Donna Finnegan’s first Mass at St. Kilian in 1970 was at Mission Viejo High School. There were fewer than 100 in attendance. Almost 50 years later, she is one of 5,000 registered families who attend Mass in a modern church that seats 1,200.
“It’s been amazing to watch the growth and change at St. Kilian over the past 50 years,” Finnegan said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this community of caring, generous and faithful people. We are really so fortunate to have had such great pastors, priests and parishioners throughout the history of our Church.”
July 1 marked the beginning of the parish’s Jubilee Year. Themed “Grace and Gratitude,” the celebration will feature special events ranging from speakers and concerts to outreach projects and participation in community activities. The church plans to complete the Jubilee Year with an organized pilgrimage to Ireland.
“St. Kilian is such a busy place, celebrating both our faith and our commitment to being God’s hands in our community,” said Father Angelos Sebastian who has been the Church’s pastor for two years. “It is truly a blessing to serve this parish, especially during our Jubilee Year. We have the opportunity to reflect on the many graces we have received and express our gratitude for our past, present and future.”
On July 1, 1970, St. Kilian Catholic Church was established by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to serve the community of Mission Viejo. Monsignor Michael H. Hughes was named as the church’s first pastor. Since that time, the parish has grown to more than 5,000 registered families and 60 liturgical and outreach ministries. St. Kilian
was recently selected by the Dynamic Catholic Organization as a Dynamic Parish for a pilot program—one of only 21 chosen from the nation’s 15,000 Catholic Churches. The church purchased land on the corner of Estanciero Drive and Marguerite Parkway, building the church and office buildings. Quickly outgrowing both spaces, St. Kilian built a new two-story hall and office building in 2005, followed by the current church that was completed in 2014.
Reverend James Dunning was the pastor at St. Kilian for 20 years. Although retired, he remains active at St. Kilian and throughout South Orange County.
“I feel so blessed to have spent two decades at St. Kilian and watched generations of families grow in their faith. I have always loved being there! So many people give of themselves through their involvement in the parish and their generosity to those in need,” Reverend Dunning said. “It’s a great community of strong faith.”
St. Kilian Catholic Church
26872 Estanciero Dr.
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Ministries include: Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group, Young Adult Ministry, Anxiety and Depression Support Group, Backyard Theology, Career Transition Ministry, Christians in Commerce, Contemplative Prayer Group, Council of Catholic Women, Cub Scouts, Eucharist to the Homebound Families of Nazareth, Filipino-American and more!