September 1, 2015

Pastor Spotlight

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Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson
St. Monica Parish
Santa Monica

Reverend Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson was born in East Los Angeles in 1939 and attended St. Alphonsus Elementary School and Los Angeles Community College High School. Msgr. Torgerson completed his training for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest May, 1965 and his first assignment was at Holy Trinity Parish in San Pedro where he served for five years. Msgr. Torgerson was sent to complete his graduate degree in Religious Education at Fordham University in New York in 1970 and came back to serve the Los Angeles Archdiocese as Director of Youth Ministry. After eleven years, he was named the Director of Religious Education for the Archdiocese. Msgr. Torgerson has been in residence at St. Monica Parish for 28 years and has served as pastor for the last 24 years.

Msgr. Torgerson is a great supporter of Catholic education. St. Monica is one of only five parishes in the archdiocese to sponsor both an elementary and high school. While his duties as pastor of a parish of 9,000 households can be demanding, he always makes time to connect with the students from each of the two schools. Rarely does a morning go by that Msgr. Torgerson is not on the yard greeting the students as they arrive. He celebrates the Eucharist regularly with the school communities as well as providing the Sacrament of Reconciliation and spiritual support for students and their families as they encounter life’s challenges.

He has a special care for students in their last year of each of the schools, regularly teaching religion to the eighth grade students and serving as the spiritual director for each of the senior Kairos retreats. Msgr. Torgerson has an incredible sense of gratitude for work of his two Catholic schools. While some in society see working with young people as a challenge, he is excited by their “fire” and they respond in a great way to him.

His pastoral care also extends to the faculty and staff of each school. He meets regularly with the administration of each school and serves as a great mentor for all aspiring to leadership. Educational leaders who have been molded by Msgr. Torgerson find him accessible and quick to educate them in the areas of institutional growth, capacity for compassion, and servant leadership.

On the Archdiocesan level, he serves as Vicar for Ministerial Formation, working with Deacons, Pastoral Associates, Vocations and the Seminary. He looks for opportunities to gather with fellow pastors to dialogue about the great work of our Catholic schools. Under his leadership, his parish has also assisted in the building of an elementary school in Dandora, Kenya, with whom St. Monica students and parishioners share in a reciprocal relationship with their brothers and sisters in Africa.

Rev. Steve Davoren
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish

Reverend Steve Davoren grew up in St. Christopher’s Parish, West Covina and graduated from Bishop Amat High School. One of eight children, Rev. Davoren grew up in a law enforcement family, and was originally called to service as a police officer, serving eight years with the LAPD and the L.A. County Sheriff Department. Rev. Davoren was ordained a priest in 1996 at St. John’s Seminary and served as an assistant at St. Raymond’s, Downey and American Martyrs in Manhattan Beach. He has been pastor at Our Lady of the Assumption in Ventura for four years.

Rev. Davoren’s energy and enthusiasm are contagious at Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA), and the parish has seen tremendous growth in the past four years, both in Mass attendance and in many ministries. As a parishioner said, “the excitement created by Rev. Davoren lead (the parish community) to be more involved. His desire to create a welcoming and nurturing environment at OLA fits perfectly with our goals as parishioners. We continue to enjoy being a part of the plan to make OLA a true reflection of the love of our Lord.”

Rev. Davoren is very involved in the daily life of the school, and is regularly in the classrooms, on the playground and at sports events. Football is his particular passion, and he is the chaplain and #1 cheerleader for the St. Bonaventure Seraph Football team. Rev. Davoren takes a particular interest in the spiritual life of the OLA school students, and personally leads two eighth grade retreats each year.

When Rev. Davoren takes a day off, he enjoys golf, bike riding and running. He recently completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., running to honor the memory of young Marine from OLA parish who lost his life in service to his country.

Msgr. Jarlath Cunnane
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish
Los Angeles

Monsignor Jarlath Cunnane has been a strong advocate for Catholic education during his 33 years as a priest. As pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Central Los Angeles, Msgr. Cunnane oversees a parish of over 10,000 families with over 75 active ministries, and a school that serves 305 students in grades Kindergarten through Eighth Grade.

He has served as a priest in Lynwood, Palos Verdes and La Puente and as pastor at Sacred Heart in Altadena. For several years, he served as a Professor at All Hallows College in Dublin, Ireland. His experience as an educator gives him a unique perspective on the value of Catholic education.

When he arrived at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in 1998, he worked to ensure the viability and continued success of St. Thomas School. In 1999, an arson fire greatly damaged the church and Msgr. Cunnane led an effort to rebuild and expand the 97 year old church. Upon completion of the church, Msgr. turned his focus on the School, which was built in 1929. He put together a Building Advisory Board who worked with him to create a master plan to renovate and expand the educational facilities at St. Thomas. This effort led to a capital campaign that raised $16 million dollars to renovate and expand the education campus. Today, St. Thomas School has a renovated school building, new classroom space, a library, a 500 seat multipurpose hall/gymnasium, playground and parking. This new education campus in the heart of Los Angeles demonstrates a commitment to inner-city Catholic Education.

Msgr. has led the school development efforts with the goal of sustaining outside support for student scholarships, educational programs and extra-curricular activities. This effort helps to keep the school fully enrolled and education programs and extra-curricular activities vibrant. He has helped keep the school accessible to parishioners who desire a quality Catholic education, but who have limited means to pay for it.

Martin and Norma Amaya are an example of Msgr. Cunnane’s effort to make the school accessible to parishioners. The Amayas, active parishioners at St. Thomas, have five children and desired a Catholic education for their children. The family now has all five children enrolled in the school through the generous support of the school development efforts. “It’s a miracle,” their mother, Norma says today. “It’s a blessing that our kids are here, because they really like it, and it’s like a whole different joy for them.”

In 2008, Msgr. Cunnane spearheaded an effort along with Principal Raymond Saborio to create an Advisory School Board. This effort has led to a School Board that is working to ensure the long term viability of the school.

Msgr. Cunnane is a dedicated pastor who works tirelessly to shepherd his parishioners and the community of St. Thomas the Apostle. He has been a firm supporter and dedicated leader ensuring St. Thomas School will serve the community of Central Los Angeles for the next 100 years.