seal of the state of CaliforniaThe 31st state to be admitted to the Union, 9 September 1850, which date is still a legal holiday in California, under the name of “Admission Day”. In Spanish colonial times California included also the peninsula of Lower California; this never was a part of the United States, and now belongs to Mexico. As the earliest missionaries came by way of Mexico, they first evangelized Lower California, Father Juan Salvatierra, S.J., founding the mission of Loreto on San Dionisio Bay, 19 October 1697, the first of a chain of 18 Jesuit missions in Lower California. The first mission within the limits of the present State of California was founded at San Diego, 16 July 1769, by the Franciscan Father Junipero Serra, who also founded eight other missions. The Franciscans not only Christianized the Indians, but also civilized them and taught them useful trades; many non-Catholic writers, e.g., C. F. Lummis and A. Forbes, have praised the wisdom and humanity of the Franciscan system of treating the aborigines.

The early Spanish missionaries left their mark on Californian place-names, including

  • Bethany
  • Camp Angelus
  • Carmel
  • Concepción
  • Cupertino
  • Guadalupe
  • Los Angeles (The Angels)
  • Sacramento
  • San Andreas
  • San Anselmo
  • San Ardo
  • San Benito
  • San Bernardino
  • San Bruno
  • San Carlos
  • San Clemente
  • San Diego
  • San Dimas
  • San Fernando
  • San Francisco
  • San Gabriel
  • San Geronimo
  • San Gregorio
  • San Jacinto
  • San Joaquin
  • San Jose
  • San Juan Bautista
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • San Leandro
  • San Lorenzo
  • San Lucas
  • San Luis Obispo
  • San Luis Rey
  • San Marcos
  • San Marino
  • San Martin
  • San Mateo
  • San Miguel
  • San Onofre
  • San Pablo
  • San Pedro
  • San Quentin
  • San Rafael
  • San Ramon
  • San Simeon
  • San Ysidro
  • Santa Ana
  • Santa Anita
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Cruz (Holy Cross)
  • Santa Fe (Holy Faith)
  • Santa Margarita
  • Santa Maria
  • Santa Monica
  • Santa Paula
  • Santa Rosa
  • Santa Susana
  • Santa Ynez
  • Santa Ysabel
  • Trinidad

Many of the above names, and several similar ones, occur also in California as names of counties, and of natural features such as islands, mountains, bays, rivers, etc.

California is divided ecclesiastically into the following archdioceses,

and the following dioceses,

see also

MLA Citation

  • “California“. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 October 2018. Web. 14 June 2021. <>