Three Masses are scheduled – 7:30 am, 9 am and 11 am – and will take place at Jurupa Valley High School, 10551 Bellegrave Ave. Jurupa Valley, CA. The school auditorium where the Masses will be held has a seating capacity of only 300, prompting Fr. Kirsch to schedule three inaugural Masses to accommodate local interest.
“I think this thing is going to fly like a bird,” Fr. Kirsch said. “I’m excited.”
Following the September announcement of the new parish by Bishop Gerald Barnes, Fr. Kirsch has been attempting to contact Catholics who live in the parish boundaries but have attended surrounding parishes. Blessed Oscar Romero Parish’s boundaries are the northern half of what has been St. Mel Parish in Norco. The City of Eastvale, which is bordered by Norco, Chino and Ontario, was incorporated in 2010.
Fr. Kirsch visited St. Mel parish in October to reach out to Eastvale residents who attend church there.
“The response was overwhelming,” he said. “We had 300 families sign up just from there alone.”
Other parishes that likely serve Eastvale residents include St. Paul the Apostle in Chino Hills, St. Margaret Mary in Chino and St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton in Ontario.
Beyond raising awareness, the biggest challenge facing Fr. Kirsch in the launching of the new parish is the worship space. The 10-acre Eastvale property, located at Chandler Street and Selby Avenue, contains only a house, which Fr. Kirsch will utilize as a rectory. Jurupa Valley High School will serve as the primary site for Mass, he says, but it will not be available for evening Masses on weekends. Fr. Kirsch will continue to search for an alternate site for those Masses, he says.
The parish is among the first, if not the first ever, to be named after Blessed Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop from El Salvador who was Beatified only this year.
“We feel very honored to have the name of Monsignor Romero in a parish in our diocese,” says Petra Alexander, Director of the Office of Hispanic Affairs for the Diocese. “[He was] a prophet who was with his people until martyrdom, which is the best example to encourage the pastoral life that begins. He intercedes for this new work and brings it to a successful implementation.”