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, 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. Out of his commitment to these people, Fr. Ryan began the regular outdoor masses at the lake.

In 1951, Father Lawrence O. Burrie succeeded Father Ryan as pastor of St. Gall's. 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 if he would 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.

From its humble beginnings of celebrating mass outdoors among the pines, the parish now had a permanent new home. So that the mass would always be celebrated 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 can look out onto God's creation.

Excerpted from the Jubilee History Booklet