Staying with friends in Silver Lake, Los Angeles for the holidays, I’ve taken to walking down the Micheltorena Street steps in the mornings, ten or fifteen minutes before Mass at eight o’clock. The steps wind down between the houses in the foothills, terminating at Sunset Boulevard. They are forlorn in the way of all empty places within busy cities.
Soon enough, I arrive at Saint Francis of Assisi Church on Golden Gate Avenue, just off Sunset. The church itself is a simple rectangular box of a structure, built of cheap bricks and concrete block. The only adornment is the stained glass: sharp, bold, minimal in a vaguely modernist way. The faces of the saints and biblical figures are rendered almost as cartoons.