Design unveiled for new parish church in Santa Ana

Christ Our Savior will be first church built in Santa Ana since Our Lady of La Vang was dedicated in 2006

Plan for Christ Our Savior Catholic Church and new parish buildings. (graphics: Fred Matamoros)

A new Catholic church will soon sprout from what was once one of Orange County’s last remaining parcels of undeveloped farmland. 

Christ Our Savior Catholic Church and new parish buildings are expected to be dedicated in mid-2020 and will be located at Alton Avenue, Bear Street and MacArthur Boulevard in Santa Ana. 

At a time when Catholic churches in the U.S. are closing and parishes merging, the Diocese of Orange continues to grow. When Christ Our Savior parish started in 2005, parishioners celebrated Mass in a multipurpose room at Jim Thorpe Fundamental Elementary School on Alton Avenue. Today, their home is a pair of portable modular buildings in the middle of a parking lot just a block away. Christ Our Savior will be the first church built in Santa Ana since Our Lady of La Vang was dedicated in 2006. 

Plan for Christ Our Savior Catholic Church and new parish buildings. (graphics: Fred Matamoros)

The parish’s new home will be modern, welcoming and inclusive, diocesan officials said. A committee of Christ Our Savior parishioners provided input on the design of the church, which is being designed by San Diego-based domusstudio architecture. 

The church’s interior is designed so worshippers can see easily sign language interpreters and video monitors. California sycamore, pink trumpet and olive trees will line outdoor walkways and plazas. An iconic 85-foot cross will reach into the sky. 

The land for Christ Our Savior was once a lima bean field as part of Armstrong Ranch. The parcel was the last piece of farmland in Santa Ana before being developed about 13 years ago. Buildings will sit on about 7.75 acres and include meeting rooms, a parish hall, offices and the 18,601-square foot church, which will have a seating capacity of 1,250. 

The Diocese of Orange originally purchased the property for Christ Our Savior in 2002 from C.J. Segerstromg & Sons. Plans were submitted in 2004 to the City of Santa Ana to build a large cathedral at the site, along with parish and diocesan offices, according to city records. The location was chosen as the new cathedral because of its central location in Orange County and convenient freeway access. 

But after the former Crystal Cathedral property was purchased in 2012 in Garden Grove, the diocese, working closely with the Segerstrom family and city of Santa Ana, rezoned a portion of the land for residential use and sold the 6.72-acre parcel of undeveloped land on MacArthur Boulevard to developer Shea Homes, which will build 42 homes and a park. The Segerstrom family approved the new development, seeing the need for the young Christ Our Savior parish community to have a home for its continued growth. The proceeds from the sale will finance construction of the new Christ Our Savior church. Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year, with a dedication expected in 2020. 

Christ Our Savior parishioners raised another $2 million in a capital campaign to assist in the project’s construction.

Full story at Orange County Catholic.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Ugly. Looks like office buildings.

  2. Might be nice to see a basic plan of the interior of the Church. Some posters on this site will comment negatively if the Church is semi-circular or similar.

  3. YUCK !!

  4. “The church’s interior is designed so worshippers can see easily sign language interpreters and video monitors.”

    And with that statement about video monitors being a paramount consideration in the design of the church, you know that many, many things are out of whack in the Diocese of Orange. Notice no statement about being able to see the tabernacle easily. Go to Saddleback Church if you want the modern worship experience. Keep that stuff out of Catholic churches!!!!!

  5. Jesus Wept says:

    Doesn’t look like a church to me.

  6. Where’s the church?

  7. Anne T. E. says:

    Well, guys, it does resemble a monastery somewhat. At least it has that going for it. Now try to think of some other nice things to say about it — pretty please — before they start knocking the traditional churches in revenge.

    • It doesn’t resemble a monastery. It looks like a tech campus.

      Church architecture should evoke a sense of the holy. This design doesn’t do that.

    • Anne,
      I might add that one doesn’t have to be a traditionalist to be critical of the design. My issue with the design is that it ignores that we are psychological creatures. Because of our psychological nature, our spiritual life is aided by worshiping in churches that evokes the transcendent.

      This helps both with evangelizing others and helps those 99.99% of Catholics who haven’t yet reached the level of spiritual perfection.

    • Anne TE says:

      Well, Julie and Steve, I concede. I know what you are saying. In a city about two over from mine, there is an Episcopal church that looks more Catholic then the Catholic church in that area, that looks more Evangelical or Pentecostal.

    • Anne TE says:

      Regarding my last post, although the Catholic church two cities over looks more Evangelical or Pentecostal outside, the inside is more Catholic looking, only the Tabernacle is on the middle left away from the altar. I think many churches do that so people can socialize, but most churches already have enough areas for socializing — in the vestibule, the hall, parts of the rectory and outside. There needs to be a place for quiet prayer and adoration before and after Mass.

  8. Love the plan for this church! May God continue to Bless this beautiful congregation!

  9. Bob One says:

    There are different views on what makes for a wonderful “worship center.” Many people don’t like that term, but it is ok when you consider the modern parish. You need a place to worship, you need a place to learn, you need a place to meet, you need a place to play, and a place to gather and be with your community. Many people think of a parish as simply a place to go to Mass once a week, but it is more than that. While the Mass is the summit of our prayer life, we also need schools, gyms, offices, etc. If you travel the world, you learn that not all churches are Gothic but representative of the local culture. Church architecture is like wine: white or red, you either like it or you don’t, regardless of price or maker.

