St. Peter Parish, Pacifica, California

Parish History


Wisdom Has Built a House
The History of the Community of St. Peter - 1956-2015
by Eileen Barsi

On the California coast, just south of San Francisco, is the scenic city of Pacifica, the home of the parish community of St. Peter. Until the discovery of San Francisco Bay by Don Gaspar de Portola in 1769, the Oholone Indians inhabited the San Pedro Valley. When the Spanish and Mexicans arrived in California they were greatly impressed by the multitude of Indians and their varied ways of life and felt it was a necessity to build a mission system to educate and care for them. It was during an assessment of the region for a possible mission outpost that Father Francisco Palou, a Franciscan missionary, came to the area in 1744. Father was officially assigned to the Mission Dolores in San Francisco, but returned to Pedro Valley to establish a ranch operation. The "assistencia," as it was called, became an outpost for mission work and crop cultivation and functioned primarily with Indian labor. A compound of buildings was constructed and in 1783 one of the local village chiefs was baptized there, becoming the first recorded baptism in the area. Following its completion in 1785 the settlement continued for about 10 years until epidemics ravaged both the area and its people.

History in the valley is not completely recorded after that until the Mexican government attempted to formalize the settlement by granting parcels of acreage to settlers and army officers who had settled on the California coast. Property and its allocation became very complex with the coming of statehood in 1850 and ownership rights became very clouded. As a result the Sanchez Rancho San Pedro was broken up more than 150 years ago.

The coastal region developed slowly over the next several decades. It was primarily known as an agricultural area where "all the artichokes consumed in the United States were grown," but peas, beans, cabbage, brussel sprouts and cauliflower were also harvested for markets in the Bay area.

In 1905 the Ocean Shore Railroad was begun in an attempt to provide transportation along the coast from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. Real estate developers, speculating that the area would one day develop, subdivided and promoted sales to businesses and absentee investors, but the real estate boom did not occur for almost another half century.

Catholics who lived in the area in the 1930s used to drive north up the coast to attend Mass in Colma at Holy Angels Church. Some, however, wanted to have Mass celebrated closer to home. A gentleman, Mr. James Troglio, owned a dance hall in Rockaway Beach, and generously offered the building for use as a Catholic Church. It was located along the old railroad right-of-way, just across from what became Romano’s Restaurant, and is now the vacant Horizon Restaurant. Immediately north of it was the Tobin Station and west of it the Gust family served customers in the Rockaway Cafe. The dance hall building soon became known as the "Rockaway Church" and Mass was celebrated there on a regular basis.

Shortly after World War II the real estate boom that developers had dreamed of finally happened. San Pedro Valley came under the purview of developer/builder Andres Oddstad and new homes were built. By 1951 the Church of the Good Shepherd had been established in the northernmost section of Pacifica.

The Rockaway Church

The Rockaway Church - Highway 1

The temporary church at Rockaway served the community until 1955 when the Archdiocese purchased a home and an additional five acres behind it at 1496 Adobe Road. The garage to the home had been removed and a small chapel was built. It was as wide, but more than twice the length of the original garage. The first Mass was celebrated in this new church on December 18, 1955 and on March 18, 1956 auxiliary Bishop Merlin Guilfoyle formally dedicated it. The former Rockaway Church became Ben's Trading Post.

Original St. Peter Church

The Original St. Peter Church
1496 Adobe Rd.

On June 25, 1956 Archbishop John Mitty established the parish of St. Peter in San Pedro Valley and appointed Reverend Francis E. Rielly as pastor.

Development in what was now referred to as the "Linda Mar Valley" continued. The area was irresistibly charming and two builders, Sterling and Challenge, met the demand for homes. The new homeowners settling within the parish boundaries had small children, and though there was no Catholic school in the immediate vicinity, they still found a way to teach the faith to the children. Some years earlier the Archdiocese had begun an educational training program for adults interested in teaching religion to the children. By late 1956 the program in the community of St. Peter had expanded to include all grades, two through eight. Classes were generally limited in size, with ten to twelve students, and were taught in the homes of the instructors.

