When a Catholic high school was created for Southern Nevada, Bishop Robert Dwyer turned to the Clerics of St. Viator, Chicago Province, to administer it. The Viatorians were also granted a parish of their own in Las Vegas, to be known as St. Viator Parish.
Fr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, C.S.V. became the founding pastor of the new Catholic community and said Mass in the homes of parishioners. On October 21, 1954, the feast of St. Viator, he said the new parish's first public Mass in a bank on the corner of Charleston and Maryland Parkway. The Dominican nuns of St. Joseph School offered the use of their chapel, which sufficed until the crowds grew too large. Arrangements were made to rent the Carpenters' Hall on East Charleston for Sunday Masses.
A church and rectory were built on the corner of St. Louis and Eastern. The first Mass in the new St. Viator Church was celebrated Christmas Eve, 1955. However, the parish learned, only after building the church and rectory, that the terrain was not suitable for construction. When the buildings were razed 18 months later, the parish headquarters returned again to Charleston Boulevard, this time using a vacant store.
With the evident need for a permanent parish center, 15 acres of land near Flamingo and Eastern were procured from the Bureau of Land Management in 1963. The plan was to create a multi-purpose hall, two classrooms, and a rectory. The rectory was ready in January, 1965 and in March the multi-purpose hall was used for Mass. The school opened later the next year, holding 140 students in four grades. It was run with the help of four nuns from the Religious of the Virgin Mary, a Philippines-based community.
By the early 1970's, Mass was celebrated in a hall which doubled as an auditorium-gymnasium by the school and also used by the recreation commission. On Easter Sunday, 1973, the announcement was made that fundraising would begin for a new church building. Construction began in March, 1977 and the first Mass was offered Saturday evening, November 19, 1977. The formal dedication of the church building took place January 8, 1978, with Bishop Norman McFarland presiding.
All areas of the St. Viator Parish Community continued to grow. Our Youth Ministry Program became widely recognized throughout Southern Nevada. Our school grew in size and reputation: a multi-purpose room was added and a classroom expansion to include double grades was completed in 1988. In October, 1986, the school was recognized nationally for Excellence in Education. By the start of the 1990's, our parish population stood at 3,700 registered families. More space was needed to meet the ever-increasing parish activities and liturgies. Splitting the parish was out of the question, leaving the option of constructing a new church building which would be capable of handling 50% more people.
Fundraising began in 1993 and Bishop Daniel Walsh blessed the site of the new building October 2 of that year. Construction began in late summer of 1994 and the first Mass was celebrated 4 PM Saturday, September 2, 1995.
The dedication of the new church took place on October 22, 1995, one day after the Feast of St. Viator, the patron saint of our parish.