A Brief History
Our Lady of Tahoe was officially established as a parish by decree of the Most Reverend Robert J. Dwyer, Bishop of the Diocese of Reno, on September 1, 1966, but the true beginnings of the parish went back many years before.
The parish of Our Lady of Tahoe began in 1948 as a mission of St. Gall's Catholic Church in Gardnerville, NV. Fr. John Ryan, the pastor, felt that there was a need to serve the few Catholic families who lived at the lake permanently, and who made the long trek over the mountain to St. Gall's. Fr. Ryan began the regular outdoor masses at the lake out of his commitment to these people.
In 1951, Father Lawrence O. Burrie succeeded Father Ryan as pastor of St. Galls. The number of Sunday masses at the lake was increased to three. Held only during the summer seasons, the masses brought together an average of 1,000 people each Sunday.
In the spring of 1966, Bishop Dwyer asked the Jesuit Provincial, Father John F. X Connolly, to send a priest to the Lake Tahoe area to establish a permanent parish. Father Connolly, being a priest who cared deeply for the spiritual wellbeing of God's people, sent Father Donald J. O'Gara. With the assignment of Fr. O'Gara on September 1, 1966, by decree of Bishop Dwyer, Our Lady of Tahoe Church became Our Lady of Tahoe Parish.
After many years of struggling to have a church of their own, the people of Our Lady of Tahoe fulfilled their dreams. On May 14, 1972, the first mass was celebrated at the church's current location.
The parish now had a permanent new home from its humble beginnings of celebrating mass outdoors among the pines. The mass would always be observed among the pines and keep the future generations of the parish connected to those who came before. The wall behind the altar was built with glass so that the worshiping body could look out onto God's creation.
Excerpted from the Jubilee History Booklet