Merrick Siebenaler, Director of Development,
Called to Renew is a multi-year campaign to raise $10 million—
therefore, we ask you to consider a 5-year pledge.
When making your pledge or installment, be sure to designate parish field as
"St. Monica Parish - Santa Monica (P492)"
We’ve heard it…we’ve seen it…we’ve lived it. The family that prays together, stays together. In this instance, the family is a large, diverse, vital community—Saint Monica parish and preparatory school. Our prayers, first said in isolation as a pandemic swept the world, have sustained us and encouraged us as we all seek the “new normal” in our lives.
We've stayed connected through the ups and downs of the pandemic struggle and hope for relief. As the months have gone by, we have come back safely, gratefully, and prayerfully through the open doors of St. Monica. Our campus is once again buzzing. Faces—familiar and new—greet, join, pray, and serve. Yes, we have fought the good fight to ensure that “this place” will remain a beacon to all. We are #StillStMonica.
Gathering takes on a new meaning now. It’s precious. It’s powerful. It’s something to be protected. It’s something to encourage. That’s one of the reasons we are looking to establish a new avenue to maximize the connection between our Church, you and your family, and our broader community for years to come.
You’ll be hearing more in the weeks ahead about our plans. The centerpiece will be a new performing and cultural arts center, to be housed in a renovated and repurposed auditorium. It will become a hub of activities of all kinds, for all interests, for all age groups. Through the generosity of this community, we have already raised nearly half of our goal for this and other needed renovations. We know that we can reach this $10 million goal with the generous support of everyone donating to the best of their ability. Help us build St. Monica’s future and open new possibilities for each and every one of us.
Isn’t this an interesting thought? It was shared by an architect noted for restoring historic structures, “Old buildings are like memories you can touch.” She was summing up her feelings about how places where people gather—such as our homes, churches, schools—hold and embody our accumulated memories…past experiences that make us who we are.
The feast day of St. Monica is the ideal time for us to come together to celebrate our community and our memories—past and those yet to be created. On Friday, Aug. 26, be sure to visit the Auditorium where you’ll find a very special exhibit that captures past events that occurred within those walls. Musical productions through the years, concerts, memories of Thanksgiving celebrations, Christmas parties for the underserved, school plays, the laughter of children…it’s all there and so much more.
You’ll also be able to preview the future of the Auditorium as it will be renovated and repurposed into the new Performing Arts & Cultural Center. Before you leave the exhibit, be certain to visit the spot where you can share your thoughts and exercise your imagination about how to best use this newly designed space. We can’t wait to hear from you.
We look forward to opening the center’s new set of doors and saying, “all are welcome.” We ask for your support in helping make lasting memories of what it’s like to be part of “this place”—to be part of St. Monica.
If we had a dollar for every person who has passed through the Duval Center since its opening, it’s safe to say that we’d have a leg up on meeting our financial goals for the current Called to Renew @ St. Monica campaign. Centrally located on campus, Duval is a beehive of activity year-round and an integral part of our parish activities serving as an after-Mass gathering place, sign-up spot, donation point, and hub for our Thanksgiving dinner activities. Duval wears many hats as our campus “go-to” place.
Even though you’re likely familiar with Duval, something about it may surprise you. Duval was designed by world-renowned architect and Santa Monica resident, Frank Gehry, as a gift to our community. Although not listed among Gehry’s world-famous buildings such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Duval has served the people of St. Monica a thousand times over.
All that use has taken its toll and Duval needs to be refreshed and restored. (If you ever tried to move the sliding glass doors on the first floor, you’d know what we mean!) Work will be done on both floors of Duval, its restrooms will be modernized and enlarged (thank goodness) and a new elevator installed. The result will be a facility primed to welcome our community for years to come. See you at Duval!
On Friday, Aug. 26, as part of our weekend celebration for our patron, St. Monica, everyone was invited to visit the Auditorium to see archival photos of past events—and renderings of the new Performing Arts & Cultural Center to be housed there. It was a “show and tell” night in that we not only gave parishioners something to look at but we encouraged them to share their thoughts about the new facility and ways they’d like to see it used.Here are some of the suggestions we heard:
Visitors seemed impressed by the future facility’s versatility, the professional stage and lighting, top-of-the-line projection and sound systems, and something that will be a first at St. Monica—the tiered, retractable seats. Plans call for 248 upholstered seats. When not in use, the tiers of seats will fold away into the depth of a single row and recede into the wall opposite the stage.
The seats certainly have a “magic” about them (now you see them…now you don’t), but, we believe the real magic will be created by myriad experiences we’ll share within the walls of the new Performing Arts and Cultural Center. Hear the applause anyone?
A remarkable Performing Arts and Cultural Center. A renovated Duval. A retrofitted rectory. Three major campus enhancements will be made possible by your generosity and participation in our Called to Renew @ St. Monica campaign. But wait! There’s something else on the drawing board. Although not as grand in scale as the projects just mentioned, campaign proceeds will allow us to introduce something new and needed at St. Monica. It’s a dedicated Hospitality Suite and it will be built in a now underused space to the rear of the rectory just off Duval Patio—formerly used as the bookstore.
The Hospitality Suite will be a private and comfortable oasis. Not only for a bride and her attendants—complete with mirrored vanities and private restroom— but also as a refuge and place of reflection for grieving families before a loved one’s funeral. Until now, we have not been able to offer this type of sanctuary to our families. It’s time we did.
Throughout the year on weekends and holidays, the suite will also be open to our liturgical ministers, who serve at six Masses each weekend. These include the hospitality ministers who greet and guide us, lectors who proclaim the word of God and our parish’s intentions, and eucharistic ministers who deliver to us the body and blood of Christ.
The seamless execution of their duties doesn’t happen by chance. There’s ongoing planning, personal preparation, and assignments involved. For the first time, our liturgical ministers will have a place to meet, organize themselves, store personal items and relax, if serving at more than one Mass. The Hospitality Suite—we look forward to adding it to the many ways we say welcome at St. Monica.
Msgr. Torgerson, Frs. Prosper, Parks, Guffey and Kuna! Welcome home. The Rectory—now retrofitted to meet LA County seismic risk standards—is ready to offer you safe sleep under its reinforced roof.
Built in the early 1920s, the Rectory is typical of the California Mediterranean architecture of its time. Monsignor Nicholas Conneally, who oversaw the completion of our church, was the first to reside there. You can see the Rectory in photos of the Church’s dedication—and you can actually see inside its doors in the Best Motion Picture of 1945, Going My Way, since it was a filming location. A related fact, one of the film’s main characters, Father Fitzgibbon, played by Barry Fitzgerald, was patterned by film director, Leo McCarey (a parishioner), after Monsignor Conneally.
Just over age 90 in 2017, the Rectory was refurbished with necessary repairs and cosmetic enhancements financed through a special fund-raising initiative. After the work was done, a bombshell hit: LA County was mandating that we retrofit the Rectory—no ifs, ands, or buts. It was considered vulnerable to extensive damage or collapse in an earthquake, despite the refinished floors, pristine walls, and 21st-century kitchen.
The cost for the retrofit was projected to be $750,000—particularly unwelcome news since we’d just restored the building. As it turned out, the timing would be providential and not problematic since we’d be able to include the retrofit in the about-to-be launched Called to Renew campaign. Fast forward to today and we have one project completed and funded—and three more to go. Each is important in its own way. Keep this in mind as you are approached in the weeks ahead to answer your “call to renew” at St. Monica