By late 1958 Father Rielly approached Andres Oddstad, the owner/developer of the new homes in the area about the possible purchase of a parcel of property at the foot of Linda Mar Boulevard at Oddstad. After several rounds of negotiation Father was able to secure the entire parcel for $51,000. When asked why he thought the parish, rather than some other individual was able to acquire the property, Father responded without hesitation that it was “probably because it's the most beautiful spot in the valley."An award-winning architect was hired to design the new complex. The original plan called for a church and rectory with plans at a later time for a convent, school, recreation center, and detached baptistry. The design of the church was unique for its time. A description of the structure, which was the feature of an architectural digest, described the church as follows: "The circular form of the church itself, from all aspects, expresses the powerful liturgical focus of the high altar and brings a maximum number of people close to the sanctuary. A skeletal structure of reinforced concrete, bold and articulate to reinforce the single central idea, gives dynamic and strict external expression, while a suspended canopy of plywood shells provides a great internal domed space for worship. This sheltering canopy, bearing the warmth of wood surfaces, is rimmed by a nearly continuous and unobstructed view into the serenity of a sunken garden. The garden is visibly contained within the church proper by the extended radiating structural arms of concrete. The roof canopy opens up again in the central lantern, forcefully pierced by the single ascending shaft of the cross."

St. Peter Church in the Round

St. Peter Church-in-the-Round
700 Oddstad Blvd.

By late 1964 Mass was regularly celebrated in the new church, though everyone remained patient with the fact that all the inner details were far from complete. Everyone shared pride and ownership of the new building. By the mid-1960s the development of homes in the area was peaking. Father Rielly was anxious to build up more capital for continued expansion, so held an auction of the church's Adobe property. The winning bid was $51,000—the exact cost of the new location he had purchased just six years before.

A spirit of goodwill and friendship was apparent in the parish community. Parishioners shared a common goal and worked together toward it. Both the Men's Club and the Women's Guild hosted various social activities and bake sales through the years to raise even more money to offset the parish debt.

The parish enjoyed continued growth of its programs throughout the years of fund-raising and construction. A more mature CCD program evolved after the rectory building was completed.

While the parish was involved in major growth, the Catholic Church was embarking on a period of unprecedented change. Pope John XXIII had convened Vatican Council in Rome for the purpose of spiritual renewal within the Catholic Church. Among numerous tasks accomplished during the meetings, the Council members traced the rich heritage of the faith and determined that, throughout its history, the responsibilities of the faithful had gradually been given over to the clergy. Few duties remained entrusted to the laity. At the closure of Vatican II in 1965 the Council documents sought to reinstate the rights and responsibilities of all baptized members of the Church. Put simply, the laity were asked to respond to the call of Baptism, which was to share in the priesthood of Christ, and in the ministerial work of the Church.

In direct response to Vatican II the community of St. Peter formed a Parish Council. Throughout its brief history the work in the community of St. Peter seemed to already be a reflection of the newest teachings of the Church. Lay persons around the world were challenged to become more involved in their parishes, in an effort to recognize that church is not the building; rather, the church is the people. It was not surprising to surmise that the parish of St. Peter was a parish "ahead of the times."

In May 1965 the Archbishop appointed an associate pastor to assist Father Rielly, Reverend William O'Connell.

On June 25, 1966 Reverend Robert Duryea was appointed pastor of the Church of St. Peter. A short time later, Father O'Connell was transferred to assist in another parish community.

Spiritual growth in the parish flourished. By 1969 Father Ed Gaffney had joined the parish staff. In the summer of 1970 three young men were ordained to the priesthood in the Church of St. Peter. The Cathedral in San Francisco had been destroyed by fire and had not yet been replaced. Reverend Larry Purcell was appointed to the parish following his ordination. Father Purcell immersed himself in parish work, living with and for the people. He recalled "So much was offered to the parishioners at that time, that there literally was a parish program for everyone. It was an era of tremendous growth within the Catholic Church throughout the world." Bob Duryea confessed that he was truly blessed at St. Peter's to have both Fathers Gaffney and Purcell, and the welcome addition of Sister Joan Murphy.

