The history of Our Lady of Guadalupe is short. All too soon today is gone only to be recorded in documents such as this.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish was established in 1960 by the Most Reverend Thomas A. Connolly, then Archbishop of Seattle. It was created from a southern portion of Holy Rosary Parish and a northern section of Holy Family Parish. Fr. Richard Stohr was given the responsibility of creating the new parish. The first months were a challenge for both pastor and people. Property was to be acquired and a parish rectory, school and church were to be built.
In the beginning, the hospitality of the Sisters at Mount St. Vincent provided a site for the rectory and the parish hall, giving shelter to the priests and a room for meetings and socializing. Sunday Mass was celebrated in the High Point Gym and in the auditorium of Chief Sealth High School. All the materials for the Mass had to be brought in each week: the altar, the vessels, the vestments and the chairs. Only those who were there at that time can now appreciate not having to put up chairs or kneeling on a hard floor. The first mass as a parish was celebrated on March 7, 1960.
Land was first purchased for the construction of the school. As the school was being built, some 200 Guadalupe students were transported to Maryknoll school, now part of Providence Hospital. Sisters from the congregation of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon staffed the school.
The school opened in 1962 and that year found a grateful and joyous congregation celebrating Christmas Mass in the new school building. For the next seven years the basement was used for the church and the parish hall. But still there were chairs to put up and take down each weekend for Mass.
Fr. James Deady was appointed to succeed Fr. Stohr in October of 1964. It was his duty to find a suitable place for worship and to build a church. Plans for the church were designed so that in the future it could be converted into an all purpose building after a more suitable church was built. After a tremendous amount of hard work, unending perseverance and a successful all-parish fund drive, the existing church was dedicated on April 12, 1970.
Over the many years of purchasing land, building a school, a church, acquiring a rectory and ministering to the faithful, Our Lady of Guadalupe has been blessed with many fine and devoted men who have served as pastors and associates. Each has uniquely given of himself to build this wonderful parish family. These men are Fathers Richard Stohr, James Deady, Brendan Coleman, Gerald Lovett, Richard Eberle, Joseph Buck, Richard Lesnick, Jim Buck, Patrick Callahan, George McClain, Jan Larson, Vincent “Pete” Peterson, Thomas Wojtowick, Michael Batterberry, Paul Dalton, Stephen Szeman, Emil Anderson, and Mr. Joe Milner, Pastoral Minister. Deacon John LaRussa was Pastoral Life Director from 1990 to 1995, and Father Bill Hallahan, O.M.I, was pastor from 1995 to 2002. Presently, Fr. Jack Walmesley is our pastor.
We look back on all the hard work, the failures, the huge debt we had for years and the inconvenience of being without a real place of worship. This is all overshadowed by what we have today: one of the finest Catholic grade schools with 235 students, a parish of 650 families and a beautiful church.
May we continue to do God’s work and ask for God’s blessing and guidance in all our future endeavors.