People of Visitation

PEOPLE OF VISITATION
In honor of our 75th anniversary, let’s meet some of the parishioners who make Visitation so wonderful and welcoming.
_

Kathy McGrath
(pictured with her partner in crime, Michael Kramer)
Visitation’s Music Director
Attends 8am, 9:30am, and 4:30pm masses
Parishioner since 1991

“My time at Visitation began when one of my friends from LMU, told me that Visitation was looking to form a Christmas choir. We both followed up on the job advertisement, and then she told me that she secretly wanted her boyfriend at the time to get the piano part of the job. (He didn’t !), they broke up, and the rest is history! Members of the 9:30 AM choir told us they wanted to sing year round, and the 9:30 AM Sunday choir was born.

One of my favorite memories from Visitation happened while playing for a wedding at Vis. There is a part in the ceremony where the couple presents a bouquet of flowers to the Mary statue and Ave Maria is sung. When I started playing the Ave Maria, instead of picking up the small bouquet left on the side of the kneeler by the florist, the groom hoisted up the giant wrought iron holder and flower display (this was quite a feat, because it was super heavy), lugged it over to the Mary statue like the Incredible Hulk, and plopped it down with a huge crash. And instead of staying there for the whole song, he just went back to his kneeler, mission accomplished, and the bride followed him. The singer was laughing so hard that she sang just one line “Ave Maria..” and then just went and sat down with her hands in her lap, looking down! And the visiting priest turned his back and pretended to turn the tabernacle key to hide his face. I ended the song and looked straight ahead for the rest of the ceremony.

Oh wait, I’ve got another good story. Father O’Grady’s birthday is April 1st. One year (like this year), it fell on a Sunday, and he was doing the 8 AM Mass. We cleared out all the priest vestments and put them in the back room and hung a Superman costume in the vestment closet. I heard a “what is THIS??” and then he shook it at me from the door. I’m convinced he would have put it on if we’d had more time! Next year I’m putting a “Silver Fox Escort Service” magnetic sign on his car. Don’t tell.

Visitation is such a special place- it is a spiritual and spirited community, and largely drama-free. It is full of helpful, friendly, generous, and down-to-earth people- old, young, and in between- all who go out of their way to help those less fortunate, and to help each other. We truly embody the spirit of hospitality as a parish and live up to our name, and Father Jim Forsen is such a charismatic, hard-working, and God centered pastor. With Father Jim leading the way, my hope is that Visitation exceeds its goals for the Renew Visitation Campaign and reaches its highest potential as a parish.”

When not behind the piano at Visitation, Kathy can be found behind the piano somewhere else, or playing fiercely competitive tennis against her college friend who taunts her nonstop.

 

Mike Mininsky
Visitation School PTO Chairperson

“When Allison and I moved to Westchester we weren’t sure where we would settle in for Church or School. We had friends who were passionate about their own situations and we needed to figure out what felt best for our family.

The energy and warmth we felt from our first few trips to Visitation were a sign. We knew it was a great fit on the car ride home from open house. One friend said, “I told you!” Little did we know the extent to which we’d “fit in” and how our sense of community would grow over the next 5 years years – wow, has it only been 5 years?

I’m the current PTO Chairperson and Co-Chair of The O’Grady Golf Classic, while Allison is a room parent for the Junior Kindergarten class. We like to stay involved in the Visitation Community any way we can and enjoy working alongside so many great people to help improve an already fantastic Parish. Joining our friends and making so many new ones at Visitation has been a highlight of our time in Westchester. We are looking forward to our boys, Sean and Colin, growing up through the Renewal of Visitation.”

You can find Mike working the bar at any Visitation event or on weekday mornings in the school parking lot chatting it up with the dad’s. He’ll be the one in flip flops.

