Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange

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This article is about the present-day Diocese of Orange in California. For the defunct Diocese of Orange in France, see Ancient Diocese of Orange.
Diocese of Orange in California
Dioecesis Arausicanae in California
Giáo phận Quận Cam
Coat of Arms of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange (new).svg
The diocesan coats of arms of the Diocese of Orange
Country United States
Territory Orange County
Ecclesiastical province Los Angeles
Metropolitan Orange, California
- Catholics

1,170,480 [1] (38.8%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established March 24, 1976[1]
Cathedral Cathedral of the Holy Family 1976–2016
Christ Cathedral (formerly known as the Crystal Cathedral) 2016–present
Patron saint Our Lady of Guadalupe
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Kevin Vann
Metropolitan Archbishop José Gómez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Emeritus Bishops Tod David Brown
Diocese of Orange map.png

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange (Latin: Dioecesis Arausicanae in California; Spanish: Diócesis de Orange; Vietnamese: Giáo phận Quận Cam) is a particular church of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church whose territory comprises the whole of Orange County, California, in the United States. It may also be referred to as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in California to avoid confusion with the historical Diocese of Orange, France, 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 Father Junipero 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 Mexico when the latter gained independence from Spain in 1821. From the mission the missionary priests 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 see located 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 Utah, Arizona, 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 Church in 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.[2] Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Fort Worth was named by the Holy See as Brown's successor.

Old coat of arms of the Diocese, changed in 2012

Sex abuse settlement[edit]

On January 3, 2005, Bishop Tod Brown apologized to 87 alleged victims of sexual abuse and announced a settlement of $100 million following two years of mediation.


Main article: Crystal Cathedral
Christ Cathedral

In 2001, Bishop Tod Brown first announced plans to build a new cathedral to succeed the Cathedral of the Holy Family. However, soon after, the Catholic 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.[3] 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.[3] 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 the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.[4]

In October 2010, Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the Protestant congregation that owned and worshiped in the eponymous Crystal Cathedral building in Garden Grove, filed for bankruptcy protection.[5] 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.[6]

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;[7] the sale was finalized on February 3, 2012.[8][9] At that time, the diocese ended all efforts at building a cathedral on the Santa Ana site and removed "Cathedral" from Christ Our Savior Parish's name, repurposing it as a diocesan parish church. On June 9, 2012, it was announced that the Crystal Cathedral is to be known as "Christ Cathedral" when it becomes the diocese's new cathedral.[10] The building's new name was designated by the Holy See, while suggestions were also taken from the diocese and its members.[11] 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."[12]

In June 2013 the diocese officially transferred St. Callistus Parish to the Crystal Cathedral campus, and the parish began holding Masses on the campus. At the same time Crystal Cathedral Ministries moved to St. Callistus' former facility, located one mile from the Crystal Cathedral, which the diocese offered to lease to Crystal Cathedral Ministries as a term of the sale of the Crystal Cathedral campus. St. Callistus' parish school was transferred to the former Crystal Cathedral Academy facility and renamed Christ Cathedral Academy in September 2013. St. Callistus currently holds Masses in the Crystal Cathedral arboretum while the main church is closed for renovation; the diocese anticipates the renovation will be complete in 2016, at which time St. Callistus parish and the church building will be formally dedicated as Christ Cathedral.

List of bishops[edit]

The lists of ordinaries of the diocese and their years of service:


  1. William Robert Johnson (1976–1986)
  2. Norman McFarland (1986–1998)
  3. Tod David Brown (1998–2012)
  4. Kevin Vann (2012–present)





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[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Diocese of Orange in California". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Santa Cruz, Nicole (18 December 2011). "Crystal Cathedral sale to diocese a milestone; some see a miracle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Gibson, David (6 January 2012). "Some see Crystal Cathedral's purchase by Catholic diocese as calculated risk". Baptist Standard. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Wahba, Phil (October 18, 2010). "Televangelist Schuller's megachurch files for Ch 11". Reuters. 
  6. ^ "Southern California diocese considers buying Crystal Cathedral". Catholic News Agency. 
  7. ^ Bharath, Deepa (17 November 2011). "Catholic Diocese of O.C. will buy Crystal Cathedral". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Campbell, Ronald (February 4, 2012). "Crystal Cathedral is sold". The Orange County Register. p. Local 1. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Diocese of Orange Formally Acquires Crystal Cathedral and Adjacent Campus". Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange Press Release. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Landmark Crystal Cathedral gets a new name -- Christ Cathedral". 9 June 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "L.A. Now". Los Angeles Times. 3 February 2012. 
  12. ^ California Catholic Daily: "“A true miracle!” Law firm suggests divine intervention in Orange diocese's acquisition of Crystal Cathedral" November 30, 2011

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°48′11″N 117°49′55″W / 33.8031°N 117.8320°W / 33.8031; -117.8320