Monsignor Ronald Mentasti, 1951 - 1978
Father Angelo Re, 1978 - 1985
Father Leo Rooney, 1985 - 1995
Father Joe Galang, 1995 - 2007
Father Ritche Bueza, 2007 - 2011
Dorothy Carlson, Minister of Parish Life, 2011 - 2014
Father Christopher Bransfield, 2014 - present
New Parish Established
In 1951, the decision was made to establish Saint Justin Parish, as Saint Clare Parish in Santa Clara was rapidly growing. Boundaries were set and 250 families were allocated to the new parish.
In the fall of that year, the newly-formed Saint Justin Parish found a temporary house in a stable. The stable was a gracious gift of Mrs. Mary Taylor, owner of the property at 950 Gould (now Scott) Street, and it was accomplished with the help of Father Pritchard. The vacant stable was located at the rear of Mrs. Taylor's colonial mansion.
As Christianity had its beginnings in a stable 2000 years ago, also did St. Justin Parish take life.
From Stable to Church - 1951 to 1956
Many parishioners chipped in to renovate the stable, as there was much work to be done. A crew of ambitious parishioners removed the troughs, hey stench and whatever else the animals had left. They installed pews, doors light fixtures, and windows. Neighboring parishes and businesses aided the founding church.
Donations to the stable
•The doors came from St Clare Parish in Santa Clara.
•The Altar was designed and constructed by Stephen Zlatunick, a San Mateo Druggist.
• A brass plated steel box was made by Louis Tonelli of Santa Rosa served as the tabernacle
• The side altars and 30 pews came from Fr Henry Raters of St Rose church in Santa Rosa.
• The Christian Brothers of San Francisco donated the oval shaped stations of the cross.
• The Ursuline Sisters of Santa Rosa donated the green draperies for the altar backdrop and crucifix. They also sent statues of Our lady of Fatima and the Infant of Prague, candlesticks, vestments, a censer, a silver processional cross, Benediction cape and altar linens.
•The Carmelite Monastery provided the monstrance which Fr. Mentasti used for Benediction.
•The Holy Family Sisters of San Francisco gave a chalice.
The fathers of St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco donated white vestments and a sterling silver censer.
•Funeral candelabras were obtained from Harmon Smith of the Nutman Funeral Parlor in Santa Clara.
•The Sisters of Charity donated a Benediction Candle at O’Connor Hospital.
•The Ursuline sisters of Santa Rosa donated a crucifix, a second Benediction Candle, statues and draperies used for the altar background.
•The modern Fixture shop in San Jose donated the wrought iron light fixtures.
•Slakey Brothers in San Jose installed the new Biltwell heating unit.
• Santa Clara Lumber and Peter Passetta Construction Company of Santa Clara made donations.
•The bulk of the labor came from parishioners.
The adjacent chicken house was converted to a choir loft, equipped with a foot pedal organ donated by Harmon Smith. The men of the parish built a room behind the stable for the priests and altar boys and general church equipment. The Rectory, referred to as the “doll house”, was a converted playhouse used by the children of the original owners. It was used as the parish office. Fr. Mentasti and the visiting priest would use the bedrooms in the ranch house nearby.
The Msgr. was an avowed animal lover and he mentioned that the confessional was so small he had to sit sideways with his dog lying under his chair, barking occasionally during confession.
First Pastor and First Mass
St. Justin's first Mass was celebrated to an overflow crowd on the Feast of Christ the King at 9:00 AM on October 28, 1951.
The first Mass was celebrated by Father Ronald T. Mentasti, from San Francisco, who became the Parish's first Pastor.
Mrs. Taylor’s daughter Joan was the first to be married when she and the football star Marte Formico recited their vows on Nov. 29, 1951.
The stable on the old Pierce estate served the parishioners for five years until a new church could be built among the prune orchards to the west.
Transfer to New Location
The Chancery office purchased the five-acre parcel in 1951 from Thomas Bull. Another acre and a half were also added later. Fund raising, planning and building took five years.
Father Mentasti presided at the groundbreaking for the first building on the Homestead Road site on March 27, 1955.
The church, school and convent were dedicated on November 4, 1956. The rectory was constructed in 1957, the convent completed in 1959. The growth of the parish was inspired by Father Mentasti's spirit and determination. He directed and encouraged the formation of a vibrant community and the establishment of the parish school.
Instruction in the school started in 1958 with a class of first graders. A group of Dominican Sisters arrived in the fall of 1959. The school operated with eight grades for the first time in 1965, with the first graduation ceremony in 1965.
Msgr Mentasti recalled at the 25th year celebration that at the time of the appointment, the general area was largely orchards and seemed too much in the country for a church. The new St Justin parish was to have a church, school, plus a convent.
The orchards within the Parish were quickly replaced by residences. School enrollment peaked in the late 1960s. Lay faculty gradually assumed a greater role in task of instruction. The Dominican Sisters left the Parish in 1985.
The convent was converted into the Parish Ministry Center to facilitate the Parish's mission of involvement in serving the liturgical and social needs of the community. Numerous ministries were established. The Community Ministry occupied a former classroom to facilitate the distribution of food and services to those in need. It has grown from serving 50 people a month to over 3,000 Santa Clarans today. In addition, Community Ministry volunteers provide a monthly dinner and a Thanksgiving meal for the Family Shelter, a bi-only dinner from for parish seniors, and food programs at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
Renovated and Refurbished Church
In the summer of 1997, extensive reconstruction of the Church commenced, which was made possible after a successful 3-year capital campaign from 1995-1997.
The exterior walls of the old church were expanded. The sanctuary was enlarged; the baptistry was relocated and the seating area reconfigured. The lighting and sound systems were updated. The cost of the project exceeded one million dollars; the vast majority of the funds were contributed by members of the Parish.
The Church reopened with Mass on Christmas Eve, 1997.
Renovated and Refurbished School
A second capital campaign started in 1999, which made possible the reconstruction of the large hall, kitchen and small hall of the school building in the summer of 2001. Bishop McGrath blessed and rededicated these facilities after the 5:00 PM Mass on December 8, 2001.