We, the members of Our Lady of the Valley, a Catholic Christian Community of believers in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are dedicated in making the Kingdom of God present to our people by:
by providing spiritual growth through worship, sacraments, education and service.
by providing fellowship activities, and opportunities for sharing by encouraging all to participate and give of their talents.
by strengthening each other in witnessing our faith through loving service and reaching out to the oppressed and those in need.
In planning and implementing of parish activities, it emphasizes the joint participation of the people of God and the parish staff.
Our Lady of the Valley parish was founded in 1946 by the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers. The establishment of the parish came about after at the invitation of the Most Reverend Charles F. Buddy, D.D., Father Collins, C. S. Sp., Provincial, visited Hemet and saw the great need for a catholic presence here. That same year Father James A. Hyland, C. S. Sp., as the first pastor, began ministry at the American Legion Hall and the Hemet Women’s Club. Bishop Buddy blessed the first chapel on December 12, 1946.
Over the years, three different buildings have served as church here on this same property. Presently, the church in use is a quiet blend of Spanish tradition and contemporary materials under the influence of the new liturgical forms. Architect James Calkins, A. I. A., a parishioner, designed this space in the shape of a cross. The blessing and dedication of this edifice took place on May 19, 1968. The mosaic of Our Lady of the Valley in back on the altar was copied from the original 1753 painting that was presented to Father Hyland by Dr. and Mrs. E. J. Cooke of Hemet. The type of mosaic glass used is Byzantine and the work was done in Pictresanata, Italy. The marble for the altar, which weighs six tons, came from the Italian quarry used by Michelangelo when he carved the altar for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The material is Roman Travertine. The work was done in Italy, under the supervision of Ventura Art’s affiliate company, Walker and Zanger, Carrara, Italy. Carved into the face of the solid, one foot thick altar table, are the symbols of the twelve apostles.
In 1979 through the efforts of Col. John “Jack” Henke, USAF, who was stationed at the March AFB, a military computer building was acquired and transported and became the residence of sister Joachim Stetar, OLVM; it was used for CCD classes and Mass on Sundays. The building consisting of four classrooms constructed on property in back of the church dates to 1971. By 1976 a remaining debt of $267,000 from the church, the classrooms and the hall improvements was paid off by parishioners.
After receiving approval from the Diocese of San Bernardino, a campaign for pledges started with a “Kick-off” on November 15, 1983 for the construction of the new rectory and parish center. In 1984, on June 10 (Pentecost Sunday), the dedication and blessing of the new rectory and multipurpose building (parish center) took place by Bishop Phillip F. Straling.
Today, Our Lady of the Valley is a thriving, dynamic and vibrant parish and a sacrament of God’s presence to all in the Valley.
And thus, from a small rural parish in 1946, Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church has grown to a position of prominence, spiritually and developmentally in the community and has fulfilled the dream of its founder, Father Hyland, who, in 1951, wrote: “Some Day, Our Lady of the Valley will be a shining example of the Catholic Tradition.” Father Hyland passed onto eternal life in 1953. The Congregation of the Holy Ghost (now Holy Spirit) continues to serve the parish through dozens of priests who have been assigned to Hemet.
**Note. There are many important and wonderful stories regarding the history of the parish which have been omitted from this brief write up. This page is written only as an excerpt and does not include the events and names that form the rich and complete history of our parish.