Founded in 1924 as a mission parish, La Purisima is a Eucharistic family of socially and culturally diverse people. As a welcoming community of faith, inspired by the Holy Spirit we evangelize and serve others in the spirit of the Gospel.
We see La Purisima as a joyous, united, and welcoming family of faith that celebrates its diversity and is committed to continous spiritual growth leading to a deepening love for Christ and for one another.
values and beleiefs
We are a people of faith responding to God’s gift by growing spiritually and living according to His word
We believe we encounter Christ in each person we meet
Evangelism is proclaiming the good news of the Gospel, engaging in intentional conversations and interactions, and providing opportunities to encounter Jesus Christ
la purisima meaning
La Purisima refers to the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception refers to the condition that the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from Original Sin from the very moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne. December 8th is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – La Purisima, our patroness. It is such an important feast that the Church has declared the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception a holy day of obligation.
LAND DONATED FOR OUR FIRST PARISH CHURCH: In 1924, Mr. Remedios Mares donated property on Center Street and a frame building was erected, This was the beginning of La Purisima Mission. The seating capacity was about 80. In 1927 additional property on Center Street was purchase for a new church. The original building was moved onto this property and an additional room was made to seat about 200. Fr. Jose Origel, who was a priest with Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Ana, would take over the spiritual care of the people in El Modena, coming to celebrate mass each Sunday. Church Baptism records show his presence here from 1927 to 1957.
TRINITARIAN YEARS: THE FORMATION OF LA PURISIMA PARISH (1957-1983): In October of 1957, the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity arrived on the scene as the new spiritual care-takers of La Purisima. Many residents still living here recall fond memories of the first “Fiestas” beginning in 1958. The “Missionaries” brought about a wonderful sense of community, and with the ever-growing aerospace industry bringing in new residents to the area, the parish flourished as a bi-lingual community (English & Spanish). The early missionary priests began such groups and organizations as the Holy Name Society, Altar Society, Chi Rho, Lumen Christi, and many other spiritual-based groups, bringing the community together. They invited the Sisters of St. Joseph to come and teach religious education classes here; and the Sisters of the Company of Mary opened the School in 1964.
BEGINNING OF “EL MODENA”: In 1872, two brothers from New York State, Stephen and Robert McPherson, purchase eighty acres of Chapman land on the east side of the Santiago Creek. Chapman Avenue was not cleared beyond the creek until the McPherson’s extended it along the south side of their property and opened a new road, later Prospect Avenue, along their eastern property line.
Two other land developers- Oge and Bond- acquired a large area of level land between the foothills and a lower mesa area on the west. They were able to extend Chapman Avenue eastward, up a steep grade, then parceled out land and sold it for farming. (The land that is now La Purisima Parish is within the Oge and Bond tract.)
The town of Orange soon became a thriving farming community After several failed crops, and a blight in 1886 that killed thousands of grape vines in Orange, McPherson and Modena, the farmers began planting orange groves. In 1887, to connect the three communities a railroad was constructed on a track from the Plaza in downtown Orange to a livery stable in Modena, located at the corner of Center St. and Alameda (now known as Hewes). The railroad was opened in January 1888 with big celebration. The fare between the towns was five cents.
DIOCESE OF ORANGE IS ESTABLISHED IN 1976: In 1962, what is now our “old” church was built on the property on Hewes st. (then Alameda). The Archdiocese of Los Angeles gave La Purisima a Parish status on May 8, 1964. On June 18, 1976, His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, established the Diocese of Orange. During the 7 years between 1976 and 1983 the Trinity Missionaries would continue to serve the people of La Purisima. This time period also saw the massive immigration of the Vietnamese people, who have established themselves as a vital part of our La Purisima community. In 1983, when the Trinity Missionaries community felt that the need for their priests would be better served in other mission areas, we sadly said good-bye to the missionaries, after 2 5 years of faithful service.
With the departure of the Trinity Missionaries, and the arrival of the Claretian Missionaries, who accepted the invitation from the Diocese to care for the people of La Purisima, we experienced a large population growth of Mexican individuals coming into California. Many found places to live and work in Orange County, and settled in La Purisima Parish. Housing development in the foothills east of the parish brought in more parishioners.
At all times the people of La Purisima worked together, with [perhaps the very first ” Tri-lingual” liturgy in the Diocese]. Due to the popularity of trilingual liturgies and general growth of the community, parishioners saw a great need to enlarge the old church (now known as Trinity Hall).
In late 1999 permission was granted by the Diocese of Orange to begin a capital campaign for the construction of a larger church. Original plans here to remodel or enlarge our current church, which seated 450 people. A second plan was offered for a new church, seating 900. Bishop Tod Brown wisely concluded that any new church construction in the Diocese should have adequate seating for at least 1,200 people.
Our 3-Year capital campaign began in the “Jubilee” year 2000, thus receiving its name, “The Jubilee Project.” In the next two years the generosity of La Purisima parishioners promised to raise $3 million and another $1 million in fundraising revenue.
July 1, 2002 brought yet another new “chapter” in the story of La Purisima Parish. After almost twenty years of service to the people of this parish, the Claretians were reassigned to other mission work within their order turning over the pastoral care of this parish to the priests of the Diocese.
Fr. Christopher Heath was named the new pastor of La Purisima, along with Fr. Anh Nguyen and Fr. Ismael Silva as parochial vicars. Our new Diocesan priests faced many challenges, the biggest of which was to continue leading the construction of a new church, 3 times the size of the current one. On June 4, 2005, our new 1,200 seat church was dedicated by Bishop Tod Brown.
We are thankful for the Trinity Missionaries and the Claretian Missionaries. Through their inspiration and encouragement, La Purisima parishioners have become stewards of their parish. As we step into our 100 year anniversary in 2024, we take a moment on reflect on who we are, where we come from and more importantly, where we are heading.
For the next coming years, our parish will be working on a Pastoral Plan that focuses on: Enhancing our Mass and Weekend Parish Experience, Ensuring Lifelong Faith Formation and Building a Community for Christ. For more information CLICK HERE.
SUCCESSION OF PASTORS
- Rev. Valentin Ramon, CMF (1996-2002)
- Rev. Christopher Heath (2002-2006)
- Rev. Vincent H. Pham – Administrator (2006- 2007)
- Rev. Vincent H. Pham, Pastor (2007-2012)
- Rev. John R. LeVecke – Administrator (2012- 2013)
- Rev. Bill Barman (2014-2019)
- Msgr. Kerry Beaulieu (2019-2020)
- Rev. Martin Hiep Nguyen, (Administrator 2020 -June 2022 / Pastor July 2022 – Present)