photo public domain from U.S. Farm Security Administration

St. Joseph's Portuguese Church was a Catholic church at 745 Chestnut, serving the Portuguese community and other Catholics of West Oakland.

The church was founded in 1892, 1 and was the first Portuguese national church in California. 2 Prior to that, Portuguese-speaking Catholics met in St. Mary's Hall at 7th and Grove (MLK) under the guidance of Rev. Father Fernandes from the Azores. 3

In 1899, Rev. Guilherme Gloria shocked everyone when he resigned to officially marry Annie B. Collins. It turned out he and Miss Collins had been involved since she was 15, and met when Rev. Gloria was the priest in San Leandro. Collins' sister found out, and Gloria and Collins signed a marriage contract with Collins' sister as a witness. He fathered a child with her; he was transferred to St. Joseph's, and set her up as a dressmaker in Oakland. The baby was born 6 months later in 1896. But eventually the truth came out and he resigned. 6

The building was demolished in 1965 for the building of the Acorn Redevelopment Project (some sources say of the Nimitz Freeway, but that was completed in 1959(?)). The congregation was merged with St. Andrew's Church (now also demolished) at San Pablo and Brockhurst. 4

Pastor From To Info
Rev. Manuel Fernandez 1892 1896 Hoffmann's Catholic Directory, Almanac and Clergy List
Rev. Guilherme Gloria 1896 1899 portugueseancestry.com
Rev. A. D. de Campos 1899 1901? Succeeds Disgraced Gloria 5
Rev. Felix Bergeretti 1901 1909? Popular Priest Called by Death San Francisco Call September 12, 1909
Rev. Joseph Galli 1909 1936+ Past and Present of Alameda County
Rev. Guido J. Divina -1941 1941+ Polk's Directory 1941
Rev. Edgar Rocha   1965 Old Church Victim of Progress 4

Links and References

photo by Russell Lee, April 1942 (src)

  1. Portuguese Catholic Church in Oakland Library of Congress
  2. Portuguese church building and faith in California The Catholic Voice December 17, 2012
  3. The Great Portuguese Migration Hayward Daily Review February 17, 1974
  4. Old Church Victim of Progress Oakland Tribune May 28, 1965
  5. Succeeds Disgraced Gloria San Francisco Call July 31, 1899
  6. His Priestly Career Closes in Dishonor San Francisco Call July 27, 1899