“The Light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness has not overcome it.”

-John 1:5

April 3, 2020

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Holy Family,

As we settle into the “new normal” of our existence, I hope that you and your family are staying well and finding solace in God’s love and mercy through the support of our daily e-mails, the livestreaming of our Masses, and in the variety of ways our ministries are reaching out to you. We are united as the Body of Christ, but I cannot tell you how much the priests, staff and I miss seeing you at Mass and in the daily spiritual, pastoral and social aspects of parish life. I pray that you feel that you are very much accompanied in your respective journeys at this time by your parish and that you know that you are not journeying alone.

Although our Church is closed, Holy Family parish and school are open, albeit operating in a different way! Our priests and staff are working remotely to minister to you in new and creative ways. We are working harder than ever to ensure that we are providing the support our parishioners need.

Many of you have reached out to us to tell us how we are doing and to let us know that you are praying for us. Your emails, letters and texts mean so much to us. Thank you for your prayers and for your suggestions and feedback. Please, keep them coming!!!

For those of you who are able to continue to support us financially, we are so grateful for your donations–we need your help more than ever. If you are able to support our Holy Family Crisis Relief Fund, your donation will help us to continue our expanded livestreaming efforts, as well as to continue helping those who have been economically impacted by the pandemic. It will also help us to maintain our parish operations so that we can continue to serve you.

We know that many of you have found yourselves in changed economic circumstances and our prayers are with you. We are here for you, so please reach out to us if we can help you in any way.

Below are some updates on what has been happening here at Holy Family Church, as well as some information about the Holy Week and Easter Liturgies. You can also access the updated Frequently Asked Questions about Holy Family’s response to the COVID-19 crisis here.

Supporting Our Community

We have several ways to support you and connect with you. We have staff and volunteers willing to make regular calls to check in with you and pray with you while we are apart. This is a beautiful way for us all to stay connected during this troubling yet grace-filled time.

Our priests are also happy to make a telephone appointment with you to provide spiritual counseling.

If you have limited resources, we can coordinate a parish volunteer to deliver items from our Giving Bank. Please note, our food pantry is based on donations, therefore, we cannot accommodate specific food requests.

If you are having difficulty getting to the grocery store, we can connect you with local resources that provide a free shopping and delivery service in the South Pasadena/Pasadena area.

For help in any of these areas, please email Mary Ternan at mary@holyfamily.org or call (626) 799-8908.

Continued Suspension of Public Masses and Closure of the Church to the Public

Archbishop Gomez has extended the period of suspension of all public Masses at least until April 19. The Archbishop has also asked that all churches be closed to the public until at least April 19. Our Pastoral Center is closed to the public until further notice.

Holy Week and Easter Liturgies

The continued suspension of public Masses means that not only have we had a Lent like no other, but we are also going to have a Holy Week and Easter like no other! Our priests and liturgy staff have been hard at work planning the liturgies which will be beautiful even if we cannot be together in the Church.

You can access the Holy Week and Easter livestreaming schedule on our website here.

While we are not able to hold a Reconciliation Service this year, Monsignor Connolly will be leading us in a livestreamed Experience of Reconciliation on the Tuesday evening of Holy Week. We hope you will begin your Holy Week at Holy Family by joining us at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7.

Livestreaming of the Rosary begins on Monday, April 6 at 6 p.m.

Many people have asked if we can say the Rosary together as a parish. Starting Monday, Deacon Jay and Candy will be leading the Rosary on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 p.m. You can join them by Zoom using this link and meeting ID: https://zoom.us/signin 609-92-6268.

If you don’t have a computer or you don’t have video and audio access on your computer, you can also participate by calling one of these numbers on your phone: 877-853-5427 (Toll Free) or 1 669-900-6833 (carrier charges may apply), and then inputting the meeting ID #: 609-392-6268.

Holy Family Bookstore

While both the Pastoral Center and the Bookstore are closed to the public, our Bookstore staff are taking telephone orders, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at (626) 403-6133. In addition to books, they can also fill orders for Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and tea, and other items. The Bookstore is even offering curbside pickup. You will need to provide a credit card to place the order.

Monsignor Connolly has curated a list of essential spiritual reading for getting through a pandemic! You can find that list here. The books are available from the Bookstore which appreciates your support during this difficult time.

As we continue this journey together throughout Holy Week and into the Easter season, we take comfort in the fact that we are never alone. God is with us each step of the way and we, the people of Holy Family, who are the Body of Christ, are here for one another. Your parish is here for you and we have a receptionist staffing the phones 7 days a week (Mondays to Fridays from 8-4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). You can reach Holy Family by calling (626) 799-8908.

You are very much in our prayers, thoughts and hearts every day.

