Name of Church St. Teresa of Avila

Address 17242 Bodega Hwy., Bodega CA 94922

Phone number (707) 874-3812


Mass times Saturday vigil, 5 p.m.  Sunday, 9:30 a.m.  Tuesday & Thursday, 9 a.m.

Confessions Saturdays, 4:30 p.m. or by appointment.

Names of priests Father Loren Allen, pastor.  Father Loren has had experience in the preservation of California’s historic churches; before coming to St. Teresa he was pastor of 127-year-old St. Bernard Church in Eureka and oversaw extensive restoration efforts there.

School No.

Fellow parishioners  The church serves a small, English-speaking community as well as tourists who visit the area.

Parking Plenty.

Acoustics Fine.

Cry room No.

Additional observations  St. Teresa is a pretty, historic church southwest of Santa Rosa, and part of the Santa Rosa diocese under Bishop Robert Vasa.  It is a small, white wooden church with a steeple sitting on a hilltop overlooking the rural community of Bodega.  It was built in 1860, and dedicated by the Archbishop of San Francisco, Joseph Alemany, in 1862.  It was expanded in 1872 to serve the growing numbers of Italian immigrants who came to the region to engage in dairy farming.  It has undergone a series of modifications since, including major restorations 1954-55 and 1967-74.  A historic cemetery, Calvary, is nearby.

For the past 50 years, St. Teresa has been part of St. Philip the Apostle Church in Occidental (St. Philip is a historic church as well, it’s about eight miles away and worth a visit).  Sixty years ago, in 1953, photographer Ansel Adams helped make St. Teresa famous by making it the subject of his black & white photograph “Church and Road.”

Ten years later, in 1963, the school next door was a filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, from which terrified children run from attacking crows.  According to local residents, Hitchcock attended Mass at the church.  The church is a historic landmark of the State of California.  Also notable about the building is that unlike most churches, it has no center aisle, but two side aisles.