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.