History 1898 - 1998


Prior to 1898
  • South San Francisco was part of St. Matthew’s Parish (San Mateo). Father James Cooper came from St. Matthew’s Church to celebrate Mass.
  • Masses were held in various places: a justices’ court building, Pioneer Hall, Hansborough Hall, Michenfelder’s Hall, Michenfelder’s priests who came in these early years were Father Lane and Father Bertola. Transportation was by horse and buggy.
  • The Catholic Church in South San Francisco became officially known as a mission of St. Michael’s Parish in San Francisco (Ocean View District).
  • Fund raising began for a church building.
  • The mission church of St. Michael’s, Ocean View (San Francisco) was constructed at the corner of California and Linden Avenues. The cost of building the church was $3,500. The South San Francisco Land and Improvement Company donated the land, Healy Lumber Yard furnished the lumber and the bricks were contributed by the Butler Brick Company. The church had a capacity of 200 people.
  • The city of South San Francisco installed sidewalks at the property owner’s expense. A group of concerned parishioners, businessmen and city figures contributed $5.00 per concrete block to cover the cost of the sidewalk gracing the front of the mission church. In return, their names were imbedded in the cement blocks.
  • Father James P. Moran was appointed the first resident pastor and gave the Catholic community, now a parish, its official title of All Souls Catholic Church. By Christmas time, the Church had been enlarged.
  • Building repairs were paid for in a year!
  • The Miller and Walnut Avenue site was selected for a new larger church. The linden Avenue site of the original mission church and $700 in cash were accepted as the purchase price for the new location.
  • On October 30, 1915, All Souls’ original Church was moved to its second home site of the new property and became a parish hall.
  • Construction on the new church began early in the year and was completed in November. The complete building complex cost $26,000.
  • San Francisco Archbishop Edward J. Hanna dedicated the new church, rectory, and hall on December 16.
  • The Parish numbered 200 families, the majority of which were from an Irish American background.
  • Sister of the Holy Family arrived at All Souls to start catechism classes traveling from Hayes Street in San Francisco on the Market Street Railway #40 twice a week.
  • An endless number of fund raising events: with parties, tours, dinners, benefit baseball games annual bazaars, raffles, dances, minstrel shows, musicals, candy sales, box lunch socials, and holiday parties were held in an endeavor to reduce the church debt. These activities not only raised funds but also became vehicles to further cement relationships among the parishioners.
  • The Italian Catholic Federation #7 received its charter.
  • The Santo Christo Society (Portugese families) was formally organized.
  • In April, Father Moran was transferred to St. Thomas the Apostle Church in San Francisco. Father James Delahunty arrived from Cotati to be the second pastor. Father James Walsh was assigned as the first assistant pastor.
  • Succeeding assistant pastors were Fathers Denis Barry, Daniel McAllister and Edward Cushnahan. They along with the Holy Family Sisters ably assisted the pastor in guiding the parishioners through the Great Depression. The Sisters conducted summer school classes in sewing, art, handicrafts and sports.
  • All Souls sporting activities (baseball and CYO swimming meets) became popular.
  • 800 families were registered in the parish. The largest ethnic group being Italian, with lesser numbers from Portugese and Mexican backgrounds. The Irish were now the smallest ethnic group.
  • Father Delahunty did of a mastoid infection on July 15 at the age of 53. Father Edward Cushnahan was in charge of the parish until September.
  • Father Maurice O’Keefe, a native Californian, arrived from Palo Alto to become the third pastor.
  • Father Maisano served as Assistant pastor.
  • Father O’ Keefe was transferred to Church of the Epiphany in San Francisco.
  • In October, Monsignor Egisto Tozzi arrived as the new pastor with Father Patrick Egan as his assistant. Msgr. Tozzi’s prior chaplain experience at San Quentin Prison and his campaign for the needy in Europe made him especially valuable to the war effort. He was a volunteer worker on the local War Price and Rationing Board and his success in collection clothing and canned food for the needy was outstanding.
  • The property at Miller and Spruce Avenues became available. A group of parishioners, aided by civic leaders raised the down payment, making it possible for All Souls to continue its growth.
  • A lovely replica of Notre Dame de Lourdes was built to grace the side garden and courtyard or the church. Msgr. Tozzi directed most of this project with the help of his ICF members and Father Egan.
  • An Historic Bell, cast in 1724 and belonging to the chain of early California Missions, was given to the church and installed at the door leading into the Main Altar from the sacristy, thereby announcing the entry of each celebrant as he came into the sanctuary.
  • CDA Court Infant of Prague organized.
  • Father Edward Varni became Assistant Pastor.
  • The Young Men’s Institute #32 was chartered.
