Churches of St. Matthew Parish: From left, the first church, at Third and Ellsworth avenues, built in 1863; second church, at the same location (1957); current church, at Ninth Avenue and El Camino Real (1966). (Photos courtesy St. Matthew Parish)
Archbishop to join St. Matthew community in anniversary celebration
September 10th, 2013
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone will join the parishioners of St. Matthew Parish, San Mateo, on Sept. 29 in a special liturgy celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the parish. The liturgy will kick off a week of sesquicentennial celebrations, including an old-fashioned picnic at San Mateo’s Central Park and a dinner/dance in the St. Matthew School auditorium.
In 1863, Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany, the first archbishop of San Francisco, sent Father Denis Dempsey to San Mateo with the duty of establishing the first parish in San Mateo County. Mass was held at the first formal St. Matthew structure, a little wooden-steeple church. In 1900, to accommodate a growing congregation, a larger and more fire-resistant brick church was built. Earthquake safety issues forced St. Matthew in 1966 to erect its third and current church structure.
Until 1941 St. Matthew was the only Catholic parish in the city of San Mateo. Starting in that year and ending in 1956, the original geographical territory of the parish was carved into three additional parishes to serve the many Catholic families of San Mateo: St. Gregory Parish founded in 1941; St. Timothy Parish founded in 1954; and St. Bartholomew Parish founded in 1955.
St. Matthew continues today to be a vibrant center of Catholic life in San Mateo. The parish serves more than 2,400 families from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. In addition to the significant ministry of Catholic education performed through its school, the parish has over 40 other ministries, organizations and clubs. The parish’s 10th and current pastor, Father Anthony McGuire, leads a team of four clergy and 11 lay staff members. Nine Masses are offered every Saturday and Sunday in a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin, reflective of St. Matthew’s multicultural faith community.
For more information on the sesquicentennial celebrations, visit www.stmatthew-parish.org/150th/index.php.
From September 13, 2013 issue of Catholic San Francisco.