The heart of a parish is the Eucharist, but the parish family is the body that makes it a unique and vibrant community with an exciting parish life. Our parish offers a variety of ways to be part of that communal family in addition to the celebration of the sacraments.
Faith formation is a vital element of the Catholic life as we grow in knowledge and understanding of our faith in Jesus Christ and the Church he gave us. A deeper understanding can lead to a more intimate relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and through the Trinity to the Church and our family, friends, neighbors, parish, and community. Such faith formation is not just for children, but for all of us as we grow as Catholics. Our parish has many opportunities for faith formation that we encourage you to explore.
Another way to participate in our parish life are the various parish ministries, including liturgical ministries, such as choir member, lector, altar server, and Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist; social justice ministries, such as visiting the homebound, serving the poor, volunteering at food pantries and the St. Vincent de Paul Society; and others, such as youth ministry, men's and women's groups, and the annual parish bazaar, to name just a few. God calls us to use our gifts and talents to glorify Him and make life better for other people. Please prayerfully consider these opportunities for getting involved in ministry. And if you have an idea for a new parish ministry, please contact us.
With so many ways to be part of parish life, you'll want to stay informed by regularly reading the weekly bulletin, just in case you've misplaced the one you received at Mass. You’ll also want to check the parish calendar for a list of events and mass schedules.
Our parish has a rich history in our town, being founded by people who trusted in the Lord and gathered together under the leadership of our bishop. Who we are today is based on who we were yesterday. Find out more about our spiritual forefathers as you read the history of our parish.
We hope you'll also enjoy viewing photos of our parish, including some of the many enjoyable events and programs we've had over the years.
Our Patron Saint
St. Joachim (whose name means Yahweh prepares) is venerated by the Church as the husband of Saint Anne and the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although not mentioned in Sacred Scripture, tradition hails him and Saint Anne as the father and mother of the Mother of God based upon very early testimonies. Little else is known about the details of his life apart from what is found in the apocryphal literature.
Saint Joachim and Saint Anne have been venerated as the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary since the first century A.D. Hence, it is fitting that the first parish in Costa Mesa would be named after the husband of the saint whose name was given to the neighboring city, Santa Ana. The founding Pastor, Msgr. Thomas Nevin, had his first priestly assignment in Santa Ana. The new parish was founded on March 16, 1947. At its beginning, the parish territory included all the city of Costa Mesa and parts of Newport Beach.
Costa Mesa traces its history to a Spanish land grant in 1810 to Jose Antonio Yorba. By 1880, settlers had bought sections of the land grant from the Yorba heirs and had established the town of Fairview. A storm in 1889 destroyed the small town. A new small town, called Harper, named for a nearby rancher, was established and it gradually grew. In 1920, Harper officially changed its name to Costa Mesa, meaning "Coastal Table Land" in Spanish, and continued as an agricultural community. The city survived the Great Depression, in spite of the collapse of many businesses, and during the Second World War, it was the training site for thousands of people at the Santa Ana Army Air base. When Saint Joachim Parish was founded some of the old buildings of this Army base served as temporary quarters for parish activities.
The land for the parish was purchased in the summer of 1947. The old base chapel was moved to the property and remodeled in time to celebrate Christmas Masses that year. On June 13, 1948, Bishop Timothy Manning dedicated the remodeled chapel as St. Joachim Church. On September 12, 1949, the new school was opened, under the leadership of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, using barracks also transferred from the base. In 1954, a new addition to the church building was completed, doubling its capacity. In 1965, the current church structure was built and dedicated.
As Southern California expanded over the decades, so has the parish, reaching its current membership of over 3,000 families and reflecting the ethnic mix of the changing times. In 1960, one half of its territory was transferred to its daughter parish, St. John the Baptist.
The parish embarked on a major expansion of its facilities in 2004, building new classrooms, administration offices, a rectory and a parish hall. Many priests and religious have served the people of the parish under the leadership of its pastors, Monsignor Thomas Nevin, Father Kenneth Krause, Father Joseph Robillard and Father Enrique J. Sera. The parish is led by the current pastor, Father Michael P. Hanifin, a parochial vicar, Father Douglas A. Zavala, a weekend assistant, Father Tim Peters, a professional pastoral staff and the school principal, Sister Kathleen Marie Pughe, C.S.J. The community is also blessed with able volunteers who serve on lay boards and councils. The mission of the parish is to open its doors to all who wish to follow Christ in the Roman Catholic tradition and to reach out in love to all of its neighbors, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.