San Roque Catholic Church
325 Argonne Circle
Santa Barbara, CA 93105-2798 United States
8:00 am, 9:30 am & 11:30 am
Saturday 4:00 pm
Weekly Mass Schedule
Holy Days of Obligation
Vigil: 5:30 pm; Day: 8:30 am, 12:10 pm
All Saints’ Day
Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary
With the dedication of the new parish church which took place on Sunday, March 14. 1965, when it was dedicated by His Eminence, The Most Rev. James Francis Cardinal Mclntyre, it is proper in this commemorative issue to review the history of the parish.
San Roque Parish is a daughter of St. Barbara’s Parish which is centered about the famous Old Mission founded in 1786. Though the mission engaged in some parochial activities since early in this century, it became a canonical parish only on March 18, 1928, during the incumbency of Father Augustine Hobrecht. As Santa Barbara continued to grow, new tracts of land were opened in its western area, among them the Rutherford Tract, later called the San Roque District, built upon what was formerly the Dixie Thompson Ranch. In 1928, the Mission Parish extended from Mission Street in the east to La Cumbre Road in the west.
In 1936, when Mission Santa Barbara celebrated its sesquicentennial, His Excellency, the Most Rev. John Joseph Cantwell, D.D., Bishop of Los Angeles and San Diego, expressed his wish to Father Augustine that the mission parish build a school. This proposal was taken up enthusiastically. The pastor chose as the site for the school the area of the Rutherford Tract which was the growing area of the parish. He purchased an entire city block just west of Argonne Circle, bounded by San Roque Road, Calle Pinon, Calle Alamo, and Calle Cedro. With this purchase it may be said that the future San Roque Parish was born. Ground was broken on Aug. ust 16, 1936. Until the new structure could be occupied, Junipero Serra Hall at Garden and Los Oliv9s Streets, the social center of the parish, was used as a temporary school. Conducted by the Franciscan Sisters of Charity of Manitowoc. Wisconsin, it opened its doors to thirty-nine children on September 14, which number soon increased to fifty-six.
Father Augustine obtained Windsor and Soule as architects and Andrew McDonough as contractor for the new building. The first section of the school was finished late in December, when it was blessed by Bishop Cantwell on Sunday afternoon, December 27. This building contained the sisters’ living quarters on the second floor, with offices below, the school rooms and a chapel on the first floor. Classes began sessions in the new school in January of the semester of 1937. Mass was said on Sundays and weekdays in the chapel with both chapel and school attended by the clergy of the mission. Additional rooms were added as a west wing and this was blessed on September 11, 1939. The name, San Roque, was chosen for the plant because of the proximity of San Roque Canyon nearby, so named in the early Hispanic period.
San Roque continued to be served by Father Augustine until 1940 when he was succeeded in the pastorate by Father Clement Berberich (1940-1941), Father Clarence Manns (1941-1944), Father Roger Agostinelli (1944-1946), Father Gratian Gabel (1946-1949), and Father Jordon Donovan (1949- February 1953) when San Roque became an independent parish.
Meanwhile, as the parish grew, the physical plant expanded. Under Father Gratian, a new and larger chapel was provided. He bought an army chapel which had served the Hoff Heights Hospital during World War II, and had it moved to the San Roque property just east of the school facing Calle Cedro and along Calle Alamo. Considerable work was done on this chapel by the men of the parish both with regard to the exterior and the interior. The frame structure was stuccoed and given a tile roof. It had a seating capacity of about 280 persons. It was ready for occupancy by Christmas, 1948. The original chapel forming the east wing of the school building was then converted into two class rooms.
With the appointment of Father Jordon Donovan as pastor in 1949, plans for further expansion were laid. Land was purchased at the corner of San Roque Road and Calle Pinon for a new sisters’ convent. Work was begun on August 16, 1952, and the sisters were in their new home by March 8, 1953. Their convent is a two story building in the Spanish type of architecture conforming with that of the school building. Two additional classrooms were built along the eastern wing as an extension of the former chapel.
In February, 1953, His Eminence, James Francis Cardinal McIntyre, constituted San Roque as an independent parish making its eastern limit Alamar Avenue, its western line, La Cumbre Road. Until 1959, the Franciscan pastors were administrators under the archdiocese. Since then they have been permanently placed in charge. Father Jordon Donovan became the first resident pastor, moving into the former sisters’ quarters in the school building on February 8, 1953. Father Conan Lee became the first assistant. On March 1, 1953, Mr. Bob Dominges, a native of Santa Barbara, entered San Roque Friary as a candidate of the Third Order brotherhood. On the following June 5. he received the habit at the Old Mission and was given the name Brother Ronan. He has been at the friar) ever since.
Father Clarence Manns became pastor of San Roque. June 20, 19.’i.5, and served until June 25, 1958. when the present pastor, Father Luke Powleson, replaced him. Assistants serving the parish since 1953, have been Father Conan Lee until June 28, 1953. Father Quentin Sullivan until February 26. 1954, Father Malachy Donovan until June. 1956, Father Lester Mitchell until June 20, 1960, Father Niles Hudson until December 15, 1960, and Father Antonine Turner from the same date until the present. To Father Luke who had served as pastor in a number of parishes of the province, fell the task of providing a new modern church for the expanding parish. The chapel erected by Father Gratian was moved between early June and July 20, 1961, to Calle Pinon and in line with the west wing of the school. The new church was begun on the site of the former chapel almost immediately. The structure was finished by the spring of 1962, its interior furnishings placed in the late summer and fall of the same year.
During the weeks when the old chapel was being moved, Mass was said on Sundays in the auditorium of the Garcia Diego High School and during the week in the sisters’ convent chapel. Masses were again resumed in the old chapel at its new location on July 23. Masses were continued there until December 2, 1962, when Father Luke said the first Sunday Mass in the newly completed church.
This new, ample and attractive edifice is built in an adapted Spanish style and in harmony with the earlier buildings of the parish plant. Barker & Ott of Los Angeles were the Architects, with J. W. Bailey Construction Company of Santa Barbara as builders. Statuary from Ortese, Italy, was furnished by C.F. Horan Company of Los Angeles with The Stadler Company of San Francisco supplying the other accessories. With its dedication, San Roque now looks with pride and satisfaction over the twenty-five years in building up its material edifices through the zeal of its pastors and the good will and generosity of its fine people.