Province Ministries Celebrating Milestones

San Gabriel Mission celebrates 250th Anniversary

San Gabriel Mission is back! After the horrifying fire of July 2020, so many people played a role in the restoration of the roof and other damage that prohibited the use of the old mission. Since the founding of the Mission in 1771, a rich history has been built throughout the years. This year marks the 250th anniversary of the Catholic faith in Los Angeles, California, and the Claretians are proud to be a part of the community of faith at the Mission since 1908. Archbishop José Gomez (Archdiocese of Los Angeles), many former and current Claretians who have served at the Mission, along with local community leaders helped to commemorate this important milestone at an outdoor Mass and celebration on September 8th, in front of the historic Mission.

The current pastor, Fr. John Molyneux, cmf, said, “We are grateful for a restored relationship with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who could not have been more supportive from the morning of the fire through the ongoing jubilee celebration, to a restored interest in Mission San Gabriel and an acknowledgement of its historical significance to both the city and Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”

September 11, 2021 marked the beginning of the Jubilee Year celebration for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The theme for this upcoming year is Forward in Mission coupled with our own Claretian call to be Rooted in Christ; Audacious in Mission, we pray that we may serve the community of San Gabriel creatively and courageously into the future.

Fr. John Molyneux addressing the masses during the outdoor prayer vigil to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Mission while Archbishop Gomez looks on.

Corpus Christi Parish celebrates 50th Anniversary

Archbishop Hartmeyer accompanied by Fr. Malachy Osunwa, cmf (left) and Fr. Paschal Amagba (right).

During the weekend of September 10-12, 2021, Corpus Christi parish celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding with a variety of festivities ending with a grand multilingual outdoor Holy Mass on Sunday presided over by Archbishop Gregory Hartmeyer (Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia). In his homily Archbishop Hartmeyer recalled that Corpus Christi Parish was entrusted to the pastoral care of the Claretians in 1992, with Fr. Gregory Kenny, cmf (still in-residence and in attendance) as the first Claretian Pastor. He further added that the coming of the Claretian Missionaries was “providential, given their missionary charism and their dedication to the poor and marginalized, as well as their apostolic outreach to immigrants and refugees.” On behalf of the Archdiocese of Atlanta he recognized and expressed his gratitude to the Claretians who have cared for the parish for the last 30 years. Fr. Paschal Amagba, cmf, shares with us, “Because of our 50th anniversary celebrations, I am grateful to God for the wonderful people of Corpus Christi. One of the hallmarks of Corpus Christi is the generosity of the people who willingly volunteer their time, talent, and treasure to transform the Church into a home for many nations. I thank God that even though over 47 countries constitute the Corpus Christi family, we strive to see our diversity as a gift from God.”

The celebration ended with cultural entertainment and a musical extravaganza from different countries.

Our Lady of Fatima celebrates 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago on September 18, 1971, the church building of Our Lady of Fátima Parish in Perth Amboy,
New Jersey, was dedicated. A celebration to commemorate this milestone was held on September 19th with Bishop James Checchio (Diocese of Metuchen) presiding over the Mass.

The Claretians were already present in New Jersey as of 1945 working hard to reach out to the Hispanic population that was beginning to grow in the area. Our Lady of Fátima Parish was actually established in 1952 and incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey in 1960. The church building was dedicated on September 18, 1971.

At Mass, Fr. Gilles Njobam, cmf, the current Pastor, reflected on the historical significance of the parish and the Claretians presences: “I am thankful for the solidarity, love, patience and apostolic zeal which still exists in this community. Our missionary spirit in what is “the most urgent, opportune and effective” and our openness to shared mission has helped the community to grow by leaps and bounds and our presence continues to be highly needed. It is our opportunity to live fully our Claretian calling. We need an even more active presence and accompaniment in this community because we keep witnessing constant growth
and the ministries need more accompaniment than ever.”

Bishop Checcio is accompanied by Claretians, the current Pastor, Fr. Gilles Njobam, cmf (left), Provincial Superior Fr. Rosendo Urrabazo, cmf (right), and diocesan staff on the altar at Our Lady of Fatima.

Catholic Campus Ministry celebrates 75th Anniversary

Pictured top row left to right: Bishop Edward Rice and Bishop Emeritus John Leibrecht. Front row: Current director of campus ministry Fr. Bibin Mathew, cmf ,and past directors: Frs. Tom McGann, cmf, Eddie De León, cmf, and Fco. Javier Reyes, cmf

Catholic Campus Ministry in Springfield, Missouri marked its 75th Anniversary with a Gala Dinner on Saturday, October 30th, followed by a celebratory Mass on Sunday. The weekend long event marked 75 years of fruitful ministry on the campus of Missouri State University that began in the fall of 1946. It also marked the 20th anniversary of the current O’Reilly Catholic Student Center. The Claretian Missionaries have been serving this campus ministry since 1979.

The Holy Mass on Sunday was presided over by Bishop Edward M. Rice (Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau), and Bishop Emeritus John Leibrecht concelebrated the Mass along with past and present Campus Ministry Directors and Claretians who served in this ministry over the years.

In his address Bishop Rice thanked the Claretians for their valuable contribution to the diocese and pointed out CCM’s efforts to reach out to students is a great model for other ministries in the diocese striving to move from maintenance to mission.

Noticeably absent and fondly remembered during the celebration was Fr. Len Brown, cmf, who died on September 10, 2021. He served as Campus Ministry Director from 2004-2008.

Our Lady of Guadalupe prepares to celebrate 100th Anniversary

Bishop Pascual Díaz, SJ (Tabasco, México) presides over the laying of the cornerstone at Our Lady of Guadalupe in South Chicago on April 14, 1928.

In October, the Chicago SunTimes featured an article on Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and the National Shrine of St. Jude on the South side of Chicago, Illinois. On September 30, 1930, the parish held a dedication ceremony, officially welcoming worshippers to the first Mexican-American parish in the city. At the time, the church is said to have served about 8,000 people.

Just one year before the construction of the church was completed, Father James Tort, cmf and the Claretians established the National Shrine of St. Jude within the church.

The current pastor Fr. Hector Navalo, cmf, was pleased with the SunTimes article as well as thankful for the recognition to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s historical importance. He added, “With the increase of Latinos in Chicago, it will be good to prepare well for the jubilee year to commemorate the parish’s 100th anniversary next year.