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Feeling the welcome

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“I like my parish very much,” says longtime parishioner Alma Medina, who married her husband Joe at St. Aloysius Gonzaga, where each of their five children was baptized and received the sacraments. “I did live in another parish for a short while, but I prefer the welcoming spirit here. It just seems mas comodo — more comfortable — to be here.”Helping to make that spirit of welcome a reality, Alma works closely with Marta Fembres and their fellow Guadalupanas — providing breakfast for the parish, selling religious articles, meeting to pray and providing whatever assistance is needed in this southeast L.A. parish. And in tough economic times, many area families are in need. Whenever the poor come to St. Aloysius’ parish office, they are greeted by Griselda Garibay, parish administrative assistant, who directs them to the right place. St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood operates a “Vida Sana” or “Healthy Life” office at the parish for routine health maintenance referrals. The Knights of Columbus’ St. Alphonsus Council provides a parish food pantry for immediate needs. At St. Aloysius Gonzaga School, principal Nicole Johnson and her staff work with the children and parents to develop a spirit of giving back to the community and assisting others. The parish school, about to celebrate 90 years, recently did some major renovation of the classrooms and offers 12 extracurricular clubs and both art and computer classes. “We have a good school and amazing teachers,” says Johnson. “We really instill the Catholic faith in the students and the need to serve the community.” Though parish administrator for only a short while, Father Esteban feels very much at home at St. Aloysius Gonzaga. “We hope he stays for a very long time,” smiles Alma Medina.Father Esteban is both impressed and nourished by his parishioners’ “great love for God and for this parish. I am both amazed and humbled by the generosity and commitment with which the people of this community serve this parish every day. This is a sign of hope and a source of inspiration for me as I endeavor to train the next generation of servant leaders. I feel so confident about the future of this community of faith.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0812/aloysiusmain/{/gallery}

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