Chapter 3 Growth and Transition: 1953 to 1988
Updated: Mar 30
Father William Dillon, SJ, became just the second Jesuit pastor of Guadalupe Church after Tranchese's monumental twenty-one-year tenure. Housing, health, and labor rights had improved for the church's parishioners, and Father Dillon now set his sights on one of the barrio's other great needs: access to education. A new parish school was promptly constructed on the property, replacing that which the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word had built in 1916; Dillon also built a new convent for the sisters who taught there. The national climate after the Second World War encouraged broader access to higher education to populations previously denied it, and the Jesuits too supported the college ambitions of young men graduating from the parish school, paying entire tuition bills to St. Mary's University in the latter half of the decade.
Dillon's tenure as pastor was short – only five years. That of his successor, Father J.J. Cazenavette, SJ, was even shorter, covering 1958-1960. Father Cazenavette continued Dillon's emphasis on the young people of the neighborhood, building up the parish youth group. Within the next two decades, the parish school would continue to develop. In 1971, the Moody Foundation bestowed a $25,000 grant to expand Guadalupe's elementary school programs for Mexican-American children. For periods of time, grades were abolished and curricula were individualized to meet the various needs of the population.