The religious education of the Catholic children of El Cajon and the history of Holy Trinity Parish have their roots in the earliest East County missions. Holy Trinity Parish grew out of Mission St. Mary, begun by Father Antonio Ubach from Manresa, Spain, who arrived in 1866 and traveled around his parish on horseback, caring for the Indians and settlers. His parish included present day El Cajon, downtown San Diego, Old Town and the Indian villages extending to Riverside and Imperial Counties.
Land was purchased on Ballard Street in 1950 and army barracks were used for a church where the hall is currently located. In 1954 Bishop Buddy decided the Church would be called Church of the Most Holy Trinity. Groundbreaking for the current church was held in April of 1958.
Holy Trinity School
In 1947, Father Leo La Verne Davis and Father Ross, his associate, decided St. Mary Mission Parish needed a school. In 1948, the parish worked together and held an “All Western Days” festival. Similar to today’s Jamboree, All Western Days was a carnival which drew huge crowds. Father Ross had previously lived in Hollywood, and many celebrities came to entertain the crowds including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Dorothy Lamour, Ricardo Montalban and Roddy MacDowell. $21,000 was raised in 1948 and in 1949 over $100,000 was raised. In 1950, land was purchased on Ballard Street for a church and school. First a convent, the present day preschool, was built for the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters who were to run the school. Then a four room school building was constructed. The first class graduated from Holy Trinity in 1957.
In the early 1950’s Father Edward Kookoszka spent much of his time collecting donations of lumber and equipment to enlarge the school. The sisters held first communion services outside since there was no church yet, decorating outside with flowers.
Groundbreaking for the current church was held in April of 1958. Students helped build the church along with their parents, sawing wood and varnishing the floors. One of the church windows, depicting the Sacrament of the Sick, with a shamrock, was donated by the school children, as was the gate in front of the Sacred Heart altar.
In 1959, the height of the baby boom following World War II, school enrollment peaked at 561 students with seven sisters and three lay teachers. Father Ron Buchmiller was the first Holy Trinity student to enter the priesthood and was ordained by Bishop Maher at Holy Trinity Church on December 20, 1969.
Today, Holy Trinity School continues to strive towards academic excellence while maintaining a strong foundation based on our Catholic faith.