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About Our Church

Ss. Peter & Paul
Church History

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 2021, the arrival of our new and present pastor Fr. Claude Williams, O.Praem. Currently serving along side Fr. Claude at SS. Peter and Paul Parish are Fr. Michael Perea, O. Praem, Fr. Jacob Hsieh, O. Praem, Fr. Anselm Rodriguez and Fr. Arian Sanchez, O. Praem. 


Parish Mission

the Faith

Most of us fall into a bit of a spiritual rut every now and then. It happens. But no matter what time of the month or year it is, it’s always a good time to expand our horizons in a way that shakes things up and strengthens our Christian faith. As Catholics, there are many opportunities to do so. Here are seven that can help us all.


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.


Our spiritual formation is primarily guided by:
1. The Holy Spirit who guides us to all truth through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition
2. The Magisterium who is also guided by the Holy Spirit to help us properly understand Scripture and Tradition.

But as individuals we can still pretty easily go astray when we are left to our own devices. So we are also called to learn our faith together as members of a learning community. That way our understanding of the faith can be guided by insights and experiences of many people rather than the narrow perceptions we can create for ourselves. This is one of the most practical reasons to seek spiritual growth as part of a community. I found this to be true even as a theologian and teacher. It’s not really a matter of clarifying doctrine, but of clarifying how to live the Christian life and what is necessary to live our vocations and to grow in our relationship with Jesus.

Spiritual Growth as part of a community gives us accountability

There has been a movement among our Protestant brothers and sisters of having “accountability partners.” This movement has been downplayed by many Catholic teachers. After all, we have the sacrament of reconciliation with accountability built right in. Now there is some truth to this. Part of the accountability movement among our non-Catholic brothers and sisters is filling a vacuum. The sacrament of reconciliation gives us accountability to Christ directly, whose forgiveness and love are tangible through the sacrament. We feel – or should feel – a very real sense of accountability to Him. We also have accountability to the priest who acts as our spiritual adviser. I know that if we keep coming back to the priest with the same sin we might feel like we haven’t been taking our spiritual growth seriously enough.

On the other hand, our Protestant brothers and sisters are on to something with the accountability group movement that we Catholics really need to learn from. Catholics claim that we are not saved as individuals, but we are rather saved as members of God’s family. We need each other. Non-Catholics are more likely to theologically stress the individual relationship with Jesus. Catholic theology stresses our membership in God’s Family. But in practice, Catholics don’t always live what we believe. Accountability groups is an expression of the belief that we’re all in this journey together.

As Catholics we should not feel the need to confess our sins to each other in place of Reconciliation. But how else could we use accountability groups to accelerate our spiritual growth? We see accountability groups more like spiritual growth goal setting groups. Would it be easier to form the habit of daily prayer (for example) if you set the goal as a group and you knew that next Monday you’d be reporting to the group how you are doing? Especially when you know that Jim is going to tell you he has prayed every day because that’s just how Jim is. And that’s great of Jim! Because the flip-side of keeping each other accountable is modeling the faith for each other.


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


About Our Church

Church TOP

Our mission as a community of faith is to bring Christ to all and to evangelize through prayer, service, teaching & celebrating the Sacraments of the Church. We also reach out to the poor & marginalized by providing basic human needs & the love of Christ. As you pass through these pages, you will learn about our community. You will see images of our parish life. You will find information about our Mass schedule, the Sacraments, confessions, religious education, parish organizations, special events, and much more. Saints Peter & Paul offers a magnificent setting for the sacred liturgy. We also traditional devotions, including perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel. May this website be an inspiration to you to visit Saints Peter & Paul yourself & join us for Mass or simply to take time for quiet prayer.

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