For the Diocese of Orange, 2022 will be remembered as a wonderful year of worship, blessings and joy within our diverse faith community of parishes, centers and schools that all call Orange County home.
It also marked 10 years of the Diocese’s ownership of Christ Cathedral, the spiritual home of the Bishop of Orange.
Formerly known as the Crystal Cathedral under the Rev. Robert Schuller, since 2012 the Garden Grove property has been transformed into a major center of Catholic worship for not only Orange County, but the region at large.
Beyond the cathedral, parishes also celebrated special milestones this past year.
Let’s take a look and look back on some of the Diocese’s major moments in 2022:
COMPLETION OF HAZEL WRIGHT ORGAN RESTORATION
This year marked the completed restoration of the iconic Hazel Wright Organ in Christ Cathedral. Nearly a decade of work went into the $3-million project, which involved sending many of Hazel’s 17,000+ pipes back to Italy for a full restoration.
Named after a Chicago-area donor, the pipe organ was in dire need of a major refurbishment when the Diocese of Orange purchased the Crystal Cathedral campus in 2012. Bishop Kevin Vann, an organist
himself, prioritized the endeavor.
After facing COVID-19 delays in 2020 and 2021, in February the long-awaited restoration reached its final stages with the finishing of the organ’s voicing and reinstallation, and the removal of a temporary digital organ that had been serving the Christ Cathedral parish since 2019.
Then, after months of further fine-tuning, in a special ceremony in June Bishop Vann blessed the organ.
The Vatican’s organist even flew in from Rome for the occasion and gave a special performance.
Following June’s blessing, to celebrate that “Hazel is back,” the Diocese, Orange Catholic Foundation and cathedral music ministry launched the Year of Hazel concert series that continues into 2023. A documentary about the restoration was also made, as were two new organ music
albums by the cathedral’s organists.
Hazel is the world’s fifth largest pipe organ and dates to 1982, when it was first constructed and designed for the Crystal Cathedral under the Rev. Robert Schuller.
THE YEAR 2022 MARKED THE COMPLETED RESTORATION OF THE ICONIC HAZEL WRIGHT ORGAN IN CHRIST CATHEDRAL. PHOTO BY STEVEN GEORGES/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
HOLY FAMILY’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY
Holy Family Catholic Church in Orange celebrated its 100th anniversary this year with a gala. The festivities were a continuation from celebrations in 2021.
Holy Family parish dates to 1921. The current church opened its doors in 1958. Holy Family became a cathedral in 1976, the same year the Diocese of Orange was established.
It served as the cathedral until 2019, when Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove was dedicated. In November, the parish also installed its new pastor, Fr. Sy U. Nguyen, who is the seventh pastor to serve the parish since the establishment of the Diocese in 1976.
IN NOVEMBER, HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ORANGE INSTALLED ITS NEW PASTOR, FR. SY U. NGUYEN, WHO IS THE SEVENTH PASTOR TO SERVE THE PARISH SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DIOCESE IN 1976. PHOTO BY DREW KELLEY/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
OTHER PARISH MILESTONES
The Diocese also celebrated the 75th anniversaries of the following parishes in 2022: St. Joachim in Costa Mesa, Blessed Sacrament in Westminster and Our Lady of Fatima in San Clemente.
Each parish dates to 1947. Anniversary festivities included special Masses, receptions and processions.
NEW NARTHEX, PASTORAL CENTER AND HALL FOR ST. EDWARD THE CONFESSOR
St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Dana Point completed two major construction projects in 2022. The first came early in the year with the opening of a 1,800-square-foot narthex featuring 22stained glass panels of the dalle de verre style.
The designer was Kaj Garmshausen, who took inspiration from an earlier version by Joseph “Jos” Maes, who did St. Edward’s original stained glass. Maes’ son, Dirk, was also involved in the project, assembling the glass into the design that Garmshausen made.
Then on Nov. 19, St. Edward celebrated the opening of its new Pastoral Center and Knight Hall. The festivities included Mass with Bishop Kevin Vann, who also blessed the new energy-efficient facility, along with the parish priests and other priests who have served at St. Edward over the years. The project includes parish offices, a lobby, a kitchen, two kitchenettes, meeting rooms and restrooms. The building affords easier collaboration within the parish’s business and pastoral staff with central locations and huddle rooms for department meetings.
