Altars and Decorative Features of Saint Timothy Church



Without doubt, the most unusual feature of the church is the altar The altarpiece was made in Spain, but the time and place of its manufacture are not known. Early in the 1900s, it was obtained from a church in Spain and was shipped to Yucatan, Mexico. There, it was confiscated by the Mexican government and eventually acquired by an art dealer in New York. In the early 1920s, a woman, said to be the wife of the secretary of the Doheny Oil Company, bought the altarpiece and had it put in storage in Los Angeles, intending to use it in an Episcopal church she planned to build on a corner opposite St. Vincent's Church.

original altar
church interior

Unfortunately, the good woman died before she was able to carry out her plans, and the altarpiece remained in storage until the early 1940s when, owing to changes in storage requirements, her heirs resolved to put it on the market. Individuals at Twentieth Century Fox notified Father O'Shea of the existence of the altarpiece and of the time and place of the auction at which it would be offered. Relying almost entirely on the advice of these men, Father O'Shea and the parish council decided to bid for it. Consequently, parishioner Milton I. Pierson, acting on behalf of St. Timothy's, attended the auction and purchased the altarpiece, together with a large, carved, double door and several large gilt frames, including those adapted to fit around the two altarpiece paintings. Originally the altarpiece included the panels that are now part of the side altars. These were positioned on either side of the top center panel in which the statue of St. Anthony now stands. When the altarpiece was received, these panels were removed and converted for use as altarpieces for the side altars. This conversion enabled all three altars to be unified in style. Portions of the double doors acquired by Mr. Pierson became the front panels inset into the tables of the present three altars. These, too, serve as an artistically unifying theme. The statues of the Virgin and St Joseph on the side altars were obtained from Twentieth Century Fox Studios through Mr. Pierson. They appeared in The Jolson Story (1946) during the scene at "St. Mary's Home for Boys."

statue of St. Anthony

The statue of St. Anthony at the top center of the main altar, although on loan to St. Timothy's for many years, has recently been made a permanent gift (photo by Fr. M. Tang). The source of the angels on the main altar is unknown. The tabernacle (photo by Fr. M. Tang) was designed and fabricated by craftsmen in the special effects department of MGM under the direction of Thomas McCorry, a parishioner. It is made up of figured brass castings, gold-plated, with silver figures of the twelve apostles all around. The silver was donated by parishioners. Gold and silver, similarly donated, went into an altar crucifix used for many years until replaced by a larger and more suitable crucifix. The small painted medallion at the peak of the main altar indicates union with Rome. The keys and miter of Peter rest on the Bible, symbolizing infallible tradition and scripture together forming the twin base of true Christianity.




The pulpit is composed of two separate pieces. The base, consisting of three carved eagles, came from the William Randolph Hearst collection. The upper portion of the pulpit was bought at auction. CHOIR STALL AND PEWS The origin of the fine, carved choir stall at the north wall of the sanctuary is unknown. The pews in the nave of the church, while not properly a decorative feature, may be mentioned in passing. During a strike at Twentieth Century Fox, the woodshop stood idle, and the studio allowed carpenters there, headed by Charles Foster and aided by several men from the parish, to make the pews there. The only cost to the parish was for the hard maple lumber.

ironwork at Baptistery


Ironwork and Tile Work

The fine wrought ironwork enclosing the baptistery (Fr. M. Tang) and adorning the altar rail with its vine motif and brass cherubs deserves special attention for its artistry. Notice should also be given to the floor and cupola tile work.


The Papal and American flags symbolize the Christian citizen's allegiance to church and state.

Stations of the Cross

The mosaic stations of the cross were ordered from the Vatican workshops and donated to the parish by a Jewish film man in gratitude to the first pastor for his technical advice in connection with films having Catholic scenes.

ceiling beams

Ceiling Decorations

The decorations on the ceiling include many Christian symbols of the Trinity and the three individual persons, such as - the triangle, three interlocking circles - the eye of the Father -the lamb, the fish, the sacred heart, and Christogram of the Son - and the dove of the Holy Spirit. There are also symbols of the Virgin under her various titles, as in her litany, and of Christ's followers, together with many signs, such as scales for God's justice, anchor for hope, eagle for faith, grapes for the Eucharist, and instruments of torture for the passion.

Lighting Fixtures

The original lighting fixtures were designed and fabricated by Thomas McCorry and his co-workers. These served the parish well for many years until increasing costs of electricity precipitated their replacement. 

lighting fixtures
Saint Timothy Catholic Church
10425 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Rectory: (310) 474-1216
Saint Timothy School
10479 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064
School: (310) 474-1811

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