Father Raymond, CEO of St. John
February 16, 2022
Father Raymond Decipeda of the Saint John of God Church is the type of man whose faith in his teachings has held him firm as he restores and improves upon the little church sitting down in Norwalk Square.
Coming from the Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross in the Philippines, his time at St. John isn’t the first time he has devoted himself to a task; for example, he was responsible for the teaching of MMHC youth back in the Philippines.
“Everybody can preach; not everybody can consecrate to become the body of Christ and that’s why we need the priest,” said Decipeda.
This kind of familiarity is what Norwalk’s Catholic residents lacked since Father Pius Pareja, the pastor before Decipeda, passed from complications with COVID-19 last year.
One quality of his person that attendees like Ada Harder admire is the fact that he enjoys assisting staff and enthusiastic churchgoers in maintaining a smooth operation.
More specifically, it is his willingness to help out with menial tasks such as fixing the air conditioner, tending to the garden, or fixing the speakers.
Harder said, “He’s not only helping out the parish but [also] he’s very approachable whenever we have some concerns.”
One part of the education required to assume the role of pastor, said Decipeda, was obtaining a Master’s degree in clinical psychology.
Amongst his work at St. John, some include erecting a collection of marble shrines—which hadn’t been built when he arrived in 2016—of religious figures like Saint John himself.
As well as teaching the inmates of both Terminal Island Federal Bureau of Prisons in San Pedro and the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles find some measure of control in religion.
He also makes a yearly effort to raise thousands of dollars for the homeless of Norwalk; an effort that Decipeda said he enjoys.
All the while, he is paid $1,300 per month despite the fact that 7,000 families are contained within this particular parish, with a significant portion of donations going to the payrolls of other staff, according to Decipeda.
Something surprising about this fact is that he makes an effort to raise thousands of dollars for the homeless of Norwalk
However, Decepida feels that there is something more implicit to receiving donations.
“Where do we get the money? Trust; what do you mean by trust?” said Decipeda. “When people see that their money goes where it’s intended.”
Given that what is done with the donations is recorded carefully, most—if not all—of the funds are directed to the improvement of the church, Decipeda confessed that he would like to think he has had a positive impact on his parish and increased the level of trust between pastor and churchgoer.
Aside from overseeing church affairs, he likes exercising and taking in nature by participating in activities such as kayaking and water paddling.