St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church and School

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St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church

St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church and School is a Catholic church and elementary school located in Encino, Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1949, St. Cyril's was voted the "Best Parish" for music in the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 2000.

Parish History[edit]

Early Years[edit]

In 1949, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles acquired property on Ventura Boulevard in Encino to build a new parish. Cardinal James Francis McIntyre named the new parish after St. Cyril of Jerusalem, because at the time, Jerusalem was in anguish as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the Cardinal wished to signify the Church's concern for the holy places in Jerusalem.

The Rev. Michael Lalor (a native of Ireland) was the first pastor of St. Cyril's, and the first assistant pastor was the Rev. William Smith, a former army chaplain.[1] When the parish was founded, Mass was initially celebrated at the Nazareth House Home for Boys at Magnolia and Sepulveda.[1] The original church, now the parish hall, was dedicated shortly before Christmas 1950.

New Church and Death of Father Lalor[edit]

The current church, built in a modern form and having a seating capacity of 900,[1] was opened for Christmas in 1966. Father Lalor died in April 1967 before the new church was dedicated. Cardinal McIntyre presided at a solemn high requiem Mass for Father Lalor at St. Cyril's; Father Lalor was then buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.[2]

Recent Years[edit]

In 1970, Msgr. Cyril Navin (also a native of Ireland) arrived at St. Cyril's and became the pastor in 1971. Shortly after assuming the pastorship of St. Cyril's, Msgr. Navin faced an immediate crisis. With the expansion of highrises and increased traffic on Ventura Boulevard, the City proposed an extension of Dickens Street that would have closed St. Cyril's School. Msgr. Navin appeared at a public hearing on the proposal and told the group, "Our school would be completely removed if this goes through. It would mean 490 children being thrown out and into the already overburdened public school system."[3] The proposed extension of Dickens Street was defeated.

In April 1974, Timothy Manning, Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles, celebrated Mass at St. Cyril's to mark the parish's 50th anniversary.[1] Cardinal McIntyre also attended. In its first 25 years, the Los Angeles Times reported that St. Cyril's had grown from a handful to 2,000 active families.[1] In March 1982, St. Cyril's was the site for the installation ceremony of Rev. Thomas Dolinay as the first bishop of the new Byzantine Ruthenian Diocese of Van Nuys. The Cathedral of St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, located a short distance from St. Cyril's, is the home of the Van Nuys Eparchy.[4]

Msgr. Navin remained the pastor at St. Cyril's until 1996 when he became Pastor Emeritus. Msgr. Carl Bell, formerly pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Hollywood, became the fourth pastor at St. Cyril's in 1996.[5]

In April and May 2003, a string of arson fires struck houses of worship in Encino, including a Presbyterian church, an Iranian synagogue, a Bahá'í community center, and Valley Beth Shalom on Ventura Boulevard. As a demonstration of solidarity during the rash of fires, St. Cyril's hosted an interfaith service on May 8, 2003. St. Cyril's business manager, Ginny Panza, told the Los Angeles Times: "We're not freaking out, but everybody is a little bit more aware, watchful."[6]

The School[edit]

The parish opened a grammar school in 1950. Currently, the school offers classes from Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. The school has received full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Extra curricular activities include student council, California Junior Scholastic Federation, Angel on My Shoulder (community service), academic decathlon, mock trial, yearbook, and altar services. Sports include boys flag football (2014 League Champions), boys volleyball (2010 League Champions), girls volleyball, boys basketball ( 2010 Runners up), girls basketball (2007 Final Four), girls softball (2006 league champions), and boys and girls swimming.

In 2007, St. Cyril's received the "2007 Outstanding Board Award" from the National Catholic Education Association, for the active involvement of the school's board.[7]

As of the 2014-2015 school year, St. Cyril's reported having 254 students with classroom sizes for the kindergarten through eighth grades between 25 and 35 students.[8] In 2005, the school reported the following racial makeup among its students: White (Non-Hispanic) – 69%; Hispanic 15.66%; Asian/Pacific Islander – 10.66%; and Black (Non-Hispanic) – 4.66%).[9]

Voted "Best Parish" Music in Los Angeles Archdiocese[edit]

In a survey conducted by Los Angeles Mission magazine from September through December 2000, St. Cyril of Jerusalem was voted the "Best Parish" for music in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The article announcing the results noted: "St. Cyril's choir features a 40-plus-voice choir directed by well-known organist and choral conductor, William 'Bill' Beck. Our Sunday noon Mass is as solemn as the Novus Ordo can be. We sing only the very best music, which includes music from the Renaissance, baroque, classical and modern eras. The male schola sings the Gregorian introit and communion each Sunday. We have several major choral events with full orchestra and enhanced choral forces throughout the year."[10]