Larry Purcell recounted the involvement of the laity, and life in the community of St. Peter: "There had already been a tradition at St. Peter's of lay responsibility, and one clear sign of that was the CCD program. The other thing I noticed when I got there was not a program; it was a style--a parish style. There was an intermingling of the clergy and the people. For example, there was no locked rectory door. People walked in and out because it was a parish center. And the adults of St. Peter's were highly educated theologically. They had been exposed to good theologians who had preached well, and had done some small group education. In fact, there was even a lay group doing small group education. Programs included a film series, a fair-fight class, marriage enrichment classes, and a very strong Cursillo movement. The groundwork had been well laid. The direction we were going in at that time was faith as a way of life. We were not headed toward Sunday liturgy; it was the other way around. If you had God in your life, if that was truly part of your belief, then you wanted to gather on Sunday to celebrate. In Europe churches are built in the center of cities, and are often the biggest structure in the city. Life flows from them not just inside of them. That's what we were like in the City of Pacifica, the life of the parish and the life of the city coming together."

The center of parish life had indeed become the church, strikingly magnificent at the end of Linda Mar Boulevard--an outstanding structure in a valley now filled with homes. Visitors from all over the United States came to view the building, which was included in architectural tours and pictured in architects' magazines. By this time the interior of the church was completed with the insertion of eleven rows of pews. An altar of marble replaced the temporary altar. Occasionally, some of the pews had to be wiped clean of spots of tar; and when it rained several rows of pews had to be covered with plastic to protect them from the leaking roof.

Time had come to consider further expansion of the parish center. A fund-raising drive took place to finance a building to be used primarily for religious education. The decision to build had been preceded by extensive discussion and study by the parish representatives on the Council and the staff regarding the building of a Catholic school, but it was determined that since Good Shepherd parish already had a Catholic school, it would not be necessary to build another in Pacifica. When completed, the Center proved to be an invaluable asset, adequately accommodating a desperate need for space. The expanding parish complex became a center of activity.

The spring of 1971 was difficult. The Archbishop had become aware of a compromising situation involving the pastor of St. Peter’s that became public knowledge soon afterward. In soft-spoken retrospect Bob Duryea related the events that transpired: "I wonder at my own naiveté that I ever thought that it could go on forever. I had gotten married while I was serving as a chaplain at O’Connor Hospital, and already had a child, though it was a secret to many people. So my move to the parish in 1966 was a little startling, because I wasn't quite ready for it. My wife and baby were seen by enough people that they could later say they knew we were a family." Father Duryea quietly left the rectory and the priesthood, but the story was sensationalized throughout the country.

With the departure of Bob Duryea Reverend Art Davenport was appointed the task of shepherding a fragmented community. Parish life went on in the community of St. Peter, but it had been altered. He saw the need for continued emphasis on adult education to involve the group of people who, although aware of the spirit of St. Peter's, were not yet really involved. He told the Council about the Family of God program undertaken at St. Andrew's parish. In an attempt to refocus the attention of the community, and to deepen their faith by allowing for small group sharing of faith experiences, the Council and staff agreed to implement the program. Both Father Purcell and Sister Joan assisted Father Davenport in the activities of the community.

One other important business matter affected the parish. Larry Purcell explained, "The parish got completely out of debt. What that did for us was get us out from any economic burden as a parish. That was when we were really able to pump money into adult education."

In 1973 the Archbishop re-appointed Father Bill O'Connell to the parish staff. It was at that time that the attention of the parish was focused on a new fund-raising effort--this time for the construction of a multi-purpose building. Father Art recognized that there would be an expansion of parish programs, and there was a need for another large place to gather. The building would also serve as a gymnasium, assuring that the children of the community could become involved in the Catholic Youth Organization athletic programs. Plans were drawn and presented, and an ambitious pledge campaign was launched. The drive was followed by a most successful casino gaming night and construction was soon underway.

Growth was again taking place. Sister Mary Anton Prismich joined the parish staff in the fall of 1974 to assist with Adult Education programs. By that time, a High School of Religion had been established, and a social program for teens was flourishing. To satisfy the needs of young families in the parish, a cooperative pre-school was established during Sunday liturgy. While parent-parishioners worshipped, their young children were involved in programs of their own.
The famous church building in the round continued to draw attention as an architectural masterpiece. However, the roof of the church continued to leak. Father Davenport had contacted the architect, Mario Ciampi, regarding the problem, and eventually contracted roofers to reseal the entire roof at a cost of $12,000. The first rain brought water right back into the church, which astounded the roofer--and everyone else. Men of the parish attempted to repair it, sealing the roof in the areas that persistently leaked. The third time repairmen mounted the roof to repair it, a worker's foot plunged through it. Father Davenport realized the problem was monumental, and with the Parish Council, began to make arrangements for a lasting remedy.

