The parish of St. Kevin was founded in 1922, holding its first services in the Cortland Theater. The present church was built in 1925 in response to a growing Catholic population made up of Irish, Italian, German and other European immigrant families. Until the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the area known as Bernal Heights was mostly farmland. Soon after the devastation of most of the city, families began to move to the area and build houses despite the lack of paved streets or city services. From the beginning, the parish was ethnically diverse and it has only become more so over the years. Today, in addition to the descendants of those original families, the parish consists of African American, Filipino, Samoan and Hispanic Catholics who add to the cultural richness of the church.
Who Was St. Kevin?
Who is St. Kevin? St. Kevin (498-618 A.D.) was born into a wealthy family in Ireland in 498. He studied Scripture for three years as a young man before taking the monastic habit. Sometime later, he founded a monastery at Glendalough, Ireland. Kevin’s holy reputation soon attracted many people to the monastery, and he was elevated to the status of Bishop. St. Kevin’s patience was legendary: a story is told that once a bird laid an egg in the palm of his hand. Not wanting to harm the egg, Kevin remained motionless until the egg hatched. St. Kevin’s feast day is June 3. Our parish was established under his patronage in 1922.