Msgr. Edmond Renehan, St. Clare pastor emeritus, dies
A Memorial Mass was celebrated June 3 at St. Clare of Assisi Church in Santa Clarita for Msgr. Edmond Renehan, 77, who died May 27. He had served as a priest of the archdiocese for 54 years and was the founding pastor of St. Clare parish.
Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson presided at the Memorial Mass that was attended by an overflow crowd, including Msgr. Renehan’s brothers Tom and Jim, their wives and two nieces.
Born in Johnstown, County Kilkenny, Ireland, he was ordained for the Los Angeles Archdiocese at St. Kieran’s Seminary in Kilkenny on June 8, 1958. After arriving in Los Angeles a few weeks later, Msgr. Renehan was temporarily assigned to SS. Peter and Paul Church in Wilmington and then served as an associate pastor at a number of parishes, including Holy Family, Artesia; St. Anne, Santa Ana; St. Genevieve, Panorama City; St. Louis de Montfort, Santa Maria; St. Sebastian, Santa Paula; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Santa Clarita.
In 1976, he was named administrator at OLPH, where he was also responsible for St. Clare of Assisi, a Canyon Country mission of the parish since 1973. Two years later, he became the founding pastor of St. Clare, celebrating Masses in Canyon High School gymnasium before a multi-purpose center was built. The parish church was dedicated July 2, 1989.
In 1995, he was honored as a prelate of his holiness (monsignor). He served as chairman of the archdiocesan building committee, vice chairman of the archdiocesan finance council and dean of Deanery 8 (the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys). He was also a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
During his tenure as St. Clare’s pastor, Msgr. Renehan began a mission church in Saugus at Santa Clarita School which became Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. The mission church’s first building was completed in the late 1990s during Msgr. Renehan’s pastorate at St. Clare, which lasted until his retirement in 2008.
Msgr. Renehan was known and loved at all three Santa Clarita area parishes, said longtime friend Bill Lightner, an honorary pall bearer. When the subject of his construction experience came up, he often reminded parishioners that he was not a carpenter, but that he worked for one.
“A great number of people in our valley know that we owe him a great deal, and he will remain in our hearts and prayers,” said Lightner.
“Many families in our community were married by Msgr. Ed; he baptized their children, then married those children, and he was most proud of the grandchildren he then was able to baptize,” said parishioner Paul Travers. “He will be greatly missed by his parish family and 53 years of American friends.”