Excerpt from "Saint Stephen Parish Celebrates Fifty Years"
Saint Stephen has been a beacon of Roman Catholic spirituality, a second home, an extension of the family, a place where lifelong friendships have formed, an excellent school offering values-based education, a warm and friendly community, a new beginning for some and a final resting place for others.
Archbishop John J. Mitty appointed our first pastor, Rev. Richard W. Power, in August 1950 when our parish was formed. Our first mass was celebrated in the basement of our temporary rectory at 475 Eucalyptus Drive. Fourteen parishioners received communion at that mass and subsequent Sundays were standing room only.
Helen Tinny, matriarch of one of our first families, counted 192 school-age children in our first census who needed a place to learn. Father Power was called to active duty and Rev. Joseph A. Donworth was appointed administration in May 1951 and pastor in June 1952 serving through 1972.
Key years in Saint Stephen history:
1952~School opens with 164 student in Grades 1-5
1953~New Church at 473 Eucalyptus opens on Easter Sunday
1957~New Convent opens on school grounds
1964~New Church at 601 Eucalyptus dedicated by Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken. Former church converted into "Donworth Hall"
1972~Father Joseph R. O'Reilly appointed as third pastor
1979~Rev. Mr. Gary West ordained as permanent deacon
1986~After hours day care program began
1987~Father William Knapp appointed as fourth pastor
1992~Father Mario Farana appointed as fifth pastor. Donworth Hall converted to multipurpose center
1993~Father John Wester appointed as sixth pastor. Father Sean Corcoran serves as administrator pro temporare
1997~Father Joseph Walsh appointed as seventh pastor
1998~Former convent converted into "O'Reilly Parish Center"
2000~New school wing opens
2006~Campaign for new Parish Center to replace "Donworth Hall" begins
2008~Demolition of Donworth Hall & Construction of new gym/hall begins
2009~St. Stephen Parish Center opens and dedicated by Bishop William Justice
2010~Father Paul F. Warren appointed as eighth pastor
2016~Father Tony P. LaTorre appointed as ninth pastor
2021~Father Michael Liliedahl appointed as tenth pastor
Father O'Reilly once commented that "no matter where he went in San Francisco, there was always someone from St. Stephen involved." In other words, our parish's good works and community service extends far beyond its boundaries.
St. Stephen Parish has much to recall and many reasons to rejoice but most importantly, it has a very promising future.