A New Era Begins For The St. Monica Catholic Community

Sunday, 22 Jan 2012, 1:08:00 AM

Brenton Garen

The groundbreaking ceremony for St. Monica Catholic Community’s redevelopment and renovation project was held Sunday. From left: Bishop Edward W. Clark, Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region, Archdiocese of Los Angeles; Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, Pastor; Bill Simon, Campaign Executive Committee; Gretchen Willison, Campaign Co-Chair; former Mayor Richard Riordan, major donor; and Rick Caruso, Campaign Executive Co-Chair.
Photo by Monica Kanios
The groundbreaking ceremony for St. Monica Catholic Community’s redevelopment and renovation project was held Sunday. From left: Bishop Edward W. Clark, Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region, Archdiocese of Los Angeles; Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, Pastor; Bill Simon, Campaign Executive Committee; Gretchen Willison, Campaign Co-Chair; former Mayor Richard Riordan, major donor; and Rick Caruso, Campaign Executive Co-Chair.

After more than four years of fundraising, St. Monica Catholic Community formally broke ground on its $27 million building project on Sunday.

The project, which has been eight years in the planning, includes a community center, parking structure, reception facility, high school gymnasium renovation, and elementary school facility.

The project, supported by a fundraising campaign titled “Celebrating Our Blessings, Building Our Future, Together,” will significantly enhance the Santa Monica parish’s campus.

“We are blessed here at St. Monica,” said Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, pastor of St. Monica Catholic Community. “And with these blessings, come challenges. We welcome all, and God has graced our parish with the faithful whose numbers have increased, challenging our ability to welcome and serve them properly.”

The Community Center will replace the existing and cramped Pastoral Center. A subterranean parking structure will increase the number of parking spaces on campus, which will help alleviate parking congestion in Santa Monica.

The project also marks the first major renovation to the St. Monica Catholic High School gymnasium.

The new facility for St. Monica Catholic Elementary School will provide dedicated space for programs before and after school as well as additional programs during the school day.

The project will also significantly enhance St. Monica’s environmental sustainability.

Many portions of the project will be open to the general public, including a new coffee café, gathering spaces, and a very limited amount of parking. Final determination is under discussion.

Since 1994, the St. Monica parish has nearly tripled in size to more than 9,000 registered households, making it one of the largest parishes in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

The current project is designed not for the parish to grow larger, but to accommodate previous growth.

The renovation to the St. Monica Catholic High School gym began last fall and is under construction.

Sunday’s groundbreaking marks the beginning of the biggest part of the project, the portion of the campus that fronts onto California Avenue and stretches north along Lincoln Boulevard.

St. Monica Catholic Community includes three main entities: St. Monica Catholic Church, St. Monica Catholic High School, and St. Monica Catholic Elementary School.

The campus is bounded by California Avenue on the south, Washington Avenue on the north, Seventh Street on the west and Lincoln Boulevard on the east, in Santa Monica.

St. Monica’s landmark church building, which was rebuilt in 1995 after being severely damaged during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, is not part of the upcoming building project.

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