Before any major repairs could be made, Father Davenport was transferred to Menlo Park and associate pastor, Father Bill O'Connell, was appointed pastor of St. Peter's in 1976. Within a few months the parish staff expanded to include Father John Olivier and Sister Kathleen Harris. With his staff in place Father Bill prepared to move forward. He didn't expect that on November 4, 1976 he would need to send a letter to all of the parishioners. It read, “Yesterday afternoon I was summoned to an emergency meeting at the office of the architect who designed our church. The contractor, who was preparing the church for a new roof, found the plywood panels were damaged extensively by dry rot. A close inspection of the metal and the beams that suspend the roof also show deterioration. The church is not safe.”

Despite the loss of the building, programs continued to flourish and parishioners simply began meeting in the religious education center for everything. Marriage Preparation programs were enriched and new opportunities for adult education and involvement were offered. Baptismal catechesis was provided and a process of interviewing candidates for the reception of First Eucharist was begun. For the first time, individual First Communion was offered as an option to the group celebration. A new program to welcome adults into full communion with the church was also started. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults was a welcome addition to the parish programs. The profound practice of blessing each other in prayerful song, with arms outstretched, was also started. The celebration of liturgy thus became a time to share Eucharist and the joyful events in the lives of the parish members. The various events enriched parish life, drawing the community closer together with a family spirit.

Sister Madeleine McFarland joined the parish staff in July 1978. By this time, all the Masses were being celebrated in the newest structure--the multi-purpose building. The athletic program was in full swing as well, with basketball games and practices also held in the new building. Both the Men's Club and Women's Guild held their monthly meetings, as well as their social events, in the same Center.

The spring of 1979 brought another surprise. On May 15 Reverend Monsignor Daniel Walsh, Chancellor, wrote to Father O'Connell on behalf of the Archdiocese, "After months of deliberation, consultation, and study by you, your parishioners, and the Archdiocese concerning the church structure at St. Peter's in Pacifica, the decision has been reached that it is necessary to demolish the building.

"The cost of repair, coupled to the present debt of the parish, the liability of leaving the present structure standing, the results of your consultation with your parishioners, and the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Building Committee, have all led to the decision that the building must be demolished.”

In July 1980, the once magnificent structure of the church in the round was completely dismantled, and the materials, including the concrete support beams, were hauled away.  The situation involving the loss of the building was accepted over time. Parish life, augmented by programs addressing the spiritual needs of the parishioners, was good. Programs were added or eliminated, based on the expressed needs of the parish, and the judgment of the parish staff. A program for Divorced and Separated Catholics was started, with classes for the children of those families. Seven couples were trained to assist in a Marriage Preparation course for engaged couples. A weekly Bingo program had also been initiated to help offset some of the costs of running so flourishing a parish. Once again, the end of Linda Mar Boulevard became a hub of activity.

Reverend Len Calegari arrived on May 30, 1981. The community enjoyed a time of harmony. Father Len conceded, "My predecessors worked very hard, and went through a lot, in order for the 80s to be relatively calm." There was a diverse offering in parish programs and the Men's Club, Women's Guild, and the Parish Council hosted social events. There were a few changes among parish staff members. Sister Madeline had begun to work among the elderly, the sick, and the shut-ins of the parish. Ms. Bobbi Moffat took over the coordination of the Elementary School of Religion, Sister Mary Jane Sullivan replaced Sister Margaret as the Director of Adult Education and Liturgy, and Sister Monica Miller took over the coordination of the High School of Religion and the St. Peter’s Youth Group (SPY). Reverend Fred Lenczycki also joined the parish staff.

Thought was then given to the building of new church. A committee of parishioners had been formed to research and plan for a new campaign, aimed to raise funds for the construction of a new church building. They sought the assistance of a large number of parishioners to successfully solicit donations from the entire parish family.

