Established: 1904Location: 3102 Third Street, Santa MonicaOur Lady of the Angels Region: Deanery 13Bishop Thomas J. Conaty, a native of County Cavan, Ireland, had just completed a six-year term as the rector of Catholic University of America when he was named bishop of the Monterey-Los Angeles Diocese in 1903. During the 12 years of his episcopate, he established 36 parishes.Five were founded in 1904, a year of several notable events: the start of construction of the Panama Canal; the ongoing Russo-Japanese War; the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and the Olympic Games, both in St. Louis; and Bishop Conaty’s acquisition of The Tidings as the official diocesan paper.Among the new parishes was St. Clement, in the Ocean Park district of south Santa Monica, named for the fourth bishop of Rome (and a martyr), which had started the year before as a mission of St. Monica Church where Father Patrick Hawe was the pastor. Bishop Conaty laid the cornerstone for the new church in August 1903. “Here will stand a temple of God to do the work of God among the children of men,” he told the crowd of 300, “an expression of a people’s faith in God and in Jesus Christ.” Father Michael Hennessy, who assisted at the ceremony, was named the first pastor on May 6, 1904, a position he held for 23 years. The church itself — just a few blocks from the famous beach that attracted early tourists and summer residents to the area — was actually built a few months before Father Hennessy’s appointment but he had often celebrated Mass during the summer for the many resort tourists in Kinney Hall. The price for both the church and hall: $6,500.In 1910 the hall became St. Clement’s Academy, where Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary taught. A school replaced it in 1921 and a convent was built in 1927. For 25 years Msgr. Patrick Pierse from County Kerry, Ireland, headed St. Clement and remodeled both the church and rectory. On his golden jubilee it was noted that “he was one of the pioneer Irish priests who labored in the scattered towns of the vast region of central and southern California. He is one of the last links with those who spent themselves here in a difficult day.” Msgr. Pierse died in 1964 at age 77. Father Felix Sheridan, from County Cavan, headed the parish for three of his 67 years of ministry, during which he was pastor of six parishes. He died in 1991 at 92.Msgr. John Cummings, a native of Scotland, came to Los Angeles in 1937 and served as pastor at St. Ann, L.A. and St. Rose of Lima, Maywood, sandwiched around his 16 years at St. Clement (he died in 1979 at age 76). During his pastorate at St. Clement, as a new school was built and the 54-year-old church was torn down, Msgr. Cummings also had the unique opportunity to examine the contents of a metal box retrieved from the cornerstone of the 1903 edifice. A newspaper article in the box extolled the fact that “the new church would be the finest public building in this part of the city. It would stand out in bold relief against the Fourth Street hill and still have a splendid view of the ocean.” In 1967 Ocean Park was listed for the last time as the church address (it was changed to Santa Monica) Soon after, Father William Williams from Idaho began his 18-year pastorate. Father Williams — who previously taught at Pater Noster and Pius X/St. Matthias High Schools, was the chaplain at Camarillo State Hospital for eight years — died in 1995 at age 71. The next three pastors held shorter terms: Father Edward Berumen, from Monrovia (seven years); Father Juan Romero, from New Mexico (four); and Father Tomas Elis, from Panama (four). Since 2007, a native Angeleno has been St. Clement’s pastor: Father Anthony Gonzalez, ordained in 1992 by Bishop Carl Fisher. His experience of serving several years in team ministry in the archdiocese has prepared him to serve as St. Clement’s pastor and administrator of nearby St. Anne Church — a challenge the patron pope saint would understand. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0816/stclementside/{/gallery}