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St. Joseph, Upland celebrated the feast day of their patron saint and the beginning of their centennial jubilee year with a special Mass and a gala dinner and dance on March 19.

1,200 people gathered in the church and parish hall for Mass with Bishop Alberto Rojas, the primary celebrant. He was accompanied by 25 priests and 5 deacons in the Mass.

After Mass, the celebration continued in the St. Joseph School pavilion where 800 guests stayed for the gala dinner and dance. The night was full of entertainment and fun.

The mayor of Upland, Bill Velto, presented a plaque of recognition to begin the evening, and a parishioner-led band, Ricardo y Su Trio, played music while the food service began, catered by a hometown favorite restaurant, Spaggi’s.

Before more entertainment began, raffle winners were pulled for the cash prize raffle. Current Parochial Vicar Father Alex Rodarte pulled the 3rd prize winner of $2,000; former Parochial Vicar Father Carlos Martinez pulled the 2nd prize winner of $3,000; and Bishop Rojas pulled the 1st prize winner of $15,000.

After the winners of the raffle were notified, Bishop Rojas joined Music & Liturgy Director Luis Estrada on stage for a song. Attendees couldn’t get over the fact that Bishop sang so well!

St. Joseph School students then performed a play about the life of Nano Nagle, the foundress of the Presentation Sisters who began the school in 1955 and held a strong presence there until 2021. The school choir also sang a variety of songs.

After the performances by the schoolchildren, the group Ballet Folklórico de San Jose brought their youth to perform two dances of ballet folklórico, traditional Mexican dances from various regions throughout the country. To close off the entertainment portion of the night, the Tongan community presented their youth to perform a group dance as well as a solo dance. Freddy Pomee, a youth in the Tongan community, sang an original song to end the evening entertainment.

All performances displaying their diverse community were enjoyed by all attendees. As the dance portion began and the night was coming to a close, 4 The Love band played amazing music from Selena to Credence Clearwater Revival; Fr. Rodarte even went up and joined them in singing two songs. The night closed with lots of dancing, tired feet and big smiles.

The parish will be celebrating the centennial throughout the year with various events. The events coming up soon include a celebration for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 24, a chili cook-off for the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1 and a Centennial Conference on June 24-25. The conference will include speakers, prayer, and Mass, and both Bishop Rojas and Bishop Emeritus Gerald R. Barnes will be in attendance.

To register for the conference, visit stjoseph.ticketbud.com/st-josephs-centennial-conference. For more information on the centennial celebrations throughout the year, visit stjosephsupland.org/centennial.html.

St. Joseph parish would like to recognize their centennial planning committee, their volunteers and parish staff who worked extremely hard in planning and putting together such an amazing event. Their sponsors, parishioners and community also deserve a large thank you for supporting and joining them in the celebration of their parish.