immigration attorney, to present a workshop in the parish hall on February 10 and a group of 100 parishioners participated. In addition to learning about current development with laws and procedures, Mr. Torres was able to answer individual questions and schedule private meetings with our parishioners. The gathering lasted for almost four hours and so many were delighted to hear that there are some simple solutions to specific immigration cases. Our parishioners were especially grateful for the opportunity to meet in a safe environment and to know that their confidentiality would be respected.

CONFIRMATION PEER LEADERS from Cristo Rey and St. Thomas More Parish in Alhambra gathered in our parish hall on February 17 for a day-long retreat. Fr. Jorge Valdivia gave a presentation to the group and our catechists also spoke on leadership and guided them through group discussions. They closed the day in church with Eucharistic adoration, followed by a festive meal prepared by one of our parishioners who is a caterer for many functions in Hollywood.

Fr. Jorge Valdivia addressing Confirmation students.


Confirmation Peer Leaders gathered at Cristo Rey.

THE ANNUAL APPEAL for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Together in Mission, was held recently and Cristo Rey once again exceeded the mandatory goal on the first weekend with one-time gifts and promissory pledges. Frs. Michael Stechmann and Jorge Valdivia divided up the presentations on this year’s theme, “Let us Love” and the appeal process during Masses on two consecutive weekends. Letters of gratitude have been received by the Archdiocese for the continued generosity of our parishioners and separate letters have also been received from the Mission Office of the Archdiocese for the support of missionary endeavors.

FR. JORGE VALDIVIA continues meeting with couples for marriage counseling and meets in homes and the parish with members of the Movimiento Familiar Cristiano. He recently attended an appreciation dinner for spiritual advisors that was sponsored by various parish groups. He is involved with El Sembrador Ministries located in Chatsworth, CA and attends weekly meetings at the Centro de “Fe y Vida” in nearby Glendale. The founder of this group was formerly associated with El Sembrador and their focus is on spiritual and emotional healing. He has participated in evenings of “Inner Healing” with the group, encouraging members of the parish to also participate. Members of this group and others come to the parish to meet with him for individual counseling and crisis intervention.

Fr. Jose Valdivia giving a presentation to women who meet weekly at Centro Fe y Vida.


Last Updated on Monday, 19 March 2018 15:31

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