St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church Celebrated Its 100th Anniversary of Worship in Blythe

A historic milestone celebration was celebrated here in Blythe the weekend of Feb 8 & 9.  The celebration commemorated 100 years of the church being established here in Blythe. In the very early beginning of the church a traveling Priest would come to Blythe and say Mass in the homes of the early pioneers of French and Belgium descent.  The present location is at 875 E. Chanslorway.  Previous to that the Church was located on North First Street behind the present post office building.  The VFW building was the Parish Hall where many events including the Bazaar took place.  The present church site was built in 1964.  Father Lloyd Bourgeois celebrated the first Mass there on Nov. 29, 1964.  It was Dedicated by the Bishop in March of 1965. 

To celebrate the Historical 100th Anniversary Event Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino made an Episcopal Visitation. During this time he visited sick parishioners, had meetings with Ministry Leaders, Staff, the Pastor, Father Henry Licznerski C.R., Deacon & Carmen Han, the High School Youth, Pastoral and Finance Councils. During his two day stay Bishop Barnes celebrated three Masses, one Saturday evening assisted by Priests from our local prisons Father Alex Nnaukwu and Father Titus Ibe,  a Spanish Mass on Sunday morning and the Main Celebration was at noon on Sunday.  Two former Pastors, Father George Gonzalez and Father Paul Schmidt traveled here to concelebrate with the Bishop.  The Knights of Columbus formed the Honor Guard for the procession into the church.  There were parishioners in attendance who have been here for at least 80 of those years.

After Mass there was a 100th Anniversary Luncheon with food reflective of the diverse church community…. Mexican, Indian, Filipino African and American food was served.  This was followed by a Town Hall Meeting with Bishop Barnes outlining many accomplishments and sharing of ideas for more growth and development.  The church is now well on its way to celebrating “its next 100 years.”

To celebrate the 100th year Anniversary, a Grotto is being built in the Church Patio of the Pieta (statue of Mary with Jesus in her arms.) It will be a place to honor the early pioneers, parishioners, Church Groups and a place for people to  meditate and contemplate upon God’s presence in their lives.

(Written by Louise Alford)