St. Mel (Woodland Hills, California)
St. Mel is a Catholic church and elementary school located on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California. St. Mel's parish was established in 1955 with Monsignor Michael J. O'Connor, pastor. At that time, the parish numbered 415 families. Before the church building was constructed, Mass was celebrated in a variety of settings including the Tarzana Women's Club House and the Canoga Park Theater. The new church opened in 1958.
The school, staffed by the Immaculate Heart Sisters, opened in 1956 to 700 students. When the Sisters of St. Louis took over the school in 1958, the enrollment had jumped to nearly 900 students in eight classrooms with children attending double session school days. This crowded situation continued until the mid 1960s when nearby St. Bernadine Parish was formed.
In 1985, Monsignor O'Connor retired as pastor of St. Mel Parish, and Monsignor John Naughton was appointed as his successor. Due to failing health, Monsignor Naughton retired as pastor of St. Mel in 1990, and Monsignor Padraic Loftus became St. Mel's third pastor. Currently, in 2010, Monsignor Helmut Hefner is the church's pastor. Father Ben Lima is the associate of the church.
In January 1994, the Northridge earthquake caused significant damage to the church building as well as to homes of many parishioners.
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- St. Mel Parish History
- St. Mel's School web site
- Retiring After 50 Years Priest, Still Smiling, to Say Goodby (1985)
- CARDINAL BLESSES REJUVENATED ST. MEL (1995)
- Woodland Hills; Rededication Planned for Renovated Church (1996)
- VALLEY ROUNDUP; Woodland Hills; Angelic Mural Graces Wall of St. Mel Church (1999)
- Obituaries; Michael J. O'Connor; 95; Led Catholic Parish for 30 Years (2005)
- BELOVED MONSIGNOR DIES AT 95 PARISHIONERS REMEMBER IRISH ACCENT, VALUES, HUMOR (2005)
- ST. MEL'S WELCOMES NEW PRIEST WOODLAND HILLS PARISH SEES TRANSITION IN SENIOR PASTOR (2007)