History of Blessed Sacrament

At midnight on Christmas Eve 1948, church bells rang out over Twentynine Palms to herald the first Mass celebrated in the beautiful new Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Parishioners, townspeople and visitors filled the church to overflowing, all responding to the call for both labor and finances toward the construction of the classic mission-style building located in view of the historic Oasis of Mara and the Joshua Tree National Monument.

Prior to this time, Masses were celebrated in a building at the corner of Joshua Way and Cholla Avenue. Soon after the arrival of the first pastor, Father O'Dowd, from Sligo Ireland, plans were in progress to build a church and rectory.

Groundbreaking took place on June 6, 1948. When Bishop Charles F. Buddy came to Twentynine Palms on February 12, 1949, for the dedication, he expressed amazement at what had transpired since his previous visit in 1943. He exclaimed, "A miracle in the desert!"

Father O'Dowd saw the need for a parochial school, and once again the round of dinners, bazaars and bake sales began. School buildings and a convent were completed in 1956. Four Sisters of Mercy, also from Sligo, were recruited to staff the school, which opened in the fall. It was with great sadness that the school was closed in 1972, but in 1984, it was reopened during Fr. Michael Sturn's tenure as parish priest.

In 1978 Blessed Sacrament became a member of the newly formed Diocese of San Bernardino.

Presently Blessed Sacrament's energies are concentrated on revitalizing the parish with special concern for its children and youth and renewal in liturgical study. A courtyard patio that spans the church and rectory are the latest additions to the church complex.