Hallmark Events of the Catholic Church in the East Bay
1772 – Spanish Franciscan Friar Juan Crespi celebrates the first Mass in East Bay, near the swamp that becomes Lake Merritt.
1797 – Mission San Jose is founded in present-day Fremont. The mission becomes renowned throughout California for its music, written for, played and sung by native converts.
1853 – Pope Pius IX establishes the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which includes what is now Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
1850-1900 – Immigrants from Ireland, then Portugal, Germany, and lastly Italy settle in the East Bay, making up the bulk of its Catholic population.
1900-1945 – The population becomes more broad-based as African Americans migrate from the South to Oakland, especially for the war industries. During World War II, the U.S. bracero program attracts many Mexicans to the East Bay. At the end of the war, over a dozen priests, some survivors of Dachau prison, escape communist regimes and begin more than 40 years of service in the East Bay.
1962 – Pope John XXIII founds the Diocese of Oakland, comprising Contra Costa and Alameda counties, naming the central Oakland church St. Francis de Sales as the Cathedral. Bishop Floyd Begin is named to lead the new Diocese.
1965 – The Second Vatican Council, which emphasized participation by the laity and outreach toward other faiths, culminates in Lumen Gentium, which begins "Christ is the Light of all nations". This document is to be the eventual inspiration for the name, The Cathedral of Christ the Light.
1965-2000 – Immigrants from Central America, the Philippines, Vietnam, China, and Africa arrive in significant numbers.
1977 Bishop Begin dies and Bishop John Cummins is appointed second Bishop of Oakland.
October 1989 The Loma Prieta earthquake irreparably damages St. Francis de Sales Cathedral.
2000 – Parishioners, priests, and Diocesan leadership formally discuss a new Cathedral, reaching a consensus to go forward with planning to build a Cathedral Center.
2003 – Bishop John Cummins retires and Bishop Allen Vigneron is named third Bishop of Oakland.
2005 – Ground-breaking ceremonies are held and construction begins on the Cathedral Center of Christ the Light.
September 25, 2008 – The Cathedral of Christ the Light is dedicated.
January 5, 2009 – Pope Benedict XVI appoints Bishop Allen Vigneron as Archbishop of Detroit.
March 23, 2009 – Pope Benedict XVI appoints San Diego’s Auxiliary Bishop Salvatore Cordileone to become Bishop of Oakland.
May 5, 2009 – Bishop Cordileone is installed as the Fourth Bishop of Oakland.
2012 – The 50th Anniversary of the diocese is celebrated throughout the year with several events, including a Symposium on Vatican II, a multicultural Unity Festival, a Mass of Thanksgiving and a Gala dinner honoring the many volunteers who have contributed to the success of the diocese.
July 27, 2012 – Bishop Cordileone is named Archbishop of San Francisco.
October 4, 2012-May 24, 2013 - Archbishop Alexander J. Brunett, retired archbishop of Seattle, serves as apostolic administrator of the diocese.
May 3, 2013 - Pope Francis announces Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ will be the next Bishop of Oakland.
May 25, 2013 - Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ, is ordained to the episcopate and installed as the Fifth Bishop of Oakland.