Saint Peter’s Catholic Church was founded in the small town of Wilmington, California in 1865 by Bishop Thaddeus Amat, C.M., Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles. It was the twentieth year of the reign of Blessed Pope Pius IX. That year also saw the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
The first church building was a simple wooden structure on the corner of G Street and Neptune Avenue, and was constructed by soldiers of the 1st California Infantry Regiment, U.S.V, stationed at nearby Drum Barracks. The boundaries of the parish included all of what is now the southern part of Los Angeles County, from present-day Compton south to the ocean, and from Redondo Beach to Orange County. The first pastor of the parish was Fr. Antonio Ubach, O.F.M., the last of the Franciscan Padres in the line of Blessed Junipero Serra, O.F.M., the great Apostle of California. Around the end of the nineteenth century the name of the parish was changed to Saints Peter and Paul.
In less than 60 years the church was no longer big enough to house the growing congregation. Father Bernardino J. Schiaparelli, who became pastor in 1922, oversaw the design and construction of the present church on the corner of Opp Street and Lagoon Avenue.
Unfortunately before work on the church had been completed, the Depression struck and some of the plans for finishing the interior of the church had to be postponed indefinitely. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated in the new church for the first time by Fr. Schiaparelli on Christmas Eve in 1930, and the church was formally dedicated on Sunday, March 15, 1931, with Bishop John J. Cantwell officiating.
In 1943 Father John V. Hegarty became pastor. He established a school on the parish grounds and invited Sisters from the Congregation of St. Francis of Penance and Charity to teach there. Father John Dunne was appointed pastor in 1945 and built a new parish school at the present location on Bay View Avenue. He invited the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny to staff the school and built a convent for them opposite the church on Lagoon Avenue.
Monsignor John Brennan became pastor in 1960 and during his pastorate SS. Peter and Paul Parish celebrated its centenary with a Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving on April 24, 1966, with His Eminence James Francis Cardinal McIntyre presiding. Father Santiago Tamayo became pastor following Monsignor Brennan’s death in 1983. The following year Monsignor Clement Morian was appointed pastor.
With the death of Monsignor Morian in 1993, Father G. Peter Irving III became pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church. Father Roberto L. Pirrone became associate pastor in July 1999. Fr. Irving and Fr. Pirrone did much to restore and beautify the parish church and to deepen the spiritual life of the parish.
During the Great Jubilee Year 2000, Cardinal Roger Mahony designated SS. Peter and Paul Church as one of only 20 pilgrimage churches in the Archdiocese. On May 13, 2004 Fr. Irving inaugurated the new Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel with the enthusiastic support of the parishioners. Under the leadership of Fr. Irving the parish also built the Eugene Sullivan Parish Hall and constructed the Pope John Paul II Memorial Garden, which includes a statue of the late Pope.
On July 1, 2006, upon the expiration of Fr. Irving’s term as pastor, Cardinal Mahony placed the parish under the care of the Norbertine Fathers of Saint Michael’s Abbey in Silverado. Fr. Raymond Perez, O. Praem. became its first Norbertine pastor.
In July of 2015, the arrival of our new and present pastor Fr. Hildebrand Garceau, O.Praem. Currently serving along side Fr. Hildebrand at SS. Peter and Paul Parish are Fr. Michael Perea, O. Praem, Fr. Claude Williams, O. Praem, and Fr. Arian Sanchez, O. Praem.
Go to Eucharistic Adoration
Go to Eucharistic Adoration: A holy young woman once said that she attends Adoration often because she needs “God’s love right now” and she needs to “be with Him.” She said that because Jesus died on the cross to save us, she believed she could “save” Him by going to Adoration to experience Christ’s love. What better gift can we give Jesus (and ourselves) than to spend time adoring Our Savior?
Join a Church Ministry
Join a Church Ministry: God gives us all unique gifts. Sharing them with our fellow parishioners in service of God, The Church and our neighbors is an excellent way to show God our appreciation. Our parishes are also a great place to nurture our gifts, so we can share them with our communities and our world.
Pray the Rosary
Pray the Rosary: In St. John Paul II’s “Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” the beloved pope stated “With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of His love.” With information available on many Catholic websites, at religious bookstores, in churches and on Catholic cable channels, it is easy to learn how to pray the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. It’s a beautiful way to draw closer to Jesus.
Help People in Need
Help People in Need: We are all called to see the face of Christ in others. At the same time, we are all called to let the light of Christ shine within us. Volunteering to help those in need and joyfully giving what we can to assist them is a wonderful way to fulfill both callings. Praying for people on a prayer list and souls in Purgatory are also great ways to bless others.
Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation: Although it’s a sacrament that many of us shy away from, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a blessing. It’s a powerful way to ask God’s forgiveness for our sins and a powerful way to receive that mercy. It’s an invitation to start anew.
Participate in a Retreat or Workshop
Participate in a Retreat or Workshop: Christian retreats, seminars and workshops can enrich our faith in various ways. They can reignite our passion for God’s Word and our love for Jesus. They can also inspire us by giving us new ways to pray to, praise and serve God. The blessings of fellowship and friendship also enhance our lives in amazing ways.
Spend Time Reading and Meditating on God’s Word
Spend Time Reading and Meditating on God’s Word: In Ephesians 6:17, the apostle, Paul, writes “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” If we hope to understand God’s teachings and let them guide us, spending quality time with The Bible will help us accomplish this goal. By exploring our faith in new ways, we can find many treasures. Inspiration, peace of mind, wisdom, compassion, fellowship and the saving love of Jesus can be found along the path. If we resolve to refresh our faith through any of these opportunities, our journey as Catholics can be revitalized in ways we never imagined.
We Are Family
These are some very practical reasons that participation in a community is vital for your spiritual growth. But there is a deeper, more spiritual purpose for community. We are created to exist in Family! From the very beginning, God designed our relationship with Him to be experienced in the context of relationship with each other. In fact, we can only be fully the image of the Triune God when we are in a loving relationship with others. And the only new command that Jesus gave us was to love one another as he loved us. As mentioned earlier, we are not saved as individuals. Jesus makes us children of God and co-heirs of the Kingdom. He united us to Himself in the Holy Eucharist, but also to each other. Jesus prayed that we would all be one. Do you really need more evidence that God created us to live in communion with each other? So not only does community help us in practical ways to grow spiritually, without community no true spiritual growth is even possible