Our Early Years and Development
Originally a mission of Holy Trinity Church in Burbank (now St.
Robert Bellarmine), Mass was celebrated in the Mulhall family home
by Father Ernest Leguyader.
As the Catholic community of the 1920s grew, it elected to purchase an existing church
structure on the corner of Weddington and Bakman and petitioned the Chancery for a
resident pastor. In 1921 Reverend Anselme Bois was appointed pastor and the parish
was named Immaculate Conception.
Following Father Bois was Father Leo Murphy as pastor. Four years
later, during the pastorate of Father Emmet Panner the name was
changed to what we know today as Saint Charles Borromeo, and the
church was enlarged to accommodate 250 worshipers. In 1927 Father Edward Riodan
came for two years followed by Father Michael Lalor.
In 1936, Reverend Harry C. Meade was appointed pastor of Saint Charles Parish.
Realizing immediately the property on Bakman and Weddington was not large enough
to accommodate a full parish plant, he purchased seven 50-foot by 150-foot lots on Moorpark
Street and accepted the donation of the site for the Church (now the Social Center)
from the Goykes family, parishioners of Saint Charles.
St. Charles Borromeo
October 2, 1538 - November 3, 1584
A new structure
The new $50,000 church was designed by Lawrence Viole, a specialist in Spanish
architecture. It had a seating capacity of 600 and was reminiscent of San
Carlos Mission in Carmel, burial place of Padre Junipero Serra. The equipment was modern
and the oak altar was a masterpiece of handicraft. The bell in the church tower,
brought from the original church, was cast in Baltimore, Maryland in 1897, and is now
permanently mounted in the courtyard of the present church.
The first Mass was sung by Father Meade on July 17, 1938. The formal dedication
of the church was held on January 22, 1939, with archbishop John. J. Cantwell as
celebrant. Assisting him on that occasion was his secretary, the Reverend Timothy Manning
(who later become Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles). The rectory, in
matching Spanish style, was ready for occupancy on January 1, 1939.
To meet the needs of the growing Hispanic community at the northern margin
of the parish, Msgr. Meade established the mission church of Santa Susanna in 1942.
The mission church was closed and sold in 1983 to vast industrialization of the area.
In September of 1947, classes were held for the first time in a new solid concrete
school building which had 14 classrooms, a cafeteria, library, music room
and auditorium. The property across the street, to be used for additional parking and
two classrooms, was purchased in 1948 for $50,000. The small building there is now
used for group meetings and home to the Service Center.
The present church
In 1952, the property on which the present church stands, was purchased for
$110,000. Exemplifying the Spanish colonial style, the Church conveys a spirit of serenity
and repose. Construction was completed in 1959. The main altar was consecrated by
Bishop Aldon J. Bell. On Thanksgiving Day, parishioners, in solemn procession, moved
into the new Saint Charles Borromeo Church.
Actually, at one time, several parishes had all or part of their
territory within the boundaries of Saint Charles Parish. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Sun
Valley, Saint Francis de Sales in Sherman Oaks, Saint Finbar in Burbank, and
Saint Patrick in
North Hollywood, all grew out of Saint Charles Borromeo.
Msgr. Meade retired in 1973 and continued to live in the Parish as Pastor
Emeritus until his death on April 11, 1978.
The Parish was fortunate in the appointment of Msgr. Kevin Keane as pastor,
for he had served her previously as assistant for 12 years. He
is remembered for his spirituality as he stressed opportunities for retreats, an Adult and Children's Religious
Education program. It was during his administration that the magnificent Von Zoeren organ was installed and dedicated in a three day celebration, culminating with
a Mass of Thanksgiving and Inaugural Concert on Sunday, November 20, 1983. The instrument provides a fitting accompaniment to the internationally known
For over 50 years, this parish has been blessed with the musical artistry of Paul Salamonovich as Choir Director. His unique dedication to promoting the tradition of the
finest of Sacred Music in Catholic Liturgy has brought him innumerable honors.
Following Msgr. Keane’s retirement in February 1984, he was replaced by Msgr.
Thomas Kiefer. Msgr. Kiefer introduced many different parish activates. He started the
annual Parish Festival in 1985, Pancake Breakfasts, the development of the Service
Center as well as the weekly Friendship Sunday tradition of coffee and donuts.
Msgr. Kiefer retired in 2000, and to take the torch from him was former associate
pastor Father Robert Gallagher. Father Bob Gallagher has been a priest for over 32
years and was assigned here in January, 2000.
Newspaper credit: The Tidings,
January 3, 1958: "Future St. Charles Church - North Hollywood
new church of St. Charles Borromeo will be reinforced concrete
and masonry building of Spanish Colonial design. Large dome with
cupola will rise above crossing of transepts and nave. Church
seating 1000 was designed by J. Earl Trudeau, architect. It will
be the Valley parish's third church."