In the spring of 1955, Bishop Charles Buddy commissioned Father James McGinley to form a new parish in the growing south bay area of San Diego County. The first Mass was celebrated on Ash Wednesday of that year in a rented house. Father McGinley dedicated the new church to St. Pius X, and adopted words from that Holy Father’s coat of arms for the motto of the parish: “To restore all things in Christ”. The first Mass in the new church building was celebrated on Thanksgiving Day 1955. The rectory, which also housed the church office, and the parish hall were completed in 1957. The parish school and the convent followed in 1960. Father McGinley brought the Sisters of St. Clare over from Ireland to teach the children. Father McGinley instituted the parish council and started the parish picnic, an annual event that continues today. Father McGinley, a native of Ireland, was elevated to Monsignor in 1973, and retired in 1975 due to failing health. He remained in residence as Pastor Emeritus until his death in 1985.
Father Donald Kulleck became pastor in 1975. He led the parish through the transition years of Vatican II. Recognizing the needs of the Hispanic community, he provided a Spanish language Mass. Father Kulleck continued to serve the needs of the growing parish population by modernizing the church building and, following the departure of the sisters, utilizing the empty convent building to house the school’s library, computer lab, and daycare center. Father Kulleck was made Monsignor in 1985. Father Don retired in 1998 and remains in residence as Pastor Emeritus.
Father Joseph Masar succeeded Father Kulleck. No stranger to St. Pius X, Father Masar grew up in the parish, attended St. Pius X School, and sang in the choir. With the new pastor’s arrival, the sacramental preparation programs of the parish were augmented as he met with couples preparing for marriage and parents who brought their children for baptism, as well as the presentations for parents of children preparing to receive the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
Recognizing the growth in the parish population due to development to the east of the church, extra Masses were added to the existing schedule and the music ministry was expanded to cover the additional Masses. The convent building was modernized and reconfigured to provide a central location for parishioners to conduct business. The office building was named the Mother Seton Center and dedicated to the Sisters of St. Clare. The rectory was remodeled to provide a comfortable and attractive home for the three priests that live there. To provide for the needs of the future, Father Joe, along with parish council, building committee, staff and the entire parish, embarked on a building project to build a new parish hall and enlarge the church building. $4 million was raised for this project in just three years. The annual parish bazaar grew to include amusement rides, and some new traditions were begun, such as the supper club, the annual appreciation party to thank the many volunteers of the parish, and the lovely Memorial Angel Tree was added to the Christmas decor of the church.
Father Masar had the opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St. Pius X with the parish community. The yearlong celebration consisted of various monthly events and ended with an anniversary Mass celebrated by Bishop Brom and a gala dinner in November 2005. The crowning event of the year was the installation of outdoor bronze Stations of the Cross at the St. Vincent de Paul campground, donated in honor of St. Pius X’s 50th Anniversary
Father James Rafferty was appointed pastor in 2006. Fr. Rafferty came from St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Escondido, where he was the founding pastor. Fr. Jim worked with the Finance Council to help ensure a stable financial future for the parish. He actively supported the major fundraisers of the parish, one of which was the wine tasting event which premiered in 2007. After two years of service to the people of Saint Pius X Church he was sent by the bishop to serve the people of La Jolla at the Mary, Star of the Sea.
Father Luke Jauregui became pastor of St. Pius X in 2008. He came to St. Pius from Pala Mission where he served as pastor.
Recognizing the need for improved technology and communication, Father Luke was instrumental in upgrading the parish office telephone and computer systems which enabled the staff to operate more efficiently. He meets weekly with his staff to listen to their needs and ensure that communication is running smoothly.
Father Luke is very much present for the people of the parish. His enthusiasm is evident in all of his ministries, from his bible study classes to the delicious paella he cooks for special events such as Christmas parties and our parish bazaar. He has also reached out to the community, specifically the Veterans Administration by offering to provide weekly services for those who are not able to come to church. He also assists with mass and confessions during retreats for Mater Dei Catholic High School.
Father Luke has worked closely with the architect and building committee to insure that construction of the new parish hall will begin during the summer of 2010.
This parish community has been fortunate to have these talented pastors who have led, and continue to lead, the parish in their own unique way, meeting the needs of the people while retaining the spirit of St. Pius X. We look backwards with gratitude for all of God’s past blessings on this parish and look toward the future with hope and joy.