Our Lady of Peace Shrine is a Roman Catholic parish of the Diocese of San Jose located in Santa Clara, California. The most notable feature of the parish is the 32-foot statue of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, which is visible from U.S. Highway 101.
The parish was founded on June 24, 1961 when Father Joseph G. Sullivan was appointed pastor. In 1969 Fr. John Joseph Sweeny took over and worked to pay down the parish’s $500,000 debt. After Monsignor Sweeny’s retirement in accordance with the age requirements in canon law, Fr. Walter Mallo, IVE was appointed pastor. The parish had two Associate pastors while Fr. Mallo was the pastor, Fr. Jeffrey Obinski, IVE and Fr. Joseph LoJacono, IVE, as well as many frequent visiting priests who often say Mass and hear confessions. In the summer of 2010, Father Walter Mallo was reassigned to a church in Dallas, Texas; and Father Jose Guinta, IVE from a parish in The Bronx, NY was brought in as pastor. Father Joseph LoJacono was reassigned to a church in Mankato, Minnesota; and the newly ordained Fr. Gerardus Hauwert, IVE now currently resides in his place. Father Jeffrey Obinski was reassigned to a church in New Bedford, Massachusetts and was replaced by Fr. Esteban Soler, IVE who now resides at a new foundation in Florida. Fr. Samuel Leonard, IVE from Mankato, Minnesota currently resides in his place.
The parish is well known in the area for orthodoxy and traditional practice, and many of the people who attend Mass at Our Lady of Peace do not live in its territorial parish. The more traditional practices there include the use of altar rails to receive the Communion, Confession available daily before Mass, several Masses offered on weekdays, perpetual adoration of the Eucharist, and the presence of many solidly orthodox priests. All the altar servers are boys, and the Eucharist is distributed by priests and sisters. These practices are quite a contrast to most neighboring parishes, which are usually much less traditional, and thus serve to attract many additional people to the parish.
The IVE (Instituto del Verbo Encarnado or Institute of the Incarnate Word) is a religious institute to which the parish has been entrusted. Our Lady of Peace is also home to a convent of sisters, the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara (SSVM), the feminine branch of the IVE. The SSVM sisters are very active in religious education at the parish, with a very large catechism program in place. Additionally, they hold an annual summer oratory, where children ranging from 5 to 15 years of age are taught about the Bible in a format based on Don Bosco’s oratory.
Our Lady of Peace shrine has a large gift shop which sells books, rosaries, tapes and compact disks, movies, statues and icons, and other assorted religious goods. The parish also has a library, a community center with assorted facilities for sports and recreation, a convent located in the former rectory, and large, well kept grounds, especially around the large statue. Parishioners and others can often be seen walking in the gardens or in fair weather enjoying the sun on the grass. The grounds are quite large, and form somewhat of an oasis in the midst of a busy industrial area.