Finally, on January 29, 1989 the parish gathered to witness the breaking of ground for a new church building. On May 12, 1990, in the spring of a new decade, the parish family witnessed the dedication of the church. Archbishop John Quinn presided at the ceremonies and concelebrated the dedication liturgy with Fathers Rielly, O'Connell, and Olivier joining Father Len and Father Fred in a ceremony rich with ritual. Aware of the parish history, Archbishop Quinn remarked in his homily "Look upon this building as a sign of God's fidelity to His people."

In the years that followed the dedication of the new church, the parish flourished through the generosity of the parishioners, and through the dedication of its pastor, Father Len. Parish programs were expanded to meet the growing needs of the parishioners. Father Fred returned to the Midwest, and Father Bill O’Connell and Deacon Peter Solan assisted Father Len with weekend liturgies. For several years Bishop John Wester resided at the rectory.

Sister Deanna von Bargen, who had enhanced parish worship and the RCIA program by her devotion to these ministries, was followed by Sister Dianne Nixon. Art Angst assumed responsibilities of the High School of Religion and the Confirmation Program replacing Margaret Kern. Barbara Malone led the Elementary Religious Education Program. Jackie Clinton and Gerda Leis, rectory staff members, effectively and faithfully served the parish family for many years. When Gerda retired and left the area, Ellen Hage assumed her duties in the rectory. Father Len credited the success of the parish to the support given him by the parish staff and to the outstanding leaders who gave so generously and faithfully of their time and their talent to serve the members of our parish family through the Pastoral Council, the Men’s Club, the Women’s Guild, the religious education programs, CYO Program, and the various other ministries associated with a rich and rewarding parish life.

During the summer of 2002 parishioners were stunned to learn of allegations of sexual abuse by former pastoral associate, Reverend Fred Lenczycki, while he served a parish in Hinsdale, Illinois prior to his service at St. Peter parish. A meeting of parishioners, staff, and representatives of the Archdiocese was convened to discuss the allegation, to respond to questions raised by the parish community, and to begin a process of healing for all affected. Father Fred ultimately pleaded guilty to the crimes and was subsequently incarcerated.

In 2003 Father Len announced his plans for retirement and discussed the potential for developing the parcel of land adjacent to and just behind the church as a means of raising money to reduce the parish debt. A Land Use Options Committee was formed and prepared a comprehensive review of options, which were shared with the parish. Following an ethical decision- making process, parishioners decided not to develop the land, but instead embark on a fund-raising effort to not only address the maintenance needs of the parish but also to create an endowment for future needs.

A fund-raising effort was launched in 2004, "Preparing for the Future…. Our Vision Continues" and through the overwhelming generosity of parishioners secured pledges totaling nearly one million dollars. The successful drive was a fitting tribute to honor a beloved pastor at the time of his retirement.

In July 2004 Reverend Michael Healy was appointed the sixth pastor of St. Peter Church. The scandal plaguing the Catholic Church in the United States had resulted in the departure of many Catholics from their parish communities, and St. Peter parish was no exception. Father Mike convened town hall meetings to elicit ideas from parishioners to help bring those who had left the Church back to worship, and to creatively problem solve the ongoing financial constraints of the parish. Citing health issues, Father Mike chose to leave the parish after one brief year and was replaced by Father Roberto Andrey in July 2005.

As the fiftieth anniversary of the parish approached, Father Obet (a Filipino nickname for Roberto) convened a Jubilee Committee to plan a year-long celebration. Under the leadership of Joanne Cacicedo a series of events were planned, including a gala dinner/dance and auction that netted $46,000.

June 25, 2006, exactly fifty years after the designation of the parish boundaries by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, a Golden Jubilee Mass was concelebrated by Bishop John Wester, former pastors and clergy. New stained glass windows, designed and completed by Peter DeMartini in time for the Jubilee celebration, were unveiled in the Chapel following the Liturgy and new stained glass windows were placed in the main building of the church.

At the base of the Baptismal font, a bronze sculpture was placed to complete the piece. A statue of the Blessed Mother was placed to the right of the altar, symbolical of the Virgin Mary’s “presence” in the midst of the congregation; and a statue of St. Peter was dedicated in honor of former pastor, Reverend Len Calegari, and placed in the narthex of the church.

