Fr. Peter Brewerton 1964-1969
Monsignor Carter Richaud 1969-1989
Fr. Alvin O'Reilly 1989-1992
Fr. Carroll Heffner 1992-2000
Fr. Patrick Wattigny 2000-2013
Fr. Robert Cooper 2013-present
Mother Celine 1967-1972
Sister Augustine 1972-1976
Sister Goretti 1976-1981
Sister Loreto 1981-1987
Sister Ita 1987-1988
Sister Loreto 1988-1994
Ms. Cheryl Orillion 1994-2000
Ms. Marilyn Malone 2000-2002
Ms. Vicki Helmstetter 2002-2012
Mr. John "Matt" Downey 2012-present
The parish of Blessed Benilde (now St. Benilde) was officially named on August 12, 1964, when then Archbishop Cody appointed Father Peter Brewerton as Pastor. Due to previous obligations Fr. Brewerton assumed his duties on October 15, 1964. The parish was named for a Christian Brother, Pierre Romancon (1805-1862), who took the name of Brother Benilde. He spent his life as a teacher in France. Pope Pius XII, who said, "he did common things in an uncommon way," beatified Benilde in 1948. Pope Paul VI canonized brother Benilde in Rome on October 29, 1967. At the canonization, George Rojas, President of the Parish Council represented Blessed Benilde Parish.
Since the parish had no church building, Sunday Masses were celebrated in Archbishop Rummel High School's gym, and since there was no parish rectory, Fr. Brewerton took up residence at St. Christopher Parish. It was not until the latter part of 1964 that a house (1916 N. Arnoult Street) was purchased for the parish rectory. Archbishop Cody, in August 1965, gave Fr. Brewerton permission to establish a chapel in the rear of the rectory to celebrate daily mass, baptisms, etc.
First Recorded Baptism - January 17, 1965.
First Recorded Marriage - May 1, 1965.
Fr. Brewerton established a Parish Council and the eleven (11) area captains, and then a parish census was taken from 1966-1967. The first building fund was started on February 11, 1966, raising $179,800.00. The first parish organization meeting was held on Tuesday, November 8, 1966. The church and convent were completed in 1967, and the first Mass celebrated in St. Benilde Church was on December 24, 1967.
In 1967, Archbishop Philip Hannan traveled to Ireland to find sisters to teach in the parish’s school. The Sisters of Loreto of Fermoy accepted the task of developing a school in St. Benilde Parish. The convent was finished in time for their arrival in September 1967. The original four (4) St. Benilde nuns were Mother Celine Ryan, Sister Goretti Walsh, Sister Augustine Dempsey and Sister Immaculata Noonan. St. Benilde School opened on August 28, 1968, with grades kindergarten through 5th grade. The St. Benilde School Board and Home & School Association were formed in 1968 and 1970 respectively.
In 1967, a parish newsletter commenced and was hand delivered by the area captains. A more sophisticated newsletter came into existence in March of 1971. Also formed in 1967 were the Altar Society and the CCD classes; 1968 saw the start up of the CYO, Cub Scouts and Brownie Troops. It was not until 1969 that the Boy Scouts were formed. The first parish fair was held in 1970, and the first “Over 50's” Club for the young-at-heart was started in 1979.
In early 1970, another phase of the parish’s building program was necessary. The parish needed a building to house a large meeting room/cafeteria. Money was borrowed from parishioners, $200.00 that would be paid back. Approximately $70.000.00 was loaned and all of it was paid back from the money we made off of our weekly bingo games conducted by the Holy Name Society. In 1979, the residence of our priests and office was completed.
During 1982, it was determined that additional facilities for the school, namely a library, a cafeteria and a teen center were needed. So in 1983, construction began on this expansion and completed in 1984. The church bells were installed in June 1981, and the stained glass windows were installed in 1981 and 1982. The Christian Brothers, Santé Fe Providence, on December 14, 1985, donated the stature of St. Benilde.
In 2001, the interior of our Church was transformed when we obtained the high altar from Annunciation Church, and a Pieta statue from the shuttered St. Cecilia Church. Our confessionals were redone in 2004, and in 2006 our Eucharistic Adoration Chapel was completed. A big undertaking took place in December 2013, when renovations commenced and were completed in the Loreto Early Learning Center to make it a first class facility.
Since 1964, our parish has maintained a steady flow of volunteers continuing to service our 30 plus ministries and/or organizations. We can only see good things for our parish in years to come.
~ History Compiled by George Rojas