Fresno bishop’s letter to judge who sentenced priest convicted of embezzlement

Bishop Armando Ochoa requests no jail time for Fr. Ignacio Villafan, expresses hope that errant priest will someday return to active ministry "under direct supervision with no access to funds"

August 9, 2018 Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, on August 8 spoke at the sentencing hearing for Rev Ignacio Villafan.  Fr. Villafan was sentenced to five years probation.   To The Most Honorable Judge Gary Peden Your Honor, I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to personally address the Court in the wake of the … [Read more...]

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Tulare priest gets probation for stealing $300,000 from parish

Fresno Bishop Armando Ochoa says diocese using "restorative justice" approach for Fr. Ignacio Villafan, who remains on administrative leave

Catholic priest Ignacio Villafan, 52, was sentenced Wednesday to five years probation for stealing over $300,000 from the Tulare church where he served as the pastor in charge, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office said. The sentence by Judge Gary Paden is too lenient because Villafan is not going to jail, District Attorney Tim Ward said. “To think that a person could … [Read more...]

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Suspect arrested in vandalism, arson at St. Charles Borromeo Church

investigators pulled security camera footage from buildings surrounding the church

Los Angeles police said this week they arrested a man they believe set three fires inside St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood and a fourth just outside the church’s doors last week that caused extensive damage to the iconic building. In a written statement, officials said 58-year-old Russel Congleton was arrested on Monday by a task force of LAPD investigators. The … [Read more...]

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Landmark North Hollywood church vandalized

Cardinal Roger Mahony lives on grounds of St. Charles Borromeo Church, which suffered “a large amount of property damage”

Parishioners of a prominent Catholic church in North Hollywood were searching for answers Wednesday, July 25, after their beloved sanctuary was severely vandalized before dawn. Authorities were asking for the public’s help in solving the crime after the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood Division found evidence of fire outside St. Charles Borromeo Church and “a … [Read more...]

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“We have risen from the ashes”

New Hacienda Heights church replaces one destroyed in 2011 arson fire; site for 90th parish in Fresno diocese blessed June 22 in Clovis

Hacienda Heights, California - More than seven years after St. John Vianney Catholic Church burned down at the hands of an arsonist, it has arisen like Lazarus. The new parish, 1345 Turnbull Canyon Road, Hacienda Heights, was dedicated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jun 23. Archbishop José H. Gomez presided over the service to dedicate the new parish with Monsignor Timothy Nichols, … [Read more...]

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Arrest made in Southern California church fires, vandalism

Most recent arson fires occurred at Resurrection Catholic Church in Los Angeles on Jan. 25 and the Church of the Angels in Pasadena on Jan. 13

A 25-year-old man accused of setting fires at churches around Southern California was charged this week with multiple felony counts. Christian Michael Garcia faces 20 felony counts: 13 counts of vandalism of religious property, three counts of arson of a structure, two counts of second-degree commercial burglary and one count each of attempted second-degree robbery and arson … [Read more...]

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Fire at Catholic church in Los Angeles investigated as suspicious

It took 62 firefighters nearly half and hour to douse flames at Resurrection Catholic Church in Boyle Heights, investigators found vandalism afterwards

Fire officials are investigating whether a fire ignited at a Boyle Heights church early Thursday morning was an incidence of arson, and looking into whether it could be connected to other recent incidents. Firefighters first responded to the flames that broke out at Resurrection Catholic Church on the 3300 block of East Opal Street just after 2 a.m., said Capt. Erik Scott with … [Read more...]

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Vandalism at Pasadena church follows a recent pattern

Multiple churches affected since late 2016, vandals leave similar graffiti each time

Graffiti spray-painted at a 129-year-old Pasadena church that was set on fire last week resembled messages left on several other churches that were vandalized in recent months. Vandals broke into Church of the Angels — an Episcopal church on Avenue 64 that was built in 1889 — before sunrise Jan. 13 and lit a fire in the sanctuary. Using green spray paint, they wrote "Jehovah" … [Read more...]

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Vandals hit 129-year-old Episcopal church in West Pasadena

Church suffered major damage and the loss of at least one significant historical statue after a vandal or vandals broke in early Saturday morning, spray painted graffiti, destroyed property and set fire to the structure

A 129-year-old, strikingly beautiful West Pasadena church suffered major damage and the loss of at least one significant historical statue after a vandal or vandals broke in early Saturday morning, spray painted graffiti, destroyed property and set fire to the structure. Although the fire was quickly extinguished by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the Church of the … [Read more...]

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“What heart do you have that could do this?”

Vandal defaces statues of Mary, three Fatima children and a lamb at St. Bede’s Catholic Church in Hayward, third time in three years statues have been damaged

A disturbing scene was recently found outside a church in Hayward where statues of children were found beheaded. For 60 years those who attend St. Bede’s Catholic Church in Hayward have passed by a group of statues out front depicting Mary’s appearance to the children of Fatima. A few weeks ago, a vandal defaced the statues, breaking off Mary’s hands and the heads of the … [Read more...]

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