Our Lady of Guadalupe
1430 W. 5th St. San Bernardino, CA 92411
(909) 888-0044 / (909) 884-8010 Fax: (909) 888-4428
The parish had its beginnings as a mission of St. Bernadine’s. The pastors of the church in the early years were Rev. Nicholas Conneally, 1918-1924 and Rev. John Prendenville, 1924 – 1927.
A tremendous growth in the Hispanic element of the congregation was experienced due to refugees from the Mexican Revolution of 1910 – 1917 and U.S. participation in World War I, 1918 -1918 which increased employment opportunities. Consequently, the pressure to have a separate Hispanic set up led to the first organized parochial school in 1919. The actual date, when the school began to be used as a place for worship is not known, but is presumed to be around 1922. Prior to the date, a residence on Mt.Vernon and Spruce was used. Soon the school was moved to a site at Fifth and Stanford Street (now know as Pico). Consequently, the school became a weekend mission, although it was not called that and had no formal name, aside from Our Lady of Guadalupe. Despite the continuing need for the school, it could not survive the economy through the Great Depression and closed in 1932. Pressure also continued from the ethnic congregation, to have a separate parish with its own church structure.
To that end, the Bishop of the newly-organized Diocese of Los Angeles – San Diego (1922), Most Rev. John Cantwell, who had already organized seven Hispanic parishes in the Los Angeles area, plus others in Redlands and San Diego, consented to a separate Hispanic parish to serve the west San Bernardino area. Early in 1925, Bishop Cantwell assigned Rev. John O’Dowd to organize a parish and build a church, using the same name as the school. On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, 1925, the bishop dedicated the church – although the structure was unfinished – and the first mass was offered in the new church. A residence on Pico Street was made into a rectory. However, Father O’Dowd could not speak Spanish and a Spanish speaking priest was needed. As a result, the first pastor was replaced by Rev. John Rossi, a refugee from Baja California.
Father Juan remained as pastor from 1926 to 1931 and enabled the fledging parish to get off to a good start. After his tenure, the Augustinian Recollect Fathers from Spain took over the parish from 1931 to 1939. During their regime the church was completed and the rectory was renovated and made adequate. In 1939 Bishop Charles F. Buddy of the new San Diego Diocese appointed Father Jose Rosendo Núñez, who served as pastor from 1939 to 1968. At this time World War II had begun and any plans for construction and expansion soon were places in abeyance until the end of the hostilities. In due course, the construction and expansion did occur, to meet the needs of a steadily growing parish. In 1949, the school which had been closed for seventy years was now reopened. For two years the old building was used until a new grade school located on Seventh Street was completed in 1951. The crown jewel in the construction plans was a new church and rectory (presently Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and rectory on Fifth Street).
The church was completed and dedicated on Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day, December 12, 1954.From 1968 to 1974, Rev. Rudolph Galindo was pastor, followed by Most Rev. Gilbert Chavez, who served as pastor from 1974 to 1978, Very Rev. Peter Luque (1978 to 1987). In 1960 the Sisters of the poor had opened the Guadalupe Care Center, which in 1977 was closed and moved to NúñezPark. The building stood empty and was demolished in 1983. At the same time the old rectory (used as a convent), the old school building and added portions were also destroyed after having been condemned. From 1987 to 1999 Rev. Ramos Rosales served as pastor. In 1989 the parochial school on Seventh Street was once again closed and is presently named Guadalupe Center. In 1999 Rev Eliseo Hernandez C.O.R.C. was appointed as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and is still residing. During his regime Rev. Eliseo oversaw the construction of a Parish Hall and the construction of a parking lot. He united the Spanish and English ministries. They come together in meetings, spiritual retreats and events.