San Francisco, California

In 1776 the noted Franciscan Father Junipero Serra, founder of many of the California missions, ordered the founding of the mission San Francisco de Asis, also known as the Mision Dolores. This mission, destined to become the largest city on the Pacific Coast, was probably comprised of a church, a residence for the priests, a military guard, and houses and work-rooms for the Indians. Until 1822, when California ceased to be a Spanish colony, the mission prospered, but in 1834 the missions were confiscated by the Mexican authorities, and the village of Yerba Buena was established on the old site of the Mision Dolores. Twelve years later it was seized by a United States warship, and the name was changed to San Francisco in 1847. In 1848, by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, California was ceded to the United States, and in 1853, because of the refusal of Mexico to permit an American bishop to exercise jurisdiction in Lower California, the Mexican territory was detached from the Diocese of San Diego or Monterey, and Upper California was divided into the two dioceses of Monterey and San Francisco. San Francisco thus became the residential see of an archbishopric. At this time there were only two churches in the city, the old Mision Dolores for those who spoke Spanish, and Saint Francis's, erected in 1849, for those who did not speak Spanish; the new bishop laid the cornerstone of Saint Mary's church in 1853, Father Anthony Maraschi, S.J., founded Saint Ignatius's College and church in 1855, and shortly afterwards Saint Mary's Hospital was founded by the Sisters of Mercy. The efforts of the Catholic Church continued to assist greatly in the building up of San Francisco, and when the earthquake of 1906 and the subsequent fire destroyed many churches, asylums, schools, and hospitals, including the great Jesuit church and College of Saint Ignatius, and the Sacred Heart College of the Christian Brothers, the generosity of the Catholic congregations of the United States facilitated immediate rebuilding. Among the noted Catholics who have brought honor to the city of San Francisco are: Father Serra, the virtual founder of the city, is honored with an imposing statue in Golden Gate Park, and in 1884 a legal holiday was proclaimed by the State Legislature in honor of the centennial of his burial day. In San Francisco today there are: three Catholic publications, L'Imparziale, a semi-weekly Italian newspaper, L'Unione, a weekly ltalian newspaper, and The Monitor, a weekly English newspaper.

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