About St. John the Baptizer
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Early Beginnings – St. Andrew Mission
Our parish traces its founding to March 12, 1960 when twenty faithful gathered for the first Divine Liturgy celebrated in San Diego. Fr. Stephan Semchuk, a distinguished priest from Canada, served and the faithful became a mission of our sister parish in Los Angeles. Throughout the 1960s, Fr. Semchuk continued to visit from Canada along with Frs. Koltutsky, Salamon, and Chaikovsky from Los Angeles.
A Parish Is Established – Our Lady Of Perpetual Help
In 1966, the local faithful purchased a small church at 4014 Winona Ave. in City Heights. Later that year, the community and church building was dedicated under the patronage of Our Lady of Perpetual. The parish flourished and Fr. Salamon began serving two liturgies each Sunday in English and Ukrainian. In 1972, Fr. Michael Kurylo became the first pastor and the mission was elevated to a parish. After Fr. Kurylo’s retirement in in 1983, Fr. Paul Greskiw served the parish and a third Divine Liturgy was added to the Sunday schedule. Catechism, social events, and a robust Women’s Auxiliary were a featured hallmark of this parish in the far corner of the Chicago Eparchy. In 1985, the Very Rev. Canon Anfrew Mykyta, a priest who served for thirty years throughout California, became pastor. After Fr. Andrew Mytyta, the parish was faithfully served by visiting priests until Fr. Myron Mykyta became pastor.
A Second Home – St. John The Baptizer
In 1999 the parish began to search for a new church facility to call home due to changes in parish demographics. In 2000, our long-time home on Winona Ave. was sold and we moved to 4400 Palm Ave. in La Mesa with the help of the Arendes family, a family with numerous vocations, that donated $500,000 in memory of their brother John. Thus, our parish was renamed under the patronage of St. John the Baptizer in memory of John Arendes whose love for Christ and His Church allowed our parish set course on a new path. Soon Fr. John Hritzko became pastor and daily liturgies were offered. After Fr. Hritzko was assigned to Omaha, Fr. James Bankston and his family came to San Diego. Shortly thereafter our parish celebrated 50 years of service to the faithful of San Diego County. In 2014, Bishop Richard visited our parish and ordained Frank Avant to the diaconate and faithfully served our parish. In 2015, Deacon Frank was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Richard and then began his priestly ministry in Indiana, San Diego, and Dallas.
In 2016, our parish embarked on a new journey to build a new, traditional church
Bishop Benedict blessed our new land in Santee, surrounded by the Mission Hills of San Diego, in August of 2018, and Fr. Yurii Sas and family came to our parish. Our new church building will be the only traditionally built Ukrainian Catholic parish west of the Rockies. We have the opportunity to evangelize through our architecture where our golden domes will rise above the valley for all to see.