In 1988, noted choral director, Roger Wagner, conducted the combined forces of the Roger Wagner Chorale, St. Cyril's Choir and St. Philip's Choir along with a full orchestra in a performance of Requiem by Maurice Duruflé at St. Cyril's.[11][12] In 1990, St. Cyril's drew praise when it performed Beethoven's Mass in C with a 40-piece orchestra, a 50-member choir and four soloists, all conducted by William Beck.[13] Performances of St. Cyril's Choir and Orchestra, under the direction of William Beck (including Handel's Messiah and Mendelssohn's Elijah), were regularly noted by the Los Angeles Times.[14][15][16] Mark Chatfield, who sang for 19 years at St. Cyril's, and was the parish's composer in residence, was also a swimmer who set an Olympic record in the breaststroke in the 1972 Olympics.[17]

Celebrity Connections to St. Cyril's[edit]

Being located in a community with many celebrity residents, St. Cyril's has been the home parish of celebrities and has been the site of many Hollywood weddings, funerals and other events, including the following:


St. Cyril's has had only six pastors in its history. They are:

  • Rev. Michael Lalor (1949–1967)[1]
  • Msgr. Christopher Bradley (1967–1971)[1]
  • Msgr. Cyril Navin (1971–1996)
  • Msgr. Carl Bell (1996–2011)
  • Rev. Larry Neumeier (2011-2015)
  • Rev. Eben MacDonald (2015–present)

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Ceremony on April 21: St. Cyril's Church to Note 25th Year". Los Angeles Times. 1974-04-07.
  2. ^ "Requiem Mass Friday for Rev. Michael Lalor: Cardinal McIntyre Will Preside at Rites for Pastor of St. Cyril's Church, Encino". Los Angeles Times. 1967-04-13.
  3. ^ Irv Burleigh (1971-12-05). "Encino Residents Mobilize Against Street Extension: Residents Oppose Plan for Linking Streets". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "Byzantine Diocese to Install First Bishop". Los Angeles Times. 1982-03-06.
  5. ^ Stephanie Stassel (1996-03-23). "Religion Notes". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Richard Fausset and Li Fellers (2003-05-08). "Task Force Joins Probe of Fires at Houses of Worship; Sprinklers extinguish a blaze at an Encino synagogue in the fourth such incident in 11 days". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ "2007 Outstanding Board Award: St. Cyril of Jerusalem School Board Encino, California". National Catholic Education Association.
  8. ^ "St Cyril Of Jerusalem School". Public School Review.
  9. ^ "St Cyril of Jerusalem School". Private Schools Report.
  10. ^ Jim Holman (April 2001). "I Don't Think in Latin: Readers Respond to Mission's Best and Worst Parish Survey". Los Angeles Mission. Archived from the original on 2008-05-13.
  11. ^ Greg Hettmansberger (1988-11-23). "Roger Wagner Conducts at St. Cyril's". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Gregg Wager (1988-11-20). "New Music Under the Green Umbrella". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ David Colker (1990-06-01). "Beethoven Mass Set at Church". Los Angeles Times.
  14. ^ Pamela Davega Carr (2001-03-24). "Valley News; Religion Notes". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ John Dart (1995-12-02). "Religion Notes". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ Pamela Davega Carr (1999-02-20). "Religion Notes". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ "Obituaries". Los Angeles Times. 1998-12-25. Archived from the original Check |url= value (help) on
  18. ^ "Catholic Ceremony: Gable Son Christened as Filmland Watches". Los Angeles Times. 1961-06-12.
  19. ^ "Some Fans on Skateboard: Annette Funicello, 'Mousketeer,' Weds". Los Angeles Times. 1965-06-10.
  20. ^ "Rites Conducted for Richard Arlen, 75". Los Angeles Times. 1976-04-01.
  21. ^ Kevin Thomas (1981-12-22). "Film Pioneer Allan Dwan Dead at 96". Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ Cheryl Tempel (1984-08-23). ""Leave It to Beaver" Star Returns to Sports as Coach of His Son: Tony Dow, 39, Finds Same Frustrations and Satisfactions He Knew as All-Around Athlete in Mayfield 'BEAVER'". Los Angeles Times.
  23. ^ Burt A. Folkart (1991-02-25). "TV Comedian George Gobel Dies at 71". Los Angeles Times.
  24. ^ "Obituaries; Services Planned for Astronaut Cooper". Los Angeles Times. 2004-10-08.
  25. ^ Myrna Oliver (2004-08-02). "Obituaries; Eugene Roche, 75; Character Actor in Films, Television". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°09′16″N 118°28′21″W / 34.15442°N 118.47247°W / 34.15442; -118.47247