Blessings of health and peace,

Cambria Tortorelli

Parish Life Director


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

-Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Holy Family,

Many of you have already heard that yesterday Archbishop Gomez announced that the public celebration of all Masses has been suspended until March 29, 2020, or otherwise extended.  Obviously, this has been a wrenching decision for the Archbishop and the leadership team at the Archdiocese to make, but it is imperative to ensure the safety of our Catholic faithful, in addition to our priests and deacons. Our Archbishop has also taken seriously our moral responsibility as a Church to do everything possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is not alone in doing this; indeed, an increasing number of dioceses in this country and around the world have taken this drastic step.

Holy Family will continue to livestream Mass:

Daily Mass, Monday through Saturday at 8:15 a.m.
Saturday Vigil Mass at 5:00 p.m.
Sunday Masses at 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

(By the way, last Sunday over 5,000 people viewed Holy Family’s live streamed Masses from around the country and the world!)

Our priests will also continue to offer confessions by appointment and provide anointing of the sick, as well as modified funeral and wedding services.  The Church will remain open for quiet prayer and reflection every day. Click here for the Holy Family’s Response to the Coronavirus FAQs.

A Lenten Journey Like No Other

Our Lenten journey this year has taken a twist that would have been unthinkable on Ash Wednesday just three short weeks ago: we are now being forced to fast even from the Eucharist. With or without the Eucharist, we are STILL the Body of Christ.  Now, more than ever before, in the very absence of the sacrament, we are called to be the sacrament by seeing Christ in one another and by being Christ’s hands and feet to all those in need.

Our community of faith also has a critical and essential role in combating another, potentially more serious, epidemic:  the epidemic of fear.  Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, reminds us that: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).  Anxiety and fear in this situation are perfectly natural.  However, fear that makes us hoard, makes us seek to take advantage of a situation, or divides us from another, violates the bonds of love and relationship with God and neighbor.

Can we, people of faith and good will, turn this awful moment, as we teeter on the edge of the unknown, into an epidemic of grace?  Can we dedicate ourselves to prayer, to love and compassion for one another, and to sharing our resources with those who do not have enough?  Can we reach out to our vulnerable neighbors to ensure their well-being? We know that God never allows darkness to overcome the light and that God always brings goodness out of even the worst of pain and suffering.  We also know that God can only do this through us, His children.

Holy Family Launches Relief Efforts for at Risk Seniors, Homebound & Sick

  • With all this in mind, I am very proud to announce that Holy Family is launching a major effort to reach out to the hundreds of vulnerable people in our parish, especially older seniors, the sick and homebound, to ensure that they are being taken care of, they have food and they are spiritually and socially connected.
  • We are extending the Giving Bank’s food distribution hours so that people can come throughout the week to pick up food.  Our new hours are:  Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Please call the Giving Bank at (626) 403-6140 if you need to schedule a pickup time or need to find out about the possibility of food being delivered to you.
  • If you need help dealing with spiritual or social isolation or know someone who needs help or assistance, please call our Pastoral Care office at (626) 403-6115 or email mary@holyfamily.org.

How Can I help our Vulnerable Parishioners?

Join our “Helpful Responders’ List”

  • We need volunteers for a variety of tasks, such as distributing food at Holy Family and to individual homes, phone trees, being a prayer-partner, etc. Perhaps some of our middle, high school and college students could help out!
  • If you would like to volunteer, please sign up by clicking here: Sign up to Volunteer!
  • If you have questions, please email Mary Schimmoller at mschimmoller@holyfamily.org
  • Donate Non-Expired, Non-Perishable Food Items
  • While all of us are concerned about the shortage of resources at this time, now more than ever, we are in need of your non-expired, non-perishable food items for distribution to our many less-fortunate families who rely on us daily. Your donations of food are welcome and greatly appreciated Monday through Friday at the Giving Bank between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. You can also drop off food in the Church in the bins in the vestibule at the Fremont entrance of the Church.  Unfortunately, at this time we cannot accept material donations (clothing, furniture, etc.) until further notice.
  • You can also help those most impacted by food shortages and long lines at the supermarkets, by reaching out to your vulnerable neighbors and ensuring that they are OK and are able to get food and other necessities.  We are Christ’s hands and feet!!!

Keeping Us Spiritually Connected

  • Our new web page “Praying Together…Even As We Are Apart” https://holyfamily.org/praying-together-even-as-we-are-apart/ has many online resources that can help us keep connected in common prayer.
  • Next week, we plan to begin live streaming the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary daily basis.
  • We are also launching a daily email with a video reflection from our spiritual leaders, inspirational prayers, poems and insights and links to various resources which will be added to our website to help you get through this difficult time.
  • We have made the decision to physically close the Bookstore, but our staff will be taking telephone orders, Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (626) 403-6133.  In addition to books, they can also fill orders for Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and tea, and other items. The Bookstore is even offering curbside delivery to your car!
  • Monsignor Connolly has curated a list of essential spiritual reading for getting through a pandemic!  You can find that list here.

