St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic ChurchAbout Us
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (SEAS) parish was founded in 1971 as a community annex of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach, California. The SEAS community spent its first decade meeting and celebrating Mass in private homes and public facilities. Rev. Thomas Gannon served as founding pastor.
In 1976, the mission church was designated a parish within the newly formed Diocese of Orange. The original multi-purpose building, including parish hall, was completed in July 1981 and served as a community gathering spot as well as a worship space. At that time, the second pastor, Rev. Kenneth O’Keeffe was named.
The current worship space was dedicated by Bishop Norman McFarland in 1994, following the installation of SEAS third pastor, Rev. Thomas P. Pado. Since 1994, our parish has added a new Youth Center and remodeled the parish hall/multi-purpose building to accommodate more fully the needs of our parish community.
The parish has grown since its inception to about 1000 households in 2015.
SEAS people represent a diverse community of large and small families, young adults and senior citizens, native Californians and people who have come here from across the country and all over the world. Our parish also includes the University of California Irvine and we have a vital relationship with the Catholic campus community. Many faculty and staff members are also parishioners.
Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born in 1774 in New York City, two years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. At age 18, she married William Seton. He died nine years later, leaving her with five children to raise alone.
In 1805, Elizabeth converted to Catholicism and was shunned by her family. Soon after, she moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland, and opened a boarding school for girls to support herself and her children.
In 1809 Elizabeth took religious vows and founded the Sisters of Charity, the first religious community in the United States. Elizabeth and her fellow sisters strove to follow the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul by serving children, the poor, the sick, and the sorrowful. By 1813 her community numbered 17. Following a lengthy illness, she died in 1821 of tuberculosis.
Elizabeth Ann Seton’s legacy is the tremendous love that she poured out on family, friends, her community, and the poor. Since her death, the Sisters of Charity have expanded throughout the United States. She was canonized a saint–the first native-born American saint–in 1975 by Pope Paul VI.