Blessed Sacrament Parish History
When the Catholic people in the Grandview area realized that there were enough who shared the faith to warrant asking for a priest to come minister to them, they asked the Jesuits of ST. Joseph's in Yakima, to send a priest to say Mass for them at least once a month. The priest came by train to Mabton and said Mass in someone's home. Many times Mass was said on Saturday because the priest had to say Mass somewhere else on Sunday.
Father Parodi, S.J. was the first to come, and later Mass was celebrated in the school at Belma. Father Couffrant S.J. followed him.
Father Shiel of Prosser said the first Mass in Grandview about 1915. During this time , Bishop O'Dea of Seattle established a parish in the lower Yakima Valley to include Grandview, Mabton, Sunnyside, and Granger. In 1916 the bishop sent Fr. E. T. McCarthy to be pastor and reside in Grandview. Previously he had been stationed in Toppenish. He had great plans for his new parish and he wanted to build a big church immediately. He likely felt it would be the main church in the area and that a large edifice should be built. But the parishioners decided to start with a small building. The Extension Society donated $500 and an alter to get them started. When the materials were ordered, a prefabricated unit, they were held in a railroad car until the necessary $120 owing on the freight could be collected.
The home of Thomas Lechman was used for Mass at first, then a building was rented and the altar was set up. During his time Fr. McCarthy boarded in a private home. To have something a little more permanent, the group decided to rent a room in the Odd Fellows hall and the men made pews, kneelers and an altar. They also rented the pastor an apartment. Mass was said every Sunday in Grandview and on alternate Sundays in Sunnyside at Ball's Mortuary, and in Granger at private homes.
In 1918, Blessed Sacrament Church, which held about 150 people was erected and dedicated on December 8. The first Altar Society, which boasted 18 members, was called " The Madonna Tabernacles society".
In 1921, Fr. McCarthey was transferred and a priest from Australia was appointed. After 2 two weeks, he gave the keys to one of the parishioners and said "he would not spend another day in this small town."
Grandview was without a priest for some time before Fr. Joseph Conway was appointed. The Jesuits from Yakima again ministered to the parish during this time.
The Church was located on Cherry Lane Dr. when Fr. Conway arrived. He felt it was too far from the "beaten path" for people to find easily, so he proceeded to have it moved to the east end of 2nd Street. "Now", he said, " You can stand in the middle of town and point east and tell strangers, 'there is the church! You cant miss it'". Fr. Conway would say Mass in Sunnyside early each Sunday, then return to Grandview for his second Mass. Once, before he left for Sunnyside, he started the fire in the little potbellied stove. When he returned for his second Mass, he found the stovepipe had fallen apart and the church was full of smoke and soot. The church had to be completely scrubbed and repainted.
In 1926, Fr. Conway moved the parish to Sunnyside. Until 1954, Grandview was considered a mission of Sunnyside. For a time we had Mass in our little church two Sundays a month. Eventually the building was closed and sold to the Baptists.
The first marriage celebrated in the original blessed Sacrament Church was that of the N.P. Rollingers in 1918. The first priest born in the area was Fr. Henri Charvet, S.J., son of Emile Charvet, Sr. Fr. Louis Charvet, son of Paul Charvet was the second priest.
After the closing of our church, we had many pastors who lived in Sunnyside including: Fr. A.L. Allard, Fr. N. Hoen, Fr. P. Mulligan, Fr. J. Milner, Fr. Kruetz, Fr. Van de Gevel, and Fr. H.A. Reinhold. During these years the Dominican sisters came from Yakima and spent a week to teach summer catechism classes to the children. Many of the men and women of the parish taught catechism classes in their homes while waiting for the building of a new church and hall.
When Grandview was reinstated in the diocese as a parish, Fr. Francis Smith was named administrator on May 4, 1954. Sunday masses were held at Harriet Thompson School, with daily Mass and confessions held in his rented home. Fr. Smith organized a parish census and conducted services until August 21, 1954, when Fr. Maurice Mulchahy came as the first resident pastor. In November of that year, a campaign for funds was generously oversubscribed. This enthusiasm of the parishioners prompted His Excellency to authorize the construction
of worthy buildings of the new Grandview - Mabton parish church, confraternity center and a parish house to be built on a beautiful site which had been purchased while the Grandview - Mabton faithful were still members of the Sunnyside parish. Dedication of the new plant was held on November 27, 1955, and blessed by Bishop Joseph P. Dougherty.
Fr. John Schindler was the second pastor appointed to the parish on July 5, 1963. Under his capable leadership the parish continued to grow. The sanctuary was re-designed in accordance with Vatican II, air conditioning was installed, the parish purchased an additional 40 acres for future expansion, and he organized the first parish council, Leo Dion being the first president.
Fr. Schindler was transferred to Chelan in 1975, and Fr. John McDonnell was appointed pastor. Having come from Ephrata, Fr. McDonnell took a great interest in planning for a new parish hall and CCD center. We are all very pleased with the results of the long and arduous hours that he personally put into making this parish dream a reality. We are grateful for the part the early pioneers and all the many priests have played in bringing us to the present development of our faith.