Our StorySanta Clara de Asis celebrated its first Mass in the St. Clare Center at St. Francis School on July 1, 2001 with a mere 150 families. Striving to follow St. Clare’s example, we strive to demonstrate good Christian conduct, serve others, live in humility, pray regularly with and for our community, develop spiritual friendship, and extend the healing power of Christ to those in need.
The history of Santa Clara de Asis Church dates back to 1983 when the Diocese of Orange identified a need for a church in East Yorba Linda. The Diocese had contracted to purchase 6 acres from a large developer. The developer sold 106 acres which included the 6 acres the Diocese planned to purchase, to a smaller developer. A series of events followed, fortunately for us, which led to foreclosure on the 106 acres and the sale of that same acreage to the Diocese.
In 1993 and 1994, the Diocese offered to sell the majority of the land to the city of Yorba Linda as a site for a park and athletic field with the exception of 12 acres. In 1995, San Antonio de Padua del Canon and St. Martin de Porres Churches determined there was a need for a Catholic elementary school in the area. The Diocese offered 6 of the 12 acres in East Yorba Linda to San Antonio and St. Martin to build an inter-parish school. St. Francis of Assisi school opened for classes in September 1998, and has been functioning ever since.
Early in 2001, Bishop Tod Brown decided to begin developing a new parish because of overcrowding at San Antonio and St. Martin's parishes. Due to the close proximity of St. Francis of Assisi School, Bishop Brown chose to name the new parish after St. Clare of Assisi - a close friend and collaborator of St. Francis. The Spanish version, Santa Clara de Asis, was chosen to make an even greater distinction and to follow the precedence set by San Antonio de Padua del Canon. Upon the recommendation of former Bishop Norman McFarland, Bishop Tod Brown chose Fr. Michael Hanifin to be the founding pastor of Santa Clara de Asis Catholic Church. Although this was a departure from the future that Fr. Mike saw for himself, he was open to God's will and accepted the appointment, thus becoming the first pastor of SCDA Catholic Church in Yorba Linda.
On July 1, 2001, the first mass inaugurating our parish was celebrated at the St. Francis of Assisi School grounds with Bishop Tod Brown, Fr. Michael Hanifin, Fr. Seamus Glynn as concelebrants. The following day, a parish-wide meeting was held where about 100 new parishioners in attendance were given the opportunity to sign up for a number of committees and ministries that would shape the life of the parish. Fr. Mike stressed that "first we will build a church, and then we will build buildings." The new parishioners were charged with building a warm, friendly, and faith-filled community. The buildings would come later. With an amazing amount of time, talent and treasures contributed by the parishioners led by Fr. Mike, a vibrant and faith-filled community has developed. Our church is the home of an active, worshipping community as evidenced by the growth in the number of church groups and ministries. From a handful of ministries at the outset, a spectrum of some 49 groups/organizations/ministries have formed, encompassing religious education programs for young children, high school teens, and adults; service groups to serve all in need within the church and in hte community; as well as groups advocating fellowship and community building events which abound in our growing parish. All of these help form our community and enrich our lives.
After many hours of planning and developing "a home of our own" the ground breaking cceremony for the new building was held on October 3, 2004. The Finance, Building, and Development Committees were key in bring the project along. On March 4-5, 2006 the first Masses were celebrated in our own building, the San Damiano Center. The Center is a multi-purpose building with a large gathering area, a sacristy, classrooms, offices, a kitchen and storage rooms.