The Pastoral Center and Knight Hall were more than 20 years in the making. The hall is named after St.
Edward’s founding pastor, Fr. Louis Knight.
SPECIAL PRAYER SERVICE FOR UKRAINE
Bishop Kevin Vann presided over a special prayer service for peace in Ukraine on Ash Wednesday, March 2. The interfaith service at Christ Cathedral drew several hundred parishioners, including some local Ukrainians. It had the distribution of ashes, and remarks and a prayer from Mitered Archpriest Stephen G. Washko, pastor of Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in Anaheim.
Pastor Washko told stories of his family in Ukraine and the triumph of the church in Ukraine after years of oppression by communists.
“The church experienced a revival,” he said. “The people were free to express their Catholic faith … [but] now we see the homeland of many of our parishioners threatened with this invasion by Russia. It is sad to see brother killing brother. I am sure that this invasion will have many repercussions in Russia, as well as for the world.”
Bishop Vann, who said the crisis in Ukraine brings back memories of the dangers felt in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, called for “reaching out, as we can from here in the United States, to be present and help our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine, in their time of great need. We cannot be isolationist. People of faith, we reach out.”
NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC REVIVAL KICKOFF
This year was the first of the National Eucharistic Revival, a call from the U.S. bishops for a grassroots revival of devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
The revival kicked off on June 18 at Christ Cathedral, with Bishop Timothy Freyer presiding over a Mass and Procession, the latter of which traveled around the campus to altar stations that were in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Following the kickoff, parishes throughout the Diocese participated in the revival in various fashions.
The National Eucharistic Revival continues in the Diocese through 2024, with the aim to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Pro-life walk to fight Prop. 1 With Prop. 1 on the California ballot this fall, the Orange County chapter of Knights of Columbus took action to urge a “no” vote and support the pro-life movement.
On Oct. 1, kicking off Respect Life Month, the Knights organized the Orange County Walk for Life 2022, bringing the event for the first time to the Christ Cathedral campus. It featured a eucharistic procession
with more than a thousand of the faithful from around the region processing around the 34-acre campus.
The demonstration also included prolife speakers and organizations giving briefings on why the community should vote against Prop. 1, which sought to further enshrine a destructive culture of abortion in California.
“We are fighting the power of evil, the power of Satan, and all his death,” Bishop Timothy Freyer said at the rally. “Proposition 1 is truly evil.”
INAUGURAL MARIAN DAYS
The Christ Cathedral campus hosted the inaugural Marian Days celebration on July 1 and 2, a festival-like event honoring the Blessed Mother that attracted more than 15,000 people to the campus. The theme was “With Mary, Giving Thanks to God.”
Marian Days, modeled after an annual Vietnamese Catholic celebration that has taken place in Missouri since 1978, featured Masses with the Diocese’s bishops, workshops, food, vendor booths, live entertainment and a procession that brought thousands onto the streets around the cathedral.
Marian Days also had hundreds of dancers, singers and an orchestra. Marian Days returns in 2023 on July 14 and 15. The theme will be “Together with Mary, We Journey.”
THE CHRIST CATHEDRAL CAMPUS HOSTED THE INAUGURAL MARIAN DAYS CELEBRATION ON JULY 1 AND 2. PHOTO BY JOSHUA SUDOCK/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
SECOND PHASE OF OUR LADY OF LA VANG SHRINE BEGINS
On Nov. 9, before a crowd of supporters, the Diocese of Orange unveiled plans and provided a blessing for the second construction phase of the Our Lady of La Vang Shrine on the Christ Cathedral campus.
The $2.2-million phase will focus on building Marian gardens on the shrine’s east side. The roughly 10,000-square-foot gardens will feature four circular niches that can host small prayer groups in a quiet setting.
The gardens will highlight four Marian mysteries, contain trilingual prayers (English, Spanish and Vietnamese) and have other imagery depicting the life of the Virgin Mary.
The gardens will also have new landscaping and a new donor monument. The front section of the shrine will have a new water feature added. Construction of the second phase is expected to begin in March 2023 and conclude by fall 2023.
The OLLV Foundation, the new nonprofit that’s been tasked with completing the $12.6-million shrine project and the cathedral’s St. Callistus Chapel and Crypts, will also create a digital library at the shrine containing history about the Our Lady of La Vang Marian apparition and other Marian apparitions.