Our Parish has a long glorious history. It has been said that "You don't know where you're going until you know where you have been." Saint John the Baptist Catholic Parish has been through a beautiful and historic past, and we have been left with a legacy unmatched by any other parish. St John the Baptist church was established as a mission in 1866 and became a parish in 1877. St. John the Baptist is the first Roman Catholic Church in Milpitas. The original steeple wood frame church stood near the middle of the parking lot off Main Street From 1870 -1900. After the First Church burned down a Second Church was built on the grounds in the same location. St John's was originally established to serve the large Portuguese immigrant population of Catholics who arrived in Milpitas from the Azores. Prior to the church's construction, Catholic priests from San José Mission or Santa Clara Mission would visit a small adobe building called a "penitencia" to hear confession by the local Indians and farmers. The exact location of this penitencia is not known but is believed to have been a mile or two south of the present church and on the banks of Penitencia Creek.
There was also by Rev. Pavalkis was built on the grounds . The original location of the Imperito (pronounced “Em-peddy-oh” by long-time Milpitans) was somewhere behind the current rectory approximately where the storage sheds are currently located. In 1947 it was moved to its current location and redesigned to its current "Mission" design. The Imperio was primarily used for storage and during the Feast of the Holy Ghost, an annual fiesta which featured a parade down Main Street. The Queen would prepare for the parade in the Imperito. At the end of the parade, the queen placed her crown in the Imperio where it would be on display all day. At times small services, such as a masses were held in this building.
The church built a larger frame building on the northern side of the property. Called St. John's Hall, it was the site of many community and church functions. The Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989 severely damaged the the old hall so it was demolished to make way for a newer facility.
Today, the St. John's complex includes a K-8 school, rectory, church, imperio, Catholic Education office, bell tower and hall. St John's also owns and maintains St. John the Baptist Cemetery (established in 1898) on Piedmont Rd. in Milpitas, California.
Original source from www.milpitashistory.org however this page is constantly updated as new information is collected.
Parish History is maintained by Stanley Horyza at http://www.sjbparishhistory.org/index.php
Pictures is credited by Mrs. Riza Santoro