ST. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX
Feast Day: August 20th
St. Bernard was born in the year 1090 at Fontaines-les Dijon and died 63 years later in his monastery at Clairvaux on August 20th. When he was in his early twenties, he chose to become a monk and along with his uncle, his brothers, and most of his friends entered the almost defunct monastery at Citeaux. Within four years the community recovered.
Bernard’s life in the Church was more active than we can imagine; his prayers and contemplation gave him strength and heavenly direction. He had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother and wrote sermons and books that are still the standard of Marian theology. He spent 40 years cloistered and founded 163 monasteries in Europe. At his death they numbered 343. He was the first Cistercian monk placed on the calendar of saints and was canonized in 1174 by Pope Alexander III on January 18th. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius VII in 1830.
In 1908 St. Bernard of Clairvaux was named the patron saint of our newly formed Parish. “Great graces can not be obtained without humility. When you yourself experience humiliation, you should take it as a sure sign that some great grace is in store.” ~ St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Celebrating One Hundred years as a Catholic Community
In 1865, the first Mass offered for Tracy area Catholics was held in a section house in Ellis, a small settlement located about four miles west of where Tracy now stands. Priests from St. Mary's in Stockton held services until 1878. In 1888, a small frame church with a capacity of less than 100 people was erected at Eighth Street and Central Avenue.
In 1908, Tracy was made a parish by the Archbishop of San Francisco. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was named the Patron Saint of the newly formed Parish. Father T.P. Moran was appointed pastor and with the aid of zealous parishioners built another new church at Eighth and Central in 1911.
As Tracy grew, the need was felt for yet a still larger church. A resolution to build a larger edifice was made in 1947 and work began on the present church site on Eaton Avenue in 1950. Father Thomas F. Fleming, appointed in 1944, was the pastor. The church, now able to seat seven hundred, was dedicated on December 16th, 1951 along with a parish house to accommodate three priests.
Five years later, the parish built the Parochial School and Convent. The Daughters of the Cross, a religious order whose Mother House is in Liege, Belgium, opened the school in 1958 with Grades 1, 2 and 3. In 1960, the all-purpose building was built, with a meeting hall, a large kitchen and an auditorium capable of seating seven hundred. It was named Father Fleming Hall as a tribute to the late, beloved Pastor.
The following years saw the church grounds grow into a larger compound accommodating the continued growth of the parish, with a major renovation to the church in 1988 lead by current Pastor Monsignor Ivo D. Rocha and the development of the parish offices and the new Ministry Center in the mid-1990's.
At the start of the millennium, St. Bernard's launched the "Building Together with Christ" Campaign to raise funds to build another complex that will have a Catholic Church able to seat two thousand people, support rooms for the music ministry, Sunday school, Religious store, office space, a large multi-purpose facility and a new Elementary School with the capacity to house two grades each, Kindergarten though 8th. All these buildings will be surrounded with ample parking for one thousand vehicles.
In 2007, it was decided by Monsignor Rocha and the Steering Committee that the building of the multi-purpose facility was to be the focus of the construction.
On November 9, 2007 our parish broke ground on our new campus located on a 20 acre parcel at the corner of Valpico and Corral Hollow Roads. That day marked the beginning of the construction of Holy Family Center. It is a multi-purpose building that will be temporarily used as a second location to hold additional Masses. It is also used to hold various functions for our parish and greater Tracy community. It has a seating capacity for approximately 1200 people. The first Mass was held at sunrise on Easter Sunday in 2009, which marked the 100th anniversary of St. Bernard's Parish.
We were truly blessed to have the prayerful and financial support of so many parishioners towards this project. By the grace of God, and the generosity of our parish families, in 2015 we were able to pay off the debt of the Holy Family Center!