A History of Incarnation Parish
1927-1931 The Early Years
Fr. Emmett Francis Panner
The American Legion Post on Arden
The First Pastor
Incarnation Parish was established in 1927 by Archbishop John J. Cantwell to serve the people of God in northwest Glendale. The parish was carved from the existing Holy Family Parish and included the region between Doran Street on the south, the Verdugo Hills in the north, Verdugo Road on the east and Grandview on the west.The Albert Canfield home, which was on the site of the current church, became the first church of the parish. The home had a small chapel and also served as the rectory for the first pastor, Fr. Emmett Francis Panner . The first Mass was celebrated there on October 30, 1927.
In this rapidly growing area, there were nearly 250 families in the infant parish. It was soon evident that the little chapel in the Albert Canfield home was too small to accommodate the Sunday congregation. Arrangements were made to use the newly constructed American Legion Hall at 343 West Arden for Sunday Masses. Fr. Thomas O’Sullivan , who became pastor on October 1928, had the first real church building erected on the current property. It was a simple frame building, often referred to as “the hall” and faced Central Avenue. The first Mass was offered in the temporary church on December 23, 1928. The modest rectory, a combination of two small houses, was located on Central Avenue, north of the church. It cost approximately $10,000 to build and was used for ten years and afterwards for many years as the parish hall. In May 1929, Fr. Timothy J. Lynch was appointed Pastor. He served for two years.
Rev. Timothy Lynch
|Fr. Emmett Francis Panner 1927|
|Fr. Thomas O’Sullivan 1928|
|Fr. Timothy J.Lynch 1929|
|Associate Pastors+Sunday Help|
Monsignor Michael Carvill assumed the pastorate in July 1931. Monsignor Carvill’s long pastorate of over 40 years marked a phase of rapid growth and evolution of the parish. As more and more Catholics flocked to the parish, he managed to gradually grow the parish plant to include most of the currently existing buildings, despite the national econnomic depression which was happening at the time. A parishioner recalls seeing holes in the bottom of Monsignor Carvill’s shoes at the time. People had very little money. Under his care, the parochial school was opened in September 1937. The school consisted of six classrooms and a school auditorium, which did double duty as the parish church. Monsignor Carvill celebrated the first Mass there in October 1937. It served as the parish church for 14 years.
During this time, Monsignor Carvill secured the services of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary as teachers and housed them in the original Canfield home. In the post-war period, with the population of southern California booming, it became necessary to provide even more space for parishioners and church staff. The total plan included building a new church, convent and rectory, and enlargement of the school to make better accommodations for the upper grades. The old Albert Canfield home on the corner of Glenoaks and Brand Boulevards, the home which had served successively as church, rectory and convent, was moved nearby to provide for the construction of the new church. Ground was broken in the early Spring of 1951 and the construction of the new $360,000 Church of the Incarnation proceeded and was finished in the summer of 1952. The first Masses were offered in the new church on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1952. It was formally
dedicated on Sunday October 12, 1952 at 10:30 a.m. by the Archbishop James Francis McIntyre. Also on hand was Bishop Timothy Manning, who would later become Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Monsignor Laurence O’Brien became pastor in October 1972. One of the first challenges that Monsignor O’Brien had to meet was to turn the altar around to meet the new liturgicl standards, so that the presider could face the assembly. It was said that our parish was one of the last to do so. It was left to Monsignor to implement many of the changes in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. He introduced the use of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. Lay lectors started to proclaim the scripture at Mass. Contemporary music was introduced into the Liturgy, and gradually expanded under lay leadership. Monsignor had to cope with continuing staffing the parish school with fewer religious and more lay people. He established a parish council and worked to involve lay people in more of the decision making.In addition to accommodating new requirements, Monsignor O’Brien retained and emphasized some of the long established private devotions and introduced the popular Novena of the Miraculous Medal as well as a monthly Holy Hour. At his direction, the Holy name Society was reborn with monthly breakfasts and occasional dances. Monsignor knew that many in his flock were wary of the changes in the Church. He always sought to balance Counciliar reforms with the retained devotions.
It also fell to Monsignor O’Brien to restore some of the luster that had faded from the original parish buildings. The church and the school were repainted. Paneling was installed in the church to cover chipping plaster. A new organ from Germany was installed. A new wing was built on the school.Monsignor O’Brien retired from active duty in 1986, but stayed on as Pastor Emeritus and worked in the parish as long as he was physically able. He died on August 22, 1998. Cardinal Mahony was the principle celebrant for his funeral on August 26 at Incarnation Church.
In February 1986, Monsignor Eugene Frilot succeeded Monsignor O’Brien as pastor. Monsignor Frilot left his mark on the physical environment of the parish by replacing much of the of hurricane fencing with wrought iron rose hedges. As laity came to replace all the teachers in the school, he converted the former convent into the Parish Center. Believing that warm fellowship is a necessary element in the development of meaningful parish life, he created a new patio in the former walled garden of the convent to encourage community spirit. After Sunday Mass, parishioners now fellowship around shaded patio tables in a rebuilt courtyard.
A keen student of Liturgy, Monsignor sought to build a better environment for worship. He started the first Liturgy committee for the parish and sought to make music the norm for all liturgies. The ministries of the lay Deaconate, usher, greeter, musician, eucharistic minister, lector were fostered and represented the vast diversity of the parish. Altar servers now are of both genders. He worked to implement Cardinal Mahony’s Pastoral Letter on Liturgy. Monsignor also sought to build youth ministry by supporting a youth group, adopting a new extensive 2-year confirmation program and working to reintroduce scouting for boys and girls of the parish. He used his experience as seminary procurator to start a finance committee for the parish, and to create an endowment to help finance the school. In addition, he is credited with encouraging the flowering of the many various prayer groups which support the parish.
