Parish History

parishhistoryIn 1769, Gaspar de Portola led the Spanish expedition to ‘Alta California,’ arriving close to the feast day of San Francisco Solano, July 14. The Franciscan priests of the expedition named this mesa ‘San Francisco Solano’ to honor the 16th-century Spanish Franciscan missionary to South America; he was an inspiration to Friars Juan Crespi and Junipero Serra.

Two-hundred twenty years later, on July 3, 1989, Bishop Norman F. McFarland, second Bishop of the Diocese of Orange, established a parish to serve the newly formed communities surrounding this mesa. The parish was placed under the protection and patronage of San Francisco Solano.

The parish is adjacent to Santa Margarita Catholic High School on land donated by the Moiso and O’Neill families. Father Michael Pecharich was named pastor in the spring of 1989 and served as pastor until 2002.

Bishop Tod D. Brown, third Bishop of Orange, appointed Father Craig M. Butters the second pastor of San Francisco Solano Parish on July 1, 2003.