Our Parish History
St. Philomena Parish was established by Cardinal McIntyre in 1956,
with Fr. Frederick Callahan as pastor. The first Mass was held in
Plasterer's Union Hall on September 30, 1956. Significant events took
place during the founding years of St. Philomena: the first parish
meeting was held on October 3rd, resulting in the creation of the
Men's Council and the Women's' Council; the first baptism took
place on October 14th; catechism classes began; a residence at
21321 South Main Street was purchased to be used as rectory; and
most noteworthy was the initiation of a $35,000 building fund drive.
On April 28, 1957, the groundbreaking for construction of the church and school buildings was held.
St. Philomena Parochial School opened its doors for the first time on September 15, 1958 with grades one through four. The Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart were tapped to administer the school.
1959 was highlighted by the dedication of the church and school with a High Mass celebrated by His Eminence, James Francis Cardinal McIntyre. Fr. Callahan served as pastor until 1977. He had completed the challenging task of constructing the church, rectory, school and convent buildings.
Fr. William P. O'Toole was appointed pastor on April 15, 1978 and served as pastor until 1994. It was during his tenure that the Staff of St. Philomena was broadened. Directors of Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Adult Education, RCIA, Confirmation and Liturgy were hired as well as a Pastoral Associate. The first group of Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers was formed in 1975. Bereavement Ministry was also formed.
In 1983, Fr. O'Toole launched the Arise and Build building fund. More than $1,245,000 was contributed over the years. Due to prudent investment efforts by the parish and the archdiocese, the fund has grown which has enabled the parish to purchase the annex property in 1997.
In 1994, Fr. Rizalino Carranza assumed pastorship until 1999. He created the Financial Council, a fiscal consultative group to the pastor. He also created the Pastoral Council to help discern needs and assist the pastor in the pastoral care of the parish.
Under the leadership of Fr. Rizalino, steps were taken to launch the building of the new church. He formed the Church Construction Committee to assist in the design and development of the new church and the parish center. To raise funds for the construction, a Parish Development Fund Campaign was started. The ground blessing ceremony was held on April 18, 1998.
Fr. Demetrio Bugayong, who had been an associate pastor of the parish since his arrival in 1992, was installed as pastor on March 5, 2000. He presided over the construction of the new church. Fr. Dem guided the formation of Second Development Campaign to obtain additional pledges of financial support for completion of the new church and the conversion of the old church into a parish hall.
Even during the construction period, parish life and activities have not slowed down. The number of parish organizations, groups and ministries has grown to sixty-three. The Unity Workshop, organized by a team form the Pastoral Council resulted from Fr. Dem's desire for the different ethnic groups in the parish to gain better awareness of each other's culture in order to promote loving relationships, mutual respect and understanding among them.
It was in March 10, 2002 that the new St. Philomena church was dedicated.