Saint Cyril of Jerusalem was born in the early part of the fourth century. While nothing is known about his early life, it is possible that his family lived in Caesarea. He became a cleric in the Church of Jerusalem and was raised to the deaconate by Macanus of Jerusalem. About 342 A.D., he was ordained priest by Bishop Maximus, famous as a confessor in the persecution of Diocletian.
Bishop Maximus died in 348 A.D. and Cyril succeeded about two years later. St. Cyril never wavered in his adherence to the orthodox and Catholic faith and he suffered several times for his service as a confessor, as the second ecumenical council observed. It appears that he played a leading role in the First Council of Constantinople in the 380’s.
St. Cyril’s fame rests on his great Lenten, pre-baptismal Catechesis, which is a plain, noble, eloquent and highly Biblical exposition of the Creed and illustrations for his defense of the Catholic Faith. St. Cyril was honored as a Doctor of the Universal Church and died in Jerusalem about the year 387 A. D. His feast is celebrated on March 18th.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem Parish Church
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles founded St. Cyril of Jerusalem Parish in 1949. Cardinal James Francis McIntyre named the new parish after St. Cyril of Jerusalem, because at the time, Jerusalem was in anguish as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the Cardinal wished to signify the Church's concern for the holy places in Jerusalem and their distressed peoples.
The Rev. Michael Lalor (a native of Ireland) was the first pastor of St. Cyril. A former army chaplain named Rev. William Smith was the first assistant pastor. Mass was celebrated at the Nazareth House Home for Boys at Magnolia and Sepulveda until the original church, now the parish hall, was dedicated shortly before Christmas 1950.
The current church, which is built in a modern form, has a seating capacity of 900, and opened its doors for Christmas in 1966. Father Lalor died in April 1967 before the new church was dedicated. Cardinal McIntyre presided at a solemn high requiem Mass at St. Cyril for Father Lalor who was then buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.
In 1970, Msgr. Cyril Navin (also a native of Ireland) arrived at St. Cyril's and in 1971 became the pastor. Shortly after assuming the role of Pastor, Msgr. Navin faced an immediate crisis. The city proposed an extension of Dickens Street to alleviate the increased traffic on Ventura Boulevard due to the growing number of high-rise buildings. Since that would have closed St. Cyril's School, Msgr. Navin appeared at a public hearing on the proposal and told the group, "Our school would be completely removed if this goes through. It would mean 490 children being thrown out and into the already overburdened public school system." The proposed extension of Dickens Street was defeated.
In April 1974, Timothy Manning, Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles, celebrated Mass at St. Cyril's to mark the parish's 50th anniversary. Cardinal McIntyre also attended. In its first 25 years, the Los Angeles Times reported that St. Cyril had grown from a handful to 2,000 active families. In March 1982, St. Cyril was the site for the installation ceremony of Rev. Thomas Dolinay as the first bishop of the new Byzantine Ruthenian Diocese of Van Nuys.
Msgr. Navin remained the pastor at St. Cyril's until 1996 when he became Pastor Emeritus. Msgr. Carl Bell, formerly pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Hollywood, became the fourth pastor at St. Cyril's in 1996 and remained in that role until his retirement in 2011. Sadly, Msgr. Navin died around this same time.
Rev. Larry Neumeier assumed the role of Parish Administrator from June 2011 until he was made Pastor in July of 2013 where he currently presides.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem Parish School
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet founded St. Cyril of Jerusalem Parish Grammar School in 1950. Their mission was a call to service “the dear neighbor without distinction” with a charism of unity and reconciliation. The school continues to be blessed with the presence of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. They currently fill the positions of a first grade teacher, a part-time religious coordinator, office help and middle grades art instructor. The Sisters also offer in-services and retreats for the faculty and continue to influence and strengthen the spiritual foundation of the school. Their gifts, talents and resources promote the gospel message, which provides the framework for our Schoolwide Learning Expectations (SLEs) : St. Cyril Students love God, love their neighbor, love learning and love themselves in a healthy way.
As of 2008, the school offers classes from Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. The school has received full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Extra curricular activities include student council, California Junior Scholastic Federation, altar servers, Angel on My Shoulder (community service), academic decathlon (St. Cyril's finished 9th in 2007 out of 108 schools), mock trial, and a variety of other opportunities in subject areas such as science and math and the performing and visual arts. Sports include flag football (2009 League Runners-Up; 2012 League Champions), boys’ volleyball (2010 league champions), girls’ volleyball, boys’ basketball (2010 Runners up), girls’ basketball (2007 Final Four), girls’ softball (2006 league champions), and boys and girls swimming.