St. Thomas More Catholic Church was founded in 1985. Fr. Robert White became STM’s first pastor, celebrating the first Mass on December 15, 1985, at Carsbad High School. The early years were filled with development, growth, and the quest of a permanent site for the Parish. In fact, the first fundraising event to raise money for a new church building was held on October 31, 1987.
As the community began to grow, Mass was celebrated at a few locations in North San Diego County. In 1986, Sunday Mass was held at the Chapel of Eternal Hills in Oceanside. Then, beginning on November 30, 1986, a Saturday evening Mass was added and held at the Pilgrim Congregational Church (United Church of Christ). This evening Mass then moved to the Calavera Hills Community Center in April of 1990, and eventually moved to the Rancho Buena Vista High School the following year. Then, in 1993, all Masses moved to the storefront Shadowhill Plaza on Shadowridge Drive in Vista.
Fr. Peter McGuine became the second pastor of STM, and his first Mass was celebrated on August 2, 1995. Fr. Peter was instrumental in finding a permanent site for the Parish. His hard work paid off, as the Parish celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of Melrose Avenue with Bishop Robert Brom on December 19, 1999. Construction of the first building, the 22,500 sq. ft. multipurpose Parish Center, began in 2000. This building also served as the church until a new church building was built in 2013-14.
On July 1, 2003, Fr. Mike Ratajczak celebrated his first Mass at STM, becoming the third pastor of the Parish. His entire ministry has been dedicated to serving the Church within Parishes, where the majority of Catholics nurture and strengthen their faith commitment to Gospel living through the Word, the sacraments, fellowship, service, and stewardship. Because of this, STM is constantly buzzing with spiritual activities and ministries, and is one of the most active Parishes in San Diego County. In fact, the Parish serves up to 100 different ministries seven days and on most evenings a week. In addition to Saturday evening and Sunday morning Masses, the Parish offers youth ministries, choir, scripture studies, community-service projects, and connections to other community organizations.
The Parish newsletter, The Tower, began in December 2003 and continues today. The newsletter was named after the Tower of London where St. Thomas More spent his last days and suffered a martyr’s death. Archived copies of The Tower can be found on the STM website.
The motto of STM is, “Come Grow with Us,” and over the past twenty-five years, the Parish has seen steady growth. From humble beginnings, the Parish currently has over 1,000 households, which translates to 3,500-4,000 members. Ground was broken for the permanent church and Parish offices on January 29, 2012. The ceremony included Bishop Robert Brom, Fr. Mike Ratajczak, STM staff and Parishioners, and individuals who are involved with the planning and construction of these new buildings.
Parish Office Technician