Earlier this month, Marymount California University in Rancho Palos Verdes welcomed a special visit from an esteemed alumnus: Benedictine Father Cassian DiRocco, associate pastor at Mary Star of the Sea Church in San Pedro.

Father DiRocco, who was raised in the San Pedro area, attended Marymount as an undergraduate college student. During his recent visit he celebrated Mass for several students, educators and guests.

Father DiRocco said he felt he was finally “back home” — doing what he was born to do — when he accepted the call to the priesthood at St. Andrew’s Church in Pasadena in July of 2013.

As part of his priestly formation, for three years prior to his ordination he lived and studied in Rome, where he had the rare opportunity to serve as a deacon for Pope Benedict twice and for Pope Francis as well.