Holy Rosary Cathedral.
Usually located in a main city of the Diocese, it is often larger than other churches and graced with beautiful works of art in its windows, doors, statuary and other decorations. It represents all the people, priests and deacons of the Diocese united for service to the Diocese. It is the hub around which the people gather to be and promote Gods Kingdom.
Holy Rosay, San Bernardino, was established by the Most Rev. John J. Cantwell, Bishop of Los Angeles, on October 7, 1927, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Fr. Patrick Curran became its first pastor. At the same time St. Bernardine of Sienna Church was hardly able to accommodate the large crowds that attended the Masses on Sunday morning and it seemed advisable to build a new church in the north portion of San Bernardino.
The first services were held the last Sunday in October 1927, on Christ the King, in a rented house on Sierra Way, which served as temporary church and rectory.
The parishioners looked over prospective sites for a church and with the approval of the Diocesan Building Commission secured three lots on the northeast corner of 25th Street and Arrowhead Ave. Plans for the church were drawn and actual construction of the building began in May 1928.
The parish takes shape...
The building was complete and open for the first Mass in September 1928. The church was dedicated on Oct. 7, 1928, the Feast of the Holy Rosary by Bishop Cantwell. Under the leadership of Father Curran, the formation of organizations of the parish began.
The duties of the priests of Holy Rosary were many. They had charge of St. Bernardine Hospital, County Hospital, State Hospital in Patton, the Indian Reservation and also Mass every Sunday during the summer in Lake Arrowhead.
In March 1936 a fund was started to build a rectory next to the church on Arrowhead Ave. Before the year had passed, $6,000 had been raised. A nine-room directory was erected at a cost of $12,000.
Parish ministries form...
By the 10th anniversary of the parish, new organizations like the Altar Society, Altar Boys’ Club, Men’s Study Club and the Catholic Youth Organization began to form. In May 1936, The Devotions to the Mother of Perpetual Help started. The Catholic Daughters of America were encouraged to come to San Bernardino to promote the spiritual and social welfare of young girls through the Junior Catholic Daughters. The Catholic Boy Scouts of America were also established in Holy Rosary with their auxiliary, the Cubs.
Soon after Father Thomas Matthews’ arrival in 1933, the Missionary Catechists took over the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and labored zealously in seven centers to bring knowledge of God to the little ones of the flock.
Focusing on education...
Owing to the growth of Southern California, the great need for a parochial school was felt and in June 1944, a drive for a building fund was started. The people responded so generously to the appeal that when permits were acquired for the building, a large sum of money was available, enough to buy property, a home for the sisters and to build an eight-room school.
The school was dedicated to the Honor and Glory of God through Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary on Dec. 15, 1946 and opened on Jan. 6, 1947 under the guidance of the Dominican Sisters from Houston, Texas.
In 1950 a new convent was constructed and the sisters moved into their new quarters. Under the direction of Monsignor Matthews, the church building was extended and renovated in 1953. The need for expansion demanded that a new upper grade school be build in 1955, named Holy Rosary Academy, located at 2620 N. Arrowhead Ave.
Becoming a cathedral...
Father John P. Bland, who had served as administrator since 1959, succeeded Msgr. Matthews after his death. He was also named a Monsignor and was later appointed Vicar General for Religious.
During his tenure of 17 years as Administrator and Pastor, Msgr. Bland continued to foster the spiritual and material growth of Holy Rosary. On March 17, 1976, Msgr. Bland retired with the title Pastor Emeritus.
Father Phillip Straling, a native of San Bernardino and of Holy Rosary Parish, was appointed pastor on April 2, 1976. He remained pastor of the parish until his appointment as Bishop of the new Diocese of San Bernardino in 1978. Holy Rosary Church became Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral.
During that year, Father John Pomis was appointed the first Rector of the Cathedral. He was succeeded by Father Vince Walters and Father Peter Covas.
Looking to the future...
In Easter 1997, the Cathedral completed a 5-year $1 million restoration and remodeling. The renovations, which began in 1992, included a new tower, new stucco coating, new restrooms, and protective panels on the stained glass windows. The renovation also included renovating the parish hall and expanding the parking lot.
Today the parish continues to serve as a center for worship and spiritual growth. In addition to serving more than 1,500 registered families in San Bernardino, Our Lady of the Rosary also hosts numerous diocesan events.