Support the Holy Family Crisis Relief Fund

  • This fund has been set up to support the parish in a variety of ways, including the costs of live-streaming our Masses to thousands of people, supplying our Giving Bank with important necessities for our clients, homebound and elderly, ramping up our social media and web presence, and ensuring our parish remains operationally viable, especially while Mass attendance is at a stand-still.  We are dependent on your donations and they will help us not only to continue to reach out to those most in need, but also to keep the lights on and pay our staff during this time. You can make a donation to the fund by clicking on the button any time you see it!

Make your Offertory Contribution Online

  • Shift to making your regular offertory giving as an online donation, if you are not already doing this.  Your support is more vital than ever before. Click here to set up your online donation: Offertory Giving

I want to recognize the outstanding courage, dedication, resourcefulness and creativity of our parish and school faculty and staff, who are continuing to work to meet the needs of our parish and school community, transforming the way we have always done things to meet fast-paced and evolving new needs, literally at the drop of a hat.  This is an extraordinary team of people.

Now is the time that we turn our lives over to our loving God, and with trust in Him, we embrace the challenges we will face, knowing that God will be with us every step of the way.  Let us pray for a grace-filled response to this pandemic, one in which we spread the light and love of Jesus Christ.

Holy Family, and all our saints, pray for us!

Cambria Tortorelli, the Priests and Staff of Holy Family Church

P.S.  Please feel free to call me at (626) 403-6110 or email me at ctortorelli@holyfamily.org with questions, concerns or ideas!!!


Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Holy Family,

As we try to navigate through this very difficult period of uncertainty on so many fronts, we are, above all, cognizant of the paramount need to protect our community from possible exposure to the COVID-19/coronavirus, especially those among us who are elderly and/or compromised in some way.  Recognizing the grave cause of the current public health emergency, Archbishop Gomez has dispensed all Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and all Catholics currently in the Archdiocese from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass for the weekends of March 14-15, March 21-22, and March 28-29.

We are blessed at Holy Family to have live stream capability.  If you decide not to attend Mass, we will be live streaming the Sunday Masses at 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., as well as the 8:15 a.m. weekday Mass.  You can access the live stream here: https://livestream.com/holyfamily/live

We will also be creating a web page with resources and prayers, so that as a community we can continue to gather in common prayer—I will forward links to that new resource in the next day or so.

Our Church will remain open for quiet prayer and reflection each day.  We will offer Adoration from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Pastoral Center Chapel on Tuesday, March 24th.

Yesterday morning, I met with our priests, school principal, parish directors and staff to discern with them how best to protect our community, while also helping to slow the spread of the COVID-19/coronavirus.  Given the decision of Governor Newsom yesterday to cancel large non-essential events of over 250 people, as well as strong recommendations about the urgency of implementing social distancing measures immediately, before the COVID-19/coronavirus becomes any more widespread, Holy Family will be taking the following steps:

      1. Effective Monday, March 16th, Holy Family School students will work remotely from home and will not attend school through Friday, March 27th.  During that time, we will re-evaluate whether students should return to school on March 30th.  Teachers and staff will be available via email during school hours.  To read the full text of the Principal’s letter to the school community, please click here
      2. All parish events and meetings will be cancelled or suspended until April 1st.  We will re-assess the situation during this time to determine whether we need to continue suspending parish meetings and events after April 1st.  At this time, we are planning to hold Confirmation and First Eucharist on their respectively scheduled dates, as well as the Auction on Saturday, May 16th.

        The following events are cancelled: St. Joseph’s Table, the Gift Gathering Party, the Sunday Ecumenical Dinners and Services at the South Pasadena Christian Churches, First Spiritual Exercises retreat, Soup and Cinema, small-faith groups, Taize, Body in Prayer Stations of the Cross, Racism in America: What is Mine to Do workshop, Living Your Strengths workshop, Continental Breakfasts, and all other ministry meetings.

        We encourage you, when possible, to meet via Zoom teleconferencing https://zoom.us/ or via Uberconference: https://www.uberconference.com/features/free_conference_calls Your ministry leader or chair will reach out to you to confirm alternative meeting arrangements.

        Schools of Formation: Sunday School, Religious Education, Middle School Ministry, Confirmation, Youth Ministry, and Adult Faith Formation are suspending their gatherings and will be utilizing online catechism resources. Your ministry leader will confirm with you what these arrangements will be.

        If you have questions about your ministry meeting or how to set up a conference call or Zoom teleconference, please call Andrell Panconi at (626) 403-6107 or email her at apanconi@holyfamily.org.

