Los Angeles

Late LA Mayor Richard Riordan Honored With Mass at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

The Mass is scheduled for Friday afternoon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

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The life of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan was celebrated in a memorial Mass Friday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Riordan, mayor of LA from 1993 to 2001, died Wednesday at age 92.

Archbishop José H. Gomez presided over the Mass at the cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. The homily was delivered by Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, pastor at St. Monica Catholic Church, which was Riordan's parish, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Dozens of officials past and present attended the service, including Mayor Karen Bass. Bass entered the cathedral side-by-side with former LA mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and James Hahn.

She then delivered a welcome during a pre-liturgical program.

“Doing the daily work of City Hall, and especially during some of city's most trying times, mayor Riordan acted with impatience,” Bass said. “That is not to say that he acted without compassion. No, mayor Riordan acted with a healthy and heartfelt impatience because he felt that the people of Los Angeles deserved swift decisions and urgent action to confront their greatest challenges.”

Torgerson recalled Riordan as a man who had done so much and gave his huge heart to his family.

“He would seek forgiveness rather than ask for permission. His spirit was alive. His humanity was full, and because of that came his great gift of helping, especially those young people who have less,” Torgerson said.

The Mass took take place in the cathedral whose construction Riordan helped expedite following the severe damage incurred by its predecessor, the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, in the Northridge quake. Construction on the new cathedral began in 1998, and it opened in 2002.

“He not only rallied the private sector to assist in rebuilding the I- 10 freeway and other buildings, but he also assisted us when the city red-tagged the former St. Vibiana's Cathedral in downtown,” Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, recalled last week. “He was instrumental in working with County Supervisor Gloria Molina in acquiring the property on Temple Street between Grand Avenue and Hill Street. As he did with all major construction in the city during his eight years, he streamlined the process for permits and inspections which shortened the construction time.”

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Riordan was remembered by colleagues and others for helping rebuild Los Angeles after the violence that followed the verdicts in the Rodney King beating and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. He helped expedite construction of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels following damage to its predecessor, the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, in the Northridge earthquake.

The new cathedral opened in 2002.

Riordan's death produced an outpouring of tributes, including the illumination in city colors last Thursday night of City Hall, the Richard J. Riordan Central Library, the LAX pylons, the L.A. Zoo and the 6th Street Bridge.

Current and former lawmakers are remembering the contributions former mayor Richard Riordan made to the city of Los Angeles. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News on Apr. 20, 2023.

A venture capitalist and LA restaurant owner, Riordan was the only Republican to hold the nonpartisan mayor's position since 1961. Riordan succeeded Tom Bradley, who held the position for a record 20 years.

Riordan took office slightly more than a year after the verdict in the state trial of the Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the beating of Rodney King. Another challenge followed during his first year in office when the magnitude-6.7 Northridge quake struck Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, California April 20, 2023-Los Angeles City Hall is lit up in honor of the passing of former mayor Richard Riordan Thursday night. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Riordan was born May 1, 1930, and grew up in New Rochelle, New York. He attended Santa Clara University, where he played on the football team, and after two years transferred to Princeton.

Following his time at Princeton, he served in the Army in Korea and eventually moved to Southern California with his first wife, Eugenia "Genie" Warady. They had five children and he built a law practice, eventually founding Riordan & McKinzie. Riordan is survived by his fourth wife, Elizabeth Gregory,; three children; three grandchildren; and a sister.

We remember Richard Riordan, if not one of L-A’s greatest mayors certainly one of the city’s most consequential leaders. Navigating the way for the city during one of its most turbulent decades.
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