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Saint Martin: A Century of Faith and Service


Saint Martin’s Parish in Sunnyvale marked the end of its year-long Centennial on November 12, 2016. As the Mass began, the church bell rang 10 times, once for each decade of the parish. Joining Saint Martin’s priests and parishioners in this celebration, presided by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, were religious sisters and clergy who were part of the community at different points in the past five decades.

During the reception people had a chance to meet with three Sisters of Saint Joseph of Wichita, Kansas (Mary Ellen Loch, Rita Marie Thissen, Janice Roberts), who were teachers at Saint Martin’s School in the 1960s. Sister Patrice Underwood, IHM, a pastoral associate for four decades in the parish, also returned for the occasion.

Saint Martin started as a mission in 1910 with a little wooden church in Sunnyvale, four years before it became an incorporated town. Its mother parish was Saint Joseph’s, whose boundaries included Mountain View, Los Altos, Mayfield (south of Palo Alto) and Sunnyvale. Then Saint Martin became a parish in 1916 with Father Martin J. Whyte being appointed the first pastor. As the parish continued to grow, a larger church was built at a new location on Central Avenue in 1961, eight years after the parochial school had been established in the same property. The tenth and current pastor is Father Roberto Gomez, who leads the parish into its second century.

Father Ben Manding, the seventh pastor, who has celebrated both the 75th and 100th anniversaries of the parish, said, “The parish of Saint Martin has been greatly blessed.”