Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
The Immaculate Conception Church was officially established in 1903. On Sunday, June 25, 1905, the cornerstone of Immaculate Conception parish was laid by the Right Reverend Thomas F. Conaty, Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles.
The property of our church and the cost of the construction was donated by the Bradbury family in memory of their mother, Simona Martinez Bradbury. Simona Martinez married Lewis Leonard Bradbury in January 1867. Simona Martinez was a humble and devout woman. She was born in Sinaloa state, the municipality of Rosario, Mexico in 1845. Simona and Lewis had six children. She was known for her works of Catholic charity, particularly for her work with orphans and poor. Simona traveled with their children to Rome and Florence in 1890, where she visited the Vatican and attended Mass with the Pope.
Simona’s final wish was to build a church in honor of the memory of the Virgin Mary. Their children were faithful to her wishes to donate land and funds for the construction of Immaculate Conception in Monrovia. Built between 1904-1905, the church was dedicated on August 12, 1906 with “a great concourse of witnesses, both Protestant and Catholic, representing members of the faith and families from many surrounding cities and towns.”
The church that survived the wind, rain, floods, fires, depression, and eventual growth in city population expanded in 1955 with a new wing coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone. Parishioners today who attended the parish as children in 1955 recalled that the pews were crowded as more and more families built homes and the City of Monrovia grew.
The construction added a north and south wing and tripled the size of the church. Through a cruciform type of plan, the nave of the original church was used as a core to which new construction (a modern adaptation of the old) was added. This was not only a bow to sentiment, but enabled the continuous use of the building during the construction.
The beautiful steeple was part of the original old church and has become a familiar landmark not only to our parishioners but to our neighboring communities. Our church caught the eye of Hollywood, and many motion picture companies used the exterior for wedding scenes.
The first pastor of Immaculate Conception parish was Reverend J. J. Sheehy 1903-1918. Our present administrator is Father Joachim Lepcha. The parish consist of 3,000+ families and the parish grounds include Immaculate Conception School at the present time.