Funeral Mass will be celebrated Aug. 23, 10 a.m. at St. Victor Church in West Hollywood for Msgr. George J. Parnassus, pastor emeritus, who died Aug. 17 at age 86.Msgr. Parnassus was also the longtime head of the Archdiocesan Commission for Life Issues, an early sponsor of the West Hollywood Food Coalition, and the founder of an outreach program for the disenfranchised in the area. At St. Victor, he was one of the first pastors to celebrate bi-yearly Masses for those who suffered from AIDS as well as establishing an AIDS chapel for private prayer. “It was a privilege and a grace to work closely with my friend Monsignor George Parnassus for a number of years,” noted San Francisco Archbishop Emeritus George H. Niederauer, originally ordained for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “He was a gifted, zealous and generous priest, and an inspiration to me.” “What you saw was what he was — a good priest, a faithful ambassador of Christ, a reflection of the Good Shepherd,” added Msgr. Francis J. Weber, archivist emeritus for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.A Los Angeles native and the son of boxing impresario George Parnassus Sr. and Rosalie M. De Oca Parnassus, George John Parnassus was born May 9, 1927 in Pasadena, and graduated from Loyola High School, Los Angeles, in 1945. Recognizing early on in life that he had a calling to the priesthood, he entered St. John’s Seminary and was ordained on May 30, 1953. While obtaining a master’s degree in history and then pursuing doctoral work at the University of Southern California, he began his parochial, administrative and educational work. Starting in 1953, he was an associate pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Newport Beach; Our Lady of the Rosary, Paramount; St. Monica, Santa Monica; and SS. Peter and Paul, Wilmington. In addition, he taught at St. Pius X-St. Matthias High School in Downey for eight years, serving as principal (1964-67). For the next four years, he taught and was the spiritual director at St. John’s Seminary, also serving as chair of the western division of Seminary Spiritual Directors. He was named a papal chamberlain (monsignor) in 1968 by Pope Paul VI, and elevated to prelate of his holiness in 1988 by Pope John Paul II. After serving as administrator of St. Barnabas Church, Long Beach, Msgr. Parnassus was named administrator (in 1976) then pastor (in 1977) of St. Victor’s. During his 23-year pastorate, he commissioned many liturgical embellishments in the church, among them the 14 stained glass windows created by Isabel and Edith Piczek, refurbishing the pipe organ and reinvigorating the music. “My sister Edith and I had the privilege of sharing with him the grandeur of this world — a world filled with the beauty of God, saturated with hope — creating many artworks with him or just visiting and listening to him,” said Isabel Piczek. “When a great man passes away, people say, ‘With him an era is gone.’ This is certainly true about Msgr. Parnassus.”“Msgr. Parnassus revitalized the parish, helping to instill a sense of reverence that is still palpable today,” said parishioner Maite Saralegui. “His legacy, though, is much more than the physical. Msgr. Parnassus was about challenging the spirit, whether one was Catholic or not.”A rosary service was held Aug. 22 at St. Victor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Catholic Relief Services for the rehabilitation and drilling of wells in East Africa. The purpose of the wells is to bring water to drought-prone and drought-stricken areas, a cause Msgr. Parnassus strongly supported in honor of Our Lady of the Well of Nazareth.