      3. We are suspending all pastoral visits to the sick, elderly and homebound unless absolutely necessary.  We will reach out to our sick, elderly and homebound by phone so that we can keep in contact with them as much as possible.  We are very concerned about the effects of social isolation on many of our parishioners and will be exploring innovative ways to create a sense of community without physically being present to one another.
      4. We are continuing our ministry to our Giving Bank clients and homeless sisters and brothers, but with stringent hygiene and food handling practices put in place.  We are not accepting clothing donations at this time. We are also exploring ways to ensure that food is delivered to those who may be sick or have to self-quarantine.
      5. We are exercising extreme care with cleaning all frequently touched surfaces in the Church, the Pastoral Center, Education Center and in other locations around campus.  At this time, we have had difficulty in purchasing enough hand sanitizer and encourage you to bring your own hand sanitizer when you come on campus.
      6. Our parish offices will remain open and our parish staff will continue to report for work.  We are here for you if you feel the need to call or meet with any of us. The Book Store will also remain open to provide spiritual and faith resources to you.

All of us here at the parish feel the weight of the gravity of the steps we are taking, especially at a time when more than ever we need to gather as a community to pray for one another.  It is an irony that just as we most need to find refuge in the comfort of our wonderful community of faith, we are being pulled apart in the interests of public health. This morning, Fr. Denis reminded us that God always finds a way to bring good out of even the most difficult of situations.  Our hope and prayer is that in this time of trial and struggle, each of us will draw closer to God and learn to trust Him even more.

Jeremiah’s words in yesterday’s scripture readings have a particular resonance for us at this unprecedented time of uncertainty and fear in our world:

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought, it is not anxious,
and it does not cease to bear fruit. 

-Jer 17: 7-8

The priests and our parish staff join me in expressing their love and concern for each and every one of you.  Our prayers are with you—please pray for us as well. We are here if you need to call us or reach out to us, and we can certainly meet with you one-on-one.  If you have ideas or suggestions about how we can better support you and our parish, please let us know.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the staff person or ministry leader who oversees your ministry, or contact me directly at ctortorelli@holyfamily.org or at (626) 403-6110.

We are on this journey together…and we journey together with an abiding sense of faith, hope, love and trust in God.  Please pray for all those who are sick, as well as our health care workers, first responders, researchers and all who are trying to make wise decisions about public policy and practice.

Holy Family, pray for us.

Cambria Tortorelli, and the priests and staff of Holy Family


March 5, 2020


Dear Parishioners and Friends of Holy Family,

During this time of growing concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within the US, including within LA County, I want you to know that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is monitoring the situation very closely through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the County of Los Angeles Public Health websites.  The Archdiocese is working with both parishes and schools to ensure that we are taking the necessary steps to create the safest possible environment for our parishioners, students, faculty, and staff.

While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help respond and limit the impact of this emerging public health threat.

What are we doing at Holy Family?

We are taking a number of steps to prevent the spread of respiratory infection, which include temporarily modifying some of our liturgical practices:

      • We have suspended offering the Chalice at Communion.
      • At the Our Father, please refrain from holding hands with other parishioners.
      • At the Sign of Peace, rather than a handshake, please offer a smile or a nod and a heartfelt, “Peace be with you”.
      • Please receive communion in the hand and not on the tongue to prevent the possibility of transmitting germs from one communicant to another.
      • Please remember that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not apply to those who are ill, especially those who have a contagious sickness.  It is a sign of consideration for themselves and others that those with flu-like symptoms remain at home.

Additionally, we are providing hand sanitizers in all the church vestibules and other entry points in the parish and school buildings.  We will be regularly sanitizing door handles and other places that are touched frequently.

Holy Family School has already communicated with school families about preventive measures the school is taking.  Parents are urged to keep their children home from school if they are sick.  The school is exploring options for continuing to educate our school children in the event of a school closure.

What can you do?

 The Department of Public Health recommends that the public take the following commonsense precautions: 

      • Stay home when you are sick.
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
      • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
      • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
      • Face masks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are sick.
      • Get a flu immunization to prevent influenza if you have not done so this season.

Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ and the County Department of Public Health in Los Angeles for the most current information. We will notify you of any changes to our strategy to prevent the spread illness.   If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (626) 403-6110 or at ctortorelli@holyfamily.org.

Please join me in offering prayers for healing and support for those organizations, both domestic and international, working to provide medical supplies and assistance to address this serious risk to public health, as well as for healthcare workers, researchers, and all those who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.   As with any affliction, the virus is a solemn reminder of the uncertainty of life, an invitation to deepen our dependence on God and draw closer to Christ, a sure hope in uncertain times.

Yours in Christ,
Cambria Tortorelli
Parish Life Director
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