When devout Catholics John and Mary Prescott donated a seven-acre swath of land to the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1956, the Tustin pioneers intended the parcel to be used in a faith-based capacity.
In 1976 with the creation of the new Diocese, ownership of the parcel was transferred to the Diocese of Orange, which now leases the land to Clearwater Living.
So when the senior living community, Clearwater at North Tustin, began housing residents in late 2021, an on-site chapel was among the amenities.
After Diocese of Orange Bishop Kevin Vann blessed the “Prescott Chapel” on April 4, the family’s intentions were honored.
FATHER BRUCE PATTERSON SPEAKS WITH PARISHIONERS ATTENDING THE INAUGURAL MASS AT CLEARWATER SENIOR LIVING IN NORTH TUSTIN ON SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2022. PHOTO: DREW A. KELLEY/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
Prescott family photos hang on a wall adjacent to the chapel.
“It was very heartwarming,” said the Prescott’s son Earl Prescott, who was born on the property and in attendance for the blessing by Bishop Vann. “It was wonderful. We are very honored that they have some photos of my parents and grandparents in the hallway.”
Priests can now celebrate Masses and provide counseling at that location.
The Prescott Chapel hosted its first Catholic Mass on June 5, Pentecost Sunday.
Among the most sacred feast days of the Catholic Church, Pentecost Sunday commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirt on the disciples and is observed 50 days after Easter.
“I think we have a gift that a lot of communities don’t have, and I think bringing that spiritual aspect to the lives we serve is huge because it’s a piece that is missing in a lot of communities,” Clearwater Executive Director Tammie Sampedro said. “This was our way of honoring the (Prescott) family and their Catholic heritage.”
The chapel contains handrails and is situated on a single level with no stairs, allowing for ease of mobility for priests and residents.
There is also a sacristy and a separate room which houses the tabernacle and includes separate chairs for those who wish to pray in the presence of our Lord.
The chapel is open to all faiths and can also be used as a theater and learning center, Sampedro said.
Located at 11901 Newport Ave., Clearwater at North Tustin encompasses a total of 110 studio, one- and two-bedroom living units.
The community provides assisted living and memory care services depending on residents’ level of independence.
In a recent poll of priests in the Diocese of Orange nearing retirement, close to two-thirds said they would favor living in a community with other retired priests, said Father Bruce Patterson, Episcopal Vicar of Priests within the Diocese, who oversees the needs of priests who are retired or in active ministry.
Father Patterson said Clearwater, with its multiple levels of care, would be an ideal place for retired priests to live.
The first priest within the Diocese of Orange has just moved into Clearwater Living as of the beginning of this month, according to Father Patterson, who serves as a liaison between Clearwater and retired priests and priests nearing retirement.
“This is a really viable option when it comes time to where you need assistance.”
Father Patterson recently led a group of retired priests on a tour of Clearwater. “Hopefully, we can build a relationship with all of them so they can feel like this is a place they can come to visit former parishioners because a lot of the folks who are here are Catholic,” he said.
Priests residing at Clearwater would also have the opportunity to host Masses in the chapel, according to Father Patterson.
“It’s a very unique situation because faith-based senior living facilities such as this are few and far between,” Prescott said.
FROM LEFT, FR. MICHAEL D. NGUYEN, TAMMIE SAMPEDRO AND EARL PRESCOTT AT THE INAUGURAL MASS AT CLEARWATER SENIOR LIVING IN NORTH TUSTIN ON SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2022. PHOTO: DREW A. KELLEY/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
Two retirement communities for priests are located within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Nazareth House of Los Angeles is a Catholic-centered, assisted living community run by the Sisters of Nazareth.
St. John of God Los Angeles provides assisted living and was founded by Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God, a centuries-old order of healthcare providers who care for the sick and the poor.
“For those who are either in a situation where they need some form of long-term care or memory care, we’d love to see this become sort of a flagship of the Diocese in that regard,” Father Patterson said.
Clearwater at North Tustin features private dining rooms, outdoor dining, a pub offering beer and wine, outdoor amphitheater, salon, game room and fitness center.
“It has a lot to offer and I think if we could get our priests in here, I think it will take it up that much that,” Sampedro said. “We need to be a place for our Catholic residents.”
Earl Prescott, son of John and Mary Prescott, said the land had always intended for a faith-based facility.
St. Cecilia Church was originally proposed for the property, which had even been blessed by Cardinal James McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles, for that purpose.
Disputes with surrounding neighbors, however, prevented the construction of the church on that site.
Instead, the Diocese purchased an another piece of land, which is where the St. Cecilia Parish is located today
The parish, which was dedicated in June 1957, was named in honor of John Prescott’s mother whose middle name was Cecilia.
Currently, four retired priests from the Diocese reside in assisted living facilities but they are spread out, Patterson said.
“My hope is that priests know they are welcome at Clearwater Living,” Said Fr. Patterson, “and over time, a community may be formed organically.”