Barbara Berg
Visitation parishioner 22 years
Parish Pastoral Council member
Bible Buddies leader
Faith, Food, and Fellowship organizer

“I moved to LA in the fall of 1989 to attend LMU. Before that I had lived in Columbus, OH; Seattle, WA; and Munich, Germany. Although I lived in Westchester while attending LMU, I never knew Visitation existed until 1995, when my husband and I moved into our current house, one block from Visitation.

The people of Visitation welcomed us and our growing family to the point that I came to consider Visitation as my second home and second family. I am grateful for this wonderful, close community! And I love that I have been privileged to be here for 22 years: having moved around during my childhood, I cherish this stability and continuity.

In fact, a few years after I first came to Vis. I arrived for 8 AM Mass and there was a new pianist: Kathy McGrath. I couldn’t believe it: Kathy had been one of my piano teachers (my favorite, of course!) at LMU back in 1990. Talk about continuity!”

Barbara leads Bible Buddies, a group that meets on Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 pm in the Parish Center to study and discuss the Bible.
You can find Barbara, her husband Michael, and their six children in the front pew at 8am mass on Sunday.

Mary Golad
Visitation Parishioner for 61 years
Attends 5pm mass on Saturday evenings

“I started in 3rd grade at Visitation school, as a parent I sent my own children to Visitation, and today I am the parish secretary.

I have worked at the rectory since 1992, first as a housekeeper/cleaner, then as the secretary since 1995 for every pastor Visitation has had except Msgr. O’ Sullivan.

Visitation’s defining quality has always been the people who make up the parish. They are generous, kind, loving and helpful in every way.

We have also been very lucky in the quality of the pastors and associate pastors who have worked here, although I am really partial to our current pastor and associate. They are truly the best of the best. As my husband said when he met Father Jim, “if you look in the dictionary under priest, there should be a picture of Father Jim.” He is the energizer bunny whose brain never stops and who can’t say no. I can’t say enough about what a pleasure it is to work with/for him.

My favorite memory is a recent one. When my office was renovated by a very generous parishioner. I am very appreciative of my “new” surroundings and I thank them in my prayers everyday!

The future of Visitation is very bright. With the renovations that are planned for RENEW VISITATION, there are some good changes coming. I am especially excited about all the technology that we have tapped into with Facebook, Instagram and using email and messaging. I still don’t know how to tweet, but maybe my son will show me how someday.

And I do love my job! ”

_

Courtney O’Donaghue
Visitation parishioner for 40 years.

I’ve been a parishioner here since I was a baby.
I went to school here and was in the first class of girl altar servers.
I went away to college and traveled a lot in my 20’s and whenever I came home it always felt good to be at Visitation. A place that never changes but always grows.
My wedding day was my best memory at Visitation. To be in a place so special where I grew up in front of all my friends and family with my soon to be husband. The walk down the long aisle with my Dad was magical. We talked about Dodger Baseball and who was pitching on Sunday to keep us from crying.

Today, I chair the campaign to Renew Visitation.
For me, the future of Visitation has a fresh new look and more young families beginning their roots at Visitation.

Dick Van Dusen
Visitation parishioner for 67 years
 
“I am Sacristan in the Church and help in the Rectory office.
As Sacristan I ready the needs for Mass celebration for all Masses. I am an usher at the Sunday 11 AM Mass.
Where I am now, I can appreciate being a student at Visitation School in the 1950s.
Playing in the dirt lot that was just north across from 86th street of where the old Church stood and where the Jr. High building is now.
How the School became an island surrounded by water when it rained.
How we had about 8 racks for parking bikes that we took to school.
The nuns were tough but extremely loving and giving of their lives.
I dearly miss the carnival dunk tank that Dick Laner manned some times on a cold October day, also the carnival jail that held students that had warrants of arrest put out for them, we also had the U.S. Coast Guard land a helicopter on the School yard in front of all the classes and then offer hands on tours of the airship and of a Fire Department Hook & Ladder truck brought in by Fire House #5. Lastly I still remember a December where we all crowded into the auditorium, sat on the floor with popcorn, and watched a Laurel & Hardy Christmas themed film “March of the Toy Soldiers”.”