Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the second smallest Catholic Church in the world, St. Francis by the Sea was built in 1933 from the rubble of the March 10th Long Beach earthquake. This was a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that killed 120 people and resulted in $50 million worth of damage. It lead to the Field Act that mandated earthquake resistant construction.
This 1,053 square foot church has only 42 seats and still features the stained glass and Spanish tile from its original construction. Its choir loft houses the National “Sick Call” Sets Museum that features items pertaining to the Catholicism’s Last Rites ritual. Some of the pieces date back to the 1880s. Despite the church’s small size, its a big local landmark in Laguna Beach, and should be made part of your next Laguna Beach vacation.
The church is served by Bishop Delvaux and Father Jack. Bishop Delvaux completed twenty years of Catholic education in the Los Angeles area before his ordination to the priesthood by Cardinal Timothy Manning on May 25, 1974. He earned his M.Div. degree at St. John Seminary in Camarillo, California. Father Jack was born in Lynwood, California. While growing up, his family belonged to St. Rose of Lima Church in Maywood. He began his preparation for the priesthood by entering the minor seminary of the Congregation of the Mission, the community founded by St. Vincent de Paul. By April of 1980, he had taken vows and been ordained deacon by Bishop Daniel Kucera, Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliett, Illinois.
St. Francis by the Sea is located at 430 Park Ave, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. Their phone number is (949) 426-2561. If you want to make Sunday Mass part of your next Laguna Beach vacation, show up at 9:30 AM.