Cuisine reigns supreme

Festival-goers listened to live tunes, dined on gourmet food and drank wine Sunday at the Holy Family Parish's 11th annual A Midsummer's Night Cuisine.

Women wore Tahitian-inspired prints, and flowers adorned the tables and hallways at the parish's Holy Family Grade School for Sunday night's “Fun in Fiji”-themed event.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Holy Family Grade School and Holy Family High School's scholarship endowment funds. The fund helps students with low family incomes pay for their education at the two schools.

“I think it's fantastic to give people from lower-income homes the opportunity to go a private school with a good reputation,” festival-goer Rose Castellanos said. “You're giving them a chance to go further in life.”

Castellanos' daughter, Angela Castillo, attended the parish's Holy Family High School and graduated two years ago. She now goes to Pasadena City College.

Castillo commuted from Commerce to attend the school.

“I liked going here because of the education and classes,” Castillo said. “It really sets your values and morals in the right direction.”

Three-hundred students are enrolled at the parish's Catholic high school, and 310 students are registered at the parish's kindergarten-to-eighth-grade school.

Father Joseph Shea developed the idea to establish an endowment funds for the schools. He launched the cuisine festival as a fundraiser for scholarships.

Several students commute from Highland Park and Cypress Park to attend the parish's schools, Shea said.

“These families could only afford so much,” he said.

The scholarships are intended to “get the students out of poverty and make them wonderful citizens for society,” Shea said.

He said 100% of the high school's students go on to college.

Shea, who has been reassigned after 13 years with the church, will become the pastor at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Simi Valley.

His last day with the church is today. Shea will be replaced by Father Jim Bevacqua, who will start at the parish on Tuesday.

“I hate to leave,” Shea said. “I love this town and the people.”

At Sunday's festival, the parish honored Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center with their Excellence in Education Award for their support of private-school education.

Patrons selected from an array of gourmet foods from restaurants in Glendale, La Crescenta and Burbank. Festival-goers sipped on wine and sake. Kathy Gayer selected the event's cuisine, which included 30 wine and food suppliers.

Gayer said she would miss Shea's presence at the church.

“He married my husband and I 30 years ago, and now he's [moving] on just as we're getting ready to celebrate our 30th anniversary,” she said.

Patrons listened and danced to music from the Glen Roberts Big Band.

The Irish dance troupe Celtic Gold performed for the festival's patrons.

In the festival's silent auctions, festival-goers won big-ticket prizes, such as a trip to Maui, $2,500 gift certificate for traveling expenses and a 36-inch flat-screen TV.

First-prize winners had the option of choosing from $25,000 cash or a new car or motorcycle.

Festival-goers placed bids on gift baskets and events, including a ride-along with a Glendale Police Department officer.

?VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at

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