About Our Parish

Parish History

In November of 1950, Archbishop Hoban established the first Catholic parish in Westlake and appointed Rev. Joseph C. Dempsey as the founding pastor. Father Dempsey, who had just returned from Lourdes at the time, suggested that the new parish be placed under the patronage of Saint Bernadette. About 250 families from St. Angela and St. Christopher parishes comprised the new St. Bernadette Parish, and for 18 months Mass was offered in the auditorium of Dover School. By September 8, 1952, construction was completed on a five-room school and a gymnasium that would serve as a temporary church and would be called St. Bernadette Hall. Growth of the new parish was rapid. Since most of the new parishioners had children of school age, St. Bernadette School underwent three subsequent expansions. In 1954, St. Joseph Hall, with four additional classrooms and the auditorium was built. Two years later, St. Pius Hall was completed, along with four more classrooms. In 1958 Mount Carmel Hall with its eight classrooms was constructed.

On March 31, 1970, Father James O’Neill became the second pastor of St. Bernadette Parish. Under Father O’Neill’s direction, the Parish Council was established, an addition to the rectory with offices and a meeting room was completed, and the new church was constructed. Dedication of the church was December 1, 1975.

On September 1, 1983, Father James F. Kramer became the third pastor of St. Bernadette Parish. Under Father Kramer’s direction, the Parish Offices were moved into a new Parish Administration Center that includes a Parish Library. The school was completely renovated, an addition to Dempsey Hall and the Faculty Lounge was completed, and a new school library was constructed. The Church was completely renovated, a brick outdoor gathering area was added along with a shrine to St. Bernadette and a Pond, and a Parish Activity Center was constructed.

On May 13, 2002, Father Thomas L. Weber became the fourth pastor of St. Bernadette Parish.   The Athletic Program for students continued to flourish.  The St. Bernadette Parish Carnival began in 2003 until 2013.

On December 10, 2010, Father Philip Racco became the fifth pastor of St. Bernadette Parish. Beginning in 2014, Father Racco chose to move the Parish Carnival event to September and chose the name Heart and Harvest Festival.

At the present time, there are twenty three hundred families registered as parishioners. Fr. Racco, the Pastoral Staff and the Parishioners look forward to guiding the Parish in the third millennium.