The parish vision statement was adopted during his time. It reads:
“We see multitudes of people of different ages and backgrounds gathered together to worship and praise God as one family. Inspired by the Word of the Lord and empowered by the Body and Blood of Christ, they joyously go forth, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, to teach, evangelize and minister to those in need.”
Monsignor is also a student of the new technology. During his time, the parish web page was started and in retirement, he continues to find ways to use the internet for parish administration and communication.
After 13 years as pastor, Monsignor Frilot’s request for retirement was granted. He stayed with us as Pastor Emeritus for another 11 years until he needed to live in a care facility. After 62 years as a priest and pastor, he returned to the Lord on April 19, 2017.
Father Paul James Hrubybecame pastor on July 1st, 1999. Father Paul was no stranger to the parish or to Glendale because he was baptized in this church on January 29, 1956. He grew up in Glendale in Holy Family parish and continues to have strong ties with the people in Glendale. He was officially installed as pastor. September 19th, 1999.
One of the hallmarks of Father Paul’s ministry was service to the poor. Under his leadership, we became sister parish toSt.Columcille’s Parishin south central Los Angeles and the various ministries and our religious education program works with each parish. Fr.Paul’s other charism that he brings to our parish is a sense that “All are Welcome”. He formed a new welcome committee and we regularly welcome new members to our parish community. Fr.Paul brought in one of the first lay pastoral associates in the Archdiocese, Mr. Bill Shaules, to help in ministering to our parish.In 2002, Incarnation celebrated her75th anniversarywith a weekend of events including a reunion of Incarnation alumni and a grand liturgy concelebrated with Cardinal Mahony.On July 30, 2006, Incarnation Parish purchased the property of the nearby North Glendale Methodist Church. The Methodist congregation had dwindled over the years and merged with the United Central Methodist Church of Glendale. An offer was made to sell the property to Incarnation in a bid to keep the site in Christian ministry.This acquisitionincluded a chapel, a gym, a professional kitchen, room for a preschool and a large education building along with outdoor recreation facilities, meeting rooms, and ministry offices. Improvement of the campus required over three years and $300,000 in safety and structural renovations. Incarnation now has significantly greater space for its growing ministries. The newly dubbed “Incarnation Community Center” was rechristened on September 2009, and at the same time, the parish opened a certified preschool. In June 2010 a new professional kitchen was opened in time for the Fr.Paul’s going-away party as he was called to minister at St. Julie Billiart Parish, Newbury Park.
Famous Parish Member: Frank Lubin, 89; Basketball Olympian
Frank Lubin, captain of the U.S. Olympic basketball team that won the first gold medal in the sport in 1936, has died. He was 89. Lubin, of Glendale, died July 8 of heart problems, said his daughter, Joan Urata. Lubin’s widow, Mary Agnes, said she met Lubin when he went to play basketball in her hometown of Wichita, Kan., where she worked in the telegraph office.
Father Larry S. Neumeier became our Pro Tem Parish Administrator on July 1st, 2010. Fr. Larry was raised nearby in the San Fernando Valley. He attended parochial schools and was a graduate of Alemany High School in Mission Hills.
Greetings Incarnation Parishioners
Greetings to all the parishioners of Incarnation Parish! I thought it would be good for me to introduce myself and share with you a little bit about your pastoral leader.
I am very much a “local boy”: I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and am a CSUN graduate. Before entering St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, I worked with the L.A. Unified School District. My ordination took place in 1988 and I was assigned to St. Gregory the Great Parish in Whittier as Associate Pastor. In 1990 I was sent to Rome where I began preparation for service in the Vatican Diplomatic Corps; at that same time I also earned a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. After the completion of my studies, I was appointed an official of the Vatican Secretariat of State and remained in Rome through the end of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Upon my return to Los Angeles in 2005, I was appointed Promoter of Justice for the Archdiocese and worked at the downtown offices. In 2008, I was named Administrator pro tempore of St. Mel Parish in Woodland Hills, after which assignment I returned to Rome, where I remained through the end of 2009. In 2010, I was assigned to St. John Fisher Parish in Rancho Palos Verdes as Associate Pastor and in 2011, I was named Administrator and then Pastor of Incarnation Parish in Glendale.
I am very excited about working with you and am most eager to meet all of you. I hope to remain here in Glendale for many years to come. May the grace and peace of the Risen Savior be with you and your families always! Msgr. Steven B. Zak
We mark with sorrow the passing of Fr. Leo Alberg on April 20, 2017. Fr.Leo collapsed during his evening walk. He was taken to the hospital, but was unable to recover.
Msgr.Zak Takes Leave of Absence
As Msgr.Zak announced at all Masses last weekend, he has requested, and has been granted, a leave of absence from his duties as Pastor of Incarnation Parish. This time away will allow him to deal with some personal issues he wishes to address. Fr. Sam Ward has been assigned as Administrator Pro Ten until other arrangements are made.
Fr. Sam Ward Pastor Pro-tem September 2018-December 2018
Fr. John O’Brien our new associate pastor -June 2018
Fr.Jim Kavanagh our current pastor Pro-Team -December 2018