Historical Stories - 1964 Continued

Fr._CroninSSJ_Church_1964The Franciscans had given up St. Joseph’s Parish Church in Los Angeles to the diocese.  Not wanting to lose their presence in Los Angeles, they requested a parish in Long Beach.  Cardinal Timothy Manning (at the time Auxiliary Bishop), suggested instead that they consider Sts. Simon & Jude, an older parish in Huntington Beach, or Holy Spirit, a new parish in Fountain Valley.  Father Terrence Cronin, OFM, at the time the Provincial of the Franciscan Province, decided to attend a Mass at Sts. Simon & Jude, and although somewhat crowded, he was able to find a seat next to a young mother and her small child. When the mother got up to receive communion she asked Fr. Cronin to hold the child for her until she returned to her seat.  She did not know he was a Franciscan Priest, as he was not wearing his Friars habit at the time.  Upon leaving the church after Mass he said to himself “this is the parish for us.” 

On August 7, 1964, the Franciscan Community signed the contract with the diocese to assume responsibility for Sts. Simon & Jude Parish.  The Franciscans now had their Parish and the Parish would begin to experience the influence of the Franciscan way of life in their community. 

Fr._ColmanFr._DuncanRev. Colman Colloty, OFM was selected as the first Pastor of the Parish.  Rev. Colloty was born in Daly City, California on September 16, 1916, and was ordained on June 8, 1941. He had three brothers who were also priests: Fr. Aidan Colloty, Fr. Ronald Colloty and Fr. Philip Colloty.  Fr. Colman was previously pastor of St. Francis Parish in Provo, Utah for eight years prior to coming to Sts. Simon & Jude. 

Along with Fr. Colman, the Provincial assigned Fathers Duncan MacDonnell, OFM, John Gini, OFM and Thomas Schneider, OFM.  All are deceased except for Fr. John Gini who, at age 76, resides at St. John of God Retirement Center in Los Angeles.

The early decisions of Vatican II had already begun to take effect, as the first Mass in English was celebrated at Sts. Simon & Jude.  Fr. John, an accomplished organist and accordion player; assumed responsibility for liturgical music in the parish.  He formed the school choir and led the congregation in song during the Liturgy.  He would have the congregation practice the hymns and responses before each Mass, sometimes in four-part harmony.  He also provided instruction and guidance to the altar servers.

Fr._GiniAltar_Serves_1964The emphasis on the need for new parish facilities was becoming more evident, as the population of Huntington Beach had grown to approximately 17,000 in less than two years, and the number of parishioners had increased to the point where the parish was paying weekly rental to five public schools, two apartments, a trailer and a store.  The diocese recognized the growth in 1965 by changing the boundaries of the parish for the first time.  The northwest corner of the parish was cut off to form St. Bonaventure.

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