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|About||Catholic Church in beautiful Oracle, Arizona!|
Oracle was a litte Indian village known as Summit Springs in the middle of the 19th Century. In the year 1870, a man called Jimmy Lee and Irish man known as Alex Mckay came prospecting to the area. It was Jimmy Lee who gave the town its present name of oracle. He called it afer a ship owned by his uncle which came around the Horn.
The history of the little Catholic Community of Oracle stretches back at least as far back as the 1890s. It was taken care of at that time by the Church in Florence. The Carmelite Priest used to administer from Florence every month or two. Mass was said on Saturdays in the ballroom of the old Mountain View hotel (presently the location of the Baptist Church) and flat piano was used as the Altar. The Carmelite Priest was Father Basilio Delgado, and he was succeeded by Father Jose Domingo Jaquez as the Pastor of the Florence Church. Father Jaquez used to visit Oracle every two weeks and took care of the spiritual needs of the Catholic Community.
The present catholic Chuch in Oracle, with its Spanish design has been a landmark in the community since 1927. it was built at that time through the generosity of Mrs. Helen Gillil and her husband, Charles. Besides building the Church, they also donated the Sacred Vessels and Vestments and the Church furningshings. Mr. Ray Place was the Architect. The location of the Church was donated by Mr. John Lawson. The Church was dedicated by His Excellency, Bishop Daniel J. Gercke, with the title of Saint Helen's Church.
The Catholics of Oracle then had Mass celebrated twice a month on Saturdays in Saint Helen's Church by the Priest from Assumption Church in Florence, up until 1954 when Bishop Gercke founded Saint Bartholomew's Parish and appointed Father Francis J. O'Reilly as its first Pastor. Mass was said from then on at Saint Helen's Church every Saturday and Sunday morning by Father O'Reilly.
In 1963, a combination hall and a catechetical center was built alongside the Church. The new b