Kobe and Gigi attended Catholic mass in Newport Beach before tragic crash

Daily Mail, January 27, 2020

The basketball legend and 13-year-old Gigi went to the 7am service at the Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach. They both received Communion.

The father and daughter left the church and soon afterwards boarded the S-76 Sikorsky helicopter piloted by Ara Zobyan which was taking them to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for Gigi’s basketball practice.

In a moving Facebook post Bishop Timothy Freyer, of the Orange Diocese, who is currently in Rome meeting the Pope, said Kobe was a ‘committed Catholic’ who ‘loved his faith’

The helicopter crashed into a hillside near Calabasas around 9.30am, firefighters responded to a 911 call at 9.47am. Nine people perished on board.

A spokesman for Our Lady Queen of Angels confirmed to DailyMail.com that Kobe was at the early morning service Sunday.

One parishioner, who attended a later mass at the church, wrote on social media: ‘During mass, our priest informed us all that Kobe Bryant and his daughter attended mass this morning at the Our Lady Queen of Angels.’

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi attended Catholic mass at their local church hours before they both died in the tragic helicopter crash, DailyMail.com can reveal.

And Father David Barnes, a Catholic priest in Boston, Massachusetts also confirmed Kobe’s attendance.

He tweeted on Sunday: ‘A friend texted me today to tell me that a friend of her’s (sic) saw #KobeBryant at #Catholic Mass this morning. ‘Mass is the worship of God. Heaven is the worship of God. Go to Mass here so that you can worship God forever in heaven.’

The service was conducted by Father Anthony Vu, a Vietnamese parochial vicar at the church. Father Vu, was ordained in 2009 and joined the Newport Beach church in 2018. Like Kobe, Father Anthony spent his earlier years in Europe, studying in the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium

The service was conducted by Father Anthony Vu, a Vietnamese parochial vicar at the church. Father Vu, was ordained in 2009 and joined the Newport Beach church in 2018. Like Kobe, Father Anthony spent his earlier years in Europe, studying in the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium

In a moving Facebook post Bishop Timothy Freyer, of the Orange Diocese, who is currently in Rome meeting the Pope, said Kobe was a ‘committed Catholic’ who ‘loved his faith’.

He said: ‘Our hearts remain heavy after the tragic loss suffered in the wake of yesterday’s helicopter crash in Calabasas.

‘We pray and mourn for the friends and family of the victims who have been publicly identified in news reports: Basketball icon Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

‘Kobe was a basketball icon who inspired us through his words and actions to set our goals, work hard and achieve our dreams.

‘He was a committed Catholic who loved his family and loved his faith.

‘A longtime Orange County resident and parishioner in our Diocese, Kobe would frequently attend Mass and sit in the back of the church so that his presence would not distract people from focusing on Christ’s Presence.

Please join me in praying for the victims. May God grant their loved ones peace and bring them comfort during these difficult times.’

And Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H Gomez said of Kobe on Twitter: ‘So very sad to hear the news of #KobeBryant’s tragic death this morning.

‘I am praying for him and his family. May he rest in peace and may our Blessed Mother Mary bring comfort to his loved ones. #KobeBryantRIP.’

‘There can be nothing more consoling to those who mourn than to know that a loved one worshipped God just before his death because worshiping God is what heaven is.’

In a moving Facebook post Bishop Timothy Freyer, of the Orange Diocese, who is currently in Rome meeting the Pope, said Kobe was a ‘committed Catholic’ who ‘loved his faith.’

Julie Hermes, a spokeswoman for Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church said the late basketball legend slipped in at the back of the service and left early to avoid disturbing the other parishioners.

The service was held by Father Anthony Vu, a Vietnamese parochial vicar at the church.

Father Vu, was ordained in 2009 and joined the Newport Beach church in 2018.

Like Kobe, Father Anthony spent his earlier years in Europe, studying in the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

The church was quiet Monday morning with just three worshippers knelt at the front of the modern building, and two church staff members in an office handing out food aid for homeless people.

This article first appeared HERE.