Name of Church Shrine of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer

Address 544 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-6147

Phone number (831) 471-0442


Mass times 11 a.m. every day

Confessions 30 minutes before Masses. The Oblates pride themselves on their availability to the public, however. Knock on the door and ask for a priest for confession or spiritual advice; they’ll drop what they’re doing and see you.

Names of priests The priests of the Oblates of St. Joseph live at the site and rotate celebrating Masses. Fr. Paul McDonnell, the community’s provincial, serves as director of the shrine; the site is also the location of their provincial house. The Oblates are a smaller community founded by St. Joseph Marello (1844-95) in Italy in the 19th century. Marello encouraged his community to imitate the virtues and qualities of St. Joseph as they began their work, which included serving the elderly, handicapped and orphaned.

Special events There are a variety of feasts and devotions celebrated at the shrine. See the website.

Music Varies, on weekends you might hear cantors, an organist or a smaller choir.

Fellow parishioners There are many tourists, as well as some locals. Take a walk down to the beach afterward, as you’ll be looking out onto beautiful Monterey Bay.

Parking No problem.

Cry room No

Additional observations In 1931, the Oblates came to California to serve its Italian immigrants. The community wanted to establish a California seminary, and, in 1949, was given a unique opportunity after praying a novena to St. Joseph. A wealthy family deeded the Oblates a prime seven-acre site along the beach in Santa Cruz, a resort area about an hour’s drive southwest from San Jose. The family’s only stipulation was that the site be used for religious purposes. Construction of a chapel and seminary began, and, in 1952, the first Mass was offered in the chapel. The Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, Joseph Willinger (1886-1973), granted permission for pilgrimages to the shrine. A lack of funding prevented completion of the shrine until 1993, when it was officially designated the “Shrine of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer.” The former Bishop of Monterey, Sylvester Ryan, used the occasion to encase a relic of St. Joseph Marello in the chapel’s altar. A prominent statue of Marello also greets visitors as they approach the chapel. Today, the Shrine Chapel is a place of devotion for the Oblate community and visitors. It features many fine pieces of religious art, the highlight of which is a six by eight foot carving of St. Joseph with Mary and the boy Jesus. There is also an art exhibit dedicated to St. Joseph, featuring scenes from his life, and a bookstore featuring a variety of religious literature. The bookstore is open 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.; the chapel is open 7 a.m. to sunset. The facilities can be rented by religious groups, so there might be retreat or conference going on when you’re there. The grounds are well maintained.