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A calling for expansion

Catholic: Father Richard Martini is overseeing a $20M expansion at parish

Posted: January 14, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: January 14, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Father Richard Martini stands in the sanctuary at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Newhall.

 


It’s been nearly two years since Father Richard Martini came onboard at the growing Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

But growing up, it’s a role that Martini never knew he would take on.

Originally from Pacific Palisades, Martini didn’t always know he wanted to be a priest. In high school, he was a yell leader for the pep squad, and at 17, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life.

“I knew whatever I did in my life, it would have to help people,” he said.

One person after another approached Martini asking if he had ever considered the priesthood. His original answer was “no,” but slowly, he began to think about it. After a powerful prayer experience, he figured it out.

“I wondered, ‘What is it that everybody else is seeing?’” he recalled asking himself. “After praying I realized, I could lead cheers for God.”

That’s exactly what he did.

He went on to seminary in Camarillo and obtained his master’s degree in divinity and education administration. He served as a parish priest and vocation director in high schools.

He knew he wanted to serve more than students and felt he could use his gifts of creativity and child-like imagination. He received that opportunity after coming to Our Lady.

Martini is now overseeing the church as it embarks on a $20 million expansion plan that is expected to last two years and include seven phases. The church has already raised $4 million for its construction overhaul that is in line with the revitalization taking shape in downtown Newhall.

The church, which originally built on Lyons Avenue in 1961, has a Catholic school on its campus — the only one in the Santa Clarita Valley — which serves more than 7,000 members and holds 11 services weekly.

For Martini, his role is all about finding a spiritual connection with a variety of people.

“I like old people, young people and everyone in between,” Martini said. “People don’t see priests as relatable, but we do understand what is going on in life and are happy to minister to people from that standpoint.”

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