Boda, Cultura, Fotos

31, UCLA & finding my religion

Fire hydrant 31

It’s hot out there, folks. Stay hydrated.


I got through the work day with some help from my Puro Pedo Magazine colleagues. We started making up titles for fake research papers on Latino movies. I offered up a few including “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans: Poch@ identity formation in Selena.

That’d be a neat dissertation topic, no? I’m already interested in racial/ethnic identity formation… it could happen. Or not.

I should probably just focus on Latino college students majoring in the sciences. I find those kids interesting. Just don’t ask me to remember their names.

Yesterday afternoon, one of the sophomores in the Program (aka Job1) spotted me at St. Augustine, a church in Culver City. I’ve passed by dozens of time while driving and running, but had never attended a service there. We got to St. Augustine with 15 minutes to spare before Mass and walked around the grounds. As we walked toward the school and parking lot, two young women passed by. The woman in a yellow sundress doubled back.


I was surprised she knew my name. She picked up on this.

“Hi! I’m in [program]! I’m a sophomore.”

“Oh, hi! Um… you’ll have to tell me your name, I forget students’ names all the time.”

I felt so embarrassed that I didn’t recognize her at all. The name thing happens more often. After their fall quarter freshman seminar, I only see the 80+ students a few times a quarter and interact with them mainly through email. I’d have to make flash cards to remember everyone’s names. I see current/former [Program] students all the time on campus, but have never seen one off campus unless it was a UCLA-related event.

She told me her name and I introduced her to Sean. I told her it was our fist time visiting St. Augustine, her home parish. She invited us to grab some food and cake at the anniversary celebration for the sisters associated with the parish, but we were full.

I’ve been pretty spotty on Mass attendance since going away to college. I’m working on getting back in the habit thanks to Fr. Ricky at St. John Vianney. When Sean and I met with him about having our wedding at SJV, he reminded me that I need to practice my faith as part of my preparation for the sacrament of marriage. Attending only on holidays, Lent and the occasional wedding wasn’t going to cut it.

Sean — who grew up Lutheran — has been accompanying me to Mass. When we’re in Hacienda Heights on a Sunday, we go to SJV. When we’re in LA (most Sundays), we’ve been going to St. Timothy in Rancho Park. Yesterday we skipped their noon service in favor of the 5 pm youth service at St. Augustine in Culver City. I generally like youth services, they’re much livelier. I like St. Timothy, but I haven’t been able to make it through a service without breaking in to giggle fits thanks to a man his 60s/70s always sits front and center. First, he has an interesting look. He has a big belly, a beard and long gray/white hair he twists so it sits atop his head (kinda like a Snork). His hair makes him easy to spot. Second, he draws out the final word of hymns long after everyone else has finished singing. It’s rather odd to hear his deep voice hang over with “eviiiiiiiil” or “peeeeeeace” in an otherwise silent church. The first time he did it, we were surprised. The next few times we tried unsuccessfully to suppress giggles.

I need to pick a new parish. SJV is great, but I won’t go to Mass weekly if I have to drive 30-45 minutes just to make it there. St. Augustine offers more Masses, including a Spanish service at noon and the youth service at fives. St. Timothy’s latest service is at noon and it’ll help me work on keeping a straight face.

Any tips on choosing a church or parish?


3 thoughts on “31, UCLA & finding my religion

  1. Marlene says:

    Iliana just completed her confirmation through St. Augustine. A bunch of Hami kids go there, too. I hear good things about it.

  2. Marlene,
    The vibe at St. Augustine definitely felt more like what I was used to at SJV. I’ll probably go to both for a bit, depending on my schedule.

  3. hi cindy, personally, i like smaller churches because they seem to foster a stronger sense of community. when i move to a new place, i’ll usually church hop until i find a parish where i feel at home. the church we go to now isn’t the closest to our house, but it’s worth the extra 15 minutes in the car to get there. 🙂

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