The year 2023 has been set for a dual celebration for the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale — the 90th anniversary of the first mass at Old Adobe Mission and the 75th anniversary for the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Both entities share the same anniversary date of Oct. 15, according to a press release. Events have been established and others are being planned to play out during the entire year of 2023.
Facts of note are that the Old Adobe Mission is the original Catholic Church and the oldest standing church in Scottsdale, listed on the National List of Historic Places since September 2018; and the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the first parish erected in Scottsdale which at the time was the largest parish in area within the Diocese of Tucson.
Designated historian for The Old Adobe Mission Ernie Kallen said in the release that the first mass performed at the Old Adobe Mission was on Oct. 15, 1933, and it was the culmination of a 5-year project by the Mexican community of Escotel (what Scottsdale was referred to by the Mexicans) to build themselves a place to worship.
“Bishop Daniel P. Gercke of the Diocese of Tucson erected the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Tempe in 1932, and assigned Father James P. Davis as the first pastor with the additional duty as overseer of the construction of the new church in Scottsdale,” Kallen stated.
Upon completion, Davis’s first mass at the church was designated as the start date of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The OLPH was designated a mission of the Tempe parish, and priests from Our Lady of Mount Carmel would deliver the mass to Scottsdale for the next 16 years.
The Mission Church would continue to be the first and only Catholic church in Scottsdale until 1956 when OLPH’s second parish church was opened on Miller and 1st Street. The Mission church building was then turned over to the Knights of Columbus for the next 22 years.
Opening the current church in 1978, the old Mission church became the home for the Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra for 25 years until 2003 when the project began to restore the building back to its original status of the church as it appeared in 1956. The restoration of The Old Adobe Mission was completed in September 2017.
“We applied for and were approved for listing The Old Adobe Mission on the National Register of Historic Places effective Sept. 24, 2018,” Kallen stated.
Regular mass is no longer performed at the Mission, but it does host weddings, funerals, baptisms and predetermined annual pageants and festivals, besides being open daily to accommodate visitors.
“Second, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, officially erected by Bishop Daniel P. Gercke, Diocese of Tucson, effective Oct. 8, 1948,” Kallen said.
The release stated that the first assigned priest did not arrive until Nov. 21, 1949, and that the parish became a part of the Diocese of Phoenix when it was established in 1969.
The best contact for all particulars for the year of celebration would be the pastor, Father Greg Schlarb (or a person he would delegate from the staff), at the Parish Life Center. He can be reached by phone at 480-947-4331 or by email at email@example.com.