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, parish pastor.

“After seven biblical years, we have risen from the ashes to celebrate God’s presence in our community,” Nichols said in an emailed statement.

The church was destroyed April 16, 2011, after it was set aflame by Gregory Yusuke Shiga, then 35, of Hacienda Heights, who was convicted in July 2013 of five felony counts related to the fire. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Damages were estimated at $8 million.

Nichols told this publication in June 2016 that he remembers driving on the 60 Freeway, seeing the flames tower above the surrounding buildings. A feeling of devastation swept over him.

“For as high as the flames were, was how low my heart sank as I saw the destruction of the church,” he said. “It was crushing.”

Parishioners watched, horrified, from a nearby parking lot, where some church members said a rosary.

But the rebuilding soon would begin and the church community remained in tact, first holding Mass in the activities center, behind the remains of what was the sanctuary.

Construction started in June 2016 to replace the original California mission-style church, along with the rectory’s roof. The old church had  been dedicated by Cardinal James Francis McIntyre in 1969.

The church raised $5.3 million to rebuild.

Full story at Whittier Daily News.

Clovis is getting a new Catholic Church

Clovis, California – Bishop Armando Ochoa from the Diocese of Fresno blessed the future site of a Catholic church located on the southwest corner of Ashlan and Thompson avenues.

The new church is called the Divine Mercy Catholic Parish, the parish was founded in 2016.

This is the 90th parish within the Fresno Diocese.

The architect behind the project, Anthony Grumbine, says they were inspired by a number of other Catholic churches in California.

“This church is inspired by the Catholic heritage in California from the missions and so that it is where it gets a lot of the origin from and inspiration,” says Anthony Grumbine.

The church will be roughly 22,000 square feet and the budget for the project is $9 million.

A ground breaking was held Friday where Bishop Armando Ochoa blessed the outline of the future building.

The parish right now celebrates mass in a multi-purpose room at Clovis East High School.

“It is great to be able to bring people together,” says Bishop Armando Ochoa, “but to know the light at the end of the tunnel the beautiful design for Devine Mercy Church brings an added sense of hope and and centrality enthusiasm.”

Full story at yourcentralvalley.com.