10 August 2010

St. Charles Borromeo Church

I’ll start this post off by saying that one of the first and biggest fans of this blog has been one of the priests at my home parish, Father Blaise. When I came home for the summer, I asked him which local churches might be good to visit, and he suggested St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood. When my friend Todd’s parents also recommended the church, I knew I had to go. I got my mother to come along with me to the 10 AM Mass.

St. Charles is somewhat of a legendary church in the Southland. It’s been home to a few celebrities over the years, including the late Bob Hope, whose memorial service was held there. The church building, finished in 1959, attempts to recreate the Spanish mission style, with a carved stone exterior and large bell tower. The interior of the church was enormous, with a large dome at the center. While the other domes I’ve seen, like at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Shrine of the Sacred Heart had colorful mosaics or illustrations inside the dome, this one was bare. In fact, most of the walls around the church were undecorated. The church felt half-finished, as if the pews and the large wooden structure behind the altar were dropped into some sort of medieval warehouse. After Mass, I learned that the parish was trying to raise money for a multi-million dollar restoration of the church building, including decorating the central dome.

The Mass was nice. A deep-voiced male cantor was accompanied by the organ. The priests had an international flavor: Father Patrick was an Irish priest who had come to visit for the summer, and he introduced another priest visiting from India. In today’s reading, Father Patrick said, Jesus teaches us to be vigilant in the practice of our faith, just as we are vigilant during the night time. He said that one way to do this was to be sure to receive the holy sacraments (Can you name all seven? Answer below.), contrasting the “darkness of night” with the “light of the sacraments.”

Interesting L.A. Times Article on the failures of American Christianity...Do you agree with the author? Leave your comments below!
St. Charles Borromeo Website


Churches I've Visited in Southern California:

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Answer: The Seven Catholic Sacraments are Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation (or Penance or Confession), Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders (or Ordination), and Anointing of the Sick.

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