Holy Rosary Parish commemorates 150 years of service in Woodland

Holy Rosary Parish in Woodland on Sunday, Oct. 4 will celebrate Masses commemorating 150 years of service in Woodland.

A few Catholic services occurred in Yolo County as early as 1821, but in October 1870, Holy Rosary Parish dedicated its first church building in Woodland in memory of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. That building was located on Main Street between Elm and Walnut Streets. However, due to heavy rains and poor construction, in 1871 the steeple settled and cracked, and the building was declared unsafe. As a result, in 1874 construction of a new church building at the corner of Main and Walnut Streets was begun.

In 1912, the 1874 church building was converted into the parish hall and construction of a new church building was started at the corner of Main and Walnut Streets. That church building was dedicated on June 1, 1913 and was used by Holy Rosary Parish until 1949. The current church building, located at the corner of Walnut and Court Streets, was dedicated on Oct. 2, 1949. That building has remained in use since 1949 although, due to growth in its congregation, Holy Rosary Parish is seeking to sell the building and nearby auxiliary buildings to provide funding for the construction of a new church building.

Holy Rosary Parish opened its first Catholic school in 1886 with a staff of nine Holy Cross Sisters. The school became known for its academic excellence. Initially it was for girls and later for boys as well. The Holy Cross Sisters served until 1977. In 1980, the Sisters of the Religious of the Blessed Virgin Mary began their service at Holy Rosary Catholic School, remaining until 1986. Today, Holy Rosary School operates with a staff of 13 and continues as a beacon of excellent educational opportunity for youth in Woodland.

During its years in Woodland, Holy Rosary Parish has endeavored to be a positive presence in the community, often in conjunction with other religious and nonprofit organizations. Members of Holy Rosary Parish have helped to feed and clothe the needy, tutor and provide baked goods to youth in Juvenile Hall, teach students in Woodland schools, give medical care to Woodland patients, serve the community as public employees, and operate businesses that employ many Woodland residents. In addition, Holy Rosary Parish has sold world-renowned tacos at the Yolo County Fair since 2007 to raise funds for parish needs.

“I am so privileged to be pastor of this historic faith community,” says Father Jonathan Molina. “The commitment and support of our parishioners over the last 150 years has been a continuing tribute to their deep faith.”

The 150th year commemoration was originally planned to be a festive celebration, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, those plans are postponed. On Oct. 4, virtual and limited attendance outdoor (or indoor if permitted) Masses will be held to thank God for the 150 years that Holy Rosary Parish has been in Woodland as a place of Catholic worship. The more festive commemoration event is now being planned for May 2, 2021.

Holy Rosary Parish is sincerely grateful for its 150-years of ministry in Woodland and looks forward to many more years to practice our faith and serve the Woodland community.