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Santee parish celebrating 60th anniversary

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SANTEE — Guardian Angels Parish in Santee will mark its 60th anniversary with a series of events.

A gala will be held from 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday, June 18, in the school theater at Cathedral Catholic High School. Tickets can be purchased at guardianangelssantee.org. Proceeds will benefit the Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall building fund; the hall will serve as a meeting space for high school youth and young adults of the community, offering a safe space to gather, worship, do homework, and have fun.

A picnic will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, July 10, at Santee Lakes (Lake 5, Area U). The park entry fee is $6.

On Sunday, Oct. 2, the parish’s patronal feast day, Masses will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., with a reception following at 11 a.m. The reception will include a ministry fair and “Taste of Guardian Angels,” with each ministry bringing a food sample to share with attendees.

The annual fall festival, which is anniversary-themed this year, will be held on Friday, Oct. 7 (5 to 10 p.m.); Saturday, Oct. 8 (noon to 10 p.m.); and Sunday, Oct. 9 (noon to 4 p.m.).

Before Guardian Angels Parish was established, Santee Catholics had to go to Lakeside or Allied Gardens for Mass. Mass in Santee was first held in a Quonset hut on Cuyamaca Street by a visiting priest from St. Therese Parish in Allied Gardens.

In 1959, Father Earl Smith was assigned by Bishop Charles Buddy to start a parish in Santee. Sunday Masses were celebrated in a laundromat on Mission Gorge Road, when the business was closed.

In 1960, the parish moved to a private home, where a covered patio was constructed that could accommodate 250 people. The home also served as the rectory and classrooms. For the next three years, Mass and all the sacraments were celebrated there.

In 1961, Father Smith received permission to build a church in Santee and named it Guardian Angels. On April 10, 1962, he was officially appointed pastor and Guardian Angels Parish was established.

Construction of the church, social hall and rectory began on April 22, 1963. On Oct. 28, 1963, the first Masses were held in the church. Bishop Francis Furey dedicated the church, rectory and classrooms on April 14, 1964.

The Cunnane Parish Center was built in 1994 and dedicated on Sept. 25, 1994, by Bishop Robert Brom. The metal building previously used as classrooms and meeting rooms was moved to its present location and, in 1998, opened as Guardian Angels Preschool.

Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall is currently under construction and expected to open in Summer 2022.

For more information, visit guardianangelssantee.org or call (619) 448-1213.

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