Monsignor John Siebert of St. Mary’s parish had purchased property on the east side of Fullerton. Early in 1965, he opened the church, known as St. Mary’s Annex, at Acacia Street and Melody Lane. The parish was dedicated to St. Juliana Falconieri in August of 1965. The school opened that same month, staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, California with Sr. Mary Louise as the first principal. The first pastor was Monsignor Terence O’Brien. The rectory and offices were in a residence on Acacia. A new rectory was built in 1982.
The Passionist community from Sierra Madre Retreat Center provided Mass supply help from November 1965-1982. Fr. Robert Vidal became administrator of the parish in 1981 and was installed as pastor in July of 1982. Fr. Vidal was assisted by a number of diocesan pastoral associates. Fr. David Kondik, O.S.M. from Servite High School also celebrated masses. The parish had more than doubled in size since 1970. The Sisters of St. Joseph withdrew from the school in 1987. As the school enrollment increased, able lay staff and leadership have provided a solid foundation for educational excellence. Mr. Manuel Gonzales joined the St. Juliana School in 2011, after Mrs. Mary Santoni, a longtime principal retired. To assist in ministry, parishioners Jay Milam and Bill Schlater were ordained as deacons in May 1990, Gerhard Stadel was ordained in 2003 and Chuck Doidge who joined us in May 2012.
When Bishop Norman McFarland was looking for a pastor to succeed Fr Vidal in 1993, he offered the parish to the Order of Friar Servants of Mary. The Servites were already administering the Servite high school in Anaheim and staffing St. Philip Benizi Parish in Fullerton. Since the parish was named after a Servite saint, it was obvious to extend the invitation to the community. Fr. Jude Herlihy, O.S.M. became pastor in 1993. He was a very popular pastor as he attempted to know everyone by name, supported the growth of the school, made late hour sick-call and hospital visits, and planned the expansion of facilities. He formed the Pastoral Council, Small Faith Communities, and the Stewardship and Facilities groups. Through his years of leadership he was ably assisted by Servite pastoral associates. One of these, Fr. Luke Stano, O.S.M. succeded Fr. Jude as pastor on July 1, 2006. Fr. Jude remained in the parish after celebrating his Fiftieth anniversary of priesthood in 2006. He died suddenly on March 6, 2007. He was buried from the parish on March 12th with Bishop Tod Brown, many diocesan priests, Servites, and an overflow congregation in attendance.
A variety of parish organizations have existed since the early days. Groups change names and membership rosters, yet all have had the same goal to serve the spiritual and social needs of every age group in the parish. A large number of volunteers and lay ministers assist in today’s programs. In September, 2008, Bishop Tod Brown dedicated the Parish Center with a large hall (gym), kitchen and service area, meeting rooms, supply space, and parish offices.
Fr. Frank Falco, O.S.M. arrived from Chicago to assume the pastor’s role on July 1, 2009. He was assisted by Parochial Vicar, Fr. Paul Gins, O.S.M., who had arrived in August 2008, he was with us until June 2012, that is when Fr. Paul Gins, O.S.M., became the Pastor of Seven Holy Founders in Affton, Missouri.
After 5 years with our Parish, Pastor Fr. Frank Falco, O.S.M retired on June 30, 2014. Fr. Michael Pontarelli, O.S.M. assumed the pastor's role on July 1, 2014. Fr. Michael is coming to us from Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano where he has served for eight years. He is assisted by our Parochial Vicar, Fr. Luke Stano, O.S.M.