St. Gerald of Mayo, a Benedictine monk and abbot, was chosen as the titular saint. He died in 732 A.D. He was an Englishman with very little known about his life. As the story goes, he accompanied St. Colman to Ireland after the Celtic way of observing Easter was forbidden in Northumbria, England. This group of of monks ultimately split into an Irish and English monastery. St. Colman stayed with the Irish group and St. Gerald became the abbot of the English group at Mayo. March 13th is his feast day.
Our parish shrine with the statue of St. Gerald was blessed May 24, 1962, by Archbishop Gerald T. Bergan, followed by Mass. The Rev. J. Hanna, S.J., 80, laid the Kasota stone. The only one of its kind in the country, the St Gerald statue is made of white Carara marble and was designed in Italy.
In May, 1957 as Father William Foster stood surveying four acres of land which had been the Ralston Golf Course at 78th and Lakeview, the words of Archbishop Gerald T. Bergan echoed in his head, "I want you to go out to Ralston and build a church and a school."
The Holy Sacrifice of the mass was offered at St. Gerald's Church on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1959. The blessing and dedication took place on April 19 that same year.
St. Gerald School is the only private school in Ralston.
The Parish Center / Gymnasium served as one of our original gathering places for social events.
In May of 1974, Founding Pastor - Father William F. Foster, brought to the parishioners' attention the rapid growth of our parish and the problem of overcrowded Masses. Since the Joseph Krajicek Family had donated 10 acres at 96th and Q streets to the Archdiocese, it was decided to build a modest church at this location.
Construction of the original St. Gerald West Church began on October 15, 1975 with a cost of around $190,000. By 1985, St. Gerald parish had grown from 120 families to 1,400 families, and from one worship space to two.
Archbishop Daniel Sheehan appointed Father Larry Dorsey and Father William Fitzgerald as pastor and co-pastor and gave them this assignment: determine through a demographics study if St. Gerald should be kept as one parish or split into two parishes. Sister Rosalee Burke, ND was hired to do the study and to begin a spiritual renewal program. The study showed the parish should remain as one large parish.
The 96th & Q Street fit two requirements laid out by the Archbishop - the Archdiocese must own the property, and the church should be located as close to the geographical middle of the parish as possible. He also asked that the parish offer fewer Masses. A committee of parishioners met to determine parish needs. Total cost of all recommendations resulting from the parish meetings would have been $12 million.
Fathers Larry and Fitz asked for a prioritization of those needs. It was decided that a new church would benefit the largest number of parishioners.
"If you're committed to one parish, you must build a church that will accommodate the parish", the Archbishop said.
In the spring of 1995, a capital campaign for the construction of a new church at 96th and Q Streets began. The goal of $2.2 million, which would readily pay for half the cost was set.
An architectural master plan, with the $10,000 cost financed by the Archbishop's Campaign for Educational Excellence, was completed. Architects for the new church were Zenon Berringer and Mabrey Partners (ZBM).
A plan was submitted in November 1994 to Archbishop Elden Curtiss, who approved it. The plan called for the continued use of the original St. Gerald Church and its kindergarten through sixth grade school.
A Groundbreaking Liturgy for the new church was celebrated on Sunday, August 27, 1995. Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss was the principal celebrant at the dedication liturgy for the new church.
This celebration followed two weeks of festivities, including an open house and a solemn procession and transfer of the Eucharist from the Lakeview Chapel to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the new Church.