St. Margaret Mary Church in Lomita inaugurated a new parish activity center on March 12 as part of its continued outreach to those in need.
The new Msgr. Pat Thompson Christian Service Center “will be a center of our parish activities and a place where all people are welcome,” said pastor Father Paul O’Donnell at the dedication and blessing of the building, which drew parishioners and Christian Service volunteers….
The program began early in the 1970s when then-pastor Father Harold Cremins would call parishioners, asking them to bring certain supplies to the rectory for needy families. In 1985, an organized program began, and Sister of Charity of Rolling Hills, Sister Liz, became its first director.
In the 1990s, then-pastor (and future auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles) Father Joseph Sartoris encouraged the program to organize itself more. Parishioners began making the rounds of grocery stores on weekdays collecting donations. At first, food was distributed from the parish office, then in the parking lot. Eventually, all those being served by the parish would come to the parish hall on Wednesdays to take home bags of food.
When Covid-19 began changing everyone’s routines two years ago, the program began welcoming people in need from Monday through Friday, assigning each family an appointment. Today, it is one of the largest food programs in the region.
Until last Saturday, the program still lacked a facility of its own where it could adequately process donations and welcome those destined to receive them. Since the beginning of the program, the Christian Service Center was always “borrowing” space from other areas on the parish grounds. Through the generosity of several individual donors, and a record-breaking second collection taken up for this specific purpose, the parish raised $81,000 in just a month…
Longtime parishioner Mike Molina said that “the parish community really believes in the words of Matthew, chapter 25, where we are to serve people, those who are in need….”
The above comes from a March 18 story in Angelus News.