On the north side of the church a meditation Labyrinth and garden were placed. The project was approved by the parish finance committee as a fundraising effort. Individual stone pavers, many dedicated in memory of parishioners, make up a spiritual path for focused walking meditation.

In the summer of 2009 the parish administration shifted. Father Roberto Andrey was transferred to Saint Robert’s parish in San Bruno and Father Mark Mazza was appointed parish administrator for the Community of St. Peter.

In the initial months of his administration, Father Mark hired a new youth director, Tamara Rozofsky, who replaced Lauren Bergeson.

2009 marked the formal close of the capital campaign effort that had been launched in 2004. At the conclusion of “Preparing for the Future…Our Vision Continues” the parish celebrated its success. With monies raised through the honored pledges, which totaled nearly $1 million, the parish was able to reduce parish debt, make capital improvements to the parish facilities and establish a capital maintenance fund
Truly, the spirit of the self-sacrificing early pioneers of the parish continues to be reflected in the generosity of the current parishioners who have made contributions, pledges, memorial gifts, and continue to support the needs of the parish through their contributions of time and talent.

Members of the parish council embraced an opportunity to work with Father Mark on the development of a new master plan that included parish life, worship, spirituality, evangelization, and the social life of the parish. And Father Mark also began preparing parishioners for the changes that would occur with the implementation of the new Roman Catholic missal, beginning in November 2011. The new language marked the first time since Vatican II that changes occurred in the Liturgy, changes that theologians believed are truer translations from the original Latin prayers of the Mass.

In the summer of 2010 Sister Dianne Nixon left the parish community to assume a new ministry in Tutwiler, Mississippi. Sister Dianne had overseen the RCIA Program as well as parish worship committees in service to the parish community for a decade. Mary Ann Eiler assumed responsibility for the RCIA Program as well as Adult Faith Formation.

Deacon Tom Reardon joined the parish staff in December 2010 just in time to celebrate the installation of Father Mark as Pastor. However, Deacon Tom suffered a heart attack shortly after his arrival and was unable to continue service to this ministry at St. Peter.

Simultaneously, Deacon Peter Solan experienced some serious health issues that brought the parish together in prayerful support of him during his illness, surgery and recovery. His return to the parish after many months of recuperation was a joyous occasion.

Father Mark was assisted by other priests in the Archdiocese to continue the full schedule of weekend liturgies. Reverend Bill O’Connell, who had served the parish throughout its history and is both well known and loved, was a frequent presider. Art Angst was appointed as Pastoral Associate and Operations Manager for the parish.

The work of the Parish Council continued in an advisory capacity to Father Mark. The new master plan was implemented and Father Mark also offered a series of classes to enrich parishioners’ knowledge of the Church and its teachings and his homilies were often lessons to keep parishioners current on the changes occurring within the Liturgy. Through the various liturgical seasons Father Mark wrote and published books of prayer for use in the home.

The Elementary Religious Education Program came under the direction of Elizabeth Neopolitan and the Junior High School Religious Education, High School Confirmation Program and Youth Ministry is now overseen by longtime parishioner Bettyann Motylewski.

On the last weekend in March 2012, Father Mark announced that he had submitted a request to the Archdiocese for transfer and it had been granted. He would be leaving St. Peter Parish at the end of June.

2012 was a year of many changes in the parish. On the evening of May 2, the Women’s Guild, founded in the early days of the parish, held their last meeting. Guild President Diane Guisti said that the friendship and support demonstrated was a reflection of the involvement so many of the members had over the years. Lack of new member support and individuals to serve as officers led to the decision. The women of the parish continue to support the needs of the parish and are available by telephone or email tree. Future plans include an annual dinner in the fall to stay connected as friends and family.

In early June the parish learned it would be served by Reverend Dominador “Nady” Corrales, who would assume the role of parish administrator on July 1. At that time parishioners also learned that Deacon Peter Solan would be transferred from the parish. Deacon Peter said that he would look forward to joining the parish family “in the pews.” From the diverse history of the Community of St. Peter, it is apparent that it is through change that we learn and grow and pain often accompanies growth. We are a parish as described in the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, stated in their 1993 document, Community of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish, “The parish is where the Church lives. Parishes are communities of faith, of action, and of hope. They are where the gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to renew the Earth. Parishes are the home of the Christian community; they are the heart of our Church. Parishes are the place where God's people meet Jesus in word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of the Church's life.”

