BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR PARISH
Lady of the Snows Parish was established in November
1938 by Bishop Thomas K. Gorman to serve Roman Catholics
in Reno, south of Thoma Street and Marsh Avenue. Headquarters,
until a church and rectory were built, were located
in a house at 836 Humboldt St. Rev. Martin Duckham
was appointed the first pastor in November, 1938.
However, on a trip to Ireland soon after his appointment
he became ill and Father John J. Ryan was appointed
first Masses in the parish were celebrated in the
house on Humboldt St. However, that building, which
served as both rectory and church soon became too
small. Masses were then held in the home of Mr. and
Mrs. J. DeChesne at 595 Walker St. For a while, Sunday
Masses were celebrated in the Tower Movie Theatre
located on First Street between Virginia and Center
Streets. In January 1939, Mass began to be celebrated
at the home of Angelo and Assunta Belmonte, at 3036
August 13, 1939, Bishop Gorman laid the cornerstone
for the new church. A solemn High Mass was presided
over by Father Ryan, the sermon was delivered by the
Very Reverend Robert J. Harrigan, and both Governor
Carville and Mayor Frolich were in attendance. The
church was dedicated in October 1939 at which time
Father Ryan was officially named pastor.
1940, the first parish mission was held, copies of
the Sunday Missal were distributed to all members
of the parish and Father Gerald Fanning was named
as Assistant Pastor. On May 19, 1940, thirty-seven
young people made their First communion at the church.
The first class to receive confirmation consisted
of ten girls and nine boys who were confirmed by Bishop
Gorman on May 26, 1940. By September 1940, a census
taken by members of the parish indicated that the
membership of the parish had tripled in one year.
In July, 1941, the ground breaking ceremonies were
held for the new rectory on Wright St. Msgr. Patrick
J. Connors officiated at the ceremony. The "parish
house" opened later that year.
parish continued to grow, and in 1945 Msgr. Connors
was named as pastor of the parish. Among his major
accomplishments was the building of Our Lady of the
Snows School. Ground was broken in 1950 and by the
fall of 1951 the school opened its doors to students
in the first four grades. The Dominican Sisters from
San Rafael, California, were the first teachers. As
the student population increased, it became necessary
to expand the school and double its size. By 1957
the addition to the school was ready to be occupied.
In 1956 the first class of eighth grade students graduated.
1960 Msgr. Connors decided to add on to the church.
The new addition doubled the seating capacity of the
church and on February 26, 1961, the new church was
dedicated with Bishop Dwyer officiating.
parish celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1964. After
many years of service to the parish, Msgr. Connors
retired and Father Donald F. Carmody became pastor.
Father Carmody was to serve the parish for only 2
years before he was replaced by Father Maurice Welsh
in 1970. In 1972 Brother Matthew Cunningham was appointed
as the first Brother of the Holy Rosary to become
principal of Our Lady of the Snows School.
1972, Father Welsh was replaced as pastor by Father
Joseph Baldus. In 1975 Msgr. Carmody returned to the
parish as pastor but his stay was to be for only 1
year. Father Leo E. McFadden was appointed as pastor
Much was accomplished during the tenure of Father
McFadden. One of his first tasks was to remodel the
church once again. The work was completed and a dedication
ceremony of the remodeled church was held on December
19, 1977, at which Bishop McFarland officiated. Then
in 1987, because the rectory had become too crowded
with the business of the parish, the Rosewood property
was developed. The property was purchased and a house
for the priests was built. This took about one year
of the Holy Family have served the parish in the religious
education program and in many other capacities since
1940. For a few years, several Sisters of the Sacred
Heart congregation also assisted with religious education
programs in the parish.
1994 Msgr. McFadden retired and Msgr. Thomas Meger
became pastor. Once again the church underwent a redecorating
project resulting in the beautiful interior we have
today. Illness forced Msgr. Meger to retire in 1999
at which time Father Bob Buchanan was appointed pastor.
Father Bob, with the help of Sr. Marie O'Connor, OSF,
initiated a series of renewal weekends. During Father
Bob's tenure an organizational change was put in place
with Father Bob being named Sacramental Minister and
Sister Anita Minihane named Parish Life Administrator.
On July 1, 2003, Our Lady of the Snows welcomed Father
Vincent Fallon SS.CC as Sacramental Minister and with
his arrival we look forward to continued growth in
history is extensively based on a history of the parish
done by David Hettich in 1989. May he rest in peace.