St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church

3954 Palo Verde Avenue

Long Beach, CA 90808

Phone (562) 425-7459

Fax (562) 421-0475

Rectory Hours:

 Mon-Fri: 10-12 - 1-5

Sat-Sun: Closed

St. Maria Goretti Church Masses have been SUSPENDED until Further Notice. 
God Bless you during this Lenten Season!


The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has announced dates when the churches may begin the process of reopening: weekday Mass, Wednesday June 3; Sunday Mass, weekend of June 6-7. To tell you the truth, this took me by surprise. Everything I had heard led me to believe that it would be the following week.

This does not mean that every parish will be able to begin on these dates. Each parish is required to submit a detailed plan of how it will comply with the safety requirements. This includes—


  • a seating plan that keeps everyone at least 6 feet apart
  • entry and exit procedures
  • disinfectant supplies and protocols
  • masks required of everyone who wants to enter the church, including a supply of masks for those who come without one
  • safety measures for high-risk parishioners (age and other factors)
  • safe and private environment for hearing confessions (our confession room does not meet such requirements)
  • safety measures for parish office staff and visitors


We are in the process of preparing our plan, which will be sent to the office of our Regional Bishop. We will be allowed to reopen only after our plan is approved. One factor that applies particularly to SMG is that many of us, including the pastor, fall into the high-risk category. We need to show how we will deal with this.

The one thing we are certain about Covid-19 is that it tends to spread in an enclosed area in which everyone is breathing the same air for a significant length of time. For this reason, when we can celebrate Mass again, it will be without books or singing, with as little physical contact as possible. As the song goes, “Soon and very soon we’re going to see the King.” That may be true, but it must not be because we picked up Covid-19 from our priest or fellow parishioners. Will all this make Fr. John’s homilies any shorter? That remains to be seen.

With this in mind, we will take all the time necessary to allow us to resume celebrating the sacraments safely. And remember that Archbishop Gomez has granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday. This dispensation remains in effect until the Covid-19 pandemic has run its course.

We also want to thank everyone for their continued support. We thank everyone who has submitted envelopes through e-giving, hand-delivered them to the rectory door slot or mailed them. Welcome to the new normal! Through the Paschal Mystery, we are already in the endless day of the new creation. Alleluia!

May 19, 2020 (no more Mr. Nice Guy):

This morning I participated in a Zoom deanery meeting with the other priests in Long Beach and our regional Bishop Marc Trudeau. We were discussing plans on how to start the process of reopening our churches. I need to emphasize that at the present time it is impossible to set a date. Some of my brother priests expressed an anxiety that people are getting impatient, wondering why Walmart is open and we are not. Why are they hearing about resuming professional sporting events and not about Sunday Mass? They fear that something like what happened in Huntington Beach could be targeted at the parish churches and the priests. I have to admit that when I let my imagination run wild, I get similar thoughts and feelings.
It’s important to remember that if and when the Dodgers take the field—and I hope they do—the spectator seats will be empty! When the churches reopen, there will have to be in place a strictly enforced 6’ distance between people in the church. What will probably occur is that at first the church will be open only for private prayer. There will need to be ongoing disinfectant and sanitizing procedures at all times. Masks will be required for anyone entering the church. (Anyone who refuses will have to face a Clorox* squirt gun firing squad.) When Mass resumes, the distancing and disinfectant procedures must be observed before, during and after each Mass. This means an individual Sunday Mass will be able to accommodate no more than 1/4th of a church building’s normal capacity. Here at SMG, we don’t have pews, but individual moveable padded seats. We are looking at the possibility of removing all but the seats we can space 6’ apart in all directions. You do the math.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is in daily communication with LA County officials. In other parts of the country, like in Texas, churches, following the state guidelines, have resumed Sunday Masses, sometimes with dire results. If you want to know the details of one instance, look up the news about Holy Ghost Parish in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. I won’t go into details here, but If you can read this, you can do a search.
Our parish will follow the timeline laid out by the Archdiocese of LA, following the procedures mandated by LA County. And I repeat that at the present time, it is impossible to set a starting date. The situation is fluid and uncertain, so things can change on a daily basis. In light of this, the Archbishop has suspended the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for the foreseeable future.

These are unprecedented days. I will try to keep you informed as things unfold. We need to pray for each other constantly. Talk about writing a new chapter in the Acts of the Apostles.

Do I dare say it? I will. It may feel like Lent, but it’s the Easter Season. Alleluia! So there! Alleluia!




Rosary and Chaplet

Monday thru Friday at 7:20am

Mother of Perpetual Help Devotions

Friday at 8:30 a.m.



First Friday: Eucharistic Adoration


8:30 a.m. to 10:00am





5:00 p.m. Saturdays

8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., and 12 noon (Spanish)




8:00 a.m. Monday thru Friday




Saturdays: 3:00 p.m.

Anytime, by appointment


BAPTISMS: Parents expecting a child, please phone the Parish


Office regarding preparatory classes.



MARRIAGES: Please phone your the Parish Office at least 6


months in advance to set up an appointment with Fr. John.


ANOINTING OF THE SICK: Call the Parish Office to schedule


an anointing of the sick. For Eucharistic care please arrange with


the Ministry Office for weekly visitation.