History

The following article appeared in the National City Star News in November, 1926:
"St. Mary's Catholic Church was packed to the doors last Sunday when the church was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. John J. Cantwell, Bishop of the the Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles and San Diego. Aside from the beautiful and impressive ceremony of dedication, 30 children and 10 adults were confirmed. The congregation numbered 90. Though the church was built at an expense of $20,000 and is quite plain in appearance, the interior lends an atmosphere of refinement, and much simple beauty. The altar furnishings are in rare taste, and the naves at the side, where masses of ferns are placed, gives a most artistic and pleasing effect."

There was much hard work and prayer behind this simple newspaper announcement. From the celebration of the first Mass in Granger Hall on February 27, 1887 until this Sunday November 14, 1926, the Catholic Community in National City had undergone many changes. Only occasion Masses were celebrated in National City from 1887 until the early 1900's. During this time the faithful journeyed to San Diego for Sunday worship. In 1909 Father H. Eummelen had arrived in National City to establish a parish and held "services every morning except Sunday at 7:30, Sunday services at 9:00 am with preaching in German and English," thus the groundwork was laid for the dedication in 1910 of St. Anthony's Church. National City grew rapidly and the population spread northward. It was not long until the need was felt for an additional Catholic Church.

 

In 1923, a small devoted group purchased the property at 8th Street and "D" Streets for the establishment of St. Mary's Church. The title was recorded in the name of Mabel Tarr, who in turn passed it on to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Los Angeles. The struggle to raise money to purchase the land and build this new church was difficult, but the parishioners persisted and their prayer enthusiasm and hard work were rewarded in the solemn dedication of St. Mary's. Two weeks before the dedication, Father Thomas J. Butler celebrated the first Mass in the new church. Before the Church was completed St. Mary's Altar Society and Holy Name Society were busy holding card parties in members' homes, and organizing other fund-raising events to benefit the new parish. A local branch of St. Vincent de Paul Society was formed in 1925. Members of the choir held rehearsals and, under the direction of Louis Smith, were ready for the first appearance at St. Mary's direction.