Historical Stories 1971 - Huntington Beach Grows and Grows

An article in the Tidings, published on September 10, 1971, entitled Huntington Beach Grows and Grows highlights the growth of Sts. Simon & Jude Parish.  Along with a photo of Fr. Ron standing across the road in an empty field that is now housing for “seniors,” a subtitle states: “Doomsayers Don’t Worry Sts. Simon & Jude”.  The article starts with this statement:

“To today’s ecological doomsayers growth is but a disease”!  The growth of Sts. Simon & Jude Parish certainly reflected the upsurge in population of Huntington Beach at the time.

In 1955 there was one parish and one priest who offered two Masses each Sunday.  Now there are two parishes, and the original parish, Sts. Simon & Jude, now schedules 13 Sunday Masses at four different locations!  According to Fr. Ron, growth came to Huntington Beach overnight.  “Where a decade ago there were 11,000 residents, vast areas of farmland and a small forest of oil wells, now there are 115,000 people, fewer oil wells and acres of tract homes”.  The reason for the growth was simple enough.  In the 1960’s Californians began to discover that Huntington Beach wasn’t Siberia, but a community possessed of balmy breezes, good climate and realistic land values.  People came because they wanted to get out of Los Angeles or Missouri”.  Fr. Colloty and his three assistants were at the service of 4,000 Catholic families.  “We average 15,000 Communions a month,” he stated. 

The article also includes a statement regarding the construction of an office building to house the rectory and parish offices, as the first such parish structure in the Archdiocese!  Even though the parish was 53 years old, it was still feeling the growing pains of the community and was preparing for even more growth in the future. Fr. Colloty hoped the Parish will be divided again, in the anticipation that the Huntington Beach population will nearly double by the end of the 1970’s.  Fr. Ron’s hopes were satisfied, as the northeast corner of the parish is lopped off to become Holy Spirit.

Meanwhile, more problems arose regarding the building of the church.  In his letter to Fr. Ronald on August 26, 1971, Bishop Manning acknowledged the need for the new church but indicates that Chancery Funds were to be frozen until at least November

On October 20, 1971, Fr. Ron confirms the receipt of the Bishops letter and acknowledges the funding situation.  Besides a freeze on the funds until at least November, the parish must also have half of the estimated $300,00.00 construction cost on deposit at the Chancery before any construction can begin.  He continues by indicating that the parish currently has $75,000 on deposit in the Chancery and although he doesn’t have the final results; a Festival to raise funds for the church had ended just ten days ago, and he foresees having half of the cost before we could break ground, noting that “the plans would surely take quite some time to complete”.

He closed by requesting an appointment with the Bishop after the second of November to show him the drawings and sketches of the proposed church.

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