History of St. Catherine of Alexandria

When Fr. Joseph Murphy, C.S.Sp., a Holy Ghost Father, founded the Church of the Holy Ghost in Riverside in 1946, it was to be a mission parish serving the needs of the 17 African American families living nearby.

He ed a 16-acre piece of farmland along Arlington Avenue, hoping to build a school on the remnant to offset the debt accrued. On June 9, 1946, he celebrated the parish's first Mass in the barn on Pentecost Sunday. Afterwards, the 20 families in attendance went to the Mission Inn for breakfast.

However, the school was delayed and finances were tight for many years. The barn was replaced in 1948 with a surplus barracks from the decommissioned Camp Haan Army Base.

Finally in 1957, with financial help from the Extension Society, Fr. Daniel P. Bradley, C.S.Sp., was able to build the present church, now renamed St. Catherine of Alexandria. That same year, he oversaw the construction of both St. Catherine School and Notre Dame High School.

By the time the Holy Ghost Fathers departed in 1981, the original families for which the parish had been established had moved on and St. Catherine was on its way to becoming one of the largest parishes in Riverside. Today it serves a diverse community of more than 5,000 families and offers both bi-lingual and Gospel liturgies.