Deacon Gregory Patterson
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
Providing excellence service is one creed Rev. Mr. Gregory Patterson applies to God, church, and business.
An ordained deacon in the Catholic Church, Patterson demonstrates this principle at Church of the Transfiguration in the Crenshaw District. His belief is also revealed as co-owner of Westchester Travel Agency.
In both roles, Patterson strives to give outstanding assistance to everyone he encounters.
"I always thought I had a calling to serve God and God's people. I think if I had gone to Catholic school, I probably would have ended up as a parish priest," he said.
Since being consecrated to the Diaconate in 2001, Patterson has served primarily at Transfiguration assisting the pastor, Rev. Michael Tang. He also conducts baptisms, brings the Eucharist (Holy Communion) to the sick, and presides at weddings.
"My main ministry is to the sick and dying. I perform home visitations, hospital visits, funerals and rosaries three or four times a week. In my private time, I do detention ministry and work with the children at Transfiguration School."
Also, he works for the Deacon Mission Center, Inc., assisting and outreaching to various parishes in Los Angeles with significant African American congregations. Those churches include St. Bernadette, St. Brigid, St. Francis X. Cabrini, Holy Name of Jesus, St. Odilia, Transfiguration and St. Michael where Patterson has another office.
The Knights and Ladies of St. Peter Claver and the African American Catholic Center for Evangelization recently recognized Patterson's substantial efforts. During the awards program, he was honored, along with Cardinal Roger Mahony and three others, for his contributions to minority youth and the spiritual enrichment of the lives of African American Catholics.
"I enjoy my ministry and what I do here at Transfiguration and other parishes," admitted Patterson, who still finds time to devote to Westchester Travel Agency.
"I've been a travel professional for 37 years and we have an experienced, knowledgeable staff that knows all about arranging flights, cruises, and tours. We're familiar with most destinations because we're invited to many resorts. We have had the opportunity to travel throughout the world, so we can share it with our clients," he said.
Among the benefits Westchester Travel offers is personal service. While many people turn to the Internet for travel arrangements, Patterson cautioned that it's not always the best option.
"Be careful when you go online because you may end up paying more. But, our agency has access to every airline and information about restrictions related to reservations, changes, or refunds to make everything easier for you," said Patterson.
In addition, Westchester Travel staff has a broad knowledge about popular destinations. "For example, when people want to cruise to the Caribbean, many decide to depart from Miami. But, I'll advise they sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, instead because you get three ports to visit from Miami, but, for the same price, you can leave from Puerto Rico and see five ports."
Also, the agency can arrange packages for Europe and Africa, such as reasonably priced visits for 10 to 12 days that include flight, hotel, meals, and safari game reserve starting at $3500. "If you're looking for destinations, it's nice to talk to someone knowledgeable who gives personal service. I encourage individuals, churches, ministries and community groups to consider Westchester Agency for their retreats, convocations and any travel needs," said Patterson.