St. Callistus Parish
God is with Us, God Loves Us. We Share in His Power.
The St. Callistus parish could be considered the foundation of the Christ Cathedral. Founded in 1961, the first mass for the St. Callistus parish was celebrated in a roller rink. The history of this parish ran deep and the significance of the start of the parish birthed the nickname “Holy Rollers” for the original worshipers of the parish. Previously located at 12921 Lewis Street in Garden Grove, California, the St. Callistus parish was home to a multilingual Catholic community. On a weekly basis, mass could be attended in English, Spanish, or Vietnamese.
About the St. Callistus Vietnamese Community
The St. Callistus Parish was home to the Vietnamese Three Borders Community. The Three Borders Community was founded in 1978 by a few parishioner families that left Vietnam after the Great Incident in South Vietnam. The community started off small, but with the holy guidance of the late Father Vu Tuan Tu, Father Do Thanh Ha, Father Tran Phuc Long, the community grew from a small number of parishioners to over a 1,000. Vietnamese masses at the St. Callistus parishes grew from one mass every Saturday, to daily masses, and 3 masses on Sunday.
A memory from a St. Callistus Parishioner.
Fr. Tuyen, our pastor at the time, was a 4th degree Knight of Columbus. He approached me to start a council of the Knights at St. Callistus.
I told Fr. Tuyen that "I'm not a Knight". He said: "Well, become one." I had been quietly thinking and working on that idea, unbeknown to Fr. Tuyen.
Everyone knows you can't say no to Fr. Tuyen. I contacted my brother John who was a Knight at the Balboa Council. He signed me up. I went to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree ceremonies over the course of a year or so. I felt I had to go to some meetings so I could get an idea of what Knights were all about. I was also talking with Luis Avila, a fellow parishioner at St. Callistus. He was already a Knight. He was excited about establishing a Council of Knights at St. Callistus. We contacted some leaders of the Knights and came up with a plan to get the Knights going at. St. Callistus. One of the biggest hurdles was choosing a name for our Council. It was around this time we learned that St. Callistus was going to move to the Crystal Cathedral. Names and timelines were up in the air. We were determined to get the Knights going at St. Callistus. We were worried about St. Callistus disappearing or fading from memory
with the move and all it entailed. After some time, prayer and discussion, we settled on the name St. Callistus At Christ Cathedral, Council 12694. We have had to defend that name many times since we have completed the move. People have suggested that we drop the St. Callistus part of our name since St. Callistus Parish was now gone. We as Knights of Columbus, Council 12694, stressed that we wanted to keep the memory of St. Callistus alive, which is why we chose the name that we did. It is now very exciting that St. Callistus Chapel is taking shape.
A memory from a St. Callistus Parishioner.
Before the building of the new St. Callistus church the Hispanic Ministries dreamed about having a shrine for Our lady of Guadalupe on the campus and in order to make that a reality, they had to raise funds to help come up with most of the cost. They organize all the ministries to cook food to be sold to raise funds. Each week tamales and champurrado were sold after all Mass times. The shrine was built directly behind the Rectory facing the parking lot nearby where the new church would eventually be built. This might not seem very important to most but for the Hispanic community it was a wonderful blessing, they/we finally had a place to worship Our Lady of Guadalupe especially for the yearly Novena and festivities.
I started working at St. Callistus in 1997 and have continued to be part of the staff here at Christ Cathedral Parish.
I have many beautiful memories of St. Callistus and our Hispanic Ministries.
Fr. Rudolph Preciado was the Pastor when I started working for the parish and he was still the Paster when the new church building was finalized. He along with the Hispanic Ministries did a campaign to raise funds and to motivate neighboring parishioners to support financially the construction of the new church. He along with parishioners went door to door within the neighborhood. Aside from this, all the ministries would sell different types of traditional Mexican food to help with the building of the new church.
The St. Callistus parish was traded as part of a deal between the Catholic Diocese of Orange and the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, and on Sunday, June 30th, 2013, the St. Callistus parish move up Lewis Street to its new home at the newly formed Christ Cathedral campus.
The St. Callistus parish transitioned to the Christ Cathedral parish, but the parishioners and the spirit of the old parish were never forgotten. On February 1st, accompanied by the Bishop of Orange, the OLLV Foundation announced that St. Callistus was coming back in the form of a new chapel in the undercroft of Christ Cathedral. This new 12,500 square foot chapel will allow seating for 250 people. The St. Callistus Chapel will feature a crypt that will house resting space for 40 bishops and 1,054 niches.