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The Groundbreaking and Patronal Feast Celebration of St. Raphael Mission

Banquet - 11/05/05

Palm Springs, California

(5 images)


Groundbreaking Service - 11/05/05

Palm Springs, California

(7 images)


Orthros and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy - 11/05/05

Palm Springs, California

(7 images)


Great Vespers - 11/04/05

Palm Springs, California

(5 images)


In 1998 a dream was founded in the desert oasis of Palm Springs, California, when two couples Paul and Marge Shada along with Emile and Mary Ciontea, set out to establish an English speaking Antiochian Church in the Coachella Valley.  In 2000, the small mission was assigned to the care of Fr. David Kruse.  Without a building to hold service in, they secured the use of a chapel where they continue to hold services to this day.  Since the beginning of this mission, the universal dream of a permanent building has been in the eyes and hearts of all the founders as well as the parishioners.  This vision has been especially important to the chairman of the building committee, Paul Shada who is also one of the original founders of this mission, which has come so far in the past seven years.  With the grounds newly purchased in 2004 located in Cathedral City, and plans that have been approved for a church, the vision of founding an Antiochian Orthodox Church in the Coachella Valley is in the beginning stages of becoming a reality for those who have had such dedication and patience for the past seven years.  The official ground breaking ceremony was attended by four different jurisdictions: Antiochian, Greek, Romanian, and Carpatho Russian; His Grace BISHOP JOSEPH presided. 

Attendees came from as far as Garden Grove to take part in this historical event and gave their prayers and support to this small mission and the monumental task ahead.  Donations have been made for many specific projects in the construction of the new church facilities, including the underground plumbing and the concrete work.  We ask for your continued prayers in our efforts to establish an Antiochian Church in the Coachella Valley, and we thank all of you who attended this monumental occasion.

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