Saint Victor Church welcomed Mayor of West Hollywood Sepi Shyne, Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson, council member Chelsea Byers, and some appointed City Commissioners for Sunday Mass at 8634 Holloway Drive this past Sunday. The presentation was arranged by former Rent Stabilization Commissioner Richard Maggio with the help of current Business License Commissioner Catherine Eng.
Reverend John-Paul Gonzalez had a one-on-one with Mayor Shyne in his private quarters where the priest puts on his vestments before the service.
Maggio introduced the City dignitaries from the pulpit during service. He later said that he hopes to make this an annual event where the church has a day of prayer with city officials regardless of the religious background (Mayor Shyne is Muslim).
Reverend Gonzalez said a prayer for the freedom of the people of Iran, especially for the women of Iran, which Mayor Shyne was grateful for. He also allowed a group photo at the end of the service.
“Thank you Father John Paul and [Saint Victor Church] for inviting us to Mass today,” wrote the Mayor on her social media platforms. “Thank you for being of service to our community since 1906. Thank you to all the commissioners and my colleagues who attended today and a special thank you to [Richard Maggio] for organizing.”
“We are very fortunate to have a local parish that promotes love and unity while welcoming all of God’s children,” wrote Planning Commissioner Erick Matos. “I grew up in a small town church with a religious family and always struggled with reconciling what was being taught with my own life and who I am. This was truly a full circle moment for me. I am deeply grateful.”
“Commissioner Catherine [Eng] decided to call it The Mayor’s Mass,” said Maggio. “Saint Victor has been my Parish most of my life. We would really like to have a prayer service for the city. It’s hard to establish because the Church doesn’t want to be too political, but I thought it would be wonderful for the mayor to meet a couple of hundred people as she runs for Congress. We could have coffee and bagels and cupcakes and mingle. It kind of grew from there. The parish requested special music and the people who worked at the parish were very excited. It was a very good thing to do and it all came together beautifully.”
Saint Victor Church is Roman Catholic. It was founded in 1906 and has served many different parishioners: oilmen and railway workers, film industry figures, families, gay men, and gay men to name a few. From 1992 to 1994, Archbishop George Hugh Niederauer lived in the church. The funeral for John Edward ‘Jack’ Reagan, father of President Ronald Reagan, was held at this church.
The adjacent St Victor’s school closed in the 1970s and its building is now leased to a private, non-sectarian school, the “Pacific Hills School”