The St. Pancras Church in Glendale is rebuilding and looking to become more inclusive after a scandal last year involved a pastor sharing sexually explicit photos and texts with a minor.
After the church removed Pastor Francis Hughes, 65, for inappropriate communication with a minor in 2020, his replacement, Pastor Steven Aguggia, has been making an effort to include the Latino community, which he said has been forgotten in the church.
This weekend, the church will hold a celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the night of Saturday, Dec. 11.
Aguggia said that when he came into the parish, he noticed the Latino community was not being served as it should be.
“We tried to start a ministry to reach out to them,” Aguggia said. “It’s a recognition of the community that is here and building upon that.”
Juan Perez, the director of Faith Formation at St. Pancras, said this is the first time the church has done things in Spanish and it started with a prayer group back in January.
“We have been building the Latino community within the parish there are a lot of Latinos around St. Pancras but there was nothing in Spanish,” Perez said. “The new pastor came with these great ideas of rebuilding the parish. We were hurt by what happened with the last pastor here. Part of the rebuilding was bringing the Latino community to the parish.”
The Lady of Guadalupe celebration will take place Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9:30 p.m. into the early hours of Sunday, Dec. 12, with music, mariachi bands and prayer. Perez said the Lady of Guadalupe is the patron of the Mexican people and having this celebration is a big deal for the Latino community.
Perez said that Bible classes for Spanish-speakers are now available, with the goal of building a stable community. Later, the church plans to introduce a Spanish mass every weekend on Sunday afternoons.