20 July 2010

St. Dominic Church (Eagle Rock, CA)

This past weekend, I spent a night at my grandfather’s house in Eagle Rock, CA (It’s a small neighborhood north of Downtown L.A. and east of Glendale), and I decided to visit the local Catholic church, St. Dominic, the next morning. My father’s side of the family calls Eagle Rock home; I spent my early childhood there in a house just down the street from where my father was raised, and where my grandfather still lives.

I would describe the church as medium-sized, without many of the architectural flourishes that I’ve seen in churches that try to imitate the Gothic style (what I call “pseudo-Gothic”). St. Dominic seemed to incorporate even more elements of Spanish architecture than St. Monica’s did. The wrought iron chandeliers were a telltale sign of Spanish influence, as was the use of wood in both the interior and exterior of the church. The modeling of churches after the Spanish missions seems to be a running theme among churches built in Los Angeles in the early 20th century.

Eagle Rock has a large Filipino population, so I expected to see a good amount of Filipinos at the church. My prediction was confirmed when I heard someone ask, “Kumusta?” to another churchgoer, who responded, “Mabuti.” (Tagalog for “How are you?” and “Well.” My mother’s family is Filipino, but this is about as much Tagalog as I know.) The church seemed pretty crowded for a 7:30 Mass, filled mostly with Filipino parishioners.

There were no singers, but the beautiful organ filled the space with wonderful music. The organ as an instrument can be powerful, intimidating, and soothing at the same time, just as the presence of God can be in one’s life. The homily today discussed the theme of Christian hospitality. The priest encouraged the congregation to provide hospitality to others by serving their community and those in need of protection. “Providing hospitality,” he said, “recognizes the dignity of the human person,” and is an act “motivated by faith, hope, and love.”

Also, for all you adventure-seeking Angelenos and those who may be visiting the Los Angeles area, I have a recommendation for a sight you must go see. The Watts Towers are a Los Angeles cultural landmark, built in the 1920's by an Italian immigrant named Simon Rodia. These brilliant structures are almost 100 feet tall, built out of concrete, tile and glass. I just learned about them recently, and was amazed when I visited. The site is now struggling for its life as it faces budget cuts from the city. I highly recommend visiting this incredible historic site, for your own pleasure and to preserve this treasure for future generations.

St. Dominic Website (Not totally up to date, but still interesting)
Watts Towers Art Center Website


My friend, Annu, and I at the Watts Towers:

Churches I've Visited in Southern California:
View Catholic Churches I've Visited in Southern California in a larger map


  1. Hi Michael My Name is Daniel Eaton ll & I am trying to find my friend Father Bart, he was a father their at your church. My mother Rhonda Dean Kelley was in the band there for many years. She died in a fire in our old house were we all grew up at my grandmothers home, on 2130 Norwalk Ave. Eagle Rock,Ca. in 1997, & the funeral was held at the same church as well is there anyway that you could find out some information for me? Thank You very much & God Bless You & Your Familey.

    Daniel Eaton ll
    (260) 224-7167

  2. Daniel,

    Try emailing st.dominic@sbcglobal.net for information about Father Bart. The church is staffed by Dominican Friars, who are often moved from one parish to another.

    Best of luck and God Bless,