History

Our History

St. Augustine Parish began in July 1970. It was formed of Catholics from Daly City, South San Francisco, San Bruno, and Pacifica. Under the leadership of Fr. Paul E. Duggan, St. Augustine Parish was formally established on December that same year.

During the time when the church was in construction, a 7:15pm Saturday evening mass was held at the Parish Center (a commercial store next to the Walgreens in Westborough Square). As the congregation grew, the masses were moved to Westborough Jr. High School’s gymnasium. There were a total of seven weekend masses: 4pm and 5:15pm on Saturdays; 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, and 12pm on Sundays.

The Parish Center was also used as a meeting place for planning and organizing the Parish Building Program, created under the guidance of Fr. Paul E. Duggan and General Chairman Sherman Mattisoa, with assistance from Msgr. John J. Murphy, Fr. Joseph McHugh, C.S.Sp., and seminarians John Wester and Jerry Leach.

In order to build the much-needed church, money was needed. It was decided that the needed funds would be acquired though pledges, to be paid over a three-year period. To secure the pledges, it was necessary to create a competent and dedicated organization to handle the task of producing and finalizing the pledges. Parishioners began volunteering their time as Division Chairmen, Section Chairmen, Team Captain and Team Members. To institute the building program, all committee members and workers each made a pledge of their own.

Members of the clergy and parish committee worked diligently to plan and organize the fund raising program. They made efforts to publicize the fundraiser by introducing themselves to the surrounding residents, walking door-to-door to inform them of the new Catholic Church being built. The workers stressed the need to raise the required funds for the proposed church building. Many of the people contacted were pleased to hear that a new church was being built and graciously made pledges. Additionally, the clergy and parish committee called other church parishioners from designated areas, sending out letters via postal mail, collecting and securing pledges, and completing the paperwork, as well as many other tasks. At a time before cellular phones, computers, and the Internet, much of this was done through personal one-on-one conversations.

The building program was a parish-wide function. Every income bearer in the parish was asked to make a pledge, payable over a 36-month period. Response to the appeal for the pledges was overwhelming, and the fundraising program was a great success.

After five long years of working and waiting, the time had finally arrived for the beginning of construction on our parish church.

The blessing of the church site and the fundraising ceremony of the new Catholic Church of St. Augustine were held at 10:30 am on February 15.1975, with Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken officiating. Also in attendance were founding Pastor Fr. Paul E. Duggan, Msgr. Richard W. power and Msgr. John J. Murphy attending. Master of ceremonies was Fr. Daniel F. Walsh.

Official dedication of the new, multi-purpose church building took place on Sunday, December 14, 1975.

Ceremonies began at 12:15 pm with the blessing and dedications. Mass was concelebrated by archbishop McGucken with Fr. Duggan, two of this brothers, Fr/ Eugene F. Duggan (Pastor-St. Denis Church, Menlo Park) and Fr. William E. Duggan (Pastor – St. Michael Church, San Francisco), as well Fr. Joseph T. Pritchard (Pastor – St. Martin Church, San Jose). The homilist was Msgr. John J. Murphy, who had been with St. Augustine since the parish started. Master of Ceremonies was Fr. Walsh. Also in attendance were seminarians John Wester and Jerry Leach.

The three church combined choirs of St. Augustine (Children, Young Adult, and Adult of 175 members under the direction of Mr. Fred Seager sang at the special dedication Mass.

Following the ceremonies, a reception was held at University Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco.

There were approximately 2,300 families in the parish, and since there was no parish school, St. Augustine had a brand religious education program under the direction of Sister Josephine Leyne, D.M.J., who managed all levels of education from preschool through adult classes. There were approximately 50 preschoolers, 420 students from the primary grade classes, many of whom were preparing for First Holy Communion, and 130 young students who were preparing for Confirmation.

Fr. Duggan was the only full time priest permanently assigned to the new parish with regular help from the Jesuit priests. Deacon John Wester and other seminarians from St. Patrick’s Seminary also assisted with the masses and other duties of running the parish. Also helping with Masses, when availably, was Fr. James J. Devlin, a cousin of Fr. Duggan who had been working with Cambodian refugees in South Vietnam. On his return to California, Fr. Devlin offered Mass at St. Augustine’s on his first Sunday in the United States.

The celebration of the First Holy Communion at St. Augustine Church was held on April 30 and May 1, 1977, with Fr. Duggan and Fr. John P. Tarmin as celebrants.

As parishioners started to become active in the Church, organizations were formed. Some of the first were the Men’s Club, the Ladies’ Guild, the Italian Catholic Federation and the Teen Club. In the following years, more and more organizations were formed until the present time where there are now more than thirty parish ministries and organizations, six different parish choirs, and independent organizations that include St. Vincent de Paul and the Knights of Columbus.

With the church fully operational, the next task facing the parish was the need to raise funds for the completion of the parish. CCD was taught primarily in the homes of teachers. Social functions were living in a tract home several blocks away. It was apparent that there existed an urgent need for a parish hall and rectory. In May of 1979, Fr. Michael J. Keane (pastor) and Fr. Robert J. Gemmet (Associate Pastor) appealed to the parishioners for the required $484,000 that was needed to build a parish hall and rectory.

As a fundraising campaign, the St. Augustine’s Development Program was instituted with another pledge drive, Parishioners were asked to make pledges to be payable over a 36-month period.

The ground breaking for the proposed hall and rectory was on February 10, 1980.

On Sunday, March 22, 1981, at 3:00 pm, a Mass of dedication for our hall and rectory was held, with Fr. Keene and Fr. Neil Healy as celebrants.

Now with our fifth pastor, St. Augustine Church is focusing on coming together as one body.