New LA bishop returns to OLA, blesses Capuchin Family Kitchen van 

By Laura Elmore

Some 45 years after joining the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin at Our Lady of Angels parish in Burlingame, Los Angeles Bishop Matt Elshoff, OFM, Cap., returned “home” to celebrate Mass and bless a new Capuchin outreach ministry van that will help feed the homeless. 

Bishop Elshoff entered the order in 1979 and was ordained a priest in 1982. Pope Francis appointed him an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in July, and he was consecrated on September 26 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles. 

In his homily to a packed church, he thanked the community and Capuchin friars for “the many ways they helped shape me over the years.”   

“There’s no doubt that the gift of your love and prayers transcended time and place,” he said.  He talked about his earlier years of celebrating all of the Sacraments, but cited that his work with the sick “gave me a sense of what I was to be.” 

In 2015, he served in his first role as pastor at the Old Mission Santa Inés in Solvang where most of the parishioners are laborers from Jalisco, Mexico. He also served St. Lawrence of Brindisi Catholic Church, another poor parish in Watts, where gang violence and gun shots are a nightly occurrence.  

Bishop Elshoff singled out the moment in the Gospel when the Pharisees handed Jesus a Roman coin and he  said to them, “Whose image is this, and whose inscription?” Bishop Elshoff invited all to “look at our own lives to discern whose face is emblazoned in our soul,” and to “render Jesus more homage, more praise.” 

Following the Mass, Bishop Elshoff joined Capuchin friars in the church courtyard for the formal blessing of the Capuchin Family Kitchen van. Our Lady of Angels introduced the van this month as a new parish outreach ministry that will be based at the National Shrine of Saint Francis in San Francisco.  

Capuchin friars and volunteers will provide brown bag lunches, clothing, toiletries, and pastoral ministry to the poor or homeless in San Francisco. After the blessing, more than 500 pairs of socks and toiletries donated by parishioners were loaded into the van. 

For more information on getting involved in the OLA Capuchin Family Kitchen van ministry, please call Laura Elmore, OLA Outreach at (650) 796-2185, or Donna Nathanson, program coordinator at the National Shrine of St. Francis at (415) 205-5998.  Volunteers can assist in making brown bag lunches and helping Capuchin friars distribute them monthly on Saturday mornings when food services are limited in struggling neighborhoods. 

Photos: by Laura Elmore, edited by Catholic San Francisco 

Main photo: OLA Deacon Chris Mariano, left, Bishop Elshoff, center, and Father Christopher Iwancio, OFM, Cap., right, bless the new Capuchin Family Kitchen van.