Blessed Sacrament Parish began as a mission on November 9, 1959; on the same day the first mass was celebrated in the Clair-Mel area by Father John X. Linnehan at the Palm River School Auditorium. The Christmas Masses (midnight and 10.00 a.m.) were held at the Palm River Civic Center. After a few months, mass was celebrated in the Clair-Mel School cafetorium. The remainder of the Sunday Masses was held at this location until the Provisional Church was completed. Property had been purchased for the parish in 1958 and 1959.
Blessed Sacrament was canonically erected an independent parish in February, 1960. Father John X. Linnehan, a priest of the Diocese, was the founding administrator.
The parish boundaries were established as a cut-off of our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Ybor City. They are: Northern, State Road 60 beginning at McKay Bay and going east and southeast to Providence Road; Eastern, Providence Road going south from State Road 60 and extending south to the Alafia River; Southern, the Alafia River running west from the extension of Providence Road to Hillsborough Bay; Western, the eastern shore of Hillsborough Bay going north from the mouth of the Alafia River to the point where State Road 60 crosses McKay Bay and including all offshore islands.
Ground was broken for the parish church in November, 1960. Construction on the building was completed shortly after Easter, 1961. The first mass in the new church was celebrated three weeks after Easter, 1961. The church was blessed and dedicated by Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley late in the spring of 1961. The church is a provisional structure of steel fabrication and seated 140 persons. Ground was broken for the expansion of the church and social hall on August 2, 1981, which now seats over 200 people, and was blessed and dedicated by Bishop W. Thomas Larkin on August 15, 1982. The southern boundary was changed to Madison Avenue, Progress Blvd. and W. Bloomingdale Ave from the extension of Providence Road to Hillsborough Bay with the establishment of resurrection mission in Riverview in 1984.
When the parish was first funded, there ware 75 Catholic families in the area. There are now 300 families in the area. The parish has several organizations: Paris Council, Spanish Community Committee, Altar/Rosary Society, Legion of Mary and a Youth Group. Services are said in English and Spanish.
Administrators and Pastors:
- Fr. John X. Linnehan 1960-1961
- Fr. Paul B. Couming 1961-1966
- Fr. Michael J. Madden 1966-1968
- Fr. James C. Lara 1968-1969
- Fr. Charles Thein 1969-1972
- Fr. John Bolger 1972-1974
- Fr. David J. Heffernan 3/74-9/79
- Fr. Antonio Diez 9/79-8/86
- Fr. Jose L. Garcia 9/86-11/86
- Fr. Marciano G. Martin 11/86
- Fr. Demetrio Lorden
- Fr. Michael Oniell
- Fr. Jose Fultado
- Fr. Joel Kovanis
- Fr. Kazimierz Domek