Lord God, You showered heavenly gifts on the virgin Agatha. Hear the prayers of those who recall her devoted life and ask her to intercede for them in their necessity. Help us imitate her virtue during our earthly life and enjoy eternal happiness with her in heaven. Amen!s
A Parish of Diverse People
A resident of the most populous city in the U.S. state of California, St. Agatha Catholic Church serves a Roman Catholic people; responding to their diversity, cultures and styles. St. Agatha’s Church discharges its responsibility to God by being a shepherd of the sheep, a seeker of the lost, a friend of the sinner, poor and brokenhearted.
Named for one of the most highly venerated martyrs of Christian antiquity, we are a church dedicated to her memory. According to most legends, St. Agatha was the daughter of a distinguished family and remarkable for her beauty. A Roman Senator, and pagan, found her attractive and pursued her for marriage. She refused his advances knowing a marriage would sucumb her to ritual duties of idolatry. Scorned, by Agatha, he used his political power to subject her to abuse and torture, including the cutting off of her breasts. St. Agatha Church uses this story to learn from her martyrdom. Her testimony to faithfulness under pressure causes us to challenge our own loyalty to God by a very high standard.
It has been said that “the blood of the martyrs” is the nourishment of the Church, meaning that their witness to the faith (“witness” is what the Greek word “martyr” actually meant) inspires a deep commitment in those who hear their story. But, it is also true that the blood of martyrs is the often repeated result of all war and human violence. As long as human beings learn that “hatred” for their enemies is “standing for God,” and as long as they learn the arts of violence as a “normal process of coming of age,” then martyrs for some cause will always be created.
The memory of Agatha teaches us that our power to kill a human being is a weak power, and it cannot ever kill the ideas or the causes those murdered folk espoused. Maybe she challenges us to re-think how we live in the world. Maybe she is begging us not to create more martyrs, but to learn to live in mutual respect and peace – the peace of the One Whom she followed, the Prince of Peace. And maybe YOU need to hear her challenge. Why? We don’t know, but you are either a member of the parish dedicated to her memory, or you have wandered in and found her story. Perhaps a mind greater than your own is trying to get your attention, and is trying to help you see a kinder, gentler way of living in the world.
Growing Through Change
In December, 1923, St. Agatha was organized by some 12 people who celebrated the first Parish Mass in the home of Mr. and Mrs. F.P. Rochefort. About 2 weeks later, Fr. Edward Bradley took possession of the Brown residence on Westhaven Street, which was used as church and rectory. Fr. Bradley then purchased the corner of Adams Blvd and Mansfield Ave. The men formed a building committee and soon all, whose schedules permitted, were on hand to pour cement or drive nails to help build the church. Approximately thrity days later the first Mass was celebrated in the new building.
Los Angeles underwent a dramatic social, economic and technological change that brough all races to the table. The predominatly Anglo population saw a change in ethnicity. In the 1950’s the neighborhood became predominantly African-American until the 1990’s when it was and still is predominantly Latino. St. Agatha boast one of the most diverse churches in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The community is made up of an influx of Anglo, Latino, Filipinos, Pacific Islander, African, Japanese, Chinese and Caribbean cultures.
Looking to the Future
Thousands of people have visited St. Agatha Church for its cultural Masses and welcoming spirit. Our future looks promising indeed. Our Bi-lingual Religious Education classes are vibrant and make for a great learning fun.
The great challenges facing us and the key to our success and the work we do will be the faith of the community of Christ. Through service and prayer we seek God’s favor.