St. Dominic’s Church, Benicia

St. Dominic’s, Benicia, exterior

Name of Church St. Dominic

Address 475 East I Street (corner of East 5th and East I), Benicia, CA 94510

Phone number (707) 747-7220


Mass times Saturday vigil, 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Spanish-English), 5:30 p.m. (for youth and young adults). First Sunday, 3 p.m. (Vietnamese). Monday – Friday, 7 a.m., Monday – Saturday, 8:15 a.m. (preceded by prayers at 7:55 a.m. from the Dominican community).

Confessions Saturday, 4-5 p.m. or by appointment

Names of priests All Dominican Fathers of the Western Province: Fr. Jerome Cudden, pastor. Fr. Corwin Low, parochial vicar. Fr. David Farrugia, in residence. While the Western Province Dominicans are a mixed bag when it comes to orthodoxy, Fr. Cudden is a solid priest and gifted homilist with a good sense of humor. Listen to some commentaries he recently published by clicking here.

School Yes, pre-K through 8th grade.

Special activities/parish groups Rosary before the weekday Mass and after the 7:30 a.m. Sunday Mass; 24-hour adoration in adoration chapel; Grief Support Group; Legion of Mary; Life Abortion Alternative Ministries; Singles Ministry; Lazarus Ministry; St. Vincent de Paul Society; Knights of Columbus.

St. Dominic’s, Benicia, interior

Music Lots of singing and music at the parish. They have something for everyone, depending on your taste. If you like more traditional music, attend the 9 a.m. and listen to the choir. The 7:30 a.m. has piano and flute, and the 10:45 a.m. organ. The 12:30 p.m. has a Spanish choir and the 5:30 p.m. is the youth Mass, so you’ll hear guitar and drums.

Parking No problem. The church has two lots on I and J streets, plus there is street parking.

Acoustics Good, backed up by a good sound system.

Cry room Yes, in the rear of the church.

Parish bulletin View on the parish website.

Additional observations St. Dominic’s is a beautiful old church near the northern end of San Francisco Bay and well worth a visit. It was established by the Dominican Fathers in 1854; the current church was built in 1890. It was once the site where Dominicans in the novitiate studied for the priesthood, but the novitiate was re-located to St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland, where it remains today. You’ll enjoy a traditional interior, with nice art; one of the striking features of this church’s interior is the row of white columns along either side.


  1. Steve Phoenix says:

    The present church is a historic site, having visited it because of its importance in vanishing Catholic California’s history. However, the altar area was somewhat (not terribly, but still) wreckovated after V2 to be replaced by a table-like thing. Of course, no where specified in the actual literal docs of V2, but whatever.

    More interesting and moving is St. Dominic’s Cemetery, where dozens of historic pioneer Dominicans have been interred for over 100 years, including Fr. Francisco Villarrasa (like Archbp. Joseph Sadoc Alemany, a Spanish Dominican; however Alemany Is interred now at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma).

    • Steve Phoenix says:

      Part of the original Benicia City Cemetery is the original St. Dominics cemetery, where Maria Concepcion Arguello(1791-1857), daughter of the Alta California Presidio commandante, is buried.

      One of the great Old California love stories, she fell in love with seafaring Russian nobleman Nicolai Rezanov, who voyaged to San Francisco from Sitka Alaska for provisions, the Russians being sick and dying (5 Russian sailors are supposed to be interred on a long lost cemetery on “Russian Hill”). He later died an untimely death returning to Russia reputedly to obtain permission to marry her.

      She is said to have waited years for him, rejecting many suitors (she was very comely). Then, later she became a Dominican sister, Sr. Mary…

      • Steve Phoenix says:

        ..Concepcion, OP, and passed away in 1857. She was first interred in the original Dominican cemetery at St Catalina School in Monterey, then her remains translated from there to the first St Dominic’s cemetery in Benicia in 1894 when that convent was closed.

        Maria Concepcion (“Conchita”) Arguello’s story is the subject of at least one novel, and is the substance of an opera someday to be composed, no doubt.

        • St. Christopher says:

          “Steve Phoenix,” thank you for your excellent posts. St. Dominic’s is a great Church (minus the wreckovated card table, etc.). I enjoyed Mass there on numerous occasions.

          However, the priests there are very liberal, one excoriating my comments about their then illegal use of altar girls. He said that, “that is all worked out already, as is the use of married priests.” His Zombie-Liberal arrogance pretty much is the common attitude with the Francis Vatican. No room in the NewChurch for you and any kind of “T/traditional” Catholicism. Sad.

          • Steve Phoenix says:

            You are welcome, S. Christopher, and “ibidum” on your posts.

            It is a very moving site, to take the time out to stop at the “new” St Dominic’s Cemetery (which is still over a 100 years old), and view the rows, and rows, and rows of men and women’s order Dominicans—great lecturers at St Albert’s, preachers, missionaries, and teachers all—living in very rustic, austere conditions, and dedicated to “the big picture”.

            It is very profound and a lesson to us all..

  2. Romulus Augustus says:

    Well at least the high altar is still intact, whilst the communion rail has been ripped out, dinner table front and center, “felt banners” i.e. the 1970’s and yes EVERY language used except the OFFICIAL language of the The Church Latin, come on Dominicans you can do better than that, bring back the True Mass of All Times.

  3. Romulus Augustus says:

    Oh and I see they have the old Life Teen drivel with guitars and drums, good heavens such utter infantile nonsense and a silly waste of time. Start acting like adults and return the True Mass of All Times the Great Springtime was a complete and utter failure.

  4. Abeca Christian says:

    Beautiful Church. Thank you Cal Catholic for always posting these churches worth driving to….helps me when I travel.

  5. anne o. nymous says:

    Steve Phoenix: Thank you very much for the story of
    Sister Maria Arguello O.P. Большое спасибо !

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