Saint Ambrose parish was established in 1909 and named for Ambrose of Milan, a 4th century nobleman who converted to…More Christianity and became a bishop and Doctor of the Church. The original church was a wood-framed building with a shingled exterior on Gilman Street and Stannage Avenue. The current building, at Gilman and Cornell Avenues, was completed and dedicated in 1952.
The steel-reinforced concrete structure was designed in the gothic style with mission touches by San Francisco architect Vincent Buckley. It was erected by San Francisco contractors Carrico and Gautier, and its stained glass windows were designed and crafted by Carl Huneke of San Francisco's Century Stained Glass Studio. The windows are made of traditional leaded cathedral glass in an English style.
The parish became a part of the Diocese of Oakland when it was established in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. In 2001, Oakland bishop John Cummins turned control of St. Ambrose Church over to the Salesians of Don Bosco, the province of Bangalore, India. Due partially to the addition of a Spanish language Sunday Mass, the past few years have seen a steady growth in membership of the parish community.