I decided to continue my tour of the Southland’s churches by visiting my friend Todd in Granada Hills, CA. He invited me to visit his local church, St. Euphrasia, which is also home to the school where Todd and his brother attended first through eighth grade. (Side note: I had never heard of St. Euphrasia before, so I looked her up. I assumed she was Middle Eastern and that she was somehow connected to the Euphrates River. I was dead wrong. She was a nineteenth century French-born nun who dedicated her life to assisting women and girls, eventually founding the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.)
The interior of the church was rather plain-looking (as Todd’s father warned me it would be) with plain white walls and wood paneling reminiscent of St. Thomas Apostle. While absent many of the architectural flourishes seen in other churches, St. Euphrasia had a few design features that made it a pleasant space to worship. The small stained glass windows on the outer walls of the church were donated by different people at different times, leading to a somewhat eclectic collection of images. Like any parish, St. Euphrasia was nurtured with the help of many different individuals, all of whom left their mark on the parish community and the tiles were a perfect illustration of this. Also of note were the large stained glass image on the exterior face of the church and the positioning of the altar so that it was surrounded by pews on three sides; it was interesting to see this in such a small space.
We ended up finding Todd’s grandfather when we entered the church, and appropriately enough, Father Jim’s homily today was about family. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus teaches his followers the Lord’s Prayer. Father Jim reminded us that the prayer starts with “Father,” or the Greek word “Abba,” which translates into “Papa” or “Daddy.” Later in the reading, Jesus asks, “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?” Through praying the Lord ’s Prayer, Father Jim said, we become part of God’s family. We become children whom the Father will always grant love and salvation, as long as we ask. To end the Mass, Father Jim asked all of the children present to come up and receive a special children’s bulletin. It was a very cute way to end the Mass and it left everyone in attendance thinking about how we are all children of Our Father.
Sisters of the Good Shepherd Website
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