St Isidore Catholic Church - Our Story
Bishop Armstrong appointed Father Bernard McElwee as the founding pastor of the newly created Saint Isidore Paish in Yuba City, CA. Father McElwee’s first task was to find a place where he could begin gathering the Catholic community in Yuba City to celebrate Mass on Sundays.
On the other side of the Feather River in Marysville, CA, the Army base at Camp Beale was being converted to Beale Air Force Base at the time. During WWII, prisoners of war were held at the Beale Army Base. The former Italian prisoners’ chapel was acquired by Father McElwee and was moved to a site on Cooper Ave in Yuba City. This Army chapel became the first temporary church where the Catholic community of Yuba City began its life as the Saint Isidore Parish of Yuba City and Sutter County.
The chapel on Cooper Avenue was moved to a 17-acre parcel on Clark Avenue that Father McElwee had purchased as the permanent site for Saint Isidore Parish.
St Isidore School opened its doors, and was called Holy Angels School. It was staffed by the Sisters of Notre Dame who commuted daily from their convent at Notre Dame School in Marysville.
Saint Isidore Parish and School were flooded in 12 feet of water. It was heart-breaking and expensive work for the residents of Yuba City to restore their homes and for Saint Isidore Parish to repair the school and church.
After a year of construction, the newly-completed, permanent church was dedicated by Bishop Joseph McGuckan. The design of the new church was to reflect the local agricultural buildings and fruit packaging sheds of Sutter County. Father McElwee and the parish community felt such a design was especially appropriate in Sutter County since the primary industry was agriculture and the church was named after and dedicated to Saint Isidore, the Patron Saint of Farmers.
Construction began on a new rectory built on the parish site next to the church. Before this time, Father McElwee and his assistant priests lived in a house on Cooper Avenue. From this point forward, the priests would live on the parish site.
Father McElwee retired and was succeeded by his assistant, Father Joseph Bishop.