OLPH church reflects on 75 years of unity and growth

Members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic church celebrate the end of their 75th anniversary weekend with food, a historical slideshow and important church relics and records. Matt Fernandez/The Signal

Members of Our Lady of Perpetual Hope (OLPH) Catholic Church gathered after each mass for the final day of celebration for the church’s 75th anniversary.

“It’s exciting to have been able to celebrate this anniversary because we got to see how the past parishioners started this and now we’re a part of it “ said Martha Chavarin, Spanish Confirmation coordinator within the parish. “I’ve been here for about 35 years and this anniversary is a big milestone for the Santa Clarita community.”

After mass, churchgoers were invited to partake in a pancake breakfast or taco lunch. A slideshow of photos from throughout the parish’s history was on display, along with church relics and records. Parishioners were also invited to participate in raffles for gift cards and were given commemorative photo gifts of the church mural.

Ellie Costanza and Matt Jennerson, special events assistants at the church’s pastoral center, spent months to prepare the celebration by coordinating with different church ministries and ensuring that the decorations were in order.

“I worked on the slide show for a few weeks and I went back through old scrapbooks and records to find things,” Jennerson said. “One photo I had was an original photo of a barbecue from 1937 and I was able to flip it on the back and see the original writing of who was in it and where it was. There were newspaper clippings with the old Chevy ads on the back which was cool. It was just really seeing how this church brought people together.”

Costanza said that the weekend celebrations ran much more smoothly than other events she has worked on and that the anniversary got more attention than she expected.

“We realized that people were making a big deal about this anniversary because 75 years really is a big event,” she said. “We’re the oldest parish in this valley and I really enjoyed seeing the history of it all.”

Pastor Craig Cox said that his favorite part of the celebrations was seeing the intersectionality of the OLPH community.

“There have been people young, old and everything in between from all different ethnic backgrounds presenting a nice tapestry of who this parish is,” Cox said. “It’s important to celebrate this anniversary because history is important in the church as it allows us to look at how God worked in the past to see how He works now. Looking back at the past 75 years of priests who served this parish has taught me that seeds bear fruit, and the good you do will have (a) long term impact, even though you have no idea what it’s going to be.”

Though the weekend festivities marked the main anniversary celebrations, OLPH will continue to honor the anniversary during their annual barbecue in the fall and also by publishing vignettes of past parishioners in the weekly bulletins.

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