  • In January, groundbreaking ceremonies took place for a badly needed parochial school on the corner of Miller and Spruce Avenue. The Cost of $400,000 was raised by a subscription drive and various social activities.
  • The sisters of the Holy Family left after devoting thirty-five years to the development of All Souls. The Parish owed them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
  • The still existing little mission church of 1902 vintage, graduated from its parish hall status to that of a convent to house the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They arrived from Southern California to staff the new school. Sister Mary Victoria, HIM was the first principal.
  • The school opened on September 6, 1949 with kindergarten through fourth grade in session. Additional grades were added each of the following years with a full k-8 school envisioned for 1953.
  • San Francisco Archbishop John J. Mitty officially dedicated and blessed the school on September 28.
  • The All Souls Mothers' Club became the nucleus of many fundraising projects generating fabulous social and economic results.
  • The All Souls Fathers' Club followed in a short time with their chief goal being to provide for the athletic program of the school.
  • The population of South San Francisco approached 30,000 and parish boundaries changed with the founding of St. Veronica’s Parish in the Brentwood area. The dividing line became the #40 streetcar line. The areas known as Los Cerritos, Francisco Terrace, all areas west of El Camino Real and north of Sneath Lane to the Skyline became St. Veronica’s Parish.
  • Father Varni left for St. Charles Parish in San Francisco. Father John O’Beirne became the new assistant.
  • Father Robert Coffey arrived as the new Assistant Pastor.
  • The All Souls Catholic School enrollment reached 450 students with a waiting list of 600 students. Also a $200,000 indebtedness remained on the school.
  • Msgr. Tozzi observed his Golden Jubilee in June. This was the centerpiece for a $200,000 fund raising program called “Sacrifice for a Sacrifice”, spearheaded by some one hundred parish committee members under the leadership of retired businessman and civic leader, B.J. Rodondi. This marvelous campaign managed to liquidate the school debt.
  • All Souls Parish and School was visited by the Apostolic Delegate to the United States of America
  • Sr. Anton, HIM became Principal of the parochial school.
  • Students from All Souls School participated in South San Francisco’s Golden Jubilee parade on Grand Avenue, South San Francisco.
  • Sister Anton, working within the guidelines of the Confraternity of Christine Doctrine, formed the Saint Pius X School of Religion for public school children. The program grew rapidly and in a few years, had 1200 students enrolled. All Souls Junior Sodality, a group of high school girls, was formed.
  • Father Thomas McMahon arrived as the new Assistant Pastor.
  • A third parish, Mater Dolorosa, was carved out of the boundaries of both All Souls’ and St. Veronica’s Parishes. The dividing line for this new parish was Chestnut Avenue north.
  • On October 11, Msgr. Tozzi died while on a short vacation to Yosemite. Countless clergy, civic leaders, All Souls parishioners, and school children came to pay him homage. He personally knew six popes and received private audiences with four of them. He had also been presented with the Italian government’s highest civilian decoration, the Star of Solidarity.
  • Father Eugene A. Gallagher, a native of Oakland, arrived in November to become the fifth pastor.
  • Father Gallagher was appointed Papal Chamberlain by Pope John XXIII thereby gaining the title of Monsignor.
  • New liturgies and greater lay participation, as per Vatican II, were put into practice.
  • Father Anthony Matacin became the new Assistant Pastor.
  • Sr. Charlene Tschirhart, SSS joined staff as Parish Sister.
  • From data gained in a poll of parishioners, the need for expanded religious opportunities for adults was discovered. Accordingly, Lay Theologian, Mr. Gene Urbik, joined the parish staff.
  • The Grand Avenue property was purchased for future expansion.
  • Adult study groups formed to discuss the new documents generated from Vatican II.
  • Sister Michelle, HIM became new school Principal.
  • The Spanish Committee was formed.
  • April 22 – The church and rectory burned to the ground. Only the Portugese Santo Christo statue and the replica of the Lourdes grotto remained standing.
  • April 30- The new parish offices opened at 452 Grand Avenue. The Immaculate Heart Sister occupied another of the Grand Avenue bungalows.
  • Masses were held in the School Cafeteria, the school Library, the South San Francisco Women’s Club Building, and the State Theatre.
  • June- the fire ruins are cleared by wreckers and haulers.
  • A fund raising project is formulated with FD “Dick” Minucciani as General Chairman.
  • Fr. Louis Facchino arrived.
  • John and Pat Stibor arrived as adult Choir Director and Organist respectively.
  • Plans for the new All Souls Parish Plant, a million dollar complex, were reviewed by Archbishop McGucken and architect Roger Ranuio. The Church with a seating capacity of 950 embodied all the changes suggested by Vatican II and would occupy the high corner of the site on Miller and Walnut Avenue; a new convent for the Immaculate Heart Sisters would be located between the new church and school; the priests' rectory together with meeting rooms and areas for parish activities would be built facing Grand Avenue.
