A SHORT HISTORY OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE
This Roman Catholic Church, St. Mary Magdalene, named after an early female disciple of Jesus, is unique in that it was also founded by a woman. In 1989 Bishop Philip Straling asked Sister Theresa Harpin, C.S.J. to gather the new community and begin the parish. Our parish covers both sides of Interstate 15 south from Corona to the border of Lake Elsinore. It extends to the Orange County line on the west and to Lake Matthews on the east. In the beginning, we did not have a permanent worship site. A generous donation of land by Leo and Lois Paul enabled us to acquire a permanent home on which a modular building was placed and remodeled to form our worship, meeting and administrative center. The building was dedicated in 1994.
From a handful of people the parish has grown to over 1,500 families. From the beginning, the parish has been multicultural and bilingual, with services in both English and Spanish. There is a special focus on hospitality and community building activities such as St. Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day Picnic in July, the International Fall Festival in October, Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day in December. The congregation is very active, and our members take responsibility for a variety of ministries: teaching, praying, and serving.
In June 1995, Sister Theresa Harpin departed for a well-earned sabbatical, and Sister Maureen Chicoine, R.S.C.J. was appointed by Bishop Straling as the new Pastoral Coordinator. July 1, 2004, Rev. Charles E. Miller became our first pastor. And as of July 1, 2009, St. Mary Magdalene parish was given to the pastoral care of the priests from the Congregation of the Mother Coredemptrix (CMC). Rev. Vincent Au, C.M.C was appointed by Bishop Gerald Barnes as the new Pastor.
Because of the expenses of setting up the infrastructure and the cost of doing ministry, we have struggled with a large debt. In December of 2000 our debt was forgiven by the Diocese! This blessing has allowed us to focus immediately on a new horizon. Our goal is to build a new Sanctuary and a new Parish Center for the community and its needs.
Besides the worship area, donated by the Lawrence Welk Family, we are blessed with other special gifts. The original oil painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe was painted and given to us by the painter himself, Alphonso Jaramillo. Recently, a beautiful full-sized replica of Michael Angelo’s Pieta was given to us by the Colapinto Family. Bishop Gerald Barnes presided over the dedication service on December 14, 2011. Praise and thanksgiving be to God.