Hands reached out to touch former pastors and cameras flashed. It was a day of joy and gratitude for the parish founded a century ago by Jesuit priests under the leadership of Bishop Thomas Conaty of the Monterey-Los Angeles Diocese. Msgr. Hernandez, pastor for 19 years until his retirement, recalled how he was so impressed with the people of his parish — very similar, he noted, to the community he knew growing up at St. Mary’s in nearby Boyle Heights. “They were active, so spiritual, and everyone was so cooperative,” he said. “They have a wonderful spirit here, always generous and welcoming.” It was when his own health began to fail that he decided, “We need new blood.” Still, he admitted, “It was so difficult to leave here.” Echoing many of these same sentiments Sister Regina Marie Novacek, a Dominican of Mission San Jose for 70 years, talked about her experience as a member of St. Ignatius as she grew up. “The life of the parish was our life,” she smiled. “It was everything.” She attributes her vocation to the sisters who taught her at St. Ignatius School. She eventually returned to St. Ignatius as a teacher, and then became principal. For the last 89 years the Dominicans of Mission San Jose have staffed the parish school and provided a principal. Now, as Sister Georgette Coulombe steps down after 10 years as principal (“It is not easy to leave the school,” she admitted), a lay principal will take her place, but a Dominican teacher will remain in the school. In his bilingual homily, Archbishop Gomez reflected on “the importance of God’s love for us in this celebration,” and the need to ask for God’s blessing for the future of the parish. He encouraged the assembly to always look for ways to bring honor “for the greater glory of God,” as St. Ignatius called everyone to do, and to make the Eucharist — “an extraordinary gift that we have been given” — a part of everyday life. “Let us not forget God’s presence in our daily lives,” he concluded.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0805/ignatius/{/gallery}