Discover the Diocese of Orange

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange is a particular church of the Latin Rite of theCatholic Church whose territory comprises the whole of Orange CountyCalifornia, in theUnited States. It may also be referred to as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in California to avoid confusion with the historical Diocese of OrangeFrance, which was dissolved in 1801.

Orange is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, from whose territory it was erected in 1976. The diocesan cathedral is the Cathedral of the Holy Family in the City of Orange, and its Bishop Kevin Vann, officially installed on December 10, 2012. Diocesan offices are situated at Marywood Pastoral Center in Orange.

In addition to its 56 parish churches, the diocese oversees 44 schools, three general hospitals, plus one disabled and five ethnic ministry centers. It also sponsors a variety of programs and activities in conjunction with other local organizations.

The diocesan patroness is Our Lady of Guadalupe.


The Catholic Church presence in present-day Orange County dates to the 1776 establishment of Mission San Juan Capistrano, a Spanish mission founded by FatherJunipero Serra and the Franciscan order. At the time the region was part of the Las Californias province of New Spain. In 1804 present-day Orange County became part of Alta California when Las Californias was split in two; Alta California then became part of Mexicowhen the latter gained independence from Spain in 1821. From the mission the missionarypriests set out to convert the native population to Catholicism; over 4,000 people were converted between 1776 and 1847.

In 1840, the Holy See erected the Diocese of the Two Californias to recognize the growth of the provinces of Alta California and Baja California. This diocese – with its episcopal seelocated in Monterey – included all Mexican territory west of the Colorado River and the Gulf of California (the modern U.S. states of California and Nevada, and parts of UtahArizona, and Colorado, and the Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur).

In 1848 Alta California was ceded to the United States after the Mexican-American War, and the Mexican government objected to an American bishop having jurisdiction over parishes in Mexican Baja California. The Holy See split the diocese into American and Mexican sections, and the American section was renamed the Diocese of Monterey. In 1859 the diocese became known as the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles to recognize the growth of the city of Los Angeles; the see was transferred to Los Angeles in 1876. In 1922 the diocese split again, and Orange County became part of the newly erected Diocese of Los Angeles-San Diego, which became the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1936.

Orange County remained part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles until March 24, 1976, when Pope Paul VI established the Diocese of Orange. Los Angeles auxiliary bishop William Johnson was appointed as the first Bishop of Orange, and the existing Holy Family Churchin Orange was designated as the cathedral for the new diocese. The diocese has grown rapidly as the local population has swelled with Catholic immigrants from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Latin America, and in 2010 claimed a Catholic population of over 1.2 million.

At the mandatory retirement age, Bishop Tod Brown retired on September 21, 2012. Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Fort Worthwas named by the Holy See as Brown's successor.


In 2001, Bishop Tod Brown first announced plans to build a new cathedral to succeed the Cathedral of the Holy Family. However, soon after, theCatholic Church sexual abuse scandal broke out in the diocese, and Brown deemed it "inappropriate" to raise funds for a new cathedral in light of the scandal. In 2005, the diocese purchased land in south Santa Ana and established Christ Our Savior Cathedral Parish, with the intention of someday building a cathedral on the property. The cost of building a cathedral on the Santa Ana site was estimated to be as high as $200 million, which prompted comparisons to the cost of building theCathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

In October 2010, Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the Protestant congregation that owned and worshiped in the eponymous Crystal Cathedralbuilding in Garden Grove, filed for bankruptcy protection. Several months later, the diocese announced that it was "potentially interested" in buying the building and converting it into a diocesan cathedral as a potential cost and time saving alternative over building a new cathedral on the Santa Ana site.

On November 17, 2011, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge in Santa Ana approved the sale of the Crystal Cathedral building and adjacent campus to the diocese for $57.5 million; the sale was finalized on February 3, 2012. On June 9, 2012, it was announced that the building is to be known as "Christ Cathedral" when it becomes the diocese's new cathedral. The building's new name was designated by the Holy See, while suggestions were also taken from the diocese and its members. Bishop Brown has stated that the diocese intends to hire an architect to renovate the facility "so it will be suitable for a Catholic place of worship", but has "no intention to change the exterior of the building."

List of bishops






The diocese oversees 32 parochial elementary schools and 3 high schools; additionally, 3 independent Catholic elementary schools and 4 independent Catholic high schools (i.e., run by a religious order) are located in the diocese.

High schools






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