History of St. Philip Neri Church

St. Philip Neri Church was officially founder on September 1, 1979 with the appointment of Fr. John Sierra as administrator. St. Philip Neri was one of the parishes first created in the new Diocese of SanBernardino by Bishop Phillip Straling. A community had already been formed through the work and dedication of a large number of lay people in the area.

-In 1972, people from the Lenwood area were asked to provide a representative for the parish council committee at St. Joseph’s. From this request, the Lenwood Catholic Community League (LCCL) was formed to provide services to the sick, shut-ins, new comers, and families and to hold Masses in Lenwood occasionally.

-In March, 1973, Priest from St. Joseph’s came to celebrate monthly Masses at Lenwood Elementary School. In 1975 due to the interest of the community of faith the Masses became a weekly celebration.

Religious Education Formation classes began with junior high students; in 1974 classes began for elementary grades, and finished being implemented in 1975 with High School students. Young people were prepared for the Sacraments of Initiation. These sacraments were then recorded at the sister parish of St. Joseph until September 1979.

-In April, 1974, Fr. Raymond Kirk told the LCCL he had contacted Bishop Maher about building a church and had been told to look for land. The property at 3rd Street and Paris Ave was purchased in 1976 by Fr. William Hart. Funds for the building of the church were done through bake sales, garage sales, and eventually Bingo.

-In 1979 a rectory was purchased on Jasper Rd. and the Masses were celebrated in the parks Community Center across the street from the rectory. Fr. John Sierra served the parishioners until Fr. John Wadell was assigned in 1980. During the time of Fr. Wadell’s tenure a beautiful statue was purchased of St. Philip Neri.

-In 1983 Fr. Joseph Vandenberg was assigned to the parish and his mission was to build a church.

On May 1, 1984 groundbreaking ceremonies took place with Bishop Phillip Straling officiating.

-In 1985 the first Mass was celebrated in the new church just before Easter and it was officially dedicated on April 28, 1985.

-In September, 1985 Fr. Vandenberg retired and no priest was assigned to the parish. Bishop Straling then appointed Phyllis S. Kolbly on November 18, 1985 as Pastoral Associate St. Philip Neri became the first parish in the diocese to have a non-ordained person responsible for the day to day needs of the people.

-In 1987 first Parish Council installed at St. Philip Neri. In 1989 the largest Straling Institute graduating class comes from St. Philip Neri.

-In 1992 the parish next Pastoral Associate Bill Ellis was appointed.

-In 1994 Rev. Jose Nacu from the Missionaries of Our Lady LaSalette Order was appointed Pastor of St. Philip Neri and celebrated his 40th anniversary of the priesthood in 1997.

-In 1986 the parish began the formation of adults through the process of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) and welcomed new members in 1987 at the Easter Vigil Mass.

Not only has St. Philip Neri brought formation of the Catholic faith to others but has sent parishioners to continue their formation of faith through Straling Leadership Institute (SLI), PMFP, and CMFP through the Office of Ministry Formation Institute in the Diocese.

-In 2004 St. Philip Neri celebrated their 25th Anniversary Jubilee with Most Rev. Gerald R. Barnes and Rev. Charles Patron, pastor.

-In 2005 the RCIA for children was implemented by Rev. Charles Patron and the help of Sister Roseanne Belpedo with 13 children receiving in the year 2007 at the Easter Vigil.


Currently with our Pastor Rev. Remigius Owuamanam we can also add the 40th Anniversary of the parish of St. Philip Neri which will take place starting May of 2019 to our history.