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Cristo Rey Parish in Los Angeles defends the rights of Immigrants and supports the families
Parish volunteers proudly display their VIRTUS certificates.

Cristo Rey Parish in Los Angeles defends the rights of Immigrants and supports the families
10-03-2018 Estados Unidos
During the first three months of 2018, this Parish of the Augustinian Recollects has celebrated special meetings for volunteers and parents, and supporting the Health of the uninsured or low-income individuals working with QueensCare Health Centers and its new Dental Unit.
Serving the society by the collaboration with QueensCare Health Centers

The Augustinian recollect father Michael Stechmann was elected to the Board of Directors of QueensCare Health Centers in July, 2017, serving on the Excecutive Committee with a total of 16 members.

As a faith-based organization, QueensCare strives to provide accessible healthcare for uninsured and low-income individuals and families residing in Los Angeles County through a system of health care clinics and community outreach program.

The roots of the organization are traced back to the Queen of Angels Catholic Hospital which, at the invitation of the State of California, merged with the troubled Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.

At its foundation as a nonprofit charity almost twenty years ago, the structure and funding restrictions were determined by the Attorney General of the State of California. A current on-going effort at this time is working with the Attorney General to expand services in other areas, especially outside of the existing zip-codes and to assist the growing homeless situation in the Los Angeles area.

There is also a system of grant distribution through the Charitable Division which supplements the healthcare services. All meetings are held at the Federal Reserve Building in downtown Los Angeles where the headquarters are located.

Dinner for volunteers

Parish volunteers were invited to a dinner in the parish hall in order to extend our gratitude for their generous service to Cristo Rey. A group of 100 parishioners responded to the invitation and represented catechists, choir members, lectors, Ministers of the Eucharist, ushers and various others.

Following the meal there was a raffle with a variety of prizes and special entertainment provided by our 16 year old mariachi singer, Brian Munoz. Everyone also received a note of appreciation from the Parish community, along with a DVD, “Saint Augustine: A Voice for All Generations” which was well received because it is able to be viewed in either English or Spanish languages.

Parent meetings

Classes resumed after the Christmas vacation and it was also time complete “Safeguard the Children” requirements as mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Parent meetings were held to apprise them of the planned sessions with each class regarding safe touch and they were asked at this time to sign permission slips for the course.

Virtus Re-certification was held for parish volunteers on January 13 with Noel Lopez from the Archdiocese serving as facilitator and he also returned for a successful Pre-audit visit was held in February. The paperwork required to remain in compliance with the U.S. Bishops guidelines is becoming increasingly complicated.

Dental Unit

The Parish was present for the dedication of the Mobile Dental Unit at Esperanza School in Los Angeles. This is the largest mobile unit in the United States and was completely funded through Queenscare as part of the annual community health program and will be serving low-income students at eleven public and Catholic schools.

Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women

Cristo Rey hosted the monthly meeting of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (ACCW) on February 12. The group from each pastoral region meets monthly in various parishes and this was their second visit to our parish.

Dominican Sister Catherine Marie Bazar spoke to them about her ministry in the Los Angeles County Jail and following Mass, they continued with a business meeting and luncheon.

Rights of the Immigrants

Immigration fears that have gripped much of the nation are especially prevalent in the Los Angeles area. Deacon Ascencion Esqueda had previously participated in regional sessions and local meetings to inform parishioners of their rights.

As a follow-up, Fr. Michael Stechmann invited Rafael Torres, an immigration attorney, to present a workshop in the parish hall on February 10 and a group of 100 parishioners participated.

In addition to learning about current development with laws and procedures, Mr. Torres was able to answer individual questions and schedule private meetings with our parishioners. The gathering lasted for almost four hours and so many were delighted to hear that there are some simple solutions to specific immigration cases.

Our parishioners were especially grateful for the opportunity to meet in a safe environment and to know that their confidentiality would be respected.

Retreat for Confirmation leaders

Confirmation peer leaders from Cristo Rey and St. Thomas More Parish in Alhambra gathered in our parish hall on February 17 for a day-long retreat. Fr. Jorge Valdivia gave a presentation to the group and our catechists also spoke on leadership and guided them through group discussions.

They closed the day in church with Eucharistic adoration, followed by a festive meal prepared by one of our parishioners who is a caterer for many functions in Hollywood.

“Together in Mission”

The annual appeal for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Together in Mission, was held recently and Cristo Rey once again exceeded the mandatory goal on the first weekend with one-time gifts and promissory pledges.

Frs. Michael Stechmann and Jorge Valdivia divided up the presentations on this year’s theme, “Let us Love” and the appeal process during Masses on two consecutive weekends. Letters of gratitude have been received by the Archdiocese for the continued generosity of our parishioners and separate letters have also been received from the Mission Office of the Archdiocese for the support of missionary endeavors.

Movimiento Familiar Cristiano

Fr. Jorge Valdivia continues meeting with couples for marriage counseling and meets in homes and the parish with members of the Movimiento Familiar Cristiano. He recently attended an appreciation dinner for spiritual advisors that was sponsored by various parish groups.

He is involved with El Sembrador Ministries located in Chatsworth, CA and attends weekly meetings at the Centro de “Fe y Vida” in nearby Glendale. The founder of this group was formerly associated with El Sembrador and their focus is on spiritual and emotional healing.

He has participated in evenings of “Inner Healing” with the group, encouraging members of the parish to also participate. Members of this group and others come to the parish to meet with him for individual counseling and crisis intervention.

And what do you think about this?

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Augustinian Recollects. Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine. Paseo de la Habana, 167, 28036, Madrid, Spain. Telephone: 913 453 460. CIF(fiscal registration number): R-2800087-E. Entered in the Register of Religious Organizations, of the Ministry of Justice, number 1398-a-SE/B. Privacy policy.