    • We are not necessarily talking Gothic, Bob One. Just that a church looks like a church. I love English style churches and many other styles, but they look like churches not office buildings. Our Lady of Walsingham in Texas is one example of a newer church that looks like a Catholic church, inside and out, even though it is an Anglican Use Catholic church. It is easy to google it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or there is the new blue wine which is not allowed to market itself as wine in Spain because blue is not an approved color for wine in Spain.

      • I AM open to change. Blueberry wine sounds great. Got to try some. Good for the memory supposedly.

        • Anonymous says:

          No it is not blueberry wine. It is Gak blue wine. I do not think it is available in CA yet. I had a family member who was introduced to it in Assisi.

    • Steve Seitz says:

      Bob One,
      I recently read that you’ve been in the posting areas of a variety of websites. I’m looking for one that is liberal, secular, has good conversations among respondents, and doesn’t censor divergent opinions. Do you know of one that you can recommend?

      • Steve, nice job with the sarcasm; better than most. Ii only post on this site, church wise. I wouldn’t know about liberal, secular sites, because I don’t visit them. I like to stick to the more orthodox. Nice try.

        • Steve Seitz says:

          Bob One,
          Actually, there was no sarcasm. It looks like I either misread an earlier post or I made some mistaken assumptions. Either way, thank you for the reply.

          (Note: As you know, the world has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. I want some experience on a secular, liberal website. On my first and only attempt, I lost my posting privileges within 24 hours — yes, the world has indeed changed.)

  10. The building design is as bland as the liturgy, preaching, music, catechesis and parish life will no doubt be.

  11. Looks like stackable tables from Ikea. That’s not necessarily bad for a typical building, but I’m not sure how it expresses the transcendence of God, life as a christian, or anything sacred. It looks too utilitarian for a proper church.

  12. Does not look like a church at all – it resembles an elementary or junior high school campus. I can understand building office and classrooms on the land and even a multi purpose hall, but please let there be a separate church building that looks like a church, drawing the mind and heart to God as soon as you see the building from afar.

  13. The liturgical committee who approved this building is just like congress —— they take your money and do what THEY want with it.

  14. Sean McDermott says:

    It reminds me of what I heard two sisters say about the LA Cathedral when it was first built. The two were driving past it on the 101 freeway when one of them looked over and then asked her sister “Why is there a cross on top of that warehouse?” Imagine her shock when she learned it was the new cathedral for the archdiocese. The artist’s rendition really does look like office buildings. Z-z-z-z…

  15. Vince Ryan says:

    St. Big Box welcomes you!

  16. St. Christopher says:

    Vile architecture to support the likely vile catechesis that will be going on there. We have a religious civil war in the Catholic Church. Here you will likely find the sort of hand holding, clapping, talk alot during mass, never receive on the tongue, or while kneeling, kind of church goer. These kind folks are taught to attack local priests and sisters and lay people that dare to teach the kids anything at all about the faith, such as the truth about Islam (a teacher was attacked for giving kids a handout containing words of St. John Bosco), abortion, and the really big one, homosexuality (many examples here of clerics and teachers being hounded simply by teaching the moral truth about sodomy). Do not build to these plans.

  17. Patricia says:

    Another church that looks like an industrial complex. Nothing in its design that gives a sense of the sacred.

  18. Life Lady says:

    I’m sorry, but if there’s supposed to be some sense of The Divine, they really missed it with this. It evokes a Google office building. And when you’re encouraged to make sure everyone sees a person who is using sign language and monitors for videos, and ignoring the tabernacle and all the Holy Things to evoke The Divine…? See what I mean?

  19. J. Bryan says:

    Oy……..meanwhile the Norbertines not very far just broke ground on a beautiful traditional complex for their new Abbey! Hope Abounds people!

  20. Someone please forward this article’s comments to Bishop Vann. Maybe there’s still time to prevent this blight from being built.

  21. Linda Maria says:

    The modern era is mostly good only for science and technology– it is a HORROR for everything else!! Wonderful to think of all the great, inspiring European churches and cathedrals, built since the fall of the Roman Empire, with the rise of Christianty– built without modern technology!– true works of art, outstanding spiritual masterpieces!! Wonderful places of worship, built with the loving (and often, anonymous!) hands of locals, who had deep Faith!!

    • Linda Maria, you are correct. Those old European churches and cathedrals are absolutely beautiful. We have great examples of beautiful churches in country too. St. Patrick’s and St. John Divine in New York come to mind; just two of many. What is true of them, however, is that they are old European designs, built for another time though last t’ill today. I have been in absolutely beautiful modern churches, built in the last fifty years that are awe inspiring. They have a today-look to them and they will last for 100 years or more. It doesn’t have to be old to be beautiful does it?

  22. Linda Maria says:

    Bob One— Of course, being old has nothing at all to do with anything! What is wonderful, is the incomparable beauty and magnificence, of what some people accomplished, ages ago! In the modern world, we find that most often, great achievements are found mostly in the fields of science and technology– and not much else, sadly!

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