43. All Hallows Catholic Church, La Jolla, CA


March 11, 2017, Church #43 in the San Diego Diocese Challenge

I attended a Saturday evening mass, which seemed to be the perfect time to go to this church – it had an amazing view at Sunset.  It sits on top of a hill on La Jolla Scenic Drive.  The previous week my Boston training group did a 20+ mile run that included running up Mount Soledad.  Our run took us right by this church, and when I drove up the hill to mass, I got a new appreciation for what a tough, long hill that is!

I am hoping to continue my challenge before fall semester starts.  At least when I started this challenge, I didn’t give myself a deadline!


42. Our Mother of Perpetual Help Syriac Catholic Church, El Cajon, CA


March 5, 2017, Church #42 in the San Diego Diocese Challenge

Although I am writing this four months after attending mass at Our Mother of Perpetual Help, this church stood out as being very different from the others.  The church bulletin is written in English and Arabic, and the mass was in Aramaic.  (Needless to say I understood nothing).  I would have liked to learn more about the church history and background of the parishoners, but there was not much information on the website or the bulletin. Just as when I went to St. Michael’s, a Chaldean Catholic church, I needed someone to explain things to me.  In the meantime, it was a great cultural experience to observe and experience mass in a different way.

Our Mother of Perpetual Helpthumb_IMG_0207_1024


41. Corpus Christi, Bonita, CA

2017-02-05 12.05.28February 5, 2017, Church #41 in the San Diego Diocese Challenge

The second semester of the PhD program at USD really wore me out, and I officially put my challenge to go to mass at every Catholic church in the San Diego Diocese on hold.  Before I made that decision, I went to mass at several churches and didn’t get a chance to write about them.  Now that I am between semesters and am enjoying a summer day in northern Maine, I can write about churches I visited last spring…if only I remembered more about them!

Corpus Christ is in Bonita, which is in the southern part of San Diego County.  It is a pretty part of the South Bay with equestrian trails, walking and running trails, and golf.  I have run in several cross country races there with some tough hills. Corpus Christi is a beautiful, large church, very open and modern.

To learn more about the church, click on the link below.

Corpus Christi

40. Most Precious Blood, Chula Vista, CA

January 29, 2017, Church #40 of the San Diego Diocese Challenge.  Check out the church’s website at: Most Precious Blood Church

It is now May, and keeping up with grad school put me behind with continuing with my challenge to go to mass at all the churches in the San Diego Diocese.  I also never finished writing about the churches I visited earlier in the year, but at least I finished the semester at school!  Here are some photos from a church I visited in January.



39. Christ the King, Logan Heights

January 15, 2017, Church #39 in the San Diego Diocese Challenge. Check out the church’s website at: Christ the King


My friend, Chris, went to this mass with me, and although it was 100% in Spanish and we only understood parts of it, we were both very impressed with the mass and the parish community.  The church was packed with families.  At the beginning of the mass, the Pastor asked if there were any special intentions for the mass, and quite a few people stood up with their prayer requests.  It was great to see such active participation.  The music was provided by a small choir of young people, and although I couldn’t understand everything that the Priest was saying, I could tell that he was very engaging.

I was not able to find out much about the church from the website, since it is apparently under construction. Christ the King was founded in 1938 and is in the Logan Heights area of San Diego, a diverse, central San Diego community.


Of the three weekend masses, the only one in English is the Gospel mass at 8:30 am on Sundays. I am looking forward to going to it this coming weekend!

38. Our Lady of Refuge Church, Pacific Beach

December 4, 2016, Church #38 of the San Diego Diocese Challenge.  I was surprised that this small church was in Pacific Beach, since there are two other Catholic churches very close to it (St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Brigid’s).  Our Lady of Refuge is a small, quaint church in a residential neighborhood. Masses are in English and Spanish, and the bulletin announcements are in both languages.

Pacific Beach is a community in San Diego that is south of La Jolla and north of Mission Beach. It is a fun, busy part of town, with restaurants, bars, shops, and the beach.

Pacific Beach information

I ended the year attending mass at only 38 of the 99 churches in the San Diego Diocese. I knew that I couldn’t get to all of them in one year, and I did go to mass at churches not on my list, but it felt as if I should have made it to more than 38 during that time.  For 2017, I think I will focus on the remaining churches that are within a ~30 minute drive, rather than driving hours out of town to get to all of them.  I made up the rules, so I can change them!

Happy New Year!


37. St. Peter’s Chaldean Cathedral, El Cajon, CA


November 27, 2016, Church #37 in the San Diego Diocese Challenge. Mass at St. Peter’s Chaldean Church was, by far, the most memorable and unique experience to date in my challenge to attend mass at every church in the Diocese.

I arrived barely on time for Sunday evening mass right after a heavy downpour.  The scenery of the the church surrounded by mountains on a stormy evening was impressive. The church was so crowded that even the foyer was full of people.  I decided to stand against the wall inside, only to realize by the look on some of the kids’ faces that it looked like I was trying to cut the confession line.  Oops.  I slunk back to the foyer and tried not to call attention to myself , not knowing how things worked there. The mass was in English and Aramaic, and the order of the mass was very different.  I am not sure if it was that they didn’t follow the liturgical changes from 2011 or something else altogether.  Just like when I was completely lost at Polish mass, I wished I had someone there who could translate or  help guide me.  Despite being more than a bit lost, I found the mass to be beautiful.  img_1952

According to the East County magazine (July, 2016), ~40,000 Chaldeans live in El Cajon, (east of San Diego). and according to Chaldean News (Jan, 2013), San Diego has the second largest population of Chaldeans in the US after Detroit. Chaldeans are Christians from Iraq, and I knew that the population of Christians in Iraq has been declining rapidly due to persecution and displacement, but I learned that the Christian population in Iraq has dropped from 1.5 million to less than 300,000.

East County Magazine story

I searched for a bulletin so I could read more about the church, but I didn’t find one, so I left, feeling a bit confused and uneducated.  I would like to go back to St. Peter’s and learn more about the Chaldean community.


36. Our Lady of Grace, El Cajon, CA

img_1902November 20, 2016, Church #36 in the San Diego Diocese Challenge.  Between finishing the semester of graduate school, craziness at work, and holiday plans, I got behind in writing about the last couple of churches I visited and am now catching up.  By the end of the year I will have attended mass at 38 of the 99 Catholic churches in San Diego; I thought that I would have gotten farther in my challenge than that, but I didn’t anticipate how challenging it would be to juggle it all.

Our Lady of Grace in El Cajon is impressive.  It is a large  church, and as you can see in the photo, everything seems to be made of wood. Although attendance looks sparse in the photo, I took it early.  The church was pretty full when mass started. It seems like a very active parish and a great place for families: Our Lady of Grace

El Cajon is a city east of San Diego and according to the website, it is  the 5th largest city in San Diego County.  I normally stay within a 5-10 mile radius of where I live, but as I continue with this challenge, I will be going farther and farther out in the county.  I enjoyed mass at Our Lady of Grace.  To learn more about El Cajon see the Discover El Cajon website.


35. Guardian Angels, Santee, CA

November 13, 2016, Church #35 in the San Diego Diocese Challenge

I arrived at Guardian Angels church just in time to see a gorgeous, colorful sunset.  The church sits on a hill in a residential community in Santee. Santee is in east San Diego, and it is one of many communities that I would not have been to, if it wasn’t for this challenge. The priest had a lovely Irish accent, and the congregation was friendly and welcoming. I’m enjoying exploring all the different churches, and although I am only one third of the way through, I am starting to miss the continuity of attending a home church.

Guardian Angels Catholic Church

34. Santa Sophia, Spring Valley, CA

November 6, 2016, Church #34 in the San Diego Diocese Challenge

I am behind in writing about the past couple of churches I have visited, but I am getting caught up today and haven’t given up on my challenge of attending mass at every Catholic church in the San Diego Diocese. Santa Sophia is in an area called Casa de Oro in Spring Valley. I did not realize before reading about the church history that Casa de Oro was once part of the Mission San Diego de Alcala. Santa Sophia parish was founded in 1956.  The church’s central crucifix (12 feet high) is apparently the largest indoor crucifix in the United States. You can see it in the second photo.  The church’s website has everything you need to know about the church and all its activities!

Santa Sophia