Christ in the streets of Monrovia

Eucharist vs. gangs
Immaculate Conception church

Immaculate Conception church

The following comes from a January 18 story in the Los Angeles archdiocese paper, The Tidings.

‘It’s a beautiful tradition that works,’ says pastor of annual Immaculate Conception procession.

The sweet smell of incense mixed with the aroma of Saturday night dinners in the streets of Monrovia when parishioners at Immaculate Conception Church held their annual procession in honor of the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception last December.

The air was chilly and the stars were appearing after the 5:30 p.m. multi-cultural Mass when more than 500 walkers gathered at the front of the church to make the trek through the Monrovian streets. Led by members of the Knights of Columbus, priests took turns carrying the Blessed Sacrament under a canopy, walking alongside parishioners who sang and recited the rosary as they slowly processed through the residential area.

Neighbors peered through windows at the procession; some came to the curb to watch and/or to take photos. One friendly resident hollered out, “Good evening!” to the parishioners, many had brought their young children to the event.

Towering over the heads of the procession, a statue of Our Lady was also carried by parishioners who exuded a calm reverence for the tradition that started four years ago at the church.

“We never thought this would be an annual event, but it certainly has grown and the parishioners wanted to continue with it,” said Katie Tassinari, director of pastoral ministries at the church.

Tassinari explained that the procession’s origins started back in 2009 to coincide with the church’s new Perpetual Adoration Chapel. A procession was organized to bring the Blessed Sacrament from the church to the chapel. “It was such a wonderful success,” she said. “People got attached to the ritual.”

Some years, the procession was done just on sidewalks, but when the numbers got too big, parishioners moved out into the streets. Local police have helped directing traffic on procession day.

A few years ago, the area experienced a number of gang-related murders, one taking place only half a block from the church.

Tassinari said there was quite a bit of discussion if the procession should take a different route or even continue.

But through the discussions, it became evident that the parishioners wanted the tradition, said Tassinari. “They believed that by “taking Jesus into the streets [they could] help calm the area — and combat the gang violence.”

To read the entire story, click here.


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  1. Pro-life Mom, Pat D. says:

    In 1949 I received my First Holy Communion in this church in Monrovia. The priests and the nuns were so wonderful. I have such fond memories of the church and the school. After I finished second grade, we had to move to Burbank. A few years ago, I went back to see the church and school. It has changed a bit. In 1949 there was a Bell Tower in the school yard. I think at noon the bell would ring and we would stop and say The Angeles. The Bell Tower was gone… I will pray for the parishioners at Immaculate Conception Church and I will pray for the gangs to disband.

  2. Father Karl says:

    With Our Lord, you can do most everything, as nothing is impossible, if it is according to God’s holy will. Without Him, you can do nothing! Having Eucharistic adoration and proccessions is most beneficial to the spiritual life. It would be wonderful if more parishes returned to this traditional practice which was lost after Vatican II.

  3. Mackz formerly known as max says:

    What a terrific story of faith, reverence, community — and the power of faith to change hearts! :)

  4. Immaculate Conception has grace filled history. When a Planned Parenthood clinic was about to open in Monrovia back in the late 90′s the pastor at the time, parishioners and Carmelite Sisters took action. We bombarded heaven with prayers, held several street processions with hundreds of people and Jesus in the Eucharist, held signs out in front of the prospective clinic, went door to door to EVERY house in Monrovia, and addressed the Monrovia City Council meetings every month (imagine the mayor at the time – a “Catholic” woman – being lectured by a nun in a habit every month on the sin of abortion). The pastor of Holy Angels (Monsignor Priebe) even gave $5,000 for the effort. After around six months, through God’s gace and our grace filled efforts, the half-built clinic on Huntington and 2nd shut it’s doors for good and never opened. Satan was truly driven out of Monrovia that day thanks largely to the pastor and parishioners of Immaculate Conception!

    • … and also thanks to the recipients of the Lord’s work, such as the mayor who listened and then made the decision to end the abomination.

  5. I go to this beautiful church a couple times a year when I go to Santa Anita and see the races on Saturday. I attend Mass the next morning at Immaculate Conception and then drive back to the Bay Area. Why can’t we have a chuch like this in northern California? Great parish!

  6. I think I went to this lovely little church two times when we visited in Monrovia on separate occasions. It is a pretty city, and I hope the gang situation gets better with everyone getting along and doing what is right. I will pray for it in my Rosary today. If I cannot join them in actuality, I can join them in spirit retroactively.

    • The gang problem in that area has been around since the 1970′s. The killings escalated in the mid 80′s with the introduction of crack cocaine to the neighborhood. Clearly prayer and fasting is the only solution. By the way, I do agree, that Immaculate Conception Church is lovely. Not always orthodox but lovely non-the-less.

    • “join them in spirit retroactively”: I hope readers note the amazing simplicity of this eternal mystery that Anne T. posts.

  7. Yes, Skai, with God there is no time, so there is no time limit on prayer. He can take into consideration prayers that will be said in the future.

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