He was the “go-to guy” — as a friend, a spiritual leader, knowledgeable administrator and as a valuable resource for all things related to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Pastoral Region.
Deacon Gus Sebenius, who died June 8 at the age of 81, will be remembered for these skills and virtues and more, especially by his surviving wife Carrie and their five children and eight grandchildren.
Deacon Sebenius served the archdiocese as a deacon since his ordination in 1982, and for the past 20 years he had worked with the San Gabriel Pastoral Regional Office as assistant to the regional bishop. According to co-workers and friends, he “rendered invaluable help, advice, guidance and a few challenges” to the many parishes, schools, pastors and parishioners he served.
Sylvia Woodsen, office manager for the San Gabriel Pastoral Regional Office, described Deacon Sebenius as the epitome of the “go-to guy,” noting that his true role with the archdiocese and the region expanded far beyond his job title. He was on hand for virtually every local confirmation or special Mass, serving as emcee and working with the altar servers to ensure that everything ran smoothly, and was also an active board member with the San Gabriel chapter of Catholic Charities.
In addition, noted Woodsen, Deacon Sebenius was a member of the San Gabriel Regional Pastoral Council; regularly met with fellow deacons representing all five pastoral regions; attended building commission meetings involving local parishes; handled all construction projects that came through the San Gabriel regional office; and was responsible for allocating subsidy funding for select area parishes.
“Deacon Gus was a good man with a big heart,” Woodsen told The Tidings. “He always wanted the best for the parishes. If there were situations that needed to be handled [anywhere] in the region, he was the person you would call.”
Casey Jurecki, parish business manager at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Pasadena — the deacon’s home parish — agrees. Jurecki, who worked with him for 13 years, described Deacon Sebenius as an “invaluable person” in many ways.
“Deacon Gus worked with the archdiocese to help us get things done here at St. Philip the Apostle,” recalled Jurecki. “He helped guide us through various building projects and capital needs that we’ve had over the years, and he always worked closely with us to help us accomplish what we needed … as a parish community.”
“Deacon Gus was a good guy to work with, and he was a mentor to me personally,” he continued. “I considered him a friend.”
A funeral Mass for Deacon Sebenius was celebrated the morning of June 19 at St. Philip the Apostle. Numerous priests and fellow deacons from across the archdiocese were on hand to concelebrate. Condolences may be addressed to Carrie Sebenius and mailed to: 1350 La Loma Road, Pasadena, CA 91105.