A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. ROSE OF LIMA PARISH
St. Rose of Lima Parish was established in March 1946 and named in honor of the 17th century South American saint famous for her piety, love and dedication to the poor and the sick. At that time there was no church structure, not even the grounds on which to build one. There were, however, 110 families registered in the parish, which gathered for Mass in a school auditorium on West 21st Street Street or a fire station on West 34th Street. The Rev. Paul C. Pieri served as the first pastor.
The first tract of land on Brinkman Street between 34th and Wakefield, was purchased later that year with two additional purchases expanding the property. Plans for a parish complex were drawn up almost immediately, but post-war government controls prevented the start of construction until April 12, 1947. Inclement weather and a scarcity of building materials hampered construction, which was finally completed in August 1948.
August 30, 1948, the Feast of St. Rose of Lima, Bishop Christopher E. Byrne, D.D., was assisted by 45 priests in dedicating and blessing the new buildings. The original complex consisted of a rectory, an auditorium (now the East Hall) that also served as the church, five classrooms, a cafeteria and a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet who established St. Rose of Lima. The school opened its doors in September 1948 with 185 students. It continues to offer a quality Catholic education based on the integral formation of the child in body, mind and spirit.
Construction on the present church complex began in August 1961. The church’s cornerstone was laid July 1, 1962. Bishop Wendelin J. Nold, S.T.D., dedicated the new structures on the Feast of St. Rose of Lima August 30, 1962. The contemporary architecture of the building, with its cross-topped bell tower rising 63 feet into the suburban sky, immediately made it a local landmark. The green and gray ledge stone walls of the sanctuary, the German-made stained glass windows, and especially the Stations of the Cross, which were hand-carved in Italy, continue to make the church distinctive. Msgr. Pieri passed away in September 1969. Msgr. John J. Ruddy was appointed pastor but the parish was shocked by his sudden death less than one month later. In January 1970, the Rev. Joe Crosthwait became pastor and served the parish for most of the next decade. In the late 1980’s, the Rev. Rudy Beranek, who succeeded Rev. Crosthwait as pastor in 1979, led a drive to build the Parish Activities Building, which was dedicated in August 1987. This addition includes the current parish and school offices, upstairs meeting rooms and the West Hall, which serves as a gymnasium and auditorium. Msgr. Tom Wendland became pastor in 1989. In the mid-90s he oversaw the purchase of two residences across the street from the parish grounds and their conversion into a rectory. Msgr. Wendland passed away on Dec. 26, 1998. The parish’s Parochial Vicar, Rev. Clint Ressler, served as interim pastor until Msgr. James B. Anderson joined the parish in June of 1999. Msgr. Anderson served as pastor of St. Rose until August of 2007. The Rev. Clint Ressler returned to St. Rose to begin his service as our current pastor. He was installed as pastor on St. Rose Day, August 26, 2007.
In 1998, an ambitious capital campaign program allowed for the construction of the Early Childhood Center, the renovation of the first floor of the old rectory to become the parish’s Fellowship Center, and for needed improvements in a number of other areas, including new lighting and sound systems for the church.
In 2005, the church vestibule was extensively renovated including the day chapel and cry room. A second stairwell to the loft and an ADA-compliant restroom were also added.
Today, St. Rose of Lima serves a growing and increasingly diverse population of approximately 1,700 registered families. The many organizations and ministries detailed in this directory reflect the parish's rich history as well as its commitment to the future.