Precious Blood marks 85 years in Westlake areaParishioners of Precious Blood Church in Los Angeles’s Westlake district held a beautiful celebration at their beloved church on June 26 (the Feast of Corpus Christi) to honor the parish’s 85th anniversary. Attendees included L.A. Councilman Ed Reyes, and his deputy, Jose Gardea who was baptized at Precious Blood as an infant. The officials presented a certificate of appreciation to Missionary of Jesus Father Manual Gacad, pastor, who accepted the award on behalf of parishioners past and present. The first pastor of Precious Blood was Msgr. Michael O’Halloran, who celebrated the first Mass Oct. 31, 1926. Bishop John J. Cantwell formally dedicated the church on November 25, 1926. Architects Henry Carlton Newton and Robert Dennis Murray designed Precious Blood’s classic Italian Romanesque architecture, which has been seen in many feature films and television shows. The church is built on 150 concrete pilings due to the watery nature of the soil, with a nearly entirely concrete structure, which many believe has allowed the church to survive many earthquakes over the years. The interior art work includes a figure of Christ carved from volcanic stone by S.C. Scarpitta, plus many dazzling mosaics depicting the seven sacraments and the Stations of the Cross. A large central mosaic behind the altar depicts angels catching the precious blood of the Crucified Christ in their chalices. Early parishioners funded the construction of Precious Blood and its exquisite mosaics and stained glass windows. Current parishioners carry on this tradition of nurturing the building and the tradition of fellowship among Precious Blood worshippers of all nationalities and ethnicities. Conaty-Loretto welcomes new students, Msgr. PilatoFree dress, special “welcome” gifts from the senior “Big Sisters” to the freshmen “Little Sisters” and a spirit rally in the gymnasium marked the annual celebration of “Welcome Day” for all students at Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto High School, Los Angeles.The August 26 rally featured a game of musical chairs, devised by the seniors, in which the teachers were invited to participate. They were blindfolded and, after the first round, the chairs were moved to various spots on the gym floor. One of the newest teachers, Crystal Cabrera, managed to win out.A week earlier, the school community assembled in the gymnasium to celebrate the start of the new school year with the Annual Mass of the Holy Spirit. Msgr. Sabato (Sal) Pilato, superintendent of Secondary Schools, presided, and spoke personally to each class, reminding each of their responsibilities to the class and to each other. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0909/olanews/{/gallery}Our Lady of Malibu music director honoredPeter Torsiello, music director at Our Lady of Malibu Church for nearly 20 years, and contemporary music director for St. Paul the Apostle Church, will receive the Worship Music Award at the 2011 Malibu Music Awards Dinner Sept. 24.Torsiello’s composition “Make Straight the Path” is the official theme song for Catholics in Media Associates (CIMA), and his liturgical songs have been published by Oregon Catholic Press. Others being honored that evening at the annual event include singer-actress Lainie Kazan, singer Frank Stallone and the BackBeats from NBC’s “The Sing-Off” series.SVDP awards grants to help needy in L.A. The National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) recently awarded $9,000 in grants to help the needy in the greater Los Angeles area. The money will be targeted to five SVdP Conferences (chapters) in Los Angeles and one in Palmdale.The disbursement is part of the Society’s annual Friends of the Poor¬Æ grant program and will help pay for rent, food and utilities for those in need or living in poverty. “The timing of the grant is very welcome,” said Claire Padama, who serves as president of SVdP’s Los Angeles archdiocesan council. “Like many communities across the country, people in the Los Angeles community are struggling to survive and good-paying jobs are scarce. We receive an overwhelming amount of requests for help, so we’re very grateful for the additional support these funds will provide.” The SVdP Conferences in Los Angeles that received grants were Mother of Sorrows, Nativity, St. Cecelia, St. Columbkile, and St. Ignatius of Loyola. SVdP’s Conference at St. Mary’s in Palmdale received the other grant. A Conference is a group of volunteers who come together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those in need.The money is part of $80,000 in Friends of the Poor grants that the Society will make this year throughout the United States. Grant applications are reviewed and awarded annually on a regional basis. Funding comes from the general public and the Society’s 172,000 members around the country, and is targeted to specific needs in each community that are above and beyond those available to the organization’s chapters. One of the oldest and most effective charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic lay organization of more than 690,000 men and women throughout the world who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually and offer person-to-person service to the needy and people living in poverty in 142 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, membership in the United States totals more than 172,000 in 4,600 communities. Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the elderly and medicine. Providing more than $595 million in tangible and in-kind services, SVdP serves more than 14 million people in need each year, performs more than 648,000 visits to people in their homes, and delivers more than 7 million service hours to those in need.For information about the outreach provided by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, call (323) 224-6298 or visit Catholic Big Brothers, Big Sisters honors Haden, McKayFormer Bishop Amat High School and USC football stars Pat Haden and J.K. McKay were recently named “Champions for Youth” at Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters’ “Champions Fight On for Youth” gala and 85th anniversary celebration.The pair, who led Bishop Amat to the 1970 CIF football title and starred on the gridiron for USC (1972-74), were presented their awards by National Big Brother of the Year, Michael Trueblood and his Little Brother, Joseph. They also accepted a $50,000 donation from former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan to support youth mentoring programs in Los Angeles.