WHO WAS ST. VICTOR?
St. Victor was a native of Africa and succeeded St. Eleutherius as Pope, about the year 189. He opposed the heresies of that time and ex-communicated those who taught that Jesus Christ was only a man and not God. He was involved in the controversy regarding the date of Easter and confirmed the decree of Pope Pius 1, which ordered the Feast of Easter to be celebrated on a Sunday. He ruled the Church for ten years. His energy and zeal exposed him to persecutions for which alone he deserves the honors of a martyr, which are accorded him liturgically. This pope is named in the canon of the Ambrosian Mass and is said by St. Jerome to have been the first in Rome to celebrate the Mysteries in Latin. He was formerly held in special veneration in Scotland for having sent missionaries there. While we know little about him, we may reflect that it was through such people as St. Victor, that Christianity took root and has survived to be cherished by us some eighteen centuries later.
THE HISTORY OF OUR PARISH
St. Victor’s parish was founded in 1961 by the Rev. Prendeville. Its territory was taken from St. Patrick's and St. John Vianney in San Jose, and St. John the Baptist in Milpitas. The first Mass was celebrated on October 29, 1961, the feast of Christ the King, in an old farm house that Mateo and Ann Sunseri made available to the community. This temporary church located on the northeast corner of Piedmont Road and Noble avenue, served as a place of worship for seventeen months. Men of the parish had took care of remodeling the farm house and provided 160 seats for the community.
The first Christmas midnight Mass was celebrated with an ancient spinet organ donated for that occasion. The lights worked on individual chains and it was understood that parishioners in the front rows would stand and move to the side so that communicants would be able to kneel at the railing. On summer days early Mass was best and in rainy weather boots were convenient. It was a simple and homey church in every sense of the word.
The first rectory, at 3383 on Whitman way was purchased in August 1961. It was used as such until 1964 when the church bought the 3115 and 3123 Sierra road properties located across the present church. The Whitman residence became the convent of the Sister of St. Joseph of Corondolet. In 1972 the 3108 Sierra road house was bought for use as a rectory after the homes across the street were sold. The priests lived in two residences on Leisure court, one bought in November of 1984 and the other bought in May 1988. A house on Heidi court occupied briefly by the priests and sold in 1988 to purchase the second house on Leisure court.
To serve the needs of the rapidly growing community it was decided to build a hall. On May 28, 1978 ground was broken. The shell was built by a construction company and the men of the parish did the finishing work. The hall was completed on April 11, 1979 and Bishop Francis Quinn blessed it on April 22, 1979.
Just when everything was going well for the faith community, a calamity struck it on April 10, 1980. A three alarm fire swept through St. Victor’s church and burned it down to the ground including the new $22, 000.00 newly installed organ. Investigators reported that an arsonist torched the church using candles taken from the sacristy. The newly installed then became the church for the community.
But out of the ashes emerged the indomitable spirit of St. Victor’s. The night after the fire the Parish council led by the then acting chairman, Tom Zeitvogel, had an emergency meeting. It was decided then to rebuild the church with a Spanish Mission theme. Jean Dargis headed the pledge drive to secure funds for the building of the new church and the ground break ceremony took place on June 14, 1981. The first mass was celebrated on May 15, 1982 and on September 9, 1982, Bishop Du Maine dedicated the church, followed by a parish barbecue and Fiesta.
In June of 1996 a decision was made to construct another wing to take care of the needs of the growing population. Located on the southeast corner of the present school building, the new wing (below) houses meetings rooms, computer room and a library for the kids studying in our school.