The construction and dedication of the church was not the only significant occurrence in 1973. St. Francis of Assisi school was renamed Saints Simon & Jude and Fr. Ron established the L.Y.N.N. (Love Your Neighbor Now) Center in downtown Huntington Beach to provide a place for young and old people to go. Ann McLean was the facility’s director. Counseling services were provided as well as indoor activities such as table tennis, billiards, board games, music and books.
The growth of Orange County, specifically the Catholic parishes and communities, was significant during the previous decade. On March 30, 1976, Pope Paul VI approved the creation of the new Diocese of Orange, and appointed Bishop William R. Johnson as it’s first Bishop. In accepting the appointment, Bishop Johnson said, “With gratitude to God and the Holy Father. It is a real joy and a challenge.” With this event, Sts. Simon & Jude became, and still is, the only Franciscan Parish in the Diocese of Orange.
That same year, the name of Sts. Simon & Jude downtown church was changed to St. Mary’s by the Sea and became a Parish on its own. Just a few months before, when the parish was still under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Bishop and the Consultors wanted to make the name of the downtown church St. Francis of Assisi. The name of the new church and school would remain Sts. Simon & Jude. Under the Diocese of Orange and the new Bishop, the name St. Mary’s by the Sea became official. The following year, Sts. Simon & Jude Parish boundaries were again adjusted; to accommodate the establishment of St. Vincent DePaul Parish and the renamed St. Mary’s by the Sea Parish.
The Minister Provincial of the Franciscan Province, Fr. John Vaughn OFM, wrote to Rev. Johnson the Bishop of Orange, on June 14, 1976, requesting approval of Fr. Stephen Kain as Associate Pastor of Sts. Simon & Jude Parish and also to request and bestow upon Fr. Kain the faculties of the Diocese. Fr. Kain would replace Fr. Marian Watts, OFM, who had been an assistant since 1970, but had recently passed away. Fr. John Vaughn also requested the faculties of the Diocese for himself during his term of office so that he could be of assistance during his visits to the Franciscan communities in the Bishop’s jurisdiction. Bishop Johnson responded accordingly, giving the faculties of the diocese to Fr. Stephen Kain, and restricting faculties of the diocese to Fr. Vaughn, requiring approval on a case-by-case basis to perform marriages, confessions and baptisms.
A decision of the Second Vatican Council to allow the participation of females in the Liturgy, piqued the interest of a recent graduate of Sts. Simon & Jude School so much that she wrote the new Bishop expressing her dream of serving at Mass and wanted to know if there were any chance of it coming true. The Bishop thanked her every much for her kind letter in reference to the participation of girls in the Liturgical Services of the Church with this response, “As you probably know, in recent liturgical reforms, a number of opportunities have been created for girls and woman to participate more fully in these activities; for example, as lectors and extraordinary ministers of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for the Sick. The issue of having girls and woman serve as acolytes has also been presented to the Congregation for the Sacraments in Rome. To date, no positive action has been taken although the issue remains a topic of discussion between the Congregation and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops here in the United States. About the best I can say is that the matter is not being ignored.”