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November 01, 2011

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception - mission church of the Jesuits in Los Gatos CAIn 2012, St. Mary of the Catholic Church in Los Gatos will be celebrating its 100th anniversary as a parish.  The planning begins now!  Several groups of volunteers are actively figuring out every angle for the centennial festivities.  One, though, needs a lot more lead time than the rest….The History Committee.

The St. Mary’s History Committee is collecting and requesting photos, momentos, recollections on the history of the parish. Some of these materials may be shared digitally at the time of the celebration.  Others may go into a publication for the same event. Some may be utilized in both. Do you have any info, photos or stories to share?

The online parish bulletin states that:

Your recollections may be a paragraph or a page and can be submitted digitally or in hard copy.  If hard copy photos are submitted, please label the back with your name and phone number so they can be returned to you after being scanned. Please e-mail any information to or 100 Year History Committee, c/o Chris Miller, St. Mary Parish, 219 Bean Ave, Los Gatos, CA, 95032.

A little bit on the history of St. Mary’s in Los Gatos

Do you know much about the history of St. Mary’s in Los Gatos? It began as a Jesuit mission, first in the home of a local Catholic family and later in a church building on Santa Cruz Avenue (now “North Santa Cruz Avenue”) between Bean and Main.   In 1912 the Jesuits gave the mission to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, at which point it was made a parish in its own right. 

Side note: The relationship between the parish and the Jesuits remains very good, despite the parting of ways 99 years ago. The Jesuit Novitiate – now called the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center –  is only a mile or two away from the parish and priests from there do help out at St. Mary’s from time to time, at special occassions such as First Reconciliation or for vacation coverage for Masses. Originally this was where young men would enter the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, but now it is a retirment center, assisted living facility and also the provincial headquarters for the Jesuits in California.

The parish website has a page with a concise time line of the parish’s history. Additionally, there are more pages with detailed history by time block:

The Parish Begins …1912 – 1937

1937 -1962

A New Church . . . 1962 – 1987


Related Reading:

Here are a few links with just a small hint of religious history in Los Gatos (I am sorry that every house of worship is not represented here – I did look for the history of more faith communities online but didn’t find a lot there – if anyone sends me links to theirs I will be happy to include it here):

A Little Known Hero with Ties to Los Gatos (Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ)

Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos (1881 +)

History of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (1882 – 1982)

History of Calvary Church in Los Gatos (1948 +)

Congregation Shir Hadash (1980 +)