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History of the Parish

Dixon's first Catholic Church was named after the leader of the 12Apostles. It was a wooden structure built in 1868. At that time, Dixon was one of numerous towns that made up the Suisun mission. The priests who tended mission areas traveled considerable distances between the communities, usually on horseback, over lonely trails and old Indian paths. In those early years, Fr. L. Auger was the priest

tending the Suisun mission communities. In 1877, St. Peter's, Dixon became a parish, and the assigned priest boarded in some parishioners' homes until a parish house was built in the early 1890's. The baptismal records show the first baptism in the newly formed parish was on November 41h 1877. The baby's name was Joseph Silva, son of Joseph and Francisca Silva of Elmira. Next was a baby named Elizabeth Walsh, daughter of Coleman and Barbara Walsh, baptized November 101h of that same year. Francis De Claane, son of Petre and Collette De Claane, followed November 11th. The Walsh and De Claane families were from the outlying area of Knoxville. Fr. Patrick  Ward performed those first baptisms. The baptismal records indicate Fr. Patrick  Ward performed those first baptisms. The baptismal records indicate Fr. Ward was followed by Fr. John Nugent In 1878, followed  by Fr. C. O'Connor in 1879. The marriage register  shows Andrew Byrnes and Michelle Smith were the first couple  to be married. Louis Kilkenny  and Mary Sweeney witnessed  the marriage. Local residents may recognize some of these names as road or street names in rural parts of Dixon. Some 40 years later, the church building was deemed no longer adequate, and so, at the other end of the block, the foundation for the present church was laid.  Construction  began in 1915 and was completed in 1916 at a cost of around $25,000.  The foundation stone shows the year 1915 and is plainly seen by the steps as one enters the church. The old church  became a social hall for the parishioners  until it was destroyed by fire in 1969. The present rectory was built in 1965 at the time Fr. James C. O'Connor was pastor. The parish hall was built in the early 1970's during the pastorate  of Fr. John Kyne. In 1987, extensive restoration and renovation  was conducted on the church  by Fr. Enrique Sanchez. Later, Fr. Jorge Moreno oversaw  the construction  of the much needed religious education building completed in 1993. One hundred and thirty two years have passed since that first St. Peter's Church in 1868 to this jubilee year 2000.  Many faithful souls have passed through the doors of the two church buildings that have spanned  that considerable length of time.  The parish now has six  weekend Masses: three in English and three in Spanish. This shows that as Dixon grows, St. Peter's Parish is also growing.  We don't  know what the future holds for us or for St. Peter's, but we trust and pray that we may be read for whatever challenges lie ahead.  


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