In March 1951, James Francis Cardinal McIntyre filed plans to build a complex of church, school, auditorium, rectory, convent and a 160 car parking lot. This was built on the former Gouldmont Riding Stables, a 2.5 acre property, located at 225 Foothill Boulevard in unincorporated La Cañada. In June, Fr. J. Paul Early was appointed pastor of the new parish which was dedicated under the patronage of St. Bede the Venerable. An Elementary school was opened in the fall of 1951. The first parishioners attended services and classes on the campus of St. Francis High School, located across Foothill Boulevard from the new parish.
Ground breaking for the combined auditorium (the temporary church) and the school building took place on Palm Sunday, April 6, 1952, and the new church opened its doors on Christmas Day. More than 500 new students enrolled for classes in the new school on January 5, 1953. A convent to house the Sisters of St. Louis who staffed the school was completed in 1956. Six years later, a new school structure with seven additional classrooms and a principal's office was built.
A native of Ireland, Fr. Early was ordained in 1928 and served as both an assistant and a pastor in the Los Angeles diocese before becoming St. Bede's founding pastor. He died in 1963.
Appointed as Fr. Early's successor, Fr. Thomas Lahart continued building the St. Bede campus, acquiring an additional 1.5 acres and directing the erection of the permanent church, which was completed in 1967. He also converted the original church to a parish hall and school auditorium and added a school library.
Following Fr. Lahart's retirement in 1972, Fr. Joseph Eyraud was appointed pastor. He continued work on the facilities, adding a kitchen to the parish hall and remodeling the side chapel in the new church. Fr. Eyraud's untimely death in 1975 occasioned the appointment of Msgr. Leland J. Boyer to lead St. Bede.During his 19 year tenure, Msgr. Boyer oversaw beautification of the church with the installation of hand woven tapestries and a Philippine mahogany reredos in the sanctuary. The side chapel was enclosed with a glass partition and shrines to both Saint Anthony and our Lady of Guadalupe were completed in the foyer.
Remodeling and renovation continued in both the school and the rectory with additional space made available for a sacristy, offices, and meeting rooms for various church ministries. School upgrades included carpeting, painting, ceiling fans and new desks, lockers and lunch area. A garage/storage building was erected in 1991.
In 1994, Msgr. Boyer assumed the title of pastor emeritus and Msgr. Francis T. Wallace was named the fifth pastor of St. Bede. A native of Ireland, Msgr. Wallace came to La Cañada from St. John Fisher in Rancho Palos Verdes.Chartered to serve Catholic families residing in La Cañada valley, Northwest Pasadena and North Glendale, the parish had grown from its initial population of 73 families to a community of nearly 7,000 parishioners representing more than 1,900 families. As many as 35% of the parishioners live beyond the boundaries of the parish. Including the choir loft and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, St. Bede Church seats 1,050.
As of 1996, average attendance at weekend Masses totaled 2,000 and 150 at daily Masses. Between 1951 and 1996, the parish baptized more than 5,000 children and adults, married 1,300 couples, and buried more than 800 parishioners. Between 1991 and 1996 baptisms averaged 110, First Communions 95, Confirmations 90, and Marriages, 30 each year. The Sacrament of the Sick has been received by more than 325 people each year, including 175 at the annual Mass for the Sick and Elderly. 75 Eucharistic Ministers, 35 Lectors, 40 Ushers, and 108 Altar Servers assist at liturgies and sacraments.
In July, 2004, St. Bede welcomed Msgr. James Gehl as the new pastor, succeeding Msgr. Wallace. For more information about Fr. Jim, please see our Meet The Staff page.