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GOP CONVENTION '96

O.C. Cleric Thrilled at Chance to Lead Delegates in Prayer

August 13, 1996

A Roman Catholic rector from Holy Family Cathedral in Orange, who has been selected to give the invocation tonight at the Republican convention, said he is excited but prepared.

"People have been telling me that, like Andy Warhol, it's my turn to get my 10 or 15 minutes in the limelight," the Very Rev. Arthur A. Holquin said. "But really, I'm just a parish priest at heart."

Holquin's selection to open the convention's second session was a surprise. The invitation came from William P. Clark, a former state Supreme Court justice and later an official in the Reagan Administration, who was given Holquin's name by a mutual friend.

Holquin's invocation, which will include a special prayer for delegates, is scheduled for about 5 p.m.

"Boy, this is really quite a thrill," Holquin said. "I was there for the opening session and saying to myself, 'Gosh, by tomorrow I have to be up there!' "

Holquin said he hopes rehearsing this morning will help contain any jitters.

"This is the first time I have ever spoken to a political convention," he said. "But I have been practicing. They were very precise about time, and I have only two minutes or less."

Holquin, 48, is a native Southern Californian who grew up in Granada Hills. A Latino, he was ordained as a priest on May 25, 1974, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He was assigned to Holy Family during the creation of the Orange Diocese in 1976.

The political convention is not the clergyman's first major event, however. In 1987, he was the event chairman for the first Papal Mass at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the visit to the United States by Pope John Paul II.

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