Father Nady admitted that when the Archbishop assigned him to St. Peter Church, he felt that the greatest gift he could bring to us would be his smile and a genuine desire to be of service. It was his intention from the very beginning to warmly greet parishioners and to acquaint himself with us.

One of the very first additions Father Nady made was to invite a choir to enhance the 7:30 a.m. Liturgy on Sunday mornings
In memory of the tireless work of Linda O’Brien, who served as Director of both the Boys and Girls CYO athletic programs at St. Peter, the gymnasium was named in her honor following her death in early 2014. Linda’s dedication to youth athletics was evident in her years of volunteer service that continued long after her own children were no longer playing sports. A devoted parishioner, Linda also supported the religious education program and for several years spearheaded the St. Peter Rummage Sale, benefitting parish programs with the funds raised.

Parish life flourished and fund raising opportunities were optimized. “Late Night Catechism,” which is described as part catechism class, part stand-up comedy routine, drew a sell- out crowd for dinner and a laughter-filled evening.

In June 2014 Father Nady’s compromised health was apparent and it came as no surprise when he announced the need to step down from his role. His parting message acknowledged that with competent volunteers from the parish, a strong finance council and capital maintenance fund were established; and in addition to reducing the parish debt, for the first time in the history of the parish the annual Archdiocesan appeal was paid in full. With loving concern for him and gratitude for his time in our midst, members of the parish staff and congregation bid him farewell.

In July 2014 the parish welcomed our tenth pastor, Reverend Jerome Foley, who acknowledged immediately the warmth of the parishioners as signs of God’s goodness.

On November 26, 2014 news spread throughout the community of the death of beloved former pastor, Reverend Len Calegari. Father Len had deeply touched and influenced the lives of many parishioners during his 23 years in the parish and his death was a profound loss. As was Father Len’s wish, on December 9 the parish welcomed and joined his family and friends to celebrate his life and to honor his memory. The Mass of Resurrection was concelebrated by numerous clergy and was presided over by long-time friend, Reverend John Wester, the Bishop of Salt Lake City. The homily was most memorable, as Bishop Wester, through voice imitation, captured the wonderful humor that so characterized Father Len’s personality. The parish hosted a reception in the gymnasium to continue sharing stories and memories, which proved to be of great consolation.

At the close of 2014 the Director of Music Ministry, Sharon Martinez, announced her retirement and her role was assumed by George Ritter. And though the parish was already being served in the areas of operations and religious education of the grammar school-aged children and teens, a staff member to assume the responsibilities of Baptismal preparation, coordination of the RCIA and adult faith formation was needed since the departure of Mary Ann Eiler in the fall of 2014. Sister Hilda Sandoval joined the staff in January 2015 and has also assumed responsibility for establishing a religious program for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children, as well as Liturgy of the Word for children at one of the weekend services.

For almost sixty years, the parishioners have supported our church and parish community, sharing their time, their talents and their treasure. As a community of faith, we strive to live lives of faithfulness to God and to one another.

The church bells peal and can be heard throughout the valley. They beckon to all who hear to come and gather at the Church of St. Peter, where everyone is welcome at “the most beautiful spot in the valley.”

“Whoever is needy turn in here, whoever is without love, enter here! Come eat my bread and drink my cup; come enter here. Wisdom has built a house; come enter here, come enter here and live!”
©Eileen Barsi, 2015

Pastors at St. Peter Parish

Reverend Francis E. Rielly, RIP - 1956-1966
Reverend Robert Duryea, RIP
- 1966-1971
Reverend Arthur Davenport
, RIP - 1971-1976
Reverend William O’Connell
- 1976-1981
Reverend Leonard Calegari, RIP - 1981-2004
Reverend Michael Healy
- 2004-2005

Reverend Roberto Andrey -2005-2009
Reverend Mark Mazza - 2009-2012
Reverend Dominador “Nady” Corrales
, RIP - 2012-2014
Reverend Jerome Foley - 2014-