The launching of a dream: St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church, a Diocesan Shrine Featured

The launching of a dream: St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church, a Diocesan Shrine Photo: Fr. Tony Astudillo, head pastor since 2005
Walnut, CA – “As they celebrate the 26th anniversary of their parish,” announced Miramon Nuevo, programs coordinator at the St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church, the faith community here is inviting everyone in the Southland to come and celebrate as they launch yet another milestone in their continuing journey of ‘becoming and being church’ – the quest to become a Diocesan Shrine!”
“The launching to elevate our parish to a Diocesan Shrine,” added parishioner Romy Baylon, “will be on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 10:00 a.m., as part of our church’s Foundation Day, at 747 Meadowpass Rd., Walnut, CA 91789. The vibrant community of the St. Lorenzo Ruiz church is truly blessed many times over. In her first 20 years of becoming a parish, the community nestled in the San Gabriel Valley accomplished what many considered to be impossible: to build a permanent house of worship where the faithful from different backgrounds are welcomed. Yet, against all odds, the dream of building a magnificent church became a reality.” 
“The festivities will begin on Friday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m.,” said Miramon, where food trucks and lots of music and dancing will solely be the order of the evening. On Sunday, Sept. 24, at 12:30 pm, shortly after the community will have sealed the Lifetime Benefactors Time Capsule, the parish will unveil the Good Shepherd statuary in honor of, and in gratitude to, those who, in the past and the present, are unabashed in offering their lives, talents, time and treasures for the church.”  
In a recent homily, Fr. Tony Astudillo shared his thoughts: “Twenty six years ago, we had a dream – that was to build a church. God granted us that dream. Then, 17 years later, we longed for a bigger, more permanent church that can accommodate a burgeoning population of parishioners and devotees who are coming from all over. Once again, God had blessed us to accomplish that dream despite the tough economic situation that saddled the entire nation at that time. This year, as part of our Parish Renewal Encounter program on the Life of Missionary Discipleship and Evangelization modeled after our Blessed Mother, we will be launching our quest to become a Diocesan Shrine dedicated to our patron and first Filipino Saint, Lorenzo Ruiz.
“The devotion to Saint Lorenzo Ruiz is fast gaining traction over the years not only among Filipinos but among other ethnicities as well,” continued Fr. Tony, “especially on those who have experiences with our patron saint whose works of miracle have been strongly felt in their lives. Are you burdened with something heavy that you no longer know how to come out of it? Ask Saint Lorenzo Ruiz to intercede for you.  
“As we celebrate our anniversary,” Father Tony ended his homily, “we ask everyone to come and join us as we raise our prayers and aspirations to heaven, that our Almighty Father would grant our wish, our new dream, to become a Diocesan Shrine… that whosoever enters our doors, kneels on our pews, or celebrates the Eucharist with us, may incessantly encounter Christ... and that their ‘earth’ shall ceaselessly meet ‘heaven.’”
 Fr. Tony, who was a priest at the Diocese of Abra, became the head pastor for St. Lorenzo Ruiz parish in Walnut in 2005. It was under his tenure that the new permanent church building was built, dedicated and blessed. He ‘earnestly and vigorously did a capital campaign at that time which reached $8.6 million.’ 
“As the youngest Catholic church in the San Gabriel Valley region,” noted Miramon, “San Lorenzo Ruiz parishioners couldn’t believe that she would be designated as one of the pilgrim churches for the Door of Mercy last year – a privilege usually given to older churches of historical importance.  That event made her Silver Jubilee celebration even more significant, touching and memorable.” 
“San Lorenzo Ruiz church being declared the site of the Door of Mercy,” added Romy, “welcomed and embraced the faithful in Deanery 12 (parishes in the San Gabriel Valley) and beyond, where pilgrims ‘experienced the Mercy of the Father in its fullness.’  And so, once more, we ask the faithful to be a part of our historic moment, our journey of ‘becoming and being Church,’ and celebrate with us as we lift our prayers to bring our new dream to fruition of sharing our community to the entire Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”
For other information on this and other events of the parish, you may contact the Parish Office at  or Romy Baylon at ; and visit our website at


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