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SCV welcomes new pastor

Monsignor Craig Cox will serve as the new church leader of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Newhall

Posted: August 2, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 2, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Monsignor Craig Cox is excited to return to a role directly serving a parish and ministering to people daily. Monsignor Craig Cox is excited to return to a role directly serving a parish and ministering to people daily.
Monsignor Craig Cox is excited to return to a role directly serving a parish and ministering to people daily.

Last month parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help welcomed a new senior pastor to lead the congregation.

Monsignor Craig Cox, 61, joined the church July 1, replacing Father Richard M. Martini who was transferred to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Carpinteria.

Cox, ordained in 1978 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, has served as a pastor for 36 years.

Most recently, he served as the rector and president of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo for the last seven years.

During his tenure as president of the teaching college he helped to train men who wanted to enter the priesthood, a “future generation of successors,” he explained.

Cox also helped train one of the new assistant priests assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Father Bao Nguyen. Nguyen was ordained four years ago and was also assigned to the church beginning July 1.

Before serving as president of the seminary, Cox was in charge of the ministry to priests at the Archdiocese office for six years. During his time in that position he helped other priests continue their education and focus on their own health.

After serving for 13 years in teaching and advising capacities, Cox is especially excited to return to a role directly serving a parish and ministering to people daily.

“I love parish work,” said Cox. “I always felt a call to return to church work.”

Following his calling

Cox was born in Los Angeles in 1952. He grew up in Pomona. His mother was a nurse and his father served as the mayor of Pomona for four terms. As a child, he grew up in Catholic school.

Prompted by his mother’s unwavering faith and inspired by strong priest role models during his childhood he decided to enter the seminary himself.

“I looked up to them as heroes,” explained Cox. “I saw the good they did.”

He especially credits Father Norman Priede and Father William Mahoney as his inspirations to enter the priesthood.

“Father Mahoney had a way of calling forth the best in us,” he said. “In high school he referred to us as men, and made us want to live up to that.”

Equally inspired by his father’s public service, he began his studies and service in the seminary, eventually realizing serving God was the right thing for him.

“I believe God called me to it,” he said. “It just fit who I am.”

During a 30 day retreat in the seminary, Cox had an opportunity to reflect on the path of his life. He recalls asking God what to do with his life and remembers feeling a deep inner conviction that becoming a priest was the will of God.

Over the years, Cox continued his studies and received two doctorates. The first in Ministry and the second in Canon Law.

Warm welcome to Santa Clarita

Cox said he is still in the process of learning what is most needed at the church. He says he is focused on listening to parishioners and learning about the church and community.

He plans to continue the campaign already underway to build a new church. So far, the pastoral center has been completed, along with a new parking lot.

The church is currently in the process of raising the needed funds, more than $6 million, to begin the building of the new parish. A two year fundraising campaign has been outlined before any work on the parish can begin.

Cox expressed gratitude for the warm welcome he received from parishioners since arriving. He says he feels, “very much at home” already.

“I really do feel humbled and grateful to come to a place with so much potential and good happening,” he said.

Mostly, he said his main goals while serving the church are to help people come to appreciate God’s love fore them.

“I am excited to witness to people of my own faith,” he said. “I want to help young people come to a deep faith in God. I want people to appreciate the beauty and power of the love of God for them.”



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