Annunciation Church in California, Missouri was established in 1857.

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Annunciation Parish traces its origins to the missionary efforts of Fr. Ferdinand Helias, SJ. In 1857, with the building of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, many Irish families settled near California, and together with a few German families, a congregation was formed.

A parish school was established in 1889. This building, along with the church, was destroyed by fire in 1900. Both were rebuilt, but the school burned again in 1982 and was not rebuilt. A new church was dedicated on June 23, 1985.

Assumption Church in Cedron, built in 1838 and closed in 1993, has also been part of the Annunciation Parish in California, Missouri.

Parish History was taken from Proclaiming the Good News in the Heart of Missouri written by Loretta Pastva, SND.


The cross is called an Icon because it contains images of persons who have a part in the meaning of the cross.  The purpose of an Icon was to teach the meaning of the event - Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension - and strengthen the faith of the people. The San Damiano Cross is the one St. Francis was praying before when the Lord commissioned him to rebuild the Church.  The original cross presently hangs in St. Clare Church in Assisi, Italy.

Jesus Crucified - Jesus Christ is represented both as wounded and strong. He stands upright. His halo includes the pictures of the glorified cross. The bright white of the Lord's body contrasts with the dark red and black around it and accentuates the prominence of Jesus. He shows the life of divine nature in a body pierced by nails in the hands and feet, by the crown of thorns on his head, and by the soldier's lance in his side. Christ is in full stature while all the other figures are smaller. Above the head of Christ is the inscription in Latin: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. The black rectangular box behind Jesus' outstretched arms is the empty tomb.

Major Witnesses - The next largest figures are the five witnesses of the crucifixion and witnesses of Jesus as Lord. On the left side are Mary, Mother of Jesus, and St. John the Beloved, to whom Jesus gave his mother. On the right side are Mary Magdalene, Mary, Mother of James, and the centurion who proclaimed: "Truly this is the Son of God. " Both Mary and Mary Magdalene have their hands placed on their cheeks to reflect extreme grief and anguish. The first four witnesses are the saints who gave their lives for the Lord and are represented with halos of sanctity.

Minor Witnesses - The smaller figure on the lower left is Longinus the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus' side with a lance. He is represented as holding the lance and looking up at Jesus. The blood running down the arm of Jesus begins at the elbow to drip straight down and would land on the face of Longinus. In the lower right is Stephaton who is identified as the soldier who offered Jesus the sponge soaked in vinegar wine. Peering over the left shoulder of the centurion is a smaller face, perhaps the face of the artist.

The Angels - Six angels are represented as marveling over the event of the crucifixion. They are at both ends of the crossbar. Their hand gestures indicate they are discussing this wondrous event and calling us to marvel with them.

The Patron Saints - At the foot of the cross there is a damaged picture of six figures, two of whom are represented with halos. These are probably St. John, St. Michael, St. Rufine, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, and St. Paul.

The Heavenly Welcome - On the top of the cross, we see Jesus now fully clothed in his regal garments and carrying the cross as a triumphant scepter. He is climbing out of the tomb and into the heavenly courts. Ten angels are crowned around. Five of them have their hands extended in the welcoming gesture to Jesus, who himself has his hand raised in the form of a greeting.

The Right Hand of God - At the very top of the cross is the right hand of the Father who with two fingers extended. Jesus is being raised from the dead by the right hand of God the Father. This can also be understood as a blessing of God the Father on all that Jesus had done.

The Bird and Animal- On the right side of the picture next to the left calf of Jesus, there is a small figure of a fowl. Some historians have interpreted it to be a rooster, representing the sign of Jesus' betrayal. Others see it as a peacock, a frequent symbol of immortality in early Christian art.

Diocesan Shepherds

Pastoral Care

  • Rev. Anthony Viviano
  • Rev. Gabriel Alexander
  • Rev. Tony Rinaldo
  • Rev. Fred Elskamp
  • Rev. Henry Reichert
  • Rev. Greg Higley
  • Rev. Francis G. Gillgannon
  • Rev. Patrick Daly
  • Rev. Donald F. Green
  • Rev. Don McKenna
  • Rev. Robert Keating
  • Rev. Leonard Sylvester Misey
  • Rev. Raphael O'Mally
  • Rev. Blaise Scheffer
  • Rev. Ingentio
  • Rev. Jerome Bestgen
  • Rev. Peter Brendan O'Rourke
  • Rev. James Patrick Owens
  • Rev. Francis Joseph Dillon
  • Rev. James John Ahern
  • Rev. Daniel Stynes Larkin
  • Rev. Myles Jennings
  • Rev. John J. Lyons
  • Rev. McCordle
  • Rev. John Joseph Downey
  • Rev. Peter J. Kilkenny
  • Rev. Patrick J. Downey