Monica Parish and School History
By Ginny (Wolfe) Lynch
On November 7, 1958, His Excellency the Most
Reverend Thomas A. Connolly, D D, J.C.D., Archbishop of Seattle,
announced the creation of the new http://brainytrading.com.pk parish of St. Monica.
The boundaries were “all of Mercer Island.”
For those who had been attending Mass since 1954 in the East
Seattle School Gymnasium on the island , at the old Sacred Heart Church
in Bellevue, or Mount Virgin in Seattle, a parish to call their own was
finally a reality.
Father John A. Walsh was our founding pastor and
within a few short months he channeled the enthusiasm of our initial 380
families into a building program. Countless
individuals contributed to the building fund and made special donations
and memorials. By June
1959, property that had been purchased in 1950 by Archbishop Connolly
was cleared and contracts signed to erect a church, a ten-room school
and a ten-room convent at the cost of $516,063.
The Parish increased by nearly 100 families in 1960 and the first
Mass was celebrated in the new church on June 26, 1960.
The school opened that September staffed by sisters
of St. Joseph of Newark and two lay teachers.
Though its enrollment began with https://brainytrading.com.pk/ only 186 pupils in six grades,
the school grew rapidly to nearly 500 students and say its first eight
grade graduating class in 1963.
In addition to tending to the congregation’s
spiritual needs, St. Monica was a parish that grew through prayer and
socialization. Many will
remember the first parish activities.
First, the choir was formed.
How many recall singing Christams carols on Jean Bourdeau’s
feastooned boat while cruising around the island?
The Bentlers, Rambaldinis and Weigands began a square dance club,
which, after three years, became St. Monica’s Social Club.
The first parish dinner, held in 1966, was to be a break-even
event, but it raised $1,800. From
that year forward, the dinner was a moneymaker event and it laid the
foundation for today’s auction.
In February 1977, Father Walsh was reassigned as
Pastor of St. Thomas Church in Riverton.
He left behind memories of laughter and his favorite Irish
Blessing. Sadly, less
than five months later he died. As
Walter Parietti wrote in a memorial
dedication “His spirituality was such that it inspired us all to be
close to God.”
Father James Gandrau succeeded Father Walsh as
pastor. Father Gandrau had
been a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Everett where Father
Walsh was first assigned, and it was he sho inspired Father Gandrau to
enter the seminary. Father
Gandrau continued “building” at St. Moncia.
Father strengthened the faith community with his Inquiry Classes
and Parish Renewal. He
placed a high priority on developing a solid religious program in the
school and parish, and he continued to develop http://brainytrading.com.pk/ the youth and young adult
programs. Through his
spiritual guidance, a Perpetual Adoration Chapel was opened, and a
grotto to house the Madonna of Mercer Island was built.
Under his leadership, the Annual Parish Auction Dinner grew and
“The Friends of the Needy” was established.
Father continued to build. Through
efforts, St. Monica received a remodeled sacristy, a memorial to Father
Walsh, a new gym and Family Center, and finally Carillon Bell Tower.
In July 1990, Father
Bowman became the third pastor to shepherd the people of St. Monica. He
beautified the grounds with careful landscaping projects. He renovated
the interior of the Church with new windows, carpets, lighting, pulpit,
and altar. The newest building project was completed in the fall of
2001: a new wing was added the north end of the school building to house
the middle school, a new library and media center, up-to-date computer
and science labs, and administrative offices.
Father Bowman enriched
the community with his total support of the parish and school.
Parishioners were offered two daily masses, private Baptisms, a
professional choir and opportunities to celebrate events throughout the
liturgical year. Father was a positive presence in the school and
parish religious education program. He visited the children in the
classrooms and lunch room, he participated in retreats, and was often
seen at CYO events. Father Bowman dined with families, taking time and
delight in listening to the young family members read. This allowed the
children to know their pastor on a personal level.
In July of 2002, Father
Bowman was transferred to St. Luke Parish in Shoreline, and Father
Dennis Kemp came back to St. Monica as Pastor. Father Kemp, when he was
first ordained in 1973, assisted Fr. John Walsh in his pastoral duties
here. In his words, this was a “return home” for him. For many
parishioners, this first year has been like getting reacquainted with an
old friend. And as each pastor has different talents and priorities,
we’ve seen subtle changes in the first year with our new pastor. For
example, an annual parish picnic has been reinstituted and a volunteer
fair will take place in September. Volunteers have been asked to keep
our grotto looking sharp. A finance commission has been created. We
have weekly Wednesday night devotions with rosary, benediction and
exposition. And as he has a knack for fostering vocations, Father Kemp
has also trained young men to be sacristans to help him each weekend
during Mass in addition to the regular altar servers. In one year
alone, his compassion for the parishioners of St. Monica, as well as his
love for a good party, has created a living social atmosphere where
people feel free to gather and grow together. We are very blessed to
have him with us.
With the help and inspiration of the clergy,
teachers, alums, and parish member, St. Monica continues to grow.