Our Parish History
Our Parish History
50 years ago, St Bartholomew Catholic Church celebrated its first Mass in a Miramar fire house on August 16, 1962. In those days, the town of Miramar was hardly developed west of University Drive.
Bishop Coleman Carroll appointed Father Noel Fogarty as our founding pastor. Under his guidance the Catholic people of Miramar came together. They celebrated Mass; groups and clubs were formed; and the parishioners made commitments to their new parish. Enthusiasm grew among the people and our parish was well on its way to becoming the thriving Catholic community it is today.
On October 17, 1964, Monsignor Patrick O'Donohue, representing the bishop, broke ground for the parish's new church and school. By 1969 the school had grown to a full grade school, serving the children in what was then West Miramar. The Sisters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus committed themselves to St Bartholomew's in 1965. They served not only the school, but the parish's pastoral needs as well with dignity and devotion until the summer of 1988. Our first pastor, Father Fogarty, planted many seeds that grew in many ways to become the vibrant Catholic Community it is today. Education programs, men's and women's clubs, the Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul Society and many others developed firm roots under his guidance. Father Fogarty, now Monsignor Fogarty served here until June, 1971.
Father Leslie Cann pastored our community from 1971 to 1974, when Father Frederick Brice briefly administered the Parish. So much growth occurred that Father Thomas Dennehy, pastor from 1974 to 1975, helped us erect the parish hall. This would serve the parish organizations, as well as provide for a school -cafeteria. Whether -offering space for Bingo or Sunday morning coffee and donuts, the hall facilitates many aspects of the community's life.
From 1975 to 1982, Father Gary Steibel served as pastor. The parish developed one of the most effective youth programs in the Archdiocese. The parking lot was reshaped and the current rectory was built on the parish grounds as an office for the conduct of business as well as a home for our priests and a meditation chapel, now used for Adoration. Father Steibel passed away in 2002.
Father Dominick O'Dwyer, a former assistant at St. Bart's, returned as our pastor from 1982 until 1986. He is now serving as pastor of St. Malachy in Tamarac.
Father Paul Vuturo was appointed here in June, 1986 and served our community for over 24 years. Under his leadership, our parish realized an internal renovation of the church, including moving the altar and pulpit, repositioning the pews and building a baptistry in 1992, just in time for our 30th Anniversary with Archbishop Edward McCarthy. Stained glass windows were added in different stages through the nineties up through 2001 when the windows at the main entrance of the church and school were completed. Physical renovation of the exterior of the church, including the bell tower and walk ways was completed in 2002, just in time for our 40th Anniversary celebration with Archbishop John Favalora. In 2010, Fr. Paul was reassigned to Pinecrest, Fl as pastor of St. Louis Catholic Church.
Father Andrew Chan-A-Sue, our current Administrator, was assigned to our parish in October, 2010 by Archbishop Thomas Wenski.
Throughout the years, our community has been blessed to have many priests, including assistant pastors, parochial vicars, priests in-residence and many wonderful and spiritually uplifting deacons, to help us to grow in our faith. The cultural diversity of the community has also continued to expand with the growth in the number of Catholics from a variety of countries. In response to this growing diversity in the south Broward area, Masses began in Spanish in 1987, and in French/Creole in 1991.
As the Haitian community became larger, in 1995, Father Francky Jean became the first Haitian Assistant Pastor assigned to St. Bart and we have enjoyed having a Haitian priest assigned full time since then. Father Pierre-Yves Jocelyn succeeded Father Franky Jean from 1998 to 2004; followed by Father Chanel Jeanty from 2004 to 2006. Father Chanel expanded the St Bartholomew Feast Day to include Mass, a nine-day Novena and parish Dinner and even composed the St Bartholomew theme song. The Very Reverend Father Chanel is currently assigned as Chancellor for Canonical Affairs and Vicar General for the entire Archdiocese of Miami. Other Haitian priests who served as Assistant Pastor included: Father Fritzner Belonce from 2006 to 2009; Father Patrick Charles from 2009 to 2010; and, since October, 2010, our current Assistant Pastor, Father Jean Jadotte.
Today our parish community serves the faith of believers from Nigeria to the Philippines, from North to South America, and all the countries and islands of the Caribbean region. We are a vibrant source of spirituality and community in South Broward with ministries for young and old, in a variety of languages. We have Legion of Mary groups, prayer meetings, bible studies, and adult religious education classes in each of our main languages, English, Spanish, French and Creole. We also have children's religious education, boy scouts, girl scouts, Knight of Columbus and Council of Catholic Women.
Today our school building is home to many of these and other parish ministry meetings. Our parochial school is still in operation andeducates about 250 students from pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade, while our religious education program serves the needs of over 250 students from neighboring public schools. The former convent, known today as theSacred Heart Center in honor of thenuns who served dutifully there for many years, is also a busy place, serving the needs of the parish as a very hospitable place for gatherings, meetings and even overnight retreats.
Here at St. Bart's we strive to grow with each other in the faith and love to which Christ calls us. Everyone belongs to our one parish family -- bonded as brothers and sisters by our communion with Christ. While we are celebrating our 50th Anniversary this year, we will continue to grow, by nourishing and encouraging each other in our spiritual growth and we will continue to grow if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus our Lord, who is our reason for being here.