La Purísima was the eleventh of the California Mission Churches. Founded in the place, “Paraje de Alascupi” as named by the Indians on December 8, 1787, Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Most Reverend Frances Xavier Lasuen OFM, second President of the California Missions, blessed water and with it the place, and raised the cross. He celebrated Mass, preached for the first time, and appointed Fr. Vicente Fuster as Parish Pastor with Fr. Joseph Arroita his assistant. However, it was not until the following April that building began on the mission and the real beginning of Catholic life in this area. The first entry in the baptismal book is "On April 9, 1788 Indian Matzzaguit was baptized with the name of Francisco de Conception by Fr. Jose Arrorta.” In 1789, there were 151 neophytes, in 1799, the number had risen to 923 and in 1805, and it reached the astounding number of 1385. The first confirmation class on December 9, 1790 numbered 75 and Padre Lasuen administered the sacrament.
In 1802, the first adobe Church was built with Fr. Gregorio Fernández as Parish Pastor and dedicated on December 8 of that year. By 1810 Fr. Mariano Payaros, one of the most illustrious of the Parish Pastor had complet
ed a large catechism with the acts of Faith, Hope, Charity, and Contrition all in the language of the natives. Then, on December 12, 1812 came the great earthquake, which destroyed the Church burying unde r its walls the imported images and paintings and making most of the mission buildings uninhabitable.
It was not worth rebuilding on its original location so Fr. Payeros, then Parish Pastor, moved the mission two miles over to the dale called Los Berros where it now stands.
In October of 1874, the country around the old Mission was divided into farms. The settlers established what is now the city of Lompoc as a temperance settlement of 200 families. The Catholic families were serviced from Mission Santa Ines.In 1875, La Purísima Mission.
Father McNally, Rector of Mission Santa Inés, went about gathering support to build a Roman Catholic Church in Lompoc. So successful were his efforts that Protestants and Catholics alike contributed liberally to the project. The Old Frame Church was soon built on the comer of Olive and I streets on property purchased from Nellie Hooker and services were held on 12 December 1875. Christened , "La Purísima” taking its name from Mission La Purísima Conception founded here in 1787. In the tower of the frame church, according to old news reports, was hung one of the original bells from the old Mission.
On December 8, 1920 this Church was dedicated by Bishop Cantwell and Monsignor John Cawley, V. G. gave the address. For forty years, this church was to serve the Catholic people of Lompoc Valley until it became inadequate. Rev. Andrew McGrath, became Parish Pastor of La Purísima Church in Feb. 1955 to Dec. 31, 1986. During his Parish Pastorate, the growth of the parish was truly astonishing, both population (baptisms averaged 184 per year) and facility-wise. In 1955, additional property was purchased and plans were made for a school and convent. On Dec 8, 1956, two
Sisters of Nazareth left Paris, France, for the long journey to Lompoc to aid in the establishment of the La Purísima School. The school was competed in May 1957, with six classrooms. Classes began 10 September 1957 with 152 students.
Due to an increasing population and need for a social hall, Fr. McGrath purchased an old barracks building and put it to the rear of the rectory on the west side of I Street. This served as a parish hall until the current church could be built. It made for an easier transitiion of the old church into a parich hall. Plans for a new church and rectory were brought before the planning commission in March 1960. Fr. McGrath