Today, Sister Mara spends two days a week at the school assisting the administration — and children still run up to her on the playground just to say “Hi!” The Mission San Jose Dominicans have served in the parish since its founding. “This parish is so unique with its community and close collaboration,” says Sister Mara.A strong spirit of closeness and community stands out at St. Ignatius where so many walk up and down the hills around Avenue 61 to get to St. Ignatius of Loyola parish — “a community with roots,” says Father Edwin Duyshart, pastor. “For more than 100 years this parish has been a place to celebrate our Catholic faith, to celebrate traditions that enrich the spirit, and a community where people feel at home. It is wonderful for me, as pastor, to journey with the people of this parish as we grow in our faith together.”Many have lived in the neighborhood for 40, 50 or more years. Some have grown up in the parish, moved away, and then have come home again. The families of brothers Joe and Samuel Montes, for example, have deep roots in the parish. Joe and Rosalinda have lived there for 20 years. Their son Gabriel is the organist and Joe is a lector. Samuel and Elsie were married in St. Ignatius Church 50 years ago, moved away for a bit and then came back home. Samuel is also a lector and is on the pastoral council. Elsie helps bag groceries with a very active St. Vincent de Paul Society and granddaughter Sophia is making her First Communion this spring.School principal Patricia Aparicio sees the importance of weaving the parish community and school as one, having attended Our Lady of Loretto Church and school in Los Angeles. “My mother worked in the school and she believed in Catholic education,” says Aparicio. “Our parents made sure that we all went to Catholic schools. We never knew we weren’t well off financially, but we were rich in other ways. “Here at St. Ignatius I realize how families struggle today. A lot of families here really need a Catholic school in their lives; it forms them, is a foundation and strengthens character and provides faith formation.”Parish business manager Teri Meza Rosenau knows well that the parish is a giving, committed and faith-filled community. When visiting missionaries have come seeking help, she says, “they can’t believe how dedicated and generous our parishioners are with time, talent and funds. We have families who themselves are struggling, and still they, too, give.”She is blessed and proud to be part of “this wonderful parish community for many years. The community is very warm and welcoming to everyone, and the parishioners work so well together.” St. Ignatius includes old-time Caucasian and Latino families, second and third generation families, new immigrants, many Filipino families and more, says Father Duyshart — “a healthy diversity that is united in our faith. Since the beginning when Jesuits first staffed the parish, a strong sense of community has been part of the parish.”There are prayer groups, service groups and “an energized youth group,” he says. The Passion, the Last Supper and the Our Lady of Guadalupe event are dramatically presented to the community by the Obras group.St. Ignatius’ Filipino ministry celebrates with the entire community the faith and traditions of the Philippines. Salvadoran members lead a yearly celebration in honor of their beloved martyr Archbishop Oscar Romero. “We are proud of our parish school and of our religious education programs,” says the pastor. “Our parish has been blessed throughout its history with the presence of dedicated women religious, with the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in our parish school for so many years and currently ten women religious serve in parish ministries. “Together we grow, strongly rooted in the Scriptures, prayer, the sacraments and an ever-growing sense of being one family called to proclaim the Gospel. So when I stand at the altar on Sunday and look at the assembly, I feel blessed to be with sisters and brothers who love their faith and desire to grow in love. Our patron, St. Ignatius of Loyola, teaches us to love and to serve. That, I pray, is what we will be doing for the coming 100 years.” {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0517/ignatius/{/gallery}