The first Mass in the new church was celebrated on December 8, 1962, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken presided at the dedication of the new churchon December 30 ... the culmination of celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the parish.
The church was designed in a contemporary mission style architecture that characterized other churches built in the same era. The church seats 958 persons in the nave and 75 in the choir area.
The work of craftsmen from California, Ireland and Italy can be found in the church. Special features include:
baldacchino crown of deep bronze hanging above the main marble altar
gold tabernacle and candelabra, accented by bronze borders, designed with a grape and wheat motif
gold enframed, star-studded mosaic reredos from Florence shaded with various colors of blue
carved wood corpus
our stained glass sanctuary windows depicting scriptural accounts of the stories of the Nativity, Martha and Mary, the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son
stained glass windows in the nave, showing the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, made by John Hogan, who came from Dublin to set up his stained glass studio in Crescent City
brilliant facade window honoring the Immaculate Conception
glass mosaic Stations of the Cross
mosaics depicting St. Francis of Assisi, Our Mother of Perpetual Help and Our Lord's Baptism
marble from the heart of the Italian Alpuan Alps used in the baptismal font, the altar rails, two side altars and statues of the Sacred Heart, Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and St. Clare
light oak pews
the ceiling, adorned with a Eucharistic motif of grapes and wheat, is silk screened on fiberboard
Conn organ and electronic carillon
In the 1962 parish bulletin titled The Bells oj St. Mary's, we are reminded that the phone number was El Gato 4 3726, that High Mass was at 11 am Sundays, that marriages must be arranged at least one month in advance. Scriptural quotes reminded readers to Worship the Lord in Holy Attire, Ps 95
, and Bring an offering and enter into His Tabernacle
Dads in the school were invited to form a Men's Club and sing in the Men's Choir, while the mothers were collecting S & H Green Stamps for kitchen supplies, supervising the school yard, and caring for the sanctuary.
The bulletin announced that October 11 was the date of the opening of the Second Vatican Council which would discuss matters of Doctrine, Discipline and Worship to determine what
disciplinary laws need altering and how forms of worship can be improved.
New Church .... New Ministries
For the first 50 years of our history, the celebration of Mass and the sacraments were Latin ceremonies performed completely by priests, assisted only by altar boys.
When the Vatican II Council of 1962 called for a renewal and revision of sacramental rites, changes were made that allowed lay men and women to participate once again in the central worship acts of the faith community. Latin gave way to English.
As in the early church, the laity again became readers (lectors) of the scriptures and ministers of the Eucharist. Music, previously the privilege of the choir, became the right of the celebrating community (congregation). Singing the acclamations became more important than singing the opening or closing song.
The environment of the altar changed. Focus centered on the altar and the lectern, reminding us that Jesus was present in the Word just as He is in the Eucharist.
Father Howley Writes
In a newspaper column in the WEST VALLEY WEEKEND onOctober 17, 1969, Father Richard Howley, pastor, discussed the subject of how the "Church must learn to relate to the world."
We have long thought that the priest is not confined to the pulpit. My job as a priest is to teach moral principals, give guidelines, initiate programs and serve people, who in turn will help themselves. The action extends outside the church building.
A social consciouness began spreading throughout the church and gave rise to expanded Community Ministry within the parish.
Tragedy struck the parish on All Souls Day in 1972 when Father Henri Tomei, 64, assistant pastor, was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant and left to die across the threshold of the church confessional.
Father Tomei came to the United States in 1961 from the Diocese of Marsailles, France, where he had been diocesan musical director. He had been at St. Mary parish since 1964. A
memorial shrine, with a five foot statue of Our Lady of Fatima, was erected on the confessional site.
A teenager, found to be on drugs at the time of the murder, was later apprehended for the crime and sentenced to prison.
During the period of the last 20 years, lay members of the church became more and more involved in ministry . .. as teachers and directors of programs for children from pre-school through high school and for adults updating their faith; as lectors and musicians and Eucharistic ministers, as visitors to the sick and advocates for the hungry.
The lack of office space for program coordinators and meeting rooms for parish groups became more critical each year. In the spring, 1986, Father Arthur Hofmann announced a
building campaign to finance a Pastoral Center that would provide a multi-purpose meeting center, a fellowship courtyard, private conference rooms, and work and office space for staff.
Tom Connelly served as general chair for the March 16 campaign which raised $1 million in pledges for a three-year span. This was added to $500, 000 available in parish reserves to finance the $1,450, 000 construction. Working with Connelly were Bud Flocchinni and Phil Kronzer as coordinators for the Pacesetters/Leadership Committee and Victor and Mary Jo LoBue of the Parish Information Committee.
KCZL of San Jose were architects for the new buildings which provided 8,917 square feet of space, not including the additional space in the school for a science lab and new computer room. Frank Surian & Sons, Inc. was in charge of construction.
Moving into the new buildings will be the school principal, the coordinators and staff for Catechetical, Liturgical, Youth and Young Adult Ministries. The Community Ministry office will
remain in the former baptistry in the church vestibule.
Formal dedication of the Pastoral Center by Bishop Pierre DuMaine will be on Sunday, June 14, as part of the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the parish and Silver Jubilee of the church