St. Benedict’s parishioner Mary Louise Perez was in the choir loft during Mass on Sunday when Father Andrew McGuire collapsed mid-service in full view of the congregation.
“He was just turning from the altar and walked to the end to sit down in his chair,” Perez said. “He just keeled over right flat on his face.”
According to Montebello city fire Battalion Chief Rick Lynski, personnel from Engine 55 responded to St. Benedict’s Catholic Church following reports of an about 80-year-old man down at about 10:44 a.m.
Montebello police officers were already on scene and using a device known as an automated exterior defibrillator on McGuire. Lysnki said the patient had no pulse.
Prior to taking the clergyman to the hospital, Lynski said a pulse was established and by the time he arrived at the emergency room, McGuire was conscious and speaking.
Perez, 78 and her husband Joe, 82, who have sung in the choir at St. Benedict’s for the past six years, said an unknown parishioner began administering CPR before emergency personnel arrived. Joe Perez said he later saw emergency workers using the defibrillator on McGuire.
“I saw them give (McGuire) a shock because I saw his legs kick out,” he said.
A woman who answered the phone at St. Benedict’s on Monday and declined to give her name said the pastor was in intensive care but added he was in stable condition.
Rose Lopez, who works in the parish rectory, said she did not know the name of the individual who rendered aid before police and firefighters arrived.