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S E C T I O N 2 Community January 27, 2010 ■ Stories about local schools, students and issues related to learning ALSO INSIDE C O M M U N I T Y 2 3 | R E A L E S TAT E 2 4 | C L A S S I F I E D S 2 0 Si x t y y e a r s & counting ST. R AYMOND PARISH CELEBRATES THE PAST 60 YEARS AND LOOKS AHEAD TO MEETING TODAY’S CHALLENGES. S ixty years ago, St. Raymond parishioners gathered for their first Mass in a little theater on the former Felix McGinnis estate in Menlo Park. The little wooden building, known as the little theater or playhouse, was built by Mr. McGinnis for his daughter, an aspiring actress. The playhouse would become the setting for St. Raymond worship services for the next nine years. At 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, Mass will once again be held in the playhouse, now on the site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Arbor Road and Valparaiso Avenue. A return visit to the playhouse will be a remembrance of things past for longtime parishioners, as well as local history buffs. The Rev. William Myers, St. Raymond parish administrator, and former parish priests will take part in a celebration Mass at 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, in St. Raymond Parish, 1100 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park. Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline will speak to commemorate St. Raymond’s 60th anniversary. A community social and historical photo exhibit will follow at Arbor House, the priests’ residence. The public is invited. St. Raymond Parish began in 1950 as Menlo Park’s Catholic community was outgrowing its first home, the Church of the Nativity on Oak Grove Avenue. The Archdiocese of San Francisco purchased 11 acres of the Felix McGinnis estate at Santa Cruz Avenue and Arbor Road to build a new church and school. The school was built before St. Raymond Church was constructed along Santa Cruz By Jane Knoerle Almanac Lifestyles Editor Avenue, for good reason. “The need for schools was great in those days,” recalls Sister Nancy Morris, former director of Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton, who is now associated with St. Raymond School. California was experiencing a building boom at the time. Young families were flocking to the suburbs. “Servicemen, who came out to California during World War II, fell in love with the weather, stayed and wanted to raise families here,” she said. St. Raymond School opened on Oct. 20, 1954, with 143 children in grades 1 through 5. Since it was the Baby Boom era, it was not unusual to have 50 or more children in a class. Msgr. Edwin Kennedy became the first pastor of the fledgling parish. A San Francisco native, with a doctorate in canon law from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., he had just returned from eight years in Hawaii, where he was assistant to the vicar delegate of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Pacific. The distinctive church at 1100 Santa Cruz Ave. was finally built in 1959, nearly 10 years after the parish was founded. It was named for St. Raymond of Penafort, a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi, and a church lawyer born in the late 12th century. St. Raymond is the patron saint of lawyers and, more recently, surfers. Today, St. Raymond Parish is a cornerstone of Catholic life in Menlo Park. Generations of children have graduated from its school. Hundreds of baptisms, weddings and funerals have taken place. Those remaining founding families are grandparents or great-grandparents now. Several still live in the parish. The early years Some parish “old-timers,” together with Father James Morris, gathered at St. Raymond recently to reminisce about the early days. The group included attorney Howard Daschbach. He and his wife, Lenore, have been members of the parish since its beginning. Ms. Daschbach moved to Atherton in 1935 with her parents, and Mr. Daschbach came West to attend Stanford Interior of St. Raymond Parish in Menlo Park with the original altar. The photograph was taken in 1960, a year after the Catholic church was completed. Law School. Five of the six Daschbach children, LeeLee, Rooney, Lisa, Mark and Michelle, as well as eight grandchildren, have attended St. Raymond School. Mr. Daschbach was named “Man of the Decade” by the St. Raymond Men’s Club at its annual lobster dinner last May. Rud Scholz moved to Palo Alto with his family in 1943 and attended Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, commuting by steam train. He dated a girl who lived on Santa Cruz Avenue and thought Menlo Park was the greatest place he’d ever seen. He and his wife, Claire, moved to Arbor Road in Menlo Park in 1961, and he says he still feels the same way. “We think this is one of the jewels of the Peninsula,” he says. All four of the Scholz children, Steven, Gregory, Kathy and Ken, were baptized at St. Raymond. Larry Johnston and his sister, Eveleen Lopez, moved to Menlo Park in 1936, when their father became the first manager of the town’s Bank of America branch. “Menlo Park was a small town when we came here,” says Mr. Johnston. Eveleen was a student at St. Joseph School when See ST. RAYMOND PARISH, page 23 January 27, 2010 N The Almanac N21

The Almanac 01.27.2010 - Section 2

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