Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc Catholic Church celebrates its 100th anniversary in Victorville


As locals celebrated the opening of a paved road from Victorville to the top of Cajon Pass in 1922, a group of parishioners were grateful for the start of a new Catholic church.

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary at the iconic property in downtown Victorville.

The multi-day celebration, which runs until October 31, begins Thursday, the first day of a nine-day bilingual (English/Spanish) novena.

A novena is considered by the Catholic Church as a time of devotion to obtain particular graces.

Each one-hour novena will be followed by an exhibition on the history of the Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc Catholic Church and a reception area in the parish hall

All events will be held at the church property at 15512 Sixth Street, between A and B streets.

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church will celebrate its 100th anniversary with 12 days of activities beginning Oct. 20 at the iconic property located on Sixth Street in downtown Victorville.

The party begins

  • Oct. 20 and 21: 6:30 p.m. Novena followed by an exhibition at the church.
  • Oct. 22: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Knights on bikes will be at the church. The group is a Catholic fraternal organization made up of members of the Knights of Columbus who ride motorcycles. 7:15 p.m. Novena followed by an exhibition at the church
  • Oct. 23: Youth Mass at 11 a.m. 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Children’s day at the parish center parking lot with games, bouncy house, food, etc. 6.30 pm Novena followed by an exhibition in the church.
  • Oct. 24 to 28: 6:30 p.m. Novena followed by an exhibition at the church.

Main centenary celebration

After the Novena, a full day of activities will begin at 7:15 a.m. on October 29 with a Mass in Old Latin. The main centennial celebration is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will include food, vendors, face painting, costume contests and a children’s area. Latin Express will perform from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

As part of the main celebration – from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – the church will hold a special concelebrated festive Mass under the presidency of Bishop Alberto Rojas. A special welcome event is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Children’s day, raffle, fundraising

Oct. 30: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Grand draw. The film Sainte Jeanne d’Arc will be screened from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 31: A Children’s Day celebration will take place from 5-7 p.m., including a Trunk-or-Treat. Hot dogs, fries and drinks will be served.

To raise funds for the milestone event, the Centennial Committee is selling Saint Joan of Arc 100th anniversary items, such as keychains, tote bags, t-shirts, raffle tickets and more Again.

A 1940 photo shows a group of Confirmation students with church leaders outside St. Joan of Arc Church in Victorville.

The birth of a church

In 1922 Saint Joan of Arc began as a mission with visiting priests from Barstow and San Bernardino celebrating Sunday Mass.

In a private home, the Reverend Charles Kerf, pastor at St. Joseph, Barstow, attempted to build a church in Victorville in 1922 with the help of Mr. Leonardt from the local cement works. The project never started.

In 1927, Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc became a parish in its own right, with Reverend PJ Barry as its first parish priest. The first church was built at the corner of Sixth and A streets. It was part of the Diocese of Los Angeles-San Diego, with the boundaries of Apple Valley, Hesperia, Lucerne Valley and Victorville.

In 1936, St. Joan of Arc Parish became part of the Diocese of San Diego.

In 1950 a new church building was built on the exact location of the first church.

In 1951, Reverend William Van Garsse began his 20-year pastorate at the church, where he served 173 Catholic families in the Victor Valley.

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church will celebrate its 100th anniversary with 12 days of activities beginning Oct. 20 at the iconic property located on Sixth Street in downtown Victorville.

A new school and a new hospital

In 1953, the church helped build St. Mary’s School and Convent on Route 18 in Apple Valley. The school opened with 87 children, three lay teachers and Garsse as a teacher.

In 1954, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Los Angeles came to staff the school. Over the next 10 years, four more classrooms were added, the convent was expanded, and an auditorium, library, offices, and additional rooms were added.

In 1956, St. Mary’s Hospital opened next to St. Mary’s School. The medical establishment was staffed by the Brothers of Saint John of God.

In 1963, Sainte Jeanne d’Arc was enlarged with a maternal chapel. A new presbytery is also built.

In 1974, St. David’s Parish opened in Apple Valley, adjacent to the hospital and school. It was then named Notre-Dame du Désert parish.

In 1978 Saint Joan of Arc became part of the Diocese of San Bernardino.

In 1992 Holy Innocents Parish opened on the west side of Victorville.

The Lord’s Table

In 1996, La Table du Seigneur was founded to feed the hungry, help the needy and serve the community.

From the parish hall, the original building of the Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc church, volunteers feed up to 350 people a day. Once a month, the ministry provides bags of free food.

The Lord’s Table supports all local functions of United Way and other organizations, such as High Desert Homeless Services, Moses House Ministries, Samaritans Helping Hands, The Community Tool Box of Adelanto, St. John of God Health Care Services and the American Red Cross.

Socks, shoes and hi

Hundreds of guests in need enjoyed hot meals, received free shoes and had their feet washed during the annual Socks, Shoes and Salvation campaign on the grounds of St. Joan of Arc Church.

Organized by the Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing, the annual event was held on Maundy or Maundy Thursday, a day of Holy Week commemorating when Jesus Christ washed the feet of his disciples after the Last Supper, according to the Scriptures.

During the event, APU nurses washed and inspected hundreds of feet of infection and educated visitors on the importance of hygiene. They also offered foot care, especially for people with diabetes.

Inside the church hall, APU students were busy serving food to hungry visitors while various volunteers cut hair, distributed clothes and prayed with visitors.

For more information about the celebration, purchasing anniversary items, or to donate, call the parish office at 760-245-7674, email [email protected] or visit

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz can be reached at 760-951-6227 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.


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