Parish History

parishlife01

The parish was established in the late summer of 1964 when a local family donated a four acre property for a church site. This property, located on Maple Street was later traded for the present ten acre property.

While plans were drawn up to construct the church, the first daily Masses were held by the first pastor, Father Vincent Lyons, at Mr. Art Velardo’s residence at 224 Doyle Drive. Then at the Velardo’s family room on 223 Locust CCD classes, choir practices and parish meetings were also held. The original rectory was located two doors away at 211 Locust Drive.

The first Sunday Mass was celebrated on October 8, 1964 at the Kentwig Gym. The second Sunday Mass and subsequent Masses up until February 1965 were held at Rudy’s Supper Club. Thereafter, Masses were held in St. Basil’s Gym until the church was built.

On May 17, 1965, a contract to build the church was signed and the ground breaking was presided over by Bishop Alden Bell on June 12, 1965. The church was completed in December 1965 and the first Mass was celebrated on December 19, 1965.

Many of the church furnishings were donated by local parishioners in memory of deceased family members and relatives. The pews were purchased from a church in San Jose and stored in Hunter Philip’s garage. A group of men sanded and stained the pews. One individual spent hours making the Stations of the Cross.

During the first 20 years there had been three major fundraising drives, the first in 1964 for the building of the original church, the second in 1970, and the third in 1978 for the building of the rectory. The rectory was built in 1979.

In 1985 plans were made for the construction of a new church. The original church was designed as a gymnasium and lacked many attributes that limited the proper celebration of liturgy and sacraments. The old church could only seat about 400 persons. With the increased growth in housing in the East Vallejo area and the growing number of parishioners in the late 1980’s, a need for a larger church arose.

A pledge drive was launched with the blessing of the Diocese of Sacramento. Hundreds of parishioners provided financial support. The church was completed in late 1991 with financing provided by the archdiocese and parishioners whose names appear at the entrance of the church.

The present church was dedicated on November 23, 1991 with a Mass presided by Bishop Francis Quinn. The church can accommodate up to 722 people.

Today, the Parish of St. Catherine of Siena has over 1600 registered families with 1200 active parishioners who donate not only financial support but hours of volunteer work for several church activities and ministries.

St. Catherine parish has many ministries that support and administer ongoing activities including the arts, the environment, civic and community services, religious education with 300 students, food drives for the poor and needy, sacramental rites to the sick and dying, and many other endeavors.

St. Catherine of Siena School is deeply committed to high quality education . The parish school provides elementary education from Kindergarten through Grade 8.

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