Paul and Shirley McCracken, moved to Anaheim Hills in 1975. We came from St. Columban’s Parish where Paul was active with parish legal issues. When the Orange Diocese was formed, Bishop Johnson appointed Paul to be a proctor advocate on the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal. There he met Father Seamus Glynn.
When Father Seamus was appointed pastor of the new parish, Paul offered our home for a meeting. Father confused McCracken with McGuire and told the McGuires there was to be a meeting at their home. We often joked about the confusion!
We walked the neighborhood for the parish census and to invite individuals and families to join the parish. One of our neighbors said he was Jewish but we invited him anyway telling him our first members were Jewish.
We also served on the advanced gifts committee under the chairmanship of Bernardo Yorba. It was a humbling experience to have families stretch their budgets to make pledges for the new church.
For our first Christmas at El Rancho, Paul hired a mover to bring his Hammond organ to the school so we could have organ music for Christmas.
At Easter of 1980 our daughter Donna was received into the church at the Holy Saturday Mass at El Rancho. Glenn became a Catholic in the new church several years later.
Ankylosing spondylitis (a severe form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine) limited Paul’s physical involvement in parish activities but he often helped individuals with annulment advice and enjoyed challenging Father Seamus with quotes from encyclicals.
Two additional members to our family in eighteen months, substitute teaching and involvement in youngsters’ schools was a challenge but I managed to teach 5th grade religious education, served on Father Seamus’ scholarship committee and parochial school committee. When no women came forward to be a lector, I volunteered! Many women have been lectors since but the Mass in El Rancho was the only one at which I had served as lector.
The journey has been a long one with our youngsters confirmations, our son’s wedding, our grandson’s baptism, my step father’s memorial service and Paul’s funeral Mass but it has been a blessed one.