ABOUT 2018-10-03T17:13:50+00:00

A Brief History of St. John the Evangelist Church

University Heights used to be part of St. Joseph’s Parish (Cathedral), which had been founded in 1874 with Fr. Anton Ubach as pastor. In 1912, a group of local ladies appealed to Fr.
Nunan, existing pastor of St. Joseph’s, to establish a new parish here. He encouraged them, but his successor, Fr. Heffernan, wanted them to remain in his jurisdiction. The Catholic ladies group finally appealed to the new Archbishop of Los Angeles and San Diego, the Most Rev. John J. Cantwell, and he agreed, and in late 1913 appointed Fr. Peter McNellis as Pastor of the new parish in University Heights.

In 1914 great efforts were made by pastor and people to buy property and build a church. They purchased the property at Lincoln and Normal. Fr. Loughlin Golden succeeded Fr. McNellis as pastor and assisted by Fr. McCormick, erected our first church building in honor of St. John the Evangelist in 1915. This served as the parish center of worship until the present church at Polk and Normal was dedicated by Bishop Buddy on May 30, 1952.

For Us As A Catholic Church…

The church as an institution is with the people, with all people. As a diocese we want to be with everyone. We want to send a message of love, compassion, listening and being with all the people.




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St. John the Evangelist has been around for over one-hundred years. We are located in Hillcrest in San Diego.

What a remarkable parish. Loving and welcoming, just a Christ intended.


The evening masses on Sunday were much appreciated. I love this church, not because it’s closest to my residence, but because I feel the love inside.


The church where you can feel His presence. Since I migrated to the US I have been attending my Sunday and Holiday masses here, where I feel God’s graces and guidance.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.