The Our Lady Queen of Angels parish in Newport Beach has grown tenfold in last 50 years

By John Rogers     10/6/2017

It’s a good problem to have—growth so miraculous that a parish is in need of expanded facilities. That’s the situation facing Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach. 

Since 1961, OLQA has seen its congregation grow from 400 families to more than 4,500 today. To better serve its parish and school families, the church has launched a capital campaign to raise funds for a $10.5 million expansion.  

In 1998, the church created a master plan to manage its growth. The first phases included doubling the number of classrooms in the school and constructing a new church in 2012. This final effort, The Cornerstone Campaign: Completing Our Dream, seeks to complete the master plan by funding the construction of an athletics and activities center, community room, nursery and pipe organ. The parish will also make a $1.5 million contribution to Orange County parishes in need. 

In January, Our Lady Queen of Angels hired the Steier Group, a Nebraska-based fundraising company, to conduct a planning study. The results of the study were clear—the congregation was willing and ready to complete its master plan. Throughout the spring and summer, a team of 40 volunteers sought out gifts and pledges from school families and parish benefactors in a silent phase, which garnered $4.9 million in commitments.  

In early September the parish hosted a kickoff weekend celebration on the church plaza to launch the public phase of the campaign.  

“The thing about Catholic facilities is that they get used,” says Fr. Kerry, pastor. “Every night of the week there is something going on at OLQA.” The parish’s many ministries are currently putting a strain on current facilities. Fr. Kerry sees each project as a way to strengthen and expand the parish’s ministries. The athletics and activities center, for instance, will be used by the school’s gym classes, athletic teams, youth group and young adult ministries.  

The community room will house the parish library, seat 126 for meetings and events, and contain a permanent facility for Helping Hands, the parish’s largest outreach ministry. Helping Hands assists 300-350 families experiencing homelessness each month. It currently operates out of a small room in the church that was originally designed to be used for storage. The new facility will include room for donations and more private offices for families to seek assistance. 

The children of the parish have been invited to participate in the campaign as well. Every child in OLQA’s school and faith formation program will receive a coin bank so they can learn the importance of stewardship. These banks will be collected and blessed at a special Mass in November. 

The Cornerstone Campaign: Completing Our Dream runs through Dec. 3. More information about OLQA’s capital campaign is available at olqa.org/campaign.