Parish History



Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church was founded in 1912.  Today the parish has over 4,512 registered families.  The highlights of our story:

1905   St. Mary’s Church, Huntington Beach (at that time called “Pacific City”), is established as a mission of St. Joseph’s Parish, Santa Ana.   The first Mass is celebrated in Sunby’s department store on Main St.  The priest travels down Pacific Coast Highway from St. Anthony’s, Long Beach, in an electric automobile.  Huntington Beach population: 582.
1908   A Protestant Church (with house) was purchased by St. Mary’s at Tenth and Orange streets in Huntington Beach. The congregation sat on planks and boxes.  They used the small house as a Parish Hall.
1912   The mission becomes St. Mary’s Parish and is officially established with appointment of the first pastor, Fr. Andrew Reynolds (by the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles, which at the time covered all of California south of San Jose).
1921   The name of the parish is changed to SS. Simon and Jude.
1923   The first Church was sold and moved off the property, and the new SS Simon and Jude Church (seating about 300) and rectory were constructed at Tenth and Orange (later St. Mary’s by the Sea) at a total cost of $21,000.
1962-1965   Vatican II takes place.
1964   The Franciscan Friars are asked to staff the parish by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  The first Franciscan pastor is Fr. Colman Colloty, OFM.  The Mass is in English for the first time. The population of Huntington Beach is 17,000.
1965   The northwest corner of the parish is cut off to form St. Bonaventure’s.
1966   Land is purchased at Magnolia (formerly Cannery) and Indianapolis, ground is broken for a new parish plant.  The population is growing rapidly, and Sunday Mass is regularly celebrated at several sites, including Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley High Schools.  Father John Gini, OFM gets the congregation singing at Sunday Mass.  The first Fall Festival is held.
1967   The parish school, called St. Francis, opens.  The area later occupied by the lower grades is used as a church; the upper grade area serves as a parish hall.
1968   Statue of St. Francis is installed in front of School/Church.  The first “Guitar Mass” is held .
1969   Fr. Ronald Colloty, OFM becomes pastor.  The use of Lectors at Sunday Mass is started.
1970   The Benedictine Sisters join the staff.
1971   People begin shaking hands at the Rite of Peace.  Laymen are approved by the  Archdiocese to help distribute Communion.
1972   The first phase of the parish offices is built.  Ground is broken for a new church. The northeast corner of the parish is lopped off to become Holy Spirit.
1973   The parish school is renamed Ss. Simon & Jude.
1974   The parish church (total cost, $475,000) is dedicated in February.  The temporary church area is converted to classrooms.
1976   The Diocese of Orange is established with the Most Rev. William Johnson as the first Bishop.
1977   The parish attains its present boundaries with the establishment of St. Mary’s by the Sea (a mission of Sts. Simon and Jude since 1967) and St. Vincent De Paul parishes.
1978   Colman Hall and the second phase of the parish offices are completed.
1979   Fr. Thomas Schneider, OFM is appointed Pastor.
1982   The Adult Center is added to Colman Hall.  The parish debt is retired.  Fr. Alexander Manville, OFM is appointed pastor.
1987   Sts. Simon & Jude celebrates its Diamond Jubilee!
1990   Fr. Christian Mondor, OFM is appointed parochial vicar.
1992   The StayCare Facility is added.
1994   Fr. Laurence Dolan, OFM is appointed pastor.
1999   Retrofitting of the church, school and parish is completed.  An addition is made to the parish office.  The church is re-dedicated.
2001   Fr. Michael Harvey, OFM is appointed pastor.
2003   The Liturgy Board, Youth & Young Adult Board, Communications Board, and Festival Board are established.  Initial plans for church renovation begin.
2004   The Pastoral Council and Catechetical Board are formed.  Fr. Dan Lackie, OFM is appointed parochial vicar. 
2005   The 5-year Pastoral Plan is published.  The Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC), Hospitality and Prayer & Devotion Commissions are formed.   Fr. Christian Mondor, OFM celebrates his 80th Birthday and 60 years as a friar.
2008   The renovation and construction project begin on the church.  Move into pavilion while church is under construction.
2009   September 13, Most Reverend Tod D. Brown, D.D., Bishop Of Orange dedicates the church.