SANDY — On June 19, on the day the Catholic Church in the United States observed the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Blessed Sacrament Parish celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding. The celebration was purposefully planned for that day because the parish is named for the Body and Blood of Christ, said Father Samuel Dinsdale, pastor.
Fr. Dinsdale presided at the Mass that celebrated the anniversary. Concelebrating were Father Martin Diaz, rector of the Cathedral of the Madeleine; Father Langes Silva, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Salt Lake City; and Father Bruce Clapham, chief chaplain of the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Deacon Greg Werking assisted.
The three concelebrating priests have ties to the parish, Fr. Dinsdale said. Fr. Diaz, who was pastor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Midvale from 2010 to 2013 has often heard confessions at Blessed Sacrament. Twenty-seven years ago, Fr. Silva spent his deacon year as a seminarian at the parish, and Fr. Clapham has often helped with Mass.
Blessed Sacrament Parish was established 1972 with Father (Msgr. 1991) Robert Pollock. It was a mission of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish, and it took two years to raise the funds to construct the first building, Fr. Dinsdale said in his homily during the Mass.
Msgr. Pollock served the parish from 1972 to 1986, and built the first parish church, rectory and parish center. “He was known to be strict, to have the good heart of a pastor, and to have a wicked golf swing,” Fr. Dinsdale said.
In August 1986, Fr. (Msgr. 1994) Robert Servatius became pastor.
“That same year, he and two Dominican Sisters, Sister Barbara Stanek and Sister Sharon Caroll, established Blessed Sacrament Catholic School. In 2005 the parish community, under the leadership of Monsignor Bob, dedicated our new church,” read a brief biography of the parish that was posted in the parish hall during the celebration.
Msgr. Servatius served as pastor until he retired in 2016. Fr. Samuel Dinsdale became the parish’s third pastor when he was appointed that year.
The parish will get a new administrator on Aug. 3. Father Rodelio Ignacio will replace Fr. Dinsdale, who has been appointed pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church and School in Salt Lake City. Currently, Fr. Ignacio is serving as parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Park City and St. Lawrence Mission in Heber.
“Our parish is a great gift for many,” Fr. Dinsdale said in his homily. “Our lives are blessed and our spirits are nourished with faith formation of children and adults, with worship, and with community as the members of the parish use their gifts to build the community around us. We have celebrations that we can colloquially say ‘hatch, match, and dispatch.’ We also have our daily liturgies so that we can enter into each moment of our liturgical year whether it is Advent, Christmas, Easter, Lent, Ordinary Time, and the days where we remember key saints on the calendar. … Christ gathers us together, we remember his meal with his disciples and the blessings he has bestowed upon us being a member of this community, this parish. We commemorate the 50 years and we move forward with faith, hope and love.”
Monica Zoltanski, mayor of Sandy, who attends the parish and was present at the anniversary Mass and reception, said the celebration was “an incredible milestone.”
The local Catholic community has a positive impact on the city, the mayor said. “Blessed Sacrament is known for many things: its outstanding school, a welcoming community, and one of my favorite things is the [annual] rummage sale.”
The parish’s welcoming spirit and the beauty of its campus also are assets to the city, Zoltanski said.
Becky Hicks, the parish’s outgoing co-president of the Council of Catholic Women, is a founding member of the parish. She and her husband were married by Msgr. Pollock before the Blessed Sacrament Church was built.
One of her outstanding memories of the parish was the burning of the mortgage for the school, Hicks said, because “it brought all the parishioners together to help pay for the school.”
John Wainscott, who has been a Blessed Sacrament parishioner for 37 years, recalls having Knights of Columbus meetings in Msgr. Pollock’s basement. “He was such a wonderful man, and got it all started,” he said.
Then Msgr. Servatius began to build the school. Wainscott remembers it starting with the first few grades, then expanding over the years so that it now serves grades pre-K through eight. “And then we needed a library. Then we needed a gymnasium. Then we needed a computer center. … It was amazing how it all came together, and the parish chipped in to do all that. Whenever we needed to build a building, the parish took on another debt, and the parish paid it off – all the parishioners, we pitched in to do all that.”
“What we all love about being here is all the extra stuff we get to do together to make us a parish – not just a bunch of individuals, not just going to church, but coming together. Everybody knows each other, and it’s fun,” Wainscott said.