A constant refrain is spoken around St. Paul Parish: “We are all one family here.” Or, as stated by parish administrator pro tem, Guadalupe Missionary Father Maurilio Franco, “We have one community, with one heart, written in three different languages. Our goal is to have a prayerful community. And if education is part of our goal, all else will follow.” Father Franco spent his first 35 years of priesthood serving in Korea with his fellow Guadalupe Missionaries from Mexico. Just over five years ago he came to St. Paul — which serves English, Spanish and Korean-speaking Catholics — and brought his focus on development of one community.Along the walls of a small side prayer chapel in the church is written: “Con Maria somos una sola familia” (“With Mary we are one family”). Flags on the wall represent the many different cultural families that comprise St. Paul’s. Most revered in the chapel are the paintings of images of Mary from Korea, Mexico, Central America and the United States.The goal of St. Paul School reflects that of the parish: “to be one community,” says Dr. Michelle Wechsler, principal. The school is small but has grown with the addition of kindergarten and its 26 students, and recently qualified for Weingart Foundation “challenge” funds. With such assistance plus the dedicated work of parents, students, teachers and the outside community, “The parish is very hopeful.”It is community that is full of tradition, “yet open to all the traditions of each community in the parish,” she continues. On Sundays, a Spanish-language Mass is followed by a Mass in English with a Gospel choir, followed by a Korean Mass. Homeland traditions are respected at St. Paul. On a recent Sunday that marked the celebration of Korean Thanksgiving, parishioners during the offertory came forward to a large urn containing burning coal and sprinkled incense over the coals. This abridged version of the celebration held in Korea is “an adapted Thanksgiving practice to suit people in the United States, said Stella Kim, program vice-principal. “In Korea it is a big holiday and people visit their ancestor’s graves,” she said. “Hopefully the ancestors are with the Lord and can smell the beautiful smell [of the incense].” Parish celebrations are usually festival-based and culturally inclusive. “There is always a bit of the other communities in every celebration and in every amount of planning for major events,” Wechsler says. “We come to decisions in a collective way. Sometimes we do things differently, but we’re all living in one house. We’re like a little piece of heaven here. When children and families are our central focus, it’s easy to make the right kind of decisions.” This type of community is what has kept Jack Doherty in the parish since 1935, when his family moved to the area from Pasadena, before the present St. Paul Church was built. Jack attended St. Paul School, Loyola High School and Loyola University. A civil engineer by training and pianist on the side, Jack accompanies the Gospel choir, the children’s school choir and the Spanish language choir. “It helps you to become holy,” he says, pausing after Mass to accompany a Gospel choir member in an impromptu rendition of “Anything Goes.” “I keep very busy at St. Paul’s,” adds Jack, who turned 85 on Oct. 15. And he’s busy elsewhere; as a Legion of Mary member for close to 50 years, he takes the Eucharist to the sick in the parish and at the Westside Care Center, on Washington Boulevard near Western Avenue. “St. Paul’s has always been a home base for me,” smiles Jack. He’s not alone.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/1026/stpaul/{/gallery}