In November 1947, the Most Reverend Charles F. Buddy, Bishop of San Diego assigned Reverend John M. Tahany to begin a new parish in what was then known as the Yucaipa Valley. Within weeks of his arrival, Fr. Tahany gathered nine families for Mass at the American Legion Hall on California Street. A small residence on Beech Street served as the first rectory, and the first Christmas Mass was celebrated at the Yucaipa Women’s Club.
The original 3.5 acre parish site was purchased in 1948 for $3,500. In less than five months, the current church building with a seating capacity of 250 was completed at a cost of $40,000. The Diocese of San Diego provided the $40,000 in the form of a loan. A generous gift from the Marren family and a grant from the Catholic Extension Society of Chicago repaid the loan to the Diocese and resulted in naming the parish after Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini. Mother Cabrini was canonized in 1947, the same year as the founding of the Yucaipa parish. She was North America’s first saint, and the Yucaipa parish was one of the first in the world to bear her name.
For twelve years, from 1993 – 2005, the community of St. Frances was served by Reverend Kenneth Jenkins as Pastor. In 2005 the parish began a new model of leadership, that of a Pastoral Coordinator and Priest Minister. Kirsten Thorstad was appointed as Pastoral Coordinator and Reverend Joseph Cornely, S.T as Priest Minister beginning July 2005. In July 2006, Reverend David Andel was appointed as Priest Minister. In July 2014, Fr. Santos Ortega was installed as the Pastor.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Church serves the entire Yucaipa Valley located between the San Bernardino Mountains to the North and the communities of Beaumont and Banning to the southeast. The parish serves more than 1,950 households in the communities of Yucaipa, Calimesa, Oak Glen, Cherry Valley, Mentone, Forest Falls, Mountain Home Village and Angelus Oaks.
Original Church dedicated on: October 17, 1948
Parish Center dedicated on: December 8, 1991
New Church dedicated on: October 18, 2008