Our Church, the Early Years
There were many French living on Suncrest Hill in the first part of the 1900’s. The residents of Suncrest Hill had repeatedly asked our Most Reverend Bishop for a parish and pastor of their own. They were particularly anxious that the pastor be fluent in French. The use of a small home (on our current church property) was obtained and the first parish mass was celebrated on Sunday April 19, 1942. Permission to continue using the house was acquired and mass was held in the home until a church building could be constructed. The original home, where mass was celebrated, was moved to another location in Crest once church construction began. The first resident priest was Reverend Frederick Coupal. He was fluent in French. The bishop selected the name of St. Louse de Marillac as titular of the first parish in Suncrest. St. Louise (foundress of the Daughters of Charity) was born in Paris, consequently is native of the same city from which many Suncrest residents have their origin.
In November 1944 the property for the first parish rectory was purchased. In May 1950 the Bishop decided that a new church was desirable to replace the little chapel at Suncrest. In May 1950 Bishop Buddy visited the area and selected the present spot for the proposed church and rectory. On August 22, 1950 the property was purchased for $600.00. Ground was broken in Sunday August 27, 1950 and on December 19, 1950 the corner stone was laid. The building was ready for use by Christmas and the first mass was celebrated in the new church on Christmas Eve (midnight mass, December 25, 1950.)
The church was officially blessed and dedicated July 8, 1951 by the Most Reverend William O’ Brien, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and the President of the Catholic Extension Society, who happened to be on a visit to San Diego and since the society was instrumental in helping get donations for the building of the new church Bishop Buddy deemed it fitting a proper to grant Bishop “O’Brien the courtesy of officiating at the ceremony. Rev. Richard Waterfall was pastor at the time of the blessing.
Our Parish Grows
Through the years our parish has had a number of pastors with Fr. Lou Salca serving the longest, from 1983 – 2001. We have also steadily grown in size, and, while still small, we now have over 100 registered families. Our 50th anniversary (1994) celebration was spread out over several months and included a BBQ dinner in April, dance in June, concert in October, and an anniversary Mass October 9, 1994 celebrated by Bishop Brom. The mass took place under a huge tent in our parking lot. August 13, 2000 was the dedication, by Bishop Brom, of our Grotto on the front lawn.
October 26, 2003 St. Louise suffered damage from the “The Cedar Fire” The day started out warm and windy and masses were held as usual. The fire was a long distance away but it moved fast and by early afternoon is was obvious the church needed to be evacuated. Pastor Fr. Irwin evacuated the Blessed Sacrament and although he tried 3 times to return to see if there was any damage to the church he was unable to return until Monday. He had to walk the 4 miles up the hill as they were letting no cars pass. When he entered the Church, he found it badly damaged and there was a small fire next to the organ. It had flared up again from the heat. The front stained-glass windows were broken by the fire, it entered there. The organ was destroyed, some pews had burned, arts of the room were damaged. Between smoke and water damage many furnishings became unusable.
Our parish hall became a relief center for Crest. The Thrift Shop below the church was opened to anyone who needed clothing, local restaurants donated hot meals so that breakfast, lunch and dinner was available to everyone. Although the only utility service the hall had was water, and it was contaminated. Padre Dam arrived with water trucks and bottled water.
An ecumenical healing service was held in the Church parking lot on Thursday afternoon. It was the first time the pastors of the three churches in Crest were united. Of the three churches, only St. Louise was damaged. After much hard work, and months of mass being held in the church hall, the refurbished church was rededicated February 8, 2004.
Our Church Today
There are approximately 100 families that call St. Louise their parish. Parishioners stay active and involved. We have CCD, RCIA, lay ministers, monthly parish breakfasts and yearly celebrations such as our October Fest. Come and join us on the patio for coffee and donuts after both Sunday masses, we would love to meet you and chat with you.