Fr. Cesar Fernandez, St. Louis of France pastor, dies at 48

Funeral Mass was held March 7 at St. Louis of France Church in La Puente for Father Cesar Alejandro Fernandez, 48, pastor, who died Feb. 29 after a long illness.

Born in Tuxpan, Nayarit, Mexico, he attended elementary school in Fresno and graduated from Huntington Park High School. He attended East Los Angeles College and was briefly employed in ornamental iron works.

As a youth, Father Fernandez had thought seriously of becoming a doctor, but changed his mind after attending a retreat at the prompting of a close friend in the seminary. When he told his mother he had decided to study for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, she confided to him that she had promised to “give him to God” in return for saving him from a serious childhood illness. 

“I did dream of being a doctor, but being a priest helps me treat everyone with the best medicine there is,” Father Fernandez told The Tidings a few days before he was ordained on June 3, 1995.

His served as an associate priest at St. John of God in Norwalk (1995-99) and at St. Louis of France (1999-2004). He was next assigned as administrator at Our Lady of Victory Church in Los Angeles for two years and was named pastor there in 2006, serving for three years.

Father Fernandez became pastor at St. Louis of France in 2009, continuing canonically as pastor when he went on sick leave later that year. “He was a very simple and pastoral priest, very close to the people,” said Msgr. Lorenzo Miranda, archdiocesan vicar for clergy and former pastor at St. Louis of France. 

Sr. Dolores Pardini, SNDdeN A Memorial Mass was held Feb. 3 at Nativity Church in Los Angeles for Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Dolores Marie Pardini, who died peacefully Jan. 28 at St. Columbkille Convent surrounded by family members and her Notre Dame community. Considered by many as the compassionate “Grandmother” of Nativity and St. Columbkille parishes, she served the twinned parishes for 28 years.

A graduate of Notre Dame High School, San Jose, and College of Notre Dame, Belmont, she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1960. She later received an advanced degree in Spanish from Stanford. In 2010, she was honored for her significant contributions “to the spiritual enrichment of the lives of African-American Catholics.”

Anyone who needed assistance with food, housing, medical help or immigration issues found a friend and advocate in Sister Pardini. “She brought Christ to the neighborhood,” said Msgr. Timothy Dyer, pastor. During her last days, a steady stream of parishioners and friends came to her bedside to thank her, pray for her and ask her blessing. 

Family survivors include Maryknoll Sister Daniel Joseph (Loretta) Pardini, Daniel Pardini, Richard (Sharon) Pardini and Loreene Giansiracusa. Burial was at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Province Center, 1520 Ralston Ave., Belmont, CA 94002 or at

Sr. Colette Hayes, RSHM

Funeral Mass was held Feb. 25 at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Los Angeles for Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Sister Colette (Gabriel) Hayes, 74, who died Feb. 20at Regina Residence in Orange. She served in her religious order for 56 years.

Born in County Clare, Ireland, she entered the RSHM congregation in Tarrytown, N.Y., and later came to California. Her vocation for the next 49 years was teaching in elementary schools in the archdiocese: St. Francis de Sales, Sherman Oaks; St. Alphonsus, Los Angeles; St. Patrick, North Hollywood; and Our Mother of Good Counsel, Los Angeles.

Sister Hayes then left the U.S. for two years for missionary work in Zambia, where she taught at Chivuna Mission School. Upon her return, she became involved in Parish Outreach at St. Charles Borromeo, North Hollywood.

According to her RSHM Sisters, she was a woman of unbounded energy, great joy, total generosity, deep spirituality and an abiding faith. Sister Hayes was loved by her students, her extended family and her religious community.

She is survived by her brothers Paul, Michael and Thomas, and by her sister Eileen; she was predeceased by her parents, a brother and two other sisters, including Sister Helena Hayes, RSHM. Burial was at Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles. 

Memorial donations may be sent c/o Sister Mary Genino, 441 N. Garfield Ave., Montebello, CA 90640. They will be forwarded to the Chivuna Mission School in Zambia for the needs of the students there in memory of Sister Hayes.

Julieta Vela Funeral Mass was held March 2 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Rowland Heights for Julieta Vela, who died Feb. 26. Surviving family members include her son, Capuchin Franciscan Father Jesus Vela, pastor of St. Lawrence of Brindisi Church, Los Angeles.