Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, one of California’s historic Franciscan missions, has reopened its doors to the public. Three years ago, the church’s roof and interior were severely damaged by an arson fire. Additionally, the mission has also introduced a new exhibit titled “Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, 1771-1900: Natives, Missionaries, and the Birth of Catholicism in Los Angeles.” The reopening of the mission was marked by a special blessing ceremony led by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez. During the ceremony, representatives from the Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians were present. The mission was established by St. Junípero Serra and his fellow Franciscan to introduce the Gabrieleno/Tongva people to the Catholic faith and the Spanish way of life.
National Catholic Register reports:
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the fourth of California’s 21 Franciscan missions, has reopened to the public after an arson fire destroyed the roof and much of the interior of its historic church three years ago.
Along with the reopening of the restored church, the mission has also opened a new exhibit, “Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, 1771-1900: Natives, Missionaries, and the Birth of Catholicism in Los Angeles,” to tell the mission’s story to visitors.
The reopening kicked off with a blessing by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez with representatives of the Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, for whose ancestors St. Junípero Serra and his fellow Franciscan padres established the mission 252 years ago to introduce them to the Catholic faith and the Spanish way of life, including agriculture, raising livestock and the construction of permanent living facilities (often made of adobe in 18th-century Southern California).
Mission San Gabriel was founded by Father Serra in 1771 and relocated to its present site in 1775. Its historic church was made of stone, brick and mortar between 1791 and 1805, making it one of the state’s oldest structures. Many of its interior items, including its altar and statues, were built in Mexico and Spain. Some artifacts, including 17th-century vestments, predate Mission San Gabriel.
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Photo by Robert A. Estremo