History | OLM

History of OLM

Relics of St. Candidus


The relics of St. Candidus were first received in 1953 by Fr. Joseph S. Burbage for Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

St. Candidus was a staff officer for St. Maurice, the commander of a Theban Legion from Upper Egypt in the Roman Legion under Roman Emperor Maximian Herculius.
St. Candidus depicted to the right of St. Maurice (facing forward), by El Greco
St. Candidus depicted to the right of St. Maurice (facing forward), by El Greco
In a time when Christianity was outlawed, the Theban legion commander and staff officers were composed of Christians. It is unknown how many of the 6,600 troops that comprised the Theban Legion were Christian. The Theban Legion was ordered to quell a rebellion by the Bagaudae, peasants mostly in Hispania (now Spain) and Gallia (now France and Switzerland) that revolted against their Roman conquerors during the 3rd century AD. The Bagaudae that St. Maurice and St. Candidus faced were located in a region known then as Agaunum (now Saint Maurice-en-Valais), which is located in modern day Switzerland.

According to St. Eucherius (Bishop of Lyons about 434 AD), Emperor Maximian directed the Theban Legion to make sacrifices and offer homage to the Roman gods and himself to ensure victory. Maximian then commanded the legion to harass the local Baguadae, who were Christian. St. Candidus and his fellow officers refused. As punishment, Emperor Maximian ordered a decimation, a military punishment where every tenth soldier was executed. St. Maurice and St. Candidus and the other officers remained steadfast in their resolve to not do violence upon fellow Christians. Maximian ordered a second decimation of the Theban Legion, and still St. Candidus and St. Maurice and their fellow officers refused. Maximian ordered the death of St. Candidus, St. Maurice, and the other officers, and according to legend, the death of the entire 6,600 Theban Legion.

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Days Gone By

The first recorded public Catholic Mass was held in the old Malibu Courthouse at Pacific Coast Highway near Las Flores Canyon Rd in the early 1940's, celebrated by Monsignor Conneally of St. Monica's Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California. The Mass was celebrated for many years in the working Malibu Courthouse. The presiding judge of the Malibu Courthouse was The Honorable Judge John Merrick, a longtime parishioner of OLM. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles appointed a Pastor, Fr. Daniel Gallagher, to preside over the geographical regions of Malibu and adjacent Topanga circa 1947.
Our Lady of Malibu, c. 1955, before the expansion OLM before the expansion, c. 1955
The Archdiocese shortly later authorized the establishment of a Catholic Church in Malibu, and construction was completed in 1950. Fr. Gallagher christened the newly built Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church with its first Mass. In 1953 the church was expanded under Fr. Joseph S. Burbage to include a Recreation Room and the Parish Rectory. The Recreation Room was later renamed Sheridan Hall in honor of Pastor Emeritus, Monsignor John Sheridan.

The OLM Parish School for grades K-8 was added in 1955 to accommodate the burgeoning Catholic community of Malibu. In the 1960's the church building was expanded to include a wing on either side, thereby doubling its square footage to better welcome its growing congregation. In 2014, under Fr. William Kerze, the church was renovated to include a dedicated baptismal font -- the last church in the Los Angeles Archdiocese to have its own baptismal font. Additional improvements in the same year were a simple beautification of the church interiory (revealing its original wooden beams and ceiling), adding stone flooring, a separate choir space, a new wooden cross for the original wooden figure of Jesus, and a new altar. The new altar was blessed by Archbishop Juan Gomez on November 22, 2014.
Sketch of OLM by Ellen Cerniglia, c. 1998 Sketch of OLM, c. 1998 by Ellen Cerniglia

Present Day OLM
Today Our Lady of Malibu is a vibrant Catholic Community that welcomes parishioners from Malibu and the surrounding communities. Many of our parishioners volunteer in the Church and the community, nurturing the good in all, and helping to spread the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Good News.

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Church Name

Our Lady of Malibu was originally named Our Lady of Mount Carmel. During the parish's nascent growth, founding Pastor, Fr. Burbage requested and was given permission by the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to use its geographical name for the church.

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