Often when a pastoral need arises where there is not a parish, a mission is established under the governance of the local parish to provide support to the pastoral need. This support can be either long or short term.
Historically in the life of the Church, the mission has served as the early beginning for the establishment of a new parish.
Finally, the term chapel is used for even smaller communities, where an occasional liturgical service is provided to a particular group of people.
Many of our current parishes today began as missions. Examples include St. Bernardine Parish, San Bernardino (1862) which started as a mission to San Salvador de Jurupa, Aqua Mansa (now closed); and St. Francis de Sales, Riverside (1886), which was a mission to St. Bernardine, San Bernardino.
Previous Heritage Road columns have recalled parishes that have closed in our Diocese. This one will list the missions and chapels that have closed in the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside. It is important that we not forget these church communities that served our Church for many years.
1905–1920: There was a mission in Idyllwild, served by St. Anthony, San Jacinto. A second mission in Murrieta, overseen by Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Elsinore (now St. Frances of Rome, Wildomar). The third mission was in Crestmore, north of Highway 60 in Jurupa Valley, served by St. Francis de Sales, Riverside.
In 1949 St. Thomas the Apostle Parish opened a mission on Indiana Avenue in Riverside, two miles from the parish, to serve a Spanish speaking community. A weekly Mass was celebrated at the mission until 2000; it closed in 2003.
In 1961, St. Joan of Arc Parish in Blythe opened a mission in Ripley, ten miles southwest of Blythe, to serve the Spanish speaking workers at the large farms in the area. A weekly Mass was celebrated at the mission until 2009 when it closed.
San Bernardino County
There was a chapel in San Timoteo Canyon (west Redlands) begun in 1875 by St. Bernardine, San Bernardino. The location was San Timoteo Canyon Road and Live Oak Road. The building was no longer used after Sacred Heart Parish, Redlands opened in 1896.
A mission was begun at Nipton (High Desert) in the 1960’s and continued into the 1970’s under the jurisdiction of St. Joseph, Barstow.
There were missions in the High Desert at Kelso and Mountain Pass that began in the 1970’s and continued into the 1980’s, under the oversight of St. Joseph, Barstow.
Any readers who have information on closed parishes, missions or chapels, please contact the Archives Office at 909-475-5399. We are always seeking historical information to add to the Diocesan Archives.
Peter Bradley is Archivist in the Diocese of San Bernardino.