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CURRENT ISSUE:  February 21, 2012
VOL. 50, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Insurance, immigration stall transplant
Msgr. McCracken dies,
longest-serving priest in diocese

Justice forum draws 300
to Holy Names
St. Rose of Lima celebrates
its centennial
In his homily, Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone noted that St. Rose has "nurtured
the seeds of faith for 100 years."
Jesse Peralta Photos

Though celebrating its 100th year as a parish in 2012, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Crockett has roots that go back hundreds more years.

Indeed, Mass and religious exploration in the area pre-date the dedication of Mission San Jose in 1797.

The parish timed its 100th birthday celebration with a visit by Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone Feb. 10 and 11.

On Feb. 10, the bishop and the pastor, the Rev. Ciaran Dillon, OMI, visited with parishioners and the nearby, cozy St. Patrick Mission in Port Costa, which is operated by St. Rose. In the evening, there was a centennial dinner with about 30 priests, including Franciscan friars, Dominicans and members of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the three orders that have served the parish over time.

Most Rev. John S. Cummins, bishop emeritus, and five other priests joined Bishop Cordileone in the concelebrated Mass Feb. 11. Afterward, hundreds of parishioners visited with the bishops and priests at a reception in the parish hall. In his homily, Bishop Cordileone noted that St. Rose has "nurtured the seeds of faith for 100 years" in this small community. Crockett, situated at the foot of the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge over the Carquinez Straight, is best known as the home of the C&H Sugar refinery.

The bishop thanked St. Rose parishioners for exceeding their Bishop's Appeal fund-raising goal last year. The diocesan offices need parish support, and the diocese offers services back to the parishes, he explained. The diocese offers practical services legal, financial and human relations, and robust programs of faith formation.

Mass Feb. 11 drew a packed church. A reception
followed in the parish hall.
In a history of the parish, Keith Olsen writes: "In 1776, Juan Bautista de Anza brought his small body of explorers up the eastern shore of the Bay with Father Pedro Font as the expedition's chronicler. On the morning of April 2, Father Font said Mass before leaving camp on Rodeo Creek. They stopped briefly at the sizable Indian village located near present day Tormey (part of Crockett)." Two decades later, Mission San Jose was dedicated.

By the 1850s, Dominicans from Benicia and Martinez were coming to Crockett to say Mass and give the Sacraments. "Without a church, Mass was held wherever space could be obtained," Olsen writes.

In the late 1800s, church buildings were first constructed in Port Costa, to be closer to the thousands of warehouse and grain workers.

By the 1890s, funds were collected to build a church in Crockett.

In the book, "We are the Church: A history of the Diocese of Oakland," Jeffrey M. Burns and Mary Carmen Batiza write: "On Christmas Day 1892, with a board resting across two barrels serving as an altar, the first Mass was celebrated in St. Rose Church. Eight months later the church was formally dedicated. The growth of the area necessitated a larger church. C&H Sugar donated land (at Fourth and Starr streets) and around 1910 the church was moved to the donated land. In 1912 it was established as a parish."

At first Franciscans, and for years Dominicans served the thriving, close-knit community. In 1922 to 1955, diocesan priests held sway, and since then, priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

A centennial dinner drew about 30 priests from the diocese,
along with Franciscan friars, Dominicans and members of the
Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the three orders that have
served the parish over time.
In 1963, a fire destroyed the church building; a new church was built and dedicated on Sept. 24, 1967.

In September 1993, Father Dillon, treasurer of the Western Province of the Oblates of Mary, became pastor. Father Dillon had frequently helped on weekends in Crockett, covering for Father Paul Maher while on vacation.

Even though it only has about 350 registered families, the St. Rose Parish community has strong involvement in both a Women's and Men's clubs, Social, Finance, Maintenance and Stewardship committees, a large choir and a vibrant branch of the Italian Catholic Federation.

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