  • December 18 – Ground breaking ceremonies take place for the new buildings.
  • October 31 – Priest and office staff moved into the new office/rectory
  • November 3 – The Immaculate Heart Sisters moved into the new convent.
  • Sister Julie, HIM became new school Principal.
  • February 28 – The first Masses were held in the lower hall under the nave of the new church.
  • March 24 – The upper church was opened for services.
  • The 12 noon Mass in Spanish became part of the new schedule of Masses.
  • Sister Anton, HIM employed as Parish Sister
  • Father John Kelly of Serra High School rendered assistance at weekend Masses.
  • Geared to lay involvement, the birth of the Parish Council, Parish Finance Committee, and the Parish School Board took place resulting in study groups, home Masses, discussions, catechist formation and religious instructions in the sacramental programs for parents and children.
  • A Spanish choir was formed under the direction of A1 Mosqueda.
  • The All Souls Mothers' Club name was changed to the All Souls Women’s Club.
  • The Legion of Mary was formed.
  • The celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe took place in the new Church.
  • December 18 – Msgr. Gallagher celebrated his 25th anniversary to the priesthood. A Mass of Thanksgiving and a reception in his honor were held.
  • February 16 – Archbishop Joseph McGucken formally blessed the new Church, Convent, Parish Hall and Rectory.
  • Father William Justice and Father James Purcell were named new Assistant Pastors replacing Father Ma and Father Facchino who were both transferred to San Francisco.
  • Father Donald Kelly succeeded Father Purcell as Assistant Pastor.
  • Msgr. Gallagher was appointed Prelate of Honor by Pope Paul VI.
  • The New Family of God Program was born at All Souls.
  • The HIM Sisters vacated the convent.
  • The Parish Convent was rented to the Religious of the Sacred Heart for use as their Provincial House.
  • The parochial school was staffed by an all lay faculty with Sister Julie, HIM as principal.
  • The Seventy- fifth Jubilee of Catholicism in South San Francisco was celebrated.
  • Fr. John Martin, MM arrived.
  • Girl greeters were included in Eucharistic celebrations.
  • Msgr. Gallagher was transferred to Saint Mathias Parish in Redwood City.
  • Father Charles Durkin, a San Francisco native, was assigned as the sixth pastor.
  • Sr. Anton was assigned “Parish Sister” to St. Peter’s in Pacifica.
  • Bro. Michael Kelly became Principal of parochial school.
  • Rev. Mr. Jerome Leach assigned to parish for his deaconate year.
  • Fr. John Martin, MM left.
  • Richard Davis, Choir Director/Organist, joined staff.
  • Fr. William Maring, SJ., became a permanent weekend associate.
  • Rev. Mr. Jerome Leach was ordained a priest and assigned to another parish.
  • Fr. Bill Justice transferred to St. Paul’s Parish, San Francisco.
  • Fr. Filemon Ojeda assigned as Assistant Pastor.
  • Fr. John Issacs appointed Assistant Pastor.
  • Formation of the senior group “Club Outlook”
  • Congressman Leo Ryan’s funeral, gaining national television coverage, was held at All Souls.
  • Fr. Mel Rempke was in residence.
  • Fr. Issacs left for St. James Parish in San Francisco.
  • Fr. Gordon joined the Parish staff.
  • Installation of the altar crucifix – a gift from the ICF.
  • Fr. Durkin observed his 25th Silver Jubilee.
  • Rev. Michael Reis was in residence.
  • Dedication of historical sidewalk on September 26, in conjunction with the SSF Historical Society and the City of South San Francisco. The sidewalk blocks originally laid 1911 at the Linden Avenue site of the first church (1902) were moved to the Walnut/Miller Avenue site.
  • Raquel Mora took over direction of the Spanish Choir.
  • Sr. Mary B. Flaherty, RSCJ joins staff as Parish Sister.
  • Fr. Gary Thomas ordained for the San Jose Diocese on December 3.
  • Fr. Gary Thomas celebrated his first Mass at All Souls on December 4.
  • All Souls Day Masses for deceased City and School employees initiated.
  • Sr. Flaherty, RSCJ observed her Silver Jubilee.
  • Fr. Durkin celebrated 30 years of priesthood
  • Two missing names of the historic sidewalk (Sands and Bissett) were added.
  • Sr. Mary B. Flaherty, RSCJ left to be Chancellor of the SF Archdiocese. She was the first woman in the 132- year history of the Archdiocese to hold this high ranking post.
  • Religious of the Sacred Heart left parish convent after 13 years.
