We the family of Saint Angela Merici Catholic Church
of Brea respond to the teachings of Jesus
by living our faith and welcoming
all to our place of spirit-filled worship.
By honoring our baptismal commitment,
we celebrate our relationship with Jesus
and our diversity through faith formation,
evangelization and service.
In 1951, St. Mary’s Parish in Fullerton began as a mission to Catholics in Brea. The first mass was celebrated in the American Legion Hall by Rev. Augustine O’Gorman, Pastor of St. Mary’s in Fullerton. In 1952, The Archdiocese of Los Angeles purchased land for a new parish in Brea and in 1955, Cardinal McIntyre approved construction of a temporary hall at the corner of Fir Street and Walnut Avenue. The new pastor of St. Mary’s in Fullerton, Rev. John Siebert, continued serving the mission in Brea. On January 29, 1956 ground was broken for the temporary hall and construction was completed within the same year; Cardinal McIntyre blessed the new structure on March 17, 1957. An altar society was begun in April. Five years later, Rev. Emmett B. McCarthy was appointed pastor when the Mission became a parish under the patronage of St. Angela Merici.
In 1964, the Sisters of St. Clare arrived from Ireland to teach in the new year with four grades. By 1966, a convent was erected to house the ten sisters. In September the Archdiocese approved plans for a new parish structure which included the relocation of the temporary building for future use as a hall.
In 1968, Fr. McCarthy was honored with the title of Monsignor and in 1969 the new building was completed and opened for Easter services. In 1979, the Women’s Council Christmas Bell Ringer raised funds for the electric Carillon for the church building.
In 1988, Fr. McCarthy retired as pastor and Fr. Gordon Pillon served temporarily as Administrator. In 1988, Msgr. Brian Coghlan was appointed as the second pastor of St. Angela Merici Parish. He served until 1993 and Fr. Ted Olson was appointed as the third pastor. Major Construction projects were overseen by Fr. Olson including a new parish center, a new hall and a new kindergarten classroom. In 2003, the founding pastor, Rev. Msgr. Emmett B. McCarthy, died, and in 2005 Fr. Olson was reassigned to St. Pius V Parish after his 12 year term at St. Angela’s. Fr. Michael-Dwight Galinada was appointed the fourth pastor of St. Angela’s Parish. He has overseen a number of renovation projects.
St. Angela Three Year Pastoral Plan 2017 – 2020
Developed based on feedback from the February 15, 2017 Parish Assembly
For over fifty years, St. Angela Merici has been growing, changing and serving the evolving community of Brea and North Orange County. During the Jubilee celebration of the parish, for a full year the people of St. Angela focused on the theme of “I Matter.” This was chosen for the simple reason that it is true. In a large and diverse parish like St. Angela’s, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle, so for the Golden Jubilee celebration, the decision was made to emphasize the importance of each member. Subsequently, at the inspiration of the Holy Father, the entire Church celebrated a Holy Year of Mercy. The combination of these two thematic journeys set the stage for a renewed emphasis on evangelization and discipleship. Ultimately, the point of all these influences was to awaken the spirit of renewal in the Parish in order to carry on the essential theme of mercy. The unique contribution of St. Angela was summed up in the definition of mercy: “Surrendering the right to be “right.”
In order to capitalize on the momentum generated by the Golden Jubilee and the Year of Mercy, under the thoughtful guidance of the Pastoral Council, it was decided to consider the implementation of a three year process to prepare the parish, personally and collectively, to deal with the ongoing demands of growth and change of the parish and the Diocese of Orange. As a part of the local church of Orange, St. Angela is a significant partner in the enormous undertaking of the Christ Cathedral project. Never before, in the entire history of the Church, has a Cathedral been purchased and dedicated to immediately impact the world. Needless to say, such an undertaking will have significant consequences for all the parishes in the Diocese.
One of those consequences is to renew the overall sense of participation in the parish and the diocese. In response, St. Angela Merici has a plan that will stimulate the spiritual and financial growth of the entire parish and the Diocese of Orange. This is a significant undertaking and will involve a fundamentally new way of thinking and expressing Church for Catholics in the Diocese of Orange. This process involves a Paschal—Sacramental Spirituality development component that builds on the reflections developed from the Holy Year of Mercy. The other component involves a new approach to evangelization that is designed to be more than just a program, it has a recurring aspect that will continue to evolve as transformation occurs. That component is designated as Revangelization& Renewal. Together, these elements form the conceptual basis, grounded in deep Catholic spirituality and modern organizational concepts as well. The three year process involves three elements culminating in a very different pastoral reality:
Year One: Hospitality
Year Two: Relationship & Trust Dynamics
Year Three: You Matter Tithing
Hospitality is the fundamental ministry of EVERYONE. In a very real sense it is applied mercy. When everyone is imbued with mercy they are open to all the differences and weaknesses they encounter in parish life. There are no strangers. There are no “insiders.” Mercy creates the space needed for the next phase, which is Relationship & Trust Dynamics. The heart of our faith is focused on relationship: relationship with Jesus, relationship with the Church, relationship with the parish community, relationship with all the individual members of the pastoral ministry and staff and so forth. Relationship is the soul of Christianity and essential for a renewed parish life. Trust is an essential element in good relationships, which can be easily eroded by so many influences. Ultimately, the fullest expression of Stewardship and Partnership is the ongoing financial commitment expressed in the notion of Tithing. Mature Christians realize that money is a necessary aspect of modern parish life, and thoughtful members work together to make tithing meaningful for everyone, ultimately because they matter. Those parishes that have incorporated Tithing into their spiritual journey have found the results to be quite gratifying. The problem with most approaches to Tithing is it is suddenly sprung on unsuspecting parishioners without adequate preparation and growth time. The St. Angela Merici Renewal Process respects the lived reality of congregants and allows people to progressively grow into a fully realized Catholic Spirituality that incorporates a steadfast commitment to working through all the demands of witnessing to the Gospel.
This plan is audacious and unusual, but fully realizable for St. Angela Merici. The Pastoral Council will work to turn the recommended three year plan over to the St. Angela Merici staff for implementation. The Pastoral Council is committed to monitor the progress of the three plan to ensure expectations of the plan are met. We entrust the results to the loving power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.