Our Lady of Angels Parish – Burlingame, CA
In 1924, the Capuchins met with a group of Catholics in the Burlingame area and planned out a new parish to be named, Our Lady of Angels, after the patroness of the Franciscan Order.
The Capuchins purchased a cottage, a vacant lot, and a small building which had been previously been the Easton School. The old school served temporarily as a church and the cottage as a rectory. Parishioners sat on wooden planks facing an improvised altar for celebration of the first Mass on Sunday, December 19, 1926.
To provide a school for the rapidly expanding parish, the cottage was converted into classrooms and another small house purchased for a rectory. On August 22, 1927, the first parochial school in the area opened with five grades staffed by the Sisters of Mercy.
In less than one year, the church and school were flourishing in the new parish. By 1930, the little school house had become hopelessly inadequate and was torn down. The present mission-style building replaced it with five classrooms and a temporary auditorium. Three years later, however, enrollment reached 240 and the auditorium was partitioned to provide even more classrooms.
Mid-Century Growth & Expansion
In the late 1940’s, with 800 families in the parish, the temporary church no longer sufficed. A campaign drive was initiated and by 1950 the present church had been built. The larger church was indeed welcome as the parish census had jumped to over one thousand families by the time of its completion. The old temporary church became the parish hall.
School enrollment continued to increase and at the conclusion of another fund drive in 1959, the convent was built and four classrooms added to the school. In 1961, four more classrooms were added, and enrollment peaked at 707 in 1965.
Rev. Fergus Lawless returned to OLA as pastor in 1961 and was elected Provincial in 1962, at which time the rectory became the Provincial House. That same year a group of parishioners organized CCD classes which later evolved into the School of Religion.
With the many activities of the school, the School of Religion, and various organizations, the parish eventually outgrew the old hall. With the income from yet another fund drive, the current multi-purpose hall was built in 1968.
Thriving Capuchin Franciscan Community
The parish celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1976 with a Mass and Champagne Reception attended by state and local dignitaries, religious leaders, OLA school alumni, and parishioners.
Capuchin Franciscans from around the world gathered in 1979 to celebrate the formation of the new Province of Our Lady of Angels encompassing California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, and Arizona.
At the present time, there are over 2400 families in the parish. A wide range of parishioners participate in the many social and educational programs offered for teenagers, young adults, seniors, etc. as well as the popular Renew program which began in 1983.