  • Fr. Gordon left.
  • Fr. Edward Higgins was in residence.
  • Fr. Lawrence Goode joined the staff.
  • Capuchin Fathers became new tenants of the Convent.
  • Fr. Higgins celebrated his 50th jubilee.
  • Fr. Kevin Corrigan was in residence.
  • Fr. Durkin left on October 19 for St. Elizabeth’s Parish in San Francisco after 12 years as Pastor. A farewell dinner was held on October 24.
  • Fr. Michael Healy from St. Bartholomew’s in San Mateo was assigned as the seventh pastor and was installed on January 11, 1987.
  • Fr. Lawrence Goode left on February 1, 1987
  • Fr. Fabio Medina joined the staff.
  • Bro. Michael Kelly, Principal of the parochial school, left on June 6.
  • Pope John Paul II made an historic visit to San Francisco in October.
  • Eileen Gorman was chosen to head the parochial school.
  • Parochial school observed its 40th Anniversary.
  • YMI presented “Our Lady Grotto” in convent area.
  • Fr. Durkin, former pastor, elevated to the rank of 'Monsignor'.
  • Renew groups prepared to start weekly meetings in October.
  • Msgr. John Pernia became Associate Pastor.
  • Christian Stibor became director of the Spanish Choir.
  • Fr. Healy observed his 20th Anniversary.
  • RICA process started.
  • Fr. Healy left for St. Phillip’s Parish in San Francisco.
  • Fr. Medina left for the Modesto area.
  • All Souls welcomed the return of Fr. William Justice as the eighth pastor.
  • Maureen Galeotti joined staff as CCD Director.
  • Sr. Martha Vega, SSS joined as Pastoral Assistant.
  • Spanish youth group, “Juventud con Cristo”, Formed.
  • Deacon Paul Moriarty assisted at Eucharistic celebration.
  • Renew groups reorganized into Small Christian Communities.
  • Fr. Jerome Leach joined parish staff.
  • Theresa Rowbathan joined staff as choir Director/Organist in October.
  • Sunday Family Mass (9:00 a.m.) initiated.
  • Msgr. Pernia observed his 35th anniversary in March.
  • Parish Finance Committee began.
  • Fr. Justice observed his Silver Jubilee in May.
  • All Souls Kapisanang (A.S.K.) Pilipino – the Filipino group was organized.
  • Msgr. John Pernia left in November.
  • Maryknoll Fathers became our Parish new convent tenants in June.
  • Fr. Randy Calvo, Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese and Head of the Marriage Tribunal, was in residence.
  • Fr. Agustin Escalante arrived in the Parish.
  • Jubilee Year – All Souls Church observed the 25th anniversary of the third Church building with a year long special sacramental anniversaries climaxed by a gala dinner/dance.
  • ASK Pilipino group initiated annual celebration of the feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila.
  • Seminarian Barry Thornton started one year assignment during which a youth group, Youth on Unity (Y.O.U), was stared.
  • Guadalupe Society was initiated.
  • CCD enrollment hit 500 plus.
  • Eileen Gorman, school principal, earned a doctorate in education from USF.
  • Fr. Maring celebrated his 50th anniversary of ordination.
  • Marlena Griffith joined parish staff as part – time youth minister.
  • San Francisco Archbishop William Levada celebrated a special Mass on All Souls Parish Feast Day (November 2) with reception following in in the Parish Hall.
  • Alex Aragon ordained as Deacon and joined parish staff.
  • Attractive new signs installed outside of church advertising times and days of services.
  • Seminarian Eric Macatuno arrived to serve his year of pastoral service.
  • Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was dedicated.
  • Church acquired a new look – a red carpet.
  • Parish Pastoral Council began.
  • Fr. Escalante left for San Rafael.
  • Fr. Joseph Bradley spent short six months as Associate Pastor before going to St. Vincent de Paul, San Francisco.
  • Fr. Rafael de Avila became new associate in January.
  • First meeting of the Centennial Committee held on March 5th.
  • Sr. Martha Vega, SSS left for an assignment in Southern California in June.
  • 'Wald Science Laborotary' for the Parochial school was dedicated.
  • Renew 2000 began in October.
  • Parish School prepares for 50th year Anniversary in 1999.
  • Casa Maryknoll ended a five-year residency and moved on to Chicago.
  • Parish celebrated 100 years of formal Catholic presence in South San Francisco. Most Rev. William Levada presided at this centennial Mass.   Fr. Bill Justice, Fr. Rafael De Avila, Fr. William Maring and Msgr. Charles Durkin were concelebrants. Following the Mass there was a gala reception at the South San Francisco Convention center.
  • RENEW 2000 is initiated with the formation of Small Christian Communities in the Parish.