The Catholic Church has a long history in the Capital City of California with the first church, St. Rose of Lima founded in 1850, and eventually superseded by the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in 1889. The Diocese of Sacramento spread outward from downtown along with the population and now extends north to the Oregon border. As such, many of the oldest churches are located within close proximity of the central core of Sacramento. Featured below are four churches founded in the early 20th century which are full of sacred beauty and interesting histories.
October 24, 1909 marked the beginning of the first Portuguese National Church in Sacramento, and the present church building was dedicated on February 2, 1913. The lovely mixed Mission-Romanesque-Gothic façade with twin spires sits diagonally on the corner of 12th and S streets approximately one-half mile from the State Capitol. Inside one can see beautiful statues and stained-glass windows, including those of Our Lady of Fatima and Saint Elizabeth (Isabel) of Portugal. The church building is generally locked at times other than when Masses are held. Weekday Masses are scheduled at 7 a.m. each day; and weekend Masses are held on Saturday evening and twice on Sunday including a service in Portuguese.
The history of St. Rose of Lima parish started in downtown Sacramento as the first Catholic Church in the city. The current structure on Franklin Boulevard in South Sacramento was built in 1932 to serve the growing Catholic population. The mixed architectural style building of Venetian Gothic and Romanesque features is made of dark-red brick with contrasting white ornamentation. The church sits on a peaceful compound with old-growth trees along with an elementary school, a rectory and large Kavanaugh Center. Inside, the church resembles a California Mission with a simple rectangular nave and open-raftered ceiling; and one will be struck by the brilliant red and blue stained-glass windows on the back wall of the sanctuary. Come early to attend one of the popular weekend Masses.
The 1916 Romanesque Revivalist structure has stood witness to many changes along Broadway Street in its century-plus history. The building is an oasis shaded by tall white-barked sycamores and spectacular Mexican Fan Palm trees and Canary Island Date Palms. The unique robins-egg-blue and white colors of the exterior walls are highlighted by a brick entry portal with a rounded archway bearing the inscription, “Immaculate Conception”. Inside one will find a mix of old and new with historic statues of angels overlooking the nave and a more modern sanctuary. There are seven magnificent richly colored stained-glass windows filtering light into the church – of special significance are two windows of The Immaculate Conception.
Just across the river from the Capital City in a picturesque setting is a large neo-Gothic structure that serves a parish that was part of the original Catholic Parish for the community. Two churches were founded in 1915, in the cities of Broderick and Bryte, which were eventually consolidated due to the growth of the population and the building of the current Holy Cross Church in 1960. Fortress-like brick walls of pale-yellow are topped with a red terracotta roof and tall bell-tower with a Celtic-style cross that oversees the re-purposed elementary school buildings. Inside the large church are three beautiful and sacred images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a spectacular stained-glass window of Christ the King on the façade.