Disciples in Action

Historical Stories 1979 to 1980: A New Pastor and the RCIA program

Fr._SchneiderFather Thomas More Schneider, OFM, was appointed Pastor in 1979, and served in this capacity until 1982.  Fr. Tom was born on September 16, 1917, in Castle Shannon, Pennsylvania and was ordained on June 5, 1943, at Old Mission Santa Barbara by Bishop Joseph McGucken.  One of his first actions as Pastor was to remodel the interior of the school to add a teacher’s lounge.  In November of 1980, Fr. Tom received approval from the Diocese Consultors to expand the rectory office, adding 1,075 square feet of space, with new sewers and landscaping. 

Fr_Richard_JusixFr. Richard Jusix, OFM, was added to the staff as one of Fr. Tom’s Assistants.  He was already familiar with the parish community as he was a Deacon for Fr. Ron in 1974.  While working with Fr. Ron, he spent many hours at the L.Y.N.N. Center downtown, ministering to the needs of the community.

Fr._GaribaldiFr. Anthony Garibaldi was also assigned to the Parish and was instrumental, along with Sister Joan Sasse, in re-establishing the RCIA program in the Parish.  On November 14, 1980, they wrote to Bishop Johnson informing him that they had restored the Catechumanate at Sts. Simon & Jude Parish according to the Rite of Christian Installation for Adults.  Their letter states: “Since the Bishop is the ordinary minister of the Rite of Election, we are asking if it is possible for you to celebrate the Rite of Election with us at the 12:30 p.m. Eucharist, on March 8, the first Sunday of Lent.”

Unfortunately, the Bishop was scheduled to preside at a similar ceremony at Holy Family Cathedral on the same day.  He provided this response to be read to the congregation in his absence: “Please extend to all of those preparing to enter the Church, my prayerful good wishes that God will bless them and lead them always closer to Himself.”

Anyone attending Mass on January 30, 1980, witnessed Fr. Tom wearing vestments displaying the “Blue & Gold” colors of the then Los Angeles Rams football team (now the St. Louis Rams), instead of the color green for “Ordinary Time.”  Ray Malavasi, the coach of the Rams and a parishioner, had made Fr. Tom the team Chaplain, and on this day the Rams were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the “Super Bowl” at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Unfortunately, the Rams lost 31-19.

The first decade under the guidance of the Franciscans had been the most active and productive since the establishment of the parish.  A new school and church were built and staffed with the anticipation for continued growth spiritually and structurally, and the implementation of the decrees and decisions from Vatican II had taken place.  The Franciscans’ influence was now a permanent part of everyday parish life.  The parish would flourish under their guidance and love for many years to come.

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