History of the Parish
St. Vincent Ferrer was a fourteenth-century Spanish priest, who was educated at the Dominican school in Barcelona, and became a Domincan priest. Because of his mastery of many varied dialects in Western Europe, he was said to have the Gift of Tongues. St. Vincent Ferrer converted thousands of people through his dynamic preaching. He is shown (left) holding a long neck trumpet; which is usually seen in the hands of angels and symbolizes their eternal praise to God. His special mission was to preach about death. Hence he became known as the "Angel of Judgment."
St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church was consecrated and dedicated to St. Vincent Ferrer on August 19,1855 by Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P. and Father Francis Sadoc Vilarrasa, O.P. of the Dominican Order and became the first Catholic church in the city of Vallejo, California. The wooden building (right) was located on the corner of Capitol and Marin Streets, on land donated by General Vallejo's son-in-law, General John Frisbie.
Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P.
Fr. Francis Sadoc Vilarrasa, O.P.
Rev. John Louis Daniel, O.P.
(left) became the first resident pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Church in 1865. One of his acts as the new pastor was to call a general meeting of the parishioners for "the purpose of considering the propriety and necessity of enlargening the present church, and the wisdom and prudence of purchasing the adjoining lot or lots...."
His plans of acquiring the lots around the original church site were not successful. After more meetings with his congregation and the site selection committee, the group approved the current site of the church on top of the hill overlooking the Valley, the Bay, and the Navy Yard. The chairman of the selection committee, Purser Doran of Mare Island, recommended the hill site because he believed "that Catholic churches should everywhere be, when circumstances permit, the most elevated and conspicuous edifices as the repositories here on earth of those divine truths and mysteries...."
In April of 1867, the excavation and construction of the current church began.
On Sunday, August 18, 1867, the cornerstone was laid. Presiding over the ceremonies was Vicar General of the diocese, Very Rev. J. Croke. During his sermon he read from St. Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 16, verses 13-20, which include the words "and on this rock I will build my Church."
On June 28, 1868, St. Vincent Ferrer Church was completed and was dedicated by Archbishop Alemany.
New and Current Church
An 1868 picture of old church with white cross (right) and new church (left)
Interior of church in early years