Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Other St. Clement's

I have heard about it for a long time, but never managed to get over there. I know the priest, Fr. Santos, having met him when I was the Associate Rector at the Church of the Messiah in Santa Ana and he was working at St. Michael's in Anaheim.

Having spent 10 years as Rector at St. Clement's by-the-Sea in San Clemente, I was pleased to now be the Area Bishop for the OTHER St. Clement's -- St. Clement's in Huntington Park. I met Fr. Santos there, and he showed me around the grounds.

Fr. Santos shared with me that St. Clement's in Huntington Park is in a neighborhood that is plagued by drugs and violence. As we walked on the street, people in cars honked, called his name and waved to him -- he is known and loved in this neighborhood. Each Sunday about 150 people gather to worship in Spanish. There are many images of the Virgin of Guadalupe both inside and outside the church.

While the attendance at the church is wonderful, financial problems abound. This is a poor neighborhood, and sacrificial giving for the group that gathers is not enough to cover the expenses, even with a bare-bones budget. I noticed that the flowers at the altar were from the rose bushes in front of the church sign. They are making use of all the resources they can muster.

I wonder what it would be like if parishes around St. Clement's saw the needs here as part of their own outreach program? What if we could "expand the tent" and share out of the bounty we have received to those immediately around us? What if resources could be shared -- hmmm.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like Fr Santos is involved and well known in his community. I'm sure he puts a lot of energy and focus into his ministry. I expect there are many priests and parishoners within the Diocese and the Church working hard with minimal resources in their corner of creation. Indeed, we are probably most effective in spreading God's love in our local community. However, at the same time, we ARE under a much larger tent. I envy your ministry to connect many of those smaller communities to the larger tent. I enjoy going to Convention because it gives me a chance to leave my corner of the tent in Big Bear and see many of the people from the larger tent. I see the challange as this: How do we continue to pour our eforts into our own community but still connect and route resources to different parts of the tent? Some of us only see what is directly in front of us and some of us only see the larger picture. Yes, there are many inbetween as well. How do we balance and use all of these people to accomplish God's work? Yep, you may see where I'm going with this. It is our Bishops that connect us. Thank you for your hard work to bring us together in the tent. Let me know where I can help.