The Catholic Church had its beginning in Carson Valley in 1858, with one pastor serving Virginia City, Genoa and Carson City. By 1865, churches had been constructed in all three communities; however, in the late 1800's, the church in Genoa was destroyed by fire and our religious community had to meet in various halls throughout the valley.
In 1917, about thirty families began working towards building a church of their own. Land was donated for the site and after raising $7,000, parishioners started construction, donating most of the labor involved.
On June 22, 1919, with Bishop Thomas Grace presiding, our church was dedicated to St. Gall. We were considered a "mission" church of St. Teresa and it wasn't until January of 1940 that we were truly established as an individual parish with our own pastor.
By the late 1950's our parish had grown to approximately sixty families and our first rectory was acquired. In 1958, Sisters of the Holy Family came to teach catechism, and also started a kindergarten for peoples of all faiths. They continued to serve this public need until the public schools established their own years later.
The residence on Douglas was purchased for a convent and a building was moved from the Buckeye Ranch and situated next door to be used as a school and parish hall. The convent was converted to serve as our rectory when the sisters left our community.
In April of 1979, a fire gutted the inside of our church and during the restoration process, the confessionals and choir loft were eliminated in order that additional seating space could be provided for our ever growing St. Gall family.
A New Era Begins
In August, 1981, our St. Gall community witnessed a beginning. The seed of faith had been planted and nurtured in the valley through the years and had grown till the little red brick church was no longer large enough for the community. The dream we had was one of a new and larger church building with sacred space that was warm, beautiful and expressive of the faith we have today We also needed to provide office space for those who minister to our people. That dream began in apprehension, in doubt, -- there was no building fund, not enough visible assets to indicate that this dream could become a reality. But there was faith, the faith of the people of St. Gall Parish who believe that "with faith all things are possible".
The building of our new church was a journey of faith. In the true spirit of togetherness, we began our long journey, staffed with faith, prayer, and love. In October of 1982, the parish launched a pledge drive which Fr. Corona said passed everyone's expectations. Entertainer Wayne Newton volunteered his services for a fund-raiser benefit dinner in 1983 and the money to begin the church was raised through other parish projects, and sale of property and loans. A ground breaking celebration based on the theme "A Dwelling Place for the Lord" was held on October 23, 1983. Fr. Corona referred to the congregation as the "living stones of the church."
A design committee approached the building of a new church with open minds and eager hearts. The Parishioners expressed a general consensus of opinion at parish workshops that the new church should be warm, open, inviting and hospitable, using natural materials and having an abundance of natural light, thereby reflecting the valley in which we live. It should also conform to present and future liturgical needs.
Bishop Norman McFarland led 400 parishioners, clergy and guests in a .6 mile procession from the old church on Highway 395 to the new facility on Centerville Lane. Our new St. Gall church in its physical form is truly a beautiful edifice, a peaceful building. It stands as a sign of deep faith of the people of God in the Carson Valley. We now make this home our spiritual home. We must breathe into it a "soul" by our community worship.
Our registered parish families grow in number each year and at this time we have over 1500 and serve many of the faithful who are vacationing in our beautiful area.