GLENDALE : Community Center Opens With Ceremony

The new Catholic Charities Glendale Community Center was ceremonially blessed Monday by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who sprinkled the concrete block building with a mixture of holy water and city tap water and quipped it was to symbolize the cooperation of church and government.

The social service arm of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has benefited frequently from government grants.

But Father Gregory A. Cox, executive director of Catholic Charities, said Monday that the $622,000 in federal Housing and Urban Development funds allocated by Glendale for the structure came as many cities and government agencies are pulling back from such cooperative arrangements because they say they can’t spare the money.

Nevertheless, Charles Ming, a HUD representative at opening ceremonies attended by more than 100 people, said his department is pleased with the partnerships formed with religious groups. “We just opened a new senior center north of Los Angeles with Presbyterian Homes . . . in our efforts to provide help to low- and moderate-income people,” Ming said.


The 6,200-square-foot building at 4322 San Fernando Road in Glendale replaces a dilapidated building at the same site that was torn down in 1992 and had been popularly known as the CYO, or Catholic Youth Organization building.

The center, which will be staffed by Catholic Charities workers, is not only for the young, Mahony said. The collaborative effort is “to lead children, young adults and families to self-sufficiency and away from the clutches of poverty.”

The cardinal cited Los Angeles County statistics indicating that “49% of poor families were the working poor whose wages were insufficient to raise them out of poverty.”

Glendale itself “is home to one of the largest populations of non-English-speaking documented residents within the county of Los Angeles,” Mahony said. He also said that the city has the third greatest number of residents over 65.


“During 1993, social service agencies in Glendale served 10,000 ‘at risk’ individuals--very low-income individuals and families who because of underemployment, or possible loss of employment, have become homeless,” Mahony said. “These are individuals who pay 70% to 80% of their income for rent alone.”

Citizenship and English-as-a-second language classes for immigrants, youth recreational programs, family counseling, emergency food distribution and meeting space for community groups are among the services planned for the center.

More than that, “someone can come and be treated with kindness and respect,” Cox said. “We’ve all had difficult moments in our own lives. How blessed we have been to have someone who has reached and cared for us in a kind way.”