History of Our Parish

History of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary—St. Richard Catholic Church
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-St. Richard Catholic Church is a merger of two existing parishes, St. Richard Catholic Church and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, that became effective on November 28, 2010.  The main Sanctuary where the community gathers for worship is located on the property that previously comprised St. Richard Catholic Church, and the Parish School and rectory are located on the property that previously comprised Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church.  Archbishop John Favalora appointed Fr. Luis A. Perez as the first Pastor and Fr. Jesus (Jets) Medina as the first Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-St. Richard Catholic Church. The two parishes began worshiping together in early August of 2010, with this mission statement: "To nourish our community through The Word and The Sacraments, embracing our diversity as we minister to the needs of others."

Fr. Adelson (Sonny) Moreira, O.S.S.T, then replaced Fr. Jets as the second Parochial Vicar, and upon Fr. Perez' departure on July 1, 2012, the Order of the Trinitarians assumed the pastoral care of the Parish, with Archbishop Thomas Wenski appointing Fr. Moreira as the Administrator of the Parish,, with Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.S.S.T., appointed the Parochial Vicar and Fr. Ireneusz Ekiert, O.S.S.T., also serving while in-house-residence. Fr. Daniel Houde, O.S.S.T., replaced Fr. Alberto on July 1, 2014 as our Parochial Vicar.  Upon Fr. Moreira’s departure on July 1, 2016 Archbishop Thomas Wenski appointed Fr. William Sullivan, O.S.S.T. as the Administrator of the Parish.

To fully appreciate the entire history of our Parish, it is appropriate to look back on the separate histories of St. Richard Catholic Church and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

History of Saint Richard Catholic Church in Palmetto Bay, Florida

In the spring of 1969, the late Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll established Saint Richard Catholic Church. Fr. Donald J. Ireland was appointed first administrator and celebrated the first parish Mass on June 29, 1968 in the Coral Reef Elementary School Cafetorium.

The early St. Richard faithful continued to celebrate Mass at the school until October 26th of that year when they began sharing the church facilities of St. Andrew Episcopal Church on Old Cutler Road.

On December 12, 1971 a worship place of our own became a reality with the blessing of the parish house on our present property at 7500 SW 152"d Street using the back patio for Masses.

In October of 1973, Fr. Kieran P. Darcy was named St. Richard’s second administrator. His immediate goal was the building of a multi-purpose Parish Center adjacent to the parish house, and in December of that year the first Mass was celebrated with Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy blessing the new building. The complex provided office space, classrooms for religious instruction, a hall and kitchen facilities for parish functions, as well as a chapel area. The late Fr. Roger Radloff was in residence at this time and assisted with Masses as our new facility continued to grow.

On August 20, 1980, Fr. Jon J. Vereb, now retired, was appointed the first Pastor of St. Richard and was instrumental in paying off the parish debt. He directed the building of an addition to the parish house. The patio was enclosed and used as a conference room for meetings and over-flow for the religious instruction classes. Fr. Timothy Piano was our first Associate Pastor from 1982 thru 1985.

On January 18, 1984 Fr. Brian Dalton was assigned as the second Pastor our parish. His goal was to give the St. Richard community a proper worship space, so he began the task of building a new church. In four short years, through his untiring efforts and the hard work and unselfish generosity of the community of St. Richard, the new church was dedicated on June 3, 1989 by Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy. We were blessed to have our first Deacon, Vince Mc Innerney, assigned from 1987 to 1991 followed by the late Deacon Luis Zayas assigned from 1991 to 1999.

On June 1, 1992 Fr. Ronald J. Pusak was assigned to the parish as the second Associate Pastor. On August 24, 1992 "Hurricane Andrew" devastated a large portion of Miami. St. Richard Parish suffered extensive damage to the main church, parish house and parish center. Under the direction of Fr. Dalton, the parish was reconstructed and on June 1, 1993 Fr. Pusak was appointed as the fourth Pastor of St. Richard along with John Avery who was ordained as permanent Deacon in December 1993 to 1999. The installation of Fr. Pusak, the rededication of the church building, and the 25th Anniversary of the "Community of Saint Richard” were held on October 3, 1993 by Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy. In that same month, the late Fr. Jorge Sardinas became the third Associate Pastor of St. Richard Church on Christmas Eve 1993 to 1999. Robert O'Malley was ordained as permanent Deacon on December 1, 1994 and serves to the present. Fr. Carlos J. Miyares become the fourth Associate Pastor on August 1999 and served in that capacity until 2002.

Fr. Stephen Hilley became the fifth and final Pastor of St. Richard Catholic Church on July 1, 2001 and served until July 1, 2001. On August 10, 2001 the Religious Education/Youth Center building, constructed under the tenure of Fr. Pusak, was opened due to the expanding need of the parish thanks to the untiring efforts and hard work of the parish community of St. Richard.

History of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Cutler Bay, Florida

On January 26, 1959, then Bishop Coleman F. Carroll issued a decree to erect the first new parish in the Diocese of Miami. Bishop Carroll was baptized in Holy Rosary Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and educated by the Sisters of St. Joseph, in Baden, PA. His appointment as first Bishop of the Diocese of Miami took place on October 7, 1958, on the Feast of the Holy Rosary. It was with great love that the new bishop named his new parish in Perrine "Our Lady of the Holy Rosary."

Our real roots, however, go back several more years. In 1955 a handful of women in Cutler Ridge formed St. Michael's circle and organized a car pool to transport children to Sacred Heart School in Homestead. This group later became Our Lady of Lourdes Society. By 1956 a mission church had evolved. When the mission church held its first Mass in Perrine Elementary school, 175 people attended.

Fr. Thomas Anglim was appointed Pastor, and Mass continued in Perrine Elementary. On July 11, 1959 we broke ground for our church and school.

The Sisters of St. Joseph from Pennsylvania were asked to run the school which began in portables with grades 1 — 4.

On February 27, 1960, at a Solemn Pontifical Mass, Bishop Coleman F. Carroll, dedicated the Church and School of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

By 1985, Holy Rosary was home to nearly 2000 families, 500 school children, a growing parish staff and a long list of ministries and activities. Our Parish had outgrown our original facilities and we began plans to build a new permanent church. On July 1, 1992 construction on the new complex finally began in earnest.

Two walls were up, when Hurricane Andrew hit South Dade in August, 1992 and left behind it the worst natural disaster our country has yet experienced. The majority of our parishioners’ homes were nearly or totally destroyed. All the parish buildings including the convent were severely damaged. Fortunately, the lower floor of the school (our former worship space) was usable for Mass the second day after the hurricane.

Three years later, the complex, at last, was completed. Archbishop John C. Favalora celebrated the Rite of Dedication and Eucharist Liturgy, Commemorating the Dedication of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church on the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7, 1995. However, the church, with its prize-winning, modem architectural design began having problems soon after dedication. The parish endured years of battling leaky roofs, mold and wet pews. The integrity of the buildings was rendered unsafe and our new church building was closed in December of 2004, condemned by the Archdiocese of Miami and Miami-Dade County.

After two and one-half years of sitting empty, with its doors, windows and pews donated to a mission in Honduras, and its altar and pulpit stored in a warehouse, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church was demolished in June of 2007. Parishioners attended services under a tent for eight months, and later in the air-conditioned banquet hall, which served as the Sanctuary until the merger of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church and St. Richard Catholic Church took place on November 28, 2010.
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