HISTORY OF THE PARISH
St. Gabriel's Parish was originally a part of St. Michael's, also in Poway. An early census showed nearly two hundred families within its boundaries, encompassing the southern part of the community of Poway. Our parish was established on the feast of Corpus Christi, June 15, 1973. Initially, Sunday Masses were celebrated at Twin Peaks Middle School with Saturday and Holy Day Masses held in the homes of parishioners. Eventually, Saturday Masses also were moved to Twin Peaks. Through the years, St. Gabriel's has grown to over 2,500 families.
Fr. (Monsignor) Charles J. Dollen was the first pastor of St. Gabriel's. Along with architect Dale St. Denis, he and the community envisioned the building of our current parish hall. A church was to be built in a second phase. The first Benediction on the current church property was held in 1976. The first Mass was celebrated on the church property in September of 1977, as construction of the parish hall was about to begin. Groundbreaking for St. Gabriel's took place September 18, 1977. The first Mass within the temporary church (our existing reception hall) was celebrated July 30, 1978. Bishop Leo T. Maher formally dedicated St. Gabriel's on September 16, 1978. Carillon bells were installed in December 1980, and a new organ was dedicated and blessed in September 1981.
A revised master plan was set in motion by Msgr. Dollen and architect Hendrick & Mock in 1983. It included the addition of five buildings: Maintenance (Bldg B), Education (Bldg C), Office (Bldg D), Church (Bldg E), and Rectory (Bldg F). The maintenance, education and office buildings were completed in 1988. A house was bequeathed to St. Gabriel's by the Edward Engel family on June 27, 1996, to be used as a parish rectory.
On July 1, 1996, Fr. Joseph (Jay) Brady became pastor upon the retirement of Monsignor Dollen. Preliminary studies were made to expand the worship space, but they never materialized. The preschool was closed due to financial difficulties. The parish debt was finally paid off in June 1998. Msgr. Dollen passed away in 1998. The funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Gabriel's by Bishop Brom and the burial took place in Rochester, New York.
Fr. Michael Froidurot, was appointed pastor of St. Gabriel's on July 1, 1999. A parish committee was soon formed under his guidance to rekindle efforts to build a new worship space. In March 2004, six acres adjacent to the church property were bought from the Hubert Family. The rectory on Woodcreek Lane was sold and a new rectory on Budwin Lane was bought so Father Michael could keep a closer eye on the construction site. A part of the rectory driveway became an access to the new church site.
On August 14, 2005, the blessing of the land took place, and Father Michael and Father Hal blessed the cornerstone that is now sitting at the foot of the West Bell Tower of the Church.
In June 2006, five bronze bells were cast in Orleans, France by the Bollee Foundry. On September 10, 2006, they were blessed just in time to ring the next day for the fifth anniversary of 9/11. For many years they were stored pro bono at the All State Warehouse in the new Poway business park, a company owed by a parishioner.
In 2008, T. B. Penick & Sons, Inc. (a design-build contractor) was hired along with architects Hyndman & Hyndman, to design and build our new church. St. Gabriel's received preliminary approval for our design from the Diocese of San Diego. We selected a fundraising consultant and launched a campaign to raise funds for the new church building.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009 was a landmark day in St. Gabriel's history. On that day, more than 300 parishioners, together with Fr. Michael and architect Shelly Hyndman presented our case to the City of Poway during a council meeting and received our Conditional Use Permit so we could finally start construction. On March 13, 2010, a Cornerstone ceremony was celebrated by Bishop Robert Brom with Fr. Michael and the parishioners of St. Gabriel's.
After years of planning and more than a year of construction, the first official Mass was celebrated in the new church on Friday, June 24, 2011. The Mass of Dedication celebrated by Bishop Brom and concelebrated by the dean Msgr. Mikulanis and all the priests of the deanery was held on Friday, July 8, 2011. Fr. Michael's family flew from Scotland and France to be part of the ceremony. There was a beautiful reception in the courtyard that was provided by the French Gourmet.
Since then the parish has doubled and even tripled in mass attendance. For pastoral needs, three deacons were ordained for St. Gabriel's Parish: Deacon Bob Troy in June 2007, Deacon Mike Fish in May 2009, and Deacon Ricardo Elizondo in May 2012. Sadly, we said good-bye to Deacon Bob on August 1, 2016 as he went home to our Heavenly Father. In the fall of 2015 we were blessed to welcome Father Patrick Murphy as Senior Associate Pastor.
In 2015 renovation of our reception hall (building A) was completed. The hall has been dedicated to Monsignor Charles Dollen, founding pastor of St. Gabriel's. Our parish looks forward to many social gatherings in this beautiful new space.
As we look forward to the future of St. Gabriel's, we pray that God continues to bless us and guide us. Our family has grown and our buildings have changed, but St. Gabriel's will always be a place to call home.