Our History and Purpose

Santa Cruz is a unique and beautiful city...

One that holds a special place within the rich heritage of the California Missions. The Guardian of the Redeemer Shrine, with its prime location along gorgeous West Cliff Drive, has a plan in place to renew and reinvigorate our unique missionary opportunity to witness to those hundreds of locals and tourists who daily pass by our doors. With the addition of the Shrine Coffee House, the Oblate community seeks to “open wide the doors” to our neighbors, and thus to Christ Himself.

The vision of founding a missionary coffeehouse on the Shrine of St. Joseph location began in 2008 under the guidance of Fr. John Warburton, OSJ and with the blessing of Bishop Richard Garcia. Since that time, a talented team has assembled to develop that vision under the enthusiastic leadership of Fr. Paul McDonnell, OSJ. Our capital fundraising campaign is underway, hoping to begin construction in the fall of 2017, with doors opening in early 2018.

Why a Coffee House?

Since 1952, the Shrine of St. Joseph has been a place of pilgrimage and devotion, inviting Santa Cruz tourists and locals alike to enter ever more deeply into the prayer and sacramental life of the universal Church. But as central as the liturgical life is to our Shrine community, what is also needed now are welcoming spaces of relationship and encounter; in the imagery Pope Francis has been emphasizing, the Church is “a field hospital after battle”, needing “nearness, proximity.”

Spaces are sorely lacking where committed Catholic disciples of Christ can build relationship in community with both the unchurched as well as those, who though having received some sacraments along the way, have been “de-churched”, who never heard the personal call to holiness through the considerable noise and distractions of this world. While many do not feel comfortable going into a Catholic Church, these same people do not harbor such inhibitions in seeking a quiet place of refreshment. Harbors are needed from the maelstrom and cacophony of modern life where the opportunity to have a nourishing and friendly encounter can reintroduce the disenfranchised to the true hospitality and grace of the Church.

The Coffee House as a Place of Encounter

The coffeehouse has emerged once again as the meeting place of choice for a diverse cross-section of humanity, and in particular has become so for many who are “afar off”. It was stumbling upon a missionary coffeehouse while an undergraduate student that began project manager Anne Breiling’s “reversion” to the Catholic faith, an unexpected encounter that ultimately changed the whole trajectory of her life. So over time, such spaces can facilitate real dialogue with the unchurched or de-churched in a way that more programmatic methods or media based evangelism cannot. Catechesis, apologetics, even the primary proclamation of the gospel were all designed by Our Lord to take place in relationship, in community, in an environment of encounter.

Building Shrine Coffee to its Full Stature

Through craft, hospitality, and fidelity, Shrine Coffee will seek to “promote [this] culture of encounter” that his predecessors & now Pope Francis continues to encourage, to provide an oasis from the false divide of mind and spirit, reason and faith, that modern man is accustomed to, and plagued by – and to do so in a manner following in the Church’s great tradition of cultivating and promoting the beautiful and the good in service of the true.

The zoning & building permits from the Santa Cruz planning department have been secured, city-approved architectural plans have been completed, submitted, & paid for – the concept being one of entering St. Joseph’s workshop – equipment and local suppliers chosen, weekly, capital fundraising campaign promotion of Shrine Coffee Sundays initiated, and most importantly, we continue to receive the blessing and enthusiastic support of our Bishop, the Most Reverend Richard Garcia who will be joining us on October 21, 2017 for a blessing of the space to inaugurate the rebuild.. With this foundation laid, our prayers and work continue for a fruitful capital fundraising campaign through March 19th, 2018 (the Feast of St. Joseph), which God willing will see us through the various stages of construction to the opening of our doors.

In addition to keeping this project in your prayers, you can “like”, share our video, and follow project updates via our facebook page, www.facebook.com/shrinecoffee, tax-deductible online donations are accepted either on this site as well as over at www.patreon.com/shrinecoffee, or checks may be made out to “Oblates of St. Joseph” with “Shrine Coffee” in the memo, and mailed to:

Shrine of St. Joseph
544 W. Cliff Dr.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Our gratitude in advance for any support, spiritual or financial, that you can lend to building Shrine Coffee, God bless you!