SPOC groundbreakingSPOC 1956SPOC procession

Parish History

On May 4, 1956, St. Paul of the Cross was established by the late James Francis Cardinal McIntyre. Once an olive grove in La Mirada, St. Paul of the Cross has become a thriving Catholic parish of more than fifteen hundred families.

Under the guidance of the founding pastor, Father Owen P. Jinks, St. Paul of the Cross has flourished from dishpan baptisms and Moose Lodge Masses to an active, viable faith community with numerous active organizations and an excellent elementary school.

Father Jinks celebrated his first Mass as pastor of St. Paul of the Cross in the parish hall of St. Gregory the Great Church in Whittier on Pentecost, May 20, 1956. This was followed by using the Moose Hall as a temporary location for regular Sunday Masses.

Ground was broken on February 10, 1957 for the new parish plant, which was to include a temporary church, eight classrooms and a convent. There were 379 children who answered the first bell on September 23, 1957.

The first Mass was offered in the new church on All Saints Day, November 1, 1957. The church was not quite finished yet, as the pews were not completely installed, nor were the side altars and stations of the cross.

Cardinal McIntyre dedicated St. Paul of the Cross on September 28, 1958. It was attended by several clergy and many faithful parishioners.

Our parish family has gone through decades of growth and improvement under the leadership of able pastors and administrators. Following the death of Msgr. Jinks, Father Patrick Gannon was assigned as the next pastor and served at the parish for 22 years where he eventually retired. In his honor, the Gannon Hall which was built in 1999 and now serves as the parish hall was named after him. Father Roger Labonte was assigned as the administrator for 2 years following the retirement of Father Pat. He was later installed as the pastor in September of 2006 and served only for two years. Father Joseph Visperas who has been the associate pastor since 2003 during the time of Father Pat and Father Roger and who was serving as the shared associate pastor between the parishes of St. Paul of the Cross and the neighboring Beatitudes, was then appointed as the Administrator Pro Tem in 2008.  In September of 2009, Fr. Visperas was appointed and installed as the fourth Pastor of St. Paul of the Cross for a term of six years renewable.  In 2015, his term has been renewed which will expire in June 2021.  Since his incumbency as administrator and pastor, he has carried out the church's mission that his predecessors had started.  Many have seen and witnessed a lot of improvements in the pastoral, ministerial, administrative and physical upkeep of St. Paul of the Cross Church.

Today, after 60 years since her foundation, our church and parish family is stronger than ever. We look to a brighter future of faith and community, a family of faith.