Rev. William Norvel
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
The Rev. William Norvel will be the guest preacher at the 90th Anniversary Celebration of St. Brigid Catholic Church on Sunday, December 5, at 10 a.m., at 5214 S. Western Avenue in Los Angeles. The public is invited to attend.
The service culminates St. Brigidís year-long observance of this milestone, said Pastor Thomas Frank. ìOn Sunday, Rev. Norvel will join us at Mass and a special luncheon, but throughout 2010, we have celebrated with a revival, choir concert, church picnic and other events in honor of St. Brigidís anniversary.î
St. Brigid parish is overseen by the Josephite Fathers and Brothers, a Catholic order whose primary work is ministering in African American communities. Officially called Saint Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart (S.S.J.), they were formed in 1871 to meet the needs of newly freed people after the Civil War and continue to operate in communities throughout the U.S.
In 1920, St. Brigid was established and celebrated its first Mass in a small rented house on West 51st Street. Three years later, a combination church and school was erected and followed soon by the construction of the present rectory. The current edifice was built in 1953 and a school in 1960.
After large numbers of African Americans moved into the area during the late 1960s and 70s, the Josephite Fathers and Brothers were asked to administer operations at the parish in 1978. Rev. Norvel, who served as pastor from 1979 to 1983, was the first Josephite appointed to St. Brigid.
During his tenure, Rev. Norvel directed a complete program of parish renewal including emphasis on evangelization, liturgy in the African American tradition, lay leadership formation, and extensive service to the parish and community. Also, he organized a Gospel Choir and established the Parish Council.
Rev. Frank has served at St. Brigid since 2007 and said his focus is ìpromoting stewardship of time, talent and treasure to empower parishioners to carry out the mission and ministry of Christ.
ìOur big theme is continuing to have a voice, visibility and vibrant faith in Jesus Christ. We will continue to evangelize as well as build on our on-going ministries of providing weekly hot meals for homeless, presenting annual health fairs and job promotions, and maintaining our ecumenical neighbor to neighbor program with Lewis Metropolitan C.M.E. Church,î said Rev. Frank. ìWe hope to strengthen unity of the parish in the years to come.î
For information on St. Brigidís 90th Anniversary, call the church office at (323) 292-0781.