His parishioners describe Father Paul Griesgraber as "old school," a term that is almost laughably open to interpretation, given the 2,000-year history of his particular school, the Roman Catholic Church. In his case, it is used with affection and respect to describe a priest who trusts in the majesty of the Catholic Mass and invests it with deep spirituality — in both English and Spanish.
He is also a priest who brings people streaming through the doors of his church, St. Catherine of Siena in Reseda, a place that, in many ways, reflects the larger Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Once largely white, St. Catherine's is now mostly Latino. Immigrants have pumped new life into the parish, and Spanish-language Masses draw larger crowds than those in English.
"The church was dead," Olga Calderone, St. Catherine's health director, said bluntly of the time before Griesgraber arrived last summer. "Now we are bringing the cultures together. ... This is the beauty that Father Paul has brought to our church."
I am postingb this story because Paul Griesgraber is my husband's uncle and a very cool guy. And a very cool priest. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say hi